DiscoverFilmtrepreneur™ - The Entrepreneurial Filmmaking Podcast with Alex Ferrari
Filmtrepreneur™ - The Entrepreneurial Filmmaking Podcast with Alex Ferrari

Filmtrepreneur™ - The Entrepreneurial Filmmaking Podcast with Alex Ferrari

Author: Alex Ferrari

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The Filmtrepreneur® - A Entrepreneurial Filmmaking Podcast shows you how to turn your filmmaking into a viable business. We do a deep dive into marketing, branding, growth hacking, micro-budget filmmaking, and creating revenue streams from your indie films. They don't teach you this in film school. Host Alex Ferrari interviews some of the film industry's most successful and prolific filmmakers, industry professionals and Filmtreprenuers. If you want to learn how to make money with your independent films then take a listen. Start thinking like a Filmtrepreneur today!
65 Episodes
I'm so excited to bring this episode to the Filmtreprenuer Tribe I can barely contain myself. This episode is a CROSSOVER EVENT with the Indie Film Hustle Podcast. The info was so good I had to share it with the FT Tribe.Today on the show we have ex-distributor turned filmmaker Jeff Deverett. Jeff reached out to me after reading my book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business. He wanted to tell me that the book hit the nail on the head and that my film distribution chapter was right on.I came to find out that he was an ex-distributor and had was on that side of the business for 20 years.After this episode, you will know "where the bodies are buried."  As Jeff said on the show"It's not the film distributors want to screw over filmmakers is it just happens organically."This episode is going to be EPIC. Sit back and get ready to have your mind blown. Enjoy my conversation with Jeff Deverett.
I've been preaching from the top of the Filmtrepreneur mountain for a while now that filmmakers need to build multiple revenue streams from their projects besides just the traditional renting and sales of the film. In my book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur, I discuss the revenue stream of online courses and classes.You can either sell courses on your own site and drive traffic to them or you can place your courses on existing market places like Udemy and Skillshare that have huge audiences that you can sell to.I join Skillshare a few years ago and started putting up courses on the platform. My profile grew and grew where I became a leader in the filmmaking education space on the platform with over 5800+ students, close to 1400 followers and over 100,000+ minutes watched. I was doing so well on the platform that Skillshare actually reached out to me on multiple occasions to discuss my company creating exclusive education for its platform. Things were going great until they weren't.Well back in Dec 2019, when the world wasn't the insane bizarro version of itself that it is today, all of my courses were abruptly ripped off the platform without warning. I was floored. I contacted Skillshare multiple times and never heard back. When I finally heard back they said I had violated their terms of service.They never gave me a warning nor did they give me an opportunity to fix any "issues" they had with my courses. It's crazy. One side of the company is asking me to produce more content for Skillshare while the other side shuts down all of my courses.I later found out that I was not alone and that Skillshare purged hundreds of instructors without warning violating their own terms of service. You can read about that here.I wanted to share the entire story of what happened in this podcast as a warning to all Filmtrepreneurs that depend solely on other platforms for their income. If you play in someones else's sandbox you need to play by their rules. I explain everything in the episode. Enjoy.
Today on the show we have filmmaker and author Jon Fitzgerald. Jon has twenty-five years of experience in the independent film, internet, and film festival communities, a rare leader with a unique combination of skills.  As a filmmaker, he has produced a number of award-winning documentaries; and as a consultant, he has guided many independent film projects through the maze of festivals and hybrid distribution models.As a co-founder of the Slamdance Film Festival (1995), he led the event the next two seasons before being named the Festival Director for the prestigious AFI Film Festival in 1997.  After running AFI Fest for three years (1997-1999), he created a consulting business, guiding the launch of numerous film festivals (Bahamas, Lone Star, Orlando), directing several others (Santa Barbara, Topanga, and Abu Dhabi), and consulting to dozens more.Jon authored his first book, entitled Filmmaking for Change: Make Films That Transform the World, which was ground-breaking in the space.Again, based on the premise that powerful stories can create change, Jon founded Cause Cinema, connecting social impact films to related causes. The Company acts as a filter to the best of social impact cinema, integrating numerous film programs, social action campaigns, and unique exhibition models, giving audiences the tools to take action.Enjoy my conversation with Jon Fitzgerald.
Today on the show we have Linda Nelson from Indie Rights. I wanted to bring Linda back to discuss how much the distribution game has changed in the three years since she was last on the show. We also discuss the American Film Market and how to work it properly.Nelson Madison Films/Indie Rights was founded by Michael Madison and Linda Nelson because they believed that the future was bright for independent artists and that there was a better way to produce and distribute movies.  They have been in business since 2000, when they produced their first film, NSYNC BIGGER THAN LIVE a Giant Screen Movie that played to sold-out crowds worldwide.Known for innovation.  SHIFTED, their first digital feature,  was the first movie on Amazon's UnBox (the predecessor of Amazon Video)  and was used by Amazon to promote their platform for over five years.  DELIVERED was the first independent feature to edit and master a 4K movie using Adobe CS5.   Articles in Variety, HDVideoPro, and an Adobe Success Story followed. Partnerships were forged early on with the leading digital platforms including Amazon, Google, Cinedigm, MgO, and Adrise, and these partnerships ensure that Indie Rights can offer the very best audience opportunities for their own films, as well as the more than 300 other filmmakers they work with.Linda Nelson began her career as an international investment banker, IT executive an entertainment real estate developer.  After meeting Michael Madison, she pivoted into the movie business finally realizing her artistic potential.   As an Executive Producer on NSYNC, she quickly realized that she was interested in being more "hands-on" and was the DP for her next film, SHIFTED.  As a Producer on DELIVERED, she was finally able to gain experience in all aspects of the financing, development, production, and distribution phases of moviemaking.I can't recommend Indie Rightshighly enough. If you have a feature film that needs distribution do yourself a favor and check them out.Enjoy my eye-opening conversation with Linda Nelson.
Today on the show we have an OG in the online filmmaking education space, Griffin Hammond. I've followed Griffin for years and was so excited to sit down and talk shop with him. Griffin Hammond is a documentary filmmaker in New York City, known for producing DIY filmmaking tutorials for indie filmmakers, and his award-winning documentary Sriracha. We discuss how he made over $90,000 with a documentary short film.In 2014, Griffin moved from Bloomington, Illinois to New York City to cover the U.S. presidential election for the Bloomberg Television/MSNBC show With All Due Respect.The University of Southern California and the U.S. State Department named Griffin a Film Envoy for the 2017 American Film Showcase—a cultural diplomacy program that sends independent filmmakers around the world to teach.Previously, he worked for YouTube Next Lab, as executive producer of the YouTube channel Indy Mogul, and started his career as a video producer and social media strategist at State Farm Insurance.Griffin Hammond studied film at New York University, earned a Masters in Communication from Illinois State University, taught video production at Millikin University, and produced an online course—Shooting Documentary Short Films.Enjoy my conversation with Griffin Hammond.
Today on the show we have producer's rep Ben Yennie. Ben has the honor of being the very first guest I ever recorded for the IFH Podcast. He is a wealth of information so get ready to take some notes. As Founder and CEO of Guerrilla Rep Media, where I've gotten distribution deals for more than 8 films, that will soon be appearing on Starz and other major outlets across the globe.Ben is also the Founder and Executive Director of Producer Foundry, as well as Producer of more than 50 events on film finance and distribution.  He's worked with people like Lew Horowitz, the inventor of Indiefilm Gap Financing, Jeff Dowd, Executive Producer of Blood Simple, Fern Gully, and inspiration for “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski. Ben co-founded Global Film Ventures, screened business plans, and advised the Film Angels and is the former chapter leader for the San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Vancouver Chapters of the Institute for International Film Financing.  And screened business plans for the Film Angels.Ben has also worked in the tech industry. Co-Founder of ProductionNext, a new set of next-generation tools designed specifically for the Movie industry.  Previously, he's been VP of Sales for Taal, a Mobile video interview platform for the hospitality industry.He is also the author of The Guerrilla Rep: American Film Market Distribution Success on No Budget, The First ever book on Film Markets, and used as a text at about 10 film schools.  He has also contributed to Office for One, a Sole Proprietor survival guide, and is the author of the upcoming book "The Entrepreneurial Filmmaker."  He also manages the blogs for and my conversation with Ben Yennie.
So as filmmakers we all want to make the best films we can. Sometimes filmmakers think that a bigger budget is the answer, that bigger is better. This is what I thought when I went down the road and create my short film Red Princess Blues. After going down this road once before with my first short film BROKEN, I thought bigger had to be better. If $8000 was good (budget of BROKEN) then with $50,000 I could blow everyone away.BROKEN opened a ton of doors for me as a filmmaker. I was contacted by studios, executives, producers, agents, you name it. BROKEN was an ambitious short film, to say the least. You can listen to that story here: How I Made Over $90,000 Selling My Short Film. In this episode, I discuss the mistakes I made when I made a $50,000+ short film. Mistakes withBudgetCrew ChoicesSize of Crew and CastProduction DesignDistribution PlanROI (Return on Investment)Who is the end-user (audience I'm trying to reach)I do hope to get the opportunity to make the feature film version ofRed Princess Blues someday soon, I'm just not sure spending $50,000 for a proof of concept short film was the way to get that train moving.I do hope to get the opportunity to make the feature film version of Red Princess Blues. I hope you find some words of wisdom in this episode and that you can learn a few lessons that cost me a bunch of $$$ to learn.So if you are thinking of shooting a $50,000 short film, FOR GOD SAKE DON'T. Listen to this first, I beg you! = ) Enjoy!
I'm very excited to bring this episode to the IFH Tribe. Today on the show we have filmmaker, Filmtrepreneur, and self-distribution expert Steven Lewis Simpson. Steven has been able to generate hundreds of thousands in revenue for his film Neither Wolf Nor Dog without ever releasing it online. He made all his money self-distributing theatrically. Not only in the US but worldwide.In conversation we discuss how we, as filmmakers, can create our own creative reality, even in an industry as inaccessible as the film business. No-one has ever attempted the pan-European distribution he doing or released the way I have in the US. That amazes me as it seems so obvious. The key thing is that, people don't want to try what has never been done.Neither Wolf Nor Dog is one of the most culturally important American films in years and stars a 95-year-old Lakota elder who takes the audience into a contemporary landscape and reveals the echoes of the massive American Genocide that they still feel today. Not exactly a blockbuster-style film.At eighteen, Steven Lewis Simpson was Britain’s youngest stockbroker and trader. Four years later he moved to Hollywood to work at legendary Hollywood producer, Roger Corman’s studio. At twenty-three, he directed his award-winning first feature film, Ties.He recently theatrically self-distributed his sixth feature film, Neither Wolf Nor Dog, as he saw the few independent films that actually found distributors in the US were being poorly released. As a result of his re-imagining the theatrical distribution model, his film became the most successful self-distributed film in some time.The film achieved the longest theatrical run of any 2017 release in the USA – a wider release than the last two Palme d'Or winners and often out-grossing blockbusters when head to head, even though he had no distribution experience. He even has a new masterclass that can help you on your path.This episode might just change the way you look at making money with your film. Steven is a true Filmtrepreneur. Please enjoy my eye-opening conversation with Steven Lewis Simpson.
I had the pleasure the other night to see two of my inspirations speak on stage. Mark and Jay Duplass or as they are known The Duplass Brothers, were at a book signing for their new book, Like Brothers, and gave an awesome talk about how they got started, playing the Hollywood game and making up your own rules.Many of you know that the Duplass Brothers are the reason why I got off my ass and made my first feature film This is Meg. Their "just go out and do it" attitude inspired me to go and do it. This further inspired me to make my latest film On the Corner of Ego and Desire.Enjoy an evening with the Duplass Brothers.
I've recently been looking and studying alternative shoot methods to shoot a feature film. One name that keeps coming up is Sean Baker. His ground-breaking film Tangerine made more noise at the Sundance Film Festival than the winner that year. The film was also produced by the indie film legends, Jay and Mark Duplass.Tangerine was shot completely on an iPhone. Yes, an iPhone. The great thing was that after his Sundance screening no one in the audience or at the film festival knew that the film was shot on an iPhone.What I respect about Sean Baker as a filmmaker is that he didn't focus on the technology when promoting his film, he let the story, actors and film speak for itself. If you haven't seen Tangerine you are missing out. I wanted to put together a post that highlighted what can be done with minimal filmmaking tech and a great story. Sean Baker has definitely what can be done in today's filmmaking world.Below are a ton of videos explaining the process Sean Baker and his director of photography Radium Cheung, HKSC went through making Tangerine, as well as a bunch of video explaining tips and tricks on how to turn something you shot on an iPhone into cinematic gold. Enjoy my conversation with Sean Baker.
Well, I've been busy during this quarantine. I was racking my brain on how I could provide more value to the Tribe so I create the IFH Academy. The IFH Academy is the home of exclusive online courses on filmmaking, screenwriting, film distribution, cinematography, and more.
LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE, self-distribution vs traditional distribution!!! I wanted to finally create an HONEST resource for indie filmmakers to learn the TRUTH about both forms of distributing their films.I get into the weeds on this one and talk about my experience self-distributing my film, This is Meg, what my experience was working with multiple domestic and international distribution companies and give examples on how and why self-distribution is a great path just not for every film.It's a knowledge bomb packed episode so get ready to take some notes. Knowledge is power. Enjoy!
Today on the show we have veteran indie producer and best-selling author Suzanne Lyons. Suzanne was one of my first guests on the Indie Film Hustle Podcast. Her episodes are some of my most downloaded episodes so I had to have her back on to talk shop.Suzanne will go over a ton of information on how to produce an indie feature film. She covers:The dos and don'ts of Low Budget FilmmakingWhat is Soft Prep?ContractsWorking with unionsThe hell of deliverablesand much moreIn 1999 Suzanne Lyons launched Snowfall Films and to date has produced/executive produced twelve movies. These included A BAFTA award-winning British comedy UNDERTAKING BETTY(aka “Plots With A View”), with actors Christopher Walken, Brenda Blethyn, Alfred Molina and Naomi Watts with Miramax Distribution.British/Canadian thriller JERICHO MANSIONS staring James Caan, Genevieve Bujold, Maribel Verdu, and Jennifer Tilly. JERICHO MANSIONS was an official selection at the Montreal Film Festival and the Hollywood Film Festival. British/Canadian family comedy BAILEY’S BILLION$ which stars Dean Cain, Laurie Holden, Tim Curry, and Jon Lovitz.A drama HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS, based on J.T. LeRoy's novel, starring Asia Argento, Marilyn Manson, Winona Ryder, and Peter Fonda. The film premiered during the Directors Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival and screened to high acclaim at the Toronto Film Festival.In 2012 Ms. Lyons published her book through Focal Press (Taylor and Francis Publishing) titled Indie Film Producing: The Craft of Low Budget Filmmaking which is the #1 book on Indie Film Producing on Amazon.We also discuss Suzanne’s new online workshop The Complete Indie Film Producing Workshop.Enjoy my conversation with producer Suzanne Lyons.
Today on the show we have the writer, director, post guru, and podcaster Noam Kroll. Noam has directed a killer micro-budget feature film called Shadows on the Road. In this episode, we discuss how he shot this extreme micro-budget film and still made it look gorgeous. Noam also runs a great podcast and blog that helps indie filmmakers. You can find links to his sites below in the show notes. Here's a bit about Shadows on the Road.Here's some more info on Noam Kroll:Noam Kroll is an LA-based filmmaker here to share my thoughts, experience, and perspective on all things film with you. He has worked in the film and television industry in many different capacities over the years, but primarily as a director, cinematographer, and colorist. He got his start by writing and directing his own short film content which led him to work on music videos, advertising campaigns, and eventually feature film work.Noam's approach to filmmaking has always been quite hands-on given my background in cinematography and post-production, which has led him to DP and edit many of his own projects. While he continually develops his own passion projects, Noam also spent much of his time assisting other filmmakers in the creation of their films. Through his production company, Creative Rebellion.  Enjoy my conversation with Noam Kroll.
Today on the show we have filmmaker Ryan Templeton. Ryan has been developing a "Frankenstein" self-distribution model for the ever-changing filmmaking landscape. Though this interview was recorded before the pandemic it seemed almost Nostradamus-like in its tone.Ryan and I discuss the changing Hollywood landscape and how indie filmmakers can take advantage of new opportunities that are being created in the vacuum left by the studio model of doing business.Enjoy my conversation with Ryan Templeton.
We all want to make money selling our feature films or streaming series but getting people's 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 followers 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.
Many filmmakers thinking is based on two months ago. They believe that the world will go back to exactly how it was before on this pandemic blows over. That might be true and I truly hope it does but hope alone will not pay the rent. Our industry is going through an unprecedented shift. We as filmmakers need to start thinking about how we can pivot your business, skills, knowledge into the new reality that we are living in and very well might be in for some time to come. You have to think about what your customer needs are right now and address them. The companies that are sitting on the sidelines fearful of making any moves will be left behind. You as filmmakers need to change your mindsets. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Entire new industries will rise from this turmoil and if you are smart you will be ready to be a part of the new world.In this episode, I breakdown some side hustles that will help filmmakers and Filmtreprenuers not only survive the pandemic but thrive in the new world we will be walking into.
Many of you might have heard of the Sundance Film Festival winning film called The Brothers McMullen written and directed by Edward Burns. Burns went on to star in huge films like Saving Private Ryan and direct studio films like She's the One but what you might not know is he has been quietly making completely independent films on really low budgets. How low, how about $9000. As with any smart filmmaker, Ed Burns has continued to not only produce films but to consider new methods of getting his projects to the world. In 2007, he teamed up with Apple iTunes to release an exclusive film Purple Violets. It was a sign of the times that the director was branching out to new methods of release for his projects. In addition, he also continued to release works with his signature tried-and-true method of filmmaking. Using a very small $25,000 budget and a lot of resourcefulness, Burns created Nice Guy Johnny in 2010. Again- he was the writer and director. This is a formula that may intimidate a lesser performer, but he has proven that it works perfectly for his abilities.The film Nice Guy Johnny was released at the Tribeca Film Festival. While he was releasing that film, Burns wrote Newlyweds, another film he directed and starred in. He filmed this on a small Canon 5D camera in only 12 days and on a budget of only $9,000.In his book Independent Ed (which I recommend ALL filmmakers read), Ed Burns mentions some rules he dubbed “McMullen 2.0” which were basically a set of rules for independent filmmakers to shoot by.I used similar rules when I shot my feature films This is Meg, which I shot that in 8 days and On the Corner of Ego and Desire which I shot in 4 days. Take a listen to this episode and prepare to get inspired. After you listen take a read of the making of The Brothers McMullen and read Independent Ed. You won't regret it.Also, Ed Burns' DVD director's commentaries are indie filmmaking gold. He really shares his methods and all of his secret sauce. The DVDs are direct cheap and well work getting. I'll put a list of them below. You won't regret it.
So you want to make money with your film. Who doesn't? I've always been a hustler, and I used that word in the most positive way I can. Filmmakers need to stop just thinking about art and start thinking about the business of filmmaking. They need to become Filmtrepreneurs. That is the only way filmmakers from this and future generations will survive in the business. I based my entire book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur on this philosophy.Sure for every Chris Nolan, they're millions of indie filmmakers that are broke, frustrated, angry or just quit the business altogether but it doesn't have to be that rough. Sure the world of self-distribution has exploded and there are many revenue avenues for filmmakers today but it doesn't have to stop there.In this episode, I break down and analyze a bunch of successful filmmakers that created multiple revenue streams leveraging their feature film, doc, web series or short film. If I were you I would study each and every one of my examples. See how they did it, how they are doing it and how you can use their Filmtrepreneurial blueprint in your project.Go out there and make your film and make some money too. Enjoy!
We have on the show film finance expert Franco Sama. His first episode on the Indie Film Hustle Podcast is one of the most downloaded episodes in the history of that show (Listen to that episode here). Franco and I joke that his last episode turned him into a celebrity at film markets and festivals around the world. I mean he can barely walk the halls of AFM without getting recognized. LOL!Franco is a wealth of knowledge in the film finance space and I have learned tons from him over the years. We discuss the effect the Coronavirus is and will have on not only raising money for a film but also selling that movie to an ever-changing marketplace. Nobody knows what will happen to the industry after this virus passes. We also discuss which studios are more vulnerable than others and the dos and don ts when raising money for an indie film into today's marketplace.Here's a bit about today's guest.Independent feature film producer Franco Sama boasts a remarkable and extensive history in public speaking, public relations, and nearly two decades of independent film development, production and financing experience.Sama has Executive Produced and/or produced an impressive array of over twenty (20) successful independent feature films including most notably, “Guns, Girls and Gambling” starring Gary Oldman, Christian Slater, and Dane Cook which is now a cult favorite; this film was released into theatres and 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, and "Paid" starring Corbin Bernsen and Tom Conti.  Sama also serves as Executive Producer on the film festival darling “Petunia” starring Thora Birch, Brittany Snow and Academy Award winner Christine Lahti.His shingle “Samaco Films, LLC”, headquartered on the lot at the prestigious, privately owned and operated, independent film studio, Los Angeles Center Studios in Downtown Los Angeles, is currently financing and producing a slate of several independent feature films, including, “Vodun”, “Alexis Colette” and recently wrapped production on the $1M thriller, “The Inheritance”.In addition, Sama is also a highly sought after public guest speaker having launched his hugely popular film financing and distribution forum program “Finance Indie Road Map”, otherwise known as “The F.I.R.M.” which is designed specifically to educate and assist first and second-time filmmakers in their quest to develop, fund, produce and release their first feature film(s).This EPIC episode is by far one of the most important shows you could listen to. Please share it with all your filmmaking and screenwriting friends. If you want the latest information on what it is like to raise money in today's crazy world get ready to take notes. Enjoy my conversation with Franco Sama.
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