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BPS 253: How to Attach a Bankable Movie Star to Your Indie Film with Steven Luke

Today on the show we have writer, producer, director, actor, and Filmtrepreneur Steven Luke. Steven and I discuss how he attaches bankable movie stars like Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Chuck Liddell, James Cromwell, Thomas Jane, Sam Worthington, Tom Berenger, Ron Perlman, and Billy Zane to his independent films. We also discuss his misadventures in film distribution, how he presells his films and if he actually makes any money with film distributors.

Steven also has a Filmtrepreneur mind when it comes to his film productions. He has found his niche, war films. Understanding his niche market, he uses the films he produces to advertise his company Man the Line. It is the internet’s number one source of recreating war!

Man the Line is a small South Dakota business offering original military and quality reproduction uniforms and headgear for collectors, reenactors, and film productions. By doing this, Steven has created additional revenue streams for himself by using his films. This is the Filmtrepreneur way.

His most recent works include “Souvenirs” starring Academy Award nominee James Cromwell and “The Deep End,” for which he earned a Best Actor recognition at the 2011 Fischgaard Short Film Competition.

Steven’s work in the short film Paper People’ has also earned him the Best Actor in a Short film for the 2012 Best Actors in a Film Festival. Steven utilizes his skills as a historic military technical adviser and supplier for the motion picture and television industries when not in front of the camera.

Enjoy my conversation with Steven Luke.

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Alex Ferrari 2:24
I'd like to welcome the show Steven Luke, man, how are you brother?

Steven Luke 3:50
I'm doing excellent staying. COVID-19 free up here in South Dakota. So

Alex Ferrari 3:58
Yeah, you don't have too many. You're not like LA. You don't have it's or New York.

Steven Luke 4:04
I mean, we literally have like the population of like, one high rise building in New York. So we're pretty pretty safe out here. For the most part.

Alex Ferrari 4:12
Are you are you staying quarantine? Are you?

Steven Luke 4:16
I mean, I guess this is gonna be recorded. So yes, I'm very quarantine safe. Secure in a bunker and, you know, old missile silo from the 60s? Yes, no, we're, we're kind of Yes, we kind of have, you know, doing the social distancing. But trying to like is a little bit kind of like normal here. So,

Alex Ferrari 4:37
Got it. Got it. It's fair enough. Yeah, you're a little bit more spread out than the big cities. takes two months to get to us. So I'm sure in August. That's where you're gonna have some stuff going up. Well, um, thank you for being on the show, man. Before we get started, how did you get into the film business?

Steven Luke 4:53
Okay, that's no, that's a fun story. So I think like with everyone else, you start off when You're young, and you kind of just the magic of cinema hits you. And you get really excited to, you know, see films, and you want to tell stories. And I think that's kind of how I wanted to get involved. And, you know, wanting to tell stories, and you know, just kind of progressively working up to that point throughout my life and career and how to just kind of, you know, tell stories and make movies and getting bigger and better.

Alex Ferrari 5:29
Very cool. So you were bitten by that bug, basically.

Steven Luke 5:33
And you can't get rid of it. No, it's, it's, you know, it's like that artists lifestyle, right. So like, if I wasn't doing this, or I mean, whatever I'm doing, I'm sure I'd be doing something artistic. So

Alex Ferrari 5:51
No, but you also got into the acting side of the business, as well.

Steven Luke 5:55
Yes, yeah. So I always, you know, I do act. What's fun about the film business is it really is a business. And there's lots of pieces that come come to that. So the acting stuff that I do, I consider that usually, like my art, like, it's more of an art form. To me, if I come in and act, it kind of gives me a chance to dive into a character and develop them and be someone else. And that's very, it's fun for me to do that. Some of the other parts of the film making experience are more business related or more kind of world building, or writing or something like that. But the acting is, is an art to me. And it's, it's always kind of fun to get to jump in someone else's shoes.

Alex Ferrari 6:37
But did you start off as an actor and then moved into producing? Or did you start off as producing and moved into acting?

Steven Luke 6:45
I think I mean, acting, you know, in high school, you know, you do plays and stuff. The acting was kind of always kind of that, what you want to do, I kind of realized really, right off the bat, right, as I kind of graduate high school that I wanted, that I could act and produce, those are my two things that I enjoy doing the most. So I kind of found myself, when I produce things, trying to find, you know, pieces, you know, is a part that I can play to kind of kind of have some fun with it as well, because producing for those that know is a little stressful.

Alex Ferrari 7:18
Bit a bit a bit, and you've got to wear like 1000 different hats, and

Steven Luke 7:23
You got to know the industry really well. So it's like when you get to act, you know, you kind of can just one character and then no one bugs you either, you know, like I don't want to disturb him when he's in character. Like, yes, yes. So leave me alone. Until, until that's over, then you can deal with all the craziness.

Alex Ferrari 7:40
It's fun, because I've always been, I've always worn 1000 hats in any of my productions. It's just the nature of what I do. I'm a jack of all trades. So when I get to just do one thing, it seems so light. Like,

Steven Luke 7:54
Definitely does, well, you sit there and you're like, like twiddling is like yeah, it's like to be doing for bed should be helping someone. So

Alex Ferrari 8:03
Yeah, from from my really micro budget films where I'm doing a lot to where I'm working on a, you know, on a series or something like that, where I have a full blown crew. And like, I don't have to worry about lighting. I could just tell someone to go light. It's just kind of, what am I gonna do? What am I doing here? I don't. I'm waiting. 30 minutes for the lighting setup to set up. I'll be like, what do I the actors are ready? Like, I don't know. It's crazy. Yeah, I guess I'll sit down. I guess I guess I'll relax. I guess. I don't know. I'll have a coke. So then how did you get into you know, producing full features, because I saw you did a lot of shorts prior to kind of to get your your feet wet. How did you get into doing full blown features?

Steven Luke 8:46
Yeah, so I yes, I always think it was important to do some short films, tests, test your craft, do some, you know, make some mistakes, learn a lot. To me in shorts, were kind of a great way to do film school. I never I didn't go to film school, I took more of the business side of things than got up, you know, kind of when I was in college got a business degree because that was what I felt was going to be more helpful to me just in terms of what I kind of wanted to pursue. But yeah, short films a great way to kind of hone your craft. And then you want to make that leap to a feature film, if you know your goal. And there's lots of goals, obviously. But if you want to try to tell bigger and better stories, if you want to try to make money, I mean, relatively speaking, that you kind of the feature film game is where you need to be. And naturally, that's kind of the next step that a filmmaker should try to pursue. It has its own I mean, making a feature film and a short film, they almost they almost have the exact same challenges and go through the exact same steps you just our feature film takes is longer days. So it naturally was that next step that that one takes.

Alex Ferrari 9:58
So one of the reasons I wanted you on the show is because a lot of the lot of the movies that you've produced have been with, you know, named talent talent that actually brings money to the table. And, and I always wanted to have someone on the show that has produced these kinds of films, worked with talent like Dolph Lundgren or Ron Perlman or Mickey Rourke, Tom Berenger, Billy Zane, these are like kind of go to character actors who have have a following and also have a value of monetary value in distribution and overseas. So I wanted to kind of dig into the how you do this. And I also want to take away a lot of these myths and illusions that a lot of filmmakers have, like, Oh, I could never afford, you know, adopt, you know, Dolph Lundgren, or Mickey Rourke, or, or Ron Perlman, or these kind of actors, because they must be billions and billions of dollars to to get, and I've been in the industry long enough to know that that's not true. But I wanted to hear it straight from the horse's mouth. So how do you go about first of all attaching named talent like this?

Steven Luke 11:03
Right? Okay. So I think the I'm a big proponent of this always, the first step with named talent is your script. Now, obviously, that kind of complain a lot of key points with a lot of things. But if you have a script, that, obviously is what you feel like a winner, something you enjoy a story you want to tell, that is definitely like the number one way to get talent to say, yes, they've got to like that script. And, and so kind of hand in hand with that the role that you might be offering them, it has to be a role that, you know, like, you see that person, you know, like, okay, like, take, take, Dolph London, like Dolph will have fun with this role. are, you know, so like, when you come to those towns that and sometimes that might mean you adapt your role a little bit for the specific person that you're going after, but like, they have to like, Okay, if they read this, they've never done that character before. Or maybe it's a character that they enjoy doing. I think really tailoring your story and the role that you're going after, before you present it to them. is, is, is vital. Because if it's just generic, you know, office worker, you know, they're going to pass on that.

Alex Ferrari 12:20
But unless, unless the paycheck is extremely high.

Steven Luke 12:24
I mean, that's gonna take probably double what maybe they would actually cost to pay me that. Like, why would you?

Alex Ferrari 12:32
Why would you bring Duff longer does the office worker, unless it's a comedy? And then yes,

Steven Luke 12:37
If you have the budget to do it. And that probably actually would be hilarious. Dolf is a great guy, too. I mean, he's a fantastic actor, and super smart, man.

Alex Ferrari 12:51
No, I hear he's like, he's like, genius level. He's like, really, really smart. Even when he did The Expendables, they would make jokes about it in the movie that like, what do you have, like a rocket scientist? Like,he is like, literally, he,

Steven Luke 13:04
He is that smart. And so like, when you first kind of meet him, you when you talk to him, it? I don't wanna say it throws you for a loop. But, you know, most people grew up with, I will break you. And when he talks to you, you're like, geez, this guy's way smarter than me. Right? Not like that. I'm filming. You're just, it's just, it's a fun story. Okay, so back to so you got your script, you got your, you got your role for these guys. So probably that, like, they always talk about, like the gatekeepers that come that are in Hollywood, yes. Or the talent, it really as their managers and agents, I mean, manager, agent, they guard those guys and all their clients, which is that that's what they get paid to do. So we try to probably the best way then to like, you know, to get an agent manager, okay, you know, having a producer that maybe has worked with them in the past, having, you know, maybe a sales rep that has worked with them in the past. You know, personal contact, emailing them straight up on IMDB, sometimes even can get you to the door. I mean, I hate to say that, but like you're only having to sit, but they read, they read, I mean, they have an assistant, they process that stuff. So that doesn't necessarily mean you know, you're going to get darklands in your film if you just email them with an offer because they don't work that way. Or it doesn't work that way. But if you have a level of if you're attached to someone that maybe has worked with them, the legitimacy of that offer of the script and the role and maybe the price tag that you're offering them, it they they will take it to their client, that they're they're required to take those things to their client if they feel it's actually a legitimate thing. And so by having someone and I'm just going to use like me, for example, like I've worked with Delft, London, you know, for me to maybe put up Like a filmmaker, in touch with his manager and saying, like, Hey, I think that, you know, that, you know, x y&z wants to, you know, it's interesting having dealt with the role, you know, I'll let you, I'll let him present it over to you, they will take that as a sign that I've vetted that person, I wouldn't be doing that. Unless it was a real thing, just in terms of of real because if I do that,

Alex Ferrari 15:25
You're Donnie Brasco in it, you're, he's a good fella.

Steven Luke 15:29
This is not like a real thing. I might not never get to work with that agent ever again. So that's why it's such a big, you know, it's a big deal to be able to be, you know, when that happens, they'll take you seriously. But I'm not saying that they don't just email them straight up doesn't work.

Alex Ferrari 15:46
Real quick. So let me let me jump on that real quick at one question. And this is this is a big question when it comes to talent. And I've heard both sides of the story, I would love to hear your thoughts. If you have a personal relationship or personal connection to the talent, do you bypass their management and talk to them directly? Or make an offer to them directly? If you have a direct connection? Now, if you're good friends, it's one thing? Yeah, yeah. If your buddies, it's one thing, but let's say my producer, like I know somebody who knows the actor personally. And I'm like, Hey, you look, I'll make you an associate producer, if you make the introduction to me, and then I go have coffee with Dolf. And then, like, Hey, I really like your thing, and I make him the offer directly. And then I've completely bypassed, I've just ended up just throwing out the scenario. Hold on before you say now. And you like talk to them and like, hey, look, you know, like to offer it to you directly. A lot of people will do that for PA, which, in my opinion to you shouldn't offer them directly, unless it's a conversation. And like, I always say, when I'm working with talent at that level, I go, do you want me to submit a formal offer to your agent, or manager? And sometimes they're like, no, what do you want? What do you got? And then they'll just want to negotiate with you right there. There's those those that that that talent? Well,

Steven Luke 17:12
Yes, I would say like, if you're in a situation like that, that that, I mean, they're open to it, that that might be different, I would say, in my opinion, if you were in that situation, where you're like, talking to the actor, and they're loving the role, you know, like just offering role and having them say, I love this, I want to do this is like a win. And then I would automatically go to Alright, great, I will get in touch with your agent and manager and work out the details. Because at the end of the day, you still got to work out the details with the agent manager, because there's not only is that mean? Oh, is that their price, there's their green m&ms that they need, there's their flights, you know, I mean, like, there's an entourage that might have to come. So like, you're still gonna have to work with the agent manager on the deal memo. And so you should at least then that way the agent manager feels, I don't wanna say useful because they're very useful, but that's their job. So respecting them right off the bat and saying like, hey, great. Dolph loves this role. Let me go work it out with agent manager, they will instantly I don't want to say like, you have an ally, but you won't make them mad. Because agents and managers do not like to be circumnavigated. They don't like it. And I can, you know, as much as like, sometimes you wish, you could just go right to it. And you can sometimes when you know the talent, you know, get them excited about the role that's already a win for you. Because you know, that they're going to want to do it, they want to do it, and then go back to that, you know, Agent manager, that way everyone stays happy. And then the actors not having to deal with any you know, the other than the money the other the other things that entail that agent manager can be the good guy, bad guy, good cop, bad cop. You know, there was a it's a it's definitely an industry and I had an eight a manager tell me this. So just you know, like always like, great, you know, the talent. They want to do the role then just come back to me and keep it keeping that line Hollywood very much like

Alex Ferrari 19:15
Yeah, there was a there's a story of a couple filmmakers I knew that were they bum rushed an actor at a film festival and got them literally in the back alleys an Oscar nominated actor. And and the actor was cool. He was like, tell me pitch me and he showed him like this, the sizzle reel, and the actor was very taken by their story. And this actor does not do an independent like he's only studio, but for whatever godforsaken reason, he fell in love with the story and wanted to do it. And he was at over at CIA and CIA did everything to torpedo that deal, like everything, but that

Steven Luke 19:57
Those guys did mean what the thing that those guys got, they knew the actor wanted to do it. So ca lost all those playing cards now they might not have been happy about it. But like that's, that is the one nice thing if you can get around them and you just find out if they want to do it, then you got right, you got to,

Alex Ferrari 20:16
But then afterwards that the actor just turned to their ages like, Look, I don't care what you say I'm doing this. So let's make this happen. And now and that's but that's a risk. you're rolling the dice when you do something like that. That's extremely risky.

Steven Luke 20:30
An actor in a back alley and corner him. I mean, literally, I would do it but

Alex Ferrari 20:36
Right. And they were just they were young, independent filmmakers. They weren't like, you know, seasoned professional season.

Steven Luke 20:41
Not that sometimes. That's literally I mean, you get lucky like that. I'm just lucky. He everything the stars lined up. And that worked out great for him. So I definitely not opposed to having that happen. Because sometimes when you're trying to get your film made, I mean, you got to you got to play hardball. The old that is hardball, man.

Alex Ferrari 21:05
Absolutely. Absolutely. I see you we're continuing. Alright, so now. So what's the next part of the process as far as attaching these guys?

Steven Luke 21:12
So let's story script, contacted agent manager, you know, so then you're you're wanting to it's the it's the money, you know, sometimes it's a lot of this talent, it really does come down to you know, they're gonna assume after they read the script, that they're gonna, okay, this is a worthwhile story script. I can enjoy this character, then it really comes down to their rate, you know, what are they willing to do it for? And it really is, I mean, oh, and let me back up because it is money, but like it like, Okay, well, who's who's who's maybe Who am I acting along with? Could matter to like, who's the director, the director? What's the budget of the film? Like, do I have to fly to Taiwan? Because that makes a big deal to them like, or can I just wake up and roll out of my bed and go 30 minutes over to Pasadena and shoot and then come back. I mean, that's what makes it huge people to do that for them. So like, accommodating them along with that offer with like, Hey, we're going to be you know, 10 minutes away from your house. So all you have to do is just get out of bed and woke up and go, we'll come pick you up. And you know, sometimes like literally, that if the money's good, and doing that and be like, well, I don't really care who I'm in with, and who the director is a day,

Alex Ferrari 22:29
Yeah, it's a couple days, and I'm home, back home to sleep on my bed. So one day, or two days, or whatever it is. So that's the thing that a lot of filmmakers, especially young producers don't understand is that if you have, you know, Dolf, let's say, or Mickey in a roll, and you have them on the cover of the poster, it doesn't mean that you shot them for three or four weeks, you know, you could shoot them out in 234 days or less, depending on what how big their part is. But you can shoot all their scenes out quickly. and affordably. Because if you tried to hire them for three or four weeks, it wouldn't be it would be cost prohibitive.

Steven Luke 23:08
Yeah. And they don't do that either. I mean, they they wouldn't, they wouldn't sign on to doing a three four week thing, unless it was a big studio or per bag or a studio are a big project. If you kind of live in that world of a week or less weeks, and go to court coordinate the character around those those scenes. I mean, a good rule of thumb, I think, right now with distributors is, you know, they need about 12 to 15 minutes of screen time, at least out of those guys, which is about the equivalent about 15 pages. So if you can get 50 I mean, how quickly can you shoot 15 pages? Now, I'll tell you this, like, you know, usually, I mean, I've knocked out an actor, and with 15 pages in one day, oh, yeah. Oh, it's doable. But I will tell you this with the talent, like they will not be happy about that, per se. I mean, they're not gonna be angry. Yeah. But it could take cue cards, and it could take, you know, like hiding their lines in you know, spots, or they can just do their thing, and they'll take your

Alex Ferrari 24:10
Earbuds don't forget the earbud I forget about the earbuds. I literally had a whole a whole VFX job once that I this was an Oscar winning actor who was later in his career. And he had earbuds because he couldn't remember his lines. And we had to digitally remove all the earbuds in all his shots because it was a period of peace. Sure. I mean, it's insane.

Steven Luke 24:38
Yeah, I mean, you. I shouldn't say you would think the actors would come prepared, they usually are prepared, but you know, if you can just get them there. I mean, they know they know, you know, a lot of the actor, you know, like when they're named actors. They understand that it's got to be my name and my face on the poster that sells it. So who cares if I know my lines, I mean, that's not saying that they don't know that but like, you know, you got to accommodate them. Sometimes.

Alex Ferrari 25:00
So this is the big the big question, you know, can we discuss the cost? And now we're not going to call anybody out directly, we're not going to go well Dolphus this much. And then you know, Mickey is this much nothing like that. But can we talk about a range? You know, per day? Because I have, I've worked with certain actors, and I know of prices of certain actors, who are name actors. But what is a range price? Because I think people still filmmakers still think like, Oh, I can't afford that guy, even if it's for three or four days? And you'd be surprised that you might?

Steven Luke 25:34
Yeah, well, I think you're looking at and I don't mind saying these things. Because I think they're, they're stuff that the, you know, the industry should know. And I think, you know, I mean, the more kind of money that can go, like, with projects that can go to actors, I think, always the better. You know, so let's talk about, so let's talk about money. So maybe, let's put a range of say $50,000, to up to $300,000. That is your, that is your budget range. And you might get an actor of a name caliber for one day to eight days, or seven days, seven, let's say seven days. So, I mean, that and to say that, that's, obviously there's a lot of factors and a lot of ranges, that that can play into that. But that's really not it is a lot of money. But for those guys, you know, that that could secure the the rest of your budget, and that could propel you know, your film into going to that next budget level. And like, like, I'm not trying to get down on any micro budget filmmaking, but because I love I mean, that's like, my forte, I love, like, how can we not do it the cheapest, but like, I mean, jeez, you get caught?

Alex Ferrari 26:55
Yeah, get the costume

Steven Luke 26:57
With those micro budgets, you're gonna hone your craft. And if you want to try to, you know, those stars will automatically jump your film out of a micro budget capability, just because of how much they cost, if you were to try to pursue them, just in terms of like, you know, let's say you spend an actor $100,000 on an actor, well, you might have an additional 20 to $30,000, other costs, you know, with different crew lighting, you know, green man's, you know, you should report that there are those days that you're shooting with him. So that's the, that's the fact that you got to you got to play, but I feel like it's it's a, you know, with filmmaking and movies, to go to that next level, and to have named talent, you know, it's a, it's a, that's what it will take, in order to take that kind of next baby step, you know, in terms of like, maybe then moving on to having a studio or distributor, you know, trust you with maybe more money, and with more name, talent, you know, and that next step, and if they can see that, you know, hey, this film with this talent, you know, these guys made this and it turned out great, or whatever, it was profitable, you know, different things depend on what you're trying to do, it will help you just kind of take those steps in a filmmakers journey, if you want to pursue that. So I highly recommended, recommend, you know, all the filmmakers listening to this, you know, that can help really be the next little baby step for you, in order to take the bigger leap to bigger budgets, and, and bigger, you know, productions. That's not to say, you know, there's always that wildcard, you get lucky and stars, new jump, which is every everyone's dream, but you know, baby steps sometimes,

Alex Ferrari 28:46
But you have to look at it as an ROI. So like, if you're, if you're spending, you know, $100,000 on a talent that could justify a $2 million budget, without that talent, you're looking at a $500,000 budget, you know, for the same movie, or less or much, much less, you know, so it all ranges you have to just kind of think about it. So you know, if you have Mickey or Dolf in your movie, you've you've got the movie sold almost done in pre sales and we'll talk about pre sales in a minute but it's almost sold automatically because of their because there's an automatic market for that kind of talent involved. Now as far as ranges is concerned, I've heard you know 50 to 300 1000s of good rains but I know guys who will show up for five grand a day and 10 grand a day and and if they go oh for a week, give me 25 grand and we're good. And they might not be at the level of the 50 100 200,000 but they start peppering the cast and you can it can you talk a little bit about the peppering of the cast where you get these known faces, they might not be box office draws, but their faces. One of the big ones was Trey Hill for the longest time, and now he's Danny. Danny, I've gotten to work with Danny, I've always wanted to try but isn't it by law that he has to be in every movie? I mean, that's law now, isn't it? I mean, he has to be in every movie him and Sam Jackson has to fight by? I think it has. You're right. I think it has I think I think the Supreme Court is checking on that right now. But I think it Sam Jackson and or Danny Trejo have to be in a movie. That's the law, I think.

Steven Luke 30:27
But I, if I remember, right, the law also states they can't be in the same movie together, otherwise the world will be

Alex Ferrari 30:33
the case that space time continuum explodes, I understand completely. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. But um, no, but I remember Danny before, you know, machete, and he was before he became a leading man, he was the character actor, and he wasn't. I mean, he's literally in everything. You know, he just shows up. It's fascinating to watch Danny. And he's the first to say he's like, oh, did you have a check? I'm there. And can I bring my typos? And he has this. And that's not racist. He has his own taco company. Because Trey has tacos here in LA. But it was fascinating. So how can you talk a bit about the value of peppering some of these more character actor faces in a movie, which kind of also gives you a little bit of weight when trying to go after a bigger fish to like, Oh, look at all these other guys who've been in a million things?

Steven Luke 31:37
Yeah. So I would say, if I was approaching, like a film, where we're going to pepper in some, some, you know, decent, you know, some some recognizable faces. So maybe TV actors? Yes, you'd want to try to get as many of those guys as possible. One of the nice things that if you were to pursue that route, okay, yeah, that will help. I always, it's always hard to say like, and then for your next project, but like maybe bigger talent, that you know, for a future work that you do when they look back and they say, Okay, well, we've got all these things. Let's see what they've done. They've Okay, well, they've worked with Danny, and they've worked with this. They're like, Okay, well, they, they've, they've worked with some industry people. So sometimes, you know, establishing yourself of being able to work with industry, people will help propel that next year also be a little bit of a baby step for you to kind of if you want to make bigger things. Now, I'm peppering guys in I would say, Yes, I mean, like the more recognizable faces, you know, obviously, the better. I would also throw this in with a caveat, like, really do your homework and research, because there might be like, Danny Trejo, I'm not super familiar with, like, I don't want to put like actors as if they have values. But I know Danny trails super popular in the United States. So like, you kind of get a distributor to bite on having a Danny Trejo in the movie.

Alex Ferrari 33:02
Oh, with that said that, Can I throw a caveat in there real quick? Sure. Yeah, there was a movie, there was a there was a movie that I worked on, which had Eric Roberts in it. And, and Eric is is the face and distributors generally liked Eric Roberts. And do still, unfortunately, Eric did 25 movies that year. So when so when the director went to go sell the producer went to go sell his movie, every distributor, like I already got three Eric Roberts movies this year, I don't need yours. So there has to be a balance as well. You know, so

Steven Luke 33:34
I think that that's why it ties into like, if you're gonna pepper it with, with with faces, you know, really do your homework, right? Because you don't want to have, I'm not trying to put down Eric rabbits, but like you said, you don't want to be in the season where there's 25 of his movies already.

Alex Ferrari 33:49
Right? He's losing his value. He's diluting his value, losing his value. So

Steven Luke 33:53
Just you know, do if you're going to pepper and use some different faces, which can work great and maybe be easier. Do your do your homework, do your research. You know, don't you know, don't be afraid to call like producers from other films with talent that you're looking at. Yeah, yeah. Yes. I would love to have someone email or message me. And so I can tell Mickey Rourke stories. I don't mean that like in a bad way. But like, I can like, Listen, this is what you need to do. This is what you you shouldn't do, you know, try to do this. Like, I mean, I feel like, you know, when you're in the filmmaking community, especially the independence, you know, we all have war stories and battle scars, and to be able to help the other the next person like, avoid, you know, like, Okay, well, this is a pitfall Try not to do that if at all possible.

Alex Ferrari 34:43
You know, we're Lieutenant Dan, we're Lieutenant Dan, the new privates we're Lieutenant Dan, the privates are coming in. It's like, Don't salute me. Get down, do this. You're gonna get burned over here. Like that's who we are. That's what we try to do.

Steven Luke 34:56
And like a lot of producers, a lot of us are very much Like that, so give him give those give those guys a call shoot him an email message though, they'll shoot you straight because you know, at the end of the day, it you know, the younger filmmakers, like you don't wanna say like who you help could be the next whoever but like it really could be beneficial you know, to just relay some information and and because you paid for it and blood sweat and tears so you know don't let it die Don't let it sink with the ship. So that's my thing.

Alex Ferrari 35:26
So with that said, Can you tell some Mickey Rourke stories or Dolf longer and stories that are, you know, you know, appropriate for the show, and that won't blacklist you from the industry?

Steven Luke 35:38
Oh, boy, let's let's okay. Okay, so a quick Mickey Rourke story. So, one of the things when Mickey work first showed up on my set, he, or at least when he showed up on our shooting location, he arrived late at night and me and my other producing partner Went, went, went to go meet him and we we kind of we brought his costumes and everything and Mickey Rourke, he enters the hotel, and he looks right at us. And he walked right on past us, right on passes and his assistant. Yeah, we were like, Did he did he not did because we had the costume. So we assumed like, okay, we must fit the film. I mean, we said that we were going to be there with the film. And you know, like, well, maybe he didn't see us. I don't know what's going on. And later, his like, assistant came out of the hotel and just said, like, Look, we need the costumers here. We don't want to see the producers like, oh, okay, well, okay, well, okay, fine. And so we, we get the customers in there, they're doing their thing. And later on, like, I don't remember if is later that night, early the morning, we find out like, um, Mickey would not like to have the producers on set. If Mickey sees the producers again, he's gonna punch him in the face. And we're like, not leave his trailer. And we're like, okay, so well. So like, literally the whole day when he was shooting, we were hiding in like a back room. And I, you know, I was a little bit younger than so I like, as an actor in the movie, if I screwed up my face, and I went in with the grips to go meet him. So I met Mark as a grip on my own film production. So that way, I didn't get punched in the face, or you have him not leave his trailer, that

Alex Ferrari 37:19
You hear stories about actors not leaving trailers, and, you know, being difficult sometimes on set, and you hear these mythical stories, you're like, this can't really be true. And, and I go, No, no, it can't.

Steven Luke 37:34
Now, to back that up Mickey was he got through the day, we got all this stuff shot, he seemed he was working great with the director, working great cast members. I don't know if it was more of like, just, you know, sometimes actors they like to say or do things just to see if they can get away with it, or just whatever. But you know, as the producer, you don't want to take that chance, hey, I didn't want my face punched. And B, I didn't want him to not leave his set their trailer. So

Alex Ferrari 38:01
Let me ask you, on a producing standpoint, just on a legal standpoint, if I'm paying somebody half a million quarter million dollars, and they do not perform the service, I hired them to do meaning like they are doing things that are creating havoc or not coming out of their trailer, I always wondered, there has to be some sort of legal ramification for this kind of behavior, right? Or if you don't want to answer that, please don't i don't want to put you in a bad spot.

Steven Luke 38:29
I don't know. I don't think that's a bad spot. I mean, obviously, you have a contract with them. And there's obviously some stipulations. And one of them primarily has been that they have to add

Alex Ferrari 38:40
Should I mean, to be fair,

Steven Luke 38:42
You know, that's where it kind of can get really great. Like, if they show up to set and they do a scene or two, and then they start making demands, and they don't get the day done. I mean, they're not, they can get really great. I mean, it really can with some of these things, like, you know, can you you can't put, you know, like, I'll just say for instance, like state law might dictate that or wherever you're shooting might say, like, Listen, you you, you can only work our normal eight hour day or sag rules. They only are an eight hours a day. They might do eight hours and then say hey, I'm out. I did my day. So, I mean, you just I've never experienced that myself where an actor has has not, you know, they're more, you know, if you treat them well. With respect, with respect, you're doing everything that you can in order to, I don't want to say accommodate them, but you know, just like just like they want to work, they want to work. And they know they know the situation of like what you know, like maybe you have them for three days. They know this, and they have so much they got to do and they're more than willing, if you if you treat them with respect, if you're accommodating if you're you know, going out of your way to you know, make sure that they have a good time just in terms of like experience set, you know, they will go that extra mile for you. Because they they are those I mean, they're the artists they want to they want their work to be good.

Alex Ferrari 40:14
Did you want to look? So did you ever hear the story of Marlon Brando on the on the set of the score with dinero and Ed Norton?

Steven Luke 40:22
Oh, I want to say that I have but please tell it

Alex Ferrari 40:26
Because what's Marlon Brando is legendary for being difficult. I mean, even the Godfather, he was being difficult, because he was already Marlon Brando when he did the Godfather. And he was on this movie called the score which was directed by Frank Oz. Now for many people who don't know who Frank Oz is he's very well known director but he also is known for being the voice of Yoda. And also being the voice of not the voice but he puppet puppeted up Kermit the Frog, he where he became up he came up as I'm up, I'm up at you know, a puppeteer. And and Marlon refused, refused to even let him be on the set. Now, when those two forces like the director, and Marlon Brando, that like in the Marlins, like I'm not acting if that puppet director and you know, expletive expletive, is there I'm not going to work so De Niro had to direct Brando on the set. While poor Frank Oz was in a trailer. radioing directions to Robert, while they would leave and like you're like and Roberts, like, come on Marlon. He's like, No, I'm not gonna work. Bobby, I'll work with you, Ed, I'll work with you. I can't work with this puppet director. I did this puppet guy with this frog frog effort. And he was saying, but I heard this story. And he just like and I've heard it multiple times from different people you just like those are the that's where this stuff happens is where these myths start coming like people becoming difficult. But also what you do that once this is a small business and everyone hears it. And then the next so you know when you're Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando, like what do you what are you gonna do? It's Marlon Brando. But you know, when you're an actor, you know, a paycheck actor, meaning that you've got to work to keep the bills common, he can't be pulling that kind of stuff for the most part.

Steven Luke 42:30
Yeah, and for the most part, they don't bite right. If you have a situation like that you find yourself in with with like Marlon Brando type of situation, you got to pick your battles. And at the end of the day, at least in terms of a producer, like you just got to get their footage, you got to get them shot, you got to get their face on camera, get their scenes, much, you know, I mean, like, just and, and they know that, you know, the actors know that. So, you know, they're being difficult because they know, you got to get them shot. So admission, say they're being difficult just because of that. But, you know, you got to pick your battles. And sometimes you got to, you know, you got to have Robert DeNiro directing with?

Alex Ferrari 43:10
No, I mean, do you find it that a lot of named actors, and seasoned actors in general will test, the director will test the production? We'll test to see how far they can push some things sometimes just to see what happens. I

Steven Luke 43:29
would say, I would say yes. So always be prepared for that. But at the same time, like they're doing next, they want to see how cool how quality you are, like, are you do when they're under pressure? Or is this like a real thing? You know, so don't don't, you know, be hesitant to speak your mind? And, and, you know, challenge them right back? Potentially not like in a bad way. No, no, no, absolutely like a test every once in a while. So be prepared for that. But you know, really, for the most part, like right off the bat, to to avoid, like the testing is to like, if it's the director, the producer, whoever it is, with the main talent, like, Go straight and try to establish rapport, they're almost always if they sign on to your project, they want to talk to the director, they want to know, like, go pick them up at the airport, you know, like you been if it's if it's all possible, I'm talking about maybe more of the director, like, be there, be there talk, I mean, then they have to talk to you in the car, and you can tell funny jokes. And you know, if they've written a book, read the book, read the book, you know, you can talk about their book, you don't do you know, talk about things that they enjoy? And like, Is it the end of the day, we're all human beings, and, you know, they approach like, where, like, maybe for us as independent filmmakers, movies or likes, like, this is my life. This is what I do. But for them, you know, they've been made more established in their career, like, this is their job. So and sometimes people don't like to talk about their jobs, they talk about dogs, they like to talk about their cars, but you know, I mean, like, like about talking about just things and Just kind of establishing that right away with them, that you're, you know, not that the film's secondary, but like, you really are excited to have them there and you just want to connect as a, you know, hey, let's just talk about, you know, funny stories and this and that. And that will really loosen them up to like, okay, they're artistic, you know, because at the end of the day, these are artists, and you just have to really, you know, like, the shapes can be very shy people very, you know, personal people, and to be able to make them feel comfortable is is so important. And it honestly will defuse a lot of the issues that you might have with problems, because if they feel comfortable, you know, then they then they're just they're free to express themselves as artists.

Alex Ferrari 45:42
Yeah, that's, that's, that's my feeling as well, that actress is a general statement, but let alone high profile actors. They want to feel safe. They want to feel that they're in good hands as a director speaking from a director's point of view, and that the second that they see that there's some buffoonery going on, or they don't feel that they've directors got their back, or they can't, they're not safe. That's when the acting up happens. That's where I've seen that happen, and they start because they're defending themselves. They're like, you know, what, if this guy's not gonna take care of it, this girl's not gonna take care of me that I'm going to take care of myself. And this is how I'm going to do it.

Steven Luke 46:16
And I always say, like, anyone can put up with anything for one day. Now, that's not to say that you need to abuse people by any means, but like, you think for a day. So, you know, like, when it comes to just, you know, be be upfront. And like, you if you're having issues on onset, I mean that with being like, oh, to the actor, apologize, say, hey, we'll work on you know, just, yeah, just work it out. And, you know, put up with it, if they know that you're, you know, they're not there. They know what, that they know that they're not on the studio set. Right. And that's not down what you're doing by any means that you understand. And if you are, you know, responsive to them, as such a being cordial that you won't have any issues.

Alex Ferrari 47:03
Did you ever listen to that? That vo session with Orson Welles that legendary vo session with you have heard that one isn't that brilliant? isn't for everyone listening Orson Welles did a vo session for I think some sort of commercial as a wine commercial or something. And this poor vo director oh my god he just ripped him for like 30 Let's just it was like a train wreck you couldn't you couldn't look away like that with the Christian Bale and all that was that was that was that was brutal. That was that was brutal. Now, let me see. Oh, the well Do you have any other fun stories? Dolf story Ron Perlman story.

Steven Luke 47:51
Intel so one, fun one London story is and this will kind of tie in with we're shooting with off and I happened to be in a scene with him as well as if we were knife fighting. So we only had him in for the hour, we were doing a knife fight. And we didn't have any practice space. And he was only available for two hours. So we literally brought him into the production office this little like 12 by six to block the knife fight. So we're with everyone else running around blocking the knife fight and, and I was literally like, on the phone with sag, like right before I was supposed to talk to him. They told me it and I won't go into the details. But basically, I still need to get the actors cleared. So they let me know that I need to get the actors cleared. And then I had a knife fight doll. And then as soon as I got done knife fighting dolphin the tournament's were steps I'd get back on the phone with sag to try to clear, you know, the actors and Dolf to actually be in the film. So that was kind of a fun he was and like, for, you know, obviously Dolf knows what he's doing in terms of action. Yeah, and I mean, we're like, in a production office, like basically a little room, everyone's copiers going and we're blocking our knife fight scene. And, and I'm just thinking this whole time, like, there's no way that he's not that he couldn't remember it, but like, there's no way this is gonna look good. Or, you know, like we're, but no, like, we shot it seven days later. And he knew it. He knew that knife fight, like as if he had been practicing it for like, you know, months to prepare for it. And like, knew every step and he was just like, dude, like, he knew it. And we literally had 20 minutes in an office. So I thought that was just professional. Talk about a professional.

Alex Ferrari 49:26
So let's talk about financing. Because, you know, this is all sounds great. You know, we got a great script, you've talked to the actors, the agents are happy, and they're ready to go. Then there's that whole money thing. You've got to pay them and also have money for the budget of the film. How First of all, how do you finance the film? How do you finance most of your films in what part of pre sales come into that? And secondly, when you're when you're trying to lock in an actor, a lot of times they need proof of funds or something along that Correct, correct?

Steven Luke 50:01
Yes. Um, so, at least for me and kind of what I've gotten blessed to be able to do is with a lot of with pre sales movies, and, you know, kind of your so the financing then in the distribution in a pre sales movie are kind of tied hand in hand. So let's, let's say, we'll do we'll use Mickey Rourke as an example. You might go to a distributor and say, Hey, if I get Mickey Rourke in this movie, so let's, let's take it say it's a horror movie. And if I get Mickey Rourke attached to this movie, what do you think that's worth? What would you give me? And they might come back to you and say, Hey, we'll give you 100 grand to distribute your movie. And so you take that kind of offer. And you go and say that's in the United States. And then you go to Germany and say, Hey, I have this horror movie with Mickey Rourke in it, what would you give me they say, they'll give you 10 grand, okay, great. 10 grand. So right now you got 110 and then you go you so you go to different territories, potentially, and say, Hey, into distributors there and say, Hey, will you give me and maybe you add all that up to say, let's say $500,000? Okay, so then you've got you, my friend have not necessary. I mean, there's, there's some more steps in there. But here you've got $500,000 worth of value with your movie and Mickey Rourke. Okay, so while that might not be money, that is worth something. Now, that's probably worth something to say like, Hey, we could actually probably approach Mickey Rourke. Well, assuming you hadn't maybe approached Mickey Rourke to do the movie in the first place. Let's like, okay, now we know we actually can have some money if we have Mickey work in this movie. So then you go to Mickey Rourke and say, hey, what would it take for you to do this movie, you know, you make an offer, bam, bam, bam. So, you know, and then so once you once you connect the two, pre sales, and we'll just say Mickey Rourke, then you can go to, there's a couple options for you. You can go to a bank, I've lost it. I mean, I want to say like a Los Angeles bank, any bank will do it, like a bank? Could you could take these pre sales with the actor attached and say, hey, how much will you with this? With these kind of offers? How much is that? Would you loan against that. And they might say, hey, we'll give you you know, $300,000. So there, there's your money, there stirner, $1,000, make movie, now you got to go out and find maybe $200,000 more, or maybe you've got, I don't want to say you've got $200,000 in your pocket, but then you got it, you know, so automatically, your ability to then kind of go out to investors, you know, you just you've just added you know, if you go out to investors, and you only need that's way easier to raise, maybe $200,000, than it is to raise $500,000. And as opposed to even having to raise, you know, the budget of your movie without having any of these things, you know, an actor or any, any sales beforehand.

Alex Ferrari 53:15
So two things. One is pre sales is more rare nowadays, rare nowadays than it used to be before you really could do exactly what you're saying, with doesn't even need to be at a caliber of making work. How would you feel that the today's not literally today? Because we're an upside down? But pre COVID? Like, you know, just late 2019? What was the world like for pre sales? And is it Have you seen it become harder or easier?

Steven Luke 53:44
I think it's been it's been better. It's been bigger? I think the giant myth is that pre sales are no longer a thing. Now, the actual value amount of what your presets can be is down. Yes, that is that is true. And that's where like, the value is down. But like that's where if you're like a micro budget filmmaker, that's where your value as being able to do that has just increased, right? Because you know how to do things way cheaper than maybe someone else knew how to do it 10 years ago, because the value the values have come down. And that, in my opinion, is across the board, like on everything. And that has primarily to do with the DVD market, just shrink. And they haven't been able to completely monetized VOD, or, you know, streaming VOD. As soon as your movie goes, you know, on the internet, it's or even released on DVD and released anywhere. It's pirate city and everyone watches it for free. But you know what I mean, give or take. Yeah, he's just now it's available free and now you're fighting pirate city.

Alex Ferrari 54:47
So that's the part that's the hard thing. So then we've got this whole chicken and egg situation where if you go to Mickey works people and go Hey, look, what would it take? Well, we want 250 But I'm sure Mickey is getting hit up by producers in this, I've heard this, I've seen this happen. He gets hit up by producers daily, and they just want his name to go to go raise the funding now, but a lot of them they will not let you attach their name to the project unless they see verifications of them. So you kind of need that money first, in order to attach a Mickey Rourke in order to then go off and get pre sales to get you know, it's kind of like, so how does that work in today's world with you?

Steven Luke 55:26
Yeah, so it That does sound convoluted, and complicated. And it's almost circular. My answer to that is yes. Okay. And it literally, I mean, it's a fine dance. And I would record I mean, that's why I like bringing in having maybe someone a little bit experience and being able to do that is is very valuable to project. Not that they because it it's like it literally is that I mean that that and that is the film system. In a nutshell in a smaller world, because like, I'll let you in in the secret of Hollywood and our cheap right now this no one has any money should so tell them what no one does. tell anyone. And so, but I think that's a fun, that's a basis to start with it. When you know this, okay? It makes it a lot easier to work in the circle to try to get the money to make a project because everyone that's a basic building block of films is no one has any money, and everyone secretly knows this. And so that's why it's like, okay, you know, a Mickey Rourke might say, okay, we won't let you attach your name unless you have the money and then you but you can kind of softly then approach someone with money to get the money because you make you work softly attached. And then it's all kind of tied together. And you just kind of keep working. You just keep working it in a circle until it so I wish it simpler.

Alex Ferrari 57:04
Oh, it should be.

Steven Luke 57:05
I mean, I mean, it should be but like I've done several of these now. And each time I'm just like, it's just so easy. You just know, it's it works in a circle. And you just got to keep the circle going. Right? Because if it stops, things will fall apart.

Alex Ferrari 57:20
Right? The mute if the music stops, you're gonna run out of chairs. Yes. What's the old? What's the old joke in Hollywood? How do you how do you have? How do you? How do you get it? How do you get a small fortune? And how do you make a small fortune in Hollywood? I don't know this. How do you make a small fortune in Hollywood, you start with a large fortune. I mean, it's insane. Now, one thing about actors, and I have a lot of experience with this. And I would love to hear your point of view. And if this is actually a thing, but I my feeling is it isn't but letters of intent. What the hell? Is it really worth? Is it worth anything? Is it just, it's just kind of fluff? You know, because I remember when I was, you know, in my first book about making a movie with a mobster. And well, we have this actors letter of intent. And we had Oscar winning actress letters of intent. And we never got money, it doesn't really mean anything. From my point of view, I'd love to hear yours. Yeah.

Steven Luke 58:27
I would say, like to have an actor with a little letter of intent. The value to that is if you've had someone, and I'm just gonna say like a director that has worked with that actor with the letter of intent. Because then automatically, you know, it's a it's a like, it'll tell investors or like a financing bank, that that's a real thing.

Alex Ferrari 58:51
Because there's a relationship there. There is I mean, they, yes. So if you if you all of a sudden have a letter of intent from Dolf, and for Mickey to be in a movie, and that's what you have, you can go to investors like, well, he's already done movies with them. So this this is a real thing.

Steven Luke 59:06
Yeah, this is a real thing. Yes. Yes. And that's why it's me. I hate to say like, yeah, you need someone kind of like that on your project. It's super helpful. It's very helpful because and not that those guys would then do it because this person's in the project, but like, it adds to that level of like believability, but no, no,

Alex Ferrari 59:30
no, it's, it's it's a smoke and mirrors. It's smoke and mirrors. You kind of like, Look, look over here, look at the dance, look at the dance going,

Steven Luke 59:37
you got to keep that circle going. And if, you know, like, if, if have someone that has worked, I mean, like, I'll give you an example. Like I could message like probably, I'm gonna say Mickey Rourke because I know he's switched agents. But in the past, like, I couldn't leave message Mickey Rourke's agent and say like, Hey, I am doing this project and this and this is Mickey Rourke even available, and he would get back to me because a, you know, we've paid him for something and he would he would at least respond, he would say like, oh, Mickey schedule is, you know, not available for nine months, or whatever that is. And that's why like having that kind of value of a producer or someone attached, the project that has that ability is so helpful because it kind of cuts through all the BS right away. And you can know like, I mean, it's not that Mickey Rourke not interested in your project, it's because he's just not even available. I mean, he could be, you know, on vacation, so, you know, then you can move on, you're not wasting time.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:37
There. Fair enough. Makes perfect sense. It makes perfect sense. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Now, with the distributor and pre sales, when you in your experience when you're getting mg. So essentially, you're getting mad and you're getting mg is basically before you're not just giving the movie and doing a profit participation.

Steven Luke 1:01:06
Like you said, like Promise, Promise, Promise letters. Pay you this once the movie is finished,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:13
But they are paying you once the movie is finished. So it's not like this isn't These aren't not speculation. It's not? What are those called? what they think the movie is going to make? This could be worth? Yeah, this would be cash, cash in the pocket. Right? So after that cash in the pocket comes in, you're hoping that all the cash that you're going to make off of the initial MGS is going to be not only enough to pay back your budget, but also maybe make a nice little profit it because do you actually see back end? Do you actually you know, with the way distribution is worked, is worked in the whole system is played out? I don't know. And dude, just say Alex, I don't feel comfortable asking.

Steven Luke 1:01:59
I think this is a great answer. Okay. So they always say in, in when you're trying to do distribution, whatever you're going to make, if they offer you, let's just say $20,000. That's all the money you'll ever see. Right? And I would say that like you, you can take that same to the bank every single time. Because if it but barring, okay, barring that, if your film is like a sensational hit or a hit, and then maybe you can, you'll see some more money later on, like down the road, like maybe two or three years later. And I'm not saying that's a lot of money. But like, you'll see some royalties come in, maybe two or three years later down the road. But whatever they are going to offer you up front is about all they'll see. I mean there, I mean, all you're gonna see from whatever that territory is, or let's just say us just to make things simple. So yeah, whatever, whatever that mg is, if they're offering you know money, and they're going to pay you are off of I'm not saying you shouldn't do that deal. Just like just know that you will not just put that in your brain, you will not see any money ever.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:11
It's what I've been up in the mountains for a while now.

Steven Luke 1:03:15
And I know you have you say in all your shows I want for those that are listening, like I listen to Alex's shows, like from the beginning. So I've taken a lot of his advice to heart. So start at episode one. And then you know, what are you on two, maybe 300 and out?

Alex Ferrari 1:03:32
We're getting close to 400. Now,

Steven Luke 1:03:34
Listen to all them. They're all irrelevant. No, and you can stop fine. And then you can be done. Yeah, there's no you'll learn everything. No, no. So very important. But yes, I mean, please, please, please, please. And that's to say like, if you're if they're offering you just to distribute your film without paying you something upfront, you won't see any money. I mean, the odds of you seeing a money are very, very slim. And so like, and maybe I don't mean to paint doom and gloom on that scenario, because maybe, you know, obviously, you want to try to make more money off your movie, but maybe that just but literally the act of getting distribution for your movie has its own value. That means something when you're ready to make a second one or third one, you know, take it on the to take it on the chin is you might have to take it on the chin it on the chin on the first but you might have to take it on the chin. So just realize that if you're in that situation, you have you know, you might have to take it on the chin in order to get that distribution because that act of distribution literally will help you on the next one that's 100% it 100% will help

Alex Ferrari 1:04:46
Right so if you if you get picked up by Lionsgate or you know Warner home movies or you know or one of these distribution companies like that, that are upper echelon not Yeah, not lower Echelon, but higher echelon

Steven Luke 1:05:00
But even lower guys, I mean, just that act of like, being able to get, you know, I mean, there's a lot of things but like they always say like we can get your movie in Walmart. You know, I don't that might not equal any dollars but it means something

Alex Ferrari 1:05:15
or theatrical or or limited theatrical. Don't even what do you think about limited theatrical? Well, I mean, obviously right now theatrical is a big question mark. But before COVID?

Steven Luke 1:05:29
Like, forget theatrical. Like, if they're trying to tantalize you with limited theatrical, that means they'll play it in if they play it at all. I mean, if they actually do it, they'll play it in 10 cities, and they'll run it on a weekend in some small theater that no one they won't have any press about to play. I mean, it will be limited. And away then to charge you, you know, a lot of money in expenses. So

Alex Ferrari 1:05:59
he just used he used he just use air quotes for people not watching this. There was sorry,

Steven Luke 1:06:04
I forgot. Yes, I put expenses in air quotes. And but I will throw I will throw if it if it means but saying that. Okay. theatrical run a limited theatrical run could help the film out in order to get on Netflix, let's just say,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:23
right? How about how about for foreign if it's a US

Steven Luke 1:06:26
limited me for foreign discipline. So you know it. So maybe you got to take that on the chin as well.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:35
So I want to be very clear about this. everyone listening, you the way that you're making money with your films is by stacking the cast with value that has presale value to distribution companies around the world in different territories. If you don't have that pre preak, that that valuable cast, pre sale value cast, you won't sell your movie, you won't get any pre sale money, you will not pre some money, but you won't even get any offers, you will get no MGS. And then now you're in the world of I'm going to donate my film attacks a non tax deductible donation to a film distributor. Is that fair to say?

Steven Luke 1:07:15
Yeah, I mean, yes. But I like I said, like, maybe that's what you have to do in order to take that next step on to the next one. I'm speaking maybe more for those micro budget filmmakers, right,

Alex Ferrari 1:07:26
you don't want to throw a million dollar movie?

Steven Luke 1:07:30
Yeah, I mean, if you, you know, if you make a film for $5,000, and you're able to go through all these steps and get distribution, and even if you're not gonna make any money, do you only have five grand and you get distribution on your movie, that's huge. That means someone in the distribution world sees value, at least enough for them to even just put on this go, they have to spend a little bit of money to put your stuff out there. Like, that's a huge deal. And, and don't let that discourage you, you know, and you're only out you'd only be out five grand, which is like, huge, because when you get into that, you know, let's say $100,000 Plus, I mean, you could literally you could be in the exact same boat except the out $100,000.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:11
Right. That's why my first film cost me about five grand, and I got sold to Hulu and sold it overseas and, and you know, got it on different platforms and stuff. And it's five grand, my last film was three. And I got distribution for that. I was like, Okay, great.

Steven Luke 1:08:27
And it's a big deal. Because, you know, like, it would it that helps for things like when you approach talent or investors, right? And they're like, Okay, well, at least he got a film to the distributions point. Like, we know, he got out there to start selling. I mean, they Oh, there might be some things that investor might not totally understand. But they definitely understand like, hey, his last movie, at least got to distribution. And I can actually watch it on a physical like on almost a DVD, but they can actually see it going to market. And then you can still get the known the market.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:02
How important are filled markets to your process? Like AFM can.

Steven Luke 1:09:08
I mean, I think they're important. You know, for the producer in me hates them, because all it is is just a bunch of added expense, in my opinion, that film will have to go through, especially in today's world when you can like send out a screener out to just about anyone and they can go watch the film and check out they can see it from their home and if they want to buy it, they'll go after it. If not, I won't, but it is, um, for the industry. You know, sometimes it's that showmanship factor that you know, you got to be in that game to some extent in order to be taken seriously. That's not to say that you're not a serious person. But that's still that part of that Holly perception

Alex Ferrari 1:09:49
is perception keepers.

Steven Luke 1:09:51
Yeah and market you know, with maybe an established sales rep selling your film, you know helps you know What helps you and your filmmaking journey and career do now that might say be financially, but it does help?

Alex Ferrari 1:10:06
Do you use sales reps? I do. And but these are pre built relationships, they have sales rep that you actually trust.

Steven Luke 1:10:14
Yes, yeah, I've got honestly, like, I've got one go to sales rep team that I use for, like all of my stuff. And I've had that relationship since the first movie that I've ever had. And that, you know, if I can give a piece of advice to like, being able to establish, I think there's like a misconception about sales reps. That is partially true, but also built, you know, like, just the nature of the beast. First approaching a sales rep. And your, I don't wanna say nobody, but like, you don't have anyone in your movie, you don't, you know, it's maybe not a genre, that's super sellable. And if they take you on, you know, like, there's a lot of, you know, like that movie, we'll have a hard time selling, like, it's just, you know, and my family's in does real estate, like, I always did real estate, and one of the things that I've always learned is that, listen, I can get up and, and you can price your house, at this price, at the end of the day, I still got to show the house, and someone still got to buy it. So if it's not the house, you know, I mean, like, if the house is not worth it, the buyers will let you know. And so a sales rep company, they they'll give you all the lights, the showmanship and the lights and glamour and the estimates, but at the end of the day, your movie has to sell, like, it's your product that they're selling, they can't sell it for you. Now, obviously, there's some things that they can do to, like help. Like, it's the product. So my my piece of advice then is like, just realize that like it's your product, so sometimes that doesn't mean it's bad, but like then to so pick a sales rep for your project that you you feel maybe comfortable with and trying to build and establish that relationship. And then but and also realize that maybe they're not going to make it have, they're not going to make me any money off this movie. But you know what, that 10 year relationship potential that you could develop with them will pay off in dividends, just because, obviously, you know, like, you'll establish that rapport, they know you're a filmmaker that can deliver a movie, you know, then you kind of go maybe the next one, you have a talent, well, then all of a sudden, you're like, they know you're a filmmaker that can deliver with talent, and they'll help push you. And they'll help guide you into things to help your career along, they will be there for you. But you got to you got to you got to build that relationship with them. It can't be, here's my product, how about you sell it? And when they don't do that, then you you you burn the house down and you leave? I mean, now saying all those things like, yes, are predators out there. And you Oh, that's why it's so important to call other producers. But, you know, there's a lot of really great established sales reps. And you just want to, you know, go in there thinking, hey, I want to start I know, people that sell my movie, I want to start a relationship with them.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:12
You know, I think because I know a lot of sales reps as well. And I know the handful that are I know a handful of good ones I got ripped off by one early on in my career episode, I think number two or three of this show was me ranting about producers, sales reps. Because I was still I was still 10 grand off of me back in the day. But I feel that a lot of times that producers reps and sales reps get bad raps is they'll pick up a movie that has no talent, quote, unquote, no marketable talent. And they try to do their best. And generally the market will say no, but if you but if you show up with a movie with Dolf, or RA, or Ron Perlman or someone have, you know, some sort of marketable talent, it makes their job a lot easier. They can pick up the call and call Germany call two or three buyers in Germany and go, I got a Mickey work movie here. What can you give me for it? And that's the that's why you hire someone like that, because they have those automatic connections to all these buyers around the world, that you just don't,

Steven Luke 1:14:12
yeah, and they'll play ball with you. So like, Look, if your first film totally tanks, just because of the you know, not because it's a bad movie. It's just because it just didn't have the glitz and the glamour that it takes for a distributor to sell. Probably, you know, to the best of their ability. You know that if you kind of if you do approach them with like, hey, I've got this horror film, then if we had Mickey work distributor might go Oh, let me make some calls for you. Right there.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:39
And the guy. I'd work in it. Exactly. Now, which leads us to my final question COVID-19 and how production is going to be moving forward, how the film markets are being affected what you think in your personal opinion from being a veteran in the business. How do you think things are gonna move moving forward, like I know nobody knows the answer to this, but I just like to hear your opinion about first of all production and then also film markets because I don't know about you like, I'm not going to AFM this year, even if I'm invited on, but I'm not going to a public event in 2020, pretty much. So how can you do a film market without hundreds of 1000s of people together?

Steven Luke 1:15:23
If you want my opinion, Now, granted, this is my opinion. And let me give you some background. I'm a history major by trade. Okay, so I always approach things, just naturally, because it's who I am, by looking into the past to predict the future. Okay, let's just, I put

Alex Ferrari 1:15:39
very slow sound advice. Sound Advice, sir. Okay,

Steven Luke 1:15:42
so my advice would be, history has always rewarded the bold, and this is an opportunity for the bold to us, I mean, I, I'm not recommending that you go out there and make your movie. You know, people at risk can pay for all these things. But I mean, they're a whole industry is ground to a halt. And those that are willing to go out and be creative this craft and create will be rewarded. That's just my opinion. So and, you know, and I'm not saying they like, that's a. So that's my right now, I think, eventually, if we looked into the future, I think things by, I think by, like productions will limp along here this fall, like in terms of just what's happening, like there'll be, they'll, they'll try to make some things work. I think by next year, this will all be in our rearview mirror. I think things back on track. I think we'll see a giant spike in you know, profitability, potential off of VOD, because a lot of people are staying at home and getting used to watching now things on TV and streaming. I think that will only help boost the streaming markets from the into into the future. And so that will be which is great for independent filmmaker independent films, because that's been the one area that's been a real big hit on just our ability to make income from our work. Um, I think unfortunately, you know, theaters will have a really hard time. You know, but I, I always foresee like the big tentpole movies, the big budget stuff, you know, the Marvel movies, I think that's the only way to really experience them.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:41
I agree with

Steven Luke 1:17:43
that. relief. So though the theaters will be okay. But I do think it will, you know, very, it won't be it's, you know, it's hard to be profitable as independent doing theaters anyways, I think it just won't be the death be a real death sentence to like, Don't even bother taking two years. That's not to say that there's not some allure to it,

Alex Ferrari 1:18:02
you know, but also, and I'll be, I'll play devil's advocate here, if there isn't a lot of studio product for all these screens, there might be opportunities for iPads to come in, and to intake because honestly, beforehand, the studios are only making 30 movies a year 40 movies a year,

Steven Luke 1:18:23
you've got a lot of great videos on how to market and distribute your movie. And I think that there is, especially with theaters, there's a giant missed opportunity to just focus in on theaters and marketing your film, and keeping it that world. And I could go I could mean that's its own like, Oh, no, it's its own thing. And I have had guests on who've made millions, millions theatrically self distributing, and for walling and booking their own theaters, and it's a thing, but it's a lot of work. And it's a lot. And if you're you know, if you're in the most creatives like to do the project, get it out there and then move on. And that's what I it's hard to, it's hard to you know, like live in your film for another two years, or whatever, you know, oh, no,

Alex Ferrari 1:19:11
I I've been trying to tell people like the the real work starts at the end of the cut. That's when the real work started. Like, the hardest part is not getting the movie made. The hardest part is getting the money

Steven Luke 1:19:23
back. Yeah, well, and so Alex, that's why with the pre sales that we've been talking about, you, you can do that process of, you know, attaching the talent to the you're doing a lot of work. But you're doing it almost before you start shooting it and as opposed to after. And so like the same, it's the same amount of work, except that you're taking that took risks. You're taking that risk away from what you're trying to do, and you're putting it on the front end. And so that's why it's, in my opinion, if you're able as a filmmaker To be able to get to that point where you can like, okay, hey, we're gonna raise. That's why that the distribution and the financing, you can tie together and put it towards the front end of you trying to make a movie, because then you could spend two years in that circular motion. Oh. And it's way better to do that than to have done six months in pre production, trying to raise the money, scrape out money, shoot the film, post production, and then spend two years trying to sell it. It's just,

Alex Ferrari 1:20:30
Yeah, you just want to hedge your bets. If you can, it's like, you know, when, when Apple creates an iPhone, they know that they have a market, they have an infrastructure, they have sale predict, you know, they know that they're going to recoup whatever money they spent to make or design or invent that product. filmmakers never think about that. They're the only business we were, when I use the term business. It's very loosely in our in show business. But we're the only product that's like, I'm gonna go spend a half a million dollars and then figure out how I'm going to get my money back. There's no other business that does that.

Steven Luke 1:21:06
Yeah, no, it's very true. And that's why if you can, if you can take that the business side of things and throw that in on the front end of your movie, you know, yes, will make your life not easier, but it'll be more enjoyable, you'll enjoy the product and so much mean not that you're not gonna have stress. But man, it's a lot easier to you know, only have to worry about maybe, you know, 10% of your budget coming back, as opposed to like, 100% of your budget coming back.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:33
Even just breaking even is a win, win. It's a complete win.

Steven Luke 1:21:37
Yeah, don't you know, if you break even on your movie that is a win

Alex Ferrari 1:21:42
100% win? Again, no other business? No other business is that a win.

Steven Luke 1:21:47
But you know, here's the here's the the other secret, like, you keep at it long enough. And you will have, you will have that catapult and I mean, one of the things I know we didn't really talk about, or maybe like investors, investors, one of the, I always like to tell investors is like, Listen, maybe it's not this movie, I'm asking you for this. And, and, and this is why, you know, this is gonna work. And maybe it's not this movie that we make a lot of money on. And but it's gonna help us get to that next level. And then when we get to that next level, maybe you know, I'm gonna ask you for more money. And maybe it's not that movie, that's gonna make us the money, but I'll get you, I'll get you, I'll get your money back, you'll get on the red carpet, you'll get to meet some stars. And then when we get to that next level, I'm gonna ask you for even more money. But that'll be the point where we're going to hang off really, really well. And you know what an investor can see that, because it's just like any business, they understand the risks. And they see like, hey, this person has got a plan and a future and they know where they're going. And they know that this is, you know, if you're not an investor, I shouldn't say they're not worried about 20%. Because they are, but like, they're investing in movies, there's a lot of glitz and glamour, but they want to have the huge hit. Where they you know, I mean? Like, that's what that's why they're investing. That's why they're investing in the upsell

Alex Ferrari 1:23:09
the upside?

Steven Luke 1:23:11
Yeah, you have to you have to explain that to them. Like that is your goal as well. And but it might not, you know, like, it might not be the project that you're making for him right there at that moment. But you have to get you have to take those steps in order to get there. That's the only way. It's the only way to be able to to proceed forward. Fair, and they'll see that they'll respect that. And it'll add that level of like, I've solidly we'll invest in in the steps that maybe we're gonna take.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:42
Very cool. Now I'm gonna ask you a few questions. I asked all my guests, as you know, if you've listened to the show yet, these are what advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?

Steven Luke 1:23:52
Collaborate, collaborate, the film, filmmaking is such a collaborative business at all levels. And, you know, even collaborate with everyone on your team. I mean, we all know if you look at the back end of the credits, there's hundreds of people that work on your film, and collaborate with as many you know, of all the people that you know, all the all the people that help you make your film and your project, collaborate with them, they're going to have good ideas, they're going to have bad ideas, roll with it, take it, let it sink in. And it's like producers, all this stuff, because it's such an it's an art form. It's like molding clay. You know, there's things that will happen that you got to collaborate and you got to trust those around you to be immersed in that process. And I think of all the things that, you know, filmmakers have a tendency to lose is just that that art I mean, they don't forget it. They don't forget about the art form, but that art takes others especially in our business, and what bring their bring, you know, other people's, you know, art to life with them and it will just There'll be magic there. And that's when the magic is created. So collaborate, collaborate, collaborate,

Alex Ferrari 1:25:05
What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life,

Steven Luke 1:25:11
Perseverance, reservere, don't give up. Don't stop. You're gonna have so many pitfalls in life in filmmaking, and they're gonna seem like instrument hurdles. And maybe at that moment in time, it's gonna seem insurmountable, insurmountable. But with some time, and, and persistence and patience, like, you'll get past those things, life will go on, things will keep moving forward, it's just like this COVID-19 I'm literally sitting here, just like, I have a couple projects that were literally I mean, literally, like I was on a movie that I'm producing, I literally had just driven to Montana, the day before pre production, we're supposed to get started in March to start shooting, like for pre production to start. And that's when the national emergency started, all the dominoes are falling, everything was put on hold. And I just was like, Oh my gosh, we're just like, at that point, this movie is gonna get made, as the Debut Movie was supposed to get made, you know, I mean, like, where everything would have been sealed. So I only tell that because like, you just got to be patient, that your timing will come, your moment will be there. And you just got to be ready for it. And I think that's hard, especially in our business to be able to just, you know, sit still. So

Alex Ferrari 1:26:34
Three of your favorite films and three of your favorite films of all time.

Steven Luke 1:26:37
Okay, so I know you asked this to everybody. And I was like, I have a list of like, like art films, I was like, that are my favorite but and not that I don't want to get those boxes. Like I want to like talk to Lord of the Rings. Which one which one, the whole thing? Fellowship of the Ring, okay. First time I sat in a theater and I saw when those guys when that when the hobbits and everyone was going across the I'd read the book, but I'd seen the book come to life. And I just sat back, I was like, I want to do this. I want to make this whatever this is. I want to do that. So that was a big deal to me. Probably the other one is a Star Wars Empire strike. I know I'm given like generic, generic, big, big budget ones. But you know, like this. They're like ones that I watch all the time. And then a world war two movie called Kelly's Heroes. Yeah. Mmm. Kelly's Heroes. Yeah. It is a comedy. It's so funny. And I would recommend if you have not seen Kelly's Heroes, watch Kelly's Heroes. It's like the best combination of story. You know, historical accuracy actors and comedy. It's great Donald sutherlands in it.

Alex Ferrari 1:27:49
It's fun. It's a it's a good flick. I remember it. And now where can people find you? Like in terms of how they can get a hold of your personal your personal address if you could and phone number now I'm joking. But how can people find you online? Sir? If you want to even put that information out there. Yeah.

Steven Luke 1:28:07
Just get my wallet out. And here you go. Just for people that are going to see the video you get a sneak peek

Alex Ferrari 1:28:14
Social security card will be fine.

Steven Luke 1:28:16
Everything. So the probably the best way is you know IMDb me, Steven Luke on there. I think I got my email on there. shoot me a message. You know, say hi, check in. I'm always open to give advice, especially via email. I mean, that's easy. I say that because I have a lot of stuff going on and emails kind of the best way for me to keep track of like, not what I said but like, Oh, yeah, okay, I can I tuned myself back into the maybe a conversation better that way. So that's probably the best way to get ahold of me. You know, you can some of my stuff is on. I'd recommend you know, I'll do a shout out like, some of my stuff is on amazon prime. Give it a watch. I need the seven cents per hour but because

Alex Ferrari 1:28:58
First of all, you're getting seven cents. Holy cow down to five. It's a penny.

Steven Luke 1:29:04
A penny now?

Alex Ferrari 1:29:05
So it's a between Penny and 12 cents. So if you're good, you get up to 12 cents. But generally everyone's at a penny.

Steven Luke 1:29:13
Oh geez. Well, I've got to film at least at seven so let me give you the wow whoa,

Alex Ferrari 1:29:19
Wait a minute. You've got a seven cents an hour movie. That's quality. Its quality.

Steven Luke 1:29:25
I didn't know that was such a big deal. Now I'm more excited about the seven cents.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:29
Oh you kidding me? Seven

Steven Luke 1:29:31
Check out my films then online. I mean, she's apparently I'm making bucco bucks.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:35
Oh no. Seven euro seven cents an hour filmmaker, my friend. That is something I put on? That's like an Oscar like you're you're up there.

Steven Luke 1:29:45
I don't know about all of my phones. But I've seen one a couple years ago. I don't know. I know. I feel it. You know, it's funny as we're having this conversation. It's like, oh, seven cents an hour. Oh boy. Oh boy.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:58
Do you see what Where this is a ridiculous business. We're in an absolutely ridiculous ISIS button. Since we can't do anything else. We're stuck here.

Steven Luke 1:30:09
That's storytelling, start telling stories. And you know, it all bites us and we all got a story to tell. And yeah, man, best format film.

Alex Ferrari 1:30:20
Luke it has been an absolute pleasure man talking to you. This has been a just knowledge bomb filled episode, which I knew it would be. And I think it's I'm gonna make sure this is mandatory listening for all filmmakers because it, I covered things in this and you and I covered things in this episode that we've never I've never really had on the show before. So it is it's really, really great stuff. So

Steven Luke 1:30:46
Why don't I share with everybody and I want to at least leave with this last like, I am a filmmaker out of South Dakota. I went to Los Angeles for a few years, and now I'm back doing the films where I live. So let that be an encouragement to all those people sitting and saying like how can I do this? totally doable. You can do it from even little state of South Dakota. So just keep hanging in there.

Alex Ferrari 1:31:10
Thanks again, my friend. I appreciate it. Stay safe out there.

Steven Luke 1:31:13
Awesome. You to stay safe. We'll talk soon, hopefully real soon.

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BPS 252: The Ever-Changing Film Marketplace with Producer Bradley Gallo

Today on the show, we have producer Bradley Gallo. His production company, Amasia Entertainment, is behind the upcoming Wild Mountain Thyme, starring Emily Blunt, Christopher Walken, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Dornan.

His 2019’s Official Sundance Selection Them That Follow, starring Olivia Coleman, Jim Gaffigan, Walton Goggins, Kaitlyn DeverLewis Pullman, Alice Englert, and Thomas Mann, is now on Showtime.

Amasia has also recently acquired the rights to the Green Hornet franchise. Bradley’s other credits include Mr. Rightwith Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell (available on Netflix), The Call with Halle Berry, and Careful What You Wish For with Nick Jonas and Dermot Mulroney.

Bradley and I discuss the ever-changing film marketplace, how he is positioning his new project to adapt to the new rules of the game, and much more.

Enjoy my conversation with Bradley Gallo.

Right-click here to download the MP3

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Alex Ferrari 0:02
I like to welcome the show Bradley Gallo, man, how you doing Bradley?

Bradley Gallo 3:24
I'm doing great.

Alex Ferrari 3:24
Thanks for being on the show my friend. How are you holding up in this weird and wacky world that we live in today?

Bradley Gallo 3:30
You know, I'm too busy thinking about all the development projects we have that I actually just sort of block it out. But I'm I'm sure that everybody is suffering in their own right. And, and I totally understand, you know, it's tough.

Alex Ferrari 3:45
It's it is it is tough. Like I was saying earlier the struggle is real. Without question. And you know, I you're either gonna use either Chicken Little or an ostrich. I think those are the two you either just like I don't see anything. I'm just moving forward or Oh my god, the world's coming to an end. I tend to be more the world's coming to the guy but I know people who are very ostrich like You know what, I can't deal with that right now. I just got to focus on what I can control, which is a lot healthier, sir, than where I live.

Bradley Gallo 4:14
I'm trying to be positive. I have a similar mindset. Sometimes.

Alex Ferrari 4:20
I always say prepare for the worst and hope for the best. And that's and that's all you can do. Now, how did you get into the business?

Bradley Gallo 4:27
Oh, wow, I got into the business a long time. But first of all, if you look at my fifth grade yearbook, I wrote, I want to be a movie star. And I think a lot of people who are in this industry always wanted to start out by being an actor. I like that was kind of the thing you're in plays and all that stuff. It didn't come around to bite me as a bug until later around. 1718. When I was trying to be a veterinarian, I thought I was going to go to college to be a veterinarian. I was at all the different vet like tech, you know I worked at every single Veterinary Hospital in Long Island, New York and picking up poo most of them time. But you know, I had an issue with putting animals to sleep that was my big like I couldn't do it. But I was in love with these these veterinarian books that were written by James Herriot called all great and small. And it was just like it was stories. It was storytelling through animals. And for me, I realized at one point that it wasn't about the vet thing that I like, it was the stories that I liked, and it came right back around to I need to be in film and TV and I have to figure that out. And that became a very long journey. Starting in graduating college with a totally different degree, and then becoming a production assistant on sets in New York keeping the faith with I don't know if you remember that Edward Norton Ben Stiller movie, yeah, an autumn in New York, which was a Richard Gere movie. Yes. Back with the back one on a writer. Yeah, with one. Yeah,

those were the production assistant jobs that I had when I first started. So that's kind of the entry. And then I realized it was a 30 year old, I was 21. At the time, there was a 30 year old production assistant on that set. And I said, there is no way that was what went into my mind. Oh, no, during the time of, you know, when, you know, Edward burns would make his movies and go Sundance and there was you can make movies for like, 30 grand, but you were like, thinking it was so weird time it was very Sundance related in the 90s. So I said, Well, okay, like everybody else, I'm gonna go right and direct and produce them Sure. And raise the money. And, of course, that's a lot harder than you think. So I had a lot of energy then a lot less now. And then I I sort of accomplished that I raised money from doctors and lawyers and family and all the stuff that you do then. And I wrote a screenplay and I started the movie, and I put it together. And I actually shot it in a summer camp because I knew at that time, summer camps were the thing like you made horror films at summer camps, right? So I knew you can make them for real. So I had a connection because I've gone to a summer camp. I rented out the camp after the summer was over $10,000 to feed the crew, how's the crew and use all the locations sold? Oh, so I wrote a screenplay around it. And and and that's literally how the first movie came to be. And of course, that went to festivals. There's no easy way of how you get there.

Alex Ferrari 7:13
It was also different. It was also a different time you're talking about you were still in the 90s. Right?

Bradley Gallo 7:17
Yeah. 90s. Right. Yeah. Early cost there. Yeah, that's it. That was a whole other world. Totally, no, but you're asking how I started. China then and then. And then when September 11 hit, it was impossible to raise money for movies, like 2008. Like now that this stuff always comes around. And so I pivoted to television at that time. In reality TV was blowing up and I needed to pay rent, I had come out of my family home at that point. And, and so I worked in reality TV, I ended up on a reality TV show, called America's next producer.

Alex Ferrari 7:51
Really, I never heard of this. I never

Bradley Gallo 7:53
heard of this source. Because it lasted one season, it was on the TV Guide network. So like, was there a TV Guide network? Remember, they had the stream across the bottom? Yes, they actually made programming above the top. So I was in one on that show. That's amazing, the top 10. And, you know, I then had my breakdown, because you know, they don't, they don't feed you. They don't you don't get to just sleep. It's purposely set up for you to get into fights and all that stuff. So I did all that. And then and coming out of there, I kind of was sort of fed up with my dreams of like, I wanted to be in film. And then there was reality TV. And I just said I want to do something a little bit better for the greater good. And I went back to school when I got my masters at Columbia, in journalism, which I did really well in the school and came out with a CNN fellowship and started working for CNN was eventually rotated through the shows ended up on anderson cooper show for a bit. And then journalism got to the way it is today, which is what massively by, you know, polar. Where we're on one side argument, the other side of the argument. And I would just I it wasn't it wasn't speaking to me in the way I wanted it to speak to me. It's nothing wrong with journalism. It's just, it's changed. And it wasn't. It was again, back to the stories it was, it was less about the stories and more about the headlines. And I wanted to get deeper into stories. So I I moved, I made a couple of phone calls. I had some connections in LA and I took totally moved way late into my 30s to LA to start my career all over again from the bottom with somewhat of a background in media. And then I was sort of a creative development Exactly. And in a company called Troika and then headed their production and development and started producing the films and sort of built my career there. We had a hit early the call with Halle Berry. Yeah, it was a very a hit movie very early. And then of course, I made subsequent movies at some work, some didn't. And, you know, the rest of the career is where we are right now, which we can talk about.

Alex Ferrari 9:56
Now. Which which I always find it fascinating because I've had so many Many people on the show and I've talked to so many filmmakers, successful people in the industry that they go, yeah, I went to college and I got a degree in ballet, like something so

Bradley Gallo 10:11
In horticulture

Alex Ferrari 10:12
Yeah, exactly that like, but I, but I, what I really want to do is direct, you know, it's always, it's always fascinating because I see people like like that all the time. Like I went to film school, like I always knew I never wanted to be an actor, actor, thank God, I always knew I wanted to be a director and a filmmaker. So I went to film school. So when I hear people, like, I went to a four year school and got a degree in something else, but then I'm like, Yeah, but I really want to be a director. So I be I piayed. And I've seen those 30 year old PS, I saw a 40 year old PA, okay, and it is terrifying. I got when I, when I started playing when I was I was playing in college. And then once I got out of college, and got my first jobs, I started playing on the side. And I just said, this sucks, I'm going to go into post because at least there's an air conditioned room. Sure, and I learned posts. And that's how I kind of went down

Bradley Gallo 11:03
a lot of post production. In fact, that's even better. I've learned a long time ago that I wasn't going to be the director. And I'll tell you why. I mean, I can direct a film, if you hire me to director film, I know exactly what you have to do to do. Sure. But can I be good to the level of getting above the noise? Do I have the talent that's so creative, that it's so like universal is going to be calling an enforcement, like that kind of talent, there are so many more talented people that may that that's not where I lie, I lie in the journeyman version, I can make you the movie with that script. But in terms of the angles and the thinking and the way to be even more beyond, I didn't have that that level of talent, in my opinion. And so from a producing, sampling, what I liked the most about it, and why I got so into it was that I get to be a part of every single part of the process, and have a little bit of an effect. And then think of it from a big picture perspective. So I'm involved from the idea to the script, to the prep, to the production to the post, to the distribution to the collection, to the accounting to the end, you know what I mean? And nobody is able to do that everybody comes in and out. Yes. Um, and, and, and, and that is a good thing for me, because I'm very good at sort of managing people to do their best, as opposed to being my best isn't going to be as creative, if that makes sense. So know that that's kind of what I came to this

Alex Ferrari 12:27
That takes a tremendous amount of self awareness, to be able to, to be able to say, you know what, I can do this and I, it's kind of like me like I can I let my first feature. But I was like, Can I light up? Can I be a cinematographer for a feature? Yes. Am I going to do it like Deakins? No, I will never even get to the remote close. I wouldn't even be in his shadow anytime. So can I make something look decent on screen?

Unknown Speaker 12:53

Nice.

Alex Ferrari 12:54
I'm like, No, I'd rather hire somebody.

Bradley Gallo 12:57
Yeah, and that's what, that's how I ended up trying to, because a lot of people always asked me like, how do you figure out which one you want to do. And it's like, a lot of the directing thing is ego, either you have it, and you want it and you need it. And it's everything you've ever been, or you are just ego. And those guys that doesn't pose that doesn't bode well for an actual collaborative process. So, so frustratingly, you know, I've run into that.

Alex Ferrari 13:23
So let me ask you something. Because I've made my last feature I did was called on the corner of ego and desire, which is about filmmakers, and their ridiculous egos and how we are delusional and all that kind of stuff. So I what do you do as a producer, when, because the ego doesn't show up in the interview process. A lot of times the

Bradley Gallo 13:44
ego shows up I it's absolutely shows up for me only because I'm so in tune, typically and open to it now. Okay, good. But saying there are people who can be a certain way to get the job and then it starts to get really intense. I always look at the person in the interview, and I go, what where's the level in the interview? And then I'm going to times that by five or six, and then I can I work with that? Sure if the level of interview is at the 10 Oh, you know, you're done. You're not know

Alex Ferrari 14:14
if he does. So how do you do? How do you as a producer, how do you deal with ego centric directors, actors, co producers, collaborators, like how because your your your papa bear, you kind of like you're overlooking the whole thing. So everyone it comes to you, when something goes wrong, the producers like the most abused.

Bradley Gallo 14:36
So the first thing you do is you set the tone early and you have to have the relationship with the director. If you don't feel like you're having that relationship from the interview to the prep, then you got to get out. It's just you got to find a new director because it's a three year process, you know, in making a movie and and in the director, it's at least a year of that. So you are like 24 seven with that person you have first of all you have to enjoy That time if you want to be with that person making that vision, and if you're not feeling that early on, even in even in like early prep, it's over, you got to move on if you can't sustain that, but let's say you get past that, and then the ego is still gonna be there, you need a healthy amount of ego because they have to drive decision making, they can't be like, I don't know what decision to make, what do you think, what do you think they have to have a vision, and a decision has to be made. But they have to have somebody in their ear, sort of swaying in a direction that works for everybody. So sometimes I call myself the bridge between art and commerce. But you can't make a film without understanding that. So there are times when you have to, you have to say to the director, look, you don't need this big concoction with a drone in the thing, and then we can shoot it like this, save a bunch of money, and then you get the scenes you want it over here, right? So there's a lot of that in indie filmmaking, and that's about the comp, but then there's the other side, you know, we're gonna need some extra money talking to the investor, this idea that just came out of this is amazing, and it's going to change the way the film is gonna look. And so we need this extra money, and here's why. So I'm bridging that back and forth. But when the ego is flying in the middle of that, that's when you have to check the director. Why do you need this? What is your reasoning for acting this way? Tell me I want to understand artistically, how important that is, or isn't for this vision. And when I get that, I'm either able to, I feel a very strong internal talent to say, you know what, you're right. Or you know what, you're wrong. And, and I have the answer for why they're wrong. And then they have to sit with that. And, and they start to respect you early, you have to set this tone early. And when they start to respect you, either by your body of work, or by what you're saying, because you really understand your shit, then they're going to go in a way that starts to work for you that the ego starts to work for you. If they don't respect you, and or they are so stubborn in their ego, you're likely in trouble. And in that scenario, it's not gonna work. And it's just, it's just not gonna work. And I just sort of set the tone early that, yes, I'm the boss, but you are the boss of the vision. And I want to support that the whole way. But I will have to sway you, depending on how far off you're going from the original vision that you pitched us speaking in the beginning, from the original vision of the script, and what the finance ears and or studios are expecting. And that's my job, protect your art, but at but keep you in the line. And, and that's that's kind of how I feel.

Alex Ferrari 17:39
I always I've been saying for a while now that you could do exactly what you said the current commerce, there's the word show in the word business. And the word business has twice as many letters as the word show. And there's a reason and there's and there's a reason for that. I always say like, you got to look at the ROI of a specific thing you want on set. So do you need the techno crane that day? Can you know, what's the ROI? If you spend 4000 bucks to get the techno crane in for that one shot? Is it going to put in 4000 extra bucks in return? Is it like what is what? Like, do you need to go shoot off this giant thing with 1000 extras? Or can you do it another way that's going to be more cost effective and still tell the story appropriately? So we can make some money with this? Because it is and I have to? I have to believe that if you think this is true. It's tough to make money with

Bradley Gallo 18:28

movies nowadays. Very tough, much tougher than it's ever been. In fact, I got to my peak in career, let's say at the moment that I would consider that would have been around 2013 or 14 that there was shockingly like why can I actually not make a living at it? Can I make a living at this? Like you actually Wow. Yeah, about that. Which is not something that you think about in 20 years ago, when they were making hand over fist but it was very insular. There's only five people and the DVD business all that stuff. Now it's in the indie side, it's a struggle, you can make a lot of money and the big side if you had you know you're fast and furious, right? That's a whole nother story. And even when you go to the streamers, they're they're setting it up in a way where they're getting, they're giving you a little bit of vague above what the budget is that you can make some money on. But you better do 10 or 15 of those to have a real specific amount of income that then funds your company and then also has to fund your staff and and your lifestyle whatever that is. So you're actually looking at this as a regular job now not as the way people used to think where if you make it, you now are good zillionaire driving the Bentley's not true we have we have definitely changed that in this business.

Alex Ferrari 19:44
So I mean, so you did you did the call with Halle Berry who obviously she was just one of the biggest movie stars in the world very well known Oscar nominated an Oscar winner, all that stuff.

Bradley Gallo 19:53
Oh, fantastic person.

Alex Ferrari 19:55
Yeah. And from what I hear a fantastic I fear she's here. She's a wonderful person to work with. Film like that. When did that come out? Again, that came out a few years ago. 2013 2013. Alright, so 2013 is a very different time than 20. Let's say 20 1920 2020 is a whole other conversation fine.

Bradley Gallo 20:12
But think about that. That's seven years years.

Alex Ferrari 20:15
Yes. Yeah, six years, right. So six years, the industry changed dramatically. If you had the call today. Again, let's not let's take COVID out of the picture, let's say 2019. And you had the you had the call today, do you think you would have made the same kind of revenue? With the call today that you did back in 2013?

Bradley Gallo 20:35
I don't think it would have been in the theaters. And that movie was a wide release in the theaters. Yeah, that's how far they've come. But I'm saying that was a wide release in the theaters, it made a lot of money. So the question to you is, I don't think it ends up in the theaters. So that's a whole nother ballgame. Now, I'd say that movie gets made, it ends up on a streamer, and we make a lot less money. Unless we made it independently for less than money budget, they bought it for a huge bidding war moment. And even then, it wouldn't have made as much money as it made as a successful theatrical film. So no, it's a double whammy, it's no wouldn't have made as much money. And it wouldn't have been on the theatres. And so now I think that that that business has gone so dramatically, you know, theatrical has to be something massively IP, or massively when I say IP, now I think of I think of producers and directors as IP two. If it's Neil Moritz, that's an IP. If it's Steven Spielberg, that's an IP, right? that everybody's talking IP all the time, but not thinking about brand IP, too. So if it's not them, or content that warrants that, like our film, The Green Hornet, which has a massive property, wide release, big time, budget, those types of things, then why are they going to put, especially not, they're not gonna roll out the red carpet for sort of a smaller film on a wide release? They're not going to do it.

Alex Ferrari 21:57
But isn't it funny that all the IPS, you just talked about these IPS were developed in the 70s 80s 90s? And very 1000s? These are not IPS. So like, to have an IP? There's just no, yeah, it's a harvesting old IPS that are harvesting. greenheart It's from the 60s. You know, you know, so it goes

Bradley Gallo 22:17
back further than that. Right. Exactly. Radio Show in the in the 40s.

Alex Ferrari 22:21
Yeah, like the shadow like the shadow was, um, so it's, it's fascinating that, you know, a lot of people like, oh, there's very few directors in today's world that have the IP of a Spielberg, the Nolan's The finches, but those even those guys came up in the 90s in the early 2000s. You know, there it's you know, Rodriguez Tarantino, you know, these guys that have marquee names, they still all came up, then like, I'm curious, like, what's happening like, Ryan coogler? Did Black Panther. But Ryan coogler is not a brand, like people aren't gonna go see Ryan coogler films. I mean, unless they tell him Oh, this guy who did Black Panther, it's gonna take,

Bradley Gallo 23:00
yeah, he's getting there. It's gonna take time, you know, he's gonna take time, but he couldn't get there. And he probably will. But but it's rare. Like you said it so far. and few between that get to that level. So if you have a handful, let's say there's, you know, 20 names, you matter, right? And you have maybe 100,000 actors per state 100,000 directors per state. But I mean, I'm just saying like, it's, it's very hard, it's very hard, right? There is a tremendous amount of content that can be made and sold, but just not at a level that you think you're going to be sustaining some rich and famous lifestyle. So I always used to say, when I was younger, of course, inflation needs to adjust for what I said. But if I'm making $50,000 a year, and I'm making movies, that makes me a happy person. Now, it's like, you probably say, a different number, you probably say 150, or 200,000, right? It's like, what is the number, but it's not going to be the way it used to be. So you have to think about that, too. If you're if your egos in this, and it's all about rich and famous and all that. It's just, that's just not a goal. You have to love film forth and or television, and or storytelling, for as much of that as you love it to do it on a regular salary. Because you'll have a couple of moments. Maybe you have a year that you had, you did, you made $300,000 a year, and one year you made 25,000 if you're not planning for that, and averaging it over, and then you have kids and you're married and whatever that means your life is leaving. It's really hard. So keep keep that in mind. Now when you're going through the future of of content, which eventually is going to be AI, which is a whole nother thing.

Alex Ferrari 24:40
Yeah. I mean, that's the thing is I think Hollywood has been selling that story. I mean, for years. I mean, I talked to filmmakers all the time to think that they're going to make an independent film and send it to Sundance, and I'm telling them dude, even if you get into sun if you're the 100 if you're one of the 118 or 19 films that they accept, it doesn't mean what it used to. Don't get me wrong. If you get into Sundance, it's fantastic. It's great, but it's not a golden ticket like it was in the 90s.

Bradley Gallo 25:05
Now, it's give you a perfect example. I made a movie, it's called then that follow it went to 2009 teen or 2018 or 2019. So a very recent Sundance Film Festival. It has, you know, all really great actors, Olivia Coleman and Walton Goggins and you name it, there's Katelyn Deaver. I mean, there's a lot of a lot when a bunch of but this this film was made for, you know, under $2 million dollars, and independent and, and really well written and directed by to first time filmmakers. So exactly what your audience is dreaming about your gets in, does not have a bidding war. One company buys it for not too far off from what we spent, right, and then releases it. And then it didn't, it didn't have like a huge release, it had a very limited theatrical release, followed by the typical streamers and everything else. So it was playing on Showtime and so forth. good movie. Really good movie. I'm very excited about that film, actually. And it's launching a bit of careers around it some of the talent, but financially, we did our we did, okay, everybody made a little bit of money, a little bit of money, that but I have to go right into the next one to make some more because we're kind of like, you gotta hustle. I was even saying that on purpose. You gotta hustle more now than ever, to make the money that you need to sustain a lifestyle. And that's what and that's

Alex Ferrari 26:46
the message I've been trying to preach from the top of the mountains. I'm so glad you you know, someone like yourself is on the show telling people this because it's one thing hearing from me again and again and again. But I always love hearing it from people who are actively working and doing that's a perfect example. Like, oh, yeah, we just had a film. Exactly. Yeah. Just had a film in Sundance, it was a two mil undertone with first time directors, first time filmmakers. And this is a reality of what happened. Did we make some money? Yes. If that's all we did that year, would it have been good? Probably not. I would have probably had to do something else. Like we have to keep the ball going.

Bradley Gallo 27:19
We have to. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 27:20
yeah. It's a you know, it's not like, again, we'll

Bradley Gallo 27:24
go back to the 90s, where this myth began, where you go to Sundance, you get a buyout of a million or $2 million, the movie cost $50,000 to make and you're good. And you're good. Well, I'll tell you where the misconception is. Right? That and it's dangerous, because it's the streamers early on. And yes, the recent times of streamers, even in my year, the NFL there, which was I've been to Sundance a million times. But that's the first time I had a film in Sundance. So here's a guy who's been in the film business for a while, and it took me forever to get to Senator. So I finally get there. And it's like, you know, great. It's a wonderful experience. I'm so happy to have the film here. But I wasn't the film in the same year, late night came and sold for like, $20 million. Right? You know, another couple of films like Britain, all these movies, they they sold for a lot of money. But the misconception there is, who funded it? Where did that money go? And how much was the budget of that film? Right. So so there's a bit of that, that people don't think about, Oh, my God, they made an independent film for $20 million. The movie cost 15. And then there's 12 other people who are taking part of that five, right? So it's like, you don't really think you don't know you don't know the formulas of those movies. It's amazing that it got bought for that much that it went to Amazon, that it was a great movie, which it was. So something it's always as well with that they have, every movie is really actually very good for it's for whatever the genre is, or the person that's making it. They're good at finding talent, and it's wonderful experience. I can can't take them. But I want people's misconceptions to come down. The streamers are going to slow down on that. They're not going to

Alex Ferrari 29:03
well, they really have to do they already have they already have I mean, I

Bradley Gallo 29:06
don't go I mean, what hope owl but

Alex Ferrari 29:08
but I mean, look when I was I was in Sundance in 20. I don't know 2016 I think 2017 and at that year, Amazon said, If you got into Sundance, you have an open, we have an open bid, we'll buy your film for $150,000 if as long as you got accepted, and that was the thing that they were doing. Like if you don't get anybody else will buy $450,000 and then Netflix was buying a budget with like Netflix bought a ton of stuff. They don't do that anymore. Like you'll get the one or two three outliers

Bradley Gallo 29:32
to actually definitely Yeah, Netflix definitely does not they were not buying that year at all. But Amazon was going to the commies they bought like four comedies. You know if there's something they need, and it's really cool, and it has a lot of stars, they'll go and they'll pay big for it when they're ready.

Alex Ferrari 29:48
But that's the thing with some stars. He stars

Bradley Gallo 29:50
Yeah, yeah, no big stars, big stars, for sure. So yeah, it's it's a different beast. But yeah, it really comes down to it.

Alex Ferrari 29:58
Really you're saying late night me In a trip to late night, late night was with Emma Thompson and Mindy forgot her last name. And she that's over $20 million in a comedy. But that's, but that's not an indie.

Bradley Gallo 30:11
Look, it is not an indie. But it is it is. But it isn't. That's fair. There are big companies behind it. The agencies and the and the financial companies that Yeah, big. And then and then of course, it's really a good romantic comedy, which usually doesn't go to Sundance. Right. You know, there's that. And and then there's also the concept of, you know, what was the budget? I really don't even know what the budget was. But if the budget was 15, again, is 20 a huge deal? You know, you don't know who's taking that five.

Alex Ferrari 30:47
Yeah, I mean, we're exactly what kind of back end percentages that we got. And it's at the end of the day, it would just be like, yeah, we all pulled in 100 150,000 200,000 each, which sounds great. But, you know, if you live in LA, that's, you know, that's a month's pay. No, I'm joking.

Bradley Gallo 31:07
No, it's expensive to live here.

Alex Ferrari 31:08
Oh, it's, it's really it's ridiculous, sir, to live here. Now, let me ask you, what do you think the biggest mistake you see with first time filmmakers, you know, in either the pitching process, or working with them? Or, you know, just like pitfalls that you see, they should try to avoid. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Bradley Gallo 31:35
I mean, a lot of time, it's ego. That is usually the biggest one inability to compromise inability to, you know, adjust or see their, the script that they have, or that they wrote in another way, or make revisions or, you know, they get caught in that hole. Like, I don't want to be noted. Listen to too many podcasts about being No,

Alex Ferrari 31:57
no, no, I am not my podcaster I tell them, Look, I've had whole episodes dedicated to how to deal with notes. And you you're going to have to deal with notes like nice and but sometimes highly good. Really. Like they're not idiot executives. Like they everyone thinks like all this executive doesn't know storytelling,

Bradley Gallo 32:16
you know, they don't get to those jobs for being idiots. It's just, you know, there are times where there are executives who might have a note that doesn't totally make sense. I get that but then you explain it and and that executive understands the explanation. You know, and and I just think that's a mistake because you're getting somebody from an outside perspective, coming in and telling you from their experience, having know what gets green lights, what makes things work, right? or What even is right for story structure and character. Come on. So notes is an issue. The the attitude of uni me more than I need you. My genius,

Alex Ferrari 32:55
my genius, Sir, my shoes do not do not understand the presence, you're in my urine. My genius, I need three hours to tell the story. I need three hours to tell this story.

Bradley Gallo 33:06
And I just don't think anybody out there realizes at that earliest stage, that it's a collaborative process. Your movie at the end of the day is not necessarily because of you solely. It's because of your script supervisor, me pointing something out on the set your editor coming up with an ingenious way to fix a problem that you messed up in your shoot. Okay, you have to that's why I always think the film by Okay, I'll film by, no, it's not. It's everybody who was on that list at the end, that put that film together a film by the whole whole crew, you know what I mean? Sure, like, not a film by one person. So that that's where the ego starts. And you got to think about that. So more collaborative you can be the more taking on the best people the Best Cinematography the best for your budget that you can get, and then listening to them because you hired them because you think they're great. Yes, I am putting that together and then letting the producer sort of set the stage in the tone of the schedule, and the timing and the and the money and how that works. And then you just focus on your vision and getting everybody to just sort of to that. That's how you do it. That's the mistake of first time filmmakers

Alex Ferrari 34:20

if you can, I'll give you a little window into where my mindset was, when I first started my first production company when I was 22 was called a tour pictures. So that alone

Bradley Gallo 34:34

by the way, I am here because I had that energy and that ego at 21 to say, Well, I'm not going to be productive. So I get the aggressive I but there's a I did that in a collaborative way and anybody who worked on a film, that first film on the way I handled the process, and He always talks about it to this day. It's just it's a way of understanding and being appreciative of everybody else coming to the table to make That just happen. Not because you are the guy next Scorsese, you know or female.

Alex Ferrari 35:05

Yeah, so everyone's the next Scorsese Sofia Coppola or, or David Fincher, Chris Nolan. It's It's his Yeah.

Bradley Gallo 35:13

We can talk about people who are going to get there there are. But they come, they come once every five to 10 years. It's not necessarily you. And by the way, it's better to be you if somebody else is telling you that it is, rather than you telling us that it is.

Alex Ferrari 35:33

If you're telling yourself, you're telling everybody, you're great, as opposed to somebody other people telling you that you're great. There's a difference in that situation.

Bradley Gallo 35:40

You're the next AC, they will let you know.

Alex Ferrari 35:43

You don't have to tell anybody. Marty didn't go around saying hey, do you know who I am? I'm Martin Scorsese. And do you know what I'm doing? No, everyone else said it in the future. And then let's just hold on for that thought for a second everyone listening. Every great director that you know of Spielberg, Scorsese, Noland Fincher Kubrick, none of them went around with a billboard saying, Hey, I'm amazing. That generally is not what greatness does. greatness just works on the work and lets everybody else tell them how great they are.

Bradley Gallo 36:17

Yeah, and look, there's a huge push, which is long overdue in the industry, to get diversity and female directors going. And 50 to 60% of my films have been directed by females, not by just trying to be diverse, but by they sent a great script, or they pitched a great project, or I just thought this was a great movie to make or whatever it is. And so as long as you keep that in mind, yes, there is a significant way to go. I think it's like 4% of projects are directed by females, of course, that's in the film world of television was getting is much more progressive in that which is great. But you know, a great idea can come from anyone, any size, any color, any everything. And I think that's another mistake that I would say, first time producers make and just sort of how they were raised and how they were thought things were and because because, you know, when we mentioned greatness, we go see this building a little model. And we say essentially, we say, but it's hard to say, you know, you know, Catherine Hardwicke, or you know, Kathryn Bigelow, Kathryn Bigelow, or Catherine's, the Katherine's know, just anybody, like, it's hard to go and give you like a 10 person list. It's very done. That's, that's ridiculous. It is. So we have to get past that. And, and I'm hopeful that first time producers will will will, will be a part of that.

Alex Ferrari 37:48

Absolutely. Absolutely. Now, how can you in today's world mitigate risk when making a film? Like what what is there things that you can do to your project, in your opinion, that can help you if there is no guarantees anymore, but at least mitigate that risk a little bit, because making a feature film is probably one of the riskiest financial investments you can make. Unless you're unless you know, how to package how to do things. You have those output deals, you have those relationships, all that stuff, what can you do as an independent filmmaker to mitigate that risk?

Bradley Gallo 38:24

Well, if you don't have those relationships,

Alex Ferrari 38:27

just don't do it. Just run away

Bradley Gallo 38:29

your risk by keeping your budget as low as possible in that scenario. And to do that, you have to start with something very contained. You know, whenever you whenever you see the movies that are made by first time filmmakers, and they're just like in a room, or they're just in one location,

Alex Ferrari 38:45

or summer camp, or summer

Bradley Gallo 38:46

camp, exactly. You need to think contained to keep that budget down. If you have zero relationships. And then you relate you're, you're literally going to cold send to streamers, or festivals or producers to say look at my film, can you help me sell this? You know, that's one way. Another way is you make a short of that film, which that's been going on for since two decades. And I do have to say, it does work for me as a producer. I don't know about the streamers. But like if I get a short and then the script, and I love the short and I love the script, it certainly gives me the opportunity to say okay, you're a first time director, but I feel strongly about taking a chance on you. So just a heads up on that. And then the other thing is, you can actually it's not that hard to find out where who are and where are the the foreign sales companies. And what they do is they mitigate risk by selling pre selling your film. overseas. I did that on my first film, where they pre sell all the different territories ahead of time to get you contracts that you can then bank for your making of your movie. So if you made a $250,000 budget, but you got 100,000 by selling the world early You then have another 150,000 that you need to, to get for the US or for other remaining territories. That's another mitigation risk thing

Alex Ferrari 40:10

is there, it's pretty simple. It's pre sale still, as much as me I know before it was a lot bigger than it is now.

Bradley Gallo 40:16

No, it's it's definitely changed. And I know that everybody always talks about how that markets dead that markets dead. It's not

Alex Ferrari 40:21

dead, it's just it's on life support, it's on life support.

Bradley Gallo 40:26

It may be dead for the mid range films, right 12 to $15 million films or even the $5 million films. But when you're talking about $100,000, and you're going to, you know, making that $200,000 film, and you can sell $5,000 to each territory, it adds up very quickly. I'm just saying in terms of getting a movie made not about upside, you're losing the upside by giving that away, right, but you make your money, but you're making it right there, there's, that's another one. And then the last one is to is to actually, you know, have a script. And, and literally go into the streamers or go into the companies and get somebody to say we're gonna make this movie with you, which, you know, there are places like, you know, certain festivals enter a contest and or platforms that will do these types of things. And I've seen that, and I don't, I'm blanking on the names of them right now. But there are ways to do it that way. And you'd be surprised how many young people are in these streamers, they have so many employees. And you know, they're gonna hate me for this, but I'm just giving it away. Like I you could find them on LinkedIn. And so you see this, like, lower end, you know, just at a college executive that's, you know, in Netflix, and you can connect to them, or you know, them or you ask 25,000 people, you know, in your orbits and say, Does anyone know anyone who knows anyone who works in Netflix, or you have these Facebook's are like, connected to this guy who's who's at Facebook, it's like, there's a wait to get to these companies, through the youth, who now have to make a name for themselves in the company, who then found and discovered you with your great script that's going to be made for $20,000. And then they say, you know what, we'll give you a million dollars, go make this film, will you need it for our thriller silo? You know, yada, yada, yada, yada, or those young executives start moving up within Netflix, or Hulu or Amazon or whatever. And as they move up, they become more important and have more green lighting and set and you've been friends with them for 10 years. And now you have a new film or a new project or a new person to bring to the table. And I'm just saying or IP. I was a big time there was something called the Hollywood creative directory. Yeah, in the day, yeah. thick book, oh, yeah, to 300 names. And I called every one of them for any project, before I would fly out to LA and then meet with the five that actually answered me. Do you know what I mean? Like, it's people used to write letters in the old days, or before email. So you still have to do that just on whatever the new version of that is. You have to and the new version of that is LinkedIn, Facebook, you know, you know, whatever connection, I mean, look, I've,

Alex Ferrari 43:09

I've tweeted people and they've got I've connected with people, because I tweeted them, it's I'm a grown man saying the word tweet, it's just it, but it works.

Bradley Gallo 43:19

I mean, even on Bumble these days, you can probably see what they're doing and, and figure it out. But anyway, the point being, that you have to be aggressive, you have to care about this. And you can't think that it's about rich and famous. And if you can get that out of your system. You'll get there if you're really if you're really persistent, and generally competent, and somewhat

Alex Ferrari 43:39

count. And Nice. Nice, just nice. Nice, huge.

Bradley Gallo 43:44

It's huge. attitude. humbleness. Yes. Oh, that is so huge. Let everybody else, you know, help you along the way, because you're just a good person who's talented. But that's the way to go.

Alex Ferrari 43:56

Now, how is How is COVID affecting you right now? How do you think it's affecting the business currently? Where do you see the business? Because I know no one has a crystal ball. But I'd love to hear your thoughts on in the next six months, in the next year. What's gonna happen? Yeah, no, it's

Bradley Gallo 44:15

a good point. It's actually already affecting the industry already changing the industry in dramatic ways. We see the studios are making different types of deals of when theatrical starts and when, you know, universal afterwards that universal do that though, AMC and all that it's all ever changing. And the reason why we don't have a crystal is because we don't know how many people are going to go back to the theaters when it's all over, which by the way, is probably after November 3. But once all November 3 comes and they announced this miraculous vaccine and the miraculous treatments. You know, people go back and will they go back to the level they were before and does something like attendant does something like a Milan or whatever the new thing That comes out, you know, quiet place to do something, make everybody go out, get comfortable and feel good. And then that's about the capacity, they're only opening 30% capacity. Will they open 100% capacity? And we're losing streams wired on. All that. Yeah, screens. All that. So my answer about COVID is we in the beginning, the first three months of code, we're just like, Alright, we'll just focus on development, right development, development and get the PPP load, hold ourselves over. We're not in production, that's okay. We had a movie in post called wild mountain time, which is, you know, hopefully, eventually coming in. And then we were focused on Green Hornet development, we're focused on movies that we were going to shoot in the next couple of, you know, months, but now we'll just push. So everything just pushed a bit. And we were able to hold and sustain. Now, if after November 3, this still sticks around in a long term kind of way that isn't solved visa v these these options. I think a lot of companies are going to go down a lot. And, and that's going to be a whole new world. And even as small as our company is, and as low as our overhead is, we will we will struggle if it continues, or we can't go actually into production. And the reason why indie film is affected the most. And I love how everybody was like, well, indie films are going to go first because they'll be able to valve less crew, and they'll be no, that's not how it works. What works is the big boys go first, because they can insure themselves, they can pay for that extra PP, they have, you know, huge amounts of money that they can they can set up their franchises and shooting weird locations and, and make it all work locked down a studio that they own. Right, all that stuff is going to happen before indie, indie has to like, can't take a risk that one person gets COVID or one person gets something. It shuts us down for a week and we lose half of our budget where we're at a risk for that. So I think we're we're slowly trying to figure out how we can get into production, as Indies. But most of its focused on development, just to see what the crystal ball brings. I really don't have any answers. Other than I know that the streamers are getting more powerful. And the big studios are going to have to either buy or merge or create their own streaming systems to keep those eyeballs.

Alex Ferrari 47:18

Yeah, I mean, that's what I mean Disney, what did they have 60 70 million now subscribers, they did that less than a year, it took Netflix forever to get that I mean,

Bradley Gallo 47:26

HBO still Disney has a built in though. Brent biji has a built in like guarantee that they were going to be able to be successful. And I never doubted that. Walmart is interesting if they come into this space, because they have a huge following that they can really work. And of course, Amazon. Netflix actually although huge and not going anywhere. They're not tied to other things yet. And it'll be interesting to see if they like Amazon's tied to groceries or, or tied to books or identity or just selling they're

Alex Ferrari 47:59

not diversified. They're not diversified at all.

Bradley Gallo 48:01

That'll be interesting. Do they get acquired? Do they acquire? Do they start to diversify in some way half. That'll be very, very interesting to see what happens there. And then the middle, the little ones like the peacocks and the when they're starting to build the HPA axis as they're starting to build. You know, it seems like as you can see with HBO Max, which is very interesting. It was really I knew it right away as soon as they named it HBO Max, I was like, You know what, HBO is going to get folded into a climax, of course, HBO max thing, and he was gonna fold it. And and it's already happening. So. So peacocks might have to do something similar to what I mean, how are they gonna, you know, fold in an

Alex Ferrari 48:40

apple and there's, I just literally no, I'm behind the times. I just got Hulu, like, a month or two ago, like for the first time ever? And I'm like at Disney though. No, no, I just got the Disney. I just got Disney. I got Disney A while ago. I got it. But before I was I have kids.

Bradley Gallo 48:56

So get a package for all three. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 48:58

but I don't watch ESPN. So it's like it's a little bit cheaper. I don't know if it's cheaper. I don't know how it is I have to actually look that might be Who knows?

Bradley Gallo 49:06

It might be free.

Alex Ferrari 49:07

It might be free, right? But I just got Hulu and I was like, oh my god. There's so much content, so much TV and movies. And I was blown away at HBO because it Hulu has the best of everybody. It's got a little bit of this, a little bit of that. A little bit of this network, a little bit of that network. It is massive. So the whole streaming, the whole streaming wars as they say, I still feel there's three big players who are sitting on the sidelines with a lot of cash, who's going to come in and gobble up some people Apple, Facebook and Google and they all have the money and they all want to get into this space because they do have diversified product lines and having a Netflix like if Apple which they've already been talking to Netflix, if Apple bought Netflix.

Bradley Gallo 49:52

I mean no i mean it's it's such a juggernaut. Anybody who buys Netflix is gonna be a juggernaut.

Alex Ferrari 49:57

Right exactly, but Apple specifically Because of their infrastructure and because of what they do, I mean, imagine you buy an iPhone and you get Netflix for free like it just because it's like Amazon.

Bradley Gallo 50:09

But to get back to the COVID of it all, do you think that everybody's gonna want to stay home and just watch content all day? Like, I feel like there has to be a backlash that when this is over, or we're past or people just say whatever, like, we're good. People want experiences, they go, they love to travel, if you've been told they can't, right? They love to go out to the movies on dates and do things and like they love their cars, or I'm just how I just don't know if the Add home experience will last like that, if it will be the the opposite black backlash scenario? I don't know.

Alex Ferrari 50:45

I personally think that I can, from what I'm seeing, I think that it will won't ever get back to where it was, in my opinion, I

Bradley Gallo 50:54

don't know expecting. Yeah, I

Alex Ferrari 50:56

don't think you'll ever get back to January 2020. I those numbers I don't think will happen again. Because we're losing theaters, we're losing screens in that capacity within those theaters, once we open up, so it's gonna take time to get them the trend was going down. The only thing holding the cards, that house of cards up was Marvel, like, if you imagine taking Marvel out of the box office for the last 10 years. What do we have like Marvel is basically Disney has been holding up the theatrical experience between all their brands, really. And then you have some universe with Fast and Furious, maybe a James Bond here and there. But all these tentpoles is the majority of them has been Disney, Warner Brothers and universal. Those are the three big boys that basically held it all up. I don't know, if I think people will go back to theaters. I want to go back. I was attending an IMAX. I absolutely want to see that. But I'm not probably doing that this year for sure. And might be till next summer till I feel real comfortable. And I think people are I think a lot of people will rush out to go back to the theaters. But I think a lot of them are going to stay home because now they're used to it. And there's and let's not say anything. The contents pretty amazing.

Bradley Gallo 52:07

The TV shows our conference. Amazing.

Alex Ferrari 52:10

It's the stuff that we have it accessible to us at any moment. I mean, we've got

Bradley Gallo 52:16

a one thing that doesn't work is I am not gonna be able to assist nobody in the middle of this country or even in the middle class of this country. I was gonna be able to sustain on having Hulu, Showtime, Amazon.

Alex Ferrari 52:29

Oh, no, you got to pick and choose. You got to pick and choose.

Bradley Gallo 52:32

Yeah, but that sucks. Because I want let's say somebody says like, I want to know what's the best content, right? So if somebody says to me, okay, Hulu has got the best show on TV, but I don't know, I'm now going to become a member just to see the show and then take it. Like that doesn't work. There has to be a scenario where, okay, tonight. I just want to buy that show on Hulu. I'm not gonna be a member of you. Because I'm already doing this. But I'll give you $15 to have the show. We're because nowadays you just bought the DVDs of the set. Yeah, but the show didn't matter what.

Alex Ferrari 53:01

Yeah, I feel you. I don't think that'll happen. I feel you though. I wish Yeah, cuz I like I wanted to see Handmaid's Tale for a while. And now I've watched it. I'm watching it now. But before I was like, I didn't have Hulu. So I did watch it. And I you know, like I'm

Bradley Gallo 53:15

weird, though, that there's a demand for your show. And you can't find another pricing structure that allows me to, to see that show. It's like this way you should say about the theaters needs to be variable pricing, I would hope that that comes through, where if you go to see a demo that follow, it's only $6. But if you go to see a Marvel movie, it's $25 I'm totally up for that. You know what I mean? Like that. That is another way to drive people back into the theaters is variable pricing. So it should be the same thing. If I want to watch a show on Hulu, but I don't want to be a member of Hulu cuz I can't afford as a middle class person. I have to have Disney and I have to have whatever and it's like boom I can't have a $300 a month of all this.

Alex Ferrari 53:54

I mean but you're talking crazy talk sir. You're talking crazy talking. You mean you you want the entire industry to to come together and create a pay structure with multiple different companies multiple different business models. It's

Bradley Gallo 54:09

I thought we were in a dream man.

Alex Ferrari 54:12

No circus. I don't know about you. We're in a nightmare in 2020 I have no idea it's definitely the worst year

Bradley Gallo 54:17

ever. I often go through my own personal life will tell you how bad this year was was the worst year ever.

Alex Ferrari 54:22

I mean it's it's horrible. It's a horrible horribly and people like I can't wait for 2021 I'm like don't you don't know. You don't know 2021 can make 2020 look like 2019

Bradley Gallo 54:33

Do you remember when the year 2000 y2k pours the world was gonna blow up 20 years later.

Alex Ferrari 54:41

I mean, that is seriously That's exactly right. You're absolutely right. Because in I remember y2k was ridiculous. I actually watched that that made for TV movie The y2k movie. Oh, it was great playing for fall in flames were falling down. The visual effects were horrible. Oh is great, then agewell doesn't age. Well. That movie. But, but that was the people were losing their minds back then. And now 20 years later, this is exactly what's, what's going on. And I wanted to ask you, do you have any advice for attaching bankable talent, to our project base, having an amazing script, and a lot of money in the bank, besides those two things,

Bradley Gallo 55:23

partner up with the managers, the managers or producers. So if there's a manager of that bankable star, he or she would love to produce the film. So if you, if you if you, I find it interesting for somebody who doesn't have any connection doors to try to figure out how to get stars attached, you know, you have to do a couple of things. One, you have to, you know, start to network and a level that you say, Okay, this measure reps like 10 really well known actors, if I manage if I can get them a couple of good scripts, and they like them for even if it's one of their stars, that sort of like, you know, down right now that comes back, you know, there's tons of those and when john travolta went and came back, and when Michael Keaton went and came back, like they, you know, find the Michael Keaton and the john travolta is before you know, Pulp Fiction and whatever. And, and, and put them in your movies, but the manager is trying to get them work and needs to find something really great. And, and let that manager produce with you so that they feel comfortable handling the star. And, and at the same time, you get to have a movie with a banker. So I think that's another option to think about. Besides that, you know, your stunts. You know, people do stunts all the time you, you and then all of a sudden, the star finds you because they want to work with you, because you did some crazy stunt that involved the viral video that shows a good heart that this person was trying to do something like I've seen that, you know, somebody that you've never even heard of.

Alex Ferrari 56:52

We like the Fresh Prince, The Fresh Prince, the video that the serious, Fresh Prince trailer, and then Will Smith like, and by the way, that does actually look quite incredible.

Bradley Gallo 57:04

No, no, I know. But it's constantly, it's weird, little like things like that happen, they get viral, and they get called, and they get brought in and all of a sudden, they're there said like, Look, I'll do I'll do, I'll be in your short to make sure to this. And I'll be in your short, and that'll help you and lift you up in so many ways. And, you know, I think there's a bit of that going on. And then it's again, there's always the go find out what restaurant they're at, and, you know, pop the script into the back of the car. And I've heard all those stories, too. No, I think it's hard. There's no real, real answer. There's two others working for companies that do it and, you know, be you know, be in the mailroom as a young person in one of the big management companies, and you'll interact with stars, and you'll learn what people want. And you'll become friends with those managers and those agents. That's the barrier. That's the first barrier. There's no miracle beyond that, you know, right

Alex Ferrari 57:55

place, right time, right project.

Bradley Gallo 57:57

Yeah, or really good script gets around town, if it's really good.

Alex Ferrari 58:01

And since you're producing you do see the entire process from development all the way to final output and distribution. Is there a part of the distribution process you wish could change?

Bradley Gallo 58:16

A part of the distribution process? Sure. I mean, absolutely, the answer would be all those fees that they put

Unknown Speaker 58:26

that they take off, the top of the tickets

Bradley Gallo 58:28

are down here. And that by the time as they spend on PNA, right, your number gets pushed down. And but the movies doing better, but they have to get their pa and their percentages, and you just keep going further down. I would I would change the structure of where, where the producers can, you know, get some money out of the distribution agreements have gotten to a level that even I think the distributors are tired of. It could be 80 to 150 pages, just the distribution agreements. So you know, that process of precedent I, we can only do what we've done before, is archaic at times. And I do believe that even the distributor, probably frustrated by it, but it's sort of it needs to needs to change a bit. So that would be the part of the process. The other part would be a lot of times, the distributors have have to they're spending a lot of money. So they have to blanket sort of everything. They have to get billboards, and they have to get ads on TVs and they have to, instead of trying to, I guess revolutionize a system that goes directly to the consumer. It's it seems to be better for them to blanket the world, in essence, or the United States on all types of advertising platforms, including digital to get the attention for their trailers, their movies, their posters, and And it would be nice for somebody to come up with a system that sort of gives data to it. That isn't streaming. I mean, obviously, Netflix has figured out a streaming way to do it. But a data system that helps them use the money in a more specific way. So they instead of paying $30 million to or $100 million to release a movie, you can spend less and get to more people. And that's going to come through technological advancements in programs and software's.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:26

And I think after COVID COVID is going to I think I've been saying for a while I feel that Rome is burning in the distribution side of the world and in the space because the system is I think you're saying archaic, I agree with you. A lot of these companies are going to go down and

Bradley Gallo 1:00:41

that they know that they know it's that way. And and the question is, are they which ones are being inventive enough to to survive the change that's happening so fast every month? It's a new change.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:53

Yeah, exactly. And I think after the after the out of the rubble, something new has to come. Something new hasn't come yet, because I've been I've been at these film markets. And I mean, from three years ago to 2019 film, like I went to AFM I was like, This is fairly different than it was AFM is extremely different. Do you go to like those film markets,

Bradley Gallo 1:01:18

I'm actually on their panels, I actually enjoy doing the panels for them. But you know, it's a different type, what in the old days, it would be much more like very industry focused. Now, I think it's a very much independent filmmaker. I guess the word would be like fans, or educational, we're trying to break in educational, it's going more in that direction. As opposed to the industry saying I need to be at de FM specifically to do the buying and selling. I mean, they do it. There's tons of it, all the booths are there. It's wonderful. But again, even the foreign sales market, so if it wouldn't change, I'm sure AFM and all these foreign sales markets are doing a lot more virtual stuff now have to and that saves a lot of companies money because they would have to fly out get the suites spend a ton of money to be a part of that process that they have in their budget every year. And now they can't spend that as much anymore. So instead of spending like literally like 50 to 100 or even three $400,000 per company to come out here to go to Cannes right to do that. You're telling me I saved a couple 100 grand and I'm virtual and I made the same sales like there's going to be a bit of that they'll send maybe one representative instead of the whole company now is what I'm betting but don't worry

Alex Ferrari 1:02:33

but they'll but they'll still charge the filmmaker full full monty don't worry about that that's on the on the expense sheets are still going to be that three or $400,000 in expenses even though they went virtual but that's another conversation for another day.

Bradley Gallo 1:02:48

Now what now what not the world itself set it up where that they needed to be. It's just I don't know how to change the model. They have to change the model. Okay.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:58

Now what what projects do you have coming up?

Bradley Gallo 1:03:01

So I have a movie that's in post. We're in the music elements right now called wild mountain time. It starts Emily Blunt, Jon Hamm, Jamie Dornan and Christopher Walken.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:12

So you guys you guys ever heard of fantastic.

Bradley Gallo 1:03:15

It's awesome. It's really well done. It's written and directed by john Patrick Shanley, who is a famous playwright also wrote and directed doubt which won an Oscar for Viola Davison and Moonstruck, Moonstruck which won the Oscar for him for writing. And, and he's, he's, he's an amazing romantic fairy tale, comedy that is pushing all of these actors to different, you know, muscles of their own acting. And, and it's sweet. And it's family oriented. There's not one curse in the movie. And, and it's lovely, and in a time that we're dealing with sort of nothing but morose news coming at us. And so I think it's gonna play extremely well and sort of break out. And hopefully even for award season, because I think some of these actors have done an incredible job awards wise, if possible. You never know what that again, that's about timing.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:13

And when is this going to get released this year?

Bradley Gallo 1:04:16

So we're, we're, we're debating it, it's already got its distributor, which was meant to be theatrical, which is Bleecker Street. And the goal was to, you know, do this in in the fall, but now we're talking about possibly, maybe the first of the next year because they've extended the award season to like February. So like, you can qualify if you put out a movie January in February. So there's talk of that sort of feel out what's going to happen and can we release and are they 100% capacity, because a movie like this one, we make independent films, and they go out and sort of a build the old Fox Searchlight method, you build like 300 screens and then you go to 500 screens and you go to 1000 you build if it's working. Well, you don't want to do that with 30% Pass it, you want to do that with 100%? passing? Because you'll never know if it's really building. But so we have to make a decision, you know, and how we're going to do it. And, you know, there's obviously talk of things that are like that are other avenues besides theatrical? So we'll see. I don't know.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:17

Yes, it's a weird and wacky world. So

Bradley Gallo 1:05:20

that's, that's me. And then we're working on green on it all the time. You know, we're in talks with a fantastic a list writer, who will impress when, when whenever announced, and and we're going to try to, you know, go from the writer to attaching a director and then get some cast and build that the goal for that would be shooting somewhere in 2021. And maybe at the end to release in 2022. But you know, all that stuff could get pushed, we don't know. But it's a big property. We're going to reinvent. Yeah, it's not going to be in this Seth Rogen bench. It's not gonna be as dark is a dark night, but it's going to be what is right to that brand. And you know, thinking more like bondish tones.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:04

Yeah, because that that film is, you know, for better or worse, it was introduced to the world in the 60s with that, that can't be show with Bruce Lee, which was the highlight of the show was Bruce Lee. button. And then Seth was just super campy as well was kind of like a fun, funny film. But I would be interesting to see how that could be turned into a more serious James Bond esque,

Bradley Gallo 1:06:29

yes,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:30

style gold style thing. And

Bradley Gallo 1:06:33

yes, it's when we pick the right writer for that. But But no, we're going to do it as a two hander so it's going to be not the driver. Kato No, has to be the B it's actually called the Green Hornet and Kato. And so we are going to have it as a two hander, we're gonna have an interesting new sort of storyline. And we will build it for generations so that it can be, you know, multiple sequels.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:59

Absolutely. And it's, as they always say, sequels baby sequels, lots and lots as far

Bradley Gallo 1:07:04

as it's coming back to Universal universal had at one point. And so universal has been super supportive and extremely rolling out like every red carpet, you know, going after the best of the best for this movie. It's a top priority for them. And, and we're, we're so happy to have our team there.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:21

Yeah, I'm sure they want another IP that they can be you can make 1212 movies from

Bradley Gallo 1:07:27

Well, you think about it, they don't they're not like Disney is connected to marvel and Warner Brothers connected to TC and so they have the monsters universe. But in terms of the superhero stuff, and what we like about Green Hornet that's so great, is it's not a superpower type of figure, this is more of a real man superhero than it is of the spectacular, you know, big time powerful, effective, more

Alex Ferrari 1:07:49

james bond is more James.

Bradley Gallo 1:07:51

I think that's what I'm excited about. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:07:53

very cool. Now, I'm gonna ask you a couple questions asked all my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?

Bradley Gallo 1:08:01

I think I gave a lot of advice in this whole thing. So far. They're asking for a new piece of advice, or

Alex Ferrari 1:08:07

just a specific.

Bradley Gallo 1:08:09

If you're trying to be a filmmaker, you need to understand every single part of the process. If I were you, I would be an actor, I would be a writer, I'd be a director, I'd be a producer, I would go and put the lights up, I would learn how to move to be the grip. Like those things that they do in the film schools are for a reason. And well, you're the grip on somebody else's film. And then you're the so like, do that if you can't afford film school, and you can't afford to make a movie, try to like take little jobs and be in the construction side of the production design, like learn what everything's going on. Because no matter whether you're the producer, the director, the writer, the actor, you will now have an appreciation for the whole process, and how much hard work goes into it so that when you're talking to them, they're not low level on the totem pole. They are a job you've done that you understand. And I think that's the best way to start.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:55

What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life,

Bradley Gallo 1:09:00

or in life? Man, the lesson that took the longest to learn in the film business was that nothing is instant and that it takes for ever I projects on my development projects that have been there for 1012 years. No, still, we're still at and so I mean, that when you're young, yeah, we just go make a film and I went and made it and it happens. And as you progress in your career, that that doesn't happen and and to stay humble about that is really hard. And a lesson in life. That what was it? What was the first part

Alex Ferrari 1:09:40

it was the longest? The lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Bradley Gallo 1:09:45

Well in life, every time I say I'm not going to do something, so I'm not going to move to the valley. I'm not gonna I'm not gonna go into TV. I'm not gonna whenever I say I'm not going to ends up not only happening ends up being The thing that I should have been doing a long time ago, yeah, never gonna move to LA, whatever you're fighting internally in your life that you're like, I'm never gonna do that. But you really, probably should, or really want to. I say do that as soon as you possibly can, as opposed to nice. So it's inside your body, you feel this, like internal struggle, you're stopping some flow to actually open up your life. And I can't tell you how often I have handcuffed myself still to this day, on stuff like that. I'll give you a perfect example. I've always wanted to do a podcast. I feel like I'd be pretty good at it. But you're fantastic, sir. You're fantastic. But I have this internal struggle and never actually do it. Because I'm like, just can't seem to get over that hump. And of course, there's time management issues for me. But the truth is, whatever that is, that is, is internally like, I'm not going to do this, but I really want to just open up and do it and stop being afraid. Kill fear, go for it, and do it as fast as you can. Because the older you get, the harder that is to do. The harder to take those risks. Remove those barriers. And and I can't employ that enough. That's life and film.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:18

Ops eight preach, sir, preach. That is that is some of the best advice. And after doing over 400 episodes of this show, probably one of the best answers to that question I've had and is on the show, because it is so so true. It took me forever to go out to LA from Florida. I was in Florida, and it took forever. And I might look to my girlfriend, who's not my wife, I go look, we have no kids. We do it now. Or the SEC if we if we it's gonna be harder every year we wait is going to be a bit harder to do it. And absolutely great answer. Great answer. And the toughest question of all sir, three of your favorite films of all time. Ah, I

Unknown Speaker 1:11:59

hate that.

Bradley Gallo 1:12:03

But I'm gonna name a film that nobody talks about it from. Guys don't say this is their favorite film. But it's in my top five. I have a top five and I'm sure this is in my top five. Titanic. I'd love to tell you why. Love, don't talk about it as a producer, at that time, making that movie for $200 million, making it feel and historical with a love story and action and special effects. All it was it was incredible. And it deserved to be at that time the greatest, you know selling film of all time. Titanic baffles me. I see the only movie I've ever seen in the theater. With the ticket for the movie theater five times. I mean, go back to see our movie five times. I was that was a big one. Goodfellas is a huge one. I can't stop watching Goodfellas. I'm Italian. But I'm also a Scorsese fan. You know that that's a near perfect movie. I wrote a dissertation on it. Like I'm that's a big movie. For me. goodwill hunting was a huge movie for me because at the time that those guys were 25 I think I was similar to their age. And they had written a movie won an Oscar. It had all the elements. I want Robin Williams doing a non comedy. You know the struggle of a real life person in that world. I just love that movie. It reminds me of the Dead Poets Society and the standby movies and this kind of genre that I love so good wanting was up there. Cinema paradisio one job fair. A fantastic film. Anyone who's a film lover loves that movie. Again, Italian but just just just sweet with it with a mentoree grandfather he rolls and the kid in the love of film. I mean, I even if you're not a film person cinema paradisio is just like, bam, but of course, there's incredible movies. Sure, sure, sure. Better than these three that I probably mentioned, but I just you know, I can't you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:14:00

those are the ones I hate. It's it's that comes to mind what

Bradley Gallo 1:14:03

affected me. It's what affected me during that. That's,

Alex Ferrari 1:14:06

that's the question I've had. I've had, I've had

Bradley Gallo 1:14:09

big time to make that that question is to say, what three films are the ones that affected you the most, as opposed to say the greatest to you of all time? Just an idea just

Alex Ferrari 1:14:18

I you know, I mean, after after 400 episodes, I might have to switch you right? You might have a bit but I've actually had people come on. I've actually had people that are big time filmmakers and they'll say the weirdest movies I'm like, really like like, I would think you would say Goodfellas or you know Seven Samurai or Citizen Kane or what have you. And they'll say like you know them Yeah, but like I had one guy said into the dragon and I'm like really into the dragon like I love into dragon Enter the Dragon. And I was like, I'd be I love to dragon but on the scope of like the greatest films of all time. It's It's wonderful, but it's from this from this person. I was like, Wow, he says, I saw when I was a kid and in fact To me,

Bradley Gallo 1:15:01

it affected me exactly. That way. I'll tell you a movie that affected me. But I don't consider the greatest film of all time, but I can't stop referring to endorse talking about a movie that nobody's seen. I'd be shocked if you saw it. It's called stir of echoes.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:16
Yes. The one with Kevin Bacon.

Yeah. And it was directed and it was written and directed by David Co Op.

Bradley Gallo 1:15:24
Yeah. David cap, right. Yeah, yeah.It's did no business so nobody knew about it. But like, I had that DVD I had this special edition. Just the end Get Shorty. Another one that I could not get off of get you a just a comedy side of like, you know, the john travolta being like, sort of that mafia type. It was just weird. I just had I just had Barry on I had Barry sonnenfeld on the show the other day.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:51
Yeah. And and we talked about it. Sure. I mean, that's one of my favorite interviews of all time.So he's so good. It was like, first 10 minutes, just the first 10 minutes alone is how he started off as an adult film. cinematographer. And that's the first 10 minutes and the most

Bradley Gallo 1:16:09
graphics. Well, that's everybody knows that about him. The great

Alex Ferrari 1:16:12
most graphic conversation about a porn set I've ever heard in my entire life. Within the first 10 within the first day, he goes, how hard you want to be Go Go bury. You can go as hard as you like, sir. Okay. And he lays in within the first 10 minutes. I'm like, this is gonna be an amazing conversation. And we did to our conversation. such an amazing guy. I just love talking.

Bradley Gallo 1:16:36
Listen to that one. That's awesome. That honor that fun. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:16:40
Yeah, it's available. I'll send you a link. I'll send you a link. But listen, we can keep talking for at least another two hours. Bradley but I appreciate you coming on the show. I appreciate your your time and and you dropping amazing knowledge bombs on the tribe today. Thank you so much for doing what you do. And I look forward to seeing all your projects.

Bradley Gallo 1:16:57
All right. Thank you so much. I appreciate it be well.

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BPS 245: How to Get One Million Followers in 30 Days with Brendan Kane

Ever wanted to know how to build a large following on social media? Today’s guest Brendan Kane was able to get over 1 million followers in 30 days. His new book, One Million Followers: How I Built a Massive Social Following in 30 Days breaks down how he was able to achieve such a feat. Brendan Kane is a growth hacker for Fortune 500 corporations, brands and celebrities. He thrives on helping brands systematically find and engage new audiences who reward relevant content, products and services with their attention and spend.

Over 60 billion online messages are sent on digital platforms every day, and only a select few succeed in the mad scramble for customer attention.

This means that the question for anyone who wants to gain mass exposure for their transformative content, business, or brand or connect with audiences around the globe is no longer if they should use social media but how to best take advantage of the numerous different platforms.

How can you make a significant impact in the digital world and stand out among all the noise?

Digital strategist and “growth hacker” Brendan Kane has the answer and will show you how—in 30 days or less. A wizard of the social media sphere, Kane has built online platforms for A-listers including Taylor Swift and Rihanna. He’s advised brands such as MTV, Skechers, Vice and IKEA on how to establish and grow their digital audience and engagement. Kane has spent his career discovering the best tools to turn any no-name into a top influencer simply by speaking into a camera or publishing a popular blog—and now he’ll share his secrets with you.

In One Million Followers, Kane will teach you how to gain an authentic, dedicated, and diverse online following from scratch; create personal, unique, and valuable content that will engage your core audience; and build a multi-media brand through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.

Enjoy my conversation with Brendan Kane.

Right-click here to download the MP3

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Alex Ferrari 1:16
Now guys, today on the show, we have author and growth hacker Brendan Kane, whose new book 1 million followers How do I build a massive social media following in 30 days is taking the world by storm, especially the social media world and marketing world. He was able to generate 1 million followers on Facebook and Instagram within 30 days. So we go deep into how the heck he did this, his strategies, and how you can use these strategies to help sell your movie and how to build a following for your film. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Brendan Kane. I'd like to welcome to the show Brendan Kane, thank you so much for being on the show, my friend.

Brendan Kane 3:11
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Alex Ferrari 3:12
I am a big fan of your book, The 1 million followers. It's It's awesome. And I'm so glad someone wrote it. Now, first off, how did you gain 1 million followers in 30 days.

Brendan Kane 3:29
So first off, it wasn't like I just woke up one day and I'm like I'm I'm like without any experience or testing and design, we're just gonna do this I, I inspect. First off, I've been in the digital space for about 15 years. And I have in terms of how I generate a million followers specifically, I spent about three years building a set of my own, like testing methodologies on top of Facebook and Instagram that would allow me to test content at scale. And really learn what content formats themes and stories work so that you can generate growth in any area, whether that's lead generation traffic, and in this case, followers. And the basic system that I used was to to test as many variations of content in real time to really understand what it would take to get somebody to perform a specific action, in this case following an account. So I had tested over 5000 variations of content in that 30 day time period. Now that sounds like a huge daunting task. And they're like this guy's insane. He probably didn't sleep. he hopped on caffeine. But it really I spent maybe an hour and a half a day on it. It's not as daunting of a task as it seems when you understand kind of the system and the methodology. And the way that I did it for Facebook is different than I did it for Instagram. So with Facebook specifically, I'll just start with that because that was the 30 day time period. So what I did is I leverage the Facebook app advertising platform, which extends to Instagram and WhatsApp and messenger as not an advertising tool or media buying tool which people normally use it for, which is it's remarkable at that. But I use it as a market research tool to be able to see content of different people from different backgrounds in different parts of the world, and see the response rate of what would happen, and that would fuel my content strategy, both in the short and the long term. So when I talk about 5000, variations, it wasn't 5000 pieces of content, like there's two to a variation, there's five elements. So you have the creative itself, the headline, the demographics, the interest level, what like what they're interested in products or services, and then the geolocation. So if you take one piece of content and swap out a headline, that's one variation. Or you can swap out the demographics and interest a geolocation, all of them are interchangeable. So that's where you can take one piece of content and essentially test it 100 to 200 different ways. And what it does is it gives you more chances to win and more chances to learn. So every night at midnight, I would schedule tasks between 30 to 300 variations of content, when I would wake up in the morning, I would measure the results, see what have worked or what had not worked. And the things that were working, I would feel more of that the things that weren't working, I would figure out what behind it wasn't working, and take those learnings to apply it to the next test and the next test. So that's how I did it for Facebook over that 30 day period. And then Instagram, I had to develop a different system for that. Because the advertising platform doesn't really allow that much for follower growth, the way that we found for for rapid follower growth as you distribute content and other channels and drive traffic back versus Facebook, you can push content out and just generate exponential growth that way. So with Instagram, we still use this kind of rapid iteration process. But the way that we do is we have a partner account with 3 million followers. And we see content out to that channel test and measure the effectiveness of that piece of content to convert back to followers to an account. And then once we found a winning variation, then we have a we have about 18 different accounts that have large followings that we can syndicate that content out to to to scale and drive that traffic back.

Alex Ferrari 7:20
Okay, so it's kind of like creating a network of you within yourself that you are able to syndicate throughout your own your own war, your own ecosystem, if you will.

Brendan Kane 7:29
Absolutely. And but at the end of the day it comes down to content is, for example, we have a partner that has 17 million followers on Instagram. And if you post a piece of content that hasn't been tested, it's not really optimized. Even though you're posting an account with 17 million followers, it can only generate like two or 300 followers. versus if you have an optimized piece of content that has been designed with this in mind that has been tested and validated. It could generate anywhere from like five to 10 to 15,000 followers off that single post. So it's really, people get caught up in this idea of Oh, if I just get in front of a bunch of people, I'm going to be successful. That's not the case. Like, like, you know, in the film industry is these films spend 10s of millions of dollars getting a trailer out there that doesn't guarantee that people are going to go see the movie because of the trailers not good. It doesn't matter. The same principles apply here in generating followers or any of that having success in any aspect of digital is like you have to optimize that content to to a point that's going to motivate and inspire people to click that follow button.

Alex Ferrari 8:35
Now what advice would you have for filmmakers or independent filmmakers trying to generate some sort of attention? Or for them to actually have them click or rent or watch something on Facebook or Instagram? Like what what advice would you have for for filmmakers just starting out?

Brendan Kane 8:51
There's a few things that I would look at. I mean, first off, this is common knowledge because every major movie studio does this. But the first three to five seconds of the video is critically important especially when you're talking about Facebook or Instagram where 70% of the video is watched with the sound up as you're swiping up the feeds. And that's why the studio's think it has been like five or six years now put a three to five second trailer before the trailer plays. So really understanding that important the critical importance of that first three to five seconds of your video to get people in to watch for a longer period of time. I think secondarily is really knowing your audience is who is that core audience that you're going after? What is it that is going to capture their attention what what some historical data really look at trailers of movies that have worked in the past and also look at trailers of movies that haven't worked in the past it really decide or really determine what you can take away because I think some filmmakers they just look at it from from the actual movie of what worked and more importantly is actually look at the trailer of what worked because the truck the trailer is really What's driving success? I will film now, yes, there are films that are just so good that start on a limited release. And that word of mouth will carry them. But those films are so far and few between majority of the time it's the trailer that's selling the movie. So really understand and studied the trailers of films that have worked or have not worked? And what are the key elements that they used in those trailers to attract that attention? secondarily, it's testing like test different trailers. I mean, the studios do this all the time. But you should do this yourself is test different three second intros, test different clips, different ways of telling that story. I think it's hard. And I recognize it's hard for independent filmmakers, to create variations of trailers, but you're really limiting yourself if you're only putting one trailer or one teaser out in the world and expecting that just to perform. So I think that that's a good place to really start from a content perspective.

Alex Ferrari 10:59
And when you're saying testing, please explain to the audience that testing is something that could be done extremely affordably, I mean, for a few bucks, you know, 510 1520 bucks, you can do a real quick test to see if something's gonna play or not correct?

Brendan Kane 11:12
Absolutely. I mean, first off with the Facebook and Instagram advertising platform, which I think is one of the best testing tools at our fingertips, there's no minimum, like you can spend $5 $10 $20 and learn something from it. Or if you don't want to take it that far, you can test it organically as get the trailer placed on a blog or a website, or even on your own social channel and measure the response between that it's not as effective but at least you're learning something. But yes to test like, you don't have to spend 10s of 1000s of dollars to do it. You can spend 1020 3040 $50 and learn something from it.

Alex Ferrari 11:49
Now targeting How can you give any advice in regards to targeting for especially, especially for filmmakers? Because I find that they sometimes will, like let's say they do a romantic comedy, and then they try to target people who like romantic comedies, it's just not going to work. They don't have the finances to do you know, to hit that giant demographic? would you suggest niching? down as much as possible? What advice would you have for targeting demographically and also locations?

Brendan Kane 12:14
So typically, the way that I approach testing is, you test as many interest levels and demographics against each other. So within so within the Facebook advertising platform, there's there's three core aspects to it, or three levels. So you have the campaign, which is where it kind of you set the objective is like, am I trying to generate video views? Am I trying to generate conversions? Am I trying to generate traffic, whatever that is? Then the second is the ad set. And the ad set level is where you actually control the targeting. That's where you can control the audience. The demographics, are they male? Are they female, female? Are they age? What other movies do they like? Do they like romantic comedies, they like adventure movies, do they like Tony Stark Do they like the Hulk whatever it is like you can put it in there. And most of the time, they'll have it. And and also within that you can do geolocation, you could do it all the way down to the specific zip code. Now for filmmakers, I typically don't recommend that because your costs are extremely high in the in the auction. And then the third is the ad level is like the actual creative itself. So the ad set level is where you get really creative with all of this. And what I typically do is I create different ad sets that break out the interest level. So for example, you'll create an ad set with just romantic comedy fans, and you'll they'll create another one with adventure fans, another one with Tony Stark fans whatsoever you can, it's really important to segment those out into separate tests, because what most people will do is they'll put all those interests into one ad set. And then you don't learn anything because Facebook doesn't provide you data on who viewed it from which interest level, it does provide it from a gender and a age group. So what we'll typically do is we'll start just broad and say 18 to 65, plus both male and female, and then we'll see where Facebook pushes it because you can break down whether it was pushed to more males or females, or whether it was pushed to a specific age group. And I like to do that because for two reasons. A it brings down your costs and the auction so you can reach more people for cheaper costs. And then also I like it because what it does is it allows Facebook's auction and algorithms to push it to who they think is going to resonate with because that's its job, because they want to push content to the people they think are going to respond to it. And it gives you some data on who's actually responding to it who is getting seated to and then from that then you can create subsequent ad sets or tests based on that data that's coming in.

Alex Ferrari 14:49
Now, Facebook has basically become a pay or play kind of platform where before if you had a million followers you put a post up on your on your page and it would reach a significant amount or even even a small amount now, you know, I have 120, some 1000 followers and I post something and 300 people will see it 400 peoples unless it goes viral unless I push it or unless I do other things to get attention to it. Do you have any advice on getting attention or using the platform without having to boost or without having to pay?

Brendan Kane 15:23
Absolutely. So let's just talk about the algorithms because the algorithms control how many people see your content. And I feel like the algorithms get a bad rap. People are get upset and frustrated with them. And I understand I get frustrated by it as well. But if you really look at the fundamental principles of why they're there, it'll give you a better understanding of a how to take advantage of it, and how to problem solve if you're not getting the reach that you need. So the algorithms are designed so that every time you open up the app, whether it's Facebook, or Instagram, or Twitter or whatever app you're using, YouTube, it's designed that every time you open that up that app up, you're going to be served with content that they feel is going to be the most engaging for you. Because they know if you open up Facebook or Instagram, and that piece of content that you're first seated with are the first three pieces of content is not engaging, you're going to get bored, and you're going to leave. And if that keeps happening over and over again, you're going to resort to using that app less and less until eventually you won't use it any further. So the algorithms are always designed with. And this is individually for each person like what is the content that's going to resonate with this person the most, to get them to stay on the app longer. And today, we're following hundreds in some cases, 1000s of pages more so on Facebook than Instagram, I think you're following the hunt your 1000s of pages over the years of engaging with the platform, Instagram, maybe it's a few 100. And you've got to take into consideration when they're when you're opening that app, it's got to decide where to give me the top three or five posts that it's going to push to you out of hundreds or possibly 1000s of posts. So if you're pushing out content, so let's just say you have 100,000 followers, and you push out a piece of content, what Facebook is going to ultimately do is it's going to seed it to 500 of those 100,000 followers and measure the response rate. And if that response rate is not good, that contents not going any further. If that response rate is good, it will seed it to another 1000, measure the response rate and see if it holds and if it holds, it will extend it to more people and more people. And that's where that organic reach comes from. That's where that virality comes from. But if you keep putting out content that when it sees it to those initial people, it doesn't generate the response that it's looking for. And you do that over and over again, your page is automatically going to be labeled in the in the algorithms as something that doesn't push out, engaging content, versus on the flip side of your account gets known for pushing out content that's highly engaging, it has far more flexibility in the algorithms and the amount of reach that it gives you. So that's why you'll see content creators like Prince EA, who wrote the foreword of my book or like a Jay Shetty, who are generating 10s of millions, in some cases, hundreds of millions of views on their content, a their content is good. But B also they built up so much trust in the algorithms that they're getting so much reach out of their content. So that's first and foremost, just understanding that concept. And then if you're not getting the reach, then it's starting to determine Okay, what am I doing wrong with my content, what aspects of my content is not engaging when it first seeds it to that first three 300 to 500 people. And this is what we do a lot with my content and the content that we work with people on as well measures, things. For example, with video, what we'll measure is the the most important metric is the number of views to the reach that we get. And what is that ratio look like in a view is counted at three seconds. And that metric is so important to to Facebook, because it determines whether or not people are actually engaging because if people are swiping up and they don't watch the first three seconds, they're going to stop seeing that content to people. But if you can generate that a high ratio, and typically we look at anywhere between 30 to 40%. Anything above 40% is amazing. But 30 to 40% is our sweet spot that we're aiming for. If we can get in that 30 to 40% range, we just see the reach exponentially grow. Because Facebook's algorithm see that the content is resonating with people people are actually taking the time. Now unfortunately, Instagram doesn't give us that metric. But we can generally tell by the reach by the number of views that we're generating off piece of content. But that's kind of how we look at it and we just really design our content to feed into the algorithms. First of all foremost, because without that, you're just not going to get the reach that you need.

Alex Ferrari 20:04
So it's not throwing everything up against the wall on a Facebook page, you really, really got to be a little bit more strategic with what you're saying.

Brendan Kane 20:10
Yeah, I mean, there's definitely testing that goes into ball that's involved in I mean, one of the first places we already kind of talked about it, the first place that I start is competitive analysis, is who's doing well on these platforms? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? So we'll always do a competitive analysis of counts, we'll make a list of like five or 10 accounts that will track and we'll just see what they're doing differently than everybody else that's leading them to have success. And then we reverse engineer that. And then we see how do we apply that to our content.

Alex Ferrari 20:41
So that's what that because Jay Shetty is such a unique example, or tastes, a test case study, because he's basically he owns Facebook watch. I mean, he's got billions and billions of views. And he basically did in a very short amount of time. I mean, he within a couple, two, three years of putting these videos out. So he's not paying for that kind of exposure. This is just now he's gotten to a point where it's organic 100, almost 100%.

Brendan Kane 21:10
Yeah, I mean, for him, it's been organic since the very beginning print CA's, another great example goal cast. And they like what BuzzFeed did with tasty and some other platforms? Yes, there's been a bit of a dip in the algorithms being changed. But there is so much potential from an organic perspective. And that goes for Instagram and YouTube as well. It's just people. Where I see people go wrong is they're typically designing content for themselves, not for the algorithms and not for other people. They're just designing for themselves. And they get so caught up in what they want to say and what they want to show people. And first off, they don't think about the the audience. But more importantly, they don't even think about the algorithms all they just throw their hands up and be like, the algorithms are unfair, oh, Facebook just wants me to get people to pay for reach. That's not the case. Like, yes, Facebook and Instagram make their money off of advertising. But that's not the reason that they're limiting reach their limiting reach, because there's only so much content that they can push into your feed. And they have to be very selective with it.

Alex Ferrari 22:14
Now, we've talked a lot about Facebook and Instagram is Twitter and YouTube. How would you approach those two? Because they're such different beasts than Facebook?

Brendan Kane 22:23
Absolutely. So Twitter, I don't really touch that much. YouTube, I think is is still a tremendous opportunity and, and YouTube, there's a few different variables that come into play, thumbnail and headline are a huge critical part of success. Because a lot of video views are coming from like suggested videos that you'll see on like the right hand side. And what they'll typically do is they'll measure the first and foremost the click through percentage of if like, let's just say there's five videos on the right hand side, as you're watching a video. What is that click through percentage of somebody clicking on that video? And then they'll also match it with the watch time, like, how long are they watching that video. And if those two metrics play together, well, well, then it'll just give you more and more reach, because that's just showing you that are showing the algorithms that this content is retaining users. It's interesting to people and it's keeping people on the platform longer. So we typically focus heavily on thumbnails and headlines as that first component, but then also the content has to hold attention. Because all of these platforms, they make more money, the longer you're on the platform. And YouTube is a long form consumption behavior platform. So it's always looking for those videos that are going to retain people for the longest period of time. And that's where you see Facebook and Instagram, like Facebook, creating Facebook watch, and Instagram, generally are creating igtv, they're trying to change their consumption behavior, because their consumption behavior today is very short form content. But they're trying to compete against YouTube, which is a very daunting and difficult task, which I think they're gonna have trouble making that shift in consumer behavior on their platforms. But the whole idea of all these platforms is they want to see the best content to that. So the top that are going to retain the users for the longest period of time.

Alex Ferrari 24:16
And then so with Facebook, watch, you know, they're trying to go after YouTube. And but but I agree with you, 100% of people are so used to Facebook being what Facebook is, and now they're trying to change things. And the other thing that annoys the heck out of me is that they throw the commercials in the middle of the video, as opposed to YouTube that puts it generally at the beginning or the end. So, you know, what do you how do you feel that's going to play in, you know, moving forward? Do you think it's going to be successful? In your opinion,

Brendan Kane 24:44
I don't think that the current iterations are going to be successful. But the one thing that I admire about Facebook and Instagram is they are not afraid to fail. And they are not afraid to test things. So I mean, you just look at what they did in Taking out snapshot with with Bernice, she's, they've tested several iterations before that are things that just didn't work. But they figured it out and it was a game changer for them. I firmly believe they are smart enough that they will figure something out. I don't know that it's going to be the current iteration of Facebook watch and igtv. But I don't I don't doubt them for a second because they have the smartest people on the planet working for those companies. And I think that they will figure out a solution for long form consumption. My bet would probably be that it would be a separate standalone app instead of within Facebook or Instagram. But we'll see what they what they come through with.

Alex Ferrari 25:40
And what social media platform, do you see the most growth potential in moving forward?

Brendan Kane 25:47
It's a great question. I still firmly believe in the Big Three, it's it's Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, I think there's tremendous amount of potential for LinkedIn, not so much for filming. I mean, there's some strategic things for filmmakers. But last, so I think Facebook, there's still a huge opportunity there. When you look at the global scale of it. I mean, there's 2.2 billion people on the platform, people just focus on the US numbers. But especially on the film side, where we know 60 to 70% of box offices is generated nationally, there's a tremendous amount of growth potential with that platform, if you're trying to drive traffic out to a third party destination, it's very good for that. It also the viral coefficient of pushing content through that platform is much higher than any others. That's where you can generate videos, that that or create videos that generate 100 million views. You can't really do that on Instagram, I don't even know if there has been a video that has generated 100 million views on this. Maybe there is but it would probably be less than five, YouTube, you can get some videos mainly on the music side to generate hundreds of millions of views. But it's not as easy for the average creator to do it like a Jay Shetty going to YouTube is not going to generate that exponential growth that he did on Facebook. So that's a huge growth potential Instagram, I see as a platform that is probably the most attractive from a brand perspective. Most people value Instagram over the other two platforms at this point. It's a little bit slower growth. But the engagement rate to generate typically is higher with stories in native posts. But that's going to change as more people get on the platform. And as we talked about what happens with the algorithms, if there's more content in the platform, it needs to determine which content to see to the top. And YouTube I think is filled. There's tremendous value growth potential in that platform, just by the sheer size. And just the fact that it is one of the only platforms on digital, that is long form consumption behavior where you can get somebody to literally watch a video for 30 minutes or an hour. And I think that there's there's a lot of competition there. But I think if you really study and you get good at it, there's tremendous value, because you're fostering a deeper relationship with your audience and your fan base than you can with an Instagram or Facebook. Now, would you recommend boosting a post on Facebook, or actually taking an ad out for that thing, I always do things through ads manager because you can have more control, you can segment tasks and all those things that we talked about earlier, I will say that we're very strict about what we'll put money behind. Because if you're putting money behind a piece of content that's not going to perform or is not performing while you're basically teaching the algorithms that your contents not good. Versus the reverse side is if your content is really good, and it just needs that extra push, you're teaching the algorithms that the content that your page is putting out is good. So you've just got to make sure that if you are going to spend money even if you're spending $10, that the content is worth spending $10 behind because are putting behind because that is going to reflect on how the algorithm see the content in your page.

Alex Ferrari 28:59
And last question, what is the biggest mistake you see people make when they're trying to grow their social media accounts, or build an audience in general,

Brendan Kane 29:08
Everything comes down to content. And the mistake I mentioned, one of the mistakes I think is a huge mistake is people are designing content for themselves. They're not designing for the algorithms or not designing it for their audience. So that's one thing. And then I think also, as people don't really look at any analytics or data, they just keep pushing the same content out and they're not testing, they're not iterating. And they just keep pushing content out. And then they expect different results. They expect the algorithms to start picking it up or for them to go viral. But if you don't take that time to test and iterate and also do a competitive analysis and study other people's content, you're never going to get better. And so we spent so much time looking at other people's content of how they're doing, what they're doing, where their successes, to really understand how we can get better as content creators not saying steal people's content, but steal their formats. peelers stealer structures, like if you see like on a lot of videos, they have a meme card built, burned into the top and captions at the bottom. Everybody is that now and they use it because 70% of that that video on Facebook and Instagram is typically watch with the sound off as as they're swiping up, and somebody came up with that concept. I don't even know how long you're five or six years ago, and everybody's doing it now. And now you have to iterate off of that to get it to perform. But those are the type of things that pay attention to is what are the formats? What are the structures that are working for people and pay attention to as much detail as possible pay attention to those first three seconds, pay attention to collars, tones, all of those different things.

Alex Ferrari 30:41
Brendan man, thank you so much for coming by. I know you're a very very busy man. You're you're creating social media empires everywhere. So I do appreciate you coming by and talking to the tribe today. So thanks, man.

Brendan Kane 30:53
Great. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

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BPS 216: Why Most Screenplays Don’t Sell with Brooks Elms

Brooks Elms is a screenwriter and independent filmmaker. His specialty is grounded personal characters and writing story tension so thick it knots up your stomach.

He’s written 25+ screenplays, a dozen of them on assignment, and sold several scripts, including one this year with Brad Peyton as Executive Producer. Brooks was recently hired to rewrite a screenplay started by an Oscar-winning writer. Brooks began his career writing, directing, and producing two indie features (personal dramas) that he screened all over the world.

And Brooks also loves coaching fellow writers who have a burning ambition to deeply serve their audiences.

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Brooks Elms 0:00
Here's what they're doing, you're getting back to the thing is there when you see somebody that's writing at those higher levels, it's that they are open to something bigger and it flows. It's almost like they're not doing what other because other people are kind of doing like, Oh, I was in school, I was supposed to do the homework, blah, blah, blah. But when you see somebody that has like a masterful voice, and then it feels like you're connecting to another human being, it feels different. It almost feels like they're not screenwriting.

Alex Ferrari 0:26
This episode is brought to you by Bulletproof Script Coverage, where screenwriters go to get their scripts read by Top Hollywood Professionals. Learn more at covermyscreenplay.com I'd like to welcome back to the show returning champion, Brooks Elms. How you doin Brooks?

Brooks Elms 0:41
I'm doing great. Good to see you. That introduction reminds me of my favorite interviewer back in the day was Charlie Rose, you ever watch the Charlie Rose years back?

Alex Ferrari 0:51
Yeah, back before, before the thing

Brooks Elms 0:54
Before the thing, and he was great. And he always go, and I'm happy to welcome back to this table. So and so he kind of snapped the table.

Alex Ferrari 1:03
You're returning champions, I would say returning champions. So. But thanks for coming back on the show, man. Last time you were on the show. It was a great success. That tribe really loved what you had to say. And it's been a while since you've been back. So it's like, you know, time let's bring it back. And let's talk some shop and see if we can have some more, some more screenwriters and filmmakers out there. So I'm gonna I'm gonna come in hot with the first question, sir. I like it. Why do most film Why do most screenplays fail?

Brooks Elms 1:32
Oh, I love that question. And yeah, really good question and loaded in different way. I would first of all, invite you not to think about it binary fail success. Because what ends up happening when we think about it in binary ways, it's kind of freaked out that success sounds too big and failure sounds too small. So to me, it's just process. And the reason why it's not further along is generally people underestimate how long it takes to do trial and error to get a point where it's like, blowing people away emotional.

Alex Ferrari 2:07
That's where it is exactly. Because a lot of people that are like, Oh, I made I wrote the script, I can't sell it. That's a failure. Like no depends on what you look at. If if your barometer for success is a sale, which don't get me wrong, it is one of the things we're doing this for. Just like if you if a tree falls in no one's there to hear it. kind of vibe. But also, like, if I did the script, how much better? Am I as a writer? How much have I gotten to be a better writer? How do I understand character better? Did I learn how to write dialogue better? These are successes that you have to think about.

Brooks Elms 2:39
I'll go further. So for sure, development of my craft, that's one part just realization of who I am as a human being that the personal thing, it's really significant. I mean, like, you can just write a journal, a memoir, and it's fine. But if you understand story, sort of structure and process, when you really get into like a theme and an art from Vice to virtue, you really surprise yourself about who am I at a deep level, so just the personal growth aspect of it off the charts valuable. So certainly sharpening your skills, personal growth aspect of it. And even in the business side. Scripts are wonderful. But new relationships, oh, we can't do this grip because of whatever. But like, here's these other things, right? That's really good. And then just writing samples, it's like, oh, I didn't realize you could write that sort of thing. So there's all sorts of bend if you're in it for the long term. There's all sorts of benefits.

Alex Ferrari 3:33
And I think a lot of times screenwriters fail in general is because they are always, they're always focused on the destination and not focused on that journey. And writing a script is a journey, selling the script is a destination. And if you if you've put all of your hope, and all of your happiness in the sale, or in the destination, you're going to be miserable in this business.

Brooks Elms 3:54
Amen, brother. That's exactly it's, it's, it's that wonderful game where it's interesting, because everybody kind of knows, okay, I know, I know. It's not the destination, it's a journey. But like, most people, most of the time are focused on the destination and, and when we can recognize how we do that in our own process, inadvertently or whatever, and just really go under No, just right now, in the moment, enjoying this for the sake of enjoying it. It really is a game changer. And then the paradox is those milestones come much faster. Because it's like that time warping, it's like you're working on something like Oh, shit, where the time go, you know, it's like, well, because you're in it, you're in that flow state. And you can we can be in that flow state in the draft after draft process of writing a screenplay. And here's another way to think about Flipside was one of these writers that I worked with who you know, good, talented writer, he's doing some great, you can see he's like, Okay, now I'm done. I'm done with this thing. And you can see eagerness to be done, which always, almost always means we're really probably not quite there probably more juice to squeeze. When we're just like in a place of, I loved writing this draft. I'm ready for feedback, I'm ready for anything. And that's like, oh, let's you know, it's done. You don't even if the energy is different,

Alex Ferrari 5:07
And how about the concept of the Muse is something that so many screenwriters and writers general but screenwriters think about is like, I need to wait for the muse to show up. You know, I'm just gonna watch Netflix until the Muse shows up. And that kind of attitude towards this news is inspiration. From my point of view, and from people I've spoken to at the PI's levels of the business. It's, they say, show up every day, and you let them us know where you're going to be. Because if you don't tell the Muse where you're going to be She don't know where to go, brother. You don't know where to go. So you show up at eight o'clock in the morning to 10 o'clock, that's your writing time. Hey, Muse, I'm going to be here between eight and 10. Not at three o'clock when I'm in the shower, or out at lunch, eight to 10. That's when if you're going to show up, please show up there. Is that what you? Is that your feeling as well?

Brooks Elms 6:00
Yes. And yeah, it's a really beautiful question. Because if we, it's this game of how we're playing this game with ourselves, right? If you genuinely are in the flow, you might need to not show up in that window, right. But most times, when you carve out that space, and ask the muse to meet you, there, it is a much better way of doing it. Because even if you're feeling resistance, or fear, or this or that, or the other, when you show up, the news meets you, um, even if you show up to be like, I don't want to be here, I'm scared, blah, blah, blah, I suck. And then all sudden, the faucets going and then also good ideas come right. That's generally better. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 6:43
Let me ask you, though. I love asking writers this. There are times when I've been writing where especially my books, when I am on a flow state. And then I stop and I look, I go Who the hell wrote that? This is good stuff. Like you can't read you literally can't recognize. Did I did I write this? There's that moment. And I think every creative and a painter as well, and an artist and stuff, but generally writers because it's such a solitary, you know, experience that it happens. And when I've asked that question to some big guys, they go go this I happen to like, yeah, not as often as I'd like. Because it's almost like you're being you know, to get woowoo on you, you're channeling something that's coming through you, there's some sort of, there's some sort of energy going through you. And I always love using this the story of of Spielberg, where he would he used to say, those ideas floating in the ether. And when the ideas time is to come out, it looks for a host to come through. And if I ignore that idea, it's happened he goes, it's happened to me so many times, I can't tell you where it will go. It's like, okay, you're, it's gonna stay with you for Steven for seven days, if you don't start acting on it, it's gonna go over to James Cameron. And if James Cameron doesn't do anything, because he's an avatar land, he's gonna go over to Chris Nolan. And then it'll just keep jumping to see how this idea is best going to be expressed at this time when it's supposed to come out. So he's like, so when I thought when I saw the idea of dinosaurs in a park, I jumped on it, before anybody else had a chance to do it, because that's an idea that once it was brought into the world, there was no stopping it. And someone was gonna grab onto that T Rex and write it. And there was a probably a handful of people in Hollywood, who could have done it. And I'm gonna say, in one hand, maybe who could have done what Stephen did with Jurassic. But that is one of those things. So I do believe that as well, when the idea is ready. That's why we had like asteroid movies, remember, and Armageddon and deep impact, and they all just start showing up. Like before, then nothing's zombies. All of a sudden, there's a decade without zombies. And then boom, can't freaking get rid of them. They're everywhere. Literally, no pun intended. But things like that. So what are your thoughts on it?

Brooks Elms 9:13
I love that. It's really actually really interesting. And subtle, because the nature of creativity at that level, and everybody I've worked with that's higher level had, there's almost a float to them. They just come in, and there's just this spaciousness about the way they are. And not necessarily we will crazy, but just this opens a lightness to them. Yeah. And what was fascinating to me, the way even you phrased it, you were like, there's that opportunity to be openness. And if you don't dope on it, you lose it. So to me, that was an interesting part the way you phrase it, because maybe, but like, I, so I would invite people to say yes, there's an openness. Yes, you can sort of just connect to something that's out there. Big Garan mysterious and beyond us. And don't worry about the window closing, there's an abundance of opportunity, it's going to come back, just get into the habit of, of the joy of being open to that stuff. And then writing from that place, because you know, the, the nuts and bolts of writing, you know, it helps to have, you know, boxes and stacks in a system, whatever. But like you want to get both, you want to have a way to be able to construct a story that's going to have a design element to it that's functional in an engineering sense. And as you sort of build those sandboxes, you have an openness to something bigger than us. So the sandcastles almost emerged in the Sandbox is feeling like you didn't even write them. So it's both those things.

Alex Ferrari 10:45
And there was this story I heard about this poet, and I forgot her name. But it's such a brilliant story. She said that she was out in the field. And she saw the poem coming, she literally saw it coming towards her. And she had nothing to write down on. So she literally was running towards her house. As the poem was in the ether, she said, and she's like, I'm gonna lose it, I'm gonna lose it. She ran in, grab the pen and paper. And she was so on the tail end of it, she started writing the poem backwards. So she, like literally grabbed the end of the poem, and drag it back into her. And she wrote it backwards first, and then she read, just to get it in before she lost it. And I was like, oh my god, isn't that amazing? Because because of the visuals, the visuals as a filmmaker, you're just gonna, oh, you could see it. And she literally wrote it backwards. And first, because it was already out the door, and she kind of grabbed it by the tail and Riad it back in. It was all it's amazing.

Brooks Elms 11:57
Well, you had me in that anecdote bias, like she was in a field. I was like, Ooh, sounds good. So yeah, it reminds me of, you know, Paul McCartney woke up one morning, one of his greatest songs, you know, and was like, who did the song with any kind of homage to people? And they're like, Gavin, no, he was talking about and he's like, oh, okay, I guess it's me. And that's just if we tune in, it's almost like, you know, like the law of attraction, people talk about it and sort of receiving, if we're in receiving mode, you just kind of like, okay, I'm, I'm ready for really good things to come to me. It just, it's a different way of feeling.

Alex Ferrari 12:29
I think. And I think for people listening, you know, they might sound a bit woowoo. But I, but the reason I, I, I know different is one my own experience, but also you and I are very unique in the sense that we have worked with and or spoken to people at the highest levels of our business. And when you ask these questions, I ask these questions on and off. And the stories that I hear, I'm like, Oh, if this Oscar winner is looking at it this way, and it's not just a one, dude, it's probably like five or 10 of these really legendary people that I've spoken to, who are, they understand this at a level like a Spielberg like they understand at a different level, then there's something there because they're obviously able to do it. And then the key is to be able to learn how to do it again. And again, because sometimes it happens once. And you never hear from them again. It's, there's some times that's that idea comes in, and it blows up. And it's a one hit wonder happens in music all the time. Books, it happens in movies, happens in scripts, where they just come in, and they're like, they never got off the ground again after that, like it was downhill from that point. But the Masters understand how to tap into that again, and again, almost at will, almost at will.

Brooks Elms 13:56
Yeah. And I think what happens I love this this topic is because what, two thoughts they're the first one is this idea of woowoo, which is kind of like you know, it's crazy, but like it is crazy. But why is it crazy and it's crazy is because we sort of in a sort of traditional education system that we were in, they were kind of telling us what to do what does pence spin our attention on and you have to do this great. It was all sorts of distraction of stuff that was out of touch with our bodies and what we really felt like for me, I loved recess I went to art class I love gym and everything else like everything else. I was good at school but I just It drove me crazy because I wasn't fascinated

Alex Ferrari 14:39
They were they were preparing you for a factory job. That's what school was designed to do. It was prepare you that's why there's a bell every hours. So they mean they were preparing you gonna go to a factory. It's Industrial Age system.

Brooks Elms 14:51
That's right. Your Dylan said that 20 years of schooling and they put you on the day shift. Right. So yeah, so So we were trained to be out of touch with those bigger ideas and impulses. So when you come across somebody that speaking to that esoteric or stuff, it feels weird or strange or woowoo. But, um, but it's just because you're out of the habit of it. But when you surround yourself with people that are just sort of aware, connected in that way, it becomes as normal as anything else. It's just access to sort of more intuitive ideas. It's not that sort of mystifying, right? There's a mystery quality to it. But it's really just a matter of connecting dots in more subtle, more powerful ways. So that's the one part. The second part about is, is can you you know, for those one hit wonders, what's the difference between somebody who had a musician who had a one hit wonder and 86, or like you two, or Madonna that hit in several different decades. And my theory is, it's they, it wasn't like this one impulse, one song, they had awareness of how they showed up to the party. So it's like, you know, when you were in middle school, and you had a circle of friends, and then you were in high school, and you had a circle of friends, and then in your early 20s, you had a circle of friends, if you were able to show up as you and make good friendships in those different circles, you can take that as a transferable skill for you as an independent filmmaker, or screenwriter. The key is, go beneath it, it wasn't that oh, it was my one friendship with you know, Jimmy, whatever you want. Beneath that you had a way of showing up. That was a puzzle piece for what Jimmy was looking for. And you guys became really good buddies. And then a romantic way is same thing. It's like it's stories, or any sort of art. There's the artist and the audience, and they're puzzle pieces for each other. And if you know the impulse from what you come from as like a as like a, like what you're most fascinated by in life as a puzzle piece, you can then find your complimentary puzzle piece to snug to fit snugly in that. as things change. You know, who's my favorite current guys is Jon Favreau, right? starts out as a working actor, right, then creates a right swingers phenom, like if he stopped there. He'd be like a lot of amazing, right? And then he's like, no, no, I actually want to direct something myself. And then I want to do the studio movies. And then I want to do Marvel movies. And then he creates Mandalorian. He's probably the best of, you know, better than a lot of the Lucas Star Wars stuff. So like, how do you do it? He did this exact way totally conscious and sustainable. He knew how he showed up to the party. He knew him as himself as a puzzle piece, the soul in a deep level, his soul. And then he was like, Oh, I can fit this new puzzle in this way. Here's how I fit. Here's how I don't fit in. I actually know people that I know if he's been on your show. But know people that work with them. He's just what they've said is he's really good about focusing on what does matter and not caring about the stuff that doesn't. And that to me is like an awareness of who am I is a puzzle piece. And that's how you can keep reinventing yourself on every new level and every new time.

Alex Ferrari 18:08
It's really interesting. And John's really interesting concept, guy because you're right, I mean, you know, you and I are of an age to remember him from swingers. And Rudy, if you remember to go back to acting and Rudy and these kinds of films, and then him trying to make him His bones in in directing where he made a movie called made where he was the director of that. And then they gave him elf and ELF had no reason at all to be successful. There Will Ferrell was a guy at center at live. And it was a ridiculous concept.

Brooks Elms 18:43
Well, that was first

Alex Ferrari 18:44
That was that was Oh yeah. That was his first I think that was either his first starring role, or his first movie I don't know. But it was big. They did not want will like the studio didn't not want with us all documentary on Netflix about it. They did not want Will. They're like who the hell is gonna go see a movie with Will Ferrell in it? This is a ridiculous how that movie got made is a miracle. And then how John got it was even more of a miracle. But he turns it into a hit. And then then he's able to start building his career off of elf. But then he did an Ironman thing launched the entire Marvel universe. And then he jumped into Star Wars and kind of, you know, basically, there's been dragging along Star Wars ever since. You know, he's a great, he's a great man him and Dave Dave Filoni. They're basically creative force of Star Wars right now. I don't know. It's that

Brooks Elms 19:33
If not them who?

Alex Ferrari 19:34
I mean, I mean, who else is it? Who else? Who else are we talking about in that world? But it's really interesting how someone like that can do that. And you look at someone like Tarantino who's been able to create art at some of the highest levels in three different decades. By not focusing on the decade he's on because his films, like anything that he's, he's on, he's such on his own past. So The thing is really interesting about him and he's a once in a generation talent. You love him or hate him. He can respect the man. Yeah. As an artist and what he does when the idea comes to him, this is the thing that's so brilliant about him. There is nobody else in the planet can make it. Like there's just know, there's nobody else who's making Inglourious Basterds. There's nobody who's making Jagland chain. There's nobody's making once upon a time in Hollywood, it's just so quintessential Quinton, that you nobody can make those movies. There's just little Could somebody else make aliens could not take anything away from the genius that James Cameron brought to it, or Ridley Scott or any of these guys. But you'd be like, oh, you know what? Maybe a Spielberg aliens would have been interesting. Or maybe a Scorsese. You know, a Scorsese. Jaws would have been interesting or like that, but you can't say like, oh, yeah, let's give you know Chris Nolan. Inglorious Basterds. It's gonna be interesting. I'll give you that. But it's not Inglorious. Basterds?

Brooks Elms 21:01
Yeah. Yeah, that's right. No, he, he definitely had a deep sense of his puzzle piece, and was able to kind of plug it in for the audience. And actually, I think he's, too. Two stories about him that I think of will be really instructive for people listening to this. One was when he was an actor in acting and acting classes. He was writing down stuff, if he was like, in mid 80s, and didn't have like VCRs, even at that point where he didn't have one. So he was running out. He would like you saw some show, some some film, and he wanted to do like the acting, he wanted you to look at that scene. Right? Right. So he writes it out. And then he gives it to his acting partner. And the guy's looking at it and going, Dude, this isn't in the movie. Here's what you're what I thought it was, oh, man I had so in my head. I've seen this so many times. I thought it was new, because I know this better than what was in. And so he was like, oh, maybe I'm really good at this. Maybe that's part of my sort of puzzle piece that I have to offer. Right? Like I can go so deeply into this thing, then I can start sort of building from where they where they started and taking it off to that also to that point, he I think his superpower has to do with curation. So he starts off as a as a you know, a guy working in movies in a movie store, move around movie buffs recommending movies, Oh, you like this one, you probably like this one to steeped in it. But like, you know, if you look at the music in Reservoir Dogs, it's like such a distinct, obscure set of songs that are that really go down easy to play. So to me, he was a curator of pop culture. And he just even though he speaks, it's like explosively passionate. And so I think he just was so good at going, Oh, I'm like, a million times interested in X, whether it was a song or this or that, and he would just kind of curate it together, learn enough of the rules and then do his own thing. Like I was, I don't know if you ever you know that sequence in Pulp Fiction when when she overdoses and they got the whole syringe and then she was that was taken like verbatim from from an obscure taxi driver doc documentary called American boy I think from like the early 70s. You know, this story.

Alex Ferrari 23:23
American boy, isn't it the one that's Scorsese?

Brooks Elms 23:26
That's so intense. There was a short Yeah, I think was the short documentary but it was the actor from taxi driver that sold Travis Bickle, the guns. Steven prince, I think his name is. Yeah, I'm just off top my head. So like, I'm pretty sure it was it was. It was a short documentary that Scorsese basically directed that was basically about this guy. About the actor from taxi driver basically telling this story. And he tells the story of this overdose beat by beat by beat, which is, as far as I can know, pretty much beat by BBB. What happens in Pulp Fiction, to the point where I saw Pulp Fiction first, I ran across that Scorsese documentary later, and I was like, oh my god, he seems like he ripped it off. But like, you know, I've never heard any sort of plagiarism things and like, to me that sort of indicates how Where's greatness comes from he, you know, who knows how many people saw that obscure documentary, but he did it made a really big, big impact on his soul. And he kind of took it and then and then made it his own in a whole other movie. That was but with the connection there, I felt like he was really very direct.

Alex Ferrari 24:36
But this his genius is being able to to have a encyclopedic mind on cinema, and music, and be able to connect the pieces in a way that nobody else on the planet can. There's just nobody else on the planet that could connect pieces like he does. In his films. You I mean, you watch once upon a time in Hollywood and you just sitting there going, you know and the revisionist the revisionist history that he does As in, in Django in glorious and Hollywood, you just go on? And In what world? Do you kill Hitler? Like the way they do? And like, that's brilliant. In what ways does the Manson family not do what they were supposed to do? It's, it's pretty remarkable, you know, as a screenwriter looking at at his work, and then you go down to someone like Nolan. And you're like, there's nobody else that can make an inception. This is not this. This is this is nobody. Those are so specific to the artists and to the writer and to the filmmaker, that there's no way that James Cameron can't make inception. He can make something, but it won't be inception, the way it's it was conceived the same thing though. I'd argue that it'd be difficult for somebody to make avatar.

Brooks Elms 25:49
Yeah, well, they said Cameron superpower is is is is really insane. Because it's a little more subtle than Tarantino superpower. He's like, obvious. He's just like, like, wildly passionate about some of some some sort of obscure things. But he's smart enough about he connects the dots, he's just so singular in that way. Moving on, like Nolan is a little more traditional, but he definitely has a very, here's what it is, Alex, here's how people listening to this can actually figure it out for themselves. We are all world class experts on our favorite stuff, right. And if you sort of review our favorite stuff, like in the book that I that I that I wrote, I kind of tried to systematize this, for anybody that looks at it, you list your favorite films, you list your favorite TV shows, you start looking at the connective tissue of it, you sort of get more mindful about what you're a world class expert on just based on other movies that are out there. And once you know your voice, and what's most compelling about your voice and analysis on your favorite stuff that really matters. Separate from the stuff that doesn't matter, you get to be you get to be able to you're coming from a place a creative sort of Nexus, where you can then express your idea from that place. And that makes you singular. So Tarantino does it with curating stuff from music and movies and all sorts of things. Right. And then it goes out, Nolan, there's his his style is a little more like, you just get the sense like, you can see how deeply how layered how aware he is about what he cares about. Right. That's what a director is doing is just sort of taking them through a personal growth experience shot by shot by shot with Cameron, what's so interesting is his style is kind of average ish. But avatar, Titanic I mean, he's made some of the most I think he's the box office champ of all time. Right? And he's so how is he doing it? I think he just has it. Anything that's popular is the same but different. And I think Cameron has a really deep sense of what awakens his own soul in terms of the same but different. In my, in my opinion, his stuff is a little too similar to other stuff. But um, you know, the global box office sees it differently. I mean, they love this stuff.

Alex Ferrari 28:04
But the thing is with Cameron is that he taps into primal ideas. Yeah, he taps into really primal ideas. Aliens is not about aliens. It's about a mother, protecting her young on both sides. The alien queen and Sigourney Weaver. That's what that movie is about. It's about it's not about aliens. And that's where a lot of the filmmakers who followed didn't get with aliens. So like they made some interesting alien movies. But what do we talk about when we talk about aliens? Aliens one, aliens two. And then visually what Fincher did with aliens three, and then the studio took it away from him. And that whole conversation, but it's really like after alien, which is arguably one of the greatest sci fi films ever created. Yeah, how do you follow that? With one of the greatest sci fi action films ever created from a note from a guy who just did a terminator? And then you look a Terminator, the primal ideas in Terminator, Titanic abyss, even True Lies, which is probably his most fun, like, having a good time kind of project. But look at an avatar and people always bust balls about avatar like oh, it's FernGully meets Dances with Wolves. And I'm like, and he he tapped into some primal stuff, but what he also does is on the writing side, by the way, I don't know if you've written read any of his scripts lately, but

Brooks Elms 29:43
How's his page craft?

Alex Ferrari 29:45
It's impeccable it's impeccable. You read aliens is a masterclass on description, on economy of words. There is a sea of white is so Eliquis is like reading a shame black script. And you're just like, Oh, I've never read description like this before. Like, are you? Are you kidding me? Like, like, I mean, I went back and read Lethal Weapon and longest deny, and and you're just sitting there going the way he did description, the way he writes description is unlike anyone else. And then you look at someone like Sorkin and the dialogue is something insane. It's insane. It's insane. The cadence, the artistic dialogue,

Brooks Elms 30:29
Here's what they're doing, you're getting back to the thing is there when you see somebody that's writing at those higher levels, it's that they are open to something bigger and it flows. It's almost like they're not doing what other because other people are kind of doing like, Oh, I was in school, I was supposed to do the Hallmark, blah, blah, blah. But when you see somebody that has like a masterful voice, and then it feels like you're connecting to another human being. It feels different. It almost feels like they're not screenwriting, they're there. And what it is, is they're open to something that's so deep and intuitive. And, and it just feels different in a very human but almost universal way. It's really strange and mad, right?

Alex Ferrari 31:07
Yeah, exactly. You look again, well, they'll toto you look at you look at these kinds of writers that you just sitting there going. I mean, no one's making Pan's Labyrinth, other than to give them a little tour. Like there's just, it's not happening. So but their voices are so connected to them to their work. And you're absolutely right, everyone we're talking about. And I've said this, I've said this 1000 times in the show, and I'll say it again, the thing that sets you apart from everybody else in the pack is you being authentic to yourself, your own juice, that thing that Brooks juice, the Alex juice, whatever the juice is that makes you who you are, is what sets you apart in the marketplace in the world. And that's what people connect to. And that's honestly one of the reasons people always ask me, Why do you think that? You know, you, you started podcasting. When there was a lot of podcasts and filmmaking space to seven years, but seven years ago, by the way, in July, it's seven years I've been doing this thing. And they go Why is your show in shows done well over the last seven years, and a lot of other shows haven't haven't continued? And like why do people find your show? Popular? I'm like, they want to listen, and I go, because I am who I am. I am authentic. I'm asking authentic questions. I am not a journalist. I use the essence of me comes through my show comes through the work that I do comes through the marketing comes through my websites, it all is authentically me. I do it without trying or thinking about it. Because when I first started podcasting, and I use podcasts as an example, but when I first started interviewing people, I didn't know how to frickin interview anybody. I've never interviewed anybody in my life. I'm a frickin filmmaker. Like, I'm sitting there talking to somebody. I'm like, I don't I'm gonna ask you questions I would like to ask you. And that was, that was the because I was true. So even to this day, I talked, I'm talking to you, I'm asking you questions. I'm just I'm just having a conversation with you, man. I let nobody

Brooks Elms 33:03
Let me answer let me add something significant enough because I think it's a really great topic and and it'll bring your greatness to the surface in an even better way. Because think about this, in theory, you could be 100% authentic to you, and be pretty antisocial hermit on a mountain 100% authentic absolute, like, the difference between what you're doing my friend and everybody we've talked about in terms of a thought leader, the either entertainment or in this case, you know, is that you, my friend have absolutely absolutely a connection to your own authenticity, but a real burning desire to serve. Like if if you and I started going off the rails and having a part of a conversation that you didn't really feel was serving your audience, you'd be like, up up, up up up here. You're not effing around with that.

Alex Ferrari 33:56
But that's subconscious. But that's that's a conscious thing in the back of my head.

Brooks Elms 34:00
Yeah, but here's the thing, my friend, maybe if you allow it to be a little more conscious, you might have increased your ability to be more sort of reinventing if you want to go to different places or sustain it, because it's the dance. It's not just you being a great dance partner you are, it's that you that's one part of you, and you are really connected to somebody else. So it's you serving your audience, like nobody else does. So it's those both those things, it's not just the authentic thing, because that would be the hermit on the mountain. You are it could be the hermit on The Most Extreme. You are authentic and you genuinely care to serve. And the way you've served people with such a wonderful powerful suite of different programs and tips and services is amazing. And that comes from real generosity and service. You see what I'm saying to me? It's both it's it's like like here's the thing like with Tarantino when these guys that part of when they're yes, they want to express themselves, but they They are dancing with somebody if they're serving maybe like their own inner child in the audience or something at a very soul level, but it's us talking to something else as an advocate. So it's that connection between the two points. It's not just me and my own subject experience, you know, I'm saying the difference.

Alex Ferrari 35:16
No, absolutely. And I agree with you, I think any, any of these masters that we're talking about on the screenwriting side, or on the filmmaking side, or, or the, or the both, is that they are truly thinking about the audience. They're thinking about their own stuff. But they're doing it both at the same time, because there are filmmakers who literally just want to do their own thing and could care less about the audience. And we've all seen those movies. And then we have the other one was like, I only care about the audience, because I want to make money. So I'm going to put out some crap. And then the audience feels it.

Brooks Elms 35:58
You got it. Right. So there's everybody else, I'm just thinking about me, which might be authentic, but it's just so like, look at my belly button. Right. The other one is I'm chasing the market that I'm chasing the market. I'm a hack. If you say this, I'll do this. I don't care, right. And then the real Arts, which to me, Chris Nolan's Dark Knight was the most magnificent, sort of modern example of all the things that felt amazingly personal and intimate, and as big of a spectacle, and it's more, you know, see movie, but like, to me that was like it was it was really, I feel chills even talking about because I felt like, it was a rare time that something was as broadly popular as it could be, and also intimate and personal. I mean, to me, that's that, that I'll give up.

Alex Ferrari 36:43
I'll throw another one at you Thor Ragnarok. I mean, it was they gave basically an independent filmmaker, you know, 100 million dollars to go out and make or 100 $50 million and made some of the most ridiculous insanity of a Thor movie ever. Because the first Thor two Thor movies were fine in the first one was okay. Second one kind of was like one of the considered one of the worst of all the Marvel films. So they like they're like, hey, you know, let's give it to this incent this insane guy. And they did and what did they do? Now Thor went from a, like a background character in The Avengers, to now being one of the most popular characters up there with Iron Man and the other ones, purely because he's so funny. Now that changed his he's a completely different character. It was because of this, this filmmaker, this writer who infused it, and now love and thunders coming out, and I just can't wait to see what's going on.

Brooks Elms 37:41
They took him they met a person. I mean, it's what Todd Phillips in the Joker, right? So he took he took, basically, you know, sort of a taxi driver at a sense, and then put it in the DC universe. And it was an a billion dollars box office like what? That one, it's about the psychopath and I was going to kill people. I thought for sure. It's like, oh, I mean, there was there was a shooting in a movie theater with a guy dresses Joker, I thought Oh, my God, this is gonna be terrible. But he, I think, was able to hear and the screenwriter, were able to be really empathetic to that part of us that does get feel like a victim, and then finds a way to stand up for herself, but does it in a way that's you know, kind of dark, right? So like, very, very dark. And that's when we, in our own life, most of us aren't that dark, but we relate to it, because it's an expression of that feels like so. So the intimacy in Joker, I think was palpable. And that plus is totally broad colored Marvel movie or not DC movie. But DC comes together to make it that again, that's the thing is that is that really beautiful balance of, of sort of popular and personal together.

Alex Ferrari 38:56
But on top of that, then there's the artistry of Joaquin Phoenix's performance, that that is the thing that drives that project without Joaquin doing what he does. And what is he doing. He's being authentic in the way that he approaches that thing. And this is a really interesting conversation, because I've had conversations with actors recently, I've had a bunch of great conversations with some really big, you know, actors. And we talk about like Meryl Streep, and how they and how she's able to basically encompass anybody. She does, like does every year it's an Oscar nomination every second automatic Merrill Merrill gets an Oscar now she's done like 29 Oscar nods I think because I'm like, This is why someone like Tom Hanks sometimes like Tom Hanks, can engulf a character in a way that other actors can't Daniel Day Lewis den Zelle these characters, these actors who just get in there, and you're just like, they're, they're not them anymore. They're channeling the character almost. But how are they doing that? So I'm talking about I'm bringing this up in an artistic idea for for writers and for filmmakers listening, how are they able to encompass the character? So what are they doing differently than the 15 million other actors working, are trying to work? aren't doing and why are they doing it at that level? So what is Nolan Tarantino, Shane Black Sorkin What? Are they doing different that the rest of us aren't doing? What is that key? What are they tapping into? That we can't, and you can't tell me that, oh, they're special. You know, we all have the ability to tap into this because Tarantino was bumping his head against against the glass window, trying to get into the party for a decade. Before he finally got reservoir mate. He was in his early 30s, when he got that made. So he was trying and try no one would even give him the light of day, just would not. So he was able to figure it out. And there's also perseverance and all that, and that's another conversation. But what is it about them? And what is it about these directors who can continuously can tap into something and take their art Scorsese Marty, of his generation and Spielberg of his generation? They're still knocking it out of the park at this. They're like, 70s. And like, I mean, it's insane. So what do you say?

Brooks Elms 41:36
I'll do exactly what I'm talking about, like the it factor somebody comes in, they just have it. So it's intention, because we've been actually touching on this the whole time. It's, I would say it's two main aspects. One is they've got like a soul, deep awareness of, of what they are as a puzzle piece. And what they're not, right, knowing what you're not is actually sometimes even more important than what you are. So that it's like, yeah, I'm my puzzle pieces in the shape or whatever it is, right. And they feel there's a, there's a deep sort of acceptance of that. For what it is. It's not it's good, bad. It's whatever, there's a neutral sort of, or even slightly positive love for their thing. Their distinctness their unique view as a human being. There's that part of it. And then there's the other part we talked about, about process, that when somebody walks in, and they have the it factor, they are basically in the moment, emotionally differentiated to a significant degree about outcome. They are here they are present they are in the moment. And those two factors, awareness of authenticity, being in the moment, and then maybe even what I've said before about sort of awareness of where the audience is, so maybe it's those three factors, awareness of me awareness of you, and then being in the moment. And it sounds really simple. But that is to my, to my understanding, that is the it factor, and actors can do it, musicians can do it. filmmakers can do it with their sort of movies, and when they're in the room, and there, if you can get those three things, meeting the person that you're with, where they are fully being you from your sort of soul expression. And being in a moment when you do it. There's just a there's an openness and a spaciousness that happens. That's when that sort of stuff kind of flows through you just have a deep experience you have. It's like what Joseph Campbell talked about, about an experience of being alive, when I'm fully me, and I'm beholding you being fully you. And we're in the moment fully those three things when you can sort of be in the habit. And so somebody like Meryl Streep, she's just in the habit of getting to that place of being fully open and paying full attention. And that's it. And that's the one thing that separates her from all these other actors, is they they're just in their head as opposed to their soul. And sounds simple, but you'd have to practice getting into your soul. And as writers, we want to practice over and over again, dropping down writing from the soul. And if you're a director on this set,

Alex Ferrari 44:12
Instinct, instinct, something that comes from us, yes, yes, most doors, the gut, is writing from the gut, as opposed to writing from the head. Because the head is craft, and you got to learn craft. Because if you don't know how to play a guitar, you're never gonna be able to play guitar, no matter how talented you might be, give or take, give or take, you know, there's the Mozart's of the world of course, but there is craft, so you do need to work at it. But we're talking about now, we understand craft. We understand now we're at a different level, because you and I both know, really good writers in this town that aren't as successful as they should be. That are that are really good at what they do. I've read scripts that I'm going How is this not been made? And I just like what is wrong? So it's not Think about that. That's good craft. But there's that something else that puts you over the top. And that's what this whole conversation has been about is about connecting to that thing that allows you to stand apart after you've understood craft, underused, the perseverance and the mental and all that all the stuff that you got to go through to make this thing happen. But the journey, not the destination, all of that. But what we're talking about is that authentic thing that makes you stand out. And when you were saying, I see you and you see me, we're both sitting authentic. To go back to James Cameron, what did he do an avatar? I see you that concept. The ICU concept is so old. That it's so it's the force man. It's the force that did a thorough look, what's Lucas did with the force. The force is an idea that had been around for millennia, was chi. It's achieved. It's key. It's the life force. It's, but he's like, but we're gonna do some cool stuff with it. And then the lightsabers, what are lightsabers? What are Jedi Knights they're samurais. You know, on a code, this is all they just touched on primal ideas, things that we all knew, and just spun it to a way that we're like, Oh, okay. It fights in space. We're just what we're to literally what war two edited fight the fight they literally edited for war two footage in a sizzle reel and match the cut for cut with, with the with the TIE fighters and stuff like that. It's what they did. So that's what, that's what they were trying to do. And, and again, with someone like Lucas, he was so authentic with what he was trying to do with Star Wars, to bring myth back to give the meat and potatoes of what we needed and wrap it in this beautiful package.

Brooks Elms 46:56
Yeah, yeah, I love it. Man. I love it. One of the thought I want to add to this is I really liked that sort of articulation of you know, me you in the moment, those three things, really, if you can fill those three boxes, I think you sparked you, then the force flows through you, right? There's not so this the writer that we know, we're an actor that we know that super talented, that some doesn't seem to be getting the opportunities that they want. I think one thing that's different these days that was different than you know, when you and I came up in like the 90s or 80s Is it really was before a gatekeeper sort of situation in Hollywood, where it was like you had to kind of know somebody they would because there were too many people that were interested in writing stuff. And most of the people weren't up to that level of, of, you know, I think of it in terms of prowess and proximity, right prowess. Can you write at that level where you're tapping into that soul deep pit factor, right? And then proximity, do you know somebody that can actually do something with your work, right? And so you're talking about some people that have the prowess, but for whatever reason, they're not in proximity to the people that are actually doing things. And back in the day, you needed representation, you knew this, you needed that. But these days, guys, there's this thing called social media. And that just obliterated the gates, the gates are not there. Hollywood is on social media and social media, I invite everybody listening to this, to think about social media as basically an open cocktail party in Hollywood. Not everybody's at the cocktail party, but I'm telling you, if they're not at the cocktail party themselves, and the cocktail party is Twitter, or LinkedIn, or Instagram or whatever. If they're not themselves, their assistant or their second assistant is, and almost nobody, nobody's talking to them. So you have probably one degree, if not two degrees away from everybody you want to be doing business with. If you have you don't have the prowess, then it's a new conversation anyway. If you first have the prowess, you will have the proximity, you just bring the superpower that we're talking about awareness of me awareness of you awareness of the moment, bring that into your social media interactions. And I tell you, you stand out you're not like the weirdo that's going by my script by my script by my script, you are just connecting to them in a soulful way about whatever they're posting about because they have interest in that and you just let the conversation let the relationship long term relationship just build organically. It doesn't take too many too many of those exchanges for them to go oh is this Alice guy he looks really interesting mean they know you but like, but like somebody who's a newer writer. If you show up with that it factor in social media, you stand out and they're going, Oh, who is this person? They click over your profile. And if your profile is optimized to have that it factor that you just feel whatever your superpower is, it's in that profile. They go, that person's interesting, what's going on? Then they start asking you What are you writing? And then you pitch to the difference?

Alex Ferrari 49:55
Yeah, and I've seen so many comedians who've built a career After just telling jokes on Twitter, oh, yeah, they just they tag a few people, couple hashtags, put it out there, and people just start following them. Because they're just funny. And then all of a sudden, you're like, What are they doing? And like, how are they doing? It's, oh, I gotta show like, it's a different world. And I think so many of us. I was I was such a victim of this for such a long time. And I was acting like he was the 90s. I was acting like it was, you know, and I was treating my career and treating what I was doing very much like, I was still stuck in the 90s. Until I finally, you know, it took me a couple decades to figure it out. I mean, I'm not joking about it. Like literally, I mean, when 2015 showed up. And I was at a pretty low point in my life, not the lowest, I wrote a book about my lowest. But the the was really, it wasn't in a great place. And I was like, You know what, let me let me start giving back. And let me start, let me open up this business, and I'm gonna do a podcast. And that's when that's when I launched indie film, hustle. And from that moment on, I was like, oh, okay, this is how the game is played. Now the rules have changed. I'm now starting to catch up. And now it's like, okay, now I gotta be ahead of the game on all these things. I'm certain because I'm kind of at the street level. And I'm interviewing and talking to people constantly about what's the newest thing if it's NFT's and raising money with NFT's? Or is it blockchain? Is that how we're gonna distribute? Are we, you know, SVOD is over are now at TVOD is dead. And AVOD is where the money is. And these kinds of things and Netflix not buying anymore. And, you know, Sundance doesn't have the same poll that it used to and all of these kinds of conversations where so many filmmakers and so many screenwriters are stuck in the time that they were growing up or that they want to be in because the 90s dude got a spec spec, the spec market in the 90s. In the 80s, and 3 million $4 million. Yeah, no. Do you know the story of Shane Black story on how he I don't know how he sold last Last Action Hero?

Brooks Elms 52:11
I'm sure I've heard it. And I mean, he's, you know,

Alex Ferrari 52:14
The historic was this. Yeah, he's, he's the poster child for from what I heard was his manager, said, Shane, what do you have? What's your next script? He's like, I got this idea. He goes, come over and tell me the idea. He's like, okay, great. Write it down on this napkin. So we wrote it down on a napkin. And then that manager called every studio head in town. This is the craziness that that we were in the world at that time. Every student had in town and said, I got student blacks next. Next script idea. If you want it, you need to come down to my office and read it. Wow. Not not assistant, you. So all the CEOs walked into the office and read a cocktail napkin. In three days later, we had a $4 million dollar bid. It was a bidding war. And then we all know how last action here on it.

Brooks Elms 53:04
But yeah, but yeah, that was yeah, that was

Alex Ferrari 53:08
I think that was the death of that. I think after after that. I think they're like, you know, we're, we're good. It's it. There's still million dollar sales every once in awhile in the stock market. No question. But it's nothing like it wasn't. I mean, Joe Osterhaus Jesus.

Brooks Elms 53:22
Yeah, no, that was it was not it was it was it was, it was, it was a good time. You know, it all I was so cute. But here's what I want to point out with you, my friend is that you took this intense passion that you had for independent filmmaking, and for helping others write your own authenticity, because you're no joke, you deeply care about this thing, and risking all these things, you really are the real deal. And you were like, Look, I've learned a few things over the over the years. I'd like to have conversations around that to be in service with your people. That's how you did it. Dude, that's how your puzzle piece went from what it was in the 90s. To what it was, it is now you just said, Here's my puzzle piece. Here's where I spent authentically and here's a way that my puzzle piece fits with what people need. And you just poured that fuel because you have that enthusiasm. And that's why you're so successful. You've made that connection and my friend anything if you know whatever you want to do as a filmmaker or screenwriter you can I invite you to reflect on the the exact way that you did it because if you did that if you have your trance, all these skills are transferable. That's what we're talking about that sustainability like that the Mojo that you use to go from you know, sort of talented indie filmmaker to like one of the biggest podcasts in the sector, that you can take that same Mojo and put it into screenplay, film, whatever you want. That next level is there for you. You just have to slow down and figure out how to connect those dots. You see I'm saying

Alex Ferrari 54:48
That's a that's a conversation we can have off air sir.

Brooks Elms 54:54
That's my favorite thing to do at uni. We're talking about audience right. And here's how I can tell you I have somebody in my program Right now, 3 million followers online, right 3 million followers. He's only been at it for like a year or two really funny comic, but he just moves in like this comedy class or whatever is like you know what I can do that character starts doing the character puts these 32nd clips on, boom, boom, you know, up, fail, fail, fail and then gets good at it and then start dialing in viral viral viral boom, now he's got, you know, auditions on it lives blown up all over, right? He comes to me and I'd show him how to take that third, it's the same thing I'm telling you. I go, Okay, here's your superpower for 30 seconds your world class, here's how you take that same superpower and put it into a 30 page sitcom. And I'm telling you, dude, easy as pie. Because that's what I do all day long. I try to move myself forward. And I try to help other people move forward with them. And I'm that dock connector. So so I can if I was to work with you, I was very specifically go, here's how I think you use crackers. That's a hard nut. Dude. You're just like you're saying a lot of people are doing podcasts. And they're all falling away. How are you? How are you outpacing? And we would get very specific about that. And I'd say here's your sort of very nuanced, specific superpower. And here's exactly how you apply it in your screenwriting directing whatever you want it those dots connect, I promise you.

Alex Ferrari 56:16
It's really interesting, too, because I mean, I always figured that one of the reasons why, you know, I had a popular show is because I'm just relentless. I just put out so much content, that I'll just work outwork you. I'll outwork anybody, and no one. And yet, I outwork companies, and I'm doing it a lot by myself. But companies with full staffs, and I'm still out working them, because that's who I am. Look, I got 50 How many hustles? Can you see in the screen at the same time? My hat, my shirt and giant letters in the back? I mean, it is a three giant words, hustle. I mean, I live the brand, sir. I live the brand. There's no question. But it's really but it's it's really interesting. It's not more just to kind of stroke my ego, but it's using it as an example of what because you're absolutely right. There are tons of people trying to break into the filmmaking and screenwriting space. And I've been able to do it twice with indie film, hustle, and with Bulletproof screenwriting, both at this, by the way, I don't know if you know this or not. But bulletproof screenwriting is as big if not bigger than indie film hustle as a podcast. Wow. I've just I've been realizing that it's, and I'm not saying that boast. But it's just fascinating to me. I'm like, How is this happening? So it's always interesting when when things like that happen in your life, because you feel like okay, let me I mean, I'm so busy doing it. I don't take time to think about why you do how it's doing it. So that thing, same thing could be turned into when you're writing. If you're getting success. Why am I getting success? And if I can figure out that formula, then I can kind of help it along and put fire gasoline on the fire. That's it.

Brooks Elms 58:03
I get I 1,000% guarantee you. Jon Favreau knows how to do it instinctive. I don't know if he can speak to it. If it's that conscious for him, he probably can't because he's so smart and so aware. But that's how he went from, you know, reinvention, reinvention, reinvention, reinvention. He has that authenticity in Him. He knows the types of puzzle pieces that, oh, here's where I fit in. Here's where I fit in. Here's where I fit in. So you're like you 3x Hustle aspect of your superpower. There's a way of doing that with maybe if you're writing a new screenplay, drilling down on theme, like the wreck with the typical again, I'm just pulling this off my head. But like, the typical screenwriter might think of theme one time, you as part your superpower would like I'm gonna hammer I'm gonna think of theme three times, five times. Like with Tarantino, he curates 10 times more than the rest of us. That's how he's differentiating. And so you have your own way of the exact way that you've differentiated as a podcaster. I promise you that's transferable to you in whatever new format you want screenwriting directing, whatever, and it's a matter of the slow and what happens dude is, it's, it's slowing down, opening up getting to that spacious thing going from the deep. Because when we slow down and we just ask ourselves a question, we're open to that. It flows through us and it tells us it'll go Alex this not that.

Alex Ferrari 59:29
If you can quiet the mind enough to hear when it comes through because we're so busy sometimes. That's why I'm such a big proponent of meditation. I meditate every day. And it helps the creative process a lot and I get the best ideas I get if I have a problem, I asked it in my meditation and generally ideas just fly to me because you quiet yourself all the noise down enough to allow that to come in. So as writers, you know, I asked a lot of these big screenwriters like do you meditate and they're like, Absolutely, like I just It's a part of the process to come and just quiet down the mind to allow that to come in. This is the thing that writers and creatives don't understand. If you can allow yourself to receive this, this thing, this thing in the ether, whatever you want to call it fufu or not, I don't give a crap when an Oscar winner, multiple Oscar winners told me the same thing I'm listening. So regardless if you believe it or not, but if you can require about quiet enough to accept it, to open yourself up to it, to relieve your ego to relieve your mind, and get it out of the way, to you instinctively allow it to come through you, that's when magic starts to happen. And that these, these great artists that we're talking about in this conversation, have the ability to not do it just once. But again, and again. And you can see in a in a filmography. If you look at if you look closely at a filmography, especially filmography scripts are different, because once they get made into movie, a lot of different things happen. But if a writer director you can see where they skewed off most of the time, arguably, Cameron is probably the only one that does not have that. His his filmography pretty much is rock solid. There's just it just there's nothing that you're like, oh, he bombed that one. Never is that it hasn't happened yet. Maybe in the next five avatars? I don't know. Doubt it. But But generally speaking, you can see where things go, oh, oh, he there was a misstep there. What happened there? And when you investigate, there's something happening in their lives, they might have gotten too full of themselves, the ego situations like that. And it's really interesting, because I've been a student of the business for close to 30 years, I've read beyond biographies and really studied what these filmmakers do. And you can just see, you could see like, oh, that boom, or boom, or boom, a book. Oh. And you know, and for Tarantino was Death Proof. He, that was that that was the thing that scared the living hell out of him. And it was really interesting, because he's talked about this publicly so many times. He was terrified of Death Proof like because it was the first time he ever bombed first time, it was not well received first time that people didn't love it. I do like Death Proof. But there's, there's issues about it. It's definitely not at the highest of his of his work. But there was something that happened in that transition. That wasn't authentic to him anymore. Something happened. I don't know what it was. But it didn't sing. It didn't sing like the rest of them. Something happened. So what did you do right away is like, Kill Bill. I'm gonna read back to where I know about Yeah. And then he came out with it with this amazing, you know, amazing Opus, that was Bill Bill, and then Inglorious Basterds, and so on. I'm not sure if Cobra was before or after, I don't remember. But the next movie was,

Brooks Elms 1:02:56
He went. So the way I would say that is he went found a way to receive that he wasn't receiving impulses with that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that's it. And so let me wander back up. Because a lot of sometimes people will hear meditation, even if they're sort of down with or whatever. But they're like, sitting on a cushion, whatever. So like, you'll feel Jackson was really big, you know, he was the balls in the Lakers, he was really big into that. But you can imagine a lot of people that are new to really, because this is really close. So what he would do is just like, Okay, we're gonna meditate as a team, if you're not into meditating, just rest, you know, no judgment either way. So like, anybody who's hearing this, that's kind of new to that thing. It's like, I don't know, it's a weird, just, it's cool. There's, you know, there's not a right way to do it. It's really just settling yourself down and being sort of open to the bigger thing, you could actually do it, going on a walk, you can do it journaling, you could do whatever. I'm like, way into personal growth. And I don't traditionally meditate. I do sometimes. But like, for the most part, I just want to get myself into like a grounded state of tapping into something better. You know, and I do it in the morning, and I do it at night. Most of the time, not not all the time, but like, so I would invite people to think about it. And here's the thing, and so sometimes I'll like my, my morning ritual will be journaling. And then I'll be like, yeah, if now I'm gonna do like some Tai Chi. And I'm like, Yeah, that's kind of stupid. But like, it'll change and like so I invite you guys to come up if look, if you if meditation works for you, and you can do that and clockwork amazing. But I would encourage you guys just to find your own way. And that open space and, and that's going to make the difference. And then the one other thing quickly. The other thing that if you get a good coach, or consultant, what they will do is they will help you get into that deep grounded space because it feels really vulnerable, and people are afraid of it. So if you get to a really, you work with somebody who's really good, and somebody who's really good, we'll put you in touch with your superpower and then just duck like when I'm doing my best work. I'm going to go keep going, it's great, you know, like, I'm really good at getting out of the way to recognize because it's not about me it's being in service to their greatness so that they and their audience can have this beautiful union. So I'm in the moment, helping them sort of have this thing. And when we're getting coached, you know, if it's a great coach, if you feel like, amazing, like so powerful, and then from there, you just write at a much higher level, because the stuff is flowing through you. So a start with your first version of whatever meditation is, or whatever, and then be get support from anybody in your life that can get you into that state of awesomeness. One last last thing. You know, it was to me, like when I look at, you know, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and how they, you know, really created, you know, they were having some success in Hollywood, when they, when they, at least what I've heard about, I don't know, that person would have heard about them, making them Goodwill Hunting, I really admired how they seem to just shower each other with love, but they really loved each other. And I know you're awesome. They seem to really build each other up because I had really strong relationships with friends. But in my mind, we didn't seem to be goes as far as those guys seem to go in terms of really celebrating each other. And there's something in that quality. So for them, that sort of celebration was able to, you know, and then it got support from like Castle Rock or whatever, and but like, but but so whatever your version of getting celebrated and supported by amazing people, it could be a coach, it could be friends, it could be whatever, get your version of it, because it's from that place that you're going to create at a much higher level.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:35
Yeah, there's no question Brosman I mean, this conversation went into a direction that I wasn't expecting, which I love. So much, we basically talked about the authenticity of being a screenwriter, and authenticity, being an artist, how to channel how to get things into you how to be able to tap into the ether, all these amazing things that aren't really talked about very often. In this space, you know, we could talk about character development and structure all day. But this is something really interesting. And I'm so glad that we had this conversation and hopefully, it's the beginning place for people listening to start figuring out is this that what's the missing thing? You know, one guy I wanted to bring up before we, before we stop, or finish is Taylor Sheridan, not Taylor shared, and arguably, he's one of the best writers in Hollywood right now. He's arguably the busiest Hollywood writer in Hollywood. There's just he's got 11 shows. In production, I think

Brooks Elms 1:07:34
11?

Alex Ferrari 1:07:35
I think he's got I mean, a god, there's like at least six that I know of off the top of my head. But then I saw a video on Paramount plus that showed like three or four other ones he's developing that are like, you know, there's a new one coming out with Sylvester Stallone as a gangster. And then there's 1932, another prequel to to Yellowstone, and mayors of Kings town and there's like, the six exits, the four sixes ranch of spin off, like there's just so much, but I was watching an interview with him this weekend. He was, I think, on CBS This Morning. And he talked about just bumping his head for years in Hollywood. And he's he's such a matter of fact, guy. He's just like, he's a cowboy. He is a cowboy. That's it. He's straight up cowboy. He's like, I make movies to support my horse habit is exactly that's different. So so he has been bumping it, he was bumping around Hollywood, for almost two decades, just just right, just just acting, and he'd always got parts here and there. And he got a couple of shows and good looking dude, good actor. No reason why he shouldn't have made it. As a leader, he could have easily been a leading man, I could see him as a leading guy. But he's like, I never made it past, you know, 11 on the fucking College. Like he goes, and he goes, I've never seen in town. Anybody batter their head against the wall for 20 years and then make it. And I was like, wow, that's really interesting, because the town tells you what you are supposed to be doing. And I was like, that just hit me like a ton of bricks, man, because I was just like, Wow, that's pretty, pretty deep of a of a comment to say. But then you start thinking about it. And there isn't a story. That 20 years somebody was beating and beating and beating the hell out to be an actor. And then they became Tom Cruise like that doesn't. You know, they were writing for 20 years. And then they became Clint Tarantino like that. He was he's, I've seen it at eight years. I've seen it at 10 years, seen it at 12 years. But I haven't seen it a 20 years. He goes in, that's something really specific. So it's an idea that I was like, huh, the town tells you what you're supposed to be doing. So if you're going in a direction, and after eight or 10 years, it's not working out, maybe this is not the specific path. So maybe I want to be screening for film feature features, feature features, like, maybe TVs where you need to be, you know, maybe you need to be a filmmaker, maybe you need to be something.

Brooks Elms 1:10:30
I love it. To me, that's that puzzle piece. It's like I, I'm probably I think I fit here, right?

Alex Ferrari 1:10:36
I want to I want, I want to fit here. I want to fit here. Yeah, yeah.

Brooks Elms 1:10:40
And then you gotta try it. And then but here's the one thing and and this is, it's a really good thing. It's the key is to when we're trying to find where we fit as a puzzle piece to come from that deeper place, right? Because because sometimes you'll see people going, Oh, I didn't fit here. And then we'll try a quarter. And then we'll try comedy. And then I'll try whatever. And that's kind of a lot of frenetic energy, right, but it's not as deep. So what you want to do is go no, no deeper. And to me, it's like, who am I here to serve. And I think what he did was like, hold on a second, I can connect to the audience in a different way. If I if I write, you know, that I've done I've been able to do so far as as an actor, I can do some serious stuff with an actor, I can go even deeper. So that's to me is what you're looking for is Who can I serve in a deep way? That feels authentic for me authentic for them? To me, that's, that's where that magic is.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:30
And it was so funny, because he's like, someone told him I think he wrote something down somewhere, something I don't know. And a friend of his like, hey, maybe you should write try writing. So that weekend, he went home and wrote the pilot for mayor of Kingston, which I'm watching bomb watching, by the way, it's a fantastic show. And, and he literally said to himself, after he wrote the pilot, which took him a week, that's how much built up craft and energy he had built up, but had never executed in that space, that he was able to create a pilot, by the way, I don't know if you've seen the pilot for sure. Merica? No, no, it's good. It's one of the best pilots I've I've ever seen. It's really, it's up there with, it's up there with the Breaking Bad pilot. It's up there with the madman pilot, in my opinion, because you watch it and it did what a job of a pilot is supposed to do. It introduces characters, and hooks you for the series. And there's something that happens in that pilot that you're just going, we'll have to watch the entire show now, because it is so beautifully crafted. And then just the concept of the of what the characters are doing was something I'd never even never even seen before. So it's such an original idea. That was another thing. But he said, Man, I wish I would have started doing this 15 years ago, he literally stopped and said that, because I wish I would have been doing this 15 years ago, I've been bumping my head as an actor all these years. And what I really was meant to do is write Yeah, and then now he's a writer and director. And then he did carrio And you know of Helen high water. And let me give

Brooks Elms 1:13:08
The keys to one more thought about this was really interesting. There's this personal growth guy named Gay Hendricks and he talks about, he talks about like, these four zones, right? One is like the zone of like, you hate it. It's like you're miserable. And then one is like, okay, you can kind of you know, you can put up with it. But then once whatever. The third is the excellence zone. And then the fourth is the genius zone. Right? And I think what we're talking about with Thomas Sheridan and Tarantino, by the way, as an actor, you know, somebody? Yeah, not not strong. And then, and then through that, but he was trying, he was going out there he was, whatever. So he didn't stop there. He was like, hold on a second. And then, like I said, with that the incident, one guy said, I was ready. You're amazing. And now I was like, oh, yeah, that's actually where my genius zone is. And we share it. And he was, you know, maybe excellent, or whatever, as an actor, but as a writer, that was really his genius. So like, and we know what we're in our genius zone. When you get that time warp thing, things just flow. They just happen. It's just it feels effortless. It's easy. Other people are like, Oh my God, you're amazing at this, you know, but we want to be careful because the excellent zone is tricky, because we're competent for actually getting stuff done. But it's not really why we're on the planet. And maybe those those golden handcuffs, maybe we're good at some other sector or even we're good in a film business, but we're not really connecting soul to soul. We're kind of getting it done, but like that deeper level, so I would invite everybody listen to this. Just think about your different. The book. That's a pretty good one is the genius zone. Hendrix or the big leap by Gay Hendricks, but it's totally applicable to you and your place in the business. Are you working from your real genius on and when you are people they you find your kindred spirits and they find you it's it's beautiful.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:54
It's it's you're absolutely right. Listen, man. Brooks Where can people find out more about you and In the amazing work you're doing, sir.

Brooks Elms 1:15:01
So, go to Twitter Brooks Elms, Brooks Elms at Twitter. And if you'd like me a little bit, just want to hear the stuff, that's fine. If you want to get on my email list, you can click the link on my Twitter profile. And that brings you into, you know, all sorts of different ways to get on my email list. Like there's some free guides about dealing with fear and feedback and all sorts of good stuff. And on my email list, you get exclusive free content, like we did a free group coaching call today, which is really fun. So yeah, and then I actually just came out with a new book, you can get that through the same link. And the book is like a nine step process of how I intend to systematize like that it factor I'm gonna call your superpower. And like where you start to kind of define that. So it's like a system, but the idea is to go really soul deep on your system so that it's repeatable and sustainable, but really clear steps forward. So then writers have been having a really good time with it. So

Alex Ferrari 1:15:57
Brooks, man, it's been an absolute pleasure, man. You got to come back on the show. We always have great conversations. This has been this has been one for the books, my friend so I appreciate you my friend. Thank you again for coming back.

Brooks Elms 1:16:09
Thank you brother. Really happy to be here.

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BPS 213: The Brutal Truth About Producing Indie Projects With Daniel Sollinger

Today on the show we have producer Daniel Sollinger. Daniel and I have fought in the same indie film trenches for years. I had the pleasure of working with him on multiple occassion over the past 1o years.

He has a new film coming out called Clean, starring Academy Award® Winner Arian Brody.

Tormented by a past life, garbage man Clean (Adrien Brody) attempts a life of quiet redemption. But when his good intentions mark him a target of a local crime boss (Glenn Fleshler), Clean is forced to reconcile with the violence of his past. The film also stars Richie Merritt, Chandler Ari DuPont, Mykelti Williamson, RZA, Michelle Wilson, and John Bianco. It is written by Paul Solet and Adrien Brody. Clean, directed by Paul Solet, arrives in theaters, On Demand, and digital on January 28, 2022.

Daniel and I discuss the brutal truth on producing and making indie films in today world. The conversation is full of real-world stories, advice and lessons to help you on your path. Enjoy!!!

Right-click here to download the MP3

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Alex Ferrari 0:00
I like to welcome to the show, Daniel Sollinger. How're you doing, Daniel?

Daniel Sollinger 0:15
I'm doing great. Yeah!

Alex Ferrari 0:17
Good to see you, my friend you and I have. We have, we have, we have fought this in battles. We've been in the same trenches. We have walked over the same bodies in independent film, and so I was so happy when you reached out to me about coming on the show, because you're a wealth of information. You've done. I mean, you've definitely have done the indie film hustle.

Daniel Sollinger 0:43
30 years of Indie film hustling. Yes!

Alex Ferrari 0:44
And then some. So I have to start let's start the conversation, my friend is how and why did you decide to get into this insanity? That is the film industry, let alone the indie film industry?

Daniel Sollinger 1:00
Well, you know, that's a great question. I just want to start off to saying like, how much fun it has been to watch, Indie Film Hustle, grow and expand. And, you know, you're such a great entrepreneur, too. I always use you as an example to young filmmakers who are, you know, maybe have a movie that doesn't have stores or whatever. And I say, there's, you just have to find a unique way to do it. I know this guy, Alex, who, when the iPhone came out, he took his short film, he turned it into an app and sold it on the App Store. Like you just have to find the new way to do it, to monetize your film and make it successful, you know, so I love what you do and glad to be here. I mean, I the long story is, is that when I was in high school, my parents did not want us to watch movies or television, they want us to read books, I became very rebellious, I got kicked out of one high school, I went to another high school, I got kicked out of that high school and I, I went to the end of the line, which was a night school for sort of disciplinary problem, children. And while I was a night school, I met another kid who was kicked out of this thing called the Fine Art Center. This is in Greenville, South Carolina. And he was studying film, and it was just like a light bulb went off. I was like, you can study film like that can be a career like it just it just blew my mind. And I had no experience whatsoever. But I, I had been writing a lot of poetry and I submitted all my poetry the Fine Arts Center, and God bless Dennis, you see the teacher there. He, he accepted me into the program, I'd go half the day at my regular high school. And then I went to half the day and studied film at the fine art center. And, you know, then I applied to NYU and went to NYU film school and, you know, build a career from that. I love making movies. I love telling stories, you know, and when I was getting out of NYU, I sort of I think there was sort of like a decision point. It's like, do I want to be a PA on big movies? You know? Or do I want to produce music videos, because I was producing oil. I was producing music videos before I graduated. And I said, You know what, I want to be a producer. I'm just gonna start producing music videos, and someday I'll be producing big movies, but I'm just going to produce because that's what I like to do. You know, I don't want a PA for 10 years. You know, I'm I mean, you know, God bless them, you know, and nothing wrong with it. But I mean, like, 60 year old second ideas and just wonder, like, I just didn't want to get caught in like, a, like a smaller roll on a bigger movie. Like I wanted to have the enjoyment of producing from the beginning, you know?

Alex Ferrari 3:27
Yeah, I mean, I've run into a couple 45 50 year old PA's and that's, that's it? That's tough. It's a tough gig, man. It's a tough gig. Yeah, getting caught up in that and that's nothing that's wrong with it, man. But PA-ing is a young man's game, my friend. It is things things hurt. Now, that did not hurt in your 20s like walking through it. I mean, if you know if you know when it's gonna rain by the pain in your knee, you might have jumped the shark. Now you made your bones coming up as a first ad and line producer in the UPM. Can you tell the difference? Can you tell me the difference between a UPM a unit production manager and a line producer? Because that's a confusion a lot of filmmakers have.

Daniel Sollinger 4:16
Sure well, yeah, I have a lot to say about actually. So I'm a DGA UPM on the Directors Guild of America UPM. And even if I'm doing a job as a producer, and it's a DGA show, I will take the UPM credit so that I get that you know, health pension and welfare benefits and everything so that's so that that's there's still a lot of room and I'm not the only one there's like huge producers like Daniel loopy and, you know, there's a lot of lot of, you know, big Hollywood producers that when they produce a movie they they are the UPM as well. So, the UPM is the person in charge of, you know, breaking down the script, creating a schedule, turning that information, the breakdown in the schedule into a budget, then Hiring the crew and making sure everything stays on track in terms of scheduling budget all the way through till the end of production. So that's, that's what a UPM does, um, the line producer I think is a little bit more of an indie role. And it's, it's, it's a step up. So the UPM will work underneath the line producer, the line producer will be their supervisor, and the line producer looks at more the big picture of the production. And the UPM is making sure the lunch is there on time and taking care of the smaller details to make sure that all the smaller details are hitting all the places that they're supposed to be.

Alex Ferrari 5:36
So you even though you might be line producing, you'll take a UPM credit.

Daniel Sollinger 5:40
Even if I'm just for producer, you know, I'll take a UPM credit if it's a Directors Guild of America movie, absolutely!

Alex Ferrari 5:47
Right. And you being a DJ, and you being a union DJ, a union member, you have to basically work on projects that are union DJ generally.

Daniel Sollinger 5:55
Well, luckily, in my category, that's a big loophole. Because yes, I cannot work on a non union movie. As a unit production manager. I can't work on a non union movie as a line producer as a producer. So it's a lot harder for Union a DS, because there's no other sort of title that really fits right? You know, so and the DGA is there, they are really serious about it, too. If I work on a non union movie as a unit production manager, my penalty if they find out and discipline me, is my entire salary from that project. So it's a very serious deal

Alex Ferrari 6:35
That we won't get into how fair that is or not fair that is. But now Are there any

Daniel Sollinger 6:44
There's other things you can do. You can go fi core, which is financial core so that you can get the benefits of being union and be non union? I mean, there's there's ways to deal with it. But if you're if you're doing everything by the book, I mean, that's the potential penalty that you face.

Alex Ferrari 6:57
Well, yeah, I know isn't I mean, Robert Rodriguez couldn't turn to You know, the, you know, George Lucas, they're all non GGA. And they still work on DGA projects and films, but there are five core if I'm not mistaken. Yeah, there and it's, it's like the DJ doesn't generally like to talk a lot about like, we don't we don't talk about Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez. No, no, no. But no. I mean, listen, I heard I've heard nothing. But great things about the DGA. I know that they have probably the best benefits package out of all the unions in Hollywood pension package. I mean, it's pretty insane. It's pretty insane

Daniel Sollinger 7:33
It's very nice. And beyond that, too. I'm a huge fan of the DGA, you know, they a decade ago, they spent $2 million to commissioned a study about where they thought online viewing would go right at the time. You know, I think YouTube was just starting to really kick in, you know, people were doing webisodes. I don't know if you remember those? No, it was very, very, very little revenue in it. And because they commissioned this study, they learned what anchor points they needed to put into the contracts so that people who working in new media felt free to go DGA. But as as it grew like the DGA would grow with it in the in the parody of compensation would grow with it. And I, they're there. Well, it's directors and UPM. So it's like the best run union, you know, there's very little drama, everything's like boom, boom, boom, by the book, very healthy pension. Their reserves and their pension, you know, the reserves for the operating overall are like really abundant, you know, and it's just a incredibly well run union, I think the best union, and I think the all the other unions follow them. So, you know, I think in terms of the contract cycles, like DJs, like the first up, and then a lot of the other unions will sort of follow their lead and when they go into their negotiations,

Alex Ferrari 8:55
Yeah, it's if you can, if you can get it, it's great. It really is, but you have to follow the rules. There's no question about it don't do not play around. They don't play.

Daniel Sollinger 9:06
Yeah, and rules, you know, rules are, are there for a reason to I mean, you know, you know, when you think about SEFs set safety liability, yeah. You know, um, you know, the rules that can be restrictive and challenging at times, but, but they're there to protect the the members and you know, and the, the institution as a whole and filmmaking in general, you know.

Alex Ferrari 9:29
Now you and I worked on a project two years ago, called without men starring the lovely, Eva Longoria who was just on the show, and that was not planned by the way I didn't plan on having you. You reached out to me before even was even scheduled to be on the show. But it just so was, was funny. And I talked to her a little bit about the show that about the movie, she's like, Oh, my God, I forgot. You know, that's amazing. I can't believe you worked on it. And that movie was a really interesting experience for me because this, we're going back it'd be releasing 10 years ago, 10 11 years ago, by 11 years ago. Um, that that was released. And we were working on it in 2010. I think it was being filmed in 2010 2000 2009 2010, something like that. And I you know, it had Christian Slater in it, it had Castillo Castillo Castillo, Paul Rodriguez, Paul Rodriguez had a really great cast. And it was shot outside of LA was I think outside the crew, the what you call it? What is that?

Daniel Sollinger 10:30
The zone. They call it the zone is 30 miles. radius from this screen actors guild headquarters. Yeah. So it was outside the zone. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 10:40
It was outside the zone. So technically, you could do a non union scenario there. And I think that's for crew, not for DGA or other things. But for crew. So I remember when we were on that, that that project was flipped. Now, can you explain what flipping a movie means? And how you handled it?

Daniel Sollinger 11:02
Okay, yes, definitely. Um, so flipping is when a, when the crew decides that they want to organize and collectively bargain with the producers. And so, you know, I do both Union and non union work, both as you know, as a union member, you know, in my category, but also, you know, all the other trade unions involved. And I'm, so usually, when I start a project, if we make a decision can, it always comes down to money, can we afford to go union, like, my default is, is like, I would prefer to go union because union, like your basement level quality of work is higher period. Sure, like, you're your worst guy on the union crew is better than the average guy on a non union crew, in my experience, just just my experience. So um, but, you know, you there's a tremendous cost impacted that I think, at the moment, it's around an extra $220 per day, per person, just in benefits. So that adds up to six figures very quickly. And if, you know, if you're really trying to, you know, get something done. You know, sometimes there's just not the room to do that, which was the case and that movie, by the way, love Eva loved working with her never such a wonderful experience. And, um, so, you know, we had a very limited, we actually didn't have full financing, you know, we had enough to get it in the Can we didn't even have the money for post, I think, when we started out, and, which is why I think it took another eight months before we were like, okay, like,

Alex Ferrari 12:46
I'm literally I had all the raw files on a hard drive on multiple hard drives sitting in my office. And I would call you every every month, like, Hey, man, do you want me to finish this Eva Longoria Christian Slater movie?

Daniel Sollinger 13:03
Well, that was the reason why. Okay. And so like I said, we had just, you know, we had just enough to get get us through production. So we we told everybody going into it. This is non union film, when we hired the crew, you know, we can't afford to go union, you know, we're going to do this non union, and mostly we hired non union people. Um, I find that when you have talent at a certain visibility, that, that becomes more and more untenable that that, I believe, I believe, I don't know who or where I think that they unions look at a project and they say, Look, you know, if you can, if you've got Eva Longoria, or, you know, whoever I'm just using her in the example, this movie, like you can, you should really be union. And I think that's sort of like the mindset and, you know, and they're entitled to that. So then what happens is you're shooting with this crew that you believe is non union, and it doesn't matter if they're union members or not, it's a little bit more difficult, if they are union members to stay non union because the union then applies pressure on them if the DP is union, you know, they'll get a call from the union and say, Look, we It looks like you're working on a non union production, you know, that's not okay. You know, we, you know, we need help, you know, organizing the organizing the shoot, and by organizing, if you can get 50% of the crew to sign on and agree to be represented, then the union then becomes the representative for the crew. And what what happens is they stop work, you know, they usually do it on a lunch break, or at the beginning of a day, and no work happens until you work out a deal with the, you know, a contract with the union. And that that did happen on that project.

Alex Ferrari 14:53
It was it was really interesting because I when I was when I was coming up, there was a movie We that I worked on in Florida. And it was it, believe it or not, was like a million dollar budget. But most of that money was going towards cast it was a very poorly. It was a very poorly run project. And back in those years is the mid 2000s, early 2000s. And I remember the day I was doing all the post on it, and it had like an Academy Award nominee in it and a couple of people in it. And then the union showed up because was non union this was in Florida, because Florida has a right to work state. So you don't have to put the Union came because he said they saw the trucks and everything. And then like so. And luckily that day, none of the major cast was there. It was all kind of like the the the non bankable names were there. And all of a sudden they looked and they saw the camera that we were using. And it was the dv x 100 a Panasonic mini DV camera, shooting a million dollar movie with the Panasonic dva 100 million. Wow. And they said literally they're like, You guys have a great day. And literally all of them just walked out. They were done. They were just like, these guys, obviously I don't care if you've got Meryl Streep here you're shooting with this camera, you're obviously don't have the money to pay us. But that's but that's the that's the one that these are the kind of things that you PMs in line producers have to deal with that the filmmakers generally don't need to even know about until they go. Why am I why isn't my crew working?

Daniel Sollinger 16:26
Where's the why is the crew across the street? It's call time.

Alex Ferrari 16:29
Exactly! At that point they go ohh.

Daniel Sollinger 16:33
I want to go in a little bit more detail about without men Yeah, in the flow. Because now that's 10 years past, I feel like I could devolve some things that I wouldn't normally have have have divulged in the time. But so you can as a producer, you can usually see a flip coming. It's not a surprise the day that the crew is not working. There's usually you know, there's background bills you get as rumbles. Yeah, feel it, you feel it happening. So I saw this coming. And this is a project that our it was all in one location we had, we had this great situation. It was a film school. I don't think they exist anymore, actually. And they're the name of the film school escapes me but they had this soundstage and they had this Mexican village backlot. And it was perfect for our movie. And so we struck a deal. You know, we hired students to and and so we just landed at this film school, and we shot our whole movie on their on their backlot in soundstage. It was it was a it was a great situation, especially, you know, with limited means. So, whenever a flip happens, there's there's some negotiating that goes on, you know, like you can, you can get, there's some things that they will not budge about on their contract. There's like minimum staffing requirements, you have to pay all the pension and welfare retro, retroactively, there's a lot that there's a lot that that is that you're not gonna be able to negotiate. But there's all these other deal points that you can negotiate that are more negotiable. So when I knew the flip was coming, the morning of the flip was there, and the crew went across the street and they all had their walkie talkies. And so I went around to all the film students I said, Okay, you're the you're the well, we are at staff it wasn't flip DJ. So our ad staff was still on. But you know, I said, Okay, you're the camera person. You're the you're the you're this you're that you're the I gave all the students assignments, and I said, use the walkies a lot just every every I told the ad anything you just you're moving the camera over two inches. Put it on the walkie Right. And, and and then I waited. Right and I and the union representative was expecting me to call him and be like, let's work out something we're not getting anything done. But instead the whole crew was sitting there listening to their walkies and there's like, alright, Roll camera. Okay, we're moving on, you know, and and we were just shooting without them, you know, and they were flipping out. And so they started to put a lot of pressure on their union representative to contact me and work out some sort of deal and I may have even like not answered the guy's phone call the first couple of times he was trying to call me and and and he finally got ahold me. He's like, Look, man, we really have to work something out here. I was like, you know, okay, well, I'll talk to you. Why don't you come in and talk. And I worked out like the best possible deal I've ever have on a flip. I've been flipped about seven times. But just like just the barest barriers, barest minimums of like what I had to comply with. And, and then, you know, the crew came back and everybody hugged and we went on and, you know, the unions want the union, it's good to have a win win the union won because they, you know, they flipped us and we won because it was like, really not a high impact on us financially. And, and, you know, and then we and we got the movie made and that happened. I guess by lunchtime. I think the crew was back, you know, so it was pretty quick. They of course, the camera department like destroyed the card that the students had been shooting with. But, but it was it turned out to be like a, like a very effective, you know,

Alex Ferrari 20:02
It almost sounded like a hostage situation like, you have to call in and like they're not picking up the call, what do they want? I don't know, we'd send food. Or we'll send out one room or at least one hostage like, right. Now, are there any tricks of the trade that you can kind of give advice on when it comes to line producing a project or UPM in a project?

Daniel Sollinger 20:28
Well, I just heard this, this week, and I love this. Somebody said, Daniel, we're going to fix it in prep.

Alex Ferrari 20:36
What a great, what a great. Oh, my god, that's amazing.

Daniel Sollinger 20:40
That's when you're on set, it's like, oh, we'll fix it in post, no, fix it in prep, you know, like the, you know, like, that's the best thing you can do to yourself, even if you don't have the money to, you know, pay people to do like extensive prep, just do as much prep as you I work on this TV show called a double cross. And the producers on that show, they'll start out months in advance location scout, they'll do all this prep work on their own, so that by the time it gets the week before shooting, like so much as done in the crew to sort of drops into this situation that they've already set up ever, you know, it's like, they know all their calf, they know all their locations, they know they've got, you know, they know all their props, they know how they're doing everything. And the crew just sort of drops in and they go and, you know, I don't think that's that's an interesting way to work. That's not the way I would normally do it. But, but it's amazing how much if you do enough prep, you won't have problems during production. It's just that simple. You know?

Alex Ferrari 21:38
Yeah, absolutely. Prep is it's so undervalued. Prepare, prepare, prepare, prepare. Now, what are some mistakes that you see filmmakers make when they're trying to produce their first low budget? Independent Film, I'm sure you've seen you've been witness might have even been a part of early in your career,

Daniel Sollinger 21:57
I was thinking about all the mistakes I've made, like I don't even know where to start, you know, but but, you know,

Alex Ferrari 22:04
Top five, top five mistakes.

Daniel Sollinger 22:07
Yeah, um, as well, just back for a second of what you were saying about that shoot in Florida, you know, I've very often get I do a lot of, you know, breakdown schedules and budgets for movies that are fundraising or trying to get greenlit and what have you. And, um, if there's too much discrepancy between the above the line, and the below the line, that is not a good look.

Alex Ferrari 22:28
So you mean 750 For the talent, and 250 for production, that llittle, heavy, little, heavy on the downside?

Daniel Sollinger 22:35
Well, a good rule of thumb is that those should line up. So if you're spending a half million above the line, you should be spending at least a half million below the line. Like that's, to me that's responsible producing. So yeah, so if the ratio between what the above line was below the line, or getting is too off, it's just, it's, that's, that's a recipe for disaster for a lot of weight reasons, you know, because you're above the line, or in a movie that looks like garbage, you know, like, you know, like, and then they're not happy about that. And then you have to deal with the repercussions of that, or they're expecting a certain level of professionalism that you just can't afford, if you've done it that way. You know, so there's the stars, your big name, stars, or whatever that you're expecting to use on your, your marketing and bring the money back, you know, they arrive on set, and they're like, this is a joke, I can't work in this under these conditions. And you know, and it causes, you know, can cause just tremendous problems. So there should always be a parity between, you know, at least a one to one ratio between the above the line below the line spend, that would be my, my, my, my piece of advice number one.

Alex Ferrari 23:40
All right. Yeah, cuz I mean, there's so many. There's just so many things like, Well, there's one thing I remember when I was doing my movie, my $20 million movie for the mob back in the day. I was, I had the pleasure of being mentored by a legendary first ad. And he was a lot he was a line producer on some David Fincher films like he was, he was the real deal like he was he worked on lovestory in the 70s. Like he was, he'd been alright, he was, he was in the room on taxi driver, when, when Robert was like, Are you talking to me? Like he was in that room. He was in the room with Marty. So he was a New York guy who was an East Coast guy. So I was I had the pleasure of working with him for four months, and he trained me on how to just taught me on how to break down a movie, how to schedule a movie. And then I discovered how he was able to hide money in other departments. Can you talk about that little trick? And it's not it's not it's not notorious or anything like that. It's an actual really very valuable tool to to have.

Daniel Sollinger 24:50
Absolutely, absolutely. Because when you're creating a budget, you know, first of all things happen. Surprises happen. Things come up, you've always need to be aware that number one. So, you know, you should always have overtime budgeted some overtime, I usually start at 10%. And every budget I do, there's like an, you know, a 10%, overtime, you should always have a contingency in place. And, and hopefully you don't spend it but but trying to do is another mistake I see a lot of young producers make where they'll like, make a million dollar film, and then their contingency will be like $10,000, you know, like, you should have a 10% contingency, you know, and, but then also inside the budget, there should be areas or places that you know, that you've over budgeted for, you know, like, I can get a much better deal with this vendor than I'm putting in here, you know, but I'm gonna put this in here, because this is what it would cost if it was just a regular, normal vendor relationship, you know, and so you find all these little pockets, and then when things start going wrong, things happen. And I can't even begin, you know, you know, as well as I do, anybody who makes a film knows, it never goes 100% according to plan, then you have these little pockets that all we have is we have a union flip, what do we need to find an extra 40 grand somewhere, you know, so you know, oh, well, if we take this pad out of here, and this pad out of here, and we use our contingency and reduce our overtime budget to 5%, then we have the money, you know, so So those, those little pads and pockets are really good. Now, on the converse, you have to be very careful to, um, did not get in the habit of quoting the department heads the wrong misleading numbers. So let's say you have, you know, a $5,000, you know, budget for the the wardrobe department, you know, it's very easy to get in the habit of saying that you have 3000, and then try to act keep that as pad. And if they go over, as they they go over 1000, then you're you're still 1000 under and, and I've, I've done that a lot. And but it's a habit I'm trying to get myself off of because if you can be just fully transparent. These are the same numbers as my budget. If you're dealing with professionals, like that's a much better and more effective way to go. So So you had to be careful where you put those pads that they're there, you know that you're not depending on somebody else to overperform in order to have that pad? You know what I mean?

Alex Ferrari 27:23
I agree with you on on the professional standpoint, like if you're dealing with Union professionals, or people who are very seasoned, I get that, but maybe when you're dealing on a lower budget film with the department heads aren't as seasoned. That technique might work. And this is the art of being a line producer. This is this little

Daniel Sollinger 27:41
Line producing,

Alex Ferrari 27:41
Yeah, it's the art of line producing, because you've got to kind of like, okay, you have to check out the the, the crew, check out what's going on, check out the director, check out the producer, who's how much experience of these people have, do you think they're going to go over and, and things like that. And sometimes you have to have those little tricks in order to keep because it's your job,

Daniel Sollinger 28:02
I never do it anymore. But I have a line producer whose work I really highly respect and his operates at a at a higher level than me and, you know, he told me like, I always give them my real numbers. And I was like, wow, it was just like, wow, you know, like, okay, sort of like you having that, that conversation with that ad and you just sort of, you're like, oh, okay, yeah, I see why, you know, at the, at the top level, this is the way it works, you know,

Alex Ferrari 28:26
Right! Yeah, like I was, when I was talking to Ridley Scott's costume designer, you can give her she's an Oscar winner, you could give her the exact budget, you can give her your you don't play around with someone of that guy of that caliber. And because they're professionals, they've done this 1000 times, it's fine. But if you've got someone who's maybe done one or two shows, and you just don't know, you got to protect them, you got to protect not only yourself, but it's your job to make sure that this ship doesn't sink. And if you don't have that, the way that you're just talking about contingency, when stuff happens, which will happen. And every project it will happen, then your the whole thing can come crashing down like that you can't finish the movie. So in many ways, I mean, that's a lot of pressure on the line producer really, truly it is it truly is a lot of pressure on the UPM in the in the line producer because they've got to, they're the they're responsible for keeping the engine going. They're not the creative producer. They're the they're the nuts and bolts producer.

Daniel Sollinger 29:27
Well, and it's interesting too, because often the crew will consider them the enemy and that think that they're trying to get over on them or manipulate them, which is one of the reasons why I was saying like, it's best when you can give the real numbers. But um, but what I always say to the crew that's that's unhappy with me because I'm not giving them all the things that they want. I'm in charge of making sure your last paycheck clears. Right. If we if we spend all the money and and your paycheck bounces like that, you don't want that to happen any more than I do. So if I tell you We don't have the money, we don't have the money. You know, and there's we can't talk about anymore.

Alex Ferrari 30:04
Right. And a lot of times, especially when you have crews are coming in from the studio system, who are just used to all the toys, and they also know the depth that a studio has, like, Oh, if you go over 100,000, no one's gonna blink too much. If you go over a million, there's going to be a conversation, but the movie is going to get finished, you're going to get your final check from Universal. But when you're in the indie world, when the money runs out, you better go find some dentist.

Daniel Sollinger 30:31
Right! It's absolutely true. Yeah, I've been there. And it's painful.

Alex Ferrari 30:37
Yeah, especially when and then the poor director, and the forecast and the poor, the creatives behind everything that just like, what's, what's going what's going on. So it is truly one of the more important positions you can hire on is a good good line producer, who knows how to plays, who knows how to play with the numbers and make things work. And it is, I mean, watching watching my, my, my my line producing First Lady mentor work on that project all those years ago, I would just see how he would just move in, let's get into scheduling. That is a whole other art form between schedules, and this and that, and the actor and the location. And oh, God, you know, this, one of our content, one of the issues that we had was like, Oh, the Turtles are in mating season, and we can't shoot on the water. So we have to move things. Like it was, these are the things you have to deal with. These are this is the non sexy stuff, right? It's true. This is the stuff that we're talking about so unsexy, because all they teach in film school is like, look at the cool lens. Let's watch Citizen Kane, look at the new red and the Alexa. And let's go and let's go watch a Darren Aronofsky movie, and, you know, and, and, and wax poetic about it. But at the end of the day, this is what makes the movies, this is what gets these movies finished.

Daniel Sollinger 31:56
And you know, and it's what they don't teach you is that sometimes a small hand prop can grind the entire production down to the whole, you know, like, you know, it's like, you know, the, the director didn't see it that, you know, before the it's needed on camera, the prop person brings it. And the and the director is like, this is I can't work with this, this doesn't this is not what I need for this scene. And then production stops until somebody runs out and gets exactly what the director needs, you know? And yeah, they don't teach you that in film school?

Alex Ferrari 32:29
Not at all, not at all. Now, what was in your opinion, one of the worst days you've ever had on set? I know you I know. You'd like a shiver went down his spine. If you're not watching this.

Daniel Sollinger 32:42
I've done 65 Movies 400 short form content. So

Alex Ferrari 32:46
You've done a lot. So is there is there one that stands out? And then also how did you? And how did you overcome it? Like, that's always my question. And how did you overcome it that day?

Daniel Sollinger 32:56
Okay, that's a good question. So I'll start with the hardest one that I eventually did, overcome, was hired, hired by somebody, you know, very, very late in the prep process. Like, we got to shoot next week, kind of late. And find out after shooting three weeks, that they had spent all the money that they were given to make the movie all but like 40 or 50 grand on, I don't know what I suspect leisurely activities, for lack of a better word. And, but that they, they and it was a foreign production, and they didn't have an American LLC. So I formed an LLC, just to put all this money through. And so that we could operate as a as an American production. And then basically, you know, actually it was it was like a three week shoot, and two weeks into it, I realized the money isn't there, there's no money, you know, and it was right before Christmas. And I had about 130 people who weren't paid. Oh, and it was all on me. I was the LLC sole sole member of the LLC. And it was all on me and wow, that I woke up every morning and so much pain. And I had to go and just knock on doors 24/7 until I got the money to pay the people and it took it took like three months you know and and then the money to finish the film. So that's that's something that you never want to go through. And, but, you know, you come out of it stronger. Like there's, I've had so many experiences. The other story I want to tell about is the time we blew up a town, like literally, but the I'll tell that story and then just say that You know, now when I go onto a shoot, you know, it's there's very little that fazes me, there's one of my favorite movies is, you know, Wag the Dog were often the producer, and you know, there'll be a problem that will come up and what they're trying to do in that movie. And don't go like, this is nothing. You know, I was shooting Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and three of the horsemen died. And that's where you start to feel as like, whatever the fuck come up, you're like, look, I lived through this thing. I lived through that thing. We're going to get through this somehow. One of my mottos now is like, a problem cannot existentially exist without a solution. You know, like, it's just, it's not possible for a problem to exist without there being a solution. So, you know, that's the attitude I took. We were doing this movie, the alphabet killer. fun movie. Good movie, I'm very proud of it. And our grip truck was pulling out in the parking lot. After we'd packed up one location, we were doing a company move to another location, where we were shooting Martin Donovan, and Melissa Leo, who we only had for one day, like, they were going back to their, to their other projects or whatever. At the at the next morning. The grip truck grabs a power line pulls the power line, two telephone poles was transformers snap. Now what I didn't know that is that transformers are full of oil. So when they hit the ground, they exploded. And they the explosion of the oil like flew onto our still photographers car, and completely incinerated his car, incinerated the hotel next to the location we were at. We had you know, a huge luckily thing. Thank goodness, nobody was hurt. But a huge fireball, like came towards our first ad or second ad and like, burned off her eyebrows. And you know, this fire may have the explosion was enormous. You could hear it miles away, you know, and, um, you know, and and we had to get, we had Melissa Leo for one day. And so first of all, we made sure everybody was okay. Sure, of course. Anybody who was traumatized, we told them go back to the hotel. Right? Then I had to go and talk to the fire department. And who had now cordoned off, you know, like several square blocks. And I was like, Look, is there any way I can get to my camera truck to pull off my camera because we have to keep shooting? And he's like, Okay, well, let's, we'll have an escort, you can go and pull out your camera. What he didn't realize he thought it was a camera. It was actually 15 cases, of course. I grabbed a hand truck. And I'm like, pulling 15 cases off and like throwing them onto the hand truck. The fire the fire guy who came with me is looking at me like, I can't believe you're doing this right now. We frickin pulled the camera out. I don't I think there was a supplemental truck. Maybe it was the grip truck that pulled down the thing. And we had an electric truck that had lights and enough grip gear to get by. Did the company move? Shot Martin and Melissa made our day, you know, and the issue, you know, in the insurance claim was like, all the funny thing is, is, is right after it happened, you know, it was just mayhem. I turned to Martin Dunham and I said, Can you believe this is like, No, this is like the second time this has happened. We made our day you know, the insurance claim went on for years, the city was battling the the the film insurance company because you know, the film company, his position was that the line should never been hanging low enough for the truck to grab it. You know, the the insurance, the the the city's insurance company felt like we were driving in a place that we shouldn't have been driving and therefore it was our fault. So that went on for years and years. But you know, again, one of those experiences that you make your way through and you become a stronger you know, I participate in town this time and you know, everything's okay, you know.

Alex Ferrari 39:03
And another lesson is make sure you have production assurance, make sure you do not go anywhere without production assurance. Now, you've worked on a ton of movies over the years, can you you know, and you've seen the business change. I mean, you were there when DVD was king, and you could just put something out and what you would do is paying Yeah, but like when that was like the heyday when everybody was making just obscene amounts of money is during the I say the Late 80s Late 90s to probably like 2010 That's when you could just pre sell stuff and DVD sales like you can make sniper 52 and just go and get sold all over the world. You now you I mean, obviously you're making movies now as well. How important is it to have bankable stars in your films? And I mean, obviously that's a that's a kind of a dumb question as we all like, hey, we all we need stars in our movie, but it all depends on the I always tell people it depends on the budget. And the genre. But if you're making it, you can make a knot, you can make action, you can make horror, you can make thrillers, with maybe some recognizable faces, or even some unknowns, if the budgets low enough. But once you start breaking a certain budget threshold, it's irresponsible of you in today's world not to have some sort of bankable cast, what do you think?

Daniel Sollinger 40:22
Well, you know, talent is the coin of the realm. So you, it doesn't just matter to the people selling the film, like, I'm making the film. So the the, the normal, sort of, by the numbers, processes, you make the film, you get into a big film festival, you get a sales agent, you get a publicist, you go to the festival, you create a lot of hype, you sell it to a distributor, they put it out, right. Film Festivals, when they look at your movie are thinking, who is going to bring the most press to my film festival. So it's not even the people who are buying it, the the sales agent is looking at your film and saying, it's a good film, but I don't know anybody. And then, you know, you're glad to go find another agent, you know, like, like, it ripples, and all these, you know, the publicists, the casting, you would be surprised even like, if you go to a, you know, one of the top casting directors and you say, I've got this, this great movie, you know, and it's got this person already attached, you know, versus I've got this great movie, and nobody's attached, it could be the difference between like that top casting director saying yes or no to your project, you know, so it's not just, you can't just think about in terms of the, the, you know, the name on the DVD box cover on the the thumbnail on the streaming service, you know, it ripples all the way down, you know, and you find you get better crew to it's like, oh, you know, oh, this has got a project with that in a minute. Okay, um, in, you know, whereas, well, you know, the pays, okay, or it's not usually what I get, but, you know, and there's nobody in it, you know, I, you know, I'll do a commercial that week, you know, and make more money than, you know, one day than I would make a week on your film, you know, so it matters all the way down the line. Unfortunately. However, not everybody can do it. And it's not easy, you know, it's getting cast attached can take forever. And, you know, it's it's a big rigmarole. And if you can't do that, and if your budget so small, or whatever, you can't do that, then you have to do something innovative, like you did, you know, putting it as an app on the I know, I know, a guy who figured out SEO, this was this was years ago, he did a wrestling movie with no no stars. But what he did was, you know, he, he knew how to work Google, so that anytime somebody typed in wrestling, the first result would be his movie, and you went to his website, and you bought it for 30 bucks. And as he turned 300, he spent 300 grand to make the movie and he sold a million dollars worth of DVDs, you know, and so if you're not, if you don't have that you better have like a unique and, and, and well thought out business plan of how you will recoup your money without names.

Alex Ferrari 43:01
Right. And then that's why I wrote a whole book about being a filmtrepreneur, which is about finding a niche, and finding a niche and serving that niche. And you don't need to have, you know, Adrian Brody, in your in your film, if you have a movie that is focused on a specific audience that you know, and I always, I always use the vegan chef movie, as my example. But something along those lines where you could target that audience. So it is doable. But again, that also limits on budget, I wouldn't suggest doing a $5 million budget film with no stars attached are no bankable stars attached for a film entrepreneur release. Unless you have deep connections into a massive niche audience that you can sell to it's not impossible, but it's so I mean, you know how hard it is to make a million dollars in rentals. AVOD and TVOD and SVOD it's tough with no stars. Right! It's tough in today's world, it's just too much competition.

Daniel Sollinger 44:07
And it's true. It's true. Although this gives me a grip because you brought up Adrian has given me a great opportunity to pivot to the movie that I got coming out is clean. And it stores Adrian Brody and having him on board changed a lot of things, you know, like, you know, we want CAA to be the sales agent. I went in, screened it with their head, their film division, you know, in their screening room, you know, you know, the festivals were a lot more you know, like, and we got, you know, we got our casting director, sort of like that was saying is it top top casting director who came on board because they wanted that relationship, you know, and just all the way down the line it opened doors and opportunities. Just on top of that Adrienne is a phenomenal creative partner and and is works harder than anybody else to ensure the success of the movie, you know, which is the fringe benefit of it is not just the name, it's also what they're bringing to their name for a reason, you know, like they're bringing, you know, all this knowledge, expertise, connections, and benefits, just in terms of because they have distinguished themselves through talent and hard work, you know?

Alex Ferrari 45:24
Yeah, I was gonna ask you about clip because I saw the trailer for it. It's going to be in the show notes. If anybody wants to watch it. It looks badass. It looks really beautifully produced and beautifully shot beautifully before. I mean, it just looks like it does. It looks like a 30 or $40 million movie, which I know wasn't that budget. But not even, not even remotely close. But I'm a huge fan of it. But I'm a huge fan of Adrian's I mean, I think he's unfit for not only a phenomenal actor, but he's got that presence about him on screen. And when I saw the trailer, I was just like, Damn, man, it just looks like I am really, in honestly, looking forward to seeing it. It's like, that's a Friday night movie. That's a Saturday night movie for me. So I'm excited about how did you get involved with it? Man? How did you get involved with that project?

Daniel Sollinger 46:13
Well, first of all, please go see it. It's the best movie I've ever made, you know, and it really delivers and production value aside, you know, like, hopefully, you always want the movie to look better than the money that you had, you know, but um, but you know, the story just is just rock solid. The script was in such a great place, even before we started to, to do pre production. And then Paul solet, and this is how I got involved. So I did another movie with the CO writer director, Paul solet. called Dark summer. And, and Paul and I, you know, connected and hit it off. And then he went off to do a movie for Avi Lerner called bullet head that had Adrienne, Antonio Banderas, and John Malkovich. And through that experience, you know, him and Adrian, start talking about something that Adrian had been wanting to do for a long time, you know, create a character that that, that he doesn't, he didn't feel like he was being cast, as you know, and a lot of these projects are sort of cast centered, like, often I'll find an independent, it's very common in independent film that a movie is given birth by an actor who really feels like, either they're not getting enough recognition, and they want to raise their profile. Or, like Adrian, it's like, people think of me as just like, really sensitive guy. And, you know, I like to be a tough guy, you know, I, you know, I enjoy playing with guns, I enjoy doing, you know, these tough guy things. And, and, and so, like, this is something that he really, you know, really passionately wanted to do show this side to him, you know, it also gave him the chance to grow a beard, which, you know, you know, if you're ever in the casting process, it's always like, if the, if the actor has a beard, it's like, okay, they got to cut their beard, or else we're not gonna cast, right. Like, grow a beard, you know. And so, anyhow, so, Adrian, and Paul, like, decided they want to make this movie, you know, they had somebody that that showed the willingness to put up the budget. And, and then at Paul's contacted me said, you know, Daniel, I really think you'd be good to do this, you know, you should really meet Adrian, which was one of the most nerve racking days of my life was where, okay, you know, they were coming over to your house, you know, it's like, like, my house, like, how do I get my house? Ready for an Oscar winner? Like, do I have more dirt? Like, you know, and I have a kid, so like, it's got to be, like, clean, you know, like, I just, it was unnerving. It's like, oh, my gosh, you know, like, how do I prepare for an Oscar winner to come to my house. But as it turned out, you know, Adrian's just an angel, and it was all about the work from the moment they stepped through the door, you know, and, and I didn't have to worry about anything, like, my house was definitely fine. You know, but, but we had a conversation, you know, and, and, you know, I said, Well, you know, like, I asked, like, what other producers are on this? And they said, Well, you know, we're both going to get producer credit. But, you know, like, do we know other like, producers on unlike, you know, gosh, guys, you know, if I want to make this movie, I'd love to make this movie, but, you know, you know, producing movies, like pushing a huge rock up a hill, you know, you need to have more, you know, as many hands as you can get on it, you know, and, um, you know, and it was it and it is it's, I'm still you were coming out tomorrow. And I just sent the distributor some delivery requirements still, you know, it's still like, yeah, these hands trying to push the rock over the hill, you know, but anyhow, so that they whatever I said, or did or, you know, they seemed that I would be a good fit for the film, and, you know, and then we went off and we made it, you know,

Alex Ferrari 49:49
That's awesome, man. That's awesome. I'm so happy for you because it looks fantastic. And, you know, when you reached out to me, I'm like, Hey, I got this new movie with Adrian Brody. And do you want to do you want to have me talk about I was like, oh yeah, this would be awesome. This would be a great conversation to have you come on. Did you? Were you involved in the financing and getting raising money? Or was the money in place before?

Daniel Sollinger 50:10
I'm a physical producer. So usually, the money is in place before it comes to me. I I'm the person that can take a script through distribution and know all the all the details that what needs to go to make that happen. I have raised money on occasion but but is not really. There's, that's why I like to have a lot of producers, everybody has their strengths. There's some people that are just good rainmakers. Like I don't consider myself one of them.

Alex Ferrari 50:34
Got it. Got it that and when does it come out?

Daniel Sollinger 50:38
Tomorrow night today, which is January 28.

Alex Ferrari 50:40
So yeah, it's gonna be in theaters, there's gonna be?

Daniel Sollinger 50:43
Yeah, we're on. We're on almost 160 screens around the country, iTunes and Amazon simultaneously.

Alex Ferrari 50:50
Okay, so it's a day in day? Day in day. Okay, perfect. So it's just so you can't go watch it and rent it as well?

Daniel Sollinger 50:57
Yes, yeah. Theater, you can or you can rent it.

Alex Ferrari 51:00
Awesome. And that's awesome. Now, I'm going to ask you a few questions. I asked all my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?

Daniel Sollinger 51:09
You know, I would say there's nothing to it, but to do it, you know, just make movies, you know, don't wait to be greenlit, I would say that. Just do as much as you can, you know, like when I was at NYU film school, I was there, a lot of my fellow students were like, Oh, I'm not gonna PA or I'm not gonna do this. And I was like, I'll PA, I'll do that I'll do no runs up, dirty. You know, like, just do as much as you can to get in where you fit in and do as much as you can. And you'll, you'll get a network and you'll start elevating yourself. So, you know, I think and and I would say to producing as an entry level position, like you, you can start producing today, you know, you don't have to wait till you climb a ladder to get there. If you want to produce, you know, you can go and produce something right now, I guarantee you.

Alex Ferrari 51:55
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?

Daniel Sollinger 52:00
Hmm. Well, I, you know, what I always say is that, I don't feel like there's a lot that I need to learn about the technical aspects of filmmaking. But I've never learned enough about people, you know, if you can really focus on how to interact and with people in a way that is, like I was saying about a win win situation, or, you know, you know, if you can learn how to like, really work well, with people play well with others, you know, you will do great, you know, and so that's, I still am learning that today, you know, how to continue to like, learn how to play well with others, you know,

Alex Ferrari 52:36
Yeah, I guess I've said this 1000 times on the show, but I can never get tired of saying it. Best advice ever heard. Don't be a dick.

Daniel Sollinger 52:45
Because nobody wants to work. You know, you might get through this movie, but then nobody want to work with you on the next one.

Alex Ferrari 52:50
It is too small. It's a very small business. It's a small business, very small,

Daniel Sollinger 52:54
Very small, run into the same people over and over again.

Alex Ferrari 52:58
Yeah. And it's so funny. And now that I've been have had this show for so many years, you know, I'll watch something or I'll talk to somebody and they're like, Oh, he's on that project. He's been on the show, or I know that person I've worked with that person or this or that. I just been around you know, I've been around close to 30 years as well. So it's just like at a certain point you run into a lot of different people in business grew and don't Don't be addicted screw anybody over it will come back to my channel.

Daniel Sollinger 53:22
There are a lot of people who watch out that the film business is not for them, but the people who stay you run into those people over and over and over and over again.

Alex Ferrari 53:29
Absolutely. And three of your favorite films of all time.

Daniel Sollinger 53:33
Contact Apocalypse Now. And Lawrence of Arabia.

Alex Ferrari 53:39
Good good trio. Good. That's a good Movie Night. That's a good Movie Night.

Daniel Sollinger 53:45
Watch the whole Alien franchise from beginning to end.

Alex Ferrari 53:49
I mean, Alien and Aliens Jesus man. If you want to read a great action script near perfection is aliens Cameron's aliens it's just the script is just perfection man.

Daniel Sollinger 54:00
What's great about to you when you watch the all the movies back to back you see Ripley's character are just Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. over the over the course of the film, so that in the beginning, she's terrified of these aliens. And you know, by the third movie, she realizes that, like, Please kill me, you know, like, like, you know, like, I just keep waking up and having to deal with this. This nightmare, you know?

Alex Ferrari 54:24
Yeah, it's amazing. Daniel, thank you so much for being on the show brother. It has been a great catching up with you, man. And I think you've dropped a few knowledge bombs on the tribe today and hopefully will help some young producers and young filmmakers out there man. So thank you, my friend.

Daniel Sollinger 54:38
Well, and if you want more on Tik Tok Producer Daniels so I go every day and drop a little bomb every day. So if people want more they can get it there.

Alex Ferrari 54:45
We will put it on the show notes my friend. Thank you again. All right, man. Take care.

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BPS 203: I Made A Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It (Audio Book Preview)

In this episode you get a FREE PREVIEW of the IFH Books release of I Made A Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It audio book on Audible.

Written by award-winning filmmaker Clarissa Jacobson, I Made A Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It is jam-packed with hard-earned knowledge, tips, and secrets on how to enter film festivals, promote your movie… and SUCCEED!

I Made A Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It covers everything from what festivals to submit to, how to maximize your money, secure an international presence, deal with rejection, gain publicity, harness the power of social media, what a sales rep does and much more.

Included are exclusive filmmaker discounts on services/products from the subtitling company, Captionmax, and promo merchandisers, Medias Frankenstein and The Ink Spot.

What Others Are Saying:

“I Made a Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It is jam-packed with first-hand knowledge, tips, and secrets on how to enter film festivals, promote your movie, and achieve your wildest filmmaking dreams. It’s required reading for every indie filmmaker who wants to gain an audience, stand out on the festival circuit, and work towards a career as a filmmaker.” — Film Daily

“Ultimately, Clarissa’s book is a very thoughtful reflection on her experiences making and marketing her successful and hilarious horror comedy “Lunch Ladies.” This reflection is a wonderful knew resource for filmmakers who are making or have already completed a new short film, but are looking for some help maximizing its audience-seeking potential.” — Horrible Imaginings Film Festival blog

Right-click here to download the MP3

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Alex Ferrari 2:51
Now today guys, we have a special episode, we are going to be giving you a free preview to the new IFH books. Audible release of the best selling book I made a short film now WTF do I do with it? A Guide to film festivals, promotions and surviving the ride by the award winning filmmaker Clarissa Jacobson. Now you might remember Clarissa from Episode 538 When she came on the show to discuss her new book at the time. And I was so impressed with her that I decided to publish her audio book through IFH books. Now in this episode, you're going to get a sneak peek to the audio book and hear the first three chapters for free. Now at the end of the episode, I'm going to tell you how to get a free copy of the new audio book. So without any further ado, enjoy your free preview of I made a short film now what the f*** do I do?

Clarissa Jacobson 3:54
Prologue You are amazing. Pep Talk to get you stoked to wade through this book. Congratulations. You are amazing. You dare to dream dare to make a film. raise that money. Save that money. Pinched squeezed and blood that money. slaved over scripts, locations, long nights, early mornings fears, hopes worries argued with the negative voice inside your head and came out alive. Not only alive, but you finished your masterpiece. And it's awesome. NowWTF do you do with it? Well, amazing person. I was you once. I too didn't know the first thing about promoting a film or getting it onto the circuit. I'd heard the tales that politics matter how the odds are stacked against you. What types of films are successful, what types aren't? And short. I knew the word on the street. Why couldn't succeed versus why you could However, I don't listen to that stuff, and neither should you. It does not serve you. First lesson, whenever anything negative comes your way. And there will be a lot. Ask if it serves your film. If it doesn't ignore that will serve you. But I digress. Anyhow, I knew the word on the street, why you couldn't succeed versus why you could. But I also knew my film was terrific. And you must know this too about your film or you've lost already. And I had a goal. I therefore learned everything I could, battled the haters, battle, my insecurities, didn't give up on my short, believed in it, kept my eyes on the prize, worked like crazy, and had an amazing run over 120 film festivals all over the world 45 awards, gold standard distribution, over 100 reviews and interviews and a wide fan base. To be clear, for all you folks who think I had a leg up and anyway, I didn't. This was my first film. I had very few connections. No one on the circuit knew me or my work. Clarissa who and I had a film that didn't fit the mold, a comedy horror genre piece coming in at the appalling length of 19 minutes. Still, it succeeded. And want you to succeed too. And I'm going to pass on all the things I learned how to promote, how to submit to festivals, how to maximize your fest budget, how to think big, how to overcome negativity, how to laugh at rejections, how to love social media, how to get filmmaker, discounts, and more. Let's get started. Chapter One, get a goal, or be a goner. Preliminary first step to keep you focused. I know this probably makes you feel like you're back in junior high, and um, that really annoying teacher who's on your case. But seriously, what is your goal? And what are you going to do with your film, focus your delinquent. Trust me, kids, having a goal is going to make everything so much easier. You put so much time into making your short, but the true marathon is the next 18 months after you finished it. There will be a massive amount of work to do to give it a life. If you look around at the films that succeed, it's not just about quality. There are 1000s of good flicks that never see the light of day, and plenty of bad ones that do. It is also about the filmmakers goal, knowing what they want to achieve. Some people make short films just to create is that you? Some people make short films to practice their craft. Is that you? Some people make short films to get interest in their career. Maybe that's you. Some people make short films as a proof of concept for their feature is that you? Some people make short films because they can't afford to make long ones is that you? Some people make short films because you get my drift.

Figure out why you made your film. When you figure out why you made it. You can figure out what you want from it. Your goal and that will drive you and your strategy. Why do you need a goal and a strategy? Promoting a film is a ton of work. And the only thing that will keep you doing that work, which is absolutely exhausting, is a clear reason to do so. A goal. The only way you are going to achieve that goal or have a chance at it is with strategy. If you have no goal, you are not going to do all the heavy lifting that's required to make it a success. You are going to skip doing social media. You are going to skip entering festivals that require too much work. And you are going to give up with a few rejections. Further if you don't know what your goal is, you will not know what strategy to use to achieve what you want. And that will frustrate you. Figure out first and foremost why you made your film. For example, I'm a screenwriter who made the film versus the director who usually makes the film. More on that in chapter 10. I wanted to get interested in my feature screenplay. Lunch lady's, a surreal, quirky comedy horror with two middle aged female leads. But the industry would often tell me there was no market. I got sick of hearing that nonsense. So I decided I would save my money and make a proof of concept short based on the feature to show the power Here's the be that there were plenty of people who would pay to see lunch ladies and they should fund it. Every step of the process after the short was in the can was with this goal in mind. Number one email every blogger and magazine I could find that wrote about horror and cult film to get them to review it. Why? Maybe some producer out there would read about lunch ladies and want to make it number to prove lunch ladies has a market all over the world and money can be made. This is more drivel, the industry loves to spout that comedy doesn't play overseas. So I wanted to enter as many facts as I could all over the world. Number three, have a great IMDB page. IMDB stands for Internet Movie Database, and I'll explain more about that in depth in chapter two. So have a great IMDB page, put up photos, Film Fest release dates, reviews, awards, keywords, special thanks, etc. A figured anyone wanting to finance my feature, but first go to my IMDB page to check out the short. Number four. Make a Website show industry folks how I would market the film because unless they see the potential, they won't get it. In my site, I have a school store a hairnet club, fan art page, geography lesson announcements and more. Number five, build a fan base. Get busy on social media so I can find my target audience and fans, it becomes crystal clear who that is when you see who follows you. I felt if I knew my target audience, I know who to market it to. And if a producer knows there's a fan base and who they are, that helps to get it made. Number six, be seen. It had to be seen not sit on my hard drive. It must play everywhere it could no matter how small or how big because someone may see it and help. The goal of getting a feature made influenced all my choices in the festival run and gave me a strategy. I wanted to make the feature so bad that it kept me focused and excited. Even when I was exhausted and didn't want to work. I would come home from my day job. write blogs for my website. Each took about two hours. And I wrote over 200 over the course of the film. I post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, populate my Pinterest page, right reviewers, talk to fans, talk to other filmmakers, see other filmmakers films, do interviews. And generally Bob till I dropped. I am certain a huge part of lunch lady success on the circuit was because of all those things that I just talked about that I actually did. The film is great. Remember, you got to love your film. And there are a lot of films. It's the work I did that took it to the next level. Have I achieved my goal of getting the feature made? Not yet. But I'm still trying and having a great ride. Who knows what the future brings and when it will happen? Or if it opens the door to something else. So remember, why did you make your film and what is your goal? Get a flipping goal.

Chapter Two, be prepared press kits, websites, social media and being a goody two shoes. I admit it. I was the goody two shoes who always had her book report done a week before, sometimes two weeks before. Okay, fine. Three weeks. I'm not a procrastinator. So it has always been easy for me to do things ahead of time. You have it harder if you aren't a goody two shoes, but it's a must for your sanity on the circuit. press kits, your website, IMDB page, social media handles, promotional pieces. You want to have that stuff done before you start your festival right now while you're making your film. Don't get all crazy. But when you finish the film, why? Stop arguing with me? I'm trying to help you. The reason why Hardhead is because you are going to be so busy promoting getting into festivals and being a world traveler that you won't have time to do anything else. If you don't have time. Then all the stuff you've procrastinated on that you could have done before the run is going to be sloppy, which is why most press kits I see look like a four year old kid and their dog did them. Those filmmakers waited into the festival or publication asked them for a press kit and they either did one of two things. One, they had a nervous breakdown at the thought of adding more work on top of their crazy festival schedule. And they never handed one in therefore missing a huge promotional opportunity. Or two. They took a shot of tequila and made their press kit in a three hour panic. That's not for you. press kits with typos out of focus photos, bad layout, not for you missing a chance to promote your film because you haven't completed work you could have done earlier.

Nope! Not for you. Having a nervous breakdown because you're overloaded with work when you're supposed to be charming and witty on the festival run. Nope, not for you. You aren't going to do anything amateur. Because if you do, no matter how good your film is, you are promoting that you are an amateur. And you aren't. And always remember, keep your goal in mind. If your goal is to get drunk at film festivals, take your clothes off and flip off the establishment, then hey, you don't need to have an IMDB page, you may need a sexy outfit. So choose what you have to tackle. I had to tackle them all based on how it furthers your goal.

Branding, what is branding, it's how you market your product, your film and make it distinctive. You don't have to have your brand fully developed. But it's super smart to have an idea of what it is. So you get off to the right start and don't have to backtrack. There's a ton of stuff that can go into branding. But I just take it to the simplest level. What is the essence of your film. Now bottle it lunch ladies is a rebellious bloody yet full of heart playful, loud and takes place in a jacked High School. Therefore, those specifics became my brand. For example, I designed the lunch ladies website with a high school motif. The cast and crew are listed under rollcall reviews are listed under grades. There's a school store and a study hall with teasers to watch. The writing is in your face liberal fun and can be offensive like the film. Once you have a concept. Stick with it. And your ideas will evolve into a specific identifiable look which captures the heart of the film. Be consistent. Use the same fonts, colors, logos, and writing style. And you'll be golden IMDb IMDb, for those of you who aren't addicted to reading banal information about movies and movie stars is the Internet Movie Database. You want your short listed on IMDb because it's the go to place that people look for information about film, it's going to move your short up in the search on the internet, and it's going to give it legitimacy. I started my IMDB page immediately after the film wrapped well before it was edited. Because my cast and crew worked so hard for so little. The least I could do is get their credit up. Who knows what jobs it could help them land. Get people's credits up as soon as possible. After that's accomplished, add to your page as much as you can. As often as you can get a poster up, get a trailer up, get your special thanks up, get photos up, get your synopsis up, put them up now. Later on you will spend so much time adding reviews wins festivals etc. You won't have time. Your IMDB page will be the place you visit constantly throughout your films life by keeping it up to date. The initial process of getting all the names and credits correct takes work. So do it now. You won't have time later. And your cast and crew are going to be irked if they've waited a year and you don't have their credits up. Not cool. Here's a sidenote, email every single person on your cast and crew and ask them to send you their direct IMDb link. Unless this is their first credit. If you've got a John Smith on your crew, and you link it to the wrong profile, because there's 30 John Smith profiles, it's a nightmare to change. Trust me, I hooked up profiles to the wrong people at first, learn from My Excruciating time wasting experience. I'm not gonna lie. IMDB is a beast, you will be so frustrated from the learning curve. Wait until you have to tackle posting your wins. But you'll be so frustrated you'll swear your head off scream, wallow in self pity, cry and send nasty emails to some employee at IMDb who will ignore you. It's super confusing. In fact, you may need a PhD to figure it out. But just keep at it like I did. And you will learn to tame the beast that is IMDB. Once you get the hang of it, you'll love it. Nothing is more gratifying than adding new information about your film and seeing it show up for the world to see. In addition, once you really get going the IMDB people begin to know you're short. They probably hate you because you're constantly updating and making work for them. But who cares? You're a self centered filmmaker. The point is Eventually, instead of it taking two weeks for information to be approved and go up, it will take two days. Because the powers that be know you are filling the page with real information, not lying and padding it and they will get your updates up ASAP. press kits, I'm not going to sugarcoat it, press kits, or APKs electronic press kits for those in the know, are no fun to make. And it takes a while to get them right. You have to have patience. But that's why you're doing your press kit now, right? Don't be overwhelmed. I know there's a ton of ideas on how to make a press kit and that can freak you out. It did me to listen, just pick a template that speaks to you. Or make up your own style. No one cares. Her no Prescott police. All that people care about is how its organized, how it looks and what it says. There's no right or wrong way. Be creative. Be smart. Make it look good. represent your film. My Prescott took about a month to complete. Choose people you trust to edit it. They'll find the mistakes you miss. put your ego aside, get feedback and listen. Think of it as a job resume, make it as perfect as you can. And if you have 120 people in the cast and crew like I did, you're gonna misspell a ton of names. And that's disrespectful to those that helped make your dream come to life. So get everyone's name right check them over and over before you send it out. For my press kit, I decided not to list my reviews. Although you may want to. I had so many I didn't want to be constantly updating it. But often I will attach the best ones when I send the kid out, depending on who's looking at it. Also, the length of your kit is dependent on you. Mine was long because I had so many cast and crew also like to talk a lot. If you haven't noticed. If you want to check out my press kit, go to lunch ladies movie.com backslash contact and click the download link. I think it's pretty good. If you don't like it. Geez, what are you the Prescott police, social media handles. If you don't despise social media than Wow, you are ahead of the game. Most everyone hates some type of social media and you have to have them all. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Vimeo, et cetera, et cetera. So stop whining like a baby. Nothing is going to get in the way of your goal. Especially not something as banal as social media. The key to social media is and I'll talk about this more in depth later, you must find a way to love it. Social media is the king pen of all your promotion. Love it like unicorns, puppies, and rainbows. Take it a little at a time. You don't have to have a huge following right away. You don't even need to start posting until the film is on its run. You don't need to do all the social media channels at once. You can build them a little at a time, but get started. Open the accounts, create your handles populate your photos. Because once you're on the circuit, you will need to promote and you won't have time to set it up. For your handles try to remain consistent so people can easily find your film. If your Facebook is the same as your Instagram, you only have to tell people one handle. And that's easy to remember. Some people on the Facebook, some only Instagram, some both. You need all types of social media to really promote or you will miss opportunities. So make the handles as uniform as possible. purchase your domain for your website first, if you decide to make a website, then base all your handles on the site's name. If you do it the other way around, you may find that the handles you've set up are not available for your site. important make sure your website name is 15 characters or less. For my domain, I chose lunch ladies movie.com Because my first choice of lunch ladies.com was taken. In retrospect, I should have chosen lunch ladies film.com because Twitter only allows 15 characters. Therefore, at lunch ladies movie is the handle for all my social media except for Twitter, which is at lunch ladies film. So learn from my screw ups website. My website is my favorite promotional tool, and I highly suggest making one and starting it now as it takes a while to get it up and running. It took about a month learning curve to figure out how to build it, but it has been invaluable. A website will be your go to spot to send people. It has your social media, your blocks if you blog, your announcements, your trailer, your cast crew and synopsis. Everything is there in one beautiful place. Start with picking a great domain 15 characters or less remember, there are many companies you can put purchase that from, but I recommend wix.com. Because it's a one stop shop, you can use their templates to build a website for free, and then purchase the domain and hosting from them at the same time, easy. If possible, make the website yourself, it will save you tons of money because you will constantly need to make updates to your site. If you don't learn how to do it, you will always be paying someone to make the simple changes for you and then waiting around for them to do it. For those of you who have never made a website like I haven't, and don't understand the difference between hosting and domain, like I didn't think of it like real estate. The website is your house. The domain is its address. The hosting is the land it sits on how to pick a domain, you will want your first choice, but often that's already been bought by someone else. So you may have to settle like I did. Remember, I wanted lunch ladies.com and ended up with lunch ladies movie.com. Once you've got a domain you're happy with, it's time to build your website. There are many out there that allow you to use their pre made templates. But Wix had great reviews and was cheap. So I took a chance. Good call. I pretty much love it. The support is super helpful, and the site I created from their template looks legit. Pay for your hosting and off you go. If you're really strapped for cash, you can opt for Wix is free hosting. However, with the free service, they print Wix on the headers and flutters it looks super amateur. So I say cough up the cash and pay for the hosting. Of course, if you're already choking from the aftermath of your overinflated film budget, then okay, go for the freebie some site is better than no site. promotional items. The two things you want to have before your festival run are your postcards and business cards. If you're strapped for cash up for the postcards, eventually you will want both because they are useful for different reasons. postcards are super important because that's what you will use to promote your short at festivals. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but most audiences aren't going to seek your film out. I know it's awesome, but there's a lot of awesome films. Folks attend fests to support friends see certain genres or something specific, and your baby probably isn't even on their radar. You will get on the radar by having postcards displayed and handing them out. Most fests will have a table where filmmakers can put their cards and people do pick up cards from the table and see films that interest them. Many will see your movie just from you handing them a card and introducing yourself. I highly suggest printing postcards no bigger than three by five or four by six. I had a larger size. And though they were really cool looking. They were a huge pain. They didn't fit in my purse, they didn't fit in my pocket. And I'm sure people would pick them up and be annoyed at how flipping large they were and leave them in the bathroom after printing. Print your image on one side of the postcard and the back will have two columns. One column will be blank. This is where you will put your labels and or addresses if you end up mailing them to specific people. And I'm going to discuss this more in chapter seven. The other column will have your concise logline your website if you have one and your information on how to reach you. I know this is a major duh. But I have seen postcards with nothing but the name of the film and the logline. I envisioned some three piece suit picking it up and saying this film is genius. I must invest 5 million in the sequel. Who do I call? Forget it. I'll invest in that condo instead. Business cards are needed primarily for when you meet industry people. Sure, you can give them a postcard, but it shouldn't have your personal info on it. They send on festival tables for the world to see. And you don't want some stalker calling you on your cell phone. You do however want Guillermo del Toro calling you on your cell phone. So you will want a business card with personal information on it for Guillermo. Business cards are also great for night on the town when you don't want to carry bulky postcards are broadly promote your film. You will meet someone new, possibly someone hot trade cards and they will say oh wow, you made a movie. What's it about? Can I buy you another cocktail? Everyone you meet is a chance for promotion. And of course, a hot date. Have your cards professionally done. I know it's tempting to save money, but don't put them yourself on that dot matrix printer hooked up to your ancient Commodore VIC 20. Cheap cards just make you and your film look cheap. Plus, there's a certain pride in having a nice looking business card feels good passing them out and gives you a boost of confidence. It's perfectly fine to wait until you are in your first festival before printing anything.

But it's best to have the artwork ready to go because it will take time to get it right. This goes for posters as well, which you will want once you start the run. Printing is the least of it, you can do a rush if needed. But rushing artwork is always a bad idea. More promotional items that you can start thinking about include pins, pencils, stickers, and other types of swag. It's not necessary to have swag, but I do think it gives the film a push and pays for itself. In the end. I had some fun things when I started and added more during the run. Chapter Three spreadsheets for success. Get organized. Prevent screw ups.

I'm going to teach you to set up some super organized spreadsheets, which will maximize your money and chances that success on the circuit. It's not glamorous, but it will prevent screw ups. Disclaimer. If you are as Angel as me, then you have permission to skip ahead whenever it gets boring. But for the rest of you delinquents pay attention. The film festival grid First, open an Excel spreadsheet or scribble in a three ring spiral notebook. If you're a Luddite Excel will be easiest as you will want to sort columns. But if you don't have the program, that's okay too. Having any list will be a huge help. Title it film festival dates. Why do you need the spreadsheet? You need it so you can keep track of all the rules and dates to enter. Every film fest has a ton of rules and entry dates and they are all different. You will have to read all those boring rules and keep them straight. Because you don't want to waste money entering your film in a festival where it can't be accepted. They'll still take your money, they'll just disqualify you. With the film festival grid. You can easily track everything so no mistakes are made. Your early bird submission dates, that is the cheapest time to enter which festivals coincide, what length of film is accepted and more. You will also need to track which festivals need premieres. Some festivals not all require premieres and there are several types of premieres world premiere, national premiere, international premiere regional premiere and who knows what else. The first time your film plays, that's its world premiere that will also be either your national or international premiere, depending on where it plays. Then there are regional premieres, festivals that will only demand that you haven't screened in their city before premieres are a pain. Your first run will probably last a year and a half. If you are doing great, it can last longer, but my feeling is get out. Don't overstay your welcome. Go into distribution when your time is up and don't hang around like a 22 year old dude hanging around high school stocking hot freshmen. Of course, if some hot freshman wants to date you, for you to say no, so sure, the infests if they pursue you versus you pursuing them. That's not overstaying Your welcome. You're hot. What can you say? If you ascribe to this way of thinking, and if you don't, that's okay. You can be a creepy old dude stalking hot freshmen. Seriously, no judgments, insert sheets on your spreadsheet for two years, one for this year, one for next, because this year, you won't make the due dates to enter some festivals and will have to enter next year. To recap your pages on your spreadsheet are number one, this year number two, next year. If you're into overkill like me, add one more page called add a glance. This will be where you can easily see which festivals you got in and what you didn't hear you will add all festivals you enter in one column. And in the other two columns, you will pull from that list which festivals you got in and which you didn't only do this if you are nerdy like me, and like to know your percentage of success and failure or which festivals you have entered at a glance. Here's what your spreadsheet tab should look like. This year will be the festivals you will enter this year. Next year will be the festivals you will enter next year. Duh. Now it's time to organize both sheets exactly the same. Number one, title the first column film fests. Here you will list the name of the festival. what platform you submitted it on platforms will be discussed in chapter five. And when the festival notifies filmmakers of acceptance, this will help you in festivals are rude and don't have the courtesy to tell you your film wasn't accepted. If the due date has passed, and you never heard from them, you can be certain they want you to get lost. It's good to know and to get lost and stop dreaming you gotten there festival number two, title the second column International. This is where you make sure The festival takes international entries if it's outside your country, sometimes you will be so excited to enter your film and you forget to read the rules and you pay and then realize they don't take international films. They will never refund your money. Trust me. Basically, this is an idiot reminder to make sure you check. Number three, title the third column Oscar. Only a handful of festivals are Oscar qualify. If you win one, you can be in the running to get nominated. There are other ways to qualify but this is the simplest. This helps with decision making when or if you are low on cash. If you really want an Oscar, you can check that column to see which ones are Oscar qualifiers and can weigh their cost against the others that aren't. Number four, title the fourth column location. This is important because some film festivals require premieres as I mentioned earlier, and premieres are always based on location, so you need to keep track of what area of the world you submit to. For example, most festivals in Austin, Texas are notorious for requiring a premiere. If you decide you want to be an Austin Film Fest, wait to enter South by Southwest because if you get an Austin, you can't be in South by Southwest anyhow. And you'll know South by Southwest is an Austin because you put the location in your spreadsheet. Nothing is more aggravating than paying $50 to enter South by Southwest, getting an Austin then getting in South by Southwest and realizing you flushed $50 down the toilet because they won't let you screen because you already screened in Austin. We'll talk about premieres more in chapter four. Number five, titled The fifth column website. You want the festivals website here so you can click it up easily. It will save you time in the long run as you will want to check their website many times if you get in or see who was accepted if you don't get in number six. The next six columns six through 11 will be the entry dates and fees of the festivals. Titled The columns respectably Early Bird, Early Bird fee, regular regular fee. Final, final fee. This will help you strategize your money. You can obviously sort your spreadsheet many different ways depending on what you need. One way you will sort it is by early bird entry dates. These are the dates you want to enter by and will keep you on your toes to never miss a deadline. The reason you list the fees, even though admittedly it's time consuming to do this is so you can easily keep track of the money you are spending. And you can weigh whether you want to wait to enter at a later date if you don't have the cash at the moment. Sometimes early bird entry fees are not that much cheaper than regular fees. Sometimes they are similar. Sometimes they are drastically different. If you know the consequences of not entering a festival by a certain time, you will be much more likely to make better decisions with your money. Then, once a week like clockwork, sort your spreadsheet by early bird entry date and submit to the ones that are due, you will never miss an early bird entry that way. Number seven, title the 12 column festival begin. This is important so you know which festivals coincide in case you get into that run at the same time. This happens a lot. You can check the dates so you can wisely choose which festival you will attend. That way, you won't annoy the programmer by gushing that you are going then backing out when you realize there's another fest you'd prefer. Number eight, titled The 13 column festival and it's good to know the length of the festival. As mentioned, sometimes you get in festivals that coincide. But sometimes one lasts three days while the other is 12. So you can actually go to both. Why don't you put the festival beginning and ending all in one column such as April 15 through 19th, like I did the first time because then you can't sort the column separately, which you may need to learn from my screw ups. Number nine title the 14 column length. This is how long the film can be for acceptance into the festival. If your short is 15 minutes, and the festival only takes films up to 10 You cannot enter but they still will take your money and disqualify you see a pattern once again. If they get your money, it's theirs forever. If you find out the festival is not a fit. I suggest still keeping it on your spreadsheet and graying it out. You will enter so many festivals you will forget which ones you researched and you will waste time unless it's on your spreadsheet. Hmm, I almost forgot blah blah fast. Why didn't I enter blah blah fest? Blah blah fest is awesome. Let me look up the rules. Oh, that's right. I tried to enter bla bla fest two months ago, but it only takes films that are bla bla. And I wish I had remembered now I just wasted 10 minutes researching bla bla fest a second time. So everything you research, keep it in your spreadsheet. Number 10 title, the 15th column premiere status, do they require a premier, you may even want to consider having a separate spreadsheet for premiers to keep things in line. Because this can get confusing fast. Number 11 titled The 16 column notes, this is for anything else like hey, this festival pays for hotel if I'm accepted, or hey, this festival doesn't give awards, forget it, I need awards. Or this one needs English subtitles to submit or they only take films made in the last 18 months. Have you are a good little rule follower. Your spreadsheet will look fantastic. Excellent job, you'll have your film festival Grid Setup. But wait, you aren't done. You also need to make one more spreadsheet, the viewing grid. This is where you will list every single person outside festivals that you send the film, it will come in handy time and again. Put anyone you sent your short to here. industry people social media folks you've met reviewers press their handles their emails, the dates, you've sent them your film, where they're from notes on who they are created. Now, you will need it when you want to ask people to vote for the film if it's up for an award, or to spread the word when you get distribution. You now have a cultivated list of people to ask for help complete with emails. You will also need it if you can't remember who someone is down the line and they are gushing to you. You can look on your viewing grid and know who they are. Lastly, you will need it when you make the feature as there will be so many who will tell you during the run that they want to be part of it when it happens, you may not be able to hire them. Oftentimes we don't have a say when a film gets produced, but you will have their names and how to reach them. If you do have a say the viewing grid is incredibly useful. Now that you've made these really boring spreadsheets that are super useful. Let's enter some festivals. Wait, what's that you say? You don't have a clue which festivals to enter. Except for? Please no. Please don't say it. I said don't say it. Don't say Sundance, Sundance. I mean, okay, whatever, Sundance fine, enter Sundance Sundance, but listen, Sundance, quit saying Sundance. There's a whole world of incredible terrific festivals out there that aren't Sundance that are just waiting for your film. So let's talk about some of those in the next chapter.

Alex Ferrari 42:59
I really hope you guys liked that free preview. Now if you want to pick up the book, all you got to do is head over to indiefilmhustle.com/shortfilmbook and they'll take you straight to Audible that's indiefilmhustle.com/shortfilmbook. But if you don't have an Audible account, and you want to sign up for one, you can get this book for free. All you got to do is go to freefilmbook.com Sign up for a free account on Audible and you get one free audiobook which of course you can make it this book and download it for free there, listen to it, and enjoy the book. So that's your little free hack. Go to freefilmbook.com If you want to sign up for a free account on Audible and get this book for free. Or you could just buy it if you already have an account and just want to buy this book head over to indiefilmhustle.com/shortfilmbook. I hope you enjoyed this guy's as always keep that hustle going. keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there, and I'll talk to you soon.


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BPS 193: The RAW Reality of Being an Indie Producer with Miranda Bailey

Miranda Bailey is a prolific producer, actor and director, known for producing high quality independent films. Her passion for bringing compelling, well-crafted stories to the screen has been the driving force in her distinguished 15-year filmmaking career. Bailey has produced over 20 films, among them the Oscar®-nominated THE SQUID AND THE WHALE and the Spirit Award-winning THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, as well as James Gunn’s SUPER, the Sundance hit SWISS ARMY MAN, the critically acclaimed NORMAN and the indie hit DON’T THINK TWICE.

Bailey’s directorial narrative feature debut BEING FRANK, an offbeat family drama/comedy premiered in the Spotlight Section at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival and was theatrically released June 2019. She assembled a decorated cast including Grammy-nominated comedian, actor, writer, producer and New York Times best-selling author Jim Gaffigan, two-time Emmy winning actress Anna Gunn, Samantha Mathis and Logan Miller. 

Karen Kehela Sherwood of Imagine Entertainment produced the film alongside Amanda Marshall of Bailey’s Cold Iron Pictures. Bailey’s made her documentary debut GREENLIT – a humorous documentary examining the hypocrisy inherent in Hollywood’s “green” movement – premiered at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival to critical acclaim and was acquired by IFC International. Bailey’s second documentary, THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST, the film was released theatrically by The Film Arcade and on VOD by Gravitas.

In 2018, Bailey teamed with Gurl.com co-founder Rebecca Odes to launch CherryPicks, a groundbreaking aggregate movie review and rating service by female critics for the female audience. The site went live in 2019 and over 800 female critics are subscribed to provide their reviews on the site.

A production powerhouse, Bailey’s Cold Iron Pictures has amassed an extensive list of critical and commercial successes, including SWISS ARMY MAN, starring Golden Globe-nominee Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe, theatrically released by A24.

DON’T THINK TWICE, directed by Mike Birbiglia, starring Gillian Jacobs and produced with Ira Glass (This American Life) was distributed by The Film Arcade. NORMAN, directed by Joseph Cedar (BEAUFORD, a Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee), premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released by Sony Classics. Bailey also produced I DO…UNTIL I DON’T, directed by and starring Lake Bell and Ed Helms.  Additionally, in 2019, she produced the Sundance hit documentary, THE UNTITLED AMAZING.

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Miranda Bailey 0:00
Hello. Is this Miranda Bailey? I'm like, yeah, like this is me something about her. Did you crash and audition last week for the da da da da And I was like, Uh, yeah, well listen that is unacceptable. I will tell you something right now, you don't do that in this town.

Alex Ferrari 0:16
This episode is brought to you by Indie Film Hustle TV, the world's first streaming service dedicated to filmmakers, screenwriters, and content creators. Learn more at indiefilmhustle.tv. I like to welcome the show Miranda Bailey how you doin' Miranda?

Miranda Bailey 0:31
Pretty good. How are you?

Alex Ferrari 0:33
I'm doing great. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I'm I'm excited to talk to you about your adventures or misadventures in the Hollyweird business.

Miranda Bailey 0:44
That's a good way to explain it.

Alex Ferrari 0:46
I'm sure you have a few stories that you can say on air and probably a couple more out there.

Miranda Bailey 0:52
I could say it all on air now.

Alex Ferrari 0:55
Well, that's, that's, that's amazing. So first question, How and why did you want to get into this insanity that is the film business?

Miranda Bailey 1:04
My father was friends with Brian Dennehy and Brian Dennehy became kind of my mentor resource. And I went to the set of Little Miss marker when I was a young child. And I saw this little girl acting with him and decided that I wanted to do the rest of my life. Because that was the women that were there were, I think a script supervisor now that I know who it is a teacher and the little girl. Sounds like so I'll be an actress. So then, I studied acting and then came well, while I was in college also was directing and writing just because it kind of came out of me and was producing accidentally in theater I didn't even realize it was producing. Then moved to Hollywood, Hollyweird and got very lucky at the beginning. You know, crashing audition got my sag card, you know, made a lot of money on a commercial, Denis Leary accidentally, my ego went really high, and crash roller once reality hits, and started getting partisan stuff that I didn't really have any control over. And so I decided to start making more stuff that I liked to be in, or to at least be in existence, then being stuff that I didn't like, anyway, now I got into producing.

Alex Ferrari 2:32
So I wanted to go back for a second. So I love to hear stories of when the ego goes up. Because it is fantastic. It's a wonderful ride. First part, at least. Wonderful, Rhys, how did you deal with it? Because I always, the reason I do the show is to try to let filmmakers know that you are in a boxing match, and you're gonna get punched in the face. I don't care who you are in the business. Punches are being thrown at you left and right. Most filmmakers don't even know they're in a fight, let alone that there's a punch coming towards them. That is one of those. That is one of those things that the ego when you get that first award, the first red carpet, the first time someone says ooh, you're like the next Spielberg or the next Nolan, or this kind of thing. The ego builds up. What so after you did that commercial with Dennis, Larry and made, you know, a gazillion amounts of money back then because I know what money was made. It was a national, I'm assuming. So you

Miranda Bailey 3:29
They had that played on the Superbowl.

Alex Ferrari 3:30
Oh, Jesus. So you were just like, this movie business stuff is easy. Why do people talk so hard about? So what was it? What was it like just going up? And then what was it that caused the fall of the reality when that punch came?

Miranda Bailey 3:46
Well, you know, you know, in hindsight, you know, 26 or seven or however many years later, I think I'm really lucky that my ego was slammed down so quickly. Because ever since then, it's been massive, you know, climb up this ice, you know, mountain, like ice climbing. I slept. Yeah, yeah. And so, I mean, it really was I was very fortunate. And, you know, I was 21 or 23 or something like that. So, you know, I didn't believe in fortunate I believed in you know, destiny. And,

Alex Ferrari 4:33
Of course, and you were destined, obviously,

Miranda Bailey 4:36
Well, I know I'm destined.

Alex Ferrari 4:39
Obviously, obviously, we all are,

Miranda Bailey 4:41
It takes a lot more work to get to that. I mean, I don't know exactly what my destiny is. I will be a grandma someday, I hope

Alex Ferrari 4:49
Okay, fair enough.

Miranda Bailey 4:51
But um, ya know, I was squatting in this house in Mount Washington and Every morning it was for sale party, we were in the basement, we put the mattress up and slide it behind the washers and dryers or whatever. And then we'd have to be out of the house. And my roommate at the time, and I had just gotten there, like, I'd been there maybe two weeks. And she had an agent through her aunt for commercial, and we didn't look anything alike, like at all. And she asked if I wanted to crash the audition to see what it was like. And I was like, Sure. And, you know, I was like, not nervous because I was crashing, I put on my ugliest dress, you know, so she looked hot. I didn't wear any makeup. I put my hair in long brown braids, because she had like a short blonde Bob and she was tall and skinny. And I was like, shorten whatever. And wrote my name down on the sheet. And then it's like eight and so I wrote like, independent. And then it's like their phone number and I wrote my phone number. And I think I was teaching Pilates at the time. That was like my job, which everyone didn't know what it was or like Pele it's what is it? At Pilates. And I remember driving like, like on the on this very curvy part of the 134. That's pretty dangerous. And my leg Motorola rings. And you know, there wasn't really caller ID and like, Hello. I'm gonna like, I'm like, yeah, like this is me something rather Did you crash and audition last week for the lottery? And I was like, Uh, yeah, well, that is unacceptable. I will tell you something right now. You don't do that in this town. Nobody does that in this town. Okay. You don't pass auditions. I was looking everywhere sending everywhere trying to find independent doesn't exist, and I can't believe you did. Don't ever ever do that again. And I was like, Oh, I won't definitely. Just real quick though. Like are you calling to tell me never to do it again? Or? Or am I getting a call back? She goes well, bolts honey. That's amazing love with the United talent agency straight case she's trying to appear. You've got her on Saturday, you've got to call back. Oh my god. This time. Here's your agent Socrates expecting your call.

Alex Ferrari 7:11
This movie business is super easy.

Miranda Bailey 7:15
I'm like, Okay, so like that Saturday, I go to the thing. I have one line. The word is the internet's I say the word the internet. I booked a job. It's an international commercial playing ball with Dennis Leary. I go on set I meet this really awesome girl. Samantha was I think we were friends for a while. I don't know what happened to her. And there was another guy on set I also kind of ran into through the through the worlds and we're like all at a coffee shop like computers or whatever. And like we would like look up and say the internet. But like Dennis Leary would like walk by us while it was talking to the camera. And it was so cool. And like it was it just felt so like I needed to be there. I loved it. And you know, and then I had a couple more auditions and couple more callbacks, but I didn't get anything. And then the department, the commercial department for UTA shut down. And they had to go find an agent. And that's when reality hit. It was not that easy. It was not and then and it was just definitely not easy.

Alex Ferrari 8:18
So that's that was the rise in the fall of the ego. And that's honestly your right, it was probably the one of the biggest blessings you had is at such a young age because I'm sure you've met a few people along your journey that that did not happen to them early on. And they're still dealing with their egos in their 30s 40s and 50s and older. And it becomes

Miranda Bailey 8:39
Much more devastating for them when things don't work out for me. I just expecting to not work.

Alex Ferrari 8:46
That's your, That's your place. You're like this is never going to have this movie. The money will never drop. That star will never sign. This is never Oh, it did. Okay, great. We're never gonna get into Sundance. Oh, were going to Sundance Great!

Miranda Bailey 8:59
Finally ended up at FCM after like a meal of a toy toil and just like crazy stuff, which had to happen from like a short that I directed as an exercise to get out of the documentary. I was directing. It was too dark for me. Sure. So I needed to make a comedy at my house. Now from that shore, that's how I got representation with echo Lake and ICM, and this was, you know, seven years ago, so like 25 years into struggling to try and you know, get the right representation then finally, like I remember when my dad short this guy emote to my manager now, but he's one of the first people I met in Hollywood. And, you know, he's, you know, he's, he's, he's big time, right? And I would never act even ask him or consider him to represent me. I mean, he's he saw a diverse movie greenlit that went to South by, it was like a comedic documentary and and whatnot but so golden in my short to get like notes or something like to see like, Hey, do you want to take a look at this and see if you have any like, thoughts. I called him back. He's like, incredible. This was amazing. I want to represent you and I'm like, What do you mean? I want to be your manager. And I'm like for what he's like directing and writing and I'm like, what does that mean? Like, what do you like? And she's like, I'll get your jobs and I'm like, Really?

Alex Ferrari 10:30
Okay, so, I don't know. But it sounds like that casting director for the Superbowl commercial sounds very similar to your manager invoice. Like, exactly. Now, I mean, you've worked on some amazing projects. You know, super and Swiss Army Man, I got to ask you about Swiss Army Man. How in God's green earth did that get made? Like how is that movie like that is so wonderful. It on paper? I can't believe this is a good pitch. It's a horrible pitch on paper. How did Swiss Army Man get made and thank you first of all, for having a part in bringing it to life? Because I'm so glad it exists in the universe. But how did you how did that movie get made?

Miranda Bailey 11:20
Well, you know, it's interesting because that is kind of like the point where my confidence as opposed to ego allowed that to happen. So you know, I did squid in the whale Before Noah Bombeck could get arrested like no one would no one would even glance his way after Mr. Jealousy right. But I there was something there and then this feeling, you know, in your stomach kind of thing. And then I had that same thing with James Gunn was super. And you know, I said yes to that. And then Diary of a teenage girl Mari. So these are all either fail. Like, you know, no one will hire this director again, or director, jail people or new directors that have a voice or like so I gave Jill Solomon her first writing job ever. Which never made the movie but it was from a short story called Courtney Cox's asshole. And then, I hired her to write me talk pretty one day into a script, but then it didn't end up happening. She wrote it, but the movie didn't end up happening because David didn't want to get made, but I still on the script. But so by by asked by after Mari, I was like, you know, I kind of feel like I know it when I feel it. And I had had some other directors that I worked with, where I didn't have that feeling. You know, that didn't work. So it was kind of like I knew it was it was it's like, I can't explain the kind of kinesthetic feeling in the air when you are like, No, you're like, I think this person has vision, like a vision of their own that is unique, which is pretty rare. I mean, I wish I did, honestly. Sure. I mean, I hope I do. I just don't know what it is yet. But so I had done job cedars Norman. And Ken, he's like a director with, you know, an incredible vision. And it was going to be his first American film footnote in Israel, which was nominated for an Oscar, which is most beautiful film. And so Oren moverman had asked me to come on, come on to footnote and on footnote, I admit, I guess I guess I had met this, you know, this team of, of financiers and this team of producers, and who I'd also knew some of them from time out of mind. Because Oren moverman is one of those people I think, has real vision. So this guy, Lawrence, he he's on his movies, and he comes into town and we're at this house, I'd finally gotten into the Soho House. Okay.

Alex Ferrari 14:06
That's when you finally got in.

Miranda Bailey 14:07
Like getting into the Aspen house because I still wasn't cool enough to get into Hollywood house. And there's no filmmakers here. So they needed filmmakers here. So

Alex Ferrari 14:16
Right, exactly.

Miranda Bailey 14:18
I'm still not calling out for the hot whatsoever, for the record, but

Alex Ferrari 14:24
I was. I was I was invited once. I pretend that I'm invited. Yes, exactly.

Miranda Bailey 14:30
Yeah. So he's got a lab. What are you working on? What do you got going on? I gotta go on. And he starts telling me well, this is what I'm looking to partner on. And he's given me one story. And I'm like, Yeah, kind of seen that before. And it gives me another story. I'm like, that sounds depressing. I love Dan Stevens. But no, that sounds kind of depressing. And then, you know, there were just a couple of these ones. He gave that. I don't have anything like new doesn't have anything like, it's like, well, I have one but You're probably not gonna like it. And it's something that these kids have never seen a movie before. You know, they made a music video. And you know, it's about a guy who falls in love with a dead guy not fall in love with best friends with a dead man and in the forest and his boners a compass. And it's called Swiss Army Man, and he uses the dead body like a Swiss army knife. And I was like, any actors attached? He's like, No, not yet. And I'm like, What's music video turned down for what? And I go.

Alex Ferrari 15:37
Oh, oh, those guys.

Miranda Bailey 15:39
Oh, okay. How about this Yes. greenlit will make a one and a half million dollars, because that's what I made diary for and the squid for. And, you know, it's two people, whatever. And let's set a meeting for tomorrow. And he was like, Really, that's like the last one I would imagine that you would use feminists be into. And I'm like, whatever. i It doesn't feminist, non feminist, you know, like, being lost in the woods, and being so what's your opinion on I hadn't read the script yet. So that night, I read the script. And it was like, insane. But if you know that music video, sure. You're like, I get it. And then the script still needed work or whatever. So Daniels come in, and I show up at the office. And I'm like, I say to Amanda Marshall. I'm like, Hey, so we have a meeting today for it's with Daniels. Who's that their music video directors. I've already greenlit the movie. You know, here's the script. And she's like, are you serious? I'm a guest. So she goes and she reads it and she comes back. She goes, you're not? You're kidding, right? Do not going to make this movie. She's, she's like, we're not making a movie about a guy who's Boehner tells them where to go Miranda, who was just his girl. He's like, she goes, and I don't even know how half of these things like how does he become, you know, a motorboat or like, whatever, like, watch this. So I play the music video. And she goes, Ah, wow, cool. I get it. We go and we meet with them. We tell them a couple of things about how we, you know, feel that the, you know, it needs to be dude, basically development stuff, and structure and stuff. Yeah. And we give this offer and of course now, this is where the Hollywood douchey this becomes Hollywood douching. This is where their agents and managers were like, Oh, great, we got an offer. So then they're like, well, we want 7 million. And now we're gonna shop it around. We have an offer from pictures. And I'm like, normally, if it comes back to if there's something that happens and something comes back to me, I'm like, you know, but with this one, I'm like, go ahead, shopping around.

Alex Ferrari 17:57
Let me know how that works out for you.

Miranda Bailey 18:01
Like have fun. I can't even get a black woman to be a lead. Okay, good luck with this. You know, like so, you know, and I tried many times, and it was it was hard. So they just did the companies that will put a lot of money behind things. It's like they need a sure thing, of course. And this was far from that. And so they went around for six months, chopped, it came back to us. And then we did a budget realize it was like around more around 3 million. And then we were like, Okay, well the best thing to do here because they at one point they were gonna play the parts, or Daniel, Daniel Quan was gonna pay for that play part. And I'm like, listen, we really need like, a indie art house. Starling. Yeah. And then you need your international like James Patterson type guy. Right. And so we went to Paul Dano because our new Paul Dano and and what Lawrence was working with Oren. And he said, Yes, and then we got James Patterson on but James Patterson didn't want to rehearse. And we were like, but these are like, even before a take. Okay, like, that's impossible. It's for the dead body.

Alex Ferrari 19:35
All of that. Like there's a lot of logistics. Yeah.

Miranda Bailey 19:38
Camera maneuvers, and special effects and practical effects and stunts, like you have to hearses. So, we were like, Okay, that's not gonna work. And I'm like, well, there's that Harry Potter kid. He's valuable. That dandy guy. So we call Daniel Radcliffe's agent and his agent was like, Oh my God, that clip has been begging to work with the guise of this music video if they ever were gonna do anything. Oh, wow, that was really easy. And that's how that's how they came on. And I have to say that Daniel Radcliffe, I mean, everyone knew Paul Danna was a genius, right? Yeah. But Daniel Radcliffe to me, just blew me away his. And watching him work and watching how precise he was in watching his getting to know him and like his process and being there. And I mean, that's the hardest role in the whole movie. I mean, there's only two roles in the movie really? Like they're really they're there. They both both of those guys. Paul and Daniel, like their champion.

Alex Ferrari 20:48
Yeah, no. Yeah, they're they're two titans. So two titans in the space. And when I saw that, I was just like, how in God's green earth Did This Get Made? Like how, like what things needed to line up for this to be in front of my eyes right now? Any baby destiny, it's destiny. So that's, that's a fantastic so right now i Now I can die in peace, that I know how this movie finally got to the screen. So thank you. So there's always that day on set. And I asked this of all my guests, that the whole world's coming down crashing down around you. And now most filmmakers say that's every day. But there's that one day that you feel like oh, my god, I can't believe this is happening. Why am I here? How am I going to get out of this? And it could be a million things. You've lost a location, the actor doesn't want to rehearse that day, whatever it is, what was that day for you on any of your projects? And how did you overcome it?

Miranda Bailey 21:45
I can think of two. Okay. The most recent was on God's country where there was suddenly a pandemic.

Alex Ferrari 21:55
Right, we heard that we had Julian on the show. So we heard that that holster because that was his too, by the way. So what's what's the other one,

Miranda Bailey 22:03
But I had to fire them.

Alex Ferrari 22:06
For your perspective is a little different.

Miranda Bailey 22:09
Yeah, and I and we had money in the movie or company of money in the movie, you know, you don't know if you're ever going to make it again. Obviously, that's it same you know, him as a film director, but like, for me is someone who is like, here's a people that may or may not ever work again. And I have a choice whether or not we can keep going another three days to finish the week, risking Tanduay getting back to London or not. Or pulling, pulling the plug. So Tanya, we can get back to her. Just brutal. Um, but fortunately, it all worked out. And we came back a year later. And we did it. So right, you know, and the other one was, on this film that I directed, called being frank with Jim Gaffigan, which premiered at South by the whole culmination of the movie of this guy, hiding between these two lives, ends up at this one, like, you know, Starling festival, in this small town. And it has to be very, very choreographed of where each person goes, we have two cameras, where where each shots going to be where it's so and so's place where so this was placed. And we have this, we had like, found our location, it was near this lake. And two days before we were and we're almost done with a movie, and it's like it's the final it's like the big scene. And if this scene doesn't work, the whole movie falls. But we had really, really figured out a way to make it work with the location like this tree here will block him here because we'll be here. This person will walk this way leading us over here to the popcorn to whatever right the all based on this location that had hills and levels because that way you could hide right? Like you could figure out a way to miss each other. So I'm onset directing this scene, which is already insane we didn't have enough extras for the pool it was freezing and they're extras on their phones. I'm like it's I've been that like just like the phone I'm looking at a phone I'm looking at a phone. Right right right. It's not a book put a book if somebody

Alex Ferrari 24:37
Wants a book

Miranda Bailey 24:41
And we kept moving the extras around you know like pool in different bathing suits and

Alex Ferrari 24:47
And time is in time is ticking and money's burning.

Miranda Bailey 24:51
Lunch break happens and turns out that for for the big scene that we're shooting, not next day, but the day after for two or three days, we lost the location, of course. But they have a place that we can go look at right now right over here, power that's available. And I'm like, okay, so me and my IDV or OCR get in the car, we go to the park, and it is just a lack

Alex Ferrari 25:26
Cinematic, extremely cinematic is what you're saying.

Miranda Bailey 25:30
And we look at each other. And he's like, none of the blocking that we had before her, or any of the setup will work. And I'm like, I know. And I'm like, so what's the chance of us getting the other place back and then another line producer, another bruise like zero. And I'm like, so what's the, what's the possibility of us not having to do it here and they're like, zero, this.

Alex Ferrari 25:58
And you gotta run and you've got to figure it out.

Miranda Bailey 26:01
Yep. And that was, after we shot that whole day. We went to Iran and I went to the park, and figured it out until sun went down. And then the next day during break, and during afterwards, we also kept figuring it out, how will how a block and how we'll shoot it. And then the next day, we began.

Alex Ferrari 26:30
But that's the thing that it is, I think that filmmakers don't understand it that the world is every day, every day, something goes wrong. Very rarely does everything go exactly according to plan because it never goes according to plan. And I love I remember the first day I walked them to set to direct my first big thing and I had a shot list that was obscene. And the first ad picks up and goes, Yeah, we're gonna shoot about five of these. Before lunch, I know you've got 40 We're gonna shoot. So pick the five you want. And if you're really good at those five, we might be able to add two more. And you're just like, but I spent all night putting that together like yeah, I don't care. That's not the reality of the world. And I always try to explain this to filmmakers before they go on like these, just the whole world's gonna come crashing down. And this is what it'll teach you in film school. They don't teach you how to adjust and pivot on the day second by second because the costume didn't show up. food's not there. You're losing locations. The camera doesn't work because it's frozen over or overheated. I'd like it's just obscene amount of things that could happen. And it doesn't really the only difference is when the bigger budgets is generally on a much bigger budgets, the studio stuff. Things still go I've still I've spoken to those those filmmakers and they're like, Yeah, we just we lost a location. Like even the big the 100 million dollar movie. They look like we just ran grabbed the camera, me and my DP and the actress and we stole I'm like you stole shots at 100 million plus movie because we stole shots. It's just

Miranda Bailey 28:11
I mean, this is what I love about camera tests. I'm always like, let's get it set. So our cameras can be usable.

Alex Ferrari 28:19
Ohh that's Amazing. Oh, that's great. I never thought of that.

Miranda Bailey 28:22
Yeah, I mean, being able to produce alongside alongside produce the movies, and watch and learn from James Gunn, and Mari Heller and Daniels and not and and the bad ones. Not that the bad. I'm not a list, you know, but there we have ones made mistakes. There was this one that was too afraid to talk to the actress. I'm like, she stopped folding laundry like she didn't she just talked to her dad, you know? And I remember he's like, Well, you tell her and I'm like, I'm not the director. You know, just knowing like, Okay, I if I you know, that didn't work or like, you know, seeing someone just do bad things to you know, or make bad choices, and seeing people make good choices and watching how different people prepare, you know, working with Mike Birbiglia and like bow, both actors who wrote directed and starred in their material, and I was able to produce those. They have very different ways of going about how they do it. And that was fascinating. And it definitely made me feel like hey, you know what, I could do that sometime. And it'll be totally different than theirs. But I've learned like, from there like brilliance, and then the and then the bad things that happen on set with with the same stuff, how they handled things. And producing really an enacting really kind of got me was my best film school as a director.

Alex Ferrari 29:49
Right. Right. Well, let me ask you a question as a producer, when you pick the wrong horse, in any department, it could be the director. It could be an actor. It could be a You know, as a crew person, when you pick the wrong horse, obviously, the higher on the on the totem pole being the director, the actors are the DP. How do you adjust that? Aren't you like you? Like, what do you do as a producer? Like, oh my God, he's not talking to the actress like, What? Are we going to finish our day? Are we like, how are

Miranda Bailey 30:18
Were pretty much screwed I mean,

Alex Ferrari 30:23
I love that.

Miranda Bailey 30:24
Yeah, I mean, it really, it's the script, right? It's the product. Sometimes it comes just as a script, and you build around it, sometimes it comes as a script, director, and then you help cast it. But it's that director's job to really hone it in. And it's my job as a producer to get the director's vision correctly. So even though I wouldn't have made the same choices that Lake Bell did on I do until I don't, my job was to support her choices. And that's kind of what you have to do as a, or the way I look at producing personally. And so I would say one of the most important lessons that I learned was producing or directing, or even mentoring, because I doing a lot of mentoring of people, not through programs, just individuals. Is, you really have to love it. Because if it doesn't make money, like anything I did, and I have done things thinking, Oh, this will make money never does.

Alex Ferrari 31:39
And then oh, this will never make money.

Miranda Bailey 31:41
This will never make money. And it does, but I love it. And it does. So it just makes, and I've done things that you know, this, this, you know, it's things. So, honestly, if you love something, because it's hard, if you love something, whether it's a commercial success, or a critical success or not. If you love being there every day, then it's still a win, you know? So and I'll go back to like, you know, with my bid Yeah, I loved I was like, you know, I was like determined to do his next project. After Sleepwalk With Me, I pretty much stalked him, you know, in a nice way without a craziness and was like, I don't want you could have turned in a bunch of blank pages. And I would have said yes, like, so I knew I was going to make his next movie. And that was a success. And so we were really lucky. But I didn't know I really didn't think it'd be Who the fuck wants to see a movie about improv actors not by make his next movie so badly that I was willing to overlook that plot.

Alex Ferrari 32:52
Right. That's how you like, I don't care, I don't care what it is,

Miranda Bailey 32:54
I don't care. Because, you know, and that was successful, you know, and I enjoyed, I enjoyed it. And, you know, became really good friends with Kate Micucci from that, and worked with beautiful people and great, great DPS and great, just great everything. Like, I love Mike, I love everyone on that, you know, Kagan's rad, everyone. So when when that stuff happens, it's really great. You know, and then when the for instance, with lakes movie was similar, you know, it wasn't a critical success. It wasn't a commercial success. But I really loved working on it. And I loved watching her work. And I love watching, you know, working with my friend Amanda on it. And, you know, we got to be in California and you know, Dolly wells and I became close, and she is hilarious. Yeah. You know. And so it's

Alex Ferrari 33:55
Now when you're looking when you're putting a PAC a project together, what do you look for in a director? Or the what are the traits that you specifically look for in a director?

Miranda Bailey 34:07
Um, well, I do seem to do a lot of I seem to do a lot of first time directors. So I can't really explain it because it's not like a looking, it's more of a feeling. And it's, if they can see it, and explain it to me, and I can see what they see. Then I know that they know what they're doing that what they want. If they're wishy washy, or you know, unsure, you just feel it in the room. And oftentimes, you don't even get to that point because you already feel it in the writing.

Alex Ferrari 34:52
With the writer directors, you generally work with writer directors, right. Seems like it. That's generally the way it goes.

Miranda Bailey 35:00
I mean, it's not a it's not a mandate or anything.

Alex Ferrari 35:04
What is what is the biggest misconception that people have about a producer and what they do?

Miranda Bailey 35:10
Well, people think we make money

Alex Ferrari 35:16
Do you make obscene amounts of money and just trucks of truckloads. You've got a Pablo Escobar problem like the rats are eating my money. I have too much money that

Miranda Bailey 35:24
I've got mattresses stack full of money behind me. It's just invisible. The best kind of money perceive success money

Alex Ferrari 35:35
That's the best kind. You can't spend it though. You can't spend it not to

Miranda Bailey 35:39
Like Bitcoin because it gets you into parties and restaurants. And you don't have to pay anything.

Alex Ferrari 35:47
Gotcha. That's the perceived the perceived riches of being a producer's wanting to know. Yeah, people think you're like, when you're in the film business. Oh, you must be making a lot of money. I'm like, no, no, no, that's, it's, that's the top one of one of 1% that, like, make that kind of grit. And that's all you see. I would say.

Miranda Bailey 36:07
Hey, I'm here I'm gonna tell you something!

Alex Ferrari 36:10
Im still fighting baby.

Miranda Bailey 36:13
Movie, or something's gonna happen where I will make money like actual money someday. $30,000 I will make more than that in a year. On a movie someday. I just got to stick in there. I just gotta hang in there

Alex Ferrari 36:31
Another 20 years. Ad I got this. I got.

Miranda Bailey 36:35
We're trying to do TV now. So I'm like, maybe there's money.

Alex Ferrari 36:39
Well, that's, I mean, everyone knows that. That's where the money is, is in television. So it's,

Miranda Bailey 36:45
Trying to get in the door of that is like, Fuck, it's hard. No, no. We just shot a TV show a Hindi nine episodes are selling now. I don't think that's been done yet.

Alex Ferrari 36:57
It's been done a couple of times. idea on the note is not a bright, it's not a bright idea, generally speaking, but the pandemic, you have to do what you got to do.

Miranda Bailey 37:09
Sorry, it's nobody GQ plus story. It's about mental illness. It was super important for me.

Alex Ferrari 37:18
I love this. I love I love that this is such a raw conversation. So people really have a look filmmakers who just are new to the business, get an understanding of what the business is really like, is there's so much perceived perception about the business. And I always tell people, the Hollywood's really good at the sizzle, but they suck at the steak. And

Miranda Bailey 37:39
Great, great if that's okay, is that a mug? Because I'll buy it.

Alex Ferrari 37:45
Because it's so true. Because Oh, and I always use the I always use the example of because I was from LA I lived in LA for you know, over a decade. And, and I always anytime someone came to town relative to like, Hey, we're not going to Hollywood Boulevard like no, you don't want to go to Hollywood Boulevard. I go no, no, that's where the Oscars are. I'm like, yeah, that that that 50 feet is basically all looks good. And I go that is a perfect analogy for the business. Because on Oscar night, Hollywood Boulevard looks amazing. But if you go a block over to the left or a block over to the right, you better hold on to the purse. It's and the farther you get away from the COVID another Kodak

Miranda Bailey 38:32
Oh, it's now it's just insane. But I was there for the Irish screaming the premiere. And I will say it looks just like you know the

Alex Ferrari 38:41
Oh, the Chinese Theater of course. And all of that stuff.

Miranda Bailey 38:44
That was awesome. But that's the only time I've ever or like when we did super. And that was at the Egyptian Yep, yeah. But don't go there just to like go see the stars because you can actually the stars go on forever. Oh, forever and ever go to the stars by the spied by the good coffee shop.

Alex Ferrari 39:02
It's exactly. But I use that as an analogy. Because it's a perfect analogy of what Hollywood sells. It sells the image. But the reality is, I mean, if you just if you live in LA for any short amount of time you realize it is a Boulevard of Broken Dreams. So many people go there with these bright eyed and bushy tail ideas about the business. And that that reality hits hard. And it's not an easy, it's not an easy grind. It is his grind. Like you just one day. And you're you know, arguably a very successful film producer. And in your you know, I mean, you've done some amazing projects. I mean, you've done you've done you've worked with amazing people you've made amazing films, but you're still you still awesome at it. You still grinding it you still do. And I tell people I'm like I know Oscar winners who are like I gotta still hustle the next project that you know the boss will get me into a party but it's not gonna pay my rent. Like

Miranda Bailey 39:58
By God's country. I remember someone one of my Hey, friends is distributors who's kind of betting on it or whatever they were planning on doing a words campaign? I'm like, Yeah, well, Warzone payment. Words don't keep the lights on. So bring your number up.

Alex Ferrari 40:12
Yeah. I don't want an Oscar nomination. Another million.

Miranda Bailey 40:18
It is you have, you know, there is an amount. I mean, I do, like a cockroach. And like, I feel like, you know, slowly the world, but people quit around me. And if I can just still be there that time.

Alex Ferrari 40:38
You just gonna wait everybody out. But you know what the, you know, the funny thing is about that. Keep working, keep going. But you know, what I and I've said this so many times, you know, I've been in the business close to 30 years. And I know people who are less talented than many people I know. But they just stuck it out. They had a willpower to keep going. And they're less talented, less experience, and they just keep that just keep grinding and they outwait everybody else. So people are like, Oh, I know this talented person like talent, man talents, the beginning of the conversation. It is, it is because there's, you know, a lot of talented directors and writers

Miranda Bailey 41:20
Talented is needed, like so I have this quote on my website, Miranda bailey.com. Yes. I just put on my website that that I read in the newspaper in the Hollywood Reporter that first week I was here, okay. Oh, I clipped it out. And I have it somewhere in some journal, you know, some pasted it down. And I don't know who said if someone important, probably. And it said talent isn't what gets you in the room. But it's what keeps you in the room?

Alex Ferrari 41:49
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Miranda Bailey 41:51
So I would I do think I'm talented at this point. But I know that that's not enough. And

Alex Ferrari 42:01
Then there's hustle, then there's experience, then there is craft and there's all these other things that you need to be good at. Not just just that,

Miranda Bailey 42:09
Yeah. You know, basically, if you can be, you know, for me, the most important thing right now is authenticity. Yep. And that is the hardest thing to find, when you first come to LA, probably for people who are going are getting into the movie business. And it's it's hard to be authentic, surrounded by inauthentic people. So but I think that the pandemic has really helped kind of the world realize what in every business what they want to be and who they want to be and who they want to be around. And I think that my hustle was really, really killing me before the pandemic, you know, authentic, but I was definitely doing things very fast. And I am kind of bad like this, like Sundance and South by has kind of gotten me on this again, and I'm like, whoa, whoa, spring break, let's go. Like, let's like, vacations get to kids. Yeah, it's more important for me to go to that go to the Oscars, it's more important for me to I live in Aspen now, like, it's more important for me to just, I don't care how much I like the project. If the person involved that is a producer involved, or a director, or social or even an agent involved or whatever is an asshole. I don't want to do it. No, because my time, my time now, I'd rather sit here and create this movie I'm working on with Oren moverman, or one of the five movies I'm working on or movement because I love him and he's my heart and soul. My brother that may never get made, then, you know,

Alex Ferrari 44:03
Life's too short. Life's too short. And as you get older, the the, the the level of crap that you put up with starts to drop dramatically. When you were 21, you'll put up with a whole lot of crap that you won't put up with at 41 or 51. And it just started you just start and it's you just start dealing with and it's so true. And you really start finding out what's important to you. Because when you're young and you're starting out in the business, it's all about the business, your entire identity is wrapped around the business. But as you get older you start to realize oh, I'm more than just a director I'm more than just a writer you hopefully get to that point that you realize I'm a father I'm a mother I'm a sister a brother I charity I do other things besides just this and yeah, it takes time it takes time. It takes time to realize and

Miranda Bailey 44:52
I think supporting other filmmakers like has been a you know are other people who want to be producers want to be writers or want to be directors and stuff. That's because Have a great joy in my life. They're not just making our movies, but even just helping them get their movies made that stuff is, is because no one ever helped me. And in fact, it was kind of the opposite. They tried to hurt. So I always said, you know, if I ever get to a point where I can be valuable enough to help other people, that doesn't mean give them money to make their movies, right. But give them support and encouragement, then I will do it. And that's been something you know, that's a non-country, which just premiered at South By the way that came about with me is, I had been Frank that I directed, and merkt ahead, Ingrid, which she directed at the bendfilm Festival. And we were talking as directors, and she told me about her next idea. And she's like, but I just don't know what to do. And I'm like, Well, you know, I'm here for you anytime you need it. And she's like, well, will you be my mentor? And I'm like, Yeah, of course. And so my relationship on that movie, obviously, it ended up becoming later on, you know, bringing on my company and my agency and like, I need the right publicist, and you know, now finding the right agent for her and, you know, finding the right festival to premiere out and stuff like that. I'm just so fucking proud of her.

Alex Ferrari 46:23
But that's, that's a joy. That's the joy that you look for now. And that's the thing that I look at, when I started this show six, almost seven years ago, my life changed. Because I started giving back, I started being of help being of service to other people. And and then now I get to talk to people like yourself, all the time, where I would have killed to have this conversation with you early on in my career. Now, I'm just like, This is amazing that I get to talk to you at a different place. And, and hopefully, my intention is not to get anything out of it. For me, that's I don't care. I'm here to have a great conversation that hopefully will help other people. And that's the intention I have with all my guests, regardless if they want Oscars, or if they're just a new filmmaker just starting out. And that has been so rewarding. And it's, it's changed my life. So I think you're feeling that too, just by helping others and mentoring others and giving back in that way.

Miranda Bailey 47:18
Yeah. So it's great, because then, you know, you're a part of something that you love. Right! You know, and and that's just that's, that's it

Alex Ferrari 47:29
Now, how, how, because you've been doing this for a while now. Can you tell the audience how the independent film space has changed in the last five years? Not 20? The last five, arguably the last two or three? How much more difficult? Is it to make a movie, get distribution, get your money back in return for your money for your investors? Is there how has it changed from, you know, 25 years ago?

Miranda Bailey 47:59
Well, we're in a very, very state of who knows because of the pandemic. Sure. So that's obviously problematic when it comes to shooting things. And if you get shut down because someone gets sick, or if there's a new variant and and you know, we are still in a pandemic, even though people are not talking about it, I mean, my husband and my two kids just got COVID Again, by longer so that I could get to Hawaii for my vacation. But I'd say one thing that I I'm, I think is great about the last five years is that the idea of windowing, which has, you know, has has collapsed, so there was for a while and are about 90 days is a real theatrical release. And otherwise it stay in dates. And there's really no in between. And then they were calling something called like broken windowing. And I'm like, that doesn't sound good. We call it creative windowing. So creative windowing. And but it was still very hard to navigate. And that what people don't understand is when you selling your movie, you're gonna get way more money from Florida and everything if you had a traditional 90 Day release. But you had to play in so many theaters, and your box office numbers had to be so much money in order for those deals overseas to actually kick in. So as soon as that change, you're kind of screwed. So for instance, with being frank, we released it through film, arcade and universal because we didn't want to take necessarily in any of the other offers, which is good because we made more money than the other offers by now. But our deal with Universal was a 90 day doing, which I didn't think would be the right thing for being frank. But that was the filmer K deal. If day and it should have been day in but Did you know universal at that time was doing 90 Day theatricals. So now, with us being able to watch at home, you know, marry me, let's say that now that the rom com coming back, which I'm like, hallelujah,

Alex Ferrari 50:18
Thank God.

Miranda Bailey 50:20
I need some more. I mean, that's my favorite genre. So I usually never get to but you can put it on TV and still make a million in the box office opening weekend. And on on Peacock, it had a gazillion people sign up for peacock and watch it that opening weekend

Alex Ferrari 50:39
I did. I did my wife wanted to watch it so

Miranda Bailey 50:44
The numbers or anything and I, you know, so that that's really great. I mean, I think the other thing and this is probably just for me, because other people I, I want to make I want to direct to one of those movies that you're like, oh my god, did you see the ALI Wong movie or the movie? And they're like, oh, yeah, I love it. Who directed it? I don't know. Like, it was on Netflix or it was on this. That is my ideal situation. Because then you do not have to be a director like with a point of view or say something or, you know, is he ripped apart? Or is it now in authentic way?

Alex Ferrari 51:21
Correct! No, you're absolutely right. It's changed so much. I can only imagine Disney how many how much how many subscribers Disney plus got from all the Pixar movies? Oh, yeah. All that stuff and HBO the whole last year? I mean, how many people signed up

Miranda Bailey 51:37
Played all the best they played lately? And Harry Met Sally. I watched it like four times.

Alex Ferrari 51:41
Exactly. So they're it's the game has changed so dramatically. Is there a place right now? In your opinion? For the well, we would have called in the 90s? That independent an independent film from the 90s? The? The slackers, the clerks the El Mariachi is the Brothers McMullen. Those films. Is there a marketplace for that anymore? Those kinds of films?

Miranda Bailey 52:03
Yeah, there is there is, you know, there's Magnolia, there's AFC neons doing their own wing, which is called Super. There's film arcade. Those, those are the ones who are doing those movies. And then, of course, there's self distribution models out there now that you can do that, you know, because there's nothing I mean, once someone asked at South by when I was on a panel, like, you know, what do you think about idea of self distribution to this and it's competed, that's I'm like, look, the more places there are, for us as filmmakers to be able to put our money or movie out there. So instead of it sitting on on our shelf, or in our closet, it's on Apple, or Amazon or whatever the better because no one wants to make a movie and not be seen. Now that has nothing to do with money, or minimum guarantees, or anything like that. But you know, there's more places for you to see a movie, there's ability for you to make a movie, the market. You know, big sales had been gone for a long time.

Alex Ferrari 53:14
Oh, yeah. And pre and pre sales as well.

Miranda Bailey 53:17
Well, pre sales is a totally different kind of thing. It's not in for independent film anymore.

Alex Ferrari 53:21
Yeah. The days of AFM and just having a poster. I mean, unless you have a relationship with buyers,

Miranda Bailey 53:28
I know Nick Cage movie that Stallone movie and movie you're fine, solid, but you know, or big or big director, but if it's like you need making a movie starring my best friend, you know, Zack, Sal Lin, we're not going to pre sell it.

Alex Ferrari 53:44
No, no, and you're right, it's just that that world is is gone. And I always tell people with with self distribution, you got to hit the ball so well, to get to make real money in that play in that space. You got to really know what you're doing, really understand a lot of different things to be able to generate three, four or 500,000

Miranda Bailey 54:05
That does it. So like the arcade, we do self distribution. I mean, Bleecker Street's also doing service deals. Sure. So you know, I think as long as you use those companies that really knows what what they're doing, and they'll guide you then then then you're good.

Alex Ferrari 54:23
Now I'm gonna ask you a couple questions ask them I guess what advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?

Miranda Bailey 54:28
Um, don't

Alex Ferrari 54:30
Run away get an accounting job No. You gotta love it.

Miranda Bailey 54:36
You know, I don't know. My advice is always changing. You know, I would, I would say is understand that it is a collaborative art. And if you can't collaborate, you will make it because what doesn't bend breaks?

Alex Ferrari 54:53
What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?

Miranda Bailey 54:59
That I am not fat despite magazines or movies, and what they have said, and then I don't look like everybody else. And I want to thank Shonda Rhimes. For this. She's the one who allowed people to go and be seen that are real people. Because when I got to Hollywood, I was called, not fat enough to be the best friend, or skinny enough. So but I was really funny. So I needed to gain or lose 20 pounds in order to be successful. And I was not pretty enough to be the lead. And those were the rules for me as a woman.

Alex Ferrari 55:38
Wow. And they told you that

Miranda Bailey 55:40
This more than once

Alex Ferrari 55:43
Wasn't like one outlier, it was a constant.

Miranda Bailey 55:46
That's just the way it was. Wow. And life is not over when you're when he turns 30 If you're an A woman in the business, in behind, or in front of the camera, my dad learned how to ride a horse at 65 years old. And he then became a horse champion by the time he was 75 years old. So you know, just stay on the fucking horse.

Alex Ferrari 56:12
And three of your favorite films of all time.

Miranda Bailey 56:15
Oh, gosh, True Romance. Number one favorite film of all time. That's amazing. Then I'm gonna go with my fair lady.

Alex Ferrari 56:25
Obviously, both double double, double.

Miranda Bailey 56:28
Thirdly, Some like it hot.

Alex Ferrari 56:31
Oh, very good. Wow, that's, that's a heck of a screening night. And run to where can people find out more about you and and see what you're doing?

Miranda Bailey 56:42
Well, my website mirandabailey.com, because my dad was smart enough to get my name on websites when they first started so lucky because you know, you know, Shaundra Wilson would asset by now has my writing, directing, acting producing in it. And it also has the some information on Cherry picks, which is a website that I started for female critics to kind of put them together and give a score for female critics. And that's the cherry picks.com That's a really fun. It's kind of like, I want it to be the cut meets Entertainment Weekly meets rotten tomatoes for women and non binary people. Fair enough, but it's you know, we show this was Army man's on there. I mean, Ford versus Ferrari, I will say is one of my favorite movies in the last five years. It's so good that

Alex Ferrari 57:36
It's such a good movie that says Miranda, it has been entertaining as hell talking to you and also very educational. I appreciate you taking the time out to talk to the tribe and dropping your knowledge bombs on them. So I appreciate you. Thank you again.

Miranda Bailey 57:52
I had to go drop something else. So thanks so much, guys.

Alex Ferrari 57:56
I love it. Thanks so much.


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Why Every Screenplay Submission Is a Business Proposition

Okay so, I like to use cheeseburgers as metaphors a lot so stick with me on this and try not to get peckish. Let’s say you own a portfolio of fast-food restaurants in a major city. You’re doing well for yourself have managed to open a new one every couple of years and you’ve got a few bases covered. You’ve got a taco place, a burger joint, a pizza parlor, and even a sushi bar.

What ties all these places together is each was started with less than a million dollars in investment and they all turned a profit within eighteen months of opening. You may not exactly be Ray Croc, Colonel Sanders, or even Guy Fieri but you’ve got a reputation for delivering and a little empire to call your own.

You get an email one day from an excited individual who has a new restaurant idea they want you to look at. The subject line reads “Johnny Rockets meets Madam Tussauds” and promises a concept that will blow your socks off. You set up a meeting and in walks a bright-eyed individual almost tripping over themselves to tell you why you should build this restaurant and pay them a hefty consultancy fee for their time conceptualizing it.

They ask you to picture a classic 50’s diner serving classic American food but, as the king of flavor town would say “here’s the “kicker”, it fills half the ground floor of the biggest hotel in town and is packed with period nostalgia from waxworks of James Dean and similar era rebels to a full collection of mint condition hot rods and collectible items from the legends of rock and roll. It’s grand, really grand, and they’ve even carefully put together a playlist of hits to listen to while they paint this picture.

It’s a hell of an idea and it’s hard not to get pulled in, after all, you spent your formative years dragging your Plymouth Duster down Main Street pretending you were in American Graffiti and would love to turn the clock back. You ask about food since you know that’s the real reason people will be there.

They boast that this joint will serve the biggest portions people have ever seen yet make McDonald’s look expensive. Looking at the menu, you see how they plan to make that happen by cutting the number of items down to just cheeseburgers, fries, and vanilla milkshakes. “In-n-Out Burger can get away with it!” they joke as if that’s a satisfying explanation.

You raise the point that the majority of fast-food consumers in the city are students in the 15–25 year old demographic and many of those are vegan, so what about meat-free burgers, dairy-free milkshakes, and fries not doused in beef dripping? They scoff at the thought and grumble about the younger people’s “attitude”.

On that topic, you question the appeal of a mid-century themed restaurant to the iPhone generation as a whole, especially when the proposed location would be a twenty-minute trek across town from the local university. Maybe something more contemporary would be a better pull such as a selfie area with waxworks of the Kardasians, some Japanese style tuner cars, and collectibles related to gaming culture.

“Sure” they reply now somewhat despondent “but I wouldn’t eat there”.

You shake hands, wrap the meeting up, and run the numbers. It’s way out of your usual investment range. You’re not even sure if your regular investors have that kind of money. You look at the recipes for the proposed menu and see that the burgers are made cost-effective by being bulked out with rusk to the point they taste like cardboard.

The car collection, which you’ve been told is a dealbreaker, demands a genuine Shelby GT500, and the rock and roll nostalgia is heavily focused on Elvis, going into excruciating detail as to what would be on show while brushing over the topics such as the kitchen facilities and seating layout.

As for a marketing plan, there is no marketing plan, unless you count the line of text claiming word of mouth will make it go viral until the food critics fall in love with the place. It becomes increasingly obvious that they have no experience in the restaurant business and little to no education in it either. Their knowledge seems entirely gained by occasionally going out to eat. To conclude, their proposal is for nasty food in an expensive setting which is out of touch with today’s consumer and disregards the day-to-day realities of keeping a restaurant running.

You email them with an explanation as to why you’re passing and won’t be giving them a six-figure cheque.

“Maybe if it was smaller and more of a gourmet experience”,

you suggest not wanting to close the door forever but you never get a reply. The only time you hear of the concept again is at the next chamber of commerce meeting, where three other restaurant owners and a car dealer reveal they’ve been presented with the same pitch. It turns out the eager amateur emailed everyone in the chamber’s directory and are still out there trying to make their dream come true with the added bitterness they now believe Planet Hollywood stole their idea.

RIPPLE DISSOLVE TO: OUR REALITY

It sounds ridiculous but that’s how to script submissions can feel when they’re read through by a producer. Not only are they completely outside the industry member’s scope in terms of budget, but they are also a poor execution of a tired concept that ignores the current climate of the marketplace. They are not a viable proposition when it comes to doing business and, like it or not, businesses generally want to make a profit.

That’s a hard truth I had to accept in the build-up to Christmas this past winter. It was one of the darkest nights of my screenwriting life. My screenplay “For Your Dreams”, a Thelma & Louise meets True Romance type affair, was on the verge of selling. I couldn’t have been more excited. Then, at the eleventh hour, I got the call.

The producer had consulted their brain trust and the drug mule element of the screenplay was a big problem on top of the issue of it being a dirt movie, to begin with. The investor rightfully needed a home run, not something too edgy. Knowing that softening the script would be like taking the eggs out of the omelet, I pulled the sale and lay awake all night in a fit of despair. Don’t feel too bad for me though. I got an assignment out of it and turned in something a little similar with far more mainstream appeal. Silver linings and all that jazz.

However, as a fan of writing low-budget pulpy material, I did have to come to terms with the fact my entire spec portfolio, which I’ve been putting together over the past eight years, may have little commercial value because of its nature. That stings. I’ve got directors who tell me they would cut off vital parts of their anatomy to shoot scenes I’ve written but feel their sales agent would spit in their eye if they handed over a film that feels like a cult video classic from the early nineties.

“Write what you want to see,”

they tell you but my trusty Grindhouse messenger bag and binge sessions on Tubi give away just what kind of movies I like to watch, ones that rarely make any money in this day and age and appeal to forty-year-old men who rarely leave their home.

But it does highlight something important and, that experience combined with helping co-produce feature films has radically changed my view and my approach to marketing screenplays. We need to respect the demands of the marketplace and the needs of the industry members we approach. As someone who spent twenty years of his life in marketing, it’s almost funny it took me so long to realize this, but then plumber’s taps always leak, right?

Talking of marketing, there’s this model developed by PR Smith in the nineties known as SOSTAC, an acronym to help remember six essential parts of the marketing process; Situation, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Actions, and Control.

What makes it powerful is it’s something that’s constantly looping and thus organic in nature. The world is always changing and not only to do with a need to be constantly reassessing our situation, but we also need to be adjusting our course as we move forward. This is how we need to think as screenwriters dreaming of selling specs.

So, why do so many of us present the people who can potentially change our lives with a proposition which is so unsuitable and unworkable and, given that all the craft skills in the world aren’t going to fix the problem, what can we do about it?

Well, business is a topic that rarely comes up in any detail within screenwriting communities. Hell even networking, which is pretty much essential to success, barely gets discussed in any depth. We keep ourselves in the dark because these conversations are scary and, compounding the issue further, very few people can talk about them with experience.

As a result, we resort to a scattergun approach of simply hoping to get read by anyone and homogenize producers and executives in the process. It’s a methodology only once removed from spamming and part of the reason why so many products keep their doors closed to those without representation.

What we can do is to try and think like producers, as ugly as that may sound. Don’t worry though, you don’t need to snort back mountains of cocaine, scream into a mobile phone, or buy a Porsche (sorry, still thinking about True Romance) to get into that mindset. Here are some questions a producer is going to be asking themselves when they read your submission;

Can I actually make this?

Is it even logistically feasible for me to try and turn these words into reality? Sure, we can make changes if we buy the screenplay but has this writer penned something so far away from what I usually make that it would be a leap too far.

Does the screenplay rely heavily on huge action scenes, elaborate effects, or props and locations I’d be terrified of damaging?

Would I need to build sets because they get destroyed in scenes? Does the screenplay expect actors to do things I could never afford insurance for?

How big is the market for this?

Does this target everyone within a niche or try to appeal to the mainstream?

Is it within a genre I know does poorly (looking at you, drama) or a crossover genre that does even more poorly (rolling my eyes at you, western-horror)?

What’s the global appeal like?

Does this screenplay contain content that kills off valuable regions in terms of potential sales?

Is there too much swearing and violence for TV broadcast?

Is the age group it would appeal to a demographic I know how to get in front of?

Will the script attract talent?

Is the prose so compelling people can’t put the screenplay down?

Is there a main character so well developed that known talent is going to want to play them?

What about the antagonist?

What about the supporting roles?

Are there minor characters with a big presence that would suit valuable day players?

Do the scenes give actors something to challenge themselves with and dialogue they will want to be known for saying?

Is that director or cinematographer I always wanted to work with going to jump at the chance to join the project?

How will it gain an audience?

Is the concept something that’s easy to communicate and highly appealing?

Is this something I’d have to run through the festivals in the hope of soliciting critical acclaim?

Is the story so good and the journey so entertaining that people will tell their friends after they’ve seen it?

Is it so radical it will generate cult appeal over time?

Is it an adaption or remake of a property where a pre-existing audience can be leveraged? Does the screenplay contain content that is profound because it’s particularly timely?

Will it make any money?

Given all of the above, what’s the budget and the total potential market value?

Is this a $10m minimum budget production for something likely to only sell for $10k on a streaming platform?

Can it be easily rewritten to change those numbers? Even if the market value outweighs the investment, is it within the remit of my usual financing sources?

Would a PR firm need to be employed to help validate the film on the artistic side of the market? Is there potential there to build a franchise in the future?

What would be the competition?

NOW THATS A TASTY BURGER

The break-in screenwriting scene often makes everything about formatting and rules but this pales into insignificance against craft and business acumen. Far more scripts are being rejected by people who can get movies made because they simply don’t see a route to profit than being rejected for adverbs and bold slug-lines. Do we need the experience of Kevin Feige or Kathleen Kennedy to move forward? Absolutely not.

We just need to step outside of our bubble, understand the world of commercial filmmaking a little more, and apply more consideration to who we are approaching with our blueprints.

Hopefully, I’ve made a convincing enough argument that we should keep this all in mind as spec writers and adjust our strategies as best as we see fit. It might be that we actually want to double-down on our niche but with a reduced potential budget while making sure we approach the right producers with something we know they can make.

It might be that we want to take our smaller feeling concepts and make them feel much bigger and more mainstream to maximize the global appeal and put them within the realm of the big studios and top-level producers.

It may be that we want to focus on excellent craft and artistic values knowing that for-profit products outside of the art funding world will most likely be a dead end. Or, it might be a combination of the above with different screenplays tackling different potential opportunities.

Long story short, think about every cheeseburger you ever ate, how much they differed in terms of flavor intensity, nutrition, cost, speed of production, quality of ingredients, and creativeness and how those differences, good or bad, aligned them to your needs as a customer at the time.

That’s what really matters. Not creating in a vacuum, hitting everyone with a scattergun, and hoping for the best but instead identifying what people need and delivering a solution they should find irresistible.

Written by CJ Walley – Screenwriter & Founder of Script Revolution
www.scriptrevolution.com

BPS 183: How to Get Your Project on Netflix with RB Botto

Today on the show we have returning champion RB Botto.

For many, the holy grail of television has become Netflix. It’s a titan in the industry, and with over 200 million subscribers worldwide, no one can put out content quite like them. Just look at the recent hit show BRIDGERTON, which has already been seen by a massive 80 million households (!!) since its release. If you’re a writer or creator, getting your series onto Netflix’s platform can spell success in a big way. But first there’s the matter of getting your series in front of them and pitching it effectively.

It should be a comfort to know that you’re not the only one who wants your series on Netflix. Netflix wants that too! Netflix execs are constantly on the lookout for exciting new voices and new series to fill their slate. Yet it takes more than just a good series or a good pilot script to get on Netflix’s radar; you need to be able to communicate it well and pitch it in a way that will get their team excited. This certainly takes some work, but it’s absolutely achievable. If you’re interested in getting your show on Netflix, it’s time to learn directly from the source what it will take to make that happen.

In an effort to reach more writers and find more content, Netflix has joined forces with Stage 32 to present a FREE and invaluable workshop on what it is that they’re looking for in new shows and how you can best pitch your series to their executives. In Stage 32’s continued effort to help level the playing field for content creators worldwide, we felt it’s important that we help you get tools you need to be able to make sure that you can pitch effectively.

Kicking off the workshop will be Stage 32 CEO, Richard “RB” Botto (@rbwalksintoabar), and hosting this presentation will be Stage 32’s Managing Director Amanda Toney with Netflix’s Director of Creative Talent Investment and Development for International Originals Christopher Mack. Christopher was previously Senior Vice President of Scripted Content for Stage 13, overseeing all of the brand’s original scripted series and development slates across multiple genres, including Emmy nominated Netflix series’ SPECIAL and IT’S BRUNO. Before Stage 13, Chris headed the Warner Bros. Workshop, the writing and directing program for professionals looking to start and/or further their careers in television. Over a period of 10 years in this role, Chris curated a roster of close to 100 writers and 50 directors representing the breakthrough emerging voices working on high-profile television shows today. In addition to these responsibilities, Chris has covered hit shows such as TWO AND A HALF MEN and SMALLVILLE for the Current Programs department.

Prior to joining Warner Bros., Chris spent seven years writing on various one-hour dramas including ER, THE PRACTICE and THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE. After graduating from Loyola Law School, Chris got his start in television at NBC Studios as an associate and he quickly rose to becoming an executive. During his time at the newly created NBC Studios, he oversaw a varied list of shows including: THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR and IN THE HOUSE, among others.

In this exclusive Stage 32 workshop, Christopher will delve into what exactly makes a television pitch work at Netflix.He’ll discuss the essentials you’ll need to catch Netflix’s eye and will zero in on how to write an effective pitch document.He’ll pose questions you be able to answer and communicate for your series and give you ideas on how best to communicate your show’s overview, world, tone, and characters. Christopher will then discuss how season summaries should be built and give you ideas on how to think about and present potential episodes. Finally, you will have the invaluable opportunity to ask Christopher your own questions. You will leave this presentation with the understanding of how to structure and present your series, not in theory, but directly from the source.

Enjoy my epic conversation with RB Botto.

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Alex Ferrari 0:00
I like to welcome back to the show, I can't get rid of him. He's it'll be share roaches, and dirty penny back on the show, RB Botto from state 32. My friend how are you?

RB Botto 0:24
I am doing well. Sir. How are you doing? Well, you know, it's a good place to start. How are you doing? Because the last time you know, regular listeners know that I've been on this show many many times. And I'm very thrilled to be here. I feel like you know, like Cato on the couch sometimes. But it's, you know, always great to be here. But the last time I was on the show, you were in a room that I could only describe as minimalist modern meets witness protection program, and you will going on and on about how all art is meaningless and that everybody is exposable and that and disposable.

Alex Ferrari 0:47
We're all gonna die. We're all gonna die. It doesn't matter.

RB Botto 1:07
And that yeah, we're all gonna die and it's going to be all meaningless anyway, so I'm hoping you know, my hope today is that you're in a better place. It seems like a brighter room. Seems like you've decorated a few things. So how are you doing? I think we should start with that.

Alex Ferrari 1:20
I am. I am doing I thank you for your concern, sir. I do appreciate it. I I am doing better. Because you know, it was it was a darker place when I spoke to you last, no doubt because we were in transition. So that dark witness relocation room. Minimalist relocation with a one chair in the back was the rental that I was in while we were looking for a home here in Austin where I just moved to so um, it was a tough year, let's just say was a tough year 2021 was a tough year. A lot of transition a lot of moving I don't know if you've moved recently, cross country with two children and a cat. Not not easy selling one house.

RB Botto 2:03
It is one of my 2022 goals.

Alex Ferrari 2:06
I'm sure it is. But anyway, it was very it was it was it was I wasn't, I was I was not in the best place, let's say but it wasn't in a bad place. It just wasn't in the best place was a rough time. But I'm doing much better. Now. As you can see, I have a you know, my set that I put together and we you know, we're settled in now and loving, loving life here in Austin man. It's, it's, it's great. And I'm happy I made the move to Austin. It's it is obviously where all the cool kids are moving to. So it's it's a nice place to be. And you know, and no state tax helps.

RB Botto 2:42
I know you're trying to get me to get down there and everything like that. And, you know, like I said, it's one of my 2022 goals. I have to have two kids and get a cat. That's the first part of the goal. So maybe we'll be shooting I mean, a few more years. But you know, maybe there's a time where I'll be a neighbor or something.

Alex Ferrari 2:57
There would be nothing better in in my life if I could see you have a child. Ohh My God, have you change a diaper?

RB Botto 3:08
Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 3:08
Oh my god,

RB Botto 3:10
I have nephews, I mean, don't say it like that.

Alex Ferrari 3:13
No, no. Don't be throw that niece. That's only one step above. Like, I've got a dog. It's the same thing. But um, you know, everybody's listening, you know, RB comes on the show, periodically about, you know, to talk about the business and talk about what's going on and, and he's definitely got his ear to the grindstone about what is happening right now in the business. And, you know, he reached out to like, Hey, I think I think we got some cool stuff to talk about. I'd love to come back on the show and kind of like give, you know, give, give the listeners a little bit of insight of what I'm hearing. Because our business is changing man like God every 15 minutes, it seems like what we talked about an episode 500 Besides the all artists meaningless, everything that's ever it's evergreen. But the business from that point on, which was only like probably four, four or five months ago, is changed dramatically. And it's changing so dramatically that it's hard for people like us to keep up with it. And we're like in we're in as they say in the shit. You know, we're in We're back. We're in the we're in the trenches every day seeing what's going on. And it's hard for us to keep up, let alone someone who's outside of the business trying to break in and it's kind of like you're aiming like, Okay, I'm going to aim for this, this little hole that I see. I'm like, Oh, the hole moved that way. It's like you're playing golf and every time you hit the damn golf ball, the pole moves and it's exactly does exactly what's happening as opposed to as Wayne Gretzky says, You have to think where the pucks going, not where it has been.

RB Botto 4:55
Yeah, well, you know, there's nothing I enjoy more with them when you wade into the waters sports metaphors just you know, it pumps me up it really

Alex Ferrari 5:07
I was I was a triple threat as a kid so I don't know what you're talking about I was a triple threat I almost I almost played baseball, almost play basketball almost play football. So that's

RB Botto 5:18
2022 goes to maybe you could actually go do it.

Alex Ferrari 5:21
Not with this body. Not now things things creek a little bit more than they use too

RB Botto 5:29
But yeah, I'm picking up on your vibe about everything. I mean, you you know, obviously you running everything that you run, not just the show, but your entire empire. You know, you're talking to people in the business all day long, and you're hearing what's going on? And you know, it's it's been, I think it's a fascinating time right now. And, you know, one of the reasons why I reached out to you is, you know, first of all, if people aren't familiar with me, you know, if they haven't met me before, heard me before, I am the CEO stage 32. Real quick, I'll give you the tagline that our world's largest platform for connecting and educating film, television and digital content creators and professionals. We act as a marketplace between content, producer and content, you know, the content creator and content maker. And we have the world's largest library of education anywhere with over 2000 hours of education for anything that you're doing craft to professionalize and the business. The big thing that we announced recently, was a partnership with Netflix, where Netflix is paying us to educate the world on how to produce content, create, develop produce content, for Netflix. And the reason why Netflix is doing this is you know, they have a 17 billion by order basically for 2022. And it's probably going to go higher, Disney plus is committing 33 billion, and that's probably going to go higher. And the question becomes, how can you create all this content at scale? First of all, I'd like to say to that anyone who's listening to this, I coined the phrase and 2020 2020 21, even during the pandemic, and I've extended it to 2022. And beyond, this is the great content gold rush right now, if you believe that you're not paying attention, Netflix certainly believes that Disney plus believes that Peacock, they all believe it. Right? HBO believes it. So Netflix is basically, you know, for Netflix to be able to produce $17 billion in original content for 2022. And they're expected to extend that by in 2023 and 2024. Year over year, how can they go and train the world? On how to do it? And how can they shorten their path to finding quality content. And that's why they apply it us to serve as that education arm and to partner with us to be that education on because if they had to do this on their own, they'd have to hire you know, hundreds of new people, train them, get them on planes to go around the world to find people that they can train to produce all this stuff, then you go through development, making sure the content is right. So basically, what they're doing is they're hiring us to act as their training arm to help find creative voices all over the world, producers all over the world, to create content for Netflix and their main goal in a lot of ways, you know, Netflix right now, keep in mind that they're a publicly traded company, and they have shareholders to, you know, to answer to, they have basically saturated the American market, the only way they're going to get another subscription out of the American market is to get some get one, you'll get people that have cut the cord, the new cord cutters, or to get people who had Netflix before cancelled and coming back again. So what they want to do is, and you're seeing it already is they they can add members all over the world, in foreign countries, right? And in foreign areas where they're not saturated. So what they want to do is create local language content that plays well in America. So you think about squid game, the pin, Narcos, sidebar, things like that. And what basically said, where do you find that content? How do you go to South America and find that content? How do you go to South Africa and find that content? How do you do that? And that's what they've kind of hired. That's what they've hired us to do. And by virtue of that, since this was announced in the trades, and the business trades over the last few weeks, we've just been getting hit up with every studio, every production company, every management firm, every agency coming to us saying we want in how do we get to your best content, you know, they wanted to first looks at it.

Alex Ferrari 9:29
So it's interesting because you know, it filmmakers and screenwriters listening, they're all like, well, you know, I'm, I can provide, I can provide content, I can provide value I can provide like, why can't I get in? And a lot of times, they don't understand that there's right now. There's so much need for content and there's so much money. There's no other time in the history of our industry. Has there been so much money thrown around, not even in the 90s and the early 2000s when everybody was making a lot of money There's so much money being thrown around right now. I don't know if it's a bubble, I don't know if it's gonna pop eventually, who who knows there's only so much of this, you could only spend $33 billion a year and not make $33 million a years for so many years before you eventually crash, so something might happen. But there's also we're running into the place of like, we're running out of people to create this content like, like skilled, labored people from from writers to grips to electric, like there's never been more of a need for support, and for positions in our business, not only in America, but definitely overseas and everywhere else around the world. But the problem is where a lot of you know, filmmakers listening right now they're like, Well, why don't they give me a shot? I'm like, because you haven't been vetted. And they're not gonna throw a billion to a million dollars on you just because you have an idea. That is a funny SNL skit that they did, where like, do you see that skit where they just walk? Guys just walking down? Like you, you what do you what I have the show, think about bread, good million dollars, go, you know, and they just start handing out shows left and right, because it seemed like that's what they were doing. But there needs to be some sort of way to vet people to come in. And that's where you guys come in. And that's where Netflix is trying to do is trying to build an infrastructure where they can educate people around the world to build this content, and then also vet creatives who come in, because if not, it's it's you can't you can't run a business like that.

RB Botto 11:31
Yeah, well, you're 1,000% Right. And this is exact, everything you said is spot on. And that's exactly why Netflix has come to us to train but they have but the conversations have gone beyond that to say how do we create that pipeline because it's not enough to train people. You got to get this content in you got to get it in fast, right? But you don't have the time to vet through and to sift through the shit that you know, inevitably in an invariant and variably production companies streamers managers agents get on their desk every day. So basically what they're coming to us and saying okay, you guys go to the marketplace anyway, you content that comes through you on the premium side gets vetted by executives in the business if it gets spit out the other side. With recommendations on it. We want to see that content if it falls into this genre at this budget, so they're able to come to us and that's why I was saying about the stage 32 writers room. By the way, this is just a giveaway for your for your for your listeners if you want a free month the state's 32 writers if you're a screenwriter, producer, filmmaker, whatever just write Jason merch is His email is Jay dot merch M IRC H at stage 30 two.com Tell him that you heard this on indie film hustle. And that will give you you know that I said free month for you guys, anyone who's listening. But what what we've been able to do in the writers room. And if you're not familiar with the writers room, it's basically a REIT, an Online Writing Community is 1000s of writers. We do education every week, we bring an executive from all over the world every week. But one of the biggest things we've been able to add since we announced the Netflix thing is open writing assignments. So what's happening is all these studios production companies are coming to us streamers are coming to us saying this is the content we need. We need female driven romantic Baba by half hour show half hour comedies, who do you have, and we're able to connect that content creator that's been vetted to that to that production company or studio, whatever. But with the ows, what they're coming is they're saying we need somebody to write this project. And then people that are in the writers room can submit their material to that production company into that studio. And that that has already been vetted through us. And they're able to be put up for these writing assignments. So we've been doing this for a couple of months. Right now, we've already had 20 writers that have moved on to the next level as far as within that particular company to write these projects. So that's exciting, because you know that during the 90s, and you know, maybe 80s 90s, open writing assignments were very common, then they kind of went away. Now they're coming back in a big way. Because again, how can you fill this content by this content spend? If you don't go out there and say, Look, you know, we have Emily in Paris, we need three more of these. Okay, where are the writers to do it? Right? Okay. So they come to us and they say, Okay, we're looking for it in the vein of Emily in Paris. We give them the scripts, they hire the writers. So again, if you want a free month, at that

Alex Ferrari 14:28
So you're basically tell me that Taylor Sheridan is not able to read everything, is what you're saying.

RB Botto 14:33
By the way, you want a great article on this. I don't know if you've seen it yet. Oh, yeah. Have you read it?

Alex Ferrari 14:40
No. Go ahead.

RB Botto 14:42
Let me just tell you this. There is a site called you should write this down because I know you'll love it. It's called puck.news. Okay. It's an article called The Triumph and the tragedy of Yellowstone and it speaks all about how this whole tale of Sheridan and thing went down. And I think writers and everybody, any creative that's listening to the show will be fascinated by the fact of the hoops that everybody had to jump through just to make this show happen, even with all the attachments. So here's what I would say to this audience, because I know the first thing that everybody is thinking right now, and there's no question and you're going to get 6000 emails, I'm going to get 6000 emails. So let's nip this in the bud right away, is I have a great project for Netflix, how do I get in there? How do I pitch them? How do I do this? Alright, so let's get this out of the way. First, the first webcast that we did in our partnership with Netflix was taught by Chris Mack Chris Mack is a 20 year development executive in the business. He was a writer, he started in writers rooms, he moved on to become an executive, he heads up, he's one of the main development executives at Netflix, he came in and taught a three hour workshop on what you need to do basically get to Netflix, okay? He said on that show on that workshop, quite clearly and upfront. Look, you can't call up Netflix and go, I got a great script, it's not going to happen. Doesn't work. That way, it doesn't work that way. We only have so many bodies, we can only listen to so many pitches a day. And oh, by the way, those pitches are being listened to those of Fincher and Spielberg. And those are the people you know, and the top agents of CAA and web and yada, yada, okay. But here's how you can do it. Get a manager or an agent that could walk in, attach an actor that has a first look, deal with Netflix, attach a director as a first deal, Netflix, go to producers who have deals with Netflix, attach a show or honor, that means something to Netflix, okay, these are all ways that you can control what you can control to get there. Now, let me put this in perspective, I don't want to, I don't want monopolize, I'm just saying one put this in perspective to put a button on this. That Chris Mack workshop has been viewed by 140,000 people. Now I want you to think about that. That means there are 140,000 people that have logged into state state two.com registered for that it's free. By the way, it's a free web, you could still watch it. If you go on to education stay stay to type in Chris Mack, when Netflix you can watch it. Or you can see all that if you type Netflix, and you can see all of them right there all 340,000 people now think about this, that's 140,000 people that we reached, there's a whole world out there you could x multiply that by people that we haven't reached yet that haven't seen this, but that means there's at least 140,000 people that you're in competition with, to get your show a movie on Netflix. So my question back to you is how do you get to Netflix? My question, the answer that question is a question to you. What are you prepared to do to get it to Netflix? How much are you willing to control because if you don't go out there and connect to you know, get a manager or an agent that has a deal that can get in and walk it in, or get a producer or get an actor or get a director that has a deal or a pipeline in to any of these streamers by the way, you're not going to walk it right in. So that's what you need to be looking for. So I know all of you just banged out emails, and we're seeing, you know, copying Alex and me and everything yet, click, delete that draft and go, go watch the workshop. It is master class. Chris did an amazing, amazing job.

Alex Ferrari 18:14
It is it is fascinating because God, there's so much there's so much need for content. And there's so many people wanting to jump in. But you're right, what are you willing to do to get there? And you know, I've been I've had the pleasure now of being another what episode Am I on 540 30 20 something. And I've talked to so many people in the business. And within the last year, I've been had the pleasure of talking to Oscar winners and Emmy winners and all the you know, this insane, insane people that I've had on the show and been humbled to have on the show. And one thing I've always I always find out, which is really interesting is it's not always about talent, though talent is important. It's not always about experience, but experience is important. What the main criteria of making it in our business is is resilience. That's it, that's the number one thing, because there's people and you know this for a fact there's people who shouldn't be writing in Hollywood today that shouldn't be directing in Hollywood today. But they were more resilient than anybody else and they were willing to take the hits and kept moving forward. As Mr. Rocky Balboa always said,

RB Botto 19:22
Say that was very that was really that was bullish. Yeah, that was yes. I couldn't agree with you more 1,000%. I will say there's a one a two that that is more important, or it was always important. But it literally is more important at this moment in time than any other is you have to understand how the business operates. Absolutely. I'll give you an example. We just talked about the idea of attaching one or attaching this whatever. People have heard me say it probably on your show that we are out with a pilot that I wrote, okay, we attached David Weddell, who is the showrunner for for mankind on Apple TV. He was number two on Battlestar Galactica. Then number two on the strain. He has been around for 30 years, he just be loved in the industry. Okay, we've pitched it, and we've had some success. But a lot of people, even with David on board have said, Okay, well, what else? Like what do you have? Do you have any actors interested? Do you have any, you know, that, again, it's sort of an we don't take that we don't. We're not, you know, beaten down by that or offended by that we're sitting there going, okay, the competition has gotten so great. And you have all these actors that have deals now. And these directors that have deals now, and these actors, and these directors have relationships with other actors and other directors and other showrunners. So they are coming in with even bigger and bigger packages, right? More more elite, right? So it's like, okay, how do we make ourselves better? So literally, last night, the brain trust of this show the producers, David, myself, a manager, friend of mine, who's helping push this thing around, we sat down and we discussed strategy of do we go directly to the dealmakers do we hire another producer? That means something to these particular pods, these people who have pods? Do we go to actors who have pods at the at the you know, and this was, so this was a business conversation amongst the creatives, but we understand what we need to do, and how the business works, that we're not just saying, like, well, let's just bomb everybody, or let's just hit up, like, who makes this type of show, at this price, who has a production deal, who's an actor that we think we could attach, that means something, and that becomes a business strategy. So totally agree with you on resilience, but you really, really need to understand how the business operates. And that's why if you're blind emailing people going I got a show from Netflix, you're, I'm saying you're basically proving to people that you don't understand how the business suffers. If you're spending 17 hours on screenwriting, Twitter arguing about whether names should be capitalized in a screenplay, and executives go who book and see that that's what you're arguing about, they're going to go one year difficult to you're going to be difficult to work with three, you don't understand how the business operates. So you got to be aware of your brand. And you got to be aware of how everything works.

Alex Ferrari 22:08
But so it's it's so funny now because and I want people listening to understand this. It's gone from the 90s. From you know, if you watch the movie, the player, which is, which is a classic, Robert Altman film about the business, that first 10 minutes shot in them film, it went from what those guys would those screenwriters were doing, which is pitches, and people and in studios buying pitches to then produce and attach and package and get a movie made to the point where we are today where you need to have a full package ready to go. And that gives you a fighting chance, it doesn't guarantee it gives you a fighting chance to get through the door. Because like you just said in your example, you've got this very well known a beloved show runner. And that's not enough. That's like, that's great. You've got a good foundation, but we need dressing. We need actors, we need directors, we know who else because there's so much competition now for these places that if you don't package something together, you don't get involved in this kind of pod like you were talking about. The chances of you getting it. I mean, when Spielberg and Fincher are having problems, getting stuff done, what chances do you think the newcomer has? So that's the world we live in? Whether you like to hear it or not. It's the it's unfortunately, the where we're at.

RB Botto 23:31
Yeah, but I would say at the same time, a lot of and it's a good, it's actually a good kind of convergence of the conversation. Like, you know, I said that, they asked us what else, but sometimes it's not what else we also get, this isn't a fit for what we do, of course, or we know we're where we usually don't get that because we target people that are doing this kind of thing. But we'll get some clients as we shifting gears, or sometimes we'll get we love the concept, but it's a little every tickets gonna be a little expensive. That's all fine and good, too. But again, how do you react off of that? And what do you do about it? And sometimes, you know, the finches in the Spielberg's aren't getting a deal, simply because it's too expensive, expensive. It doesn't make sense. It's not mainstream enough, or whatever. And then sometimes you get first time show first time writers. And it happens all the time that you get deals, but they get the deals because they bought some something more than the script, right? So I think that's something that we can impress upon the audience, too, is when it comes to TV. Sometimes the script is not enough. But also this is another mistake I see TV writers make all the time. And this is one of the things that we teach in the writers room all the time is you see writers come in with a pilot, and they don't have a pitch deck. And basically anyone can write a pilot that can knock your socks off. But every executive is going to want to know not only how to season one end, how does Season Three end, how does the show end? What happens with these characters? Where are the arcs? and you need to be able to hand them a pitch deck and say, Here you go. In fact, the trend today is and this has shifted dramatically over the last few years, a lot of times, they only want to see the pilot, they want to see the pitch deck, because they want to understand the world. They want to understand the entire thing. And if they liked the world, and they see the value in it, then they might say, Okay, let me read the pilot.

Alex Ferrari 25:20
But isn't it isn't it nowadays, like before. Again, it's just it's a shift in mentality. Because again, in the 90s and early 2000s, you know, it was all about based on the pilot, and how good they weren't thinking about season two or season three, because there was a 24 episode, pick up and it was network, and it was a whole thing. But in today's world, they're thinking about just buying out two or three seasons. And like, oh, yeah, like, if you give us three seasons, we'll probably you know, we'll do the first season, see how it's done. But we're prepared to rock on the next two or three, instantly, and we don't need it next year. We need it now. My friend, I had a friend of mine who works Cobra Kai. He, when I was talking to him, he's like, oh, yeah, Cobra Kai is just coming out. It's like, yeah, we already shot. We're editing Season Five already. Because Netflix bought this like no, go right into next season. They did not want to wait, they're like, You know what, just in case COVID. And that's the other thing COVID might happen. There's a window, let's shoot in this window before God knows what else happens and shuts everything down again. So they were just preparing for it. And I was like, amazed at that. Like, they already knew that coke Cobra was gonna be a big hit for season four was going to be a big hit. And by the way, anyone who's not watching Cobra Kai, what do you do with your life? You need to watch Cobra Kai. And, like, I don't even I could do a whole episode on Cobra Kai, I'm such a fanatic about go and Yellowstone, both those both those that could do a completely separate song. But it's the truth that that is the that's where the world is going. And that's where these streaming platforms are going. And yeah, you know, you're talking about someone like Netflix, which is really creating a lot of IP. They are they they're buying a little bit of IP, but they're really creating new IP, or leveraging.

RB Botto 27:11
I mean, they are buying but they're buying in small pockets. Now their goal, Look, you know, at the end of the day, this is why everybody is going where they're going. There's only so many libraries that are left to buy. You got Lionsgate out there you got Viacom that, are they going to be a buyer or they're going to be acquired, you know that every day is

Alex Ferrari 27:26
Sony, Sony. Well, not now.

RB Botto 27:29
But certainly, you know, if you woke up one morning, and you found that there was some sort of deal with Sony, or some sort of m&a with Sony, you wouldn't be strong. And it won't be strong with anything right now Apple buys a studio, you just you wouldn't be surprised by anything at this moment. But the point of the matter remains, there's only so much content left to buy. So they have to go out and create it. And that's where the creative you know, the putting this committing the $17 billion spent and Disney 33 they need to do it. So the Cobra Kai example is really interesting, because Netflix has, again, if you watch Chris's workshop, this is in there, but Netflix, their way of viewing TV is tell us three seasons, okay? And what they are hopeful for is that maybe we can add a fourth and a fifth. But at a minimum, we have three. And now if you're thinking about the fact that again, it's been 17,000,000,030 3 billion the next year, and I think they're talking about maybe 50,000,000,020 24. What they can do now is they say, Okay, if we have show a if you just produce show a and we know this is going to be at least three seasons. In our forecast, we could plug in season two and 2020 for season three and 2025. So good. That's one line done. That's what they were spending there was spending there. So that's why they want to know three. And if they can get beyond three fantastic that's like, you know, playing with house money in their opinion. There are other platforms that think much longer and you know, like a platform like Showtime. They're like, free man, if we could, you know, 10 years out of this, we'll move 10 years out and you saw it with like the affair and Homeland and you're seeing right now what billions, though goes 789 10 years, HBO is the same way. Although HBO has shifted a little bit into let's do a limited series. But let's do multiple series, multiple seasons of the limited series, right? And what why did they do that?

Alex Ferrari 29:10
A true detective and yeah!

RB Botto 29:12
We'll look into like, like white lotus, whatever the hell? Where's why low. But the point of matter is to bring in a whole new cast this season two. So why is why would they do that? Well, they don't have to give raises to everybody from season one. So again, if you don't understand you got to understand the business. And you got to ask yourself like these are questions you really honestly, you need to ask yourself, is my show a series? Is my show a limited series? Is Is there enough for it to be three seasons? Or is there you know, is it there's a finite end? It's based on something real, like the show we're pitching is based on a true story. And we've been asked in pitches, they're like, Well, you know, I see you see three seasons, but is there any way you could do this in six episodes? And I'm like, what the story takes place over six years, so be really difficult to do. I'm not saying we can but I'm saying that and then they're like, yeah, yeah, yeah, but they think that way. You got to be able to have an answer to that. But to be able to have an answer to that you have to understand how the business operates.

Alex Ferrari 30:06
Right and like, I'm sure everyone's trying to figure out how to make a sequel to Queens Gambit. Like everybody's trying to figure out how can we leverage Queens Gambit, even though that was a one off? Obviously, it's a one off like, you know, and if you try to do something, you know, contrived just to squeeze out another seat like they did with Tiger King, by the way like I I couldn't watch without your game was an anomaly. But then, like, I watched like the first 1015 minutes of Tiger King second season. I'm like, why am I watching this? This is garbage. This is garbage.

RB Botto 30:34
About like the fifth episode of the first one.

Alex Ferrari 30:36
No, no, no, I was it was a pandemic. Don't judge me. We were we were locked up.

RB Botto 30:43
We want to do this Cobra Kai episode in the Yellowstone episode, I will just come down there and sit next to you in full garb.

Alex Ferrari 30:49
Yes. Because I swear to God. But But So look, let's actually look at Cobra Kai for a second because Cobra Kai, I saw it on YouTube. When it first arrived. It was I was an original Cobra Kai fan when it came out on YouTube bread or whatever the hell they call the premium. And then it kind of died on YouTube. It was very popular on YouTube, but it died because nobody had there was no eyeballs on it. So then they're like when YouTube read shut down. And they had this show. Netflix like oh, we'll take the Karate Kid show. On paper. This doesn't sound good. On paper. This is like this is not a good idea on paper. And but they bought it. It exploded. And then I mean, it became the number one show ever on on on Netflix. And then it's just grown and grown and grown. And I talked to the guys I know on on on COBRA. Kai and I go, how much? How much longer can we go with this? Like how? How many more seasons can you guys squeeze out because they're good. They're not they're not waiting. Season Four was excellent and ended amazingly setting up Season Five like in a way that you're like, like but there's only so many more characters they can go back to like there's only and I don't know if you know this or not, but the rules are. Any movie that has Mr. Miyagi in it is part of the lore. So that doesn't include the Will Smith reboot with that doesn't include anything as Mr. Miyagi in it is where they can pull characters from.

RB Botto 32:18
Interesting. So that sort of rights must be traded off when they did the Will Smith.

Alex Ferrari 32:21
No, it's not the rights now Will Smith's a producer on the show, that's all there. But creatively, creatively, they don't pull from anything else other than if Mr. Miyagi was in it. So that's why we went we exhausted a karate kid one exhausted Karate Kid to now they've pulled in all the care almost all the characters from Karate Kid three. And now the only other one is the next, The Next Karate Kid, which was with Hilary Swank. And, and that would be effing amazing if they brought it back. But it's interesting that they grabbed this IP and then took off with it. And it was really interesting and something like glow, before they cancelled it because of COVID. Right? That was a, that was a niche IP. Only guys love your you and my age, would even remember Glow grown up,

RB Botto 33:09
She got two different types of IP. Right? Right. So this is another thing that a lot of these these platforms are doing. So you know, when I say what I said earlier about the fact that there's only so many libraries you can pull from library by that is true, there's a finite amount of content that can be bought. Right. So as far as existing libraries that trail back, so what the what a lot of these and clearly Disney is the king of this, right? What they're doing is they're taking the IP that they own, or the IP that they get the hands on and playing into the the soldier aspect, right? So that's one thing is something like glow. What's really fascinating about that show is, you know, they pitch that around quite a bit. And you know, it's an interesting concept. But again, it's like, this is something that Chris talks about to on the workshop. Why didn't why why why that show. It's not that people knew that world, it's that the characters are these female characters. And the female empowerment aspect is what sold the show. So again, if you understand what we're talking about when you and I say, you know, understanding the industry and paying attention to what's happening. We're not talking in code here. We're talking. It's not always like, you know, like this, the show we're pitching Weddell is, you know, it's a crime to true story. 1950s, late 1950s, Crime corruption, you know, on the surface, you could sit there and say, it sounds like a billion other shows, you know, it's like Boardwalk Empire West, let's say whatever. Right? But so when we go in to do our pitch, we talk about what the cat what the show is about, but what are the characters about what are the themes that we're going to hit in this show? What are we trying to say? And how does it relate to the world today? Politics, global warming, like all this shit is involved and what happened in this environment back then it wasn't global warming that there are But the the the ignorance to what was happening with the environment leads to destruction of what happened in the space, right? When you bring that in, you could see when you're doing these zoom meetings and I've done some of them in person to when you start bringing in those themes and everything like that they go that's interesting to them, right? That's the that's the like, that's what I'm saying, like, you know, when I listened to people pitch, or when people approached me, you know, we were in Austin, for example, we were hanging out and, you know, invariably I'll get, you know, over the course of a weekend on screenwriters that will walk up to me and start pitching me that stuff or giving me the logline to tell me about the story. And it's fascinating to me, how many of them talk about the world, and not about the characters. And at the end of the day, the only reason why we watched the best piece of advice I ever got, not today know this, but it was good to hear from a Yoda type figure in the business. My original manager, David Greenblatt, like, you know, David founded endeavor with Ari Emanuel. He still manages shame black, he's managed to sleep the weapon, the guy is a genius. The guy is known the Business Insider now, you know, story inside out. And he basically said to me, he goes, your world, he goes, Star Wars. He goes, you could take in Star Wars, this character, he goes and put him in a bar in Boston, like cheers. He goes and played on the same themes. He goes, you know, without the mysticism without all the bullshit, he goes, and you would still have these amazing rich characters, right? And he goes, at the end of the day, he goes, you're taking relatable character traits and relatable things that people will experience in life that they could hold a mirror to with the with those characters, nigga hold the mirror to themselves. And you could put them anywhere. But you need to be able to explain what are the themes? What are these characters going to experience, and he said it and this is film or TV, by the way, it's film or TV. You know, at the end of the day, we see a lot of films that are very, very similar in theme or in world even like crime dramas and all this stuff. What sets them apart the characters, what makes us go back to watch them again, the characters we fall in love with the characters. Oh, we call the characters right? So what we have, you know, severe writer out there in any level, even a filmmaker or producer or financier pitching the project, the characters or everything like

Alex Ferrari 37:17
Right! Like you don't go back and watch Seinfeld and friends, because they they're in New York, New York is just happens to be the backdrop you don't watch Indiana Jones.

RB Botto 37:25
They're in certain in certain in certain,

Alex Ferrari 37:27
Absolutely. No, it's a character in it, but you could take friends and put them in Boston

RB Botto 37:33
100% a character Right, right. You know, like, cheers that Boston ish ship because talk about the Red Sox. And you know that that culture is embedded in that show. But you're a hunter, so right. That could have been a bar in Austin. It could have been a bar.

Alex Ferrari 37:48
Right! And then if you look at something like I'm going to go back to Yellowstone. I mean, yeah, Yellowstone is in Montana. But you could put that in Texas, you could put that any place where there's horses in the cowboys and a ranch and it would work perfectly fine.

RB Botto 38:05
We got Taylor Sheridan an article. I don't think he would he'd be having none of it.

Alex Ferrari 38:09
No, obviously Taylor has

RB Botto 38:10
Had a shot at the Taylor Sharidan and I wanted to Taylor Sharidan an article. He, they called him and he said, you know, they're interested in talking to you. And he's like, I'm not coming in for a meeting. So they sent the plane to Park City if I'm on a plane to come for 45 minutes. 45 minute meeting at Paramount. It's fucking classic.

Alex Ferrari 38:30
It's, it's no, it's it's amazing, because I love you know, a lot of people don't know about Yellowstone. Yellowstone is not very well known. It's known within the business. Well, now it's grown. It's grown. We're in season four.

RB Botto 38:44
Yeah, no, it took four years.

Alex Ferrari 38:46
It's and people aren't listening, and people are watching now. But I would say that if you just take Yellowstone as it exists right now and throw it on Netflix, it would explode in a way that we couldn't even understand. Because it's just because my Paramount doesn't have the Paramount plus definitely doesn't have the audience and Paramount network where it started. Didn't have the audience. It was this quiet little show that had Kevin Costner in it. That's all they knew is like a cowboy show with Kevin Costner wasn't a big deal. And I just started I think I think I came in on season two is when I came in on it. I was like, Oh, I hear it's really good. And you hear rumblings like, oh, it's really well written and you watch it. You're just like Jesus Christ. And then the cat. Its character man, a cat. Taylor writes such amazing dialogue, such amazing characters, the arcs of the season. It's remarkable. And then you start seeing him what he did with Mayor Kingstown. And now 1883. And then he's got the four sixes coming out afterwards, and now he's building and I've never seen this before. Ever in maybe Shonda was shaundalyn Shonda Rhimes. But in the corner of the episodes, it's like the Taylor it's Taylor Sheridan universe, or Taylor Sheridan. And it's right there.

RB Botto 40:03
Read this article, dude.

Alex Ferrari 40:04
It's like literally Oh, I like so what Taylor was able to do. Because look, Taylor is a very talented screenwriter. And he was I mean, he did Sicario. He did hell and high water. He's known as. And he was also an actor. He was also an son of anarchy and a couple other things. But what he was able to do, and I got to read this article, because I really want to read it because I was like, how he was able to leverage this. And I'm assuming it didn't happen overnight. But they figured out that like, oh, Yellowstone's a thing, maybe we should let this guy do some other stuff. And he is running with it. He's grabbing it and running with it. Now he's literally building out a universe in off of the Yellowstone brand, which is just fascinating to watch, just from a business standpoint and a creative standpoint, because he's got carte blanche, he does whatever the hell he wants. They just random attack. It's pretty fascinating to watch right now. But he's successful. He's really good.

RB Botto 40:58
Yeah, yeah. And I again, we'll maybe we'll put it in the show notes or whatever, we'll put a link to the article because it I think it's an edge. I think it's a you know, a masterclass in how these things happen and how they could fail. Because you know, this is a Viacom Paramount plus production, Viacom only owns piece that if you'd like there's, there's so many moving parts to how this happened. And then how they got into detail showered in business after it became a hit. And it's fascinating. But there's a lesson in here as well. There are a lot of writers out there. And you know, like, I don't want to wait for a network show. I don't want to I don't want my film on Netflix, because it's going to get buried and nobody's going to see it. And you know, I'm not saying that same valid, I'm not saying you won't get picked up from the algorithm, but you want to be working and you want to be able to see your produce screenwriter on any level any way that you can. Because the other thing that's happening right now, again, with this content by and what Paramount plus parent, what they realized is, again, if we're going to spend more money, let's go with the entity we know. So let's instead of going to find more shit, let's go to Taylor and say, Hey, what else you think? And oh, okay, yeah, we'll do that. Okay. Yeah, we'll do that. Okay. Yeah, we'll do that. And guess what the phone up there, Ross that this is happening over and over and over again, there is a commitment by this is why Netflix and some of these, these platforms are giving deals, to even, you know, even to actors to say, if you're attending a production company, we want to see what you're bringing in. Okay. It's the reason why Jamie Foxx right now is producing like 15 movies that he's not going to be in because he knows that this if he does it, right. They're going to be like What else you got, what else you got, what else you got? We want more, we're gonna buy more. So it's not only the great content Gold Rush, because there's so much content that there's so much money that needs to be spent, and so much content being produced. But it's a content gold rush because if you play your cards right and you embrace the long game, and you get a ahead for example, that if you're not a you know, if you've never run a show, if you've never been on a show before been in the writers room before that you're not going to be the showrunner somebody buys your show, but you'll be happy to be in the writers room and work your way up. And you already got a year of people because they're buying your shit, man, you can fast track right now. It's not a five year process to get the show on air. It could be season two, okay? Because they they're running out of show runners, they're running out of people to do right, right. So it's just I always it fascinates me when people shoot themselves in the foot and everybody's sort of like, oh, you know, I don't want to take the low money from Netflix. I want the residuals I want this I want that I'm not going to put my film on there and have nobody see it. I want the ads going theatrical doesn't even exist anymore. You want to be a working writer and if your first paycheck is not what you know, it's not going to allow you to go buy you know, a house on the beach. So big. Okay, weren't getting the fucking game. Like you know what I mean? Stop listening to everybody on freakin broadbased social media by the way. I mean, somebody sent me a Facebook thread screenwriting Facebook thread the other day, I looked at this thing, and I was like, this is carnage. Like the the shit that was being disseminated by people who had never done anything in this business have never sold anything that were preaching their gospel and other people were eating it up. Like it was like God came down, you know, Moses came down from the mountain. It's, it's debilitating, and it's going to set you back years, do whatever you can to get your ass in the game. And oh, by the way, curate your social media feeds and put yourself on platforms like the reason why I started stage two is that's all we talk about is film. Okay. And we have professionals in there talking about all of it. We have 3000 executives there in the platform, talking about the business. Nobody's ripping anybody down. Nobody's telling anybody, they're an asshole. What they're doing is to disseminating the proper information on how to navigate this business. And it's up to you. Totally up to you to treat your career like I always say, and Alex says it all the time as well. You're the CEO of your career. If you are not If you're running a business, okay, if you did a startup tomorrow, would you just go out and listen to all these people who have never done it all these people that are aspiring to do it in the same way you're doing it? Or would you surround yourself with people who have done it? Well, that's what a lot of people do on broad based social media stream writings with a film, Twitter, some of these Facebook groups that are just poison. And then they end up saying and so's back us because they're listening to advice that doesn't translate to reality. And

Alex Ferrari 45:28
I mean, look, if you want to, if you want to look at reality right now, I mean, I just read in the trades that read notice that the biggest Netflix film of all time, which you know, I watched, it's okay, it's fine. It's fine.

RB Botto 45:41
It's when you tie me to a chair in front, my eyes open.

Alex Ferrari 45:44
It was it was fine. It was okay. I love the rock. And I love Ryan Reynolds. And like, you got the basically the two most charismatic human beings on the planet one movie, you're like, I watch it, it was fine. They've now committed to read notice to and read notice three, back to back, that doesn't that never had happened before. Really, other than the Back to the Future two and three back in the 90s. Like it doesn't, it doesn't happen in the studio system in the normal world. But now, and those aren't like little movies, those are huge movies. And not based on IP. That's an original IP that was created on Netflix, and they just know that out that the data is so compelling that like, well, we slot it for 2022. We slot it now for 2023. We got to take those off, they got to take those off. And then then like you start seeing all of a sudden, all you see is Sandy Bullock coming out with movies on Netflix. And you're like, Okay, Sandra Bullock movie done. Check to another boom, check. Okay, when smart is Marty coming out with another movie soon? Okay, let's Okay, he's over an apple. Now next time, he'll come over here. And they'll just start. They're just going after these these people constantly. And just because they need to fill they need to fill man, every week. Every week, they've got a tentpole movie coming out every week, almost, it's insane.

RB Botto 47:01
Wow. And then they released what 42 movies in q4 of 2022 2021 42. Movies, you know, extrapolate that out that's 168 movies over the course of a year, that's literally one every other day. They're committing to more they're committing to I forget the number in 2022, the sheer number of movies was pretty much close to one a day. And it's going to extend it to 2023 and 24. It's going to go up. So the idea that now of course, are all those songs going to be quality? No, are all those films gonna be high budgets? No fucking white, right? There's always for every red notice, you're gonna have, you know, 1020, you know, five to 10,000,002 to 5 million, whatever, okay, that they're gonna get me with people that you've never heard of before, whatever. Okay? If you are one of those screenwriters that wrote one of those movies, and you're just thinking like, Oh, my God, that sounds so soul sucking, in comparison to maybe the way the industry ran, you know, 20 years ago? Yeah, I can understand why because you wanted the article and you wanted, you know, 2000 screens and all that crap and everything I get it. But if you're not fitting with the times, and you're not understanding that, that gets you in the game, and that that allows you to go to the next thing into the next thing. And the next thing, is it a natural thing that's going to happen is what else do you got? What else do you want to work on next? Then you're missing, you're missing the idea of how you build a career in this business in 2022. And it's the same thing for directors, you know, if if, you know they need to hire people to do fucking 42 movies in a quarter, you got to have directors, you know, 200 movies a year 300 movies a year. And that's just one platform for its sake. I mean, like, you know, you talk about Apple doing this span and Disney doing this, but Oh, so you got to be able to put yourself in the game and

Alex Ferrari 48:37
The scary, the scary, the scary, unknown quantity. The beast in the room that no one's looking at is Apple, because Apple come out Apple could outspend everybody tenfold in their starting and they're starting to they're slow and methodical. But they're starting to build up and they're starting to build up and start and you can you can start seeing it because now I I subscribed to them because I saw I'd love I'd love the morning show. I watched the morning show and I got in for title so because everybody was talking about that last I was like I gotta watch that last one. That's great. That sounds fantastic. And then Finch with Tom Hanks and but it but it's but they're the giant that that at any moment could come in and really do and look Disney Disney was it quiet until now they're outspending Netflix, which no one really saw coming at the beginning.

RB Botto 49:29
Them to they saw in the span, they want to go back. It's almost like the touchstone days. So they want to go into adult again, right? They want to go into adult oriented material, not have everything be you know, friendly, all the IP stuff that they have. So that's another opportunity for eyes but you're 100% right, I say this. This is gonna sound like an insult, but I'll say it as a comment. I always call apple and it's the biggest compliment I can pay as a business person as somebody in the tech world. Apple is the ultimate SNAKE IN THE GRASS company. They're always lying and wait and you You never know like, well everybody's looking up over here at the beautiful trees, they're moving along and, and it's with everything whether it's friggin Evi zone. I mean like, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter moving DVDs now automated driving all this stuff. They but absolutely there is no way that Apple is not going to make a significant move. I mean, they already are in the content space. But I mean, like I am waiting for that day where they, you know, leap up and bite you in the calf. And all of a sudden everybody's

Alex Ferrari 50:30
Don't buy don't buy Sony.

RB Botto 50:32
They might

Alex Ferrari 50:33
Don't buy so they'll buy Sony though Dell, you know, I don't know if they'll by Lionsgate I don't think that's the content doesn't match, but because they're not just a library, they're very specific with the stuff they're doing. They're not

RB Botto 50:45
Interesting, right? Because do they go like you look at what HBO does? Right? Right? Well, they're extending their buys, but they're still staying in within their brand, which is the prestige brand, right? So HBO is very interesting right now, because they are extending, but they're not losing sight of who they are apple, if you you know, if you had to put everything into columns right now and you're forced to put them into columns, you would sit there and say, Apple almost seems like they're gunning for HBO, they'll go on to the prestigious type stuff with the big names, right. But I don't believe for a second with their reach. And with everything that they got going on, they still may go high level, but I think that they're gonna go high, like, you know, high level on steroids, I think they're gonna go, you know, for the big, maybe the big content bar, maybe maybe the big library buy, that's certainly in play. But you know, that historically, they don't really do that kind of thing. They're not usually an acquire, not too often, you know, like, even the beach thing, when they do not happen. Like that was like one of the most fun because they didn't do that kind of thing, you know, not to billions of dollars, they just create their own right. But in this particular case, you know, this is an arms race right now, right? This is an arms race for dollars. You know, Disney, which so interesting about Disney, to me, was Neff Disney was first sort of like, Yeah, we're gonna do this spend, you know, and we're gonna stick with our IP, and we're gonna do all this stuff, and whatever. And then as soon as Netflix said, we're going $17 billion. And we're going around the world that we have enough, not that we have enough us content, we have enough of a pipeline to get more. And you know, we know where to go to get more, we need to go around the world and get more of that stuff. All of a sudden, you know, chapek was on CNBC going, oh, yeah, by the way, we're going into adult content, and we're going all over the world for local language, and we're spending $34 billion. And it was like, wait, what? That was a massive, should you just want the first kid if like, what, what the hell just happen? Right? But everybody else has an answer. I'm sure that made everybody at Apple go, you know, get up on their on the heels a little bit and say, Wait, what, okay, you know, how do we compete with that, at the end of the day, you know, people are only going to have so many subscriptions, they're only going to be able to hold so many. So, you know, you're going to have consolidation in the space, not everybody's going to survive. You're definitely gonna have more m&a. You know, you do have those few libraries that are hanging out there. I think Viacom is so much a wildcard like, oh, there are there acquirer. What are they, you know, those with the Paramount deal make, you know, and Yellowstone, and that is that shifted thing. It's so interesting. But you can see whether themselves, I mean, they were actively pursuing a sale up until about September, and then they pulled themselves off the market, or at least they fronted that they announced that, and they fronted that. And you wonder why, you know, a lot of it could be like, you think you can get me but now you can't, and now you got to raise your price. And now you got to sweeten the deal, or quite a bit could be they, you know, it's almost like a team that hits the trade deadline. And that kind of, you know, right on the cusp of the playoffs, so like, you know, are they buyer's or seller's? And I think that's kind of the place that they're at right now.

Alex Ferrari 53:49
Well, we you and I, last year, I think when we were I think when it was last year, or the COVID, I think was the COVID episode when when COVID hit you and I talked about what was going on in the business. I mean, we call it out MGM or like MGM is going to be bought like that, that brand is going to be bought. So there's no question in my mind that Viacom will be purchased at one point. I don't know if they have, you know, Sony, look, Sony has been in trouble for a long time. And now because of spider man, and Marvel's connection with Spider Man and what they were able to do. That's an anomaly. And yeah, they'll be able to make a few more Spider Man movies, and they'll make a couple Bond movies, but generally speaking, you know, they're not, they're not Disney. They don't have the IP that Disney has, like they don't nobody has that Disney has Warner Brothers is the next closest one that has anything like that. But uh, but I think you're I think you're absolutely right. I think Sony will go somewhere. I've been saying paramount for a long time to and I don't think, I don't know, maybe this new shift the Paramount plus. We'll see how that plays out. I'm not sure how many people are signing up for Paramount plus, because again,

RB Botto 54:59
It's helped me This is the most stream show, I think, you know, which one is Yellowstone,

Alex Ferrari 55:03
Yellowstone. Without Taylor Sheridan, the entire company goes down.

RB Botto 55:09
Thinking, right, because the Viacom, it's a complicated thing, because there would have to be some unraveling, not for the audience at all this, but I'm saying that would have to be some unraveling, actually, it shouldn't bother the audience, because every single thing that we're talking about creates opportunity, every single thing here every day. But they would have to unravel some of this. Like, again, when you read this Yellowstone article that I was telling you about, you'll see that like, you know, part of the problem was that like Viacom really wasn't benefiting off of this as much as they wanted to because of what they had done with Paramount plus, so they've become sort of this complex thing that's going on right now. Which is why it fascinates me that Viacom kind of pulled themselves back, you know, Viacom, CBS was walking about, by the way, she talked about the whole CBS let you know, that whole library as well. You know, they're pulling themselves back. Right. So does this does a hit and getting into bed with a guy like Taylor showered in? Well, you know, you're going to have you know, Mayor Kingston is going to be ahead if it isn't already, and you know, the Yellowstone prequels gonna blow up, it does change, right? Does that change the entire? Or does that just raise the price or raise the attractiveness or whatever. But that's See, the thing is, is that all of this shit that we're talking about? Everybody positioning themselves in a way to either make themselves more attractive to be bought? Or, you know, escalating the war, so to speak? Benefits every single creator, every single professional, whether your producer or financier whatever, listening to this show, right? What What are regularly?

Alex Ferrari 56:38
What was the MGM library sold for? Do you remember? No, I don't I forget. It's like, it's like, we were talking about 5 billion, 8 billion American. But it's somewhere in that world. Right. So why would Netflix buy that? Because Amazon bottom?

RB Botto 56:55
Yes. Well, I'm sure that 8.45 Yeah, yeah. I mean, I'm sure they, I'm sure they, I'm sure they bid on it. I'm just sure that, you know, maybe they just thought you know, again, that their their money is better spent on original content. That's what they want to be. You don't I mean, parmesan. See, it's really interesting, cuz we haven't even touched on them, which is so fascinating that Amazon is I was on the phone, literally, with an executive yesterday, whose production company has a first look deal with Amazon and has done a bunch of phones with Amazon, I'm not going to name because I want people spamming them an email. But they've done some of the biggest ones, including one that might be nominated this year. So they were talking about, like, you know, Amazon has a very complex system right now. They're figuring out their way, like, you know, like, what do they really want do they want because they've done it both ways. For them, they've gotten like, they've gotten involved, this production company has gotten involved with existing projects that were on the way that needed some finishing, and they came in late, and then they brought it to Amazon, and it's sold. And they've also been involved with ground up, you know, from, from the script on, right. And the like, you know, she said to me, this executive, she's a top Senior VP SVP at this company said, there, every time you talk to them, they're kind of like, we're gonna go this direction we want we want to buy more stuff. And then it's like, we want to create more stuff, we want to buy more stuff, we want to develop more stuff. So I feel like they're kind of in this weird nebulous space, too. But I don't see how they don't go out and increase their spend as well on original content, I think they have to. So I think that ultimately, this is where they will go, will they buy one of these existing libraries that are out there? They certainly can. Okay, but does it increase the value and make more people want to buy prime to get more shipping? And, you know, they enter that flywheel that they talk about all the time? I don't know. I don't know. Okay, buying content as well and developing it. So no, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 58:55
And they're the only they're the only company that has a completely different business model than all the streamers. Because it's a it's an add on, it's a plus they did the same thing with the music, they you know, they just kind of like, Oh, here's a little bit of you get this for free, you get this for free. If you just sign up for 100, whatever, I have 120 bucks under 40 bucks a year for prime. And so for them, it's just like a little, little add on a value for prime, which makes all the sense in the world. But my main question to you is, can someone I mean, they are Amazon's a tech company, right? They're a tech company.

RB Botto 59:28
Company. Absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 59:30
Yeah, they're dead company. Right? Can someone please work on the frickin app? It looks horrible, though. Is a horrible it's the worst app of all the streamers out there it is ugly. It is nasty. It just it is so unappealing. And it has been for so long, please RB you know people can you call somebody and say Please, for God's sakes.

RB Botto 59:55
I will do that. I know that she of by MDB and the CEO of IMDb Pro, but I don't think they can do anything about

Alex Ferrari 1:00:01
It looks sharp in 1996 man looks like MySpace designed dude. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

RB Botto 1:00:07
The question I have is just that crypto LogMeIn haven't spoken, so we're gonna

Alex Ferrari 1:00:13
No, it's just it always fascinates me, I'm like, it's I barely go there, because it's so ugly, and it's so hard to kind of navigate and there's so much crap on there. So it's hard to navigate that thing. And if I was actually paying for it, like, if I was actually paying for it as a separate, I would have never in a million years bought it ever.

RB Botto 1:00:28
It's horrible interface. And the thing that's the guy, you know, is that a tell? That's something that, you know, I've talked about with people too, is that a tell that they're not really committed to it? I don't believe that that's the case. I think we wake up today, and it's really glossy and shiny, then you know, that the probably next thing you're gonna see is, you know, something in variety that they, you know, spending a gazillion dollars or, you know, in ink or something or Forbes or something that spending a billion dollars, and they listen to and then listen to this podcast, obviously, his podcast No, like, of course, you know, Alex and RBO, right? Of course, even right. Yeah, I listen, you know, at the end of the day, for everyone listening, it's this is just such a keep saying it's the great content, gold rush. It's such a an opportunity right now, but it's why it behooves you to start treating your life like a business. You know, your career, like I said, your, your, your entire being where you're the CEO of everything you're doing. And again, not wasting your time. I mean, right now is not a time to be, you know, everybody needs entertainment, everybody needs to have downtime, and I get that. But you really right now need to not be wasting your time on some of these threads and some of this stuff and put yourself in a position where again, you're surrounding yourself with the right people, where you can get to the right people where you're investing in yourself and in bed at a time. Because the competition is just because the doors are open wider than they've ever been doesn't mean that there aren't more people trying to jam through those doors. And the question becomes, can you scale the wall? You know what I mean? Can you scale the wall as opposed to standing behind 60 billion people trying to get through the doors, and they're always scaled the wall and and really, honestly begins with your relationships and your contacts and getting to people that can that want to be in the business with you. And that can help you get to the people that you want to get to the people that you can't get to yourself, which is really what this business is all about.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:28
I want to ask you, you know that there's something that Disney and Netflix and HBO are doing at a high level that a Sony and Paramount aren't yet and I'm fascinated why they aren't. I think the king of this is Disney, where they take one IP and they spin off shows. So obviously Mandalorian was their test subject and now there's literally I think this year they're releasing five shows from I think it's I just literally saw this as a book a Boba a Mandalorian they are Saska forgot I can't even say her name, you know, Rosario Dawson character. And then two other Obi Wan Obi one show and the the Rogue One prequel, all spin offs of the Star Wars world. And then obviously, you know, Cobra Kai, and all that kind of stuff. But you look at Paramount that has IP, not maybe as glossy as, as Disney. But let's let's just take it and we're just gonna spit ball here. Let's take an IP like The Godfather, or the IP of Top Gun that they own. Yeah, why wouldn't they spin off a show about fighter pilots and the drama that goes along with that, that you know that that the Top Gun school after they released the top, the Tom Cruise thing? And Tom Cruise would have to be a part of it, obviously, unless you produce it or something like that? And maybe he does. If you're lucky, you know, maybe you can come and have him come in Cameo once or twice. And then to the end of that. Why couldn't they do a spin off of the godfather? Take one of those characters and build a world around the Godfather universe? Why hasn't that happened? Because those like because it's all nostalgia, right? So the generation right now that's alive, that that's paying for all of these subscriptions are not the 18 year olds. They're it's our generations Generation X Generation Y. Those are the guys guys and gals who are buying into Cobra Kai. And yeah, other generations are jumping on board because it's good written stuff. But is that nostalgia that the tapping into select? Would I watch a Top Gun Show if it's well written has good characters? I would would I rather watch The Godfather universe unfold in the mafia that time and maybe fast forward and do like what they're doing with Taylor Sheridan, but why do you think they haven't done things like that? I'm sure and Sony has many other IP like that as well.

RB Botto 1:04:55
Alex, this is your lucky day. I have The answer to this question, okay, will I have the answer to this question. So, and it's a great question actually, I, we, I had the fortune of pitching this project to television project that I'm talking about, to Paramount plus, and to about one of the lead development executives there. They really, really liked the project. Okay. And what they said to me was, look, here's the deal. At this moment, we are setting our plans for 2022 and 2023. Now, again, that includes Are we a buyer? Are we, fender? Or are we going to get acquired or something else is going to happen? Or are we going to merge? Or what's going to happen? Right? So the answer to your question is, so the way it was explained to me is they I don't know if you're aware of this, but the big clay that Paramount is making this year outside of yellows, which is not really a play on this year, right? I mean, they all the spin offs, and all that is a, a limited series on the making of The Godfather. So the making of the car. So they using their IP of the Godfather, and they're basically telling the story about Robert Evans, and you know, the whole deal.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:17
Oh, well, narrative, not documentary narrative, narrative, oh perfect!

RB Botto 1:06:22
Miles Teller, I think is playing. Maybe playing Evans I forget who's but but milestone was one of the big guys in it. And but it's, you know, it's cast up it stunted up. And by all accounts, you know, at least by their accounts, but they were telling me it's amazing. And it looks I mean, it looks,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:38
I'm watching it, I'm watching it,

RB Botto 1:06:40
Definitely watching the night one. So the point of matter is, is that they're using their IP for that, what that IP is, right now, what this show is, is a line in the water to see how the public response and if the public response, so like this show that we're pitching kind of fits the sensibilities of this audience, because it's crime, corruption, all this stuff and everything. So that's why he said, love this show. Love this pitch, love this package. Got to give me a couple of months, right? So the answer to your question is, is that they're not going in for the big spin yet? Because they kind of want to see what they got? And why are they going to commit a ridiculous amount of money and go it alone? Or go it stay the course and do original content? Or are they going to drive up the price of what they have with Yellowstone to spin off Mayor Kingstown and now this Godfather thing, and maybe either become part of a bigger package or something bigger? Or what you know, I mean, what's that going to be? So that's the that's the big answer. Right now there's they're still feeling their way. They're kind of in the infancy of creating new content, even though they've had yellow sofa for years. It's not like they created iOS on and then 30 of the shows 50 of the shows. And you have a lot of which really interesting, we just got interest from it. But I honestly have to be honest, I didn't really know I knew this was a thing. But I didn't know. It was an expanding thing. Spectrum originals. So spectrum, the cable network, right? Spectrum has produced six shows a year for the last few years. No one's seen it. Yeah, basically, what spectrum? So think about it, what what is spectrum doing now spectrum knows that people are cutting the cord. And they saw how do they keep them, they're going to try to create their own content. It's gonna work. But they came to us, for they heard about the show that we're pitching. And they said, We want to read it, we want the Bible. So we just sent it over to him a few days ago. But this is another example of the fact that there this there are going to be more and more and more of these companies, but any streamers, and these platforms, everything that are going to keep the need to move into original content. And not all are going to survive and some get snatched up if they do it right. And, you know, benefits everybody.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:57
So how I mean, in all honesty, though, I mean, no offense. Okay, let's say DirecTV starts building out their own content. I'm not sure if they are they're not. But they can't compete. They can't compete on IP. They can't compete. Like you're not going to woo the best of the best.

RB Botto 1:09:14
Well go look at it.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:16
Unless it's cash

RB Botto 1:09:17
After this going IMDb Pro and look up the spectrum originals. And look at the cash of these shows. All A list.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:24
There's only one there's only one show. I know that have that it was the Jessica Alba show. That, that that one more than I knew. Right! That was the one show that one cop show was and it was a spin off of bad boys. It was a good Gabriela I forgot her last name. Yeah, yeah, get her and Jessica and it was the spin off of her character from bad boys. And there was two seasons of that and then it went on Netflix and that's the only time I even realize it was originally a spectrum because I was looking Oh, when's the next season coming out and like it's not

RB Botto 1:09:41
Can and Meryl Streep, I mean, they get names. I mean, it's just a And apparently I'm sure they're paying up for it, they got more money than that too right? But the question, I guess, at the end of the day, like I said, I think a lot of these platforms like that and even power mountain to go back to your question, I think a lot of them is still feeling like, you know, ultimately, the end of the day, you really have two choices, right? You either become a nice kind of, you know, you fit into some sort of nice, where people want to come for this content, you know, you're going to get a limited audience, but that's good enough, okay, maybe it's three lanes, there's that, okay, which is, you know, like stars and stuff like that, which, of course, is owned by, you know, it's all this stuff that goes on, and who's owned by WHO, and who's a division of what and everything like that, but you're either in that lane, your own lane, you're in the prestigious business, like HBO and possibly Apple, or you're in the mass, you know, so, you know, a spectrum is never going to be any of those. Right? Well, it's gonna be Netflix, it's gonna be they're gonna find a niche of some sort if they can find it. Like, for example, one of the reasons why they were interested in the show is they're not afraid of period and not afraid of expensive. So they're basically saying, okay, maybe we can do six big budget prestigious shows that maybe get us, you know, some sort of me awareness that we got profile. And I don't know,

Alex Ferrari 1:11:20
It's interesting, because I was talking to a showrunner of a very, very, very, one of the biggest shows of all time, comedy shows all time. And I was talking to them about how they got their start. And they got their start on HBO. And on that show, I was asking, like, how the hell did you guys were so young, when you guys were brought on to show run them, you were just starting out. And they're like, What HBO didn't have, they would just starting out, they it was the Wild Wild West, they didn't care. So they basically gave the keys to the to the inmates to run the asylum. And that's where that happened at Netflix at a certain point, though, the asylum the the inmate was David Fincher, so not a bad inmate to start rolling. Exactly the other perspective, but you know, the game with House of Cards was like that was that because people forget House of Cards was an on godly deal for its time. And it was such a huge risk that everybody in Hollywood was just like, What is going on? This is insane. I think that the only way the smaller ones are going to go is that they they pull out, they basically give the keys to the to the inmates on certain part on certain things. And if they can find that niche, and I think you're right, so like could spectrum become if the niche is big enough? I'm just throwing this out there, you know, could they become could have a could a tailor shared and open up a Yellowstone in spectrum with the same cast the same everything and could spectrum have built a whole network based off of that and then Okay, so we're gonna go Americana we are thing as Americana cowboys, you know, down that because that's a huge country music. That's a huge huge swath of of the US. Does that travel though? I don't know. So that's so these are all the things but that's the only thing I think that's gonna give these guys a shot, is they gotta let the the aside, Disney didn't have to do that. Disney owned all the IP. So they didn't give the key, though. They gave the keys a little bit the junk favourite, they fall for it with the Mandalorian. They're like, okay, you can kind of did you ever see that meme on Facebook is genius, where you see this giant train locomotive. And then you see this little, this little model train, and there's a string pulling the big one, you see conductors there and you're like, the Star Wars universe, the Mandalorian. You know,

RB Botto 1:13:52
I mean, I think this is where we're going though, right? I mean, Netflix isn't the show on the rise, but I think you got to people that you know, these these streamers have figured it out. That again, you know, to be able to fulfill this, this amount of content, we need to have some short things. You need to have people that can produce it mass, right. It's sort of why CBS got into the the guy who created Two and a Half Men and

Alex Ferrari 1:14:12
Oh yeah, Tricolore

RB Botto 1:14:15
Yeah, I mean, they did try they got into the business of that, right. If you could produce five or six shows, we only have another 10 slots to fill through primetime in the next year. Right. So why not go with proven thing? Why not make the show runner a star? You know, that people actually know the audience knows that a shaundalyn or on the live show? shaundalyn right. movie goers know this to Fincher movie. This is a Sorkin movie, Amazon, whatever. I think that that's where we're going. I mean, I think that you're right. I think this is why Paramount made the move they made with Sheridan is they basically said okay, if we are going to make this move really into original content go heavy, which it seems like that's where they Luening like, again, you're at the trade deadline and we buyer's or seller's seems like they're leaning to Buying. If they're leaning towards buying, why not go with a proven entity, see if we could build those up that audience see if we could build these subs up. And then let's go out and we'll test the waters with rip, like you said with the Godfather thing. And if that works, then it's the next thing. It's the next thing. It's the next thing, right? Like one of the things that they talked about this executive talked about to me was if the Godfather one of the things are talking about is because they own Chinatown, right so they were like you can you can make a modern day Chinatown or the book based on China great book called The the last goodbye of the great goodbye. I've read it's fantastic. A look it up. It's great. It's about China, when I within the last year that the rights that have book around by Ben Affleck like David talked Affleck about, you know, maybe that's the Chinatown thing that they do a paramount because you know, so there is going to be again, every big star right now knows, they see the writing on the wall, the day of the movie star as it relates to film stars, is not coming back in a meaningful way in any sort of meaningful way. You'll always have, you know, Orion metals, rock and Gilda doe in a read notice. But that's also not in theaters that's on, you know, just sitting on your couch watching it. They know that so all of them are very, very happy to go do TV right now they look at TV as the new film. This also gives creators out there an opportunity to be able to attach talent to your products, projects. And that's why it's important that you cultivate these relationships. Because these actors know that the idea of being able to film Three to be in three films a year doesn't really exist in the way it used to. But you can be in the latest you could be in too limited series and make a film in a year for sure. And, you know, you look at Nicole Kidman, you know the Ricado she's on big little lie she's on she did the other the other one that she did the other TV one that she

Alex Ferrari 1:16:55
The one with Hugh Grant Yeah.

RB Botto 1:16:57
Yeah. I mean, this was she's I mean, you know, she's working constantly. But you know, 10 years ago, if you told her come to a limited series, she'd be like, Are you kidding me? I got you know, 15 films lined up over the next six years. You know, so that, that's why it's, it's an exciting time to and that's why there's this paradigm shift. And and again, I know I keep harping on this. This is why you need to be listening to the right voices, and most importantly, be educating yourself every day on what's happening in the business.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:22
What do you think? I'd love to hear what you think about universal NBC Universal, you know, they don't have a streaming service yet. Or do they? I don't even know about it. They don't have a streaming service yet. They have. It's so funny right now, RB is going to his computer to check if universal has announced a streaming service yet.

RB Botto 1:17:40
Yeah, peacock. Yeah, of course.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:41
Well, peacock again peacock is

RB Botto 1:17:45
This is another this is another thing, right? Like his peacock. That is amazing. But as I was typing it, I might pick up but I mean, but it's

Alex Ferrari 1:17:52
Exactly. But look, you took your second

RB Botto 1:17:55
That's the thing, right? I'm in the trenches with this every day, which they tell you to literally every day on the phone executives everyday, you know, hear come up. Very rarely

Alex Ferrari 1:18:04
Never hear pick up, come up.

RB Botto 1:18:06
What do I hear come up all the time. Of course, it's the usual suspects, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney. It's, you know, it is paramount now because everybody's getting curious, right? It's all of those over and over and over again. And then it's sort of like who the production companies that have deals. That's what I listen to all day long, where I talk about all day long. Who are the actors that have deals? Who are the directors that have deals, whether they have deals? What are the pods? And if people don't know what a pod is? Basically, the every manager agent in the business, gets these pods where they're able to see what act or what production company where do they have a deal with? Where do they you know, like, Where does Brad Pitt's company how to deal with the TV? Right? It's HBO you know, as HBO is it Showtime is whatever. And you get to see where these people have deals. And then basically, if you have some knowledge, and you're really planning things like for us again, period show, it's going to be expensive. We sit there and go okay, first thing we think about is who makes this type of show. Okay, HBO would make it Showtime we make it scars and probably make it okay, let's go see who has deals with them. And oh, let's go to them first. Because if we went to HBO first HBO could fall in love with it but HBO might say yeah, but who you have your show runner but like who packaging more packaging more and bring it back to us? Give us one you know, give us an idea that you like

Alex Ferrari 1:19:25
Right! Right!

RB Botto 1:19:25
Right. So but that also but again every you put the little fish on the line to catch the big fish right if HBO came back to us and said you know, you know the actors we like to work with go to their agents and whatever we could sit there and go okay for our main guy, Bobby Cannavale is always on HBO shows. If they know if we go to court Bobby Cannavale is agent and say to him Listen, we spoke to HBO and HBO so cast act as HBO likes they're gonna read but if we just went right to that act, we went right to directors agents and said, you know, they might read because We have Weddell attached, that might be enough, but it might not be, you know what I mean? But again, this is how you need to be able to position yourself and how you need to be able to see the business. Everything in this business is a puzzle piece, man. Everything is a puzzle piece, everything it's a chessboard, it really is. And you got to see three, four or five moves ahead. But you can't see three, four or five moves ahead. If you're caught in the mentality of I have a great project.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:23
It doesn't matter. It's everyone's got a great look, everyone's got a great first of all, it starts with the idea. So everybody on the planet has an idea. Okay, everyone's got an idea, then okay, then I've got a script. I got a great script. Okay, that's step next step. Okay. Now have a great project. When I say project, that means there's more than one person attached to it. So now you have a project.

RB Botto 1:20:44
Maybe there's money attached to it, maybe something, something, some sort of other value beyond the script, like I would say, if I'm using the chessboard metaphor, I would say that the script, you literally just set up your board. Okay, your pieces are all in place. All right. What's your next move? Right, what's your next move? Can I get money? Can I get a showrunner let's just say if it's TV money, show runner, attachment production company, producer. If it's film, you know, can I get a director? You know, which is gold and when it comes to film, you know, films a different thing TV, it's more of a show or honor? Just people are curious about this? You know, if you asked me like, what's the first thing I should go after? If I'm packaging something for TV, I would say show Rob Phil runner, and maybe a name producer and or maybe a name producer because maybe you don't have the context of the showrunner but that producer might okay,

Alex Ferrari 1:21:37
But a cast cast as well. Obvious always cast.

RB Botto 1:21:40
If you get a great producer on board, they may they may go after the cast, right? You know that. But again, you're bringing the piece that can bring more pieces. With film, I would say you know, it's either money or a well I'll say three things money, a name producer that can get to money or can get to talent, and Endor a director.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:01
So do you happen to know that the longest how the longest running Netflix show in history, which is what do you know that what the show is?

RB Botto 1:22:10
You got me I don't know.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:11
Grayson, Frankie

RB Botto 1:22:13
I would never have guessed that.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:14
Great. Exactly. No one ever have guessed that. And I and I found out the story of how Grace and Frankie came to be. And just like Martha Kaufman happened to find out that, Oh, I heard that Lily Tomlin and James Fonda. Were looking to do television. This is seven years, eight years ago. And she called the PR agents like, Hey, I heard that Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are looking to do television. What what's going on? 15 they call up? And apparently it was that each of them individually, were thinking about doing television. And then the agent calls back and like, yeah, they were thinking individually, but now they want to do it together. And go really why? Because Because you called. And it was the power of the showrunner. The showrunner attracted the odd that the cast and honestly written one of the best sitcoms of recent in my opinion. One of the bestest comes in recent years.

RB Botto 1:23:07
I hope everybody's listening is taking this, you know, that's listening is taking it constructively. I have an agent friend that bought a show to showtime. This is a well known agent. And this is a you know, a person that's sold. You know, I mean, he's he's one of the top and packaged, it checks all the boxes, he has diverse hires in there, it's got some great characters, checks all the boxes for Showtime, what they are looking for which you need to know as well, like, what are they looking for? And they still basically said that they will like he called them in the morning, but he thought it was a slam dunk. He's like, when can we have when can they pitch? And he came back and they were like, we don't think we're interested in they were like, how can you not be interested? He said, You know what, let we'll get back to you. And they got back to him in the afternoon. They email them and basically said, you can send us the deck. But we don't want to hit a pitch yet. And this was with a major package. So the point of the matter is, is that wow, he adjusted on the fly every single place he's bought it to they'll like oh my god, yeah, like what listen to this pitch, like, Oh, my God, but it just goes to show you that, you know, you got it. You got to have multiple lines in the water. You have to keep perspective, you have to realize that there's only for like companies like Netflix where they're spending this kind of money. Yes, the opportunity is great. They do need to they need to fill a quota. But places like Showtime and HBO. Certainly they want to bring in more content, but they're doing it at a lower level. And they only have so many spots to fill. And they already are in the business of so many people that are bringing them stuff and have first book deals with a million other people that you have to be able to say to yourself, Okay, I think I think it's a great show for HBO, that you're positioning yourself in a way to get there. But then you prepare yourself with five, six other places to bring it you know, and you don't put all your eggs in one basket because you know they may have their quota filled for 2022 they may have the quota filled for 22 Through them, I only have like four or five spots open or eight spots open when it comes to like narrative shows, let's say, okay, so you got to you got to keep perspective with everything you got to keep you got a, like I said, stay on top of every single announcement that's being made and deadline and other places, who's doing what, who's moving where, who's looking for whatever. And you got to put yourself in a position to win. You know what I mean?

Alex Ferrari 1:25:23
So to close off the episode, sir, what chance and what should better question what should a screenwriter do a young screenwriter or someone who's just starting out, wants to get their stuff seen once they get into the business, best piece of advice for writers, and best piece of advice for a filmmaker director.

RB Botto 1:25:44
Clearly, if you're just starting out as a screenwriter or a filmmaker, you need to take action you need to do you need to learn the craft, you need to, you know, keep writing and obviously create stuff and get proper feedback on it. You need to go to you know, like I say, invest in yourself. Okay. One of the reasons why I mean, we've talked about this in the past, but the one of the reasons why the only way I would do development services on stage 32 was if there was full transparency, and you will getting reviewed by executives working in the business, and you get to do that. So my first suggestion would be, get your script, right, Jason, like I keep saying J dot merch, M IRC H at stage 30 two.com, let them know what you're working on. Let them know the log line, the genre, the the budget, and he can point you in the right direction. So that's the first thing. The second thing is for every creative that lives that's listening to this thing, community is more important than it's ever been. Relationships are more important than it's ever been. Trust me when I tell you when, when with everything that we've talked about today about the streamers and everything like that, they want to move fast. And the only way they can move fast is to work with known entities, right? They can't keep saying like, let me take a shot, let's develop this thing, it's gonna take two years to develop it. So you need to be connecting with people that are like minded, and that can help you and that can elevate you. And I'm sorry, but I think on broad based social, it's a reason I started stage 32 Because I wanted a platform that's just people like us talking about this stuff, and not about the salvage argument for 24 hours about slug lines, okay? You need to stop wasting your time with that shit and put yourself in a position to win and invest in yourself. Okay? And then the third thing I would say is man, you have to know the business. I know we keep repeating ourselves, but you have to know Chinnery of the business, alright. And you know, put yourself in a position where you could speak knowledgeably about what's going on. And that where and where, you know, your knowledge is your brand, man, you have to have a brand people. And the most important part of your branding can be that you know what the hell, you're talking about your professional. And that's what people when you're in a room, that's what they want to know, when we're pitching the show. They don't know me, I'm not known as a TV writer. I've sold a bunch of feature scripts, but never done TV. So when I'm in that room, I have to prove myself. And when they asked me questions about like, how do you see this fitting? Or how do you what do you think the budget is? Who do you think the actors are? I gotta have answers. If I just sit down go, Well, I haven't really thought about that. But here's my story. They're gonna be like, well, we don't want to work with you know, we need you to help us, everybody, you know, they need the showrunners and their people and their writers to know what the hell they're doing because they can't look over everybody. You know, I mean, they got to give you the money and let you go, go go do it. And you know, they got to have trust, right? So your brand is so wildly important right now. So put yourself in a position to win. I said at the beginning of the show. The writers room is free to everybody that comes on that everybody that listens to this show because Alex is my boy right Jason a che dot merch at age 30 two.com. Get in there. There's open writing assignments, everything like that. But most importantly, be active, be visible, be visible and active in the right places. value your time, value your money that you invest in yourself. Don't go with Fly By Night services and people that make bullshit promises demand transparency, and put yourself in a position to win and that's it. We could put all these links I could give you these links right

Alex Ferrari 1:29:10
Yeah, I'll put them in the show notes. Just send me stuff.

RB Botto 1:29:13
And yeah, man, if I could throw out I know we're gonna fly so I'm gonna switch out my my social handles as well,

Alex Ferrari 1:29:20
Which is arguably one of the best social handles on Twitter. And I,

RB Botto 1:29:25
I share a ton of free the reason I'm giving out my social animals not same reasons that Alex does what he does, we're not throwing it out because I want 60 billion new followers. To me follower account doesn't mean shit. It's about the quality. But Alex and I put out a ton of free information all the time. He does the show for free, obviously. And if you go on my Instagram and my Twitter you'll see that I'm putting out free content daily. And it's just RB my initials RB walks into a bar RB walks into a bar and also on stage 32. When you sign up and it is free to sign up. It's a free class. Warm, you will get my message on your wall that is automated. That's the only thing in my life that is automated, you respond to that you will get a response from me, every single social media post every single answer you see on social media, everything is me, just like Alex does, because we stand in front of everything that we say and integrity rules. And that's one of the reasons why I love this gentleman gentleman in front of you, and why I'm gonna, why I'm gonna, you know, to stop, stand him up. And

Alex Ferrari 1:30:27
I don't appreciate, I don't appreciate your tone, or your or your, you forget

RB Botto 1:30:32
I just want to say, that's the thing surround yourself. I'm, I'm hyping both of us up saying that we were men of integrity, I think we are. But my entire mantra of this business. I know Alex is the same way as I surround myself with people of integrity. And I surround myself with people that know more than I know, and help elevate me and want to take me with them. And that's been the key to my success this entire time in this business. And I it's the reason why we're partners with Netflix now. 10 years ago, five years ago, when we would talk to Netflix, they were like, Yeah, sure, guys. Yeah, yeah. And now they're coming to us paying us and we're working with them. And we're partners with them. That comes from proving yourself over and over again. Oh, businesses.

Alex Ferrari 1:31:15
Yeah. And and look, yeah, everyone listening to the show can see how the show has grown over the years. And it's because I've been here and just every day showing up

RB Botto 1:31:23
Stone overnight, you didn't get any of these people overnight, you work your ass off, to build this audience and build the show. And you did it. Like I said, with style and integrity. And anybody that you go out to can listen to one of your shows and go, I get it like, wow, this guy is really giving back like this guy does this from you could tell why he does it, and how he cares. And of course, why wouldn't an Oliver Stone want to do the show then? Right? Why wouldn't anybody in this business not want to have an audience with your audience? And I think that that's, you know, it's Yeah, but it's the truth, right? So that's what I'm saying to your audience right now. Be good to yourself, Okay, you're always going to be your own biggest champion. And you always have to find integrity in yourself. And you always have to inspire yourself, you should be your biggest inspiration, quite frankly. Okay.

Alex Ferrari 1:32:18
And just to put a button on this, man, you've been doing this 11 years, I've been doing it six and a half years. And, you know, that is a testament to resilience. But it's also a lesson for everyone learning and listening that this ain't gonna happen overnight. No, no, and neither you or I have made it but we've gotten to a certain level in our in what we do, that it's taken us a long time to get here, you're one you're not getting a call from Netflix, you know, you know, it takes time to get to these places in whatever you're trying to do. And if you think you have a one or two year plan, you're sadly mistaken, you have to have a one to two decade plan.

RB Botto 1:32:57
And that's what real goals, right this is. The other thing I would say to this audience is, you know, I see everybody going onto social media saying like, these are my 2022 goals, that's fine. I think you should have goals. I think, you know, some people have vision boards, I don't, that's fine. If you have one, it's all good. I don't care what your method is, but you need to be fair to yourself. And if your goal is, you know, by the end of this year, I want to have XY and Z. You got to recognize the fact that you get to X, Y and Z you need to have micro goals every day. You need when the day like I just had this conversation I did a sorry, awake a webcast the other day and they said, you know the guy that was hosting said You know, you're everywhere like you're always you know, you see here I see that how do you do it? Like how do you wake up every day? And you know, feel that fire? And the reality is it's routine. I wake up every day and my first hour is pretty much the same almost every single day. Because I know if I win that hour, I have a great chance to win the day

Alex Ferrari 1:34:01
And that's just it and that's just eating raw meat right you just eat little raw meat bourbon and smoke a cigar.

RB Botto 1:34:09
That's pretty much the entire plan.

Alex Ferrari 1:34:14
That's that's the voice that's how the voice has gotten to where it is. It's just raw meat bourbon cigar first thing in the morning breakfast.

RB Botto 1:34:20
Oh, definitely the bourbon contributed by

Alex Ferrari 1:34:25
Guys, RB man I appreciate you coming on the show. As always my friend you're always welcome back anytime. You you. You hold a record. I don't think anyone's gonna break your record of the most appearances on the show. I think were 13 14 15 I don't even I lost track. I have to go back and count them all. But but it's a pleasure as always your wealth of information. A gentleman and a scholar sir. So I appreciate your time my friend.

RB Botto 1:34:51
Well, I appreciate you having me on as always, you know I love you to death and appreciate everything that you do for the community of course and Yeah, man, I'm looking forward to 16 We'll get both I'm also looking forward to my gold watch 15 So I expect that in the mail and

Alex Ferrari 1:35:06
The jacket, the jacket will be coming soon his jacket,

RB Botto 1:35:10
Welcome jacket 20 I'll even get made.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:14
I'll get a smoking jacket and then I'll get a bid for the raw meat. So the blood doesn't get on the smoking jacket. So

RB Botto 1:35:21
Make sure now I feel like I have to come with a cigar and bourbon.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:24
Well, I don't know why you haven't you've yet to do that.

RB Botto 1:35:27
Yeah, I've well I used to book but actually when I used to do shows to do that was Bourbon and

Alex Ferrari 1:35:31
There was always there was oh, no, did you actually had bourbon straight up? Like you weren't trying to hide it? Like Yeah, no. depends on the time of day. This is early for you. So I understand. Six o'clock in the morning. I'm drinking. It's fantastic.

RB Botto 1:35:45
Well, listen. It's five o'clock somewhere. It's just it's just, I'm awake.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:52
It's a and I do I do hope to see you my friend at South by hopefully if it goes off. We'll hopefully have you here. It will be my first South by Southwest I've never been so it's going to be exciting. I expect you to be here to show me around. Tell me where to go where not to go. And and Sundance unfortunately. Not so much this year.

RB Botto 1:36:12
That full range into my scheduling. Holy shit.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:15
Well, maybe one day we'll come back to normal man I miss I miss Park City, but I think it's gonna it'll never be what it was. It will never be what it was. It'll never be what it was when we shot the movie. It'll Yeah, it'll never be that again. I think we're gonna be wearing masks for quite some time.

RB Botto 1:36:31
I mean well, we'll see what happens with South by if I can make it down there. If they have it. You know, I'd love to see we could probably do something.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:38
My friend a pleasure as always my friend. Thanks again.

RB Botto 1:36:42
I love you my brother. I really do. I love you to death. Alright my friend.


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BPS 181: Clerks, Sundance and Making $500 Million+ at the Box-Office with Scott Mosier

You guys are in for a major treat. I’m always talking about those “lottery ticket” filmmaker stories that we all dream of happening to us one day. Well, today’s guest’s story is one of the mythological stories that come to life.

We have a 90’s independent film icon, Scott Mosier. Scott is an indie film producer, editor, writer, director, actor, and podcaster of Smodcast, which he co-hosts with his long-term filmmaking partner, Kevin Smith.

From Vancouver Film School to Hollywood, Scott’s trajectory has been inspiring for many in the industry. He produced some of the best 90s classics like Clerks 1 & 2, Jersey Girl, the Oscar® Winning Good Will Hunting, Dogma, and many, many more.

Scott acted in, edited the movie, original sound, and contributed to Clerk’s budget. After the massive hit, they followed up with the embattled Mallrats. The film was not well received and did no money at the box office. Kevin and Scott were essentially discarded and called a one-hit-wonder. For most filmmakers that would be all she wrote but not for Kevin and Scott.

They decided to go back to their roots and make another low-budget indie and prove to Hollywood that they were here to stay. Their next film was the brilliant romantic comedy-drama, Chasing Amy. The tells the unfortunate twist of a male comic artist who falls in love with a lesbian woman, to the displeasure of his best friend.

After self-financing, the majority of their initial projects (Mosier & Smith), 2001, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was Mosier’s first big-budget ($20 million) production.

Based on real-life stoners Jay and Silent Bob, so when they get no profit from a big-screen adaptation they set out to wreck the movie.

If that wasn’t enough Scott also co-executive produced the Oscar® Award-Winning Good Will Hunting in his spare time.

Wanting a change Scott decided to branch out and start directing himself. His 2018 directorial debut was a stand-out project! A box office hit, grossing about $512 million globally and the highest-grossing holiday film of all time. Dr. Seuss: The Grinch became the third screen adaptation of the 1957 Dr. Seuss book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I had a ball talking shop with Scott. We discussed the genesis of the independent film movement as we know it today, dealing with studios, what was it like being in the Clerks hurricane, and much more.

Enjoy my conversation with Scott Mosier.

Right-click here to download the MP3

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Alex Ferrari 2:41
I'd like to welcome to the show the legendary Scott Mosier how're you doing Scott?

Scott Mosier 4:14
The legendary Scott Mosier is not here.

Alex Ferrari 4:18
Well then we'll just deal with the Scott Mosier that's in front of us. Yes. I'm good. How are you? I'm good, man. I'm good. Thank you so much for coming on the show man. I've I've been a fan of of your, you're producing for a long time and you're directing my kids are now fans of your directing as well, which we'll get all into that in a bit. But, you know, many, many of my listeners know that you you know kind of get your start in clerks. Working with Kevin and getting that whole thing going. I have to first tell you when I first saw clerks, because you and I are similar vintage, as far as age is concerned. So

Scott Mosier 4:58
You're looking at I'm about to what's today? Friday on Friday, um, a week. So today's February 24. So March 5, I turned 50. I'm like, Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 5:10
You're a little bit, you're just slightly a bit older. I'm 46. So we're in similar we, we've crossed over the same bodies, in the bits in the business. So, um, when I first thought clerks, I was so upset because I was working in video stuff. Like, it was right in front of me. Why did I think of this? It was like, literally, I was I worked at a video store for five years. And I was just like, God, damn it, man. I was so upset at myself, like I had. And I thought about that. But you guys, you guys did it. So how did you get involved with Kevin? How did you get involved with clerks and that whole kind of crazy story?

Scott Mosier 5:49
So I mean, you know, I backing it up, like I was probably, I guess I was like, 14, or 15. Or even younger than that. It was like Raiders of the Lost Ark was the movie I saw. Where it wasn't just that I was like, Oh, I love this movie. It was more that I was like, Oh, what is how do people do this, like, you know that it's a constructive thing. You know, like, it became, I became aware that it's like, oh, people made it didn't just appear on an air. And so then I started getting released in film. And then, you know, ultimately went to the Vancouver Film School, because I was living just outside of Vancouver, BC. So. And so Kevin and I both just sort of independently end up getting in, we're in the same class. It was like the 25th 26th. Like they were they were numbered, so it's cool, just opened. And we both went because our grades weren't that good. And so it's like, this is a tech school, right? You just go it's eight bonds, you're in and out, Kevin. So we arrived there together, we kind of become friends. But Kevin is the one who came with a plan, like Kevin had already sort of, he was working in a convenience store. And the videos are back and forth. And so he kind of went there with the intention of like, I'm going to learn how to make a movie, and then go back and make the movie with my friends. And then we became friends. And so it became like, around halfway through the program, it's like the four month mark, it was like 10,000 all and then they take it the halfway mark, like you had to put in your next 5000. And Kevin was like, I'm not gonna do it. I'm gonna go home and get my job back. And you say, and finish the term out and learn how or whatever's left tiller. As far as like, all that was really left in the back half of the four months was we switched into doing these sort of narrative 16 millimeter shorts. So you worked on like, two, I think or one now you just worked on one. And and so Kevin left to save the money to put towards the movie. And then I stayed. And that's when Dave like Dave Klein is in our class, who was the cinematographer on clerks. And he we've kind of known each other. But as soon as Kevin laughs like that, Dave and I started hanging out a lot. And so by the time we graduated, so it was like March of 92. We start class, October we finish. And Dave and I are friends. And after that we started making like, there's all there's a bunch of, you know, there's like a community of like, people have gone to the school, and they were making short films outside of the program. And so I was, I was editing one was the editor on one and I was the dolly grip during the shoot, I was doing it, I was cut in at night. David shot and, and so we were all just kind of around with cevin. In the meantime, I remember working on that short when I was Dolly, Dolly grip for a reason. And that's when I read in convenience or the first draft of clerks. So that was like probably November of 92. So we meet in March of 92 by November of 92. I have the the draft for clerks and then and then from there, we were gonna shoot earlier, but then there was a big flood and Kevin's like house was flooded and his car was flooded and so he couldn't do it. And so we we postponed until March and then I was prepping in the morning to rent equipment like I was getting up like really early at like 5am to call houses in New York to rent camera equipment and we'd sort of talked to you know, I mean, there's a lot of stories that we have talked to, you know, we talked to one DP was in New York is an older guy who had his own path lighting and etc, etc. And I remember Kevin, I was talking to him like, this is totally. I mean, look, it all worked out. So, but I remember I remember being like, I remember distinctly feeling like, oh, man, like, if there's that one guy who knows everything, and we're just complete neophytes, it's like it kind of, we both were a little bit like, it feels wrong, like, you know, or it feels like it just felt like the wrong move to have this person who was always like, can't do that. And you have to do this. And you have friends that I think we're just selfish and scared.

Alex Ferrari 10:52
Ignorance, ignorance is bliss.

Scott Mosier 10:54
Yeah, it was it truly was like, kind of like, and then Dave, we knew Dave like, well, let's update. You know, let's, let's, let's bring a lot of people who know nothing.

Alex Ferrari 11:07
So I'd be on paper. This sounds fantastic as an investment. So we were talking about it's I mean, it really does black and white movie about clerks. No Star Power cost about 20 something 27,000 If I'm not mistaken. First time DP really, I mean, other than shorts, first time director first time producer. First time cast essentially had no actors for Summit. So again, on paper, solid, solid investments. Everyone lined up. Everyone's just like, How much money do you need?

Scott Mosier 11:36
Yeah, I'm like, why don't you give us a million? And we're like, no, no, no, no. We only want 1000

Alex Ferrari 11:44
Let's not get crazy. And then And also, I just recently found out that Dave, Dave was the DP on the Mandalorian. So he's done okay, for himself.

Scott Mosier 11:54
Yeah, I mean, dude, you know, shot from day one on the ship shoot, like, most the seasons of homeland, and now he's on Mandalorian. Like, you know, he, yeah, he's sort of, you know, his career. And last two has just taken off, you know, and he's doing, you know, he's been nominated for Emmys. Like, it's just amazing. But yeah, we were at that point, you know, that's my feminine paying for it, you know, essentially all those on his credit cards, but, you know, his, his, his mindset, which always made sense to me was, like, you know, you can go to NYU is if you've got mam IU, or another sort of more prestigious film school site, he could have spent 100,000, you know, 100 $200,000 So it's like, you know, by the time he came out of Vancouver Film School, having spent like, you know, eight to $10,000, and fees, and living, etc, etc. And then you add, you know, another 30 grand and credit card debt. It's like, it didn't seem you know, it was like on paper, once again, like, on paper, it was like, Is this the worst thing like, nuke? Yes, you're in debt. And if the movie is a total disaster, you'll have to dig yourself out of it. But like, I mean, but that's, and I will say this, like, that's, that's, you know, that's not me. That was Kevin, like Kevin had, Kevin's always had that drop, you know, and like to make that sort of like, leap, you know, he made the leap of like, I'm just, like, Fuck it, like, I'm just gonna do it, you know, and like, start rash, like getting credit cards.

Alex Ferrari 13:32
You know, it's, it's, I mean, look, you know, I grew up in the 90s. And that you you guys were part of that first wave of true independent like that what what we consider independent film today was created, starting in 89, with sex lies, and continue with clerics and El Mariachi and reservoir and that whole, you know, Linkletter and slacker and all these guys. And when you guys were making clerks, it hadn't really hit yet. Sundance was Sundance, but it wasn't Sundance like you guys helped create the mythos around Sundance with with clerks, and mariachi and then of course, all these other films that came around that time. So there was, there wasn't even kind of a blueprint for what you guys were doing. Like it wasn't like, oh, yeah, we're gonna submit to Sundance and then obviously, Harvey and Miramax is gonna pick this up and we're gonna get a fat check in our careers. Like, that wasn't even a thing. It's the risk that you guys were taking was not only crazy, looking. In hindsight, it's like on paper, it looked horrible, but it was like really? It was really brave and stupid.

Scott Mosier 14:39
100% but I will, I will sort of like, unfortunately punch a hole.

Alex Ferrari 14:45
Please, please punch away.

Scott Mosier 14:46
Because there was actually like a absolute blueprint with Slacker.

Alex Ferrari 14:52
You're right, I guess. Slacker. Did you write slacker?

Scott Mosier 14:54
Slacker slacker comes out. Kevin sees fluff like, here's the slacker boy. prep. Kevin goes to New York See, slacker goes, it loves it. And he's like, if that's a movie, I can make a movie, right? And then from there, there was like, you know, there was enough examples.

Alex Ferrari 15:14
I guess you're right. You'll be really early though.

Scott Mosier 15:17
Slacker. We were super early. And we definitely became like part of the sort of Sundance mythos of like, the ultra low budget, kind of like film from nowhere, you know, and then filmmaker plucked out and sort of, you know, given a career, like, we're definitely all part of that. But there was enough, you know, right down to the fact that Kevin was like, there was an article about slacker who had framed on his wall, which was, Rick had made the movie and then showed it as a in progress screen in the IFM, which was the international feature film market. And an Amy talbin did this sort of wrap up article every year called, picked a few movies, and she had picked slacker. And so that really was the blueprint, like Sundance was technically not the end zone, the end zone was to get to IFAM and screen it. So we had that blueprint. And then there was another article I remember written by Peter Broderick, which was a budget breakdown of laws of gravity, which is very, very, like by year, but it still was like, and so it kind of helped shape this idea of like, I think we can do this because the slacker was 22,000. And laws of gravity was around there, too. So it was like, it kind of became this sort of, like $25,000 idea. That was the budget, you know, and before you know, the other person who was like, very influential, who had proceeded everybody was Jarmusch. You know, like he stranger than paradise was a huge influence. I mean, like, a big influence as far as like, long takes, you know, like, there was definitely an influence, but it was also just an influence of like, you know, the young and like the those those are the first independent films, like Think stage in Paradise was like the first indie film.

Alex Ferrari 17:23
What was it? What year was that? What year was that? Is that 89 90?

Scott Mosier 17:26
I thought it was 89. I was about to look.

Alex Ferrari 17:29
Yeah, I think, because I know. I mean, obviously Soderbergh's, you know, sex lies was that was a million dollar. I was like, a million dollar movie. That wasn't a small indie. But it was the thing that kind of launched Sundance into being what Sundance essentially became. And prior to that Hollywood shuffle in 87, which was another big blueprint, which I think I think Robert Townsend doesn't get enough credit for, for being like one of the first guys I think he was one of the first guys to put everything on his credit card, and just say, Screw it, and yet, yeah,

Scott Mosier 17:58
And I like I like Kevin, the blueprint. I'm pretty, I think that was definitely Kevin put it on his credit card. It's like it was like the like the Blueprint was sort of like Hollywood shuffle slacker. laws of gravity was just the first budget I'd ever seen where they broken it down into camera equipment, and all that stuff. And I was just like, such a neophyte that I was like, it just gave me something where I was like, oh, like, so if somebody says the camera package cost three times as much I can cry bullshit, and go like No, no like this. You know what I mean? It just gave me something to, to base it off. But we did have this sort of, we had this blueprint and we ultimately go to the AFM. We have a terrible screening. And no one's in. Like there's, there's awesome the cast. And then there's like three or four other people, you know, but there's one guy, there's one guy, this guy, Robert Hawke, who was a consultant for Sundance, and was a big part of the indie film world. And he had watched it, and he becomes this sort of like, he leaves and he tells Peter Broderick, and then Amy Talman wrote the article calls Peter Broderick and says, like, is there anything I missed? And he's like, You got to watch this movie clerks. So then Kevin's in the store, we're all depressed because we're like, Well, that's it right? Like that's, that's 40 grand like, the Blueprint was over. Blueprint grant really ran out. We've turned the page and we're like, Fuck, it's blank. There's nothing left to do except lick our wounds. And then Amy Tabin calls Kevin at the store and basically we become we become the sort of, if the slacker article she wrote as the prototype, we basically become that film for that year we became the film you know, we became the slacker, over article. And then everything just sort of ballooned from there. You know, everything was just like it was all look, it's all so much of it was word of mouth.

Alex Ferrari 20:07
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mosier 20:18
Because it was like, from Peter Broderick, Amy Talbott, like, it just became like, Larry cartouche from MoMA, and then John Pierce, like it, just, you know, then the film just starts like, then people are moving, advancing things without us doing anything. And we're just sitting back, you know, like, like, watching, like, you know, roller coasters. Like this. Here's like, what to

Alex Ferrari 20:44
Use someone for the ride at that point?

Scott Mosier 20:46
Yeah, as soon as we look, you know, as soon as we get to Sundance, you know, the idea leaving left is like, will someone buy, you know, we still didn't know that. And, and there have been sort of screenings prior. So some of the studios have seen it. And it was really like, well, we got to have a, we have to have really great screens to see it. So that was the only thing kind of left. And then once it's bought, then then it's truly like the roller coaster of like, you know, but it was it was really, you know, it was, it's something that the experience from beginning to end is was so incredible. Like it was it was like it was written, you know, like you by the time you're like, by the time we're in Cannes in critics week. And Kevin and I are like, trying to avoid going to the awards dinner because we didn't want to dress up or some stupid shit. And then we go when, you know, and we're just sort of like, there's this amazing photo of us sort of like, I mean, I think it's more on my back. But Kevin Spacey is just that, like, what? Holy shit moment of like, you know, because you're constantly you in a way you your, your mind sort of adjust to what happened, you know, like, Okay, we got into can and now it's over, like, Okay, we got to Sundance now. They kind of go like, alright, like, just can't keep going. Yeah, like the amazing train has, okay, maybe the train stopped here. Okay, this is great. This is amazing. And then it's like, it just kept going with that movie. It just had such a life of its own. And it was such an amazing sort of, you know, we flew around the world, it was just everywhere. I was 22, I think. So it was such, it was incredible. It was it was like, you know, in four years, it was like it has been, it will always be it will always be the most this incredibly special experience that nothing can really touch. For reasons of like, for reasons that aren't the fault of any other film I've ever worked for Don, it's just, you know, you can't, you can't really experience something for the first time.

Alex Ferrari 23:11
It's like, it's like your first love, like you can't re experience your first love. You might not end up with that person, or whatever. But that moment and that time and your age and where you are in the world and your evolution, all that stuff. You'll never ever get your first kiss. Like that's, that's something you'll never get your first. So Clark's was essentially your first time.

Scott Mosier 23:34
The first time and it was amazing. It was like, we were in Cannes and I remember, there was a Miramax boat. And then next to it was this was a yacht and Simon Obama was on it. And basically, we were, you know, we were running around all the time. But basically, we end up meeting sila bond, and he's like, you know, it kind of says, like, Oh, I love to see a movie. And I was like, I was I was planning like eight in the morning or something crazy. And he's like, we'll come get me. So I basically got up at 730 walked all the way to the because we were staying at a hotel, I walk onto his boat and no one's awake. So I wink I rouse sign on the bar, who's like, and I take him to this and I walk him into a screening. You know, it was just like,

Alex Ferrari 24:20
That's like, that's just that's like bizarro world kind of stuff. Like, you can't even write that.

Scott Mosier 24:25
Yeah, exactly. It was just such an it was such an amazing experience. And there's been so many movies, you know, there's lots of great experiences, but it was, you know, it was being that young, right? You know, and watching these doors open into a world it's like you can't I mean, that's the thing. You know, you only walk through the door wants and that was like such an amazing experience of walking through the door into this sort of world that you know, we generally are our, you know, it's presented as you know, behind the velvet rope. wrote, so to speak. So it's like, you only kind of get to walk in there Watts and that was, you know, that was clerks.

Alex Ferrari 25:07
Now the one thing that I want everyone listening and I think this is this is a this is an issue that I dealt with most of my filmmaking career and I think a lot of filmmakers still do is they look at stories like clerks and slacker and mariachi and, and that kind of time period. And they will think they'll make films today thinking that that's an option. Meaning like, what will happen to you like I always consider you guys like a lottery ticket. Like you guys want a lottery ticket, it was the right place right time right product. And that goes along for like slacker and mariachi, like, if you guys show up today with clerks, do you think you can cut through the noise?

Scott Mosier 25:43
Um, I mean, it's hard to say what I what I will say is like, something always cuts through the noise. Right? Always something that cuts through the noise. And, and part of it is part of it is definitely luck. And timing. You know, it's like, part of it is luck and timing. Because, you know, as our career went on, like, releases of movies, it's also about luck and timing to you know, it's like, you can sort of make a great movie and it gets released that a bad time of the bad marketing campaign. It doesn't sort of like, I think, could, you know, it's like, it's a time right, right now, do I think that the film like clerks? Well, it's like reading our comedy and all that, like, so much of that has grown since we've sort of come on the scene. And there's so many actors in that, in that world, that I do think it would be harder to cut through because we, what we were what and what Kevin was, was like, whether people think he's the voice of a generation, or like, I'm not arguing that point, but he was a voice from that generation that was unique and specific. And that's the thing that that's the thing that, in addition to luck, you know,

Alex Ferrari 27:12
There's a combination, it's a formula, it's not just a one thing, it's a bunch of different things I hit to get

Scott Mosier 27:17
You know, people who are out there going like, you can't if people look at clips, or slack, or it's not like Kevin looked at Slack, or I was like, I'm gonna make slacker, he more was like, Oh, that's a movie that like, that's a that's a vision from Rick Linklater, like, you know, that Kevin was like, This is what I find funny. And this is what I enjoy doing any portal himself into that, and had a unique voice. And, you know, always say this, which is, you know, Kevin had been writing for years and years and years and years since he was really young. So by the time he's 22, and writes a script, it's like, it's just fucking better than you know. And when he's 18, he's like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna write scripts. And then, you know, it's just because I ran those I wrote those, like I wrote, you know, I've tried to write a script, but holy shit like this is, you know, because I, Kevin, who was just a much more developed narrative writer, he's just kind of new, and you can see it on the page. So I think there's a lot of, you know, luck. Luck is so many things. But, you know, the pursuit of a unique voice, right? The goal shouldn't be like, What do I have, you know, like, or it's like, let's just make a movie like, let's make clarbeston in a, you know, a like valets. Let's make ballets. And it's like, you can go ahead. But unless being a ballet is this very personal thing, where you can convey something to the audience that that is unique, then you just become like, a knockoff movie, you know? And I think like, I think when people sit there and go, like, hey, let's make something cheap. It's like, well, maybe something cheap and personal. And those bad combination. Will that that combination, at least has the chance to come through them. Right? Because you're doing something that's like you have to in some people's personal, what's personal to them, and what means something to them can be a $30,000 movie or some people it's like before it even like, you know, sometimes the scale of that can be some people like sci fi, like, it doesn't really matter, but like, I do think finding your voice is and I'll bring it back to me, which is like, that experience of finding your voice was a much longer process for me. And then like I you know, Kevin walked in the door and like 22 like he had been developing his voice for years though, like he But writing school plays and stuff like that. But finding your voice for me is the most important thing that you can do. Like that's the thing that like finding your voice finding that thing that's unique to you. If you can look at something in a way that no one else is necessarily expressing. There's other people who see it the same way. And if you can capture that, that's how you gain an audience, right? Like, we all look at things in different ways. But there's also just like, anyone clerks did it. This is like, not anything I thought about 21. But what I thought what I think it did was it created this sort of, you know, it was an expression of something that didn't exist. And there was this huge audience. So it was like, it does exist. This is how I talked about like, like, this is what we think is funny. This is when we fall short with our friends like, and that that's the part where it's like, there's all kinds of luck that has to come into it. There's all kinds of timing. And we as filmmakers, like I believe, what you have to focus on first and foremost is like, what's the unique? What do you what's, what's the unique sort of perspective that you're bringing? To what you're doing?

Alex Ferrari 31:21
That's a that's a great, great, great piece of advice. You're absolutely right, if you could connect with something that's authentic to you in your own voice. If you try to go make another clerks, you're gonna fail, because there's, there's already a clerks, and it was done authentically by Kevin and you. And, yeah, I agree with you. 100%. Now, after clerks, obviously, you guys are the toast of the town. You know, you're the belle of the ball. You're you're being wooed. It's the it's the early 90s. Money is flying everywhere. And they say, What do you want to do next? And I and Kevin, and you say, hey, let's do mall rats. And you're like, here's, here's that those million dollars you were talking about earlier, now we'll accept your money. So you make mall rats, which by the way, I'm I'm actually a very big fan of mall rats. I actually saw it in the theater test screening in the theater when I was in college. And I got I got that little book that the movie official movie book. They gave one to you as you walked out and stuff i Oh, yeah, I saw I was me and my friend, were pacing ourselves when we saw it, because it was speaking to us at that time in our lives. So Mallrats didn't live up to the financial expectations of the studio. I didn't want to say that loud, it.

Scott Mosier 32:33
Totally bought the bar out of an eel, you know, a long time ago, knowing that, like the audience ultimately found that movie. You know, it didn't didn't, it wasn't 99 You know, when it came out, it was like, it was pretty dark. We're both like, fuck, because you Paul, I work into it. But and you and you.

Alex Ferrari 32:53
And you guys were pretty much so you guys were put in because you you had one hit, which was clerics, which was kind of like, alright, this is an anomaly. Let's see if these guys have anything else. So they give you a little bit of money. And then Mallrats happens and it bombs. So that pretty much blacklist you in town for my understand, like it kind of just your director, jail and producer at this point.

Scott Mosier 33:11
It's this, you know, it's the sophomore slump, because the reviews are terrible, you know, a lot of it sort of like pointed right at Kevin, I think, which was just like, you know, we built you up, we, you know, we really send you and then you make this and, you know, I think in hindsight, I would be curious, if any, if any critics would have the, you know, to go back and relook at that movie and, and understand its connection to clerks, you know, like, understand that it's not this sort of, and I think for you as an audience member, like you understood it, right. Like, it felt like, like a proper extension of what that movie was. And but we were, you know, at that point Kevin has adopted before was over Kevin and started writing a version of Chasing Amy that was a little bit more commercial. And as soon as it happens, it's like, I guess you're in jail, but in a way we didn't even we lived in Jersey, so it was like, it wasn't like, it wasn't like, we were injured. It's like when you're not in Hollywood. It's like you're not it's like you don't really

Alex Ferrari 34:24
You didn't feel the heat. If you will

Scott Mosier 34:26
We didn't feel anything we're just kind of like more bummed out and like, oh shit, what do we do now? And Kevin was like, you know, like, let's just go make a movie. You know, and let's do it quickly. And so JC Nene became a, a reaction to all that money, you know, that we were given and the fact that it didn't do well we're like, well, let's create something that we know we can get enough money. Let's do it cheap and, and also do it our way. You know, we kind of went back to it. Let's do it for enough money that we can be left alone. And then really be specific about what we're doing and not worry about, you know, casting like we can cast to we want so let's do it for, you know, shot the whole thing.

Alex Ferrari 35:15
You know, like 100 grand or 100 grand or something like that, right?

Scott Mosier 35:18
It was like to shoot it and start cutting, you know, to deliver like a sort of a couple cuts of the movie and get it far along is a couple 100 grand. So there's a post cost and all the rest of it, but we did it, you know, we kind of went in and a price point that was like, we knew that it wasn't a huge investment for somebody, we can make our money back, you know, we're using like, a great crew, you know, young people, and because we were young, two of them were I think I was 26 at that point, young crew from New York, you know, it was coming down, you're shooting on Jersey, and then you know, we're back to sort of a version of, of making clerks again, just with, you know, we took the experiences from clerks, we took the experience from our ads and sort of JC Namie becomes the, the rebuilding here, you know, I've become like, let's, let's, let's sort of, like, we, we had other producers on Mara, too. We got along with but it was like, this was like, alright, let's just do this our way. Like, yes, we need a bigger crew. Yes, we need this. Yes, we need that. But like how do we do that through through our filter and through the way we want to do things and then from there, it's like, after GCD we that's where we carry on through document everything else but there was a really like it was a refocus. The whole movie was a sort of like a shift back to like, this is what we're doing

Alex Ferrari 36:45
And the smart thing that you guys did is that you move so quickly. Because Mallrats was you know, you guys, it was a lot of eyeballs on you in town, like oh, these guys obviously, they're there. They're one hit wonder, you know, that's it their bubble gum. Let's it's it's move on. But you guys like No, no, let's let's get in there. And arguably Chasing Amy is one of my favorite of the filmography of what you and Kevin have done. There's so much heart so much authenticity in that film. It's not nearly as silly as Mallrats in the crudeness of it, but there still is those elements. But there's so much more heart in chasing me like there's it's deeper, in a way am I am I wrong on that?

Scott Mosier 37:27
No, no, I mean, I think I think JC Namie becomes the sort of I think a lot of people react to it, because it becomes the sort of the movie that sort of represents kind of more the totality of food cabinets, right. So it's like, the crude humor, of course, is part of it. But it's like, you know, he's also a drama, you know, he's a dramatist. He's, you know, he's, he's also somebody who's like, has a big heart. And, you know, it's also a personal movie, you know, and so, it's a personal movie for him. And I think that that sort of shifts, you know, sort of Clarkson Maher as this becomes something where he's like, I'm gonna tell another personal story, which, you know, just happens to be more grounded in you know, there's a lot more drama and real drama. Right. So it's like, sort of drama coming from stemming from a specific situation, but I think it became like, and that was a year lace of marks comes out in 9596, like February or something, we start shooting juicy Navy in February, March. And then January 97. We're in Sundance, you know, we're we're back.

Alex Ferrari 38:45
And we're back baby. And we're a we're back. And that and that does gangbusters at the box office, especially for its budget and launches. This little known actor really Ben Affleck was just his first starring role and in that, that whole thing, so it was just an exciting time because I was I was following you guys. Like I was following you and Robert and Quinton and all that, you know, that crew and Richard and all that crew, I would watch every damn thing you guys put out. And it was that weird time. And I always tell people that's like the 90s It felt like, every month there was a new Cinderella story. It's either John Singleton, it's, it's at burns. It's it's Kevin Smith, it was like, it's just it was an amazing time to be an independent filmmaker. It was kind of like when, when Spielberg and Lucas and bilious and and Coppola and dipalma that film school brats generation when they were given the keys to Hollywood because Hollywood had no idea what the hell to do. So they'd like here go make taxi driver. And you guys kind of had that run in the 90s. It was that from like, 89 to like, 9899 there was that run that was just so many amazing filmmakers came out during that time.

Scott Mosier 39:55
I mean, I think there's you know, I'm sure someone's read a book about it, but you Like, you know, part of it is like the industry sort of needs to open.

Alex Ferrari 40:05
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mosier 40:16
You know, sort of like, especially then it's like, nowadays, it feels like there's a lot of venues and ways to get things made. And back then it was like, it was just harder to get things made, because there weren't as many outlets. But you also see the surge of, you know, Fox Searchlight. So there's more sort of like, there's more outlets for these movies, there's more opportunities, but also, it felt like the big you know, like in the 70s, the business kind of like, how do we fucking how to make money? Yeah, like, what do audiences want? Like, you know, there's also a generational thing to me, which is like, the industry has to open its doors every once in a while to let in the new generation of voices that they don't necessarily understand. Either, like, what was happening in the 70s. It's like, it's not like, those guys who were making movies in the 50s. And 60s, necessarily understood like that the audience wanted to see Easy Rider, right? Like, right,

Alex Ferrari 41:15
Easy Rider kind of opened the door for all those guys that like this, wait a minute, this 200 and something $1,000 movie went on and made like, you know, $10 million, or whatever it made, they were just like, we don't know what the hell's going on. Let's give it to these guys. This Scorsese the Spielberg kid, let's give him that shark movie.

Scott Mosier 41:31
Just became a, it's like audiences change. You know, I think it's always like, some combination of, you know, audiences are changing and the fan, you know, jogger, people come up, and it's happening now. Like, like, there's, you know, I'm almost 50. So it's not like I'm the young buck anymore. And there's a whole generation of people coming up that have been influenced by totally different people. And, you know, they've all had the internet, since they were born, like, all of these influences change where people people's tastes. So it's like, I you know, and I think in the 90s, there was a sense of like, coming out of the 80s it was like this need of like, fresh voices and, you know, something that was more reflective of, of that generation coming up.

Alex Ferrari 42:22
The Gen X the Gen X guys, you know, you were Gen X guys were the generation was like, I just yeah, there's the 90s were fun, man, the 90s were fun. I miss I miss them more now than ever before. When you could just go to a movie theater. That was nice.

Scott Mosier 42:39
Well it was like last year. Back to the 90s. But yeah, the 90s were weird a lot. You know, I have a lot of fun in the 90s. It's funny, no one ever talks about the 2000s.

Alex Ferrari 42:52
You know, like, you never hear like, Oh, the 2000s music like no, you know, I know those songs. And I know that and I know those films, but in the 80s and 90s. Get in the 70s 80s and 90s kind of get that they have their own thing. But the 2000s is tough. And like the 2010s was another

Scott Mosier 43:09
just too young.

Alex Ferrari 43:11
I don't know, oh, no, don't worry, it'll come back around. Like right now we're in our 90s nostalgia. And I think now people are starting to kick into the early 2000s. It's like a two decade run. Because eight remember when the 80s was like all the rage, like everything was 80s 80s 80s and 80s. It still 80s is still cool to a certain extent. But I remember when the 70s like in the 90s the 70s were kind of like a thing and it's like a two to three decade delay.

Scott Mosier 43:35
We're old enough for it's like a certain point, like we're not Estelle I like part of is because like we have we you and I will probably never have nostalgia for the 2000s. Right, because we're too bold, like, like, once you hit 30, or whatever it feels like you sort of cease being you know, it's like you stop like living in this, you stop reflecting back in the static terms. Like, as I was going, like, I graduated from high school in 89. So the 80s was like, when you know the movies and music. You're you're you're sort of what I think is like the 80s For me, 80s and 90s was an explosion of like, I'm ingesting massive amounts of art in the form of movies, music, photography, like everything, like the 80s and 90s. Like I would fucking watch like for me, like when I was in, I would watch four movies a day. Yep. Like, like, if this massive period where you're taking things in, partly because you know, you're not great, or you have an outlet to like, put things out. So you're sort of like, you're amassing all this stuff. And so I think that's why it has such a strong influence. Who we are like, I think back to the 80s and 90s. And yeah, like I like everything I do today. It's like it feels a little bit referential to that time, but part of it is because like that is when the synapses are really forming around like, and these sort of large touchstones like land in your head during that period of time like 1000. Like, I don't have all these sort of cultural test touchstones of like, you know, I was, of course, I was listening to music and watching movies, I'm doing all that stuff. There's great movies from that period of great music and all that stuff. But it's still like, it doesn't have the same sheen to it, because it wasn't during that sort of explosive period of like, you know, getting your driver's license and kissing like everything's new.

Alex Ferrari 45:44
You're absolutely you're absolutely right. You're absolutely right. Now, there's a couple of there's a few films that you produced that I had. I mean, I'd heard of a couple of them. But I didn't when I started doing research, I actually went into it, and there was a group of four features that you produce vulgar. Drawing flies a better place in the big helium dog. I I've seen some of big helium dog. It was shot on like, VHS, I'd like I don't beta like what was that?

Scott Mosier 46:12
I think they were all shot on 16 millimeter.

Alex Ferrari 46:15
Really, they were all shot because I guess the copy that I saw was so bad. That it was like you shot it on video. And like, why did they shoot this video? This makes no sense. But the other ones were shot on 16. So you know, some of the people in that like, yeah, the broken lizard guys, you had a cue from Impractical Jokers. And Baba Booey, Brian Lynch, all this these amazing people tell us Can you tell me a little bit about those four movies. And because they were kind of in a small, they were in a short period of time, they were all made.

Scott Mosier 46:45
It was after, I think it was after Chasing Amy. And we had sort of signed a deal with Miramax like an overall deal. And part of what we threw in was like, hey, we want to make these micro budget movies, it sort of in a way to sort of like our career was sort of the movies are getting bigger, you know, the budgets are getting bigger. And we're like, Well, hey, let's sort of with some of the people we know, that have scripts that that they're writing and stuff, like let's go make some of these micro budget things in the 2025 range, basically click to budget, I feel like we got 100 grand to make for movies, and we sort of and then the relationships was, you know, Brian Lynch had worked on tasty Namie. Vince Brera had been around since clerks who directed a better place, and then vulgar Brian Johnson was Kevin's friend for a long time. All these movies just became an extension of that moment, we were like, Oh, well, let's go sort of make some of these movies. You know, and, and it did it happened within like a two, or I think it was like two or three year period, you know, and, and Brian was the one who knew the broken lizard guys, and poor, you know, he kind of had connections to them, and Brian Quinn and just worked at the office. So like, he had worked. Even more, I just, I was talking to him the other day, like, we've known each other for like, 25 years, he had sort of come in to work at the office, like he was in charge of, like, back in 19. You know, 99 If you got a t shirt set in the mail, it was Brian Clinton did it. You know, like, that's where he was.

Alex Ferrari 48:38
He was working. He was working at USQ

Scott Mosier 48:40
Yeah, he was working at USQ at that time. And so all the people we kind of knew, and it was like, you know, we loved independent film. And so we're like, Let's go make some of these movies. And they're all very different, you know, and vulgar got into Toronto, and they all had various degrees of success and, and then and then I think it was like, my memory of like, why didn't we keep doing it? It was it was a lot. It was a lot of like, there's almost too much work.

Alex Ferrari 49:10
Like making making a movie. It's not that easy.

Scott Mosier 49:13
We weren't it's not like we were on set all the time. And I think it was just a matter of like we need dogma so we're heading into dogma and and the club's cartoons happening and it's like the the amount of more coordinating is expanding and then suddenly like to maintain those were to keep them going just saw too much work. But it was really fun.

Alex Ferrari 49:33
And now it's true that there is just no copies of big helium dog anywhere.

Scott Mosier 49:38
I mean, Brian Lynch has one.

Alex Ferrari 49:41
I just saw an interview he said, but he doesn't have one. He said

Scott Mosier 49:47
As far as I know,

Alex Ferrari 49:48
He has a copy of it, but it's not been released, but it's not available and released.

Scott Mosier 49:52
And I can't remember why there was some clearance issue. But it was never released. Now the rest of the hammer

Alex Ferrari 49:59
That's a hell of a cast now.

Scott Mosier 50:02
I don't know what happened to it, it was like it was off and on through the years, it was like music clearances, or there was something that was sort of pain over its head. And it just, it just never sort of my thought of he must have a copy

Alex Ferrari 50:15
I have to believe and he's the director, he's got to have at least just copy of it or

Scott Mosier 50:21
The lost arc define. Exactly. Yeah, I don't know, might be uncertain, like we're USQ or somewhere, there's got to be a copy, I do not have a copy. So

Alex Ferrari 50:31
One day, we'll get one day we'll get leaked on on on online, just like Deadpool did accidentally. Now, you you, you also got involved with another little known film as a producer called Goodwill Hunting. And that was, you know, one of my favorite films of that of that time period. And how did you get involved with that? And how did you like kind of was the band that brought you in on that.

Scott Mosier 50:58
So we were on Mallrats, we met that. And at that time, we were aware of who he was because like the whole saga of Goodwill Hunting was at a trade where they had sold like Ben and Matt install the script to Castle Rock for a bunch of money. So it's like, you know, other young guys, like sell script for a lot of money. And so it was on our radar. And then through Maher ads, we became friends. And my memory is that like during that period, we met Matt during like, a sort of internal screening Mr. outs. But basically, what we found out is that that Castle Rock was going to put into turnaround, because the guys are attached, but they wanted to attach a director that the guys aren't excited about. So basically, there was like a, and so there was like a big turnaround cost. And they sent us the script, and we really loved it. And we had just signed our overall deal Miramax. And so we sent it to our executive job board, and we're like, this is fucking great. You guys should make this like we, you know, like, you should meet with the guys. There's a turnaround cost, you guys should act fast and dive all over it. And so it happened really quickly. And that's, you know, our job. We really were just like, we just signed the deal. So we became a sort of conduit to get up there, hype it up and get everybody excited. And then it happened really quickly. So that time by the time Chasing Amy happens. All that was done. Like basically the movie was at the movie was it was a Miramax and they were writing doing rewrites, and they were also like, like, I remember like meeting with directors, you know, there was like before, like they want to guess to do it because they had met Gus and Gus wanted to do but then it was like Michael Mann and a couple other drugs.

That would have been an inch Michael Mann's Good Will Hunting would have been a very interesting might have been a couple more guns, just a couple,

Like an all guns, but

Alex Ferrari 53:15
It would have been a shootout with Will Hunting, which is that bluff, that great sequel, Good Will Hunting to hunting season for Strikes Back.

Scott Mosier 53:24
The version in a totally different way. But yeah, it was and then we you know, sort of, and then once it's in the hands of governments, and it's sort of just you know, then you just get to be a fly on the wall. So we were up there a couple times are shooting in Toronto, and it was just, you know, it was really interesting. I mean, for me, it was really interesting to watch, because you're working so much you're not on us, you know, you don't go on the sets of other filmmakers. And it's sort of interesting to watch how people act in different ways. Like he's very quiet and sort of, you know, he's not sort of sitting at the monitor shouting like, he sort of directs in this more sort of quiet way. Yeah, I mean, I felt was like, I remember seeing the, we went into New York to see like, the, the director's cut or whatever. And it was like, an ad. Like, it was basically 90% 95% of what the movie ended up being like, it was just so like, he just knew what he wanted it to be. And it was so specific. And like, it was just incredible. Like I remember just being chills was like, wow,

Alex Ferrari 54:28
So, so good. It's just so, so, so, so good. Now, during this time, I think you were heading into dogma. Did you? Did you guys know that this was going to be as controversial, essentially became

Scott Mosier 54:43
We knew, in the sense that, you know, at that point, Miramax was owned by Disney, and Disney was like, you know, we're not going to let you make this movie. So it's like it wasn't like we kind of entered into it. The writing was on the was a little bit from the very beginning that like, there was a real like, problem, that there was a problem and then it sort of it, you know, kind of grew from there and then kind of like, you know, peaked at a certain point and didn't kind of get worse or, or didn't get better or worse. It just sort of, you know, there's pickets in the New York Film Festival and tickets to the movie, you know, ticketing are when the when the movie came out, but

I actually remember seeing Kevin going out to pick it with them, like, Who's this bastard who made this movie? It was

Yeah, he went out. And he protested.

Alex Ferrari 55:41
He protested on his own film

Scott Mosier 55:42
Yeah, it was great. But, but yeah, it was a it was we we kind of knew enough to you know, we had a fake name for the movie while we're making it. You know, nothing really came of it. But there was there was definitely like, a tension about it before. Early on, and it was, I mean, was it a surprise to us? Like, we're like, what's the big deal? Yeah, but enough people at that point, we're like, You got to take it more seriously. And so

Alex Ferrari 56:13
You're playing with fire, you're playing with fire guys. Just be just be aware of what's going on. Don't be completely ignorant of what's happening.

Scott Mosier 56:20
I mean, part of me is just like, it never really got that bad. And I couldn't imagine if you know, today,

Alex Ferrari 56:28
Oh, my god, can you imagine daughter showed up today?

Scott Mosier 56:32
Like I just, you know, partly was social media and all the rest of it. It was just, I mean, that's part of the thing, too. It's like even a protest has to like be ignited. Right, it needs fuel. And I think it was still 1998. And it's like, there just wasn't the, you know, it was still just like people in like, 10 people in front of a movie theater, and I was just driving home, oh, my God,

Alex Ferrari 56:54
Whatever, whatever. Yeah. Okay, yeah. Imagine Facebook around that time, or Twitter or some like that would have exploded?

Scott Mosier 57:01
It would, it would certainly do fewer people. I mean, the key is like, a few people can make a lot of noise now. And you know, and I think back then it was way harder to do. So just sort of the momentum of what happened around the release, it just kind of was like, it just it was kind of gone very quickly.

Alex Ferrari 57:20
Now, another film that you produced, Jersey curl was unlike anything I'd ever seen in the sense of the attention that you guys were getting, like, while the movie was being made, because of Ben and Ben and Jennifer's relationship, or Bennifer, as they like to call it. I mean, the pressure of you guys, as the filmmakers must have been like, do I just want to make a movie and it all of a sudden turns into this thing that it's not even about? Like it's about Jennifer, we got to cut Jennifer out of it now, because she had this thing with Jill with Julie or the other thing that they said, like you got you got caught up in this kind of tsunami, that was not even your fault, or even initiated by you guys got just caught up in the, the banner for tsunami? How do you deal with that being like, in the center of a hurricane like that? When you Kevin, we're dealing with that?

Scott Mosier 58:11
You know, you I mean ultimately, like with everything in life, it's like, you get to a point where you're just like, well, there's nothing we can do about like, there's nothing you can do about it, it but like the you know, the time when we started the movie, it's like, their relationship just started. So on one level, there's, you're like, well, this could be great for the movie, right? Like, there's no you don't know, either way. And then when, and then by the time we get to the test screen, it's just obviously not going to be beneficial to the movie, because people had such a strong opinion of the two of them that it, you know, transferred onto the movie itself. And then it was kind of after the first test or anywhere like, well, there's nothing we can do. You know, it's like, there's really nothing we could do. It's like, the audience is not going to be enamored with this. And so like, it did become about trying to look, you don't want to be in that situation. You know, you don't want to be sort of fueled by or be making creative decisions based on just sort of like a negative response that your audiences has to the actual individuals and not the characters. But you also, you know, there's nothing to do it's like, once you're sitting, and it was it was enough. It wasn't like there's two people it was like there was like, a couple that like we're like we fucking hate those guys. It was like, like it was palpable. You're like, alright, if we keep testing this thing, and it wasn't now there's gonna be a whole other audiences like we love them. We hate them. It wasn't even like it was just like, generally people were like, We don't want to necessarily watch this.

Alex Ferrari 59:59
Well right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mosier 1:00:10
And so, you know, you try to pivot off of that and try to maintain, you know, the story you want to tell as best as possible, but But you know, ultimately is going on with theater, ultimately, an audience is going to end if it's, if it's keeping the audience. Unfortunately, it's like, you know, it's not what the movie is about. So you're like, right, if it's keeping the audience from sort of interacting with, or sort of being receptive to, you know, what the heart of the movie is, then, you know, you have to make that decision of like, start to trim that part of the movie down and get into the sort of the rest of it. So it was, it was definitely frustrating. But, you know, I tend to believe, like, the interviewer spend battling things you just have no control over is just, you know, a lot of wasted energy. And

Alex Ferrari 1:01:06
Well, that that is, that is that is a words of an almost 50 year old man saying that, and I completely understand what you're saying, because things i There's just stuff you just can't get until you hit a certain age, or experiences in your life.

Scott Mosier 1:01:21
Like, there's a great saying, like worrying is paying debt on money. You don't own.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:25
That's great line. Great line. Yeah.

Scott Mosier 1:01:29
And that's, you know, it's like, and you can apply that to like worrying about things that you have absolutely no control over, is paying debt on money, you don't know, like, you're sort of, you're just grinding in this sort of thing. And, look, we're younger back that. So I can probably impart these ideas, because, like, you go through enough experiences where you're like, oh, wow, there really was nothing we could do like that. That component of the movie was this exterior issue that existed outside of us, we couldn't reach into it, then like, we couldn't read cut their public persona, right?

Alex Ferrari 1:02:07
That that was, that was the thing about it is it was a lot of times when there's controversy and filmic dogma was generated by you guys. Like that's just the nature of the story. And there was a there was a, you know, controversy and all of that stuff. And even Zack and Miri Make a Porno. That had some controversy too, because had to work porn that way. Like it freaked people out. And but again, generated by you guys, but this was out of your control, like it was completely exterior. And I think also people were just so exhausted of seeing those two, together, which we don't want to see a movie with these two now. Like, it was just so much and you guys just got caught up in that week.

Scott Mosier 1:02:42
Yeah, I mean, look, there's, there's, for every look, Hollywood, you know, couples in Hollywood getting together making movies has got has been an incredible publicity benefit. And it's been a bad one. And it's like, it's not like, it's not like we came to that moment. If we all come to that moment, and they're like, every time two stars are moving together like this, it's a disaster, then, obviously, there would have been enough people in the room go like, don't do it. But it wasn't that it was like there's cases in both sides. It's like, it could either be a boon, or it can be bad.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:22
It could be midterm, it could be Mr. And Mrs. Smith, you know, which was exactly the same kind of Brangelina and that whole thing, and it was, but it fed it, it fed that movie, and this one, it just sucked and hurt the movie.

Scott Mosier 1:03:38
And by the time the movie comes out, it's like, there hasn't been a sort of turn. But basically, from the time we started moving on, it's like, you know, you know, the public is is fickle. In their mind and like, and you sort of sit in the tester and go like, alright, you know, like, what are we gonna? Like, there's nothing we could do, we could be bad, like, it was hard. You couldn't really focus your ire on anybody either. I mean, you could try but once again, it was like, it was just that situation

Alex Ferrari 1:04:09
As Don Quixote essentially hitting the windmill at that point, you're like, there's nothing you can do.

Scott Mosier 1:04:14
You, like I said, we couldn't, if we have the ability to get to go in and reshape the public persona, to make it awkward again, we could have done that and get the movie the way it is. But that's we have no we can do that. The only thing we can control is, is the content and the movie sort of, you know, trimming back their sort of relationship with the beginning of the movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:42
But it ages Well, like you watch that movie now. It's aged very, very well, because you're so far removed from that ridiculousness that now the movie can live on its own. So it's, I was just I was curious about that.

Scott Mosier 1:04:54
And the movies hopefully about him and his daughter, and so the movies about and and And so you know, it ultimately, like you said, sort of. I don't necessarily I think there's probably a I don't think even trimming back some of the beginning stuff was the end of the world, I think there's probably like a another version of the movie that's more of like a, you know, maybe a slightly extended up to being maybe putting some of this stuff back in there. But I think overall, it's like, you know, it didn't it didn't it didn't sort of break the movie. Let's put it that way.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:29
Exactly, exactly. Now, you know, we've been talking all about you producing and making, you know, VSU kind of films and all that kind of stuff. But then out of left field, almost, I start seeing that you're writing Freebirds and getting involved with that, and then directing the Grinch co directing the Grinch, and how the hell did you get into animation? And like, how did that work around town when you walked in? Like, I think you were saying, like, aren't you the clerk's guy? Like, why are you in animation?

Scott Mosier 1:06:04
I am, you know, I'd always want to remember, I was gonna go to art school or film school. So so the sort of, I was I was I was doodling and drawing. And I was really like, before, I was really debating whether to go to art school or Trump school. Right at the moment that I ended up making a decision, go to Vancouver Film, school and makeup, and like, It's that fast. And I didn't know what to do. And I was living near UCLA. I could, my grades weren't good enough to go there. But I was living in these sort of like shitty apartments there. And I used to run around the campus, like I would do two or three runs around the entire campus. And then sometimes I cut through the middle, and there were these big stairs, where they shot gotcha, like, are these big stairs right in the middle of the thing, and I would run up the stairs. I was running and I was like, What am I gonna do? And I run up the stairs, and it was nighttime, I'd run at night after I was working. And against the top of stairs, it was really bright light in my face, and so I kind of like slow down and adjust. And they were shooting a movie. And I was like, I was I was it like I was like, you know, I was my decision was sort of made in that moment. And then basically, I very quickly applied the main console school, and 455 months later, from that moment in time up in Vancouver, and I mean, Kevin, like after that sort of moment, but was the hard part, you know, the art thing was always in my head.

So in other words, if a if an animation cell would have fell out of a window and hit you in the head, we you might have never gone on that

Life drawing class up there. I'd have been like, oh my god, like I just assign.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:55
This is the sign!

Scott Mosier 1:07:56
And so I go to, but I'd always been interested in it. And then, you know, I've always loved animation. But the big moment was I remember Kevin and I, because Jason league up to see the Incredibles four came out. And it was like, and it was a special screening. And, you know, I loved animation. And, you know, I've thought that Toy Story and I'd already sort of, like, I was really interested in this sort of new technology applied to this sort of classical to these. And so I saw that screening, though. And that was the thing where I was like, oh, no, dude, like, I really love to do this, because it felt like it was a movie. Like it really felt like a movie. It was like, it's an animated movie, but the can't, you know, the camera work the performances, like it just felt like, oh, you can you can just make a movie. Like you could do what crane shot like, you can do whatever you want it like you have all the filmmaking tools inside of this box, you know, and, and from there, and I remember telling Kevin, like, I think I left there and I was like, I want to do that, like I want to I want to get under the hood of that and sort of do it and and so coming off of Zack and Miri it was kind of the moment where I was like, I was like, I'm gonna do it. Like, I gotta, you know, I just got to do it. Like, I gotta sort of stop. I could do this forever. This is comfortable. And, you know, for me, I was like, this is the stop and sort of, you know, rebuild myself like we refocus myself specifically on animation and and writing to and like I sort of stopped up Zach and Miriam was just kind of like focusing on writing and trying to get into animation and that's when this guy Aaron Warner, I knew and then it just and then it becomes like you're in the business long enough and you know enough people and it's sort of if you If you're fun to work with, you're good to work with your work hard, like, you know, all that stuff can pay off, I call the say that which is Freebirds becomes this guy here, and Warner would produce all the tracks was like, have this movie Freebirds was called turkeys at the time. And he was like, you know, cuz you want to if you want to learn animation like this thing's like a fast moving train. And if you're willing to sort of like jump onto it, you'll learn very quickly that and so I was like, as the producer and I was like, Yeah, I was like, This is my shot, you know, because at that point, it's like now, now it's like animated animation, making animated films is a much broader sort of, there's more opportunities, but at that point, it was like, you know, this is the, this is the beginning of everything opening up that, you know, that was more like Pixar and blues, like there's these established studios, if you had an idea, you had to go to those specific places, and that was it. So then I jumped on Freebirds. And just through the process of making it, you know, it's it's a very open, collaborative, sort of medium, it's a little, you know, a little bit different from making live action, because it's just the pace of it's different. It's just a much more open forum, you know, you're sort of making it a you ever, you're getting together with a bunch of artists coming up with ideas. And so I started writing pages, and those are getting, you know, brought in and then I come off of that. I come on Freebirds. And I don't want to do I don't want to do animation. And so because I was tired. It was a it was a tough, it was just tough,

Alex Ferrari 1:11:45
Yeah because you produced and wrote as well.

Scott Mosier 1:11:47
Yeah, it was a tough schedule. And so I came off, I was like, I'm not sure. I was like, I loved a lot of it and the people I worked with, but I was like, I'm not sure if I want to do it. And then then I was just working as an editor, you know, and stepped up to the years. And I cut a documentary on Marvel that was on ABC called from pulp to pop was like, so I did that. And then I was cutting. I've taken over ours finished, I was just doing a Polish, a little polish. I wasn't the main editor, I was just there for the end of a movie called it ultimately became called no escape. But it's called The coup was going Wilson and Pierce Brosnan. It's by the doubt and bro the down the breath down the brothers. We just did the Waco series and like I've known them. And my friend was the editor. And I was like, Oh, get on that. And we're were and then that's when I got emailed by from Chris Mellon Donner email me. And I didn't know. And I was like, Well, I don't understand why I'm getting an email from him. But once again, so Brian Lynch, who was the craft service guy on JC Namie. I've done all these other things. You know, he wrote minions and but he wrote top, so he'd been working in illumination for a while. And he had given me ever he had given Chris my information. And Chris was like, hey, cuz elimination at that point was like, they were making more movies. And so it was like, as opposed to one every two or three years, they're trying to do, you know, to a year like they were just, and he was feeling like, maybe I'll bring in for the first time like a producer, like an independent producer to help me sort of manage projects. And once again, I was like, No, I'm not sure if I want to do animation. And the doubt and brothers are just like, the edit room I were in was like a block and a half from Chris's office. And they're like, they're like, dude, like the fuck, like a walk down the block. And I was like, alright, so I went, and then Chris, and I hit it off really well. And we met three or four times. And then before we met a couple times before the Grinch came up, and then he showed me some artwork had been going on at that point for six, seven months or whatever. And, and so we went back and forth. And then finally, I was like, yeah, like I was kind of, I really got along with him. Well, and I was like, I was like, Yeah, I'm gonna do it so

Alex Ferrari 1:14:30
That it's so funny because when you talk about as you're talking a lot of a lot of filmmakers listening a lot of times they think, oh, it's about it's about the agent or it's about the manager, it's or about, you know, this or that and it's just, it's about relationships. I mean, seriously, the craft service guy, who if you would have been addict to? Yes, I would have never recommended you for that job. Because you never know where anyone's gonna be. And I've had that happen to me in my career where they were my interest And then they all go off and are directing movies and have, you know, all these amazing career? It's so remarkable that just the craft service guy, what is it? 15 years later? 20 years later?

Scott Mosier 1:15:13
24, five years later, and I've kept in touch with Brian like, sure. You know, we've read, he'd send me scripts, and I'd read them and we've kept in touch and but yeah, that was, you know, relationships. Yeah, that was a seed of it of like, then someone like Chris was, like, knew Brian was like, trust his opinion. And then he's like, who do you know, that might be good about and I come off a free bird. So I ultimately had some experience at that size. Like, I had some experience. And so, and I was even honest with Chris was like, like, I honestly don't know if I want to do any

Alex Ferrari 1:15:53
Worst job interview ever.

Scott Mosier 1:15:56
I was really like, I want to get into this. But like I said, I really got on with him. And then, you know, when he finally brought up the grand shots, and look, we brought up the Grinch, I was torn to because, you know, I love the Chuck Jones version. I grew up with that. And so I was like, oh, man, like, I don't know if I want to be the guy that Fuck this. I don't want to be the guy that screws up the grids. Yeah, guys, like, it was just the book. It's like, these are like, oh, you know, like, he didn't do a good adaptation. But it was like, there's there was a lot of things for it. There's, there's the beloved Chuck downs, classic, which was was in me too. But you know, then I was like, but it's a really cool opportunity to sort of build out a different version of it. And also, you know, build a bigger world, you know, that was like, part of what we were doing is like, Oh, we get to really explore Whoville and really expand on it and make this sort of a more expansive, experiential movie of it.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:04
So and it did and it did okay. at the box office did okay.

Scott Mosier 1:17:07
It did ultimately did well, yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:17:09
Half a half a billion according to IMDb Pro. So, not not bad for a job you didn't want.

Scott Mosier 1:17:17
The credit goes to so many people. Sure. What's so much fun with animation is it's like, there's so many incredible artists from, you know, lay out to, you know, animators to, you know, that sort of concept artists and art directors and the vocal talent of so many people. That's the greatest thing of animation. It's like, you know, it's like, you spend years and years and years, and just when you're like, about to shoot yourself going, like, it's fun to fucking look at a storyboard, you know? It's like, then you start to see, like, then it's like, right, when you're there, it's like, you start animating? And then right when you're sort of like going, like, they start lighting and rendering and like, it's like, right, when you're sort of getting tired and cut going, like, what do we get to see the final, you know, revenues, sort of desperate to see final images, they always seem to pop up. And you go, like, Okay, this is why we're doing it. Cuz it's like, it does just look in crowd. It's like, when you get to send in dailies and see the finished stuff, there's like, it's just so amazing. That's what it is, like, it's a paint, you have to be patient.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:31
No, it's now it's a system. I mean, when they were coming up, you know, when when Disney animation was kind of setting it all up. And they didn't even know what they were doing. But like now, it's there's a system and I have a good buddy of mine that worked that Disney for 12 years as an animator. He did, he did environments. He was in the elite and environments, and I would go into Disney animation. And I'd walk around and I'd see the different apartments and it just like, in awe, it's just in awe of what you could do. And as a director, I cuz I know that they did this a Disney Animation is they would have a board up. And they would give the directors a stack of cash of like paper cash, and they would have all the sequences of the movie Up. And they go, you can put money on what sequences you want to spend a little extra money on. But this is all the money you get. So they would get to choose, like this action sequence. I want a lot more more attention to as opposed to just less Can I kind of get through. And if there's anything like that happened with I was just a Disney thing.

Scott Mosier 1:19:31
That definitely did not happen because I would have just walked out

Alex Ferrari 1:19:37
I'm done. I'm out. My pocket. And it was fake Scott. It was fake money.

Scott Mosier 1:19:43
It was Yeah, we could talk about this later, but I'm gonna take my wife. No, we didn't do that. I mean, you know, it's something that but that, that those conversations are sort of collective. You know, you're you're sort of

Alex Ferrari 1:19:59
We'll be right back. back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mosier 1:20:10
And, you know, I mean, to me, it's just something you inherently know, whether it's a live action movie or, or right before animated movie, you're you, you're sitting there going, like, hey, we have limited resources, we have limited money, we have limited time. So it's like, you know, you know, in an animation too, there's that sense of like, well, if you want this sequence to be freakin huge, then you better get going now, right? Because there's a pipeline, there's a moment where it's like a movie, it's just like, it's cut off, it's like, you can't add new shots, you can't, they won't make it through in time. So it was a lot of thought constantly put into going like, Oh, this is, you know, we want to do a big shot here. Like we're doing some, there's a big huge, like, kind of drum crane shot and grants where we're like, going through this pod of people skating and all the way up to like, so you have to sort of like get all that stuff arranged. Because all the, you know, it's it's basically live action, you know, you have to sort of make sure that you've made those decisions to be like, Oh, we want to set the time here and want to do that here. And part of that is has more to do. It's just like, making movies with financial limitations, you know, right, which is most people I mean, there are people who don't, you know, there's they're filming, or are given a sort of, do whatever they want. And I don't necessarily like, I mean, he's offered.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:41
These are not problems. You are I have,

Scott Mosier 1:21:44
Yeah, this is not a problem that I have. And I don't think that's a problem that I'll face. But I do think the limitation is those limitations can be really, really helps you, for me, it just helps you focus on the story, right? And go like, hey, like, you better know what's important, you know, or you better figure it the fuck out really quickly, because you are in charge of like, trying to argue why people should, you know, we need more assets, we need this, we need that you're the person who's going to be driving and pushing for things. Like, you know, the limitations will help you figure it out, you go like, alright, like, we, we, you know, like we can we can reduce the amount of shots here, we can do this here. We don't need that many extra was there, like, make that choice? Because like, you know, I really want this to look like this, or I want this to sort of exist there. So, you know, but no, nobody came around with cash.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:43
Very enough. Fair enough. Now, I just have a few questions. I asked all my guests, something like rapid fire. If you could go back to your younger self, what would you tell him?

Scott Mosier 1:22:58
Somebody else asked me this recently, not to, you know, like, call you on originally.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:05
You know, it's got I'm quite offended. That's okay.

Scott Mosier 1:23:09
Like, for like, somebody asked me this. And, you know, um, it's probably more insight in the way my brain work because, like, I take it so literally, I don't, but it's like that I'm like, I don't think I would say anything. I don't know what I would say I don't know what could. Because everything I know is is or every, every, every like, conclusion I've reached, that has any value in my life, is because of the experiences I went to, you know, and I don't think you can go back to your younger self and be like, you know, buy Apple

Alex Ferrari 1:23:47
Buy Apple at $7 buy Apple at $7. Buy face buy Facebook at 30.

Scott Mosier 1:23:52
You have $3,000 from your car sale. I know this won't make any sense. But buy apple

No buy in 2021 there's going to be a Gamestop buy GameStop.

That like that's a good advice and like how your career cuz here's the thing, like my career, in a way makes no sense, even to me. Like it's not like there's no linear line. Like, I can't point to it and tell somebody like, this is what I did. You should do this. Yeah, it's just like I I followed my curiosity, which is what I do now, you know, I still just sort of go I'm not I'm not sort of, I'm driven by my curiosity of like, animation or this or that and I kind of like, which is why my IMDB page is kind of a weird mishmash of producing and documentaries, you know, like, I I love documentaries, like I'll go in that direction. Like, you know, I sort of follow I don't I'm not like my like, I make horror movies or I make you know, real comedies like, I've just love I, from the time I was a kid, but I just love film. I mean, my, my sort of taste in music is the same film, which is really diverse. I just watch a lot of different things. So

Alex Ferrari 1:25:15
Yeah, I mean, honestly, that at the end of the day, you know, I try to hack the whole set, like, what's the path I can take? Okay, should I try to do what Kevin did? No. Okay, maybe what I do what Robert did no. Okay, maybe what I do with Richard, like, and I'm not the only thing like we all do that, like at one point, you know, you start looking at other people. Like you guys were doing it with Richard, you guys were doing with slacker like, literally, that was what we were trying to do. But at the end of the day, it's it's it's a lot of luck. Right Place Right Time. Like you happen to run into Kevin Smith. You to happen to gel. He happened to have a script about clerks and then and then and off you go. And it happened in the early 90s When that was a fertile ground for something like that to kind of take off. Like you said, would that if it would happen in 85? Is there a does it happen in 2005? But you know, I always tell people dislike if Robert shows up with a mariachi today. I'm not sure he breaks through with a mariachi today. But in 91, a $7,000 action movies shot on 16 was exactly what the industry needed. It was the proof of like, oh my god, someone made a movie for $7,000. Or the story they sold at least

Scott Mosier 1:26:30
Robert was, if you, you know, to me, like you transplanted like the $7,000 version of El Mariachi that Robert would have made would have been very, very different. So

Alex Ferrari 1:26:41
In today's with today's Tech, you're right. Yeah, you're absolutely right,

Scott Mosier 1:26:44
Calculate that he could have sort of done it. Because, like, yeah, there's like, the thing that I still go back to, and, you know, it's not about people's career paths. Or look, it is about who you know, making connections, like meeting people having like a deep sort of list of people that you know, people that are making movies, I mean, it starts in film school, like if you know enough people you're working on shorts, and like, it doesn't even matter if the short skirt good just trying to get experience, right. Like that's like you're a good worker, you work hard. You can fucking push a dolly, whatever. Like, for me like that was a big part of it. But I also think like, this specific people want to be writers, you know, writer, writer directors and stuff like that. I think it's like, you know, the thing, it goes back to having that unique voice like what what's the story that only you can tell, you know, and at the end of the day, like no, mariachis, slacker is like very, like, all those guys had one thing in common, which is they really wanted to tell that story. Not because they really wanted to tell that story. And not because it was the idea cheap idea. That to me is like always, like people are like, Yeah, well, I really want to make this but they're like, but then I, you know, I came up with a cheap idea. It's like, well, no, no, like, come up with ideas. And like, if all your ideas are $80 million dollars, then you might have a problem. Like, yeah, but but like, if you like, if your passion isn't in these cheap ideas, like everyone's gonna know this.

Alex Ferrari 1:28:30
You're absolutely you know, I've never really I've really never quantified it the way you stated, because you're absolutely right. Like, you know, when I, when I make my movies, you know, the ones that sing, or the ones that I really wanted to do. And the ones that were like, I'm going to try to be this guy or I'm this is going to get me to that next level, this is going to be the one that gets me the agent or the those don't they fall, they fall flat, you know, and the ones that have all the passion and the voice are the ones that people really connect to. And that's something that filmmakers trying to break into, they really don't get. And that is the thing that will cut through. You're absolutely right, that is the thing that will cut through all the noise.

Scott Mosier 1:29:09
Because if you're I mean, if you have to go talk about a movie you're making, you know, that's the simplest part of the equation. It's like, if you're passionate about I have for hours, you know, if made it as some sort of vehicle, I mean, the amount of people I've known over the years, like, well, I'm doing this, but I really want to do that. And I'm like, I was like I get it, but I was like you have to find like everything should be an extension of your passion. You can do things just to learn, right? Those are the two levels. If you want to go make a film that you're just like because you can because you could afford to do it and learn and become a better director or become a better whatever. There's value in that right. But you have to know that the end result of that is that you learned you know, if you want to The other reason to make some is like, what are you fucking excited about? Like, what are you passionate about? Like, what kind of stories are you passionate about? Like, is it? You know, like, if you love horror movies, then it's like, that's great. But what's the personal version of a horror horror movie? You know? I mean, if you look at Jordan Peele, it's like, that's why those movies are fucking amazing. Because their personal like, it's not, he didn't invent or he basically it was like, This is my perspective of what a horror movie is, right? And I was like, Holy shit, like you are, you are the only version of you. And I'm not saying you're an antique snowflake. But

Alex Ferrari 1:30:40
We're all unique snowflakes that we're all unique snowflakes,

Scott Mosier 1:30:43
Your perception or your take, or your sort of joke on, like, if you throw something on the table, and everyone makes a joke, like, there'll be 10 Different jokes, right? Like, that's what makes you different. And the more you sort of push yourself to find that, and that, to me is like, was a very long process. Like I in 21, like, I did not have a voice. Like I like, and it was having Kevin was like such a great. That was part of the benefit of standing next to Kevin is because I was like, that's what a voice. Like, that's what it means. That's what it means to have a voice. That's what it means to cut through the noise, right? Because all the rest of it is noise. And so I was very aware of how long it would sort of take me to develop my own voice like I did the whole time. I was like, oh my god, like that's a voice, right? Kevin's a voice, like no one can argue that you may not like the voice, but this motherfucker has got his own voice. And, you know, a million people, the Coen brothers like Oh,

Alex Ferrari 1:31:49
Richard Richard Linkletter all those guys. Yeah, they all have a voice. You're absolutely right. Even even Robert, even Robert, who makes those kinds of action and stuff, but that's, that's his voice inside all those movies,

Scott Mosier 1:32:02
You can learn how to you can learn how to edit, you can learn all the technical stuff, and all that stuff is smart. Like that's basically just making you better your job. If you want to tell your story. If you if you want to be a writer, director, you know, you really have to find your most importantly do is find your voice

Alex Ferrari 1:32:20
Two last questions, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Scott Mosier 1:32:25
Find your voice

Alex Ferrari 1:32:28
Next question. Find the voice

Scott Mosier 1:32:32
To find your voice. And like part of the reason about finding your voice is that finding your way through the process of finding your voice, what you will do is create confidence in what your voice is, you know, it's like there's two, there's, there's all these, there's all these positives that come towards really taking a deep dive and be like, what kind of stories do I want to tell? Like, what do I get emotional when I watch? Like, what do I want to create, recreate on the screen, like, you know, some of those basic questions of like, when I watch, like, I love to make people piss their pants laughing. I like to make people shit their pants. Fucking, like scary, or like, if these are all like, we're all here, because we're like, movies make us. Movies evoke emotions, they make us feel things. And I really like for me, part of the process was going like, what what are the things that I love to feel when I'm watching a movie, and therefore that's the thing that I don't want to recreate in my own movies. And so locating that, like, you know, what's the thing that you're like, oh, fuck, like, I go watch a movie. And, and like, I'm terrified, like, I just walk away. And I'm like, from joy. So I'm so excited. If that's it, then you should focus on that. Like, if you're like, No, I love to make people feel like life is worth, you know, like, I like to make people cry. You know, like, all those things exist. And it's sort of, it's almost like finding your voice to me is more about focusing on like, what's the emotions that you like to evoke in the kind of content you're making? Because that's part of like, what will help you fill out the kind of stories you want to tell which is like, what's the emotional impact? You're looking for? anger, rage, love, like all those things. Like those are the things sort of think about so yeah, finding, finding finding my voice was like probably the biggest thing

Alex Ferrari 1:34:30
And three of your favorite films of all time.

Scott Mosier 1:34:35
If so many. I'll just sort of rattle some off. Well, I go way back to the beginning like time band.

Alex Ferrari 1:34:44
It's so good. Terry manTerry Gilliam.

Scott Mosier 1:34:48
Huge. The ones that like, you know, for me, it's always like, ones that shift your perception about you know what a film is? are the ones that really stick in my mind. And there's tons of amazing movies that don't necessarily do that. But like time, man, it was a big one for me. Raising Arizona was another one, like, really early on where I was like, I just, I just hate it. And, you know, and then now I can go. I mean, like Fight Club is a weapon later on in life where I was like, so completely just like, Fuck,

Alex Ferrari 1:35:27
What am I doing?

Scott Mosier 1:35:28
Yeah, just like, just like, I want to walk, like, and then I just watched it like, 100 times. But, you know, eight and a half was another, like, just mind blowing sort of experience, right? Like, you know, we're in that space. You're like, this is a movie. Like, that was the exciting part about being young is like, you're constantly like watching so many things. And that experience would be like I'm constantly redefining what a movie is. Through everything I'm watching. Like that's the sort of those are the movies in like time, man. It's Raising Arizona eight have been Fight Club is one where I was like, I was sort of be like, Oh, okay, like, I'm kind of pivoting and you're like, This is a movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:13
I mean, when I when I mean, I've had Jim who wrote Fight Club on the show, and I just geeked out with him and Fincher and basically anything Fincher does you just walk by and just like, what are we? What are we doing it really, I mean, and I've talked to some I've talked to some amazing filmmakers. And anytime Fincher comes up, they just say like, I don't, I just, I don't even know what we're doing here. It's, it's, it's having one of those like, it's like Kubrick when Kubrick would pop up with a movie just like what what am I doing?

Scott Mosier 1:36:42
Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:45
Scott, man, thank you so much for being on the show. Brother. It has been an absolute pleasure talking to you, man. And I wish you nothing but success exploring your new wants and, and things that excite you wherever, wherever you go. And I hope that IMDb account gets a little bit more broad and increased.

Scott Mosier 1:37:26
Me too. Thanks for having me.


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