Where the Money is in Indie Filmmaking


– [Sven] This video is
brought to you by Soundstripe. Get three royalty free music tracks by clicking the link in
the video description. Here’s a guy that figured it out. – Today I wanted to talk to
you about following your dream, that dream that doesn’t
let you sleep at night. – [Sven] He’s a true renegade filmmaker, he’s a hustler, that
understands that making movies is not just self-serving art. – And I went down the rabbit hole about four or five years ago. – [Sven] If you wanna play by the rules, this video is not for you. – And there is not a way to do it. – [Sven] The film industry
is abusive to the newcomer and Alex Ferrari has navigated
the shark-infested waters for over 25 years. He’s the creator of the
legendary “Indie Film Hustle” and the author of the “Rise
of the Filmtrepreneur,” the definitive work on what
to do to make your film, not get ripped off and earn a living. (mellow melodic music) (birds twittering) – [Alex] So you read the book already? – [Sven] I listened to the book, yeah. – [Alex] Yeah. – [Sven] I never get to
finish a book anymore. – So you’re gonna do all your books? That’s good.
– That’s the first hustle, we’re actually already recording. So let me introduce you,
this is Alex Ferrari from “Indie Film Hustle.”
– Yes. – And you are watching “This Guy Edits.” So today’s episode is all gonna be about a new kind of filmmaking, that includes thinking about the back end, like what’s gonna happen
once you’ve done your film, how are you gonna actually make a profit. So I gave this book
actually to the director, that I’m working with right now, – Awesome. – and said before you do anything, because he’s now at the
stage where the film was in its first festival
and won the festival. I assume now he’s gonna be like starting to make this deal with a distributor. If you’re in the process of
making a movie right now, I think it’s an absolute must. – It’s really like a manual on how to become a filmtrepreneur,
it’s what I wanted to do and I wanted to really just
change the conversation. – In chapter one, you lay out a scenario of a typical indie film.
– Yes. – And it immediately struck with me, because I’ve been there,
I’ve directed two movies. Why don’t you start off with
what’s the traditional way for an indie filmmaker not to make money? – Okay, sure, so you get a movie, you’ve been writing in your
notebook since high school and you’re like this is my dream, this is the project that I wanna do, this is the one that’s gonna blow me up. So then you go and finally
you get the nerve up to write the script and the script is done and now you’re like okay, I’m
gonna go find money for it, I need 300,000, I can’t make
it for less than 300,000. – Show me the money. – So you make this passion piece, but then you go looking for money and for some magical reason,
someone gave them $300,000, whether it’s Mom, Dad, relatives, is it investors who don’t
understand the business? So you make this movie and it’s done, it’s shot decently, but
it has no stars in it, it’s a very broad topic, so it’s gonna be a period piece drama, so now you’re like okay,
I’m gonna submit to Sundance and I’m gonna get a distribution deal and if it doesn’t work out at Sundance, I’ll go off to South By or Tribeca or one of the other five or six big ones and you submit to all of these festivals and you wait for the email or
the call and it never comes, because the chances of
you getting that call are astronomical, I think it’s 98.5% of the films submitted to
Sundance do not get in. – Chances are you’re
not gonna get into it, you’re probably not gonna sell
it, even if you get into it. – Right. – And it’s less and less the avenue you should be relying
on to sell your movie. – Now you’re in this place,
where you owe $300,000 to your Mom, Dad,
however you got the money and then you’re like, well, what do I do? And you start making calls
to all these distributors and sending out the trailers and links and putting up packages, – My number’s 21–
(phone call disconnecting) – And you’re just getting, it’s crickets, no one’s interested, so
now you’re just desperate, so now you’re going to any distributor, that you can think of and out of 500 submissions,
you get one or two back and then they give you this predatory film distribution contract, which is industry standard basically and they’ll give you the
worst contract up front to see if you’ll bite and you’re so desperate, that you’ll bite and they’ll give you zero money up front, they will pay zero marketing for it, they will get your movie
for seven to 15 years, ’cause I’ve seen their deal memos, they’ll have $100,000 marketing caps and you will never see a dime. – What? – All you will see and all you’ll have, the wonderful feeling of is
that your movie is everywhere and you can get it on iTunes, on Amazon and you can be my movie has
been released, fantastic, you could do this yourself by the way. The goals of a lot of these
distribution companies is to acquire as many titles as they can to build up their libraries,
so that way they have power, negotiating power with the
new streaming services. If you remember back in the ’80s. – Welcome to Blockbuster Video. – You could put out a movie and if you made it for
a million or $2 million, you get it back in DVD, in foreign sales, that model has changed completely, because we have a devaluisation of media, so there’s an entire
generation growing up, that never rented.
– Yeah. – Their media is free,
– Yeah. – and that’s what they expect with Netflix and Spotify and YouTube. – So much to watch. – So much to watch. – What are sort of the first
steps that you should be doing, before you even decide what
movie you’re gonna make? – You have to ask the question, who is the final audience for my film? And there’s a core audience and then there’s spill
off audiences after that. So if someone comes out to me and says, hey, I wanna make a romantic comedy, yeah, do you have any
major stars involved? No, okay, you need to niche down, so why don’t you make that romantic comedy into a vegan romantic comedy, meaning that there is a vegan chef, that meets a barbecue pit champion and they fall in love and
all sorts of craziness, so it’s a “Romeo and Juliet,”
but vegan and meat eaters. – Oh, God! – I’ll have what she’s having. – Because there is no narrative
film like this for vegans and there’s such a huge
market, it’s a massive market, you start creating a romantic comedy based around a niche audience that you personally can cultivate and you can start
building up a relationship with that audience. – And this is the other thing that you should think
about is authenticity, like if I would be making
a vegan chef movie, – Right.
– I would probably not be able to really
connect with the audience. – I don’t eat tofu, so do you have like a tofu-flavored chicken
you can substitute in for me? – I would always go after something that you’re passionate about,
so if you’re a skateboarder, or a surfer, a carpenter, a gamer, the niche is the most
powerful marketing you can do. So if you’re scanning
through Netflix or Hulu, or wherever you consume your content and you see “Avengers” and you
see the next big Disney movie and the Pixar and all these
other big studio projects, the second some movie comes along, that is something you’re passionate about, whether it’s a skateboarding documentary or a racing documentary,
because you love cars, whatever it is, that cuts through $100
million worth of marketing and everything else falls away and that jumps to the top of your list. (light melodic music) So I just released the
trailer of my new movie, “On the Corner of Ego and Desire,” which is a movie that I made at Sundance, Best of Show Meets the Player
for independent filmmakers. – [R.B.] We made it, guys,
ground zero of Sundance. – We’re gonna be on that screen one day. – What should we do first?
– Atticus Bookshop is where all the cool filmmakers hang out, so that’s where you’re gonna
find the next Lars von Trier. – And I actually instantly watched it, because I’ve been to
Sundance, I’m a filmmaker, it absolutely rang true to me. Is anything during the movie that you should be doing
as a filmtrepreneur? – You already should’ve been thinking about ancillary products, where the movie is not the main way
you’re generating revenue, but you have other ancillary
products, services, so that could be behind the
scenes, making of documentary, that could be courses on how you made it, in the vegan chef movie,
I’ll use as an example again, why wouldn’t you write
in the movie somewhere, that the chef, the vegan
chef is down on his luck and the barbecue pit master happens to be an internet
marketing specialist and they start building online courses about how to make a vegan chef
and that’s how it blows up and it goes viral and stuff like that. Well, you’re already inserted
in the viewer’s mind, oh, online vegan chef
movie and by the way, you can buy the course that
they have made in the movie, the course is on how to become a vegan or how to cook like vegans, that’s something that that audience wants, so it doesn’t have to be just about selling an individual product, you could be selling a service, you could be selling consulting, you know, you need help in post, I’ll
post supervise for you, how else can I serve the
community that I’m going after? – Talking about an example in the book, where somebody did a horror movie and then he designed a VHS box. – Beautiful, oh! Drew Marvick did a great movie
called “Pool Party Massacre,” it’s like a low budget horror movie and it’s a great story of
how he put it together, but he was thinking like a filmtrepreneur, where he’s like I’m gonna go out and buy VHS cassettes from thrift shops, he took the VHSs, took
all the goo off of it, put his own label on it and recorded his movie over “Pinocchio.” The cover and the artwork, he hired a guy who did
artwork in the ’80s, he understood his niche so well, because he is a card-carrying
member of that horror niche and that audience loves physical media. – There needs to be other avenues, – Correct. – that are going directly to you, as opposed to a middle man. – And you have to diversify, the more revenue streams you
have coming in, the better, ’cause if one drops,
the other one picks up and it’s business 101, diversification. – Yeah, talk a little bit about being active in
the social media world, even if you don’t try to
become an influencer per se, but you’re using it to create
a community for your film. – If you’re providing
value to the audience through these new social media platforms and this website that you’re gonna create, you’re branding yourself,
it’s either yourself or your company, you can
choose one of the two. Then you need to start
providing value to them and how you provide value to
them is three different ways, you provide value through educating, entertaining or inspiring. You have to start
building up your audiences through all these social media platforms. The problem with a lot of filmmakers and content creators that use social media is that they rely on the media, the social media platform
that they are famous on, but when you’re working
in someone else’s sandbox – Yeah.
– and you’re like, you know, and it happened to YouTubers all the time, if the algorithm changes,
your revenue goes down. – So all this sort of already
indicates, that community, – Huge.
– is becoming a bigger and bigger part in indie filmmaking? – Correct, you need to create a hub and that hub would be
a website of some sort and that’s where you
drive everyone to traffic. I have my own streaming service called Indie Film Hustle TV dedicated to, surprise,
filmmakers, screenwriters, content creators, about
content, courses, education, movies about making movies providing an immense amount
of value to my audience, but curating what they want and that will be the
future without question. – What’s the most important thing you need from your audience? – Email is the most
powerful thing you can do, it is still the most powerful way you can get to your audience. – If you don’t own the
email from your audience, you don’t own the relationship. – This has to be a revolution, there has to be a different way of thinking about filmmaking, because nothing pisses me off more than seeing a filmmaker
being taken advantage of or they pick that one shot
at bat and they strike out and they’re gone.
– They’re paralyzed. – And there’s no reason for it, everything is available to us right now, we just have to do the work
and start thinking differently. – It’s that mindset of hustling is what makes you a good filmmaker. – You’ve built your online business now, so you have a business
and the feeling you get from having that business is fantastic. – That’s the best feeling. – You are helping people,
– Yeah. – providing value to them,
– Yes. – In many ways changing people’s
lives through your work, no, but it’s the truth
and I know as creators, as people behind this side of the fence, you don’t believe it,
you’re like I’m just a guy in a room somewhere doing
a video or doing a podcast, but when I meet people outside, I know you meet people
outside in the real world too, when they come up to you and go, man, it was this podcast
that changed my life, it was this podcast that got me off my ass to make my first movie, that you are impacting
people around the world, it’s fuel for the soul. – [Sven] Now I cannot recommend
Alex’s book more highly, I keep telling my directors to go read it, because as filmmakers, we are responsible for finding our audience, no one else is. I’m gonna show you one
hustle on how to get the “Rise of the Filmtrepreneur”
for free in just a moment, but first I wanna thank
Soundstripe for their support, you can get three free music tracks from a variety of
playlists, plus 50% discount on a future purchase by
using the code, THISGUYEDITS, they provide royalty free tracks with arguably some of the
best licensing agreements, because they let you use
sounds in your film and video whenever and however you want. Based in the music capital, Nashville. – Is the intro sound
okay, is it very varied? – [Sven] They only employ pro musicians and recording engineers
for authentic music. (mellow melodic music) So grab your three free tracks by clicking the link in the description. Now here’s some options for you to get your hands on Alex’s book, number one, sign up for
the Audible free trial by using my link, search for “Rise of the
Filmtrepreneur” to pick his book, cancel your trial, but
that book is yours to keep. – [Alex] Filmmakers need to
take back control of their films and how they generate revenue from them. – [Sven] Also if you
check out his podcast, episode 365, he reads
the first two chapters and adds more commentary
on the subject matter, link in the description. Thanks for watching and happy hustling. (mellow melodic music) – [Alex] The day of handing over your film to a predatory film distributor, ’cause you believe there’s
no other choice is over. (mellow melodic music)

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