THROWBACK FRIDAY: Save the Cat - Screenwriting Story Structure Made Easy

December 15, 2017
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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! 


Save the Cat: Story Structure Made Easy

Why would you want to 'Save the Cat'? If you are a screenwriter or aspiring one you should've heard by now of Blake Snyder's game-changing screenwriting book.

In his 20-year career as a film producer and screenwriter, Blake Snyder sold dozens of scripts, including co-writing Blank Check, which became a hit for Disney, and Nuclear Family for Steven Spielberg — both million-dollar sales. Named “one of Hollywood’s most successful spec screenwriters,” Blake sold his last screenplay in 2009.

His book, Save the Cat!® The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, was published in May, 2005, and is now in its 24th printing. When I read this book it really had an impact on my storytelling and screenwriting.

Thankful Blake was not done and apparently it was not quite the last book on screenwriting you’ll ever need, as the eagerly awaited sequel, Save the Cat!® Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter’s Guide to Every Story Ever Told, was published in October, 2007 — shooting to #1 in the Screenwriting and Screenplay categories on Amazon.com. Blake’s third book, Save the Cat!® Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get Into… And Out Of, was published in November, 2009.

Blake’s method has become the “secret weapon” of many development executives, managers, and producers for its precise, easy, and honest appraisal of what it takes to write and develop stories that resonate. Save the Cat!® The Last Story Structure Software You’ll Ever Need has codified this method. Blake passed unexpectedly in 2009 but the Save the Cat community carries on Blake's work.

I had the pleasure of interviewing one of Blake's main pupils Jose Silerio. Jose is carrying the torch of Blake's work and travels around the world well...saving the cat.

Enjoy my informative interview with Jose Silerio.

IFH 207: Inside the Visual Effects of Star Wars: The Last Jedi & ILM with Dan Cregan

December 11, 2017
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IFH 207: Inside the Visual Effects of Star Wars: The Last Jedi & ILM with Dan Cregan

Ever wonder what it is like to work at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) on a Star Wars film? Today's guest is one of my best friends, Dan Cregan. Dan and I go way, way back. He worked with my doing VFX on my first film BROKEN.

We've continued to work together over the past 12 years. Dan has moved up in the VFX world working on blockbuster films like:

  • Star Wars: Rogue One
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Spectre
  • The Martian
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • X-Men: Apocolypse
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Fantastic Four
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

 

I wanted to bring Dan back on the show to share his experience working behind the scenes of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and ILM. Enjoy my conversation with Dan Cregan. May the force be with you.

IFH 206: Crossover Episode with the Just Shoot It Podcast

December 7, 2017
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Crossover Episode: Just Shoot It Podcast

I thought it would be fun to do a crossover episode with filmmaking podcast Just Shoot It with hosts Oren Kaplan and Matt Enlow. I was invited down to their studios to record a "recorded live" episode and we had a ball.

The conversation was energetic and turn heated in a few places. We talked about directing, USC Film School Grads, the state of indie films, the wonderful world of digital series and much more. It's a great listen. Enjoy my conversation with Oren Kaplan and Matt Enlow of the Just Shoot It Podcast.

IFH 205: How to Pitch Your Screenplay in 60 Seconds with Michael Hauge

December 6, 2017
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How to Pitch Your Screenplay in 60 Seconds with Michael Hauge

You walk onto an elevator and just before the door closes Steven Spielberg gets on. You have 60 secs to pitch him your latest screenplay. What do you do? Your goal is to have your audience say yes, I understand, and I care” after reading or watching your brand story. 

If your audience just says “now I know” then you have successfully informed them but not enough to make them care, to make them stay to whatever you have to say next. Your career can be made in 60 seconds - if you make the right pitch!

Today's guest is returning champion Michael Hauge. He is the best-selling author of Writing Screenplays That Sell (now in its 20th Anniversary Edition) and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read

According to Will Smith,

No one is better than Michael Hauge at finding what is most authentic in every moment of a story.” – Will Smith

We discuss pitching techniques, the pitch story arch, and much more. After partnering with Michael on the best-selling Udemy Screenwriting course Screenplay and Story Blueprint: The Hero’s Two Journeys I wanted to work with him again. We came up with the NEW online course Pitching Your Screenplay or Novel in 60 Secs (Click here for an EXCLUSIVE Discount)

IFH 204: Why Do You Want to Be a Filmmaker?

December 4, 2017
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Why Do You Want to Be a Filmmaker?

On today's show, I ask the simple question

"Why do you want to be a filmmaker or screenwriter?"

This single question is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself. Understanding the answer can set you up for success in your career or ultimate failure. It has taken me over 20 years to honestly answer that question and it has made all the difference in the world. I just wished I would've answered it in my 20's and no my 40's. 

Enjoy and if you find value in this episode please share it with as many filmmakers, screenwriters, and artists you can. 

IFH 203: How to Shoot & Sell Digital Series (The Bannen Way) with Mark Gantt

November 30, 2017
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How to Shoot & Sell Digital Series (The Bannen Way) with Mark Gantt

Today's guest is Mark Gantt. He's a man of many talents, actor, director, writer, and producer. He's best known for co-creating, producing and starring in the award-winning The Bannen Way for Sony Pictures Television.  Financed by Sony’s Crackle distribution arm, this unique web series/feature film had a compelling cast which included Michael Ironside, Academy Award nominees Robert Forster and Michael Lerner, and Emmy winner Vanessa Marcil.

Within the first 10 weeks of release, The Bannen Way garnered over 14 million views and went on to win 4 Streamy Awards including Best Actor (Mark Gantt), Best Drama, Best Director and Best Editor; as well as being nominated for two Webby Awards and a BANFF Award.  The film is currently distributed internationally on VOD, DVD, iTunes, and Amazon as a feature film.

I wanted to bring Mark on the show to discuss how he got The Bannen Way shot, how he got HUGE sponsors to come on board and how he convinced Sony Pictures to buy a web series...in 2009. Here's some more info on Mark Gantt.

Mark’s onscreen credits include American Horror Story: Hotel, Ocean’s Eleven, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Dexter, Major Crimes, Bluff, Barely Famous and currently recurring on The Arrangement premiering March 2017 on E!

As a director, Mark feature directorial debut, Murder In Mexico starring Colin Egglesfield premiered on Lifetime in Sept of 2015. He recently directed Intricate Vengeance for Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s New Form Digital with Wilson Cleveland. He’s also won several awards including Best Director at Philadelphia First Glance Film and Best of the Fest at the Cinema Series Festival for the short film Donor. He recently directed the branded series Seamlessly She with Monica Potter for AOL and GMC as well as two episodes of the branded series Suite 7 with Shannen Doherty, Jaime Murray, and Eddie McClintock. Suite 7 episodes were nominated for the 2011 BANFF Rockies and the 2012 Webby Awards. Shannen Doherty was awarded Best Performance by the Webbys for her work in the episode.

As a producer Mark recently completed principal photography on Psychophonia, a thriller that his wife, Brianne Davis, directed. Mark starred opposite Vedette Lim (“True Blood”). He’s also completing post-production on two horror/sci-fi films, The Night Visitor and The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story with Blanc-Biehn Productions’ Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Michael Biehn, Lony Ruhmann and Brianne Davis.

In 2013, Mark began teaching acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse where he studied with and assisted Milton Katselas on two dozen productions. He and his wife actress/director Brianne Davis started Give & Take Productions, a film and television production company with several projects in development. 

Enjoy my conversation with Mark Gantt.

IFH 202: Film Finance & How to Raise REAL Money for Your Indie Film with Franco Sama

November 28, 2017
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Film Finance & How to Raise REAL Money for Your Indie Film with Franco Sama

Film Finance is a mystery to most filmmakers. How many of you need money for your next film or series? I'll wait...yeah me too. Today's guest is film producer Franco Sama from Samaco Films. Franco is an Executive Producer and an expert in finding money for independent films. Here's a bit on Franco.

Independent feature film producer Franco Sama boasts a remarkable and extensive history in public speaking, public relations and a decade of independent film development, production and financing.

Sama has Executive Produced an impressive array of over twenty (20) independent feature films including most recently, “Guns, Girls and Gambling” starring Gary Oldman, Christian Slater and Dane Cook which is quickly becoming a cult favorite; this film was released into theatres on December of 2012 and, in January 2013, acquired a worldwide distribution deal from Universal Pictures.

Other films Sama has produced include; “Black Limousine” starring David Arquette and Vivica Fox, “Tooth and Nail” starring Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones, “Paid,” starring Corbin Bernsen and Tom Conti and “The Penitent Man,” starring “The Terminator’s” Lance Henriksen and

Sama also serves as Executive Producer on the recent film festival darling “Petunia” starring Thora Birch, Brittany Snow and Academy Award winner Christine Lahti.

His shingle “Samaco Films” is currently producing a slate of several independent feature films, including “Bless Me Father” starring John Turturro, Michael Rapaport and Michael Rispoli as well as a moving military drama titled “Through my Daughter’s Eyes being directed by Dallas Burgess, starring ingénue Avi Lake as well as “Jarhead” and “The Island” veteran actor Martin Papazian.

Samaco Films released two films in 2015, the first, “The Livingston Gardner” stars James Kyson the beloved “Ando” from the NBC television hit series “HEROS” and the second, “3 Days in Havana” starring Ally McBeal alum, Gil Bellows; both of which have been released through Samaco Films’ sister company, Synergetic Distribution and have been released via all digital and Video on Demand (VOD) platforms worldwide.

And the company’s latest film “Game of Aces” directed by Aussie Director Damien Lay and starring heartthrob and former “American Pie” star Chris Klein alongside “Transformers” Victoria Summer (Transformers: Age of Distinction”) and Werner Daehn (“Valkyrie”, xXx) is scheduled to hit theaters early this summer.

Please share this episode with every filmmaker, screenwriting and content creator you can. Franco basically gave a free masterclass on how to raise and find money for indie films. Get ready to take a lot of notes. Enjoy my conversation with Franco Sama.

IFH 201: How to Break Down & Story Map Your Screenplay with Daniel Calvisi

November 21, 2017
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How to Break Down & Story Map Your Screenplay with Daniel Calvisi

Today guest is author Daniel Calvisi. Dan wrote the book Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay. He breaks down stories and shows you how to map out your own by analyzing how the masters construct their screenplays. Here's a bit more on today's guest.

Daniel Calvisi is a story analyst, speaker, screenwriter and the author of Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay, Story Maps: TV Drama: The Structure of the One-Hour Television Pilot, and Story Maps: 12 Great Screenplays and Story Maps: The Films of Christopher Nolan. He is a former Story Analyst for major studios like Twentieth Century Fox, Miramax

He is a former Story Analyst for major studios like Twentieth Century Fox, Miramax Films, and New Line Cinema. He coaches writers, teaches webinars on writing for film and television with The Writers Store and speaks at writing conferences and book signings. He holds a degree in Film and Television from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. 

Enjoy my conversation with Daniel Calvisi.

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
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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.