“In twenty years, do you want to be doing this? If the answer is no, you better figure some stuff out.” – Alex Ferrari
When the pandemic shut down Hollywood, many craftspeople in the industry came to the realization their livelihood was 100% dependent on other people having work for them. I too had this realization that in order to support my family someone had to hire me for their project – I had no way to support myself with my own projects (this acute realization came one fateful night when putting my kids to bed via FaceTime for the 1000th time in a row). I knew that I did not want to continue simply trading hours for dollars. I wanted to have freedom to say yes to projects that fulfilled me, and no to projects that weren’t a good fit (or even worse were a surefire path to burnout). This may sound like a pipe dream to many people, but it’s not only possible to build a “side hustle” over time that can help to support you and fill the gap during lean times, it might be absolutely essential given the changing landscape of the entertainment industry.
My guest today also had this realization, but at the early age of 21 years old. Alex Ferrari, the founder of Indie Film Hustle, is an author, blogger, speaker, serial entrepreneur, consultant, the host of the #1 filmmaking podcast on iTunes Indie Film Hustle Podcast, and an award-winning writer/director with 25 years of experience in the film industry. He has been “side hustling” since he was 12 years old, and he is sharing his decades of experience to help others gain financial freedom while pursuing their filmmaking dreams. I used to think I was productive, but after chatting with Alex I’ve realized there’s a whole lot more that can be squeezed out of the 24 hours we have available to us every single day.
Told through Alex’s animated storytelling style, this episode is wildly entertaining while simultaneously delivering sage advice from one of the great online business entrepreneurs in the film industry today.
Want to Hear More Episodes Like This One?
Here’s What You’ll Learn:
- Alex’s story of how he started as an editor
- The illusion of autonomy in freelance work
- Why he learned multiple different crafts in the hopes of getting more financial freedom
- How he stopped relying on the “hours for dollars” situation
- What does the term “filmtrepreneur” mean that Alex has coined?
- Why you should broaden your definition of success
- Why filmmakers should consider making money outside of the traditional ways
- The importance of understanding your “niche” and who you are making content for
- The story of the filmmaker at American Film Market that proves how different the film business is compared to other businesses
- Why he gets push back from filmmakers on his business model
- The fears people have when transitioning from craftsman to making their own films
- Why our subconscious is running the show and how understanding that is the first step to overcoming your fear
- How the newer models of entrepreneurship can allow you to slowly build up a business while still paying the bills
- Ways to make time for starting your side hustle
- The story of the side hustle that paid his bills to move to Los Angeles
- How he got lost in the hustle and what he did to get out of it and back on track
- Alex had his first online business in 1997
- The 17 cents that served as the catalyst to break through his fear of starting his own business
- How he uses niche markets to make successful films and create a brand around it
- How I could’ve made a lot of money on my documentary if I followed Alex’s Filmtrepreneur method
- Why you need to ask the right questions to stop the vicious cycle of being burned out
Useful Resources Mentioned:
Continue to Listen & Learn
Zack Arnold 0:00
My name is Zack Arnold, I'm a Hollywood film and television editor, a documentary director, father of two, an American Ninja Warrior in training and the creator of optimize yourself. For over 10 years now I haveobsessively searched for every possible way to optimize my own creative and athletic performance. And now I'm here to shorten your learning curve. Whether you're a creative professional who edits, writes or directs, you're an entrepreneur, or even if you're a weekend warrior, I strongly believe you can be successful without sacrificing your health, or your sanity in the process. You ready? Let's design the optimized version of you. Hello, and welcome to the Optimize Yourself podcast. If you're a brand new Optimizer, I welcome you and I sincerely hope that you enjoy today's conversation. If you were inspired to take action after listening today, why not tell a friend about the show and help spread the love? And if you're a longtime listener and optimizer O.G., welcome back. Whether you're brand new, or you're seasoned vet, if you have just 10 seconds today, it would mean the world to me if you click the subscribe button in your podcast app of choice, because the more people that subscribe, the more that iTunes and the other platforms can recognize this show, and thus the more people that you and I can inspire to step outside their comfort zones to reach their greatest potential. And now on to today's show. When the pandemic shut down Hollywood, many crafts people in the industry came to the realization that their livelihood was 100% dependent on other people having worked for them. And I too had this realization that in order to support my family, someone had to hire me for their next project. In short, I had no way to support myself with my own projects. And as we discussed in today's episode, this cute realization originally came to me one fateful night when I was putting my kids to bed via FaceTime for the 1,000th time in a row. Now I knew that I did not want to continue simply trading hours for dollars. I wanted to have freedom to say yes to projects that fulfilled me and no to projects that weren't a good fit. Or even worse that I knew were going to be a surefire path to burnout, something I've experienced many, many times in my career. Now, this may sound like a pipe dream to many people. But it's not only possible to build a side hustle over time, they can help to support you and fill the gap during the lean times. But it might also be absolutely essential given the changing landscape of the entertainment industry today. My guest today also had this realization, but he had it at the early age of 21 years old. Alex Ferrari, the founder of Indie Film, Hustle is an author, a blogger, a speaker, a serial entrepreneur, a consultant, and he's also the host of the number one filmmaking podcast on iTunes, the Indie Film Hustle podcast, and he's also an award winning writer and director with 25 years of experience in the film industry. He has been quote unquote side hustling since he was 12. And he today is going to be sharing his decades of experience to help you gain financial freedom while pursuing your filmmaking dreams. Now, listen, I used to think that I was productive. But after chatting with Alex and seeing everything that he has accomplished over his career, I've realized there is a whole lot more that can be squeezed out of the 24 hours that we all have available to us every single day. Tolstoy is amazingly animated storytelling style, which I know you're gonna fall in love with. This episode is wildly entertaining, while simultaneously delivering sage advice from one of the great online business entrepreneurs in the film industry today. If today's interview inspires you to step up your networking game so you can continue to build relationships with people that you admire who can open the right doors to the next stage in your career. I am excited to share with you my new, improved and vastly expanded Insider's Guide to Writing Amazing Outreach Emails. In this extensive guide, I will help you completely transform your outreach email game. So you can build a networking strategy and reach out to the right people. So you can seek much needed advice, connect with a potential mentor, set up meetings and shadowing opportunities and even get referred for your next gig. In this upgraded version. I've also included a step by step template that breaks down every single piece of your outreach email from subject line all the way to the final salutation and I also provide a video tutorial with a before and after email tear down so you understand what a great outreach email should and should not include. To download your FREE guide and take your outreach emails to a completely new level. Visit optimize yourself.me/email guide. Okay, without further ado, my conversation with editor and entrepreneur Alex Ferrari made possible today by our amazing sponsors, Evercast and Ergoddriven who we're going to to be featured just a little bit later in today's interview, to access the show notes for this and all previous episodes, as well as to subscribe so you don't miss the next inspirational interview, please visit optimizer self.me/podcast.
I'm here today with Alex Ferrari, who is the founder of Indie Film Hustle. You're also an author, a speaker, a film director of 25 years, an editor, a colorist, I mean, I'm pretty confident that if I were to go through all the high finance about you and what you've accomplished, that it would take up half my episode, and by the way, your mere existence makes me feel like I'm doing nothing with my life. On that note, welcome, Mr. Alex Ferrari to the show is gonna be a pleasure. We're gonna have a lot of fun today.
Alex Ferrari 5:41
I appreciate that. Man. Thank you so much for that amazing intro, I I always consider myself a slacker. So that makes me feel better. So thank you.
Zack Arnold 5:50
Well, the funny thing is, the reason that you and I originally connected is I was doing some research in the podcasting space people that are also catering to filmmakers, and creatives just started going through all the various lessons of iTunes shows. And I found yours and like, Okay, first of all, who is this guy? And secondly, how can we steal his website template? Because this is my perfect website. And I went to my team, I'm like, Oh, my God, copy this guy's theme. How do we do this? Oh, maybe I should reach out to him and say, Hello, we connected? And I think we both feel the same way. Like, how did we not meet each other 20 years ago?
Alex Ferrari 6:22
Yeah, absolutely. There's no, there's, it's, it's insane. It's insane. And by the way, you could try to steal the template. But the template is an original creation by me. So
Zack Arnold 6:32
I was I was also very impressed by that. Because you're, you clearly know what you're doing. You know how to message your audience, you clearly have the entrepreneur mind. But at the same time, you've also been a technician and a craftsman for many, many years. And that's really the topic of conversation today. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many, many months ago, so many people have come to me with the realization, oh, my God, my entire livelihood, all of my income is dependent on other people having worked for me, I have no control over having income, I have no control over my own project, and I'm terrified. And when they start to go down the rabbit hole of well, what could I possibly do? or How could I be an entrepreneur? What doesn't even mean? Like? What do you mean, I'm a business owner, I'm quote, unquote, just an editor. People don't realize that is craftsman. We are also business owners, we are the CEO of a business of one. And we don't realize and in order to generate multiple income streams and different forms of revenue, no matter if the job market is good, or it has been what it has been, we need to take more control over that. And you are the master of I don't even know where you put all the hats that you wear, you must have like a wing to your house where you hang all of the different hats, because you've done so many things. So much so that I'm convinced that you have you have twin brothers. So I think there's an Alex Ferrari and Adam, Ferrari, maybe an Aloysius Ferrari, I'm not really sure. I don't even know where that came from. But you do a lot of different stuff. And I want to crawl into your brain to understand how you do it and why you do it for the people that have realized there's more that I want to do than just cut other people's stuff. So where does this story start?
Alex Ferrari 8:12
Well, I'm going to I'm going to go back to the first time I came to the realization that a lot of people are having right now. I was 21 years old. And I was working on my first job where I was a tape vault editor. And I was also the tape vault guy. I also edited commercial reels for I was in a commercial production house in Miami. And I would edit on three quarter inch decks,
Zack Arnold 8:39
a hyperlink to Wikipedia and Google about what a three quarter inch deck is for all the millennials,
Alex Ferrari 8:44
Sony and a Sony controller and between Oh, my goodness, Yes, I was. And that's how I used to cut how we used to cut these reels. So I was doing that. And I was also the apple technician of the entire company. So I would actually go around and every single time someone kicked an apple talk cable out, all the network would shut down. So I would have to go on and connect the apple dot i will
Zack Arnold 9:06
talk that's old school. Wow. Oh,
Alex Ferrari 9:08
yeah, I'm old sir. So, so I was sitting there playing, I'm going to go old again. I was playing Doom on our connected appletalk computers one day, and I was about like, five, three months, five, five months into the job. And I just came to the realization that I'm like, you know, something just hit me. Like, if I get fired tomorrow, I'm stuck pa and again. I got to learn something. And that was the first time I realized that I wasn't in control. So I then got my skill set up to become a freelance editor. And then I jumped and within I think eight months of when I got that job, I quit and became a freelance editor and that was my first real you know, my first real business, you know, I incorporated myself and did the whole ball of wax and I was that business. Have one. And there is a when you're freelancing, there is an illusion of control, which is extremely important for people listening to understand. When you're a freelancer, and you're all your income and all your revenue is reliant on the next gig, the next job the next client, you as a, as a freelancer, you kind of think that you're, you're driving the ship, and you're driving the car, if you will. But the problem is, without the clients, there's no gas in the car. And then when the when the gas doesn't show up, the car doesn't move, but yet you feel like you're in your car, and you're driving. But when you're working with someone else's car, someone else's company, you're there driving the car, and you're just a passenger, so you feel like you have less control. So it's an illusion. So I always started to figure out how can I generate other revenue streams that I can use or create multiple revenue streams even within the freelance world to survive? And for me, and I, we talked about this when you were on my show, when I started, I was an editor. I was a commercial editor, then I jumped and I don't know if I don't know how I think you we're not similar vintages. But we're close. If I'm not mistaken, we're pretty close. All right, we're pretty cool, because you look fantastic. So I have to
Zack Arnold 11:19
I appreciate that.
Alex Ferrari 11:21
So, um, when I first when you first started, like back in the 90s, and early 2000s, you could be just a commercial editor. Like that could be the only thing you did, or I only cut music videos, or I only cut TV promos. And you could specialize in a specific sub genre of editing. Then, so I started off as commercial editor, then I went into promos, and then I started doing all the all that kind of stuff. Then I went into short films and narrative and things like that. But I started realizing that when Final Cut Pro showed up, I was an avid editor, when Final Cut Pro showed up, everybody became an editor all of a sudden, and now my value in the marketplace started dropping. So I realized right away that I'm like, I got to venture out into other Asad avenues in post production. So then I became not only an editor of every kind of from documentaries, anything I can get my hands on, but then I start doing color, then I started doing online editorial, then I started to push up revision, then I started doing the effects supervision, then I also did some VFX, then I also did graphics. And and then at that point, I had multiple opportunities for revenue, that still gave me somewhat more control and kept me alive and kept me fed for quite some time. But I still was reliant on that client on that next gig. So only only within the last five years where I finally retired from post production. And and I direct when I want to direct when direct and gigs come up, I do them. But I retired and opened up indie film, hustle and started really creating a real business on how to revenue streams that kept coming in that support me and my family and I live in Los Angeles like yourself. So you know, as well as ain't cheap. He ain't cheap here, brother, it ain't cheap. You know, we could be living like kings other places in the country. But yet we choose to be here Why? That's another question. We can have a conversation about that. But um, so my online business that I created, has been able to support me and my family living here in Los Angeles. And now it's been now I think, three years ago, completely retired, shut down my post production company, reject offers of work and have been and I just forwarded over to other friends or other colleagues to get the work. Because I just decided that's it now I'm good. I'm good. I found where I want to be. And I can't explain to you and I'm sure you know, this feeling as well. waking up in the morning and finding that not only have you helped hundreds, maybe even thousands of people around the world that night by them consuming your content, but that there's money sitting in your bank account while you were sleeping or while you went walking or when you went on vacation. And it doesn't rely on your hours for dollars situation. It is game changing. And it is a game changing concept. And it's so hard for freelancers to kind of grasp like that's not it can't happen to me. It can it can happen to you. It's just about work and putting all that kind of stuff together. But I've heard I've heard the same thing that you have a lot of a lot of my colleagues who are directors like DGA directors and, you know, guys who have really plush jobs, you know, when the pandemic hit, it went zero quick. And that's something you just don't you can't prepare for a once in a grittier pandemic, but it happened and now they're just like, oh God, so that's why there's so many podcasts now popping up. That's why there's so many new online courses that I've been seeing All these masterclasses by guys, and a lot of these people are trying to do that, but they don't understand the basics, they don't understand the foundations of how to actually launch a business as opposed to launching either a product or one service, you've got to build an entire situation. And that's how I've been able to do it. But it's a scary time. But I think it's a very exciting time, because there's a lot of potential for people.
Zack Arnold 15:23
Yeah. And I think that one of the things that people miss, and we can go into the nuances of all this later, but I want to at least kind of touch upon this. So many people doing the podcast, so many people trying the online courses, not understanding the fundamentals. And to me, the fundamental thing that I love about what I do now, so much, there's two fundamental things. And I'm sure you can relate to both of these, one of which, like you said, you get to passively provide value to so many people. And we have a business model, where of all the free value we put out into the world, if 99% of those people say, I'm good, I'm just going to take all your free stuff and just 1% decide, you know what I like this guy, I want to go a little bit deeper down the rabbit hole and really invest my time in my education, the 1% supports our business, which then allows us to grow and provide more value to the other 99%. That's the first thing that I love. The other thing that I love about it even more that I think applies to people that maybe aren't at the point yet where they're going to make this plunge is that it gives me the freedom to confidently say no to things that I don't want to do. And that to me is so Paramount, as you said, Now you can just be like, Nope, sorry, not available, not interested. There are opportunities that have come to me over the last few years that in the past, I would have said, Oh, God, I mean, yeah, I guess it's a good opportunity. But I'd be miserable. But I've got no choice. Like, I got to do it, I got to take it, and then I do and it totally burns me out. And thank God it did. Because if I hadn't gone through the burnout, I wouldn't have this program. But at the same time, I don't want to repeat that cycle. So now I'm in a position where I can confidently say no to things that don't fit me. Right that that that the power of saying no is so so important. So I want I want to go back to this person that's had this realization. And they realize I can't work for other people. So obviously, the solution is I've got two options. Either I can edit other people's films or color other people's films, or I'm going to be my own filmmaker. So I'm going to make a short or I'm gonna make an indie feature, and I'm gonna put all my money into it, and I'm going to get my dentist to invest in it. And the only option I have is I got to get it into Sundance, and then somebody is going to give me a big cheque full of money. And then my problems are solved. And if this were a video podcast that your face says all of it. But those are my only two options, right? Either I'm a technician and a crass person, or I just go out and make my thing and put all my eggs in one basket and fingers cross distributor picks it up, and I get my money, right? That's all I've got, well, what other options could I possibly
Alex Ferrari 17:47
have? I'm like, the anger is rising up in me, as you say these
Zack Arnold 17:53
words, this might trigger you.
Alex Ferrari 17:55
Oh my god, it's just like, ah, gotta hear this every day. Um, where do you want me to start? Because there's so much to unpack there. How what, where do you want me to start?
Zack Arnold 18:03
I think what we need people to understand is the concept that you have kind of the film entrepreneur, understanding that the game has completely changed. For anyone that wants to build their own revenue streams and be their own artist, whether it is doing online business, whether it is being a podcaster, or I think more commonly, for people listening to this, people don't want to tell their own stories, but they think it's all or nothing. And it's taking such a huge risk. Either I get my $5 million, and I get into Sundance, or just keeping an editor the rest of my life, there's got to be an in between, right? Well,
Alex Ferrari 18:34
yeah, that's it's called, it's essentially, either I win the lottery, or I just keep working with verse of my life as a menial job that I hate. Like, you can't live life, that black and white, there is a whole lot of gray in the middle. And there's also definitely different definitions of success. So a lot of filmmakers or a lot of people getting into the filmmaking game, consider success being a millionaire living in the Hollywood Hills, doing whatever you want hanging out with actors and actresses and, and you know, flying to Sundance and Cannes and that's all wonderful. But that is a very, very, very small group of people in our industry that get to live that kind of lifestyle. I'm talking, you know, a few thousand people, as opposed to millions and millions of people 10s of millions of people who are trying to actively be part of our industry. So if you only look at that kind of that's the only form of success, then you will fail. Because the odds are against you. There's like it's like the only way I'm ever going to be happy is I win the lottery, because that's essentially the odds of getting to that level and rolling that deep. You know, it's about winning a lottery. can it happen, of course, but you could also win the lottery. But the chances are you of winning that lottery is a very, very minimal. Now the problem I see with that mentality I'm not telling you not to chase that dream. I'm not telling you that you can't get there. I'm just the way I approach it is just be smart about how you're doing it. I still want to direct a Marvel film that has not left my you know, I still want to go over to Kevin Fay his office. By the way, if you're listening, Kevin, I'm I'm available, you know, go over and have that conversation about doing the next Avengers doing the next new comic book hero that's coming out from Marvel, I want to have that. But as opposed to sitting angry and bitter on the sideline, because things aren't happening the way I want to, I've decided to build my own pathway, and blaze my own trail. So but I'm still going in the same direction as a lot of other people are trying to go to. And if I don't ever get there, I'm good. I've supported myself all the way through. I've built my own community, I've built my own life and my lifestyle and and when that opportunity if it ever comes, I'll be ready for it. But if it doesn't, I'm cool. Maybe I won't get to do a Marvel movie, chances are I won't, because we're talking about what 3040 directors period, in the next 10 years that might get the chance to do something like that, you know, it's actually probably a lot less
Zack Arnold 21:20
I was gonna say it's probably like five,
Alex Ferrari 21:22
mainly when you're talking with new directors, because they're going to rehash into they're going to use James Gunn again. Well, that's
Zack Arnold 21:28
what I mean, like, there's no brothers in five or 10 slots for new people that they're going to give a try that ever the night before,
Alex Ferrari 21:34
probably over the next five or 10 years, let's say let's say let's be Let's be a little bit open, I say 20. So there's 20 slots to run the next 10 years of Marvel movie somewhere. I mean, seriously, look at the numbers. I mean, that's a really tough, tough thing to do, can it happen yet happens for 20 people, but the majority people won't get there. So as opposed to putting all my eggs in that basket, I'm building up my own path. And as a film entrepreneur, what I've suggested in my book, Rise of the entrepreneur, is that filmmakers need to start thinking of making money outside of the traditional model, outside of traditional distribution. And we can go into the nuances of post COVID, current COVID scenarios as far as distribution is concerned. But even pre COVID, the industry was failing already. It's never been built for independent filmmakers, as you are very well aware. It's not built for for us to make money, it's built for them to make money. It is built for them to essentially screw us over. That's the way those contracts are set up. That's the way the system is set up. It is just the way it's been since the day of Chaplin is just the way it is. So understanding the rules, understanding those rules, you're like, whoa, wait a minute, let me see what I can do, to start generating revenue outside of just the exploitation of films. And that's where you start creating product lines and products, you know, services that are all dedicated to a specific niche. And that's what all filmmakers I think moving forward are moving forward need to understand the niche needs to understand the person, they're making their content for the audience that they're trying to reach. Because if they're going to do a broad spectrum action, or broad spectrum, comedy, unless you've got major stars involved, and that's still not even a guarantee anymore, you're going to fail. and the value of the value of our content is becoming cheaper and cheaper and cheaper and cheaper to the point where it's becoming worthless. If you put a movie up on Amazon right now, you get a penny per hour streamed, that is as close to worthless as possible. And I promise you probably in the next two years, Amazon will figure out a way to give you a fraction of a penny, because that's the way they're going to do it. Because they don't want your movie. They don't want riffraff anymore, they only want high quality content, because they're there, their whole system is just polluted with a lot of crap. Because they let everybody in. So best case scenario, we're talking like the top 90.2% dial in Amazon makes 12 sets a stream and we're still talking about 12 cents, which used to be 399 as a rental, or 20 bucks for a purchase of a DVD or Blu ray or even 10 bucks is about streaming t VOD purchase. That's now gotten to 12 cents in the best possible case scenario or a penny so the value is not there anymore the value to our contents not there anymore. So filmmakers who are making three four or $500,000 films, man they've got to execute not only the movie perfectly, but everything else afterwards perfectly, to have a even close to fight a chance of breaking even breaking even I was literally at eight FMX, the American Film market last year, where I sat with a with a filmmaker who made a movie for $200,000. And they had a $35,000 mg, which is a minimum guarantee from a distributor. And they were so excited. They got the MG. And I turned to him, like, what did you give them? They're like, Oh, we gave them worldwide rights. Like, Oh, so you have no other way of making money? Yeah, but it's only for like three years. And then after that, we get the rights back. I'm like, Uh huh. So you invested $200,000. And your ROI is $35,000. And you're excited about that? What other business in the world? Does that make sense? It does it. So without thinking about the business side of filmmaking, you won't make it and I hope that the method that I laid out in the film enterpreneur kind of helps you along that path,
Zack Arnold 25:48
the way that I look at it, if you think about the amount of time required to make that $200,000 film, it's more cost effective to just take $165,000 flushed down the toilet, and that only took you five minutes, as opposed to two years. So why bother? Right? It's, you might as well use that time and create other value and generate other forms of revenue, because you just gave up the hundred and 65,000. So let me see if I can find better ways to spend my time.
Alex Ferrari 26:14
One thing that I hear from filmmakers all the time, because I've had pushback on the entrepreneur method from what I'm sure you have, because filmmakers don't want to hear this. They don't want to hear this reality. Some filmmakers, and I've had heated conversations about this, some filmmakers are so they're so entrenched in their mentality of the old model, that it's kind of like almost a political conversation, where like you, no matter what I show you, no matter what I what, what I there's video proof that's fake. Like they can't break out of their mentality of their beliefs. Because if you do that, then it breaks their ego, it breaks their whole belief system. And they like wait a minute, I've been going down the wrong path for the last 10 years. If I believe what Alex is telling me, that means I've, I've made a mistake for the last 10 years, it's very difficult for human beings to accept that. But that is the reality, whether you want to take it or not. That I don't want to build a business around my film, I just want to make movies. I'm like, Hey, dude, I just want to go and go on stage with Bon Jovi and rock, rock 200,000 people, I'm not even a musician. But I think that would be cool. I would love to do that. But you know what, that's just not the way the world works. I takes a lot of time and effort to get up on that stage, you know, decades of work to get to the place where you're able to do that. So just because you want something doesn't mean you have to that you're going to get it that that's just barely the starting point in this business. But, but that is something that filmmakers need to kind of break out of that old mentality. Because if they don't, they won't survive in the new in the current and new business, the new marketplace that's coming for all of my newer listeners and younger listeners, I'll make sure to to also link in the show notes to Bon Jovi.
Zack Arnold 27:57
If you're like, what's What is he talking about? Just Oh,
Alex Ferrari 28:05
I want to be on the stage with Taylor Swift. How about that?
Unknown Speaker 28:08
Zack Arnold 28:10
Okay, good, good, good.
Alex Ferrari 28:12
I want to do a duet with Lady Gaga Allah, Allah Bradley Cooper. Okay, there you go. Love it. Love it. Okay. So
Zack Arnold 28:17
you just want to make sure that I'm speaking to the, you know, the entire audience here. So before getting into the many nuances of how to generate revenue, because there are a lot of different ways to do this. I think the first area to dive into a little bit deeper, which I know is part of what you do is there's going to be the psychological barrier. There's this fear, like you said, the fear is, well, either I'm going to make a living as an editor or a colorist, or a writer, whatever it is, or I have to jump all in. And I've got a goal, the old school route of borrowing money and making this thing and hoping that I get some of it back. But I'm too afraid to do that, because I don't see any way to generate revenue. And there are so many psychological barriers to just cutting the cord and saying, I'm not just a technician, I'm now an entrepreneur. I actually have a podcast with Ramiz Satie, who I know somebody that we both know well, in the online business space, we talked about the psychology for like 90 minutes, all the deeper fears and limiting beliefs. So if people want to dive super deep into that, I've got a much deeper resource. But before talking about the tactics, let's talk about the psychology of what it means to go from I'm not just a craftsman, but I'm now an entrepreneur, when people come to you that are newer filmmakers that are still making this transition, and I'm sure you have plenty of them. What are what are some of the pieces of advice that you given? What are some of their fears about saying I'm going to try the film intrapreneur method,
Alex Ferrari 29:38
the big thing we have to understand as far as our fear is concerned, and I'm I looked it took me 20 years to make my first feature film where I easily had the capability of doing it a decade earlier. Um, you have to understand what you're dealing with. So the biggest revelation for me is that and I need everyone prepare themselves for this, but this is this is a truth that's going to hurt Your mind does not care about your dreams, your brain does not care about your dreams, it does not the only thing your mind is built to do is to keep you safe, it's just to keep you alive. That is what it's designed to do. So instead of worrying about the tiger around the corner, which is what we are generally afraid of, we like a stability, we like things that are comfortable, we like things that are known. That's why so many people would most human beings are afraid of the unknown, because the unknown is that Tiger around the corner that could eat you. And that's what we generally are afraid of. So anytime something new is brought into your path to go down, especially if something deep seated like your career, your passion, your love, that fear is going to be magnified even that much more. So you're going to be afraid to move forward at all. It took me again 20 years, before I could break through the fear of making my first film and there's I could we can go into details of, you know, I've sat psychoanalyze myself, and why it took me so long to do so. But if you now that you understand that you can kind of bring it out from the subconscious, because by the way, the subconscious is what's driving you. That's what drives everything about you. And there's only about 10%, I think it's like 10%, or 5% of what we do on a daily basis is conscious. And everything else is basically subconscious. There's someone driving the engine, you don't think about brushing your teeth, you don't think about going to the bathroom, you don't think about driving your car to to work. That's all kind of programmed movements, that, you know, how many times have you guys been driving? And you're like, how did I get here, because your mind was completely somewhere else, someone else was driving the car that is your subconscious. So when it comes to our dreams, the subconscious is also driving our reactions, what we accept what we don't accept, if it's new, if it's not new, so you have to be extremely self aware, when something new is presented, and I'm throwing new ideas all the time. And trust me, I'm, I still deal with the fears like I don't, I don't know, I don't, I don't want to get on camera. I don't like being on camera like that was it took me forever, to get in front of it took me like two years, I was like, I just want to hide behind this mic as a podcaster. I don't want to I don't want to put myself out there as a YouTuber. But it took me a while before I became comfortable with myself on screen. But that took forever took me forever to start an email list. You know, because I don't know, I don't want to do it. It's all the same subconscious fears so that that fear is your worst enemy. And in many, many ways, it could be your best friend too. But most of the time, it is there to protect you. So if you're aware of that, then you can move forward. So if you have resistance of a new idea, you have to ask yourself, why am I resisting this? Is it because it's the unknown? Is it because it's new? Is it because I'm risking failure? Is it because I'm risking? humiliation, all of those things. That is something that you need? These are questions you need to ask yourself when you're trying to attempt something new, or new idea is presented to you. As you get older, you go one of two ways you either go really entrenched into what you believe, and then you are completely shut out. And generally means that you don't grow, you just don't grow. Or you become more open, because hopefully you become more comfortable with who you are. Because a lot of those insecurities that when you were growing up, teenagers 20s 30s a lot of those insecurities start to wear away, where before you were completely terrified about doing things. Now you're just more comfortable. As you get older, generally speaking, you give less of a crap about what other people think that's just age. You know, how many times have you seen that 80 year old going out to pick up as his his newspaper? Sorry, again, Google wouldn't newspapers go out to pick up his Amazon box in his underwear, you know, with his gut hanging out and you know, without his shirt on, and he doesn't care. He doesn't care at all about what you think. And that's what happens hopefully, and could wait not in that way. But in a good way where you start getting you start becoming much more comfortable with who you are. And that will hopefully open up more doors and more possibilities for you.
Zack Arnold 34:30
Yeah, and that's something that I see in my coaching and mentorship program all the time where people don't realize the fears that are really driving them to make the choices that they do and it might not be so much about becoming an entrepreneur at least with the the crass people that I work with. But it's always the same conversation. I've been doing this one thing for so long. I don't like doing it anymore, but I don't know how to go anywhere else. Right. So the question they ask is, can you help me workshop my resume? Okay, and in my mind I'm thinking that's not the question to ask. Well, let's go down this rabbit hole Sure. Oh, workshop. Your resume. It's like clockwork, give me 10 minutes and five questions. And it always ends with the same thing. Oh my god, I have no idea what I want to do with my life. And I have no idea. Oh,
Alex Ferrari 35:11
I'm just, it's Wait,
Zack Arnold 35:12
hold on, I'm afraid. It's always there's always some fear. But they think that it's about the font in their resume or these bullet points. It's always, it's always fear. And what I have found, especially if we're talking about this idea of maybe I want to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams, or I just want to make my calling card short film, or I want to start a course or a podcast, what I found is that, again, going back to this concept of all or nothing, either it's all in on editing, or coloring, or whatever my craft is, or I'm going to be a filmmaker. Well, that's a giant leap. There's this middle ground in between where you can do both. And you can gradually slowly shift, which is what the film to printers all about. to like, for me, like, for example, my journeys we talked about on your show as well, I had the realization at 35, you had it at 21, you have got a huge head start. For me, it was a 35, where I was working on Season One of empire and I realized, this is it, like whatever they have to offer me is what I take, because I've only been paid as an editor my entire adult life. So now what and that just scared the crap out of me, and I was at a great place in my career, but I realized how Reliant I was on others, but it wasn't, I'm just gonna, you know, hang my hat, I'm not editing anymore, and I'm an entrepreneur, you slowly balance it so you can ease your way into it. But with the old model, you can't, because you're not generating any revenue whatsoever. But with the newer models, you can slowly pick and choose and you can eliminate a lot of that fear by doing it in tiny, small bite sized chunks. So you get the sense of Oh, I can generate a little bit of money doing this and a little bit more. And for me, I've made the transition where now Cobra Kai is my side hustle. I do that, you know, for fun on the side. But that's the reality what I do for now as a podcaster, and a coach and an educator. That is what I do for a living, so to speak. But I still love editing. And I love Cobra Kai, because it's badass. So that's my side hustle that I fit in. But it's taken years of making that transition one small bite at a time. And with the film entrepreneur method and the tactics and strategies, you can do it in much smaller bites. So let's start to break this down. So I can alleviate some of those fears and generate some revenue not that it changes my life. But I get the sense that you know what, I can make this happen
Unknown Speaker 37:25
if I vote a plan.
Zack Arnold 37:27
My sincerest apologies for the interruption in the middle of this interview. But if you are a content creator, or you work in the entertainment industry, not only is the following promo, not an interruption, but listening has the potential to change your life. Because collaborating with Evercast is that powerful. Here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with Evercast co founders, Brad Thomas, and award winning editor Roger Barton
Living this lifestyle of a feature film editor has really had an impact on me. So I was really looking for something to push back against all of these lifestyle infringement that are imposed on us both by schedules and expectations. When you guys demoed Evercast for me that first time my jaw hit the floor, I'm like, Oh my god, this is what I've been waiting for. For a decade.
Zack Arnold 38:12
I also had the same reaction when I first saw Evercast two words came to mind game changer.
Our goal, honestly, is to become the zoom for creatives, whatever it is, you're streaming, whether it's editorial, visual effects, Pro Tools for music composition, LIVE SHOT cameras, it's consistent audio and video, lip sync, always stays in sync, whether you're in a live session where you're getting that feedback immediately, or you can't get it immediately. So you record the session and you can share those clips with people on the production team where there's no room for any confusion. It's like this is exactly what the director wants.
This is exactly what the producer wants. What matters most to me is it makes the entire process more efficient, which then translates to us as creatives who spend way too much time in front of computers, we get to shut it down, and we get to go spend time with our friends and family.
Zack Arnold 38:57
The biggest complaint and I'm sure you guys have heard this many many times. This looks amazing. I just can't afford it.
Tesla had to release the Model S before they released the model three. So by the end of the year, we are going to be releasing a sub $200 version a month of efficacy for the freelancer in indie creatives. Anyone who is a professional video creator outside of Hollywood,
I think what we've learned over the last few months is that this technology can translate to better lives for all of us. They give us more flexibility and control while still maintaining the creativity the creative momentum and the quality of work.
Zack Arnold 39:34
I cannot stress this enough Evercast is changing the way that we collaborate. If you value your craft your well being and spending quality time with the ones you love. Evercast now makes that possible for you and me to listen to the full interview and learn about the amazing potential that Evercast has to change the way that you work and live. Visit optimize yourself.me slash/evercast. Now back to today's interview.
Alex Ferrari 39:58
So for me, it was I mean, my goal, since I decided to go into this business was to be a film director like that that's never changed in my entire path. I just knew instinctively, and this No one told me this, I didn't read this anywhere. Instinctively, I understood that, well, I need to make a living while I'm chasing the directing dream. And post production was my living. And, and it was a wonderful, wonderful place to make my bones make my and generate revenue, because I was adding skill sets to my, my, my toolbox. And you know, then at when I became a director, I knocked the brick post and bid myself out as a director with post, and all of these things that I was able to do. But, you know, there's something called a side hustle. You know, you you, you like you just said, you don't have to go all in. Like, I'm not saying Hey, quit your job and start a business tomorrow. That's stupid. If you've got a revenue stream right now, and it's something you're not happy with, start working on the other stuff. And I hear this all the time. Oh, but I'll it's off time. That is BS. If I've got time to do everything that I do, I promise you, you've got time to do what you need to do. There's an hour here, wake up an hour earlier, go to bed An hour later. There's always a time, don't watch that the next episode of whatever show you're watching, and take that hour and build it, put it towards, you know, something that's going to help you gain more freedom. At the end of this entire conversation. Our goal is freedom. It's freedom. It's freedom, whatever that definition is to you. It's freedom. Money gives you allows you to have freedom. If you have a lot of revenue coming in, you are free to do other things. You are free to go to Cobra Kai which, by the way, congratulations on season four. I'm I can't wait to see the next seasons. By the way.
Zack Arnold 41:53
I can't always everybody to see season three is killing me right now. So I'm all I could only
Alex Ferrari 41:57
imagine like, Who can I talk to? I can only talk
Zack Arnold 42:00
to them. I can't even tell my son what happens. It's killing me.
Alex Ferrari 42:04
All right, it's insane. Um, so I've been the king of side hustles since I was 12. So I my first entrepreneurial experience was garage sales. So I just figured out like, hey, garage sales, a good side hustle, man. And I was at 12 years old, making 100 bucks a weekend selling crap, my old toys, metal stuff. And when I ran out of mirch, then I would go to my family. I'm like, hey, do you get stuff you don't want to do you want to get rid of and I would just I was a junk collector. And I would put it out there people would buy it. And I was the only dude in school rolling around. You know, hundred deep. All the time. I was in a good neighborhood, thank God. But I was always I was always able to buy my Garbage Pail Kids. Again, another Wikipedia
Zack Arnold 42:45
Oh, yeah, man, I'm gonna have a whole laundry list of these references.
Alex Ferrari 42:49
So you know, baseball cards, comic books, all those things, I was able to buy those things. And then also do arbitrage with them as well. I would buy them cheap, sell them more expensive and so on. I was already doing all this. And it was really truly instinctual. There was no education about it. I only had my grandfather as an example. He didn't do any of the stuff I did. But he wasn't. He was a businessman as well had businesses and things like that, but a lot of stuff. I just started figuring out myself. So even as as an editor, I always had the side hustle of making a little money here doing something there like that. I used to sell again, get more Wikipedia links. You know, before I moved to LA, I don't get I don't know if I've told you this story. The Hollywood video story? No. Okay, so when I moved to LA, I knew two people here. I literally was showing up with a final cut system, rented an apartment with two rooms one room was with firma my wife and I who's my girlfriend at the time. And the other room was going to be my edit suite. And I was just going to open up shop and go guys, I'm here ready to edit. And that was the plan. But mind you I already had about 15 years of experience I had a resume I had you know a website I had you know IMDb you know, credits and things like that. So I wasn't starting from scratch, but I was starting from scratch in LA luckily I moved here three months before the recession hit. And also I had a job when I landed so I was ready editing features and other i mean i was i worked all that whole year away to no nine comfortably. I just not stopped working. So it was very, I was very blessed. But how I got there. This is my this is the way my mind thinks we're traveling. We have some money saved up you know when we didn't my wife and I weren't you know, younger and we didn't have a whole lot of money in the bank account to move over to LA It was kind of nuts what we did honestly, to be truthful, but I decided to go I decided to see them Hollywood video which used to be blockbusters big rival, they started out going out of business. And people in the you saw those going out of business signs and people would go in and buy DVDs and so on. already done a couple of these little smaller side hustles, meaning I would walk in maybe buy 100 DVDs and sell them on Amazon. So the very first one I did was probably a year earlier. And I bought 100 bad titles like things you never heard of. I'm like, yeah, it cost me like 100 bucks. I made about 900 bucks off. So then my wife looked at me, she's like, whoa, wait a minute, there's something here. So then we started doing this as a side, hustle, side hustle. So then we started doing a whole bunch of these here, there, we traveled all the places. But there was always my Hollywood video on the corner that had not gone out of business yet, the one that literally was around the corner for me. Three weeks before I moved to the going out of business sign goes up. And I'm like, babe, I think this is the sun. So I walk in. And I say, Can I please speak to the manager? And is like, What can I do for you? I'm like, I need everybody out of the store. And they go, What do you mean, it goes because I am buying the entire store? And he's like, really? I'm like, Yes. Do you accept? Discover? They said, Yes, we do. And I bought their entire inventory of about 10,000 DVDs and video games for about $12,000. And it was it was it was super gamble. But I knew, because I've already done my side hustle. So I told my wife look, even if we show up to LA we neither you or I get a job for six months on these DVDs and blu rays are good. And video games are going to pay our bills. While we figure it out. And we generated I think about 40,035 $40,000 off that that deal. It took us about a year of slowly, just selling it all out. And this is at a moment where you could sell DVDs, there was a moment in time where DVDs were still being bought. And and that was that that was the hustle. And I actually was so deep into the hustle that I actually went too deep into it because one Christmas, I have to tell the story is so great. I'm so proud of this, I figured out the GameStop was selling this video game, some hunting video game for like $15. But on Amazon, it was selling for $45 the lowest price. So what I did is normal people would just buy a bunch of the $12 ones, right? And it was new new games that use new games and and buy like a whole bunch and take that risk. No, no, no, no, not me. I actually would I put it up on Amazon. And every time there was a sale on Amazon, I would go over to GameStop and pay for it, but then put their address on it. So GameStop would just send them directly. I was literally just doing arbitrage. And I was just like, I'm done. I'm out. I'm out. I don't even have to touch it.
Zack Arnold 47:42
And GameStop into your fulfillment center. Correct. That is brilliant.
Alex Ferrari 47:46
I did that for about 70 about 70 transactions until they shut me off. Because I can't see who's this guy who's buying all these games and going to all these different addresses, shut them down. But I was so proud of myself. And I told my wife this. And my wife goes, What are you doing? But we made money. It we're not here to make just money, you could do that in Florida. We're here for you to build your film career. We're here. So you can go to the next level. We're not here to sell video games at gamestop. And it just like shook me to the core, because I've been such in the mindset of the hustle. And that's a good hustle. Because I as you can see, I have a hat and a shirt that say hustle on it. But in the the I gotta just keep going to make money. And where am I going to get my next dollar from? I wasn't being smart about it. And that was that mindset. So sometimes you can go too far down the wrong rabbit hole where you can now Hey, I'm making 50, I just made 1000 bucks today. Well, that's great. But that's not, that's not recurring, you're not, you're not really creating any value. You're basically a stockbroker at this point again, and it doesn't it's not fulfilling, it's just cash. And that's great for a little bit here and there. But if you want a long term, game plan, you've got to build something with substance, something that actually makes you happy. So I'm sorry, I've gone I've gone way off. Oh my god,
Zack Arnold 49:13
I love these stories. So you're not allowed to apologize. These are fantastic. Because these are the real life stories that people need to better understand. And yeah, this is crazy. And I don't think anybody is going to listen to this and say, let me see if there are any video stores. Let me see if I can buy them. Trust me your
Alex Ferrari 49:28
money anymore. 90 more with video stores. But you could still do the arbitrage thing at gamestop.
Zack Arnold 49:34
You definitely could. But the moral of the story is Yes, go out and do this. The moral of the story is that you found a way to just get started to just generate some revenue to it's basically you're building the plane while you're flying it. You're not saying everything's got to be perfect. I've got all the $20 million in the bank the investment is there. My salary is paid. Now I can be a filmmaker like I'm so tired of that all or nothing can can for me Me and I want to dive more into the specific strategies for revenue creation and understanding how a film or your project could not only be a calling card, but also be a business at the same time. But I want to tell one quick story that I know that will resonate with you specifically resonate with anybody listening, because you're also transitioning into helping people build online businesses, not just for filmmakers, but in general how to build your own enterprise. And like I said, I was way behind the curve compared to you, I didn't make this realization until 35. The most transformational moment for me was when the first person paid me $97, I got the first email that said, someone has just paid $97 for your move yourself online course. And I was like, Oh, my God, this changes the game $97, nothing could barely pay my gas bill. But just emotionally, the shift that I made in my mind was, I can now do this. And I'm no longer beholden to other people's projects. And that was the one thread that when I pulled it has led to where I am now. And that's, that's where I feel like people need to focus. And that's where they need to start, as opposed to all or nothing, I just need to generate something. So I feel that emotional trigger, I created this from scratch.
Alex Ferrari 51:17
So I have to tell you a story. Before we get into this. I
Zack Arnold 51:19
love your stories.
Alex Ferrari 51:21
I did. So I was actually an online entrepreneur in 97. Okay, which is basically almost the birth of what we know now as the internet. I actually had an online business back then I had two partners at the time, which my high school buddies, and we launched an entertainment website where there was like celebrities and pictures and news articles about the business and it was just, I knew stuff about this stuff. So I was able to do it we generated from banner, it was we were doing CPC banner clicks and you know, CPM ads and things like that we didn't have any products, there were no products, there was no online product, like the online course or anything like that. If it did exist, it was definitely not in our in our viewpoint. But we used to generate off the traffic we got, we used to generate probably five or $6,000 a month, which is substantial. You know, we're both we're all living at home anyway. So and I was already making money as an editor. So this was just like a side hustle. The problem was that our server bill was about five or $6,000 a month. So he ended up it was years ago before I became so affordable. So but I knew because of my experience between banner clicks and affiliate programs, like my my Amazon affiliate account goes back to the 90s. That's how old my affiliate program goes. So we were able to make money with with online business. I knew that that was a possibility. Fast forward to 2014 2015 when I'm thinking about launching indie film, hustle. It has been so long since I no by the way in 2005. I also made a lot of money online selling my DVD of my first short film broken, which we're gonna
Zack Arnold 53:10
talk about for sure.
Alex Ferrari 53:11
Yeah, yeah. So we made a lot of money there, too. So in 2005, I was making money online, not only from my film, but also from affiliates and other things like that. And fast forward to 2015. I'm still I'm like, Can I, I don't know if I can make any money with this. Like, I was still the fear because the fear has gotten a hold of me to the point where like, I don't know, man, you might fail, the tiger might eat you. And I my mind wasn't the $97 I said, You know what, I just read this book. And I think it was called the middle of the Miracle Morning. And which is a great book. And I was like, You know what, let me just create it. I have the Amazon Academy open on my Amazon account, affiliate account, I'm going to just put an affiliate link in my Facebook feed my personal Facebook feed. And I'm gonna Hey, guys, I read this book, you guys should probably check it out. And I just put it to my to my personal friends. And the next day, I checked and someone had bought, and I made like 17 cents, or 27 cents or whatever, whatever it was. But for whatever reason, that was the catalyst that broke me through the fear. Because it says, if I can make 27 cents, I can make $270,000 I can make $2.7 million because that's the potential that that lives there. So that's what that would actually broke me through to to break to break through that that fear that I had. I just had to tell that
Zack Arnold 54:44
story because know what I loved how we went from the $97 to the 17 cents, right but, but it's the exact same thing emotionally doesn't matter what the number is emotional. You're the exact same transition that I did from Wait, this is doable.
Alex Ferrari 55:00
And it was scary because you hadn't done this before. I know that twice before, been successful twice before. And yet I was still scared. And yet I was still scared. So that's a powerful fear is,
Zack Arnold 55:11
I had never done anything like this in 2014. When I started the blog and the podcast and the website, I had no idea how to build a website. I didn't know how to accept payments. I don't even know what if you had said, Oh, we'll set up an affiliate account with Amazon. What does that mean? no concept of what any of this stuff was. But as soon as I realized that there was knowledge that I had, that somebody found value in, that wasn't editing, my entire life changed. And I want to go back to your short film in 2005. Because right now everybody's thinking the same thing. They've thought for millennia. Well, you can't make money on short films. So either I have to make a feature film is going to make me a bunch of money, or I invest in a short film that becomes my calling card, and it goes on my resume and my reel, but there's no possible way I could generate revenue with that. That's crazy, right?
Alex Ferrari 56:00
Well, I would I disagree because I generated over $100,000 with my my short film. Now with that said that same short film we released today would not generate $100,000 because it was of its time, just like if El Mariachi showed up today, no one would even care. If clerk showed up today, you would have never heard of Kevin Smith. It's just a product of its time. So I made a movie called broken which is a 20 minute about 20 minute action thriller film that had about 100 visual effects in it shot on the end. Here we go Wikipedia, shot on the dv x 100, a mini DV camera, edited in Final Cut Pro four, and the visual effects done and shake. Now at the time, nobody had ever shot anything substantial with that camera though. Anyone who's ever shot with the camera remembers it was so beautiful. It was such a wonderfully beautiful image. And I wanted to create something with using off the off the shelf technology and software packages and things. And by at that point in my career, by the way, I had shot 35 I've been a commercial director, but I didn't have the red, I didn't have the cash to throw another $75,000 to make the short film, which is what it would have cost and film. So I shot it on that. And when I when I was done with it, I realized like oh, who's gonna pay me for this? Like I've invested, you know, eight grand in this thing? Who's gonna pay me for this short film? like nobody in the real world is gonna pay? It's like no one. There's no stars in it. I'm nobody, you know, was shot in West Palm Beach, Florida. It's not you know, it's cool. But no one's gonna pay me for this. So then I and then again, this is all instinctual, all instinctual. I wish I could say oh, I read this book, or I heard this guy, it was extremely instinctual because no one had done this before. To my knowledge of hasn't done it at a level that I did. Which was like, Well, you know what, I see that there's a market out there for this. normal normal people might not pay for this, but filmmakers might pay to see how I made it using software and cameras that they can afford. Because El Mariachi had the 10 minute film school and those DVD all those wonderful behind the scenes. That's great. And Roberts awesome. But I'm going Robert, bro, you know, you're rolling 710 million deep man, I'm you know, I'm not rolling. So it's great that you're telling me that you shot with the steadycam? And how you did it? I can't afford that. So I want and I noticed at the time, there was nothing online, showing filmmakers how to make films. I know it's so hard to believe. But actually 2005 YouTube was just launched in 2005. I think and i and i hope i don't know if I'm right or not. But I think I have the first filmmaking tutorials on YouTube, because they're still up there. And they and they I think they're what I think they're 1516 years old at this point. So I said there's a there's a place for this. So I made a DVD with special edition like about four hours of special edition material that just jammed whatever I could into the DVD and and sold it. And I went and I hustled it online, I went to every I was huge on MySpace. Again, there's another Wikipedia,
Zack Arnold 59:15
archival researcher just to go through and find Oh, my goodness.
Alex Ferrari 59:20
So I was I was huge on nice space, which was the Facebook of its day. And I was able to sell a lot of DVDs hitting targeting. I don't know if they had groups, but people who are interested in filmmaking, and then forums, message boards, things like that. And you couldn't go in 2005 and 2006 you couldn't go to any message board anywhere on the in the world that talked about film, and they had not had me personally there are someone talking about the short film in the trailer that I put together and all that kind of stuff. It was I still get a I was literally was talking to a CEO of a company the other day on my show. And he's like, dude, I bought broken and I'm like, Are you kidding? Via He's like, yeah, it was awesome. And it was like I'm, I'm a fan and all this stuff, I'm like, Oh my god, that little $8,000 talk about ROI that I'm still making not only money from that kind of, you know, people connections and things like that, but I still make money selling it, not to DVD, but I've incorporated into online courses and things like that. So I still generate some money off of that. Every every month. It's pretty remarkable. Now, if you were gonna do a short film today and try to make money, the key is a niche, if you can focus on a niche audience. In the most the more specific, the better. You know, I saw I have a filmmaker that I know that made an epileptic epilepsy short film, about the real realities of dealing with epilepsy, beautifully done, beautifully done. And he's using the entrepreneur method. And he called me up, he's like, Hey, you know, I'd love to kind of talk to you all this stuff. Sure. He's using the entrepreneur method. He's building out like revenue streams, to not only help himself, but help that beloved epilepsy community, which is amazing. But that if you take the the niche concept, which is epilepsy, and just made it a standard, you know, film, it doesn't go anywhere. But because of that niche. There's other filmmakers I know who do that, that delved into the autistic community. They're very passionate about a good representation of people with autism, funny representations or just honest representations, it's a it's a lacking market, meaning that there's not a lot of content for that market. So I use in my book, the vegan chef, instead of making a romantic comedy, you make a vegan chef, a romantic comedy, wherever you can chef meets a barbecue pit champion, and all hell breaks loose, I'm still waiting for someone to make it, I still believe that people are afraid that I'm going to sue them. I'm not I just let me know, I want to be involved in somehow I would like to say check that out. But, um, that kind of builds has a built in audience because you can go after vegans, you can you can go after vegetarians, you've got your paleo people, you can go out to plant based people, you can go after barbecue people. Like there's so many different avenues that you can go and tailor a business around for this film. And then off of that, you can then build online courses about how to how to do vegan cooking. I mean, if you're interested in the vegan cooking, romantic comedy, there are there might be a chance maybe that 1% that you talked about, might want to pay 97 bucks to have a vegan chef teach you how to make Vegan Cuisine? Or could you? Could you also build out a service that teaches you how to transition from meat eating to, to being plant based, have consulting, have a consulting business? Could you create product lines? Could you create a magazine? Could you create cookbooks, could you create actual food products with your brand on it? everything I'm saying By the way, I have examples of all of this, in my book case studies. It's all doable, and it's all very, very powerful. Now, could you do this with the short film? Absolutely. on a much smaller scale. I don't think that that a short film is gonna get you a multi million dollar deal. I might be wrong. I haven't seen anything like that. The only one that I've seen something like that happened with was Kung Fury, which was a if you if you if you I'm sure he'll leave a link in the in the show notes. comfier was a short film that was crowdfunded, which is basically an homage to 80s, like really bad 80s action movies. And it's wonderfully done. And it was done. I think in the Netherlands somewhere, I don't know where it's like, it's not even a US based filmmakers like the Netherlands somewhere. And it's fantastic. It's wonderful. And he just is shooting the features the multimillion dollar feature film version of that, that has Arnold Schwarzenegger. So it's all about also what's your endgame is with the short film, is your endgame to make money? Or is endgame to move your career Ford? Or can it be both? Can you make a little bit of money while moving your career forward? You know, so these are questions you have to ask. But is it possible to make money with a short film? Absolutely. You just have to execute. And think about things completely different than they've been ever taught to you before. This stuff is not taught in film schools. They don't care about this and film school, they don't teach you how to make money. They just teach you how to make art. They're an art school. They don't teach you but they focus
Zack Arnold 1:04:21
on the show. They don't focus on the business.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:25
And if they say that, and then they'd give lip service to the business. They're like, Oh, we'll teach you about distribution. We'll give you this course on distribution. Yeah, you mean your stuff? You gave me textbooks from 1997? Okay, yeah, that's not really gonna help me today. So yeah, they they might give lip service to the business. But the reality is that their main focus, the sizzle is what they sell, they don't sell the steak. They sell the sizzle. And when you're done, there is no steak involved. So you have to understand the business side of filmmaking, if you're going to make it in the business at all.
Zack Arnold 1:04:55
Well, all I wish right now is that I had a time machine and I would love to go back to about two 2014 when I was just finishing up my documentary film, which was a seven year passion project at the time, and we talked about this beforehand, where in the first couple of chapters of your book, it's here all the case studies of all the things that people have done in the past and all the mistakes that they've made, it was just like me checking all the boxes. Yep, did that. Yep, did that. That too, to this day minus one tiny ancillary source of revenue was made no money whatsoever. But looking at this model, in hindsight, there are so many different things that I could have done because I had a niche film. So I'm not going to go too deep into it. But it was a full length documentary feature that was biographical and inspirational in nature, about the first quadriplegic to become a licensed scuba diver. Looking at your model, I could have completely capitalise so well, I could have capitalized off all this. But my focus was, I tried to get it into all the festivals. And I got into some fairly decent tier two and tier three, I got really close on a couple of tier ones, where I got personal letters from, like the head of Sundance and Tribeca, and Toronto all saying the same thing. This is one of the most heartwarming films, I really, really enjoyed it, you can tell it wasn't just a form letter, they actually watched the film. And they're like, it just it doesn't fit into this year's programming. But God I wish it did, because I loved your film. And like, that's great, that does nothing for me. So then my next focus once I didn't get all the laurel leaves for all the festivals, well, I got to get it onto a distribution platform, or I know how about all of them, because somebody just promised to me, I can be on iTunes, and Amazon and Hulu and Xbox 360. And the PlayStation market, like, That's amazing. And it was on every single one of those platforms. And nobody knew it was there because nobody focused on marketing. So I went through the whole system coming out with nothing. And if I had gone backwards, had I used the film intrapreneur method, I would have found, what are those smaller message groups? Where are they in Facebook? Or where they are? What what where do these people congregate? And how can I provide value to them first, and thus create some form of revenue in return, even if I don't make $5 million off of it, again, going back to this concept of I need to bring in just enough to alleviate the fear that this is too hard for me to keep going. And I just eventually said, You know what, this didn't work, I'm just going to put this on the shelf, and I'm going to move on. But had I generated just enough revenue, it would have alleviated the fear. And I would have said, You know what, I can't keep doing this. And that's what the online business does now. But I think that's really the key for somebody is if they want to make this transition, it needs to be just enough that I can alleviate the fear and realize this will work if I continue to hustle and put in the effort.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:34
Oh, absolutely. And I know I know, filmmakers who are doing, you know, five or six documentaries a year, like really kind of just spitting them out because they know that and they have like maybe 20 Films under their belt. But each one of them is if each one of them is generating 1000 bucks a month. Even in a traditional standpoint. Well, that's that's a good amount of money every every month, it's not about getting rich. It's about like, what's what's my overhead? What do I need to make to do this full time? That's the question if that that about like, how am I going to make a million dollars? That's not the question you need to ask question is, how am I going to make the $56,000? a year that I'm making now as an editor in Kansas? You know, like, how do I do that? And if I can make $50,000 a year, doing online business or doing movies or being a creator doing other things? Well, then man, that's the dream. And then you could build off of that. And you could build a business. And you could do more with that. But but that's where I think so many filmmakers fail because they only are looking at the biggest possible. I'm gonna make a million dollars a year I'm gonna like live rich now, man, like what is the bare minimum you need for this movie to make or for these projects with this business to make? So you don't have to do anything else? And that's the key. Yeah,
Zack Arnold 1:08:54
I think that, like you said, people are asking themselves the wrong question. And the question that I asked myself that led to this transition was Can I earn the same amount of money that I am as an editor right now, without working 60 plus hours a week? Can I can I earn that? So it wasn't How can I make $5 million and be this huge, amazing online entrepreneur? But is it even remotely possible that I could generate enough income, that it replaces what I was doing as an editor, but I have room to do other things because I could continue to be an editor and be a craftsman and make a lot of money. But it's the only thing that I can do because it consumes every waking hour going back to this idea of Oh, I can't do all this stuff because they don't have the time. Well, first of all, my responses are open, open up your phone, okay, go to the calendar app. There's your time. It's right there. You've got the same 24 hours and seven days as me, time is right there right in front of you. But you keep thinking you're going to find it instead of prioritizing it. And I figured if my time is of the most value possible, how can I get more of it? By making the same amount of money in less time? Those were the questions that I was asking. How do I start My day and structure, the business and all these things. So I have more time to pursue the things that I love, because ultimately, it's just gonna lead to burnout. I mean, that's, that's really kind of the foundation of where it all leads for people that listen to this program is how do I just stop the vicious cycle of being burned out by not liking what I do, because I'm doing it so much. But it doesn't connect to the stories that I really want to tell.
Alex Ferrari 1:10:21
So the one thing and I know, you know this, because you've been an editor for as long as I have or close to as long as I happen. You've all and I, and I don't mean to be mean. But we've all been in Edit suites where we see the 65 year old editor who's been doing it forever. He's the online editor. He's been there like that. And you could just see that he's really just not happy. He's bitter editor. Because it's just like, I've done this before. And I've been multiple, you know, places like that throughout my career where I've seen that guy. And generally, and I know, this is a big topic with you, he's out of shape. He's not healthy, all that kind of stuff. He's the the stereotypical editor, you have to ask yourself the question, in 20 years, do you want to keep doing this? Because if the answer is no, that you better figure some stuff out. Period. Because like, I can see myself doing this in 20 years or a version of this in 20 years. I love doing this, you know, it can it can morph, it can transform but being of service, building a business online, growing multiple businesses online, in every which way won't be exactly doing what I'm doing right now. But could I you know, like, could I be doing what Tony Robbins is doing? You know, but not as a self help group. But you know what I'm talking about? Yes. Could I see myself as an editor editing other people's work, that I don't like 20 years from now, I barely was able to do it two years ago, I was just like, Oh, God, I can't I just can't, I can't anymore. I can't deal with this stupidity. You know, that's the question you need to ask yourself. And if you if the answer's no, I'm gonna steal this from Steve Jobs. Like, if you look in the mirror, and you wake up in the morning, and it's like, if you're not happy with what you're doing, then it's time for a change. That is the same thing. And it's scary, but you have to do it. If not, you're going to become that angry and bitter. Whatever your insert your profession here, situation.
Zack Arnold 1:12:24
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take that last little bit, I'm going to take it and put it at the end of every single one of my podcasts going, I'm just gonna need you to sign a release for me,
Unknown Speaker 1:12:34
Zack Arnold 1:12:36
like nailed it. That's, that's why I'm here. That's why I to love what I'm doing so much more is that I can empower people to pursue the careers and the passions that drive them, as opposed to, I'm just a technician. I'm here to serve your vision, but not really create my own visions. And I there's nothing wrong with being the person that serves other people's visions, unless you've decided you don't want to do it anymore. And I want you to have options. And that's why I bring experts like you on the show. So on that note, I would love to know if somebody has been inspired by this today. And they're like, I hear this guy's got resources. I this guy has a thing or two I he's got a couple of episodes of a podcast or maybe 400 episodes across three different podcasts, and he has 18 different courses and he's got multiple books. How do people find you?
Unknown Speaker 1:13:24
I'm not hard to find or not,
Zack Arnold 1:13:26
but I reason I didn't find you for six years. But I'm gonna I'm gonna shorten everybody else's learning curve. So how do people or they get started.
Alex Ferrari 1:13:33
So if I'll list only a handful of the things that I've got, the main hub is indie film, hustle. So if you go to indie film, hustle calm, that'll take you to the majority of my filmmaking resources, whether that be courses of podcasts, blog posts, a lot of free a lot, a lot of free, like 99% of the stuff I do is free. Then if you're into screenwriting, I have the bulletproof screenwriter, writing podcasts, as well as a website built for screenwriting.tv. If you want to go deeper down the rabbit hole of being a film enterpreneur I have entrepreneur.com or I think it's a film I think I think film business, think film business.com takes you there as well. I got one of those little quick hacks. And then if you want to go deeper into more of my courses, I have ifH academy.com, which is my premium courses Chan up platform, which has a lot of high end courses takes a little bit higher end stuff that I do. And then if you want to just kind of dip your toe in. I have the world's first filmmaking and stream screenwriting streaming service, which is like Netflix for for filmmakers. And that's at indie film hustle.tv or ifH tv.com. And of course, my books I have shooting for the mob, which we didn't even talk about shooting for the mob, how it almost made a $20 million movie for the mafia and then toward Hollywood. So there That book and then the rise of the entrepreneur and my new books as well. And you can find those on Amazon, I audiobooks, Audible, all that kind of stuff. Those are the big main things that I can think of. I'm sure there's 1000 other things in there as well. But those are the main things. And of course, Alex ferrari.com, if you just want to reach out to me, I do consulting, coaching, other things like that in the distribution space and in the online space as well.
Zack Arnold 1:15:24
So that's it. No, there's more. I'm just, that's all you have. Really.
Alex Ferrari 1:15:29
I'm just trying to be kind to you. I don't just list everything. I'm ridiculous, sir. I'm ridiculous. Yeah, I'm
Zack Arnold 1:15:36
right there with you. I didn't want to have to say it. But I'm glad that you You said it. Like I said, I feel really good about what I've been able to accomplish. And then I found you. And now I just like really, this is all I've been able to do in the last several years. Like Who is this guy? This is just not even. It's not even fair. But on that note, Dear God, I have so much fun doing this. Like we're gonna we're gonna have to do more of this because I love the chats we've had together so far. Well, you're you're gonna have some good stuff coming out next year. I think we're gonna have you back on the show to talk about that. Yeah, but this, this is a this has been a good time. So I really appreciate you taking whatever time you have found on your calendar, and it's all the other adventures to chat with me today. It means a lot to me. So thank you.
Alex Ferrari 1:16:16
Oh, no, thank you, man, I appreciate you. You coming on I, I feel like we're kindred spirits, to say the least, in what we do. And it's, it's not easy to find other people in our space, who actually understand it and get it most of the people who are doing what we do, don't get it. And they don't understand the business side of things. You know, that's what are podcasters and things like that. So I'm really, I'm really glad that we were able to find each other man. So thank you, and thank you for doing the good work you're doing with your audience.
Zack Arnold 1:16:47
Before closing up today's show, I would love to ask for just a couple additional minutes of your time and attention to introduce you to one of my new favorite products created by my good friend Kit Perkins, who you may recognize as creator of the Topo mat. Here is a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with Ergodriven co founder and CEO Kit Perkins, talking about his latest product, New Standard Whole Protein,
Kit Perkins 1:17:11
I'm into health and fitness generally, but I want it to be simple and straightforward. About a year, year and a half ago, I started adding collagen into my protein shakes. And man the benefits were like more dramatic than any supplement I've ever seen. So I thought if I can just get this down to coming out of one jar, and its ingredients that I know I can trust and just put it in water. And you don't have to think about it.
Zack Arnold 1:17:31
When people think of protein powders. They think, well, I don't want to get big and bulky. And that's not what this is about. to me. This is about repair.
Kit Perkins 1:17:38
So a big part of what we're talking about here is you are what you eat. Your body is constantly repairing and rebuilding and the only stuff it can use to repair and rebuild is what you've been eating. Unfortunately, as the years have gone by every day getting out of bed, it's like you know two or three creeks and pops in the first couple steps and that I thought you just sort of live with now. But yeah, when starting the collagen daily or near daily, it's just gone. So for us job one a here was make sure it's high quality, and that's grass fed hundred percent pasture raised cows. And then the second thing if you're actually going to do it every day, it needs to be simple, it needs to taste good,
Zack Arnold 1:18:11
what my goal is that for anybody that is a creative professional like myself that's stuck in front of a computer. Number one, they're doing it standing on a Topo Mat. Number two, they've got a glass of New Standard Protein next to them so they can just fuel their body fuel their brain. So you and I, my friend, one edit station at a time are going to change the world
Unknown Speaker 1:18:29
and even better for your listeners with code optimize on either a one time purchase for that first, Subscribe and Save order 50% off so if you do that, Subscribe and Save that's 20% off and 50% off with code optimized that's a fantastic deal.
Zack Arnold 1:18:43
If you're looking for a simple and affordable way to stay energetic focused and alleviate the chronic aches and pains that come from living at your computer. I recommend new standard whole protein because it's sourced from high quality ingredients that I trust and it tastes great. to place your first order visit optimize yourself that means slash new standard and use the code optimize for 50% off your first order. Thank you for listening to this episode of The optimize yourself podcast to access the shownotes for this and all previous episodes as well as to subscribe so you don't miss future interviews just like this one, please visit optimizer shelf.me slash podcast. And don't forget that if you're inspired to take your networking game to a whole new level, but your outreach email game is just a bit weak. You get 100% free access to my new improved and upgraded Insider's Guide to writing amazing outreach emails, which is available for free to download and optimize yourself.me slash email guide. And lastly, a special thanks to our sponsors Evercast and Ergodriven for making today's interview possible. To learn more about how to collaborate remotely without missing a frame and get your real time demo of Evercast an action visit optimize yourself.me slash/evercast and to learn more about air go driven and their brand new product that I am super excited about new standard whole protein visit optimize yourself.me/newstandard. Thank you for listening, stay safe, healthy and sane and be well.
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Alex Ferrari is an author, blogger, speaker, entrepreneur, consultant, the host of the #1 filmmaking podcast on iTunes Indie Film Hustle Podcast and an award-winning writer/director with 25 years of experience in the film industry. As a director his films have screened in over 500 international film festivals.
The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).
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