THROWBACK FRIDAY: Inside the Spec Script Market with Agent David Boxerbaum

January 18, 2018
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Inside the Spec Script Market with Agent David Boxerbaum

SPECIAL SUNDANCE EDITION of the Indie Film Hustle Podcast

We all have heard about screenwriter selling a spec script for seven figures (see Max Landis) but who is the power brokers who are helping that process along? Enter Verve Literary Agent David Boxerbaum.

David is a senior agent at Verve, and his impressive client roster includes the likes of David Guggenheim, writer of Safehouse; Ken Marino, writer/producer of Wanderlust and writer of Role Models; Maria Maggenti, writer of MTV’s Finding Carter; and Ransom Riggs, writer/co-executive producer of the upcoming supernatural horror thriller, Black River.

At the age of 26, David was listed as one of the Hollywood Reporter’s “Next Generation 35 Under 35,” making him one of the youngest people ever to make the list. He is known for his impeccable taste and his strong industry relationships which help him garner six- and seven-figure sales for his clients in a shrinking spec marketplace.

What is an agent like David Boxerbaum looking for in a screenwriter? How does an agent work with a client to build a career? How do you approach a Literary Agent? All will be answered in this episode. Enjoy!

All of these Sundance Series episodes will be co-hosted by Sebastian Twardosz from Circus Road Films and a co-production with Media Circus PR.

IFH 215: How to Become a Working Director without Film School with Cole Walliser

January 17, 2018
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How to Become a Working Director without Film School with Cole Walliser

I've always said that "film school" isn't for everyone. There is so much noise and advertising telling filmmakers that you NEED to go to film school to be taken seriously. I disagree COMPLETELY and so does today's guest! On the show today is director Cole Walliser. Here's a bit on Cole's amazing filmmaking journey so far.

Cole Walliser, born in Steveston, BC Canada and bred in Vancouver, now lives in Los Angeles doing most of the same things he did in his country of birth – playing guitar, drinking scotch and directing cool videos.

“I started with filming skateboarding at about 14. For some reason everyone kept handing me the camera. I guess I had a knack for getting cool shots. Music videos has been a natural progression.”

Once he decided to pursue directing as a career, he knew he had to be in Los Angeles to reach his full potential. In LA, Cole began shooting videos for professional dancer friends on a pro-bono basis when a dancer, returning the favor, asked him to be involved in some dance videos for Miley Cyrus.

These videos impacted the entertainment industry bigger than anyone could of imagined with everyone from Ellen DeGeneres to Madonna to Ryan Seacrest reporting and commenting on the videos. These videos then led him to direct Miley’s 2008 Teen Choice Awards performance featuring LL Cool J.

In 2009 Cole was introduced to P!NK’s management, led by industry heavyweight Roger Davies. The meeting proved fateful, providing him with his next project directing the opening video for her Funhouse World Tour (originally slotted for Dave Meyers).

Cole continued working with P!nk on the record-breaking Australian tour where he gave fans a glimpse into P!nk's life on tour with a 30-minute documentary “On Tour with P!nk”. His successive work on four new P!NK music videos (Please Don’t Leave Me, Funhouse, Leave Me Alone [I’m Lonely], Mean), along with the documentary, found their home in P!NK’s 'Greatest Hits So Far' DVD.

Enjoy my inspiring conversation with Cole Walliser. 

 

IFH 214: Sundance Film Festival Survival Guide

January 12, 2018
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Sundance Film Festival Survival Guide  

 This year will be the sixth time I've been to the Sundance Film Festival and I've picked up a few tips and tricks on how to survive the experience. I've many many mistakes when traveling to the festival. From the wrong shoes to not having Chapstick. These small things can turn into nightmares if not done correctly. 

I teamed up with Adam Bowman from Media Circus (listen to his past IFH Podcast Episode here). Adam is a true veteran of the Sundance FilmFestival, this year being his seventeenth outing. Between the both of us we have you covered. 

Also if you want to get a behind the scenes / backstage pass to the Sundance Film Festival check out #crashsundance during the festival to see all the inside stuff we are creating from the festival. 

Take a listen and take some notes. Enjoy and I hope to see you at the Sundance Film Festival this year!

IFH 213: How to Find an Audience for Your Indie Film with Media Circus

January 10, 2018
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How to Find an Audience for Your Indie Film with Media Circus

Today on the show we have Adam Bowman and Paul Koshlap from Media Circus PR. These guys specialize in marketing for indie films and filmmakers. They handle digital marketing, public relations, digital advertising and much more. 

We discuss the state of indie film marketing, how to find an audience for your film and tips and tricks to get you film and yourself out there. 

Enjoy my interview with Adam and Paul from Media Circus.

Right-click here to download the MP3 
Download on iTunes Direct
Watch on IFH YouTube Channel

Slamdance / Blackmagic Design Workshop

Join Alex Ferrari as he shares tips and tricks using Blackmagic Design cameras and post-production workflow. He discusses handling the post for Hulu's Dimension 404, directing the Nerdist/Legendary Digital's series The S.P.A.A.C.E Program and his debut feature film This is Meg.

The workshop will be on Saturday, January 20th at the Treasure Mountain Inn from 2:30pm-4:30pm, followed by a happy hour. 

Slamdance HQ, Screening Rooms, and Filmmaker Lounge
at Treasure Mountain Inn (TMI)

255 Main Street, Park City, Summit County, UT 84060
(323) 466-1786

IFH 212: Out of Time & the Back to the Future DeLorean Documentary with Steve Concotelli

January 4, 2018
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Out of Time & the Back to the Future DeLorean Documentary with Steve Concotelli

Today on the show we have documentary filmmaker Steve Concotelli, the director of OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine. Out of Time is the documentary about the restoration of the screen used Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine.

We discuss how the film came to be, his Kickstarter campaign, getting the rights from Universal, working with Back to the Future co-creator, producer and overall Godfather Bob Gale and how he distributed his little indie doc.

Here's some more info on Steve.

Steve has been a creative force in the entertainment industry for over 10 years.  He began his career as an Editor on G4's "Attack of the Show".  Since then, Steve has worked nearly every job in production including Writer, Producer, Videographer, and ultimately, Executive Producer.  His clients span the creative landscape and include Disney, Crackle, Paramount, Science Channel, Discovery, TruTV, Spike and more.
 
In 2015, Steve partnered with Universal Pictures to create OUTATIME: Saving the Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine, a feature-length documentary about Back to the Future.  Steve wrote, produced, directed, and edited the film.  Since its release, OUTATIME has received critical praise, winning the "Best Documentary" Award at the 2016 Gen Con Film Festival. Currently, Steve is the Senior Creative Producer at Cricket Pictures in Los Angeles.
 
Enjoy my "time-bending" interview with Steve Concotelli

IFH 211: How to Get Up Off Your Butt & Make It Happen in 2018 w/ Eric Thomas

December 31, 2017
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How to Get Up Off Your Butt & Make It Happen in 2018 with Eric Thomas

Happy New Years everyone. 2018 is going to be insane!! I wanted to give you a gift to get your year off to an explosive start. Today's guest is Global Phenomenon Eric Thomas.

Eric Thomas, Ph.D. is a critically acclaimed author, World-renowned speaker, educator, pastor and audible.com Audie Awards Finalist. ET, as he is better known, has taken the world by storm, with his creative style and high-energy messages. His words continue to impact tens of millions of people in several hundred countries across the planet!  Through a significant social media presence and his recent domestic and international tours, “ET, The Hip Hop Preacher” has become a global phenomenon!

As CEO of his Consulting Firm, ETA LLC., Eric has led his team through the doors of dozens of reputable organizations and Fortune 500 companies such as General Electric, Quicken Loans, AT&T, Nike, Under Armour, New Balance and UPS.  He has also consulted for major Universities and the major sports teams within the MLB, NBA, NFL and MLS.

I hope this episode inspires you to be the best version of yourself in 2018. Get ready to have a fire lite under your butt and enjoy my conversation with Eric Thomas!

THROWBACK FRIDAY: How to Make Money TODAY Selling Your Indie Film with Amazon Video Direct!

December 29, 2017
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How to Make Money TODAY Selling Your Short or Feature Film with Amazon Video Direct!

We making money selling your short film, feature film or web series just got a whole lot easier. Amazon.com has thrown it's hat into the Independent creators VOD ring with the launch of Amazon Video Direct.

This move is designed to go head to head with Google's YouTube for video-ad dollars. as well as going after other juggernauts like Facebook and Vimeo.

Amazon Video Direct has four distribution options for its creators.

  1. Filmmakers can make their films available to Prime Video subscribers and receive a per-hour royalty fee
  2. Films or Series can be sold as a subscription through the Streaming Partners Program
  3. Films can be made available for digital rental or purchase
  4. Films can be made available to ALL Amazon customers for free with ads, and filmmaker would receive a 55% share of the ad revenue (exactly as they do on YouTube).

Amazon Video Direct will pay filmmaker 50% of the retail price for all rentals, digital purchases and subscription fees. If filmmakers choose Prime Video distribution, creators will earn royalties of 15 cents per hour streamed in the U.S. and 6 cents in other territories under the standard terms.

What makes this a game changer is indie filmmakers no longer have to deal with a middleman or distributor to gain access to one of the largest marketplaces in the world.

I already am making money with my past short films on Amazon Video Direct. I'm surprised at the number of views and cash these short films are brought in, with no advertising on my part yet. Check out what I uploaded to Amazon Video Direct here.

Take a listen to this podcast as I break down this amazing new distribution opportunity for indie filmmakers and I go over the technical requirements that need to upload to Amazon Video Direct.

IFH 210: How to Work Creatively with People and Not Kill Each Other

December 28, 2017
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How to Work Creatively with People and Not Kill Each Other

One of the biggest issues filmmakers, screenwriters and creative types in general have is working with other people. Creativity is very personal to an artist, in any part of the process. I've seen first-hand decade-long friendships get destroyed by "creative differences".

I could see the deterioration of relationships in my edit suite over the years; producers, directors, writers, cinematographers, etc. I personally lost friends along my filmmaking journey because of creative differences.

The biggest problem I see is that people need to set up a clear distribution of responsibilities for each person in the party. Create sandboxes and rules of play in those sandboxes. Miscommunication is death in any relationship.

In this episode, I go over a few techniques that have helped me work creatively with people. I can't tell how sad it is when you lose a friendship over a project, I hope this episode can help you avoid this unneeded pain. We make movies. We tell stories. We provide entertainment to others. We should be able to build long-lasting creative relationships in this business.

IFH 209: Directing Studio Features in Hollyweird with Demian Lichtenstein

December 21, 2017
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Directing Studio Feature Films in Hollyweird with Demian Lichtenstein

Today's guest is director Demian Lichtenstein. I had the pleasure of being on a panel with Demian at a film festival a few weeks ago. His generous approach to sharing his experience, knowledge and Hollywood war stories was breathtaking. I had to have him on the show to drop some knowledge and truth bombs on the IFH Tribe.

Demian has amassed a vast body of work in the music video industry since receiving his BFA from New York University in 1988, leading to his current status as a feature film director. Some past projects include directing Music Videos for Sting & Eric Clapton, Grandmaster Caz, Shabba Ranks, Queen Latifah, West of Eden (Best Independent Video/MTV 1987), Cypress Hill, Gloria Estefan, Sony, Warner Bros, Columbia Pictures, MCA, Epic, Island, Atlantic, Tommy Boy, IRS Records, World Hunger Project, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Demian is a member of the DGA (Director's Guild of America) and was Chairman of the New York Independent Film Coalition for two years and has directed, produced, written, photographed, taped and/or recorded audio on over 225 features, short films, music videos, commercials, and concerts.

He also shadowed James Cameron on the set of Avatar for a bit but we'll get into that as well. Enjoy my conversation with Demian Lichtenstein.

IFH 208: Cinematic Masterclass with Philip Bloom

December 19, 2017
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Cinematic Masterclass with Philip Bloom

Today on the show we have a legend in the filmmaking blogosphere, award-winning cinematographer Philip Bloom. Philip is a world-renowned filmmaker who, for the past 10 years of his 27-year career has specialized in creating incredible cinematic images no matter what the camera. He started blogging back in the early 2000's before anyone was really doing it. I personally have been following him for years.

Here's some more info on Philip Bloom:

Some of his most iconic work was created with Canon DSLRs. As one of the biggest evangelists for their use in productions his website became the place to go to for budding filmmakers as well as experienced ones keen to embrace the new technology. His site now regularly has over 1,000,000 visitors a month.

His use of Canon DSLRs to shoot part of Lucasfilms’ last movie “Red Tails” proved a huge point to the naysayers. This technology was proved very viable in large-scale productions.

He has become very well known for his in-depth video reviews of various cameras, which have helped many people in the huge decision of buying a camera. He has worked for all the major UK broadcasters, such as the BBC, ITV, C4 and Sky, as well as countless independent production companies and many others around the world including CNN, CBS, Discovery, FOX and NBC. 

Independent projects are key to Philip and he splits his time between bigger projects and small independent ones. One of his most successful independent projects was “How To Start A Revolution” which won a BAFTA in 2012 and was also awarded prizes at several film festivals including Best Documentary at the 2011 Raindance festival. 

Enjoy my conversation with Philip Bloom.

 

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.