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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).

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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

Film Casualty streamlines the insurance process for filmmakers just like you, helping provide coverage and support so you can focus on your project. There is insurance for almost everything and a lot of it isn’t relevant to what you do but Film Casualty will guide you to get only what you need at the most affordable price. Be sure to visit Film Casualty www.filmcasualty.com

A HUGE THANKS to Film Casualty for sponsoring the podcast!

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