IFH 200: How to Sell Your Indie Film Using Ninja Facebook Hacks with Kyle Prohaska

November 16, 2017
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How to Sell Your Indie Film Using Ninja Facebook Hacks with Kyle Prohaska

We all want to make money selling our feature films or streaming series but getting peoples attention in this noisy world is pretty impossible. We don't have the marketing budget of the studios to reach our audience. What is a filmmaker to do?

Why not use the most powerful marketing tool ever created...Facebook. Now I know Facebook can be intimidating. It such a deep platform. It's power to reach a specific audience is unmatched. Today's guest Kyle Prohaska is a Facebook Marketing Ninja. Kyle also specializes in promoting and marketing indie films.

He also has created insane followings for his own films. Check out this 1,000,000 follower Facebook page he created for his film Standing Firm. Get ready to take some MASSIVE notes on this special episode. Enjoy my epic conversation with Kyle Prohaska.

Oh, by the way, THIS IS EPISODE #200! HOLY CRAP! Thank you all for listening and spreading the word. I couldn't have gotten here without the IFH Tribe!

IFH 199: How to Go From a 6K Micro Budget to Directing a 100K Feature Film with Joshua Caldwell

November 15, 2017
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How to Go From a 6K Micro-Budget to Directing a 100K Feature Film with Joshua Caldwell

Ever wondered what happens to those directors who make a micro-budget feature film? Do they ever sell that film? Do they ever get to direct a feature film again? Today guest is filmmaker Joshua Caldwell, a rare returning filmmaker on the show.

He directed a $6000 feature film called Layover.

I wanted to bring Joshua back to discuss how he leveraged that first micro-budget feature film to get a shot of directing his new $100,000 feature Negative. Check out the trailer below.

 

We also discuss how he brought his micro-budget mentality to a larger budget film, how he used guerilla filmmaking techniques to get the biggest bang for his buck. Prepare for some knowledge bombs. Enjoy my conversation with Joshua Caldwell.

IFH 198: The AFM Wrap Up (Indie Film Hustle Edition)

November 14, 2017
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The AFM Wrap Up (Indie Film Hustle Edition)

I had the pleasure of attending this year's AFM (The American Film Market). This was my first time actually walking the entire market. I met a ton of people, made great connections and really got the inside look at how films are sold internationally. 

In this episode, I discuss the major takes away from AFM, what an indie distribution pipeline looks like, and why EVERY filmmaker in the world that ever wants to sell an indie film needs to attend. Enjoy!

IFH 197: Sundance Wants to Help You Distribute Your Indie Film…REALLY!

November 10, 2017
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Sundance Wants to Help You Distribute Your Indie Film with the Creative Distribution Fellowship

Yup that's right the Sundance Institute wants to help you distribute your film. Liz Manashil (listen to her interview here), the manager of the Sundance Creative Distribution Fellowship reached out to me to get the word out on the fellowship. It turns out that, believe or not, they haven't been getting a lot of submissions. Crazy I know. My feeling is that when filmmakers see Sundance in the title they feel that their chances are thin.

Well, now is your chance IFH Tribe. SUBMIT NOW! We go over all your questions in the interview. Here's some info on the program.

The Creative Distribution Fellowship Overview

The Fellowship - inspired by the Institute’s longstanding artist labs and entering its second year - is an immersive, rigorous program for entrepreneurial producers and directors seeking new ways to build and reach audiences with their finished work. We are now accepting applications for films preparing for a 2018 or early 2019 release who are open to a creative release - i.e. without a traditional distributor.

The Fellowship is a curated program that includes grant funds, access to premium pre-negotiated distribution deals, and connections to experienced industry mentors with the Institute’s Creative Distribution team playing a strategic advisory role. We’re currently engaged in the Fellowship’s pilot year, and supporting two films: Columbus, a fiction feature; and Unrest, a documentary. Both films have excelled with the framework provided by the Fellowship and we are thrilled with the results. Case studies will be finalized on each film in early 2018.

We are seeking films at all budget levels featuring distinctive, singular voices. We will select three or four films on a rolling basis, and we will support fellows during their initial release period (6 - 12 months). Films will be selected by a committee comprised of the Creative Distribution team along with key representatives from the Institute’s Feature Film, Documentary, and Festival programs. Our evaluation process will have two stages. We will initially review applications reviewing essay questions and a trailer or clip. After this initial review, we will invite select applicants to submit their feature in its entirety, and notify others that their project has been declined.

Selected Films Receive

  • $25,000 grant for marketing expenses with an emphasis on digital marketing.
  • A mid-five-figure minimum deal from either Amazon, Hulu or Netflix, and preferred access to other Sundance Institute brokered digital distribution opportunities through its relationship with their digital aggregator.
  • Guidance from the Creative Distribution Initiative and leading industry advisors prior to the release.
  • Referral to key marketing and distribution consultants to help execute campaigns.
  • Sundance Institute branding and promotion to support the release of the film.
  • Half-day marketing strategy session with leading industry marketing and distribution executives at Institute offices.
  • Sundance alumni designation and benefits.

What Sundance Needs

  • Fellows participating in the program will be expected to devote significant time and energy to the release of their film.
  • Fellows will be required to be fully transparent about their experience, including audience data and revenue numbers. This information will be turned into detailed case studies that will be publicly released by the Institute.
  • Fellows will be required to participate in weekly calls with Sundance Institute to discuss goals, strategy, and progress.
  • The Creative Distribution team will be available to advise fellows on major marketing and distribution decisions throughout the process.

Eligibility

  • The film has premiered at a 2017 US Film Festival or been accepted to a 2018 US Film Festival. The festival must be continuously operating for five years or longer.
  • Films must be completed and feature-length (minimum 70 minutes).
  • The film’s country of origin is the United States or Canada and the film team lead(s) are based in the United States or Canada.
  • The film has all of its US distribution rights free and clear to exploit. Notable exceptions may be granted in this case - for instance, films that have licensed their educational/non-theatrical rights.
  • The film has not been exploited anywhere in the world (e.g. theatrical, home video, subscription video, broadcast) other than through festival screenings.

Apply for the Sundance Creative Distribution Fellowship here.

 

IFH 196: Total Transparency: How Much Revenue a $100K Film REALLY Generates with Liz Manashil

November 10, 2017
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Total Transparency: How Much Revenue a $100K REALLY Film Generates with Liz Manashil

Have you ever wondered how much revenue a real indie film can make in the marketplace? Wouldn't you like to see the real and raw numbers for a nontheatrical film with no major film festival premieres? Today's guest has been brave enough to do just that. Filmmaker Liz Manashil decided to open up the accounting books on her debut feature film Bread and Butter, starring SNL's Bobby Moynihan and Lauren Lapkus. 

Liz Manashil earned her B.A. in Film and Media Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, and her M.F.A. from USC's School of Cinematic Arts. Post graduation, Liz spent several years as a film critic for the PBS/Hulu series JUST SEEN IT (which she also helped produce and direct). Overlapping this, Liz worked with distribution guru Peter Broderick.

Her debut feature, Bread and Butter, was called “an absolute must-watch for women everywhere” by HelloGiggles. It was released by The Orchard and can be seen on VOD nearly everywhere (including Hulu!). Liz is currently in pre-production on her next feature film, SPEED OF LIFE, and lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Laura Palmer, and her partner, Sean Wright. She is the Manager of Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Initiative.

Here's the breakdown (taken from her amazing article on Moviemaker Magazine:

Our film, Bread and Butter, is a digital success. A digital success you’ve never heard of.

Let’s break it down.

  • Our film cost $100,000 to make
  • We grossed $96,000 a little bit more than a year into our release (and we’re still making deals)
  • Our distributor did have a marketing spend but we invested in no other resources outside of that (other than me running our social media campaigns and newsletter)
  • We got two airline deals, two SVOD deals, and decent promotion of transactional and cable VOD
  • We’re operating in the black with the distributor’s marketing spend and heading toward eventual recoupment in terms of our expenses

In an age where people debate the utility of making independent feature films, there is hope.

I had a ball speaking to Liz and we get into the weeds on traditional distribution and self-distribution. If you want to sell you film in the marketplace perk up your ears and take some notes. Enjoy my conversation with Liz Manashil.

IFH 195: Top 10 Tips for Low Budget Filmmakers

November 8, 2017
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Top 10 Tips for Low budget Filmmakers

Making an indie film can be rough, especially for beginners. Many times filmmakers go off halfcocked and jump into making a film without really thinking it all through. Here are a few tips that will help you on you filmmaking journey.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT SCRIPT

Look for character-driven stories with no stunts or effects, limited locations, a limited cast and utilize resources that you already have access to.

PLAN

Spend the time in pre-production. The more you can plan, the smoother your shoot will go.  Take the time to plan and save time later when it costs.

MOST FAVORED NATIONS

When paying people less than they’re worth -make everyone equal- one pay rate for everyone.  This helps show respect, not play favorites, and everyone will be working for one common goal.

CAREFULLY PICK UNION OR NON-UNION

If you go with an actor’s union, understand the full contract.  Quite often although the production terms may be reasonable, the distribution terms may be not.

CAMERA TECHNOLOGY

Never feel that you have to use a specific camera because that’s the “hot” tech.  Not all cameras are created equal and it is the talent behind the camera that matters, not the tech itself.

WORKFLOW

Know your production and post workflow before you shoot.  This will save time, money, and frustration later.

MUSIC RIGHTS

Don’t go for “label” or commercially released music- the rights are complicated and expensive.  Find unsigned, talented artists and get permission to use their music or have them record original music for you.

UNDERSTAND YOUR MARKET

Do your homework. Research your demographic and market - is there actually an audience for this film? How will you sell it? Can you visualize a poster and tagline? Knowing those before you shoot will increase your chances of success.

WORK WITH PROFESSIONALS

Every step of the way, your project will benefit from the experience of true professionals. You may not be able to afford the best in the business, but experience matters - hire the right people for the job, not just friends and family who are available.

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SOUND

Sound is one of the most important aspects of a movie - bad sound is intolerable, even over bad picture. Know how to capture the best sound and how to finalize it in post. If you don't know - see tip #9.

IFH 194: The Art and Craft of Writing a Comedy w/ Peter Desberg & Jeffrey Davis

November 6, 2017
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If you ever wanted to know some of the secrets of how to write a comedy then today's guest might be able to help. Peter Desberg and Jeffrey Davis are the authors of Now That’s Funny! The Art and Craft of Comedy Writing, a new book that provides an intimate look into the minds of twenty-nine of Hollywood’s funniest comedy writers from movies and TV shows like:

  • Saturday Night Live
  • Frasier
  • The Simpsons
  • Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Monk
  • Modern Family
  • The Honeymooners
  • There's Something About Mary
  • Dumb and Dumber
  • Cheers
  • Home Improvement

The writers were asked to develop a generic comedy premise created by the authors, giving readers a window into their writing process. There were no rules, no boundaries, and no limits. What emerges is an entertaining look—illuminating and hilarious—at the creative process behind hit comedy TV shows and movies. 

Enjoy my conversation with Peter Desberg and Jeffrey Davis.

THROWBACK FRIDAY: The Six Stages Character Development with Michael Hauge

November 3, 2017
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The Six Stages Character Development with Michael Hauge

This week we have a returning guest, screenwriting guru Michael Hauge. On this episode, he discussed The Six Stages Character Development. A very eye-opening episode. Check it out.

 

Right click here to download the MP3

These videos on screenplay structure are from his best-selling online course: Story and Screenwriting Blueprint - The Hero's Two Journeys.

In more than 4½ hours of lecture, discussion and Q&A, Michael Hauge, author of Writing Screenplays That Sell and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read; and Christopher Vogler, story analyst and author of The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers, unite to reveal the essential principles of plot structure, character arc, myth and transformation.

IFH 193: How to Create Suspense Like Hitchcock with Jeffery Michael Bays

October 30, 2017
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How to Create Suspense Like Hitchcock with Jeffery Michael Bays

Have you ever wanted to know how Alfred Hitchcock became the master of suspense? How Hitch used the camera and lens to create terror in the audience? Well, you can watch all 52 films Hitchcock directed or if you want to get a head start on you Hitchcock education you should listen to today's guest, Jeffery Michael Bays, the author of the new book Suspense with a Camera: A Filmmaker's Guide to Alfred Hitchcock

Jeffery shares his knowledge and love for Alfred Hitchcock as well as the tricks and techniques that made Hitchcock the master of suspense. If Hitchcock is your thing then also watch Jeffery's amazing series Hitch 20. He breaks down every episode of television Alfred Hitchcock ever directed. 

 

Enjoy my conversation with Jeffery Michael Bays.

IFH 192: How to Sell Your Indie Film at the American Film Market with Johnathan Wolf

October 26, 2017
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How to Sell Your Indie Film at the American Film Market with Johnathan Wolf

Have you ever wondered how films are sold internationally or domestically for that matter? Today on the show we have Jonathan Wolf, the managing director of the American Film Market or AFM as it's known. The American Film Market generates over $1 Billion in the seven-day event. Buyers from around the world come to buy, sell and pre-sell their film projects.

Johnathan and I discuss the inner workings of the American Film Market, how you should attend, the difference between creating a trailer and poster for the consumer vs a distributor and a ton more.

Here's a bit on today's guest.

Jonathan Wolf has been IFTA’s Executive Vice President and Managing Partner of the AFM since 1998. He joined IFTA in 1993 as Senior Vice President of Business Development and established IFTA Collections, which now distributes millions of dollars in royalties to participants each year. Previously, Wolf spent two years as President & COO of Studio Three Film Corporation, a U.S. theatrical distribution company.

From 1980 to 1990 he held various finance positions within the industry, culminating as Chief Financial Officer of New World International, where he oversaw the company’s international operations. Wolf is a graduate of the University of Southern California Business School.

If you want to sell your film then get ready to take some notes. Enjoy my conversation with Johnathan Wolf from the American Film Market.

IFH 191: Blair Witch Project: Directing an Indie Film Phenomenon w/ Eduardo Sanchez

October 23, 2017
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Blair Witch Project: Directing an Indie Film Phenomenon w/ Eduardo Sanchez

Who hasn't heard of the now legendary indie film rags to riches tale of  The Blair Witch Project? Every film student from Los Angeles to Mumbai heard the story of how two young film students spent $27,000 (mostly from friends, family and credit cards) to make a little indie horror film that ended up grossing $250 million worldwide.

Directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick shot The Blair Witch Project in a new way which would later be called "found footage." Without The Blair Witch Project, there is no [easyazon_link identifier="B00304LF0W" locale="US" tag="whatisbroke-20"]Paranormal Activity[/easyazon_link], No [easyazon_link identifier="B00AEFXNGE" locale="US" tag="whatisbroke-20"]Cloverfield[/easyazon_link], No [easyazon_link identifier="B003L20IEW" locale="US" tag="whatisbroke-20"]The Last Exorcism[/easyazon_link].

Today's guest Eduardo Sanchez goes back to the late 90's and shares his experience on what it was like to be in the center of The Blair Witch Project hurricane. What it was like being on the cover of Time Magazine and how did it feel to be the toast of Hollywood...for a period of time.

We also discuss the aftermath, how his career grew post Blair Witch and crazy stories of Hollyweird.

Enjoy my conversation with Eduardo Sanchez.

IFH 190: Understanding The Hero’s Journey with Chris Vogler

October 18, 2017
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Understanding The Hero's Journey with Chris Vogler

We have all heard about Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey by this point but what is it really. Chris Vogler, the author of The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers and the man who brought the Hero's Journey into the film industry, breaks down the ordinary and special worlds of the hero's journey. Enjoy.

These videos on screenplay structure are from his best selling online course: Story and Screenwriting Blueprint - The Hero's Two Journeys.

In more than 4½ hours of lecture, discussion and Q&A, Michael Hauge, author of Writing Screenplays That Sell and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel; and Christopher Vogler, story analyst and author of The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers, unite to reveal the essential principles of plot structure, character arc, myth and transformation.

IFH 189: How NOT to Direct a Television Pilot with Dave Bullis

October 17, 2017
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How NOT to Direct a Television Pilot with Dave Bullis

Before I get any hate mail I wanted to let you know that our guest today reached out to me and offered to do this episode. So I didn't ask a fellow filmmaker to come on the show and tell us all how not to direct a television pilot. Dave Bullis is a director, writer, and director. He approached me with this idea and I said let's do it. The more truth bombs I can lay on the IFH Tribe the better.

Game Over (GO) was a TV pilot I filmed a few years ago about five employees at a video game store struggling to get to the next level in their lives. Dave went through hell making it and his stories even surprised me. Dave also decided to write a length guide to help filmmakers shoot their own projects.

IFH 188: Making a Micro Budget Film That Cracks iTunes’s Top 3 with Julian Galea

October 11, 2017
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Today on the show we have writer/cinematographer/director Julian Galea. He directed a micro-budget film called Love to Paradise.

Set in the magical Mediterranean islands of Malta, this indie travel romance proves it’s not love until it’s paradise.

When American tourist Giovanni falls for local artist Carmen, they embark on a passionate and unforgettable journey across the Maltese islands only to be broken by the truth. Now at a crossroads, Giovanni choose between his livelihood or a fight to win the love of a woman that forever changed him.

Check out the trailer below.

 

I wanted Julian on the show, not only because he made a steller micro-budget film but I wanted him to give us the secrets on how he cracked the top 3 of iTunes Pre-orders with his little indie film. Check out the picture below and see which Big budget Hollywood tentpole films he was beating.

LOVE TO PARADISE, Julian Galea, Malta, Myko Olivier, Marysia S. Peres

Julian Galea is a Maltese-Australian filmmaker. He studied at New York Film Academy as a writer-director. His work includes a series of awarded short films and his latest feature film debut, LOVE TO PARADISE. Enjoy my conversation with Julian Galea.

IFH 187: How to Create an Amazon Exclusive Streaming Series with Chris Sobchak

October 8, 2017
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How to Create an Amazon Exclusive Streaming Series with Chris Sobchak

This week on the show we have filmmaker Chris Sobchak. Chris co-created an Amazon Streaming Series with star Nicole Sobchack, “Please Tell Me I’m Adopted!” follows free-spirited, wide-eyed, disaster magnet Tiffany who is forced to move in with her newly married sister, roping them into crazy, often culturally-current escapades with outrageous and hilarious consequences. What began as a project for a sketch comedy class is now an original short-form comedy series, which premiered exclusively on Amazon on March 6, 2017.

The entire production was crowdfunded by friends, family and even strangers, so it was important for Executive Producer Chris Sobchak to keep costs down as much as possible. This led to him and Nicole doing the entire post process, including CGI, sound design, VFX, color and editing, themselves. The project took about two years to complete, with Chris needing to do some of the work on the road while working as the Drum and Percussion Technician for Elton John. 

Enjoy my conversation with Chris Sobchak.

THROWBACK FRIDAY: How to Write a Screenplay FAST with Jeff Bollow

October 6, 2017
00:0000:00

Please note: Throwback Fridays are archival episodes from the Indie Film Hustle Podcast. After many requests from the IFH Tribe to bring back some of the show's best episodes, I decided to create Throwback Fridays. These episodes will not be posted every week but at least twice a month...if not more. 

There's so much amazing info and knowledge bombs in many of these past episodes and I don't want them to be lost in the sea of IFH Content so I'll be putting a spotlight on them in Throwback Fridays. Enjoy! 


How to Write a Screenplay with FAST with Jeff Bollow

Have you ever wanted to learn how to write a screenplay fast? I know I do. This is why I invited on the show award-winning producer/director, best-selling author, film festival organizer and public speaker, Jeff Bollow.

He is the author of Writing FAST: How to Write Anything with Lightning SpeedJeff Bollow began as an actor at age 12 in his native Los Angeles (credits include Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead and TV's Columbo) before working nearly every job in production, from camera to sound to lighting — and including jobs in development, post-production and distribution.

Jeff has worked on feature films, TV series, commercials, music videos, radio, and corporate productions for companies such as Universal, Castle Rock, Propaganda Films, DNA and the Oxygen Network.

After migrating to New Zealand, where he directed television for TV3 and co-founded the Big Mountain Short Film Festival, he moved to Australia, where he launched Embryo Films. Through his company, Jeff has reviewed over 20,000 project submissions, and has edited, assessed and/or mentored over 350 projects. He has script doctored in Singapore, Australia, NZ and the US; and has conducted over 80 live weekend workshops to over 1200 writers in 9 cities in 5 countries, with a unanimous "recommend" approval rating.

His students have been optioned, produced and won (and placed) in competitions worldwide. He designed FAST Screenplay in 2004, and began officially building it in November 2009. It was finally completed in July 2016, nearly 7 years later. Alongside it, he created the FASTscreenplay YouTube Channel, which now includes over 30 detailed and insightful free videos to encourage writers and screenwriters around the world.

In May 2015, Jeff Bollow delivered his first TED Talk, "Expand Your Imagination... Exponentially" (see video below) at TEDxDocklands in Melbourne, Australia, to prepare for the next phase of the larger plan. Jeff's aim is build an independent film studio that inspires creativity worldwide, to help prepare humanity for the dramatic changes our future holds. When he's not busy helping writers with FAST Screenplay, he is working on a new book, developing a television series, and planning two feature film projects.

I've added below Jeff Bollow's TEDTalk and a series of amazing video on screenwriting. Enjoy!

IFH 186: How to Make a Killer Horror Film in One Location with Michael Williams

October 2, 2017
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How to Make a Killer Horror Film in One Location with Michael Williams

If you have a micro or no budget feature film shooting in one location will make life a lot easier. Now, how do you make that one location look great and not boring through your film? Indie Filmmaker Michael Williams did just that with his new horror film The Atoning. Check out the trailer below.

 

Michael Williams began creating short films in 2004 and since has consistently produced short films and screened them for audiences at annual film festivals and screenings across the U.S.

Williams earned his bachelor of arts in film in 2009 from the University of Southern Mississippi and was awarded the Top Film Student of 2009 Award. In 2007 Williams began his professional film career, accumulating a multitude of credits ranging from assistant camera to director of photography for many independent short and feature-length films.

After writing, directing and producing more than 20 short films, Williams broke into the feature-length film territory with the award-winning film OzLand". While his desire to tell complex stories visually drew him to a career in cinematography, as an artist and storyteller, Williams writes and directs films like "OzLand" in order to share his stories with those interested in experiencing them while eagerly pursuing the opportunity to bring other people's stories to life as a director of photography.

For his 2nd feature film, Williams turned to the horror/supernatural thriller genre for "The Atoning", an award-winning family drama explored through a fresh take on the thriller/horror genre.

Today, the filmmaker owns and operates Shendopen films in West Point, Mississippi and continues to write and direct his own independent films, produce films by other regional filmmakers and works regionally in the industry as a director of photography. Enjoy my conversation with Michael Williams.

THROWBACK FRIDAY: How to Make $500,000 Selling a No Budget DSLR Indie Film with Michael Polish

September 29, 2017
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How to Make $500,000 Selling a No Budget DSLR Indie Film with Michael Polish

I'm always looking for indie filmmaking models to study. I like to analyze how other filmmakers make successful indie films while doing through a new DIY method, self-distributing their film or achieving critical and fan respect for their work.

Well, I found a film that checks all the boxes, For Lovers Only create by the Polish Brothers, Michael and Mark Polish (more on that film later). These filmmakers have been making films, on their terms, for over a decade now.

Since premiering at Sundance with their debut feature, 1999's Twin Falls Idahothe brothers have remained steadfast in their commitment to creating personal, character-driven films.

Michael Polish has created a filmography of critically-acclaimed features, including the karaoke-themed Jackpot (2001), the self-financed period piece Northfork (2003) and the sci-fi drama The Astronaut Farmer (2006). Yet the Polish brothers have always maintained a collaborative—as opposed to competitive—spirit when it comes to finding success in Hollywood

In 2005, he and his brother published the must-read book The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking: An Insider's Guide to Making Movies Outside of Hollywood, a how-to guide for first-time filmmakers.

How to Make $500,000 on a DSLR Feature Film

How does one make money shooting a feature film on a DSLR? The film in question came from a screenplay that Mark Polish wrote more than a decade ago called For Lovers Only, about an American photographer who runs into an old flame while on assignment in Paris. The film follows the rekindled lovers around Paris, France in a series of quiet vignettes that gradually reveal more about the complications in the couples' lives.

Related: DSLR Video Tips: How to Make Your DSLR Film or Video Look More Cinematic

Inspired by the guerilla style of the French New Wave filmmakers of yesteryear, Mark and Michael Polish came up with a simple plan: they'd fly over to France with only a Canon 5D Mark II camera (which they already owned) and one actress (Castle star Stana Katic) in tow and just go out and shoot feature film. Oh did I mention it was in black and white?

 

With no budget to speak of they went out into Paris and captured it's stunning beauty for free. Additionally, shooting solely on a DSLR had quite a few advantages. Not only was the camera extremely portable, and allowed for filming in tight spaces (such as the small alcoves in French churches), it gave the film the level of intimacy it needed.

No one stopped them since they were such a small crew and the camera was a still camera (with video capablities) everyone thought they were a married couple simply on vacation.

Screenwriter and actor Mark Polish explained the process.

“It was me, Mike and Stana, and that was it. We shot for 12 days, and the whole point was to capture this really intense intimacy between the two characters.”

Most of the team’s hotels and meals were comped by their contacts and friends; their only expenses were food and a few taxis, but Mark and Michael Polish don’t consider that part of the budget since those charges would have been incurred if they took a vacation instead.

Michael Polish said that their hotels and some meals were comped; they shot and edited with equipment they already owned; and they don’t consider the few grand worth of meals, taxis and the like to be part of an actual budget.

“There was not one dime that came out of our pocket specifically for this movie — besides the food we ate, but we had to eat, anyway."

Now what makes the filmmaking story really interesting is the film made of $500,000 through self-distribution. Yup, that's right. How might you ask?

Using Social Media to SELL!

Michael Polish was extremely smart for casting Stana Katic not only for her amazing beauty and talent but she also had a huge fan base from her hit ABC television show Castle. At Michael Polish's request, Stana tweeted out to her over 67,000 twitter followers that the film was available on iTunes and word spread very quickly.

Michael Polish leveraged not only his and his brother's own social networks and also Stana's. Katic's rabid Twitter and Facebook followings spread the word.

Then Michael Polish found that the film's #hashtag was drawing over 1,000 tweets an hour, he drafted up posters using the Twitter raves in place of critics' quotes. Those posters went viral on Twitter and Tumblr, and further helped create an amazing amount of iTune pre-sales.

I can't express to you enough that they created this enter film completely in the DIY, no budget filmmaking process. From shooting it to marketing and selling it. This is a model that should be studied by all indie filmmakers. Now you can find the film on all the usual suspects of VOD (Netflix, iTunes, YouTube, Amazon & Movies on Demand via FilmBuff). Since he and his brother own the film, they keep all the profit.

IFH 185: How Screenwriters Can Navigate the Hollywood System with Scott Myers

September 25, 2017
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How Screenwriters Can Navigate the Hollywood System with Scott Myers

For screenwriters, navigating the shark-infested waters of the Hollywood system can be a daunting task. You never know what the producer or studio is looking for. How do you pitch your story properly? So many questions. I hope today's guest can help guide you a bit through those waters.

Scott Myers has been a professional Hollywood screenwriter for over 30 years. Since selling his spec script K-9 in 1987, Scott has written 30 projects for every major Hollywood studio and broadcast network. His film writing credits include K-9 starring Jim Belushi, Alaska starring Vincent Kartheiser, and Trojan War starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.

From 2002–2010, Scott was an executive producer at Trailblazer Studios, a television production company. In 2002, he began teaching screenwriting in his spare time. He won the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Outstanding Instructor Award in 2005 and for eight years taught in the Writing for Screen and Stage program at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

He has hosted Go Into The Story, an amazing screenwriting website, since its launch May 16, 2008, and is partnered with the Black List as its official screenwriting blog.

Scott breaks down the Hollywood system, talks about story and structure and just tells it how it really is in the business. Enjoy my conversation with Scott Myers.

 

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  5. Directing Actors Master Course – (30% OFF – CODE: HUSTLE)
  6. Get Your Film on Netflix, Hulu & Amazon & Keep 100% of the Revenue - Distribber
  7. Hollywood Camera Work: Mastering High-End Blocking and Staging (30% OFF – CODE: HUSTLE)

KILLER RESOURCES!!!

  1. IFH Masters Circle Filmmaking Community
  2. IFH's Online Film School
  3. Six Secrets to get into Film Festivals for FREE!

To share your thoughts:

To help the show:

Thank you Scott, for a great interview!!!

IFH 184: How to Location Scout on a Budget with Brian L. Tan

September 21, 2017
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Anytime I location scout a property we are going to shoot at I always look out for the boobie traps that might hurt the shoot. Finding an dealing with locations can be a nightmare, especially when you have little or no budget.

Today on the show I have locations guru Brian L. Tan. Brian is the founder of Wrapal.com, a site built to help filmmakers and property owner find location love. We discuss a bunch of tips and tricks to get locations on the cheap, if not for free and we go over the pitfalls that many filmmakers fall into when shooting on location.

Below you'll find a great guide on how to location scout on a budget, written by Brian, as well as some genius videos they created. Enjoy and happy hunting!

IFH TV: My 2003 Project Greenlight Submission Tape

September 20, 2017
Watch Now:

It's the summer of 2003 and the second season of the filmmaking reality show, Project Greenlight, is taking submissions from directors and screenwriters. Before Batman and Jason Bourne, there was Project Greenlight, the brainchild of Oscar Winners Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

I had just a few student short films and a commercial demo reel under my belt. So I submitted and to my surprise, I made it pretty high in the selection process, top 25 directors. When you get to that point in the competition you need to submit an audition tape.

I've been getting emails and message over the past year because of a few Tweets on Twitter. They cut a small, embarrassing clip of a young, cocky of my submission tape into the first episode of season two.

Many of the IFH tribe kept asking me if I still had the full audition tape so they could watch it. I went digging in the VHS, Mini-DV archives and I found it. It was fun to see that 28-year-old filmmaker with stars in his eyes, but it was cringe-worthy as well.

I decided to pop it up on YouTube to see what you all think. It's really interesting to see myself so young, with visions of what he wanted his life to be not knowing what was in store for him. I hope the tribe will get something out of this, or at least you'll have a great laugh. Please be gentle in the comments. Enjoy!

IFH 183: How to Have a Sustainable Career in the Film Business with Straw Weisman

September 18, 2017
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How to Have a Sustainable Career in the Film Business with Straw Weisman

I always talk about "hustle" and that "you have to keep moving forward no matter what" to make it in this business. Today's guest is the most authentic example of those concepts I've ever met. Straw Weisman is a writer, director, producer, post supervisor, movie trailer writer/producer, film consultant, and film market guru. These are just some of jobs Straw has done in his over 40 years in the indie film business.

Through his own company, Marquee Productions, Straw has supervised post-production and/or associate produced or produced over 75 films, including “Without Men”, starring Eva Longoria and Christian Slater, "Abel's Field", starring Kevin Sorbo, “Shine On”, starring Jenna Dewan-Tatum, “Order of Redemption” with Busta Rhymes, Armand Assante and Tom Berenger,  the multi-festival award-winning biopic “Crazy” featuring“Heroes” Ali Larder,  “Magic”, a family film starring Christopher Lloyd as a talking dog, Richard Gere’s “The Flock”, “Sex and Breakfast”, starring Macaulay Culkin, “Say It In Russian”, featuring Faye Dunaway, the spiritually based sleeper hit “What The Bleep Do We Know!?”(which grossed over $16 Million at the box office), Tobe Hooper’s “The Toolbox Murders”, and the horror feature “Hatchet." Marquee Productions has also played host to over 25 independent films, which have used its editing and audio facilities and Straw’s creative consultancy.

Straw and I have been working together on projects for close to 10 years. I wanted him to come on the show to discuss his career, how he keeps going, and what skills helped him to have such a long and sustainable career. Straw also shares a very intense story that will illustrate how tough and brutal this business can be.

My hope is that this interview not only inspires you but sheds a light on what is really needed to make it in the business. Enjoy my conversation with Straw Weisman.

IFH 182: The Indie Film Hustle Tribe Interrogates Alex Ferrari with Rob Alicea

September 13, 2017
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The Indie Film Hustle Tribe Interrogates Alex Ferrari with Rob Alicea

Today’s episode is a first for the IFH Podcast. I had Indie Film Hustle Tribe Member Rob Alicea reach out to me with a crazy idea. He wanted to interview me for the podcast. He thought that the tribe would like to know more about me and my personal journey. I have to say I was skeptical. I didn’t think you guys would be that interested but Rob convinced me so here we are. Rob asked questions I never answered before and I have to say Rob was a great interviewer. I hope you find some value in it.

So here we go. Enjoy Rob’s interview with…I guess me. = )

IFH 181: Trailer Editing Techniques to Cut a Badass Movie Trailer

September 11, 2017
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Trailer Editing Techniques to Cut a Badass Movie Trailer

I've probably edited over 500 movie trailers, network promos, and commercials in my career. So many indie filmmakers and feature film editors think they can just throw together a trailer for their feature film and make it work. Over the years, I've shared my Trailer Editing Techniques with many of the indie filmmakers that have walked into my post suite.

Trailer editing requires a very different set of skills from feature film or other long-form editing. I've seen way too many bad movie trailers in my day. I wanted to bring on today's guest Chris from FilmEditingPro to drop some knowledge bombs on the IFH Tribe on what it takes to really edit an effect and kick ass movie trailer, regardless of genre.

Enjoy my conversation with Chris from FilmEditingPro.

IFH 180: How to Cast a No Budget Indie Film with Backstage’s Veronika Lee

September 7, 2017
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How to Cast a No Budget Indie Film with Backstage's Veronika Lee

Ahhhh casting. It’s probably the last thing a director or producer wants to think about during production. But it’s true: casting can make or break a film. A bad casting decision can be glaringly obvious at the worst possible time. So it’s important to get started thinking about your process early on. 

On today's show, we have casting director Veronika Lee from Backstage. We go into how to cast a no budget indie film, finding the right actors for the part and much more.

 

(Note: IFH listeners can always cast for free by entering promo code HUSTLE at checkout at Backstage.com.)

Enjoy my conversation with Veronika Lee.

 

LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

SPONSORS

  1. Hollywood Film & Television Directing Masterclass (EXCLUSIVE 50% OFF)
  2. Editing with DaVinci Resolve Course ($15 Special)
  3. Directing Actors Master Course – (30% OFF – CODE: HUSTLE)
  4. Get Your Film on Netflix, Hulu & Amazon & Keep 100% off the Revenue - Distribber
  5. Hollywood Camera Work: Mastering High-End Blocking and Staging (30% OFF – CODE: HUSTLE)
  6. Werner Herzog's Filmmaking MasterClass
  7. Aaron Sorkin Screenwriting Master Class

KILLER RESOURCES!!!

  1. IFH Masters Circle Filmmaking Community
  2. IFH's Online Film School
  3. Six Secrets to get into Film Festivals for FREE!

To share your thoughts:

To help the show: