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Category: Distribution

Episode 135 – Directing Commercials in LA and Casting Known Actors with Paul Schneider!

This week we have commercial director Paul Schneider on the show to talk about making a living as a director, making the transition from commercials to narrative and how he casted two known actors in his short film, Fifty Minutes.

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device (or wherever else you find your podcasts).


Who is Paul Schneider?

Paul is the director of film and television and can usually be found working in LA… and sometimes the world.

He got his start working in Chicago and now lives in Los Angeles, directing commercials all over the country.

Having directed commercials for over 12 years, Paul is now moving into narrative film and television directing and his short film Fifty Minutes, starring Stephen Tobolowsky and DJ Qualls is his first entry into that world.

Commercial Directing

Paul talks to us about his commercial career, how he got started and what kind of work he does.

  • How Paul was able to evolve as a director.
  • Spec commercials, what’s your approach?
  • Making the transition from commercials to narrative work.

Paul’s Spec, Breath

Fifty Minutes

Paul talks about how Fifty Minutes came about, his approach and how he got these two big actors to be in a no budget short film.

  • Finding the story of Fifty Minutes.
  • How Paul got Stephen Tobolowsky to sign onto the film.
  • How Paul then was able to get DJ Qualls attached.
  • What has happened since the short has been made and released?

 Contacting Paul

Commercial Work:

Vimeo Page:



If you want all the nitty gritty on the making of Fifty Minutes, directors notes did a really nice write up on the movie, check it out at this link!

Make Money with Your Footage!

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Thanks for joining us. Have more to say, or a question? Here’s how you can contact us.

Episode 134 – New Year Special with Andrew Schrader, Arielle Zakowski & Evan Kidd

We talk to more past guests this week about what they’ve been up to since we last talked. This week we chat with Andrew Schrader, Arielle Zakowski and Evan Kidd. This is an extra long one to keep you company during your travels. Happy New Year everyone!

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device (or wherever else you find your podcasts).


Andrew Schrader

Since we last talked, Andrew has moved to Los Angeles and has also gotten a book published. Find Andrew’s book “What Goes On In the Wall At Night” on Amazon or download it for free on his website!!!

Andrew talks to us about living in Los Angeles, writing and pursuing a career as a full time filmmaker.

Here’s a Link to Andrew’s Book on Amazon:

Andrew’s Website:

Episode 20 – Sustainable Ideas with Andrew Schrader

Arielle Zakowski

Last time we talked to Arielle (way back in Episode 66) she had just started a full time position as an editor.

Episode 66 – Editor Arielle Zakowski

After quickly moving through the ranks of assistant editor into a lead editor role, Arielle was excited to tackle new opportunities. And she did.

  • She tells us about editing for Chef’s Table
  • The ins and outs of balancing commercial work with passion work
  • And the power of saying yes!

If you want to learn more about Arielle, visit these websites

Her Website:

Arielle’s Commercial Reel:


Evan Kidd

Evan Kidd joined us back in Episode 45 to talk to us about producing a very cheap movie. Now he’s back to tell us how he produced an even cheaper TV show that’s now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Episode 45 – How Evan Kidd made a $3,000 Feature Film in North Carolina

Evan’s $3,000 film “Son Of Clowns”:

Evan’s $200 TV Series “Home Remedy”:

And be sure to check out Evan’s Website:

Contact Us

Thanks for joining us. Have more to say, or a question? Here’s how you can contact us.

Episode 133 – MMIH Christmas Special with Lisa Donato, Colin Levy and Kyle McCauley!

Welcome to the 2017 MMIH Christmas extravaganza! We decided to do something special this year and bring back a bunch of our previous guests to see how they are doing and what’s changed in their career’s since we last heard from them. This week we have filmmakers Lisa Donato, Colin Levy and Kyle McCauley! This is an extra long one so if you’ve got a long holiday flight or drive, this might be the perfect episode for you!

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device (or wherever else you find your podcasts).


Writing a successful feature, getting representation and moving to LA with filmmaker Lisa Donato!

We have Lisa Donato back on the show, if you missed her back on episode 40 in March 2016, check it out!

Episode 40 – Lisa Donato

Lisa has been extremely busy, her film Signature Move has premiered at SXSW and is coming out on Amazon in January, she’s made two short films, got representation and is moving to LA!

  • Lisa talks about landing her representation and the decision to move to LA!
  • Lisa shares the story that she is preparing to pitch in the new year.
  • Making short films and preparing to shoot her sixth short film!

For more information on Lisa, check out the links to her work below!




Making an animated teaser film in Amsterdam, moving to LA and finishing an epic short film with Colin Levy!

First off, if you want to know more about Colin, check out episode 26 of the podcast back in November 2015.

Episode 24 – Do On-Line Views Really Matter with Guest Colin Levy

Since we last talked to Colin he has quit his job at Pixar, moved back to Amsterdam to direct another short and now moved to Los Angeles! Check out his latest short teaser, Agent 327!

  • How was it to return back to the Blender Institute?
  • What’s the status of Sky Watch, any updates?
  • How has life been after Pixar?
  • What’s next for you in LA?

If you want to learn more about Colin, here are the links to his website, twitter, etc!



What happens after the water bottle tour with Kyle McCauley!

Our final guest this week is Kyle McCauley, check out his episode to be brought up to speed on all things Kyle!

Episode 59 – Meeting Agents and Producers w/ Kyle McCauley

  • What’s the status of your projects?
  • How’s the James web series?
  • How is the relationship with your representation?
  • What’s the next step?

Here’s more information on Kyle!

Check out Kyle’s Website:

Send him an email at: kylemccauley[at]gmail[dot]com

Watch his movie James on Vimeo: or YouTube:

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Episode 132 – Year End Wrapup

With just two more episodes to go this year, Timothy and Alrik wrapup their discussion on a few things including Alrik’s plans for his feature film “The Alternate,” Timothy’s struggle with his contained-location script and a whole bunch of listener questions. Settle in for a dense episode that attempts to wipe the slate clean for a fresh start in 2018.

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device (or wherever else you find your podcasts).


Alrik’s Next Steps on the Alternate

Alrik fills us in on his feature film and what happens next:

  • Alrik now has a producer, DP and casting director attached to his film!
  • He needs a VFX company (if anyone out there is interested, send us an email)
  • Alrik fills us in on the plan to get actors attached
  • He’s also redoing his look book and we talk about what a look book is good for and what his producer thinks of his look book.
  • We explain why you should include pictures of your actors in your look book
  • Alrik explains how he is using Slated and considering paying money to get scores for his film listing
  • For those that don’t know, Slated is a fund raising website for filmmakers to connect to investors

Act 2 and Act 3 breaks in Contained Location Movies

With contained scripts it’s hard to thrust the character into a 2nd or 3rd Act because you can’t rely on moving them to a new locations to expand the adventure (which is how the hero’s journey works) Here’s a technique for breaking into the 2nd and 3rd Acts in a contained-location feature.

  • Create revelations that change the rules of the universe. For example in Alien, Act 2 begins when the Alien transforms from a face hugger and reveals itself as the chest burster. This transformation creates a whole new problem, what exactly is the crew dealing with and how do they find it before it finds them? This revelation creates a new set of circumstances and also ups the stakes. For the Act 3 break there’s another huge revelation: Ash is a robot and the mission of the Nostromo is to bring an Alien back alive, the crew is expendable.
  • Alien spins the story in a new direction without changing the setting, but notice how the stakes change as well as the rules of engagement. As the characters learn new information it changes the struggle.
  • We also talk about The Thing and ponder how this technique works in a film like The Breakfast Club.

Facebook Ad Update

A few week’s ago Timothy shard the results of a Facebook Ad Campaign, but what would it look like if you were trying to sell a film and not just drive views to a YouTube Link?

  • Based on Timothy’s ad test, he was able to get his cost per click (CPC) to 45¢/click
  • Therefore, 10 clicks would cost a total of $4.50
  • Assuming 1 out of 10 people buy the film at $10
  • And assuming 2 out of 10 people rent the film at $3
  • For every $4.50 (10 clicks) he can expect a gross of $16 and net $11.50

BOTTOM LINE: To recoup $35k in sales he’d need to spend about $14k in Facebook Advertising ($50k Gross Sales MINUS $14k advertising)

This is far from what he needs to be to recoup a $100k investment, so using what he knows about other release windows, here’s a plan that gets him to $100k.

  • Window #1 Theatrical = $10k
  • Window #2 Digital Sales Direct to Consumer = $35k
  • Window #3 Streaming Services
    • Hulu @ 8¢ view @ 200k Views = $13k
    • Amazon @ 12¢ per hour @ 200k Views / 300k hours = $36k
    • Netflix Sale @ $6k
  • TOTAL SALES: $100k

So it’s all in one place, here are some revenue numbers for you to play around with your own self-distribution plan

  • 300 Seat Movie Theater
    • Theater Rental Cost Per Seat 300 x $7 = $2,100 + Expense for food $500
    • Assuming you can sell tickets for $20 Each, Ticket Revenue is $6,000 = 300 x $20
    • $6,000 Revenue MINUS $2,600 Rental = NET $3,400 per screening
    • This is assuming you can sell out each show
  • Streaming Services
    • Amazon Prime pays 15¢ per hour watched
    • Hulu pays 8¢ per view
    • Netflix (from what we heard) pays in the low four figures, so let’s say $5k-$10k for your average indie film

Listener Questions & Topic Suggestions

Alrik asked for show topics on our NEW Facebook group and here’s what listeners said:

  • Nathan Blackwell: Off the top of my head, and apologies if you’ve covered any of these already:
    • Making your day … tips for dealing with a tough production day or when mishaps cause you to adapt.
    • Fan-films … the pros and cons of making shorts with IP you don’t actually own.
    • Rewriting … There’s a lot of talk about finishing the first draft, but how hard do you test or challenge that material after that?
    • Demo Reels. Best practices … whose actually looking at them and what do they actually want to see?
    • Your “voice.” Do you feel like you have a distinctive voice as a filmmaker? If so, how does it affect your work or how you present yourself? Or are you still searching for it?
  • Joren Winge: More nitty gritty film making shit. Casting, gear, lighting.
  • Lisa Donato: I echo “demo reels.” How important are they? Who is looking at them and who are we targeting? I’ve never spent much time making one, but I’m always wondering if this is working against me. Do they really matter? Should I have an amazing demo reel?
  • Cory Thibert: I further echo demo reels.
    • Also, if you do many things do you need separate reels?
    • One for directing, one for editing, one for acting?
    • What does a directors reel look like? How does it differ from cinematographer or editor.
    • Scheduling/budgets – don’t sound exciting, something that we have to do that can become overwhelming.
    • Do you think its important for an indie filmmaker to make their first feature before trying to get work as a director/writer etc.
  • Cameron A Caves: You kind of touched on this when Alrik worked on the Korean American film, but what is like to fundraise for a movie about a specific ethnic group, subculture, etc. Did that particular movie get funded exclusively Korean American dentists?
  • Hassan Said: Talking about how to raise funds for a low demand feature film product vs online and streaming content
  • Jake Richardson: Getting your vision onto the screen. Schumacher to Lucas to fincher various directors have stated that they never get their full conceptualized film. Some say be happy if you achieve 50%. I think Lucas stated he had 30% of what he wanted in the original Star Wars , hence his revising (meddling and worsening) it over the years. It drives me crazy just making the day or even getting on set is hard enough.
  • Damian Harris: Also, interviews with department heads, covering what they want from a director to do their job properly. And a re-jig of working with actors, from an actor’s perspective.
  • Greg Daniels via Email: I’ve enjoyed going on the journey with you but more so when you’ve been a bit more tangibly active, like when you took us through the paid pitch process. I’m just a punter from New Zealand but I’d love to hear more shows like this and interviews and less pining. Would these lawyer, producer, advice mentors be willing to give you hard truths on air? What about script coverage? Would either of you be willing to workshop your writing in a series of episodes?

This Episode Sponsored by Film Casualty

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A HUGE THANKS to Film Casualty for sponsoring the podcast!

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Episode 129 – Dreams Do Come True with Jason Headley

If you stopped believing in the indie filmmaking dream, listen to this episode because it still does happen. Jason Headley is an indie filmmaking success! Not only did his short receive over 15 million views, he also has a career directing commercials and writing for Pixar. And now Jason’s debut feature film “A Bad Idea Gone Wrong” is being released on VOD and in theaters on December 1st. Go watch it now!

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device (or wherever else you find your podcasts).


Jason Headley

Jason Headley’s feature film, “A Bad Idea Gone Wrong,” won a Special Jury Prize at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award at the deadCenter Film Festival. Called “a talent to watch” by the Hollywood Reporter, Jason is currently writing an upcoming feature film for Pixar Animation Studios. His short films—including the viral videos “It’s Not About the Nail” and “F*ck That: An Honest Meditation”—have been featured at Banksy’s Dismaland, NBC’s TODAY Show, SundanceTV, the TED Conference, Vimeo Staff Picks, and film festivals far and wide. Jason has been a part of the IFP Narrative Labs, IFP Emerging Storytellers, and SFFILM FilmHouse. He’s also been commissioned by Heineken, Sony, and Chrysler to write, direct, and produce original short films. Fun fact: Jason is more handsome in real life than he is on camera, but he’s still not actually handsome.

By all definitions, Jason Headly is an indie film success. Follow along as we learn how he went from a copywriter to a feature filmmaker.

Questions for Jason:

  • Where do you live now Jason?
  • How do you make financially support yourself?
  • It looks like you started making shorts in 2008. Tell us about making shorts. Why did you make them?
  • How did your shoots get so many views? Did you know that was going to happen?

  • How much have these filmmaking labs played into your success:
    • IFP Narrative Labs
    • IFP Emerging Storytellers
    • SFFILM FilmHouse

Jason’s Debut Feature “A BAD IDEA GONE WRONG”

  • “A Bad Idea Gone Wrong” debuts this Friday, December 1st. Find the trailer here:
  • Why did Jason decide to write “A Bad Idea Gone Wrong?”
  • Does Jason write all of his own movies?
  • Why was this movie shot in Fort Worth, Texas?
  • How did this movie come into being? Did Jason have the script first or did it come from after he was introduced to someone?
  • What’s the distribution strategy for this film?






Where to find Jason

Consider supporting Jason by pre-ordering his debut feature “A Bad Idea Gone Wrong” on iTunes:

or seeing it this weekend in a theater. For theaters and showtimes, visit the movie website:

To get in contact with Jason, visit his website:

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Episode 128 – Advertising on Facebook

Alrik shares his experience screening The Rage at the Pictoclick film festival. Then we delve into Facebook Advertising using a $30 experiment on two different ads.

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device (or wherever else you find your podcasts).


Episode 126 – Is AFM Worth It?

You’ve heard about AFM and maybe have a vague sense that it’s a place where films get bought and sold. But what exactly is it? Should every filmmaker go? Is it worth the expense? Alrik went on our behalf to answer all your burning questions and took away some filmmaking lessons. We also read some more iTunes reviews. Keep those reviews coming! Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher or right here on this page. Follow the links below and check out the show notes for links to the things we talked about in this episode.

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device (or wherever else you find your podcasts).


AFM Bonus Episode

Hey everyone, Alrik here! After my last three days at AFM I had a few more words to share about the event that I really wanted to share, check it out!

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device (or wherever else you find your podcasts).


Episode 125 – Prepping for AFM

This week we have an episode without a guest and catch up on what we’ve been up to and I give Timothy a breakdown of my preparation for my first year at AFM. We also read some iTunes reviews and hint at what we’ve got planned for next week.

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.


Episode 124 – Find Your Audience with Sundance’s Creative Distribution Team

Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution team works with filmmakers to get their film seen in new and interesting ways. This episode is full of tips and advice from Liz Manashil and Jess Fuselier on finding your audience. If you have a feature film, apply for FREE to the Sundance Creative Distribution Fellowship for your chance at a $25,000 grant and a streaming deal from Amazon, Hulu or Netflix. Learn more at Sundance:

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.