The Indie Film Hustle Podcast is your #1 source for how to hack the film business and indie film world! The show is here to help as many indie filmmakers as I could. We wanted to bring the best guests, industry leaders, creative legends, and film business friends to you, the IFH Tribe.
Some of the past guests include 3X Oscar® Winning Writer/Director Oliver Stone, Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black), Alex Proyas (The Crow, I, Robot), James V. Hart (writer Dracula, Hook), John August (Big Fish, Aladdin), Jim Uhls (writer of Fight Club), Oscar® Winner Russell Carpenter (DP of Avatar, Titanic) Joe Carnahan (Smokin' Aces, The Grey), and David F. Sandberg (Shazam!) to name a few.
We hope this podcast can help you along your journey as an artist, filmtrepreneur, filmmaker, screenwriter, and as a human being.
IFH 607: From Sundance Hit The Puffy Chair to Mack & Rita with Katie Aselton
Today on the show we have Katie Aselton. She is an acclaimed actor and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She may be best known for her starring role as Jenny in the FX comedy “The League.” Aselton can next be seen in Bill Burr’s comedy Old Dads. She was recently seen in The Unholy, opposite Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and appeared in Tiller Russell’s Silk Road, with Jason Clarke. Aselton was also seen in the second season of the hit Apple + series “The Morning Show.”
Aselton’s breakout acting role came in the indie darling The Puffy Chair, directed by Mark and Jay Duplass. The film was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards. Aselton’s other feature credits include Book Club, Father Figures, She Dies Tomorrow, Synchronic and Bombshell. Her small-screen work includes “Legion,” “Animals,” “Togetherness,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Veep,” “The Office,” “Room 104” and “Casual.”
Aselton made her directorial debut with The Freebie, in which she also stars. The film premiered to much critical acclaim at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically by Phase 4. She also directed and starred in the survivor thriller Black Rock, opposite Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell. The film premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was released by LD Entertainment.
Katie's new film is Mack & Rita starring the legendary Diane Keaton.
When 30-year-old self-proclaimed homebody Mack Martin (Elizabeth Lail) reluctantly joins a Palm Springs bachelorette trip for her best friend Carla (Taylour Paige), her inner 70-year-old is released — literally. The frustrated writer and influencer magically transforms into her future self: “Aunt Rita” (Oscar winner Diane Keaton). Freed from the constraints of other people’s expectations, Rita comes into her own, becoming an unlikely social media sensation and sparking a tentative romance with Mack’s adorable dog-sitter, Jack (Dustin Milligan). A sparkling comedy with a magical twist, Mack & Rita celebrates being true to yourself at any age.
Enjoy my conversation with Katie Aselton.
BONUS EPISDODE: The High and Lows of Directing in Hollywood with Kevin Reynolds
Imagine you are in film school and you make a student film. Then that student film get's seen by Steven Spielberg and he calls you into his office to offer you a deal to direct a feature film version of that short. Well, that is exactly how today's guest go his start.
On the show we have the legendary writer/director Kevin Reynolds. Kevin directed the world-wide blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the epic Rapa Nui, and the infamous and misunderstood Waterworld.
Kevin Reynolds made his big career leap from election lawyer and political speechwriter to pursue his childhood passion for writing - enrolling into film school at the University of Southern California.
In 1980, Reynolds’s debut film Proof landed him a shot right out of USC to work with Steven Spielberg. The film was later produced as Fandango in 1985, written and directed by Reynolds.
Five college buddies from the University of Texas circa 1971 embark on a final road trip odyssey across the Mexican border before facing up to uncertain futures in Vietnam and otherwise.
In 1991, Reynolds directed the $48 million action-adventure film of the time, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, that grossed $390 million worldwide. This action-filled fan favorite follows Robin and his Moorish companion’s adventure to England and his fight back against the Sheriff of Nottingham’s tyranny.
He followed up Robin Hood with the epic Rapa Nui. The film the love between the representatives of two warring tribes changes the balance of power on the whole of the famous Easter Island. The film failed to find an audience in it's initial release but has since become a cult favorite.
His next directorial outing is the legendary Waterworld starring Kevin Costner. Waterworld was labeled the most expensive movie ever made ($175 million), until Titanic dethroned it a few years later. The press said it was the biggest flop of all time as well but nothing could be farther from the truth.
When the film was finally released it made $264 million worldwide. The film went on to become one of the most valuable IPs in the Universal Studios library. The company created a theme park out of the film that has last over 25 years in multiple parks around the world and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars for Universal.
In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw "smokers," and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.
Reynolds’s critically acclaimed historical adventure film adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo novel in 2002, which starred versatile actor James Caviezel, was a remarkable comeback project after a five-year hiatus. The film is about revenge after a man, falsely accused by three jealous friends, sought to avenge his wasted years of somewhat imprisonment serving a wealthy Italian cleric.
Kevin and I discuss the highs and lows of directing in Hollywood, working with Steve Spielberg, his ever changing relationship with friend Kevin Coster, how he dealt with directing Waterworld and so much more.
Enjoy my conversation with Kevin Reynolds.
IFH 606: From Wedding Videos to Directing For Netflix & Paramount+ with Rel Schulman and Henry Joost
Henry Joost and Rel Schulman are a directing and writing team, producers and best friends. They founded the New York City production company Supermarché in 2007. Their most recent feature, SECRET HEADQUARTERS, premiers summer 2022 on Paramount+ and stars Owen Wilson, Michael Peña and Walker Scobell. The film is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Films..
In 2020 Henry and Rel directed PROJECT POWER, a Netflix sci-fi action film starring Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon Levitt. The film debuted at #1 in over 90 countries. It held the #1 spot in the USA for over 2 weeks. It remains one of Netflix’s top ten original features of all time.
Their first feature documentary, CATFISH, premiered at the 2010 Sundance film festival where it received critical acclaim and went on to a nationwide release. Their second feature, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3, released by Paramount Pictures, opened to rave reviews and had the highest grossing horror opening weekend in history. Their second film in the franchise, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 was released in October, 2012, and the two combined have grossed $350 million. Henry and Rel directed two films in 2016: NERVE, a summer hit released by Lionsgate, starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco; and VIRAL, a prescient low budget horror movie with Blumhouse, starring Sofia Black-D'Elia. They also executive produced the 2016 Sundance Film Festival hit WHITE GIRL, directed by Elizabeth Wood, which was acquired by Netflix for worldwide distribution.
Henry and Rel are executive producers on the long running series CATFISH: The TV Show, now in it’s 8th season, and have directed dozens of commercials and short films for companies like Nike, Google, Facebook, and Vogue. They directed the short film A BRIEF HISTORY OF JOHN BALDESSARI, commissioned by LACMA, narrated by Tom Waits, which has been screened at over 100 film festivals worldwide. Henry and Rel’s Google commercial DEAR SOPHIE was named Time magazine's Best Commercial of the Year in 2011. In 2020 they fulfilled a lifelong dream of directing the season opening short film for the NEW YORK KNICKS.
Henry, Rel, and their in-house producer Orlee-Rose Strauss maintain an active development slate. Features in the works include: an adaptation of Capcom's MEGA MAN which they wrote and are directing for Netflix; an adaptation of Edward Abbey's novel THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG, produced by Ed Pressman, which they wrote and are directing. They are also signed on to direct a bio-pic about KEITH ADAMS, the deaf football coach who made history leading an all-deaf high school football team to an undefeated season against all-hearing teams. The film is being written by Josh Feldman, and produced by Freddy Wexler, DJ Kurs and Eryn Brown.
Enjoy my conversation with Henry Joost and Rel Schulman.
IFH 605: Vampires, Stunts, Bloodsuckers & Netflix with J.J. "Loco" Perry
JJ "Loco" Perry spent the last 25 years as a Stunt Coordinator and Second Unit Director, directing and designing action for talent such as Dwayne Johnson, Tom Hardy, Jason Statham, Keanu Reeves and Will Smith. A member of the prestigious 87Eleven Action Design, Perry previously collaborated with directors such as Ang Lee, Justin Lin, Chad Stahelski, F. Gary Gray, Spike Lee and Paul Feig – which prepared him for his feature directorial debut on DAY SHIFT.
Perry has trained additional actors for stunts such as Gina Carano (HAYWIRE), Gerard Butler (300), Milla Jovovich (ULTRAVIOLET), Hugh Jackman (X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE) and Kiefer Sutherland (“24”). He’s also worked with Joss Whedon on ANGEL and FIREFLY and Mike Norris on WALKER, TEXAS RANGER.
Perry was nominated for a SAG Award in 2009 for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble for IRON MAN and nominated for a World Stunt Award in 2013 for SAFE and won in 2004 for Best Overall Stunt in THE RUNDOWN.
After graduating high school, Perry served in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Corps. He started his martial arts training in 1975 and began stunt-work after he got out of the Army. He has had over 24 years of martial arts training and has a 5th-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a 2nd-degree on Hapkido and has experience with all kinds of weapons. He got his black belt for Tae Kwon Do at the age of 12 and competed from the age of 7 till 24. Besides martial arts, Perry is also skilled in cycling, rodeo and weightlifting. He is the co-founder of Taekwondo West martial arts schools in Inglewood, California, and Venice, California.
J.J. PERRY’s directorial debut, DAY SHIFT, is an action-comedy that begins a new franchise for Netflix starring Jamie Foxx, Snoop Dogg and Dave Franco. DAY SHIFT follows a hard-working blue-collar dad (Fox) who just wants to provide a good life for his daughter. But his mundane San Fernando Valley pool cleaning job is a front for his real source of income, hunting and killing vampires as part of an international union of vampire hunters. DAY SHIFT premieres on NETFLIX August 12, 2022.
Enjoy my conversation with JJ "Loco" Perry.
BONUS EPISODE: The Million Dollar Self Distribution Experiment (Monsters of Man) with Mark Toia
When I wrote my book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur I hoped it would help filmmakers around the world. I never thought that a filmmaker halfway around the world would read it and change his entire marketing and distribution plan for his million-dollar+ indie film. Today's guest is Australian filmmaker Mark Toia who created the insane indie sci-fi action film Monsters of Man.
After reading Rise of the Filmtrepreneur he reached out to tell me what he was thinking of doing. He was planning on self-distributing his film as an experiment to see if he could do it and also to prove to filmmakers around the world that you can get a great ROI on a million-dollar+ indie film without any major bankable stars.
I asked him,
"So a million-dollar Filmtrepreneur experiment?"
Mark said yes. He had already been offered multiple seven-figure deals from distributors but after looking at the convoluted fine print of the distribution contracts he decided to opt-out. The payment schedules were so insane it would take Mark forever to get any money at all. The traditional film distribution path was not designed to help him get paid and if a film like Monsters of Man is having these issues the system is most definitely broken.
Then he discovered my book and down the Filmtrepreneur rabbit-hole, he went. When I saw the trailer for the first time I almost fell out of my chair. I recently had the pleasure of watching the film and all I can say is:
"Monsters of Man is one of the BEST films I've seen in 2020. A must watch!"
To get the most bang for his buck Mark shot the film in Cambodia. He was able to hire an amazing local crew while also capturing the breath-taking locations, and culture that the country had to offer. The production value was off the charts.
This is a once in a lifetime Filmtrepreneur experiment. Can a multi-million dollar sci-fi, action indie film be self-distributed successfully? We will find out. Mark agreed to keep me updated on the progress of the film and come back next year to tell the tribe how it all went.
I can't be more excited to share this episode with you guys. Enjoy my inspiring conversation with Mark Toia.
IFH 604: How to Write a Screenplay Super Fast! with Jeff Bollow
Have you ever wanted to learn how to write a screenplay fast? I know I do. This is why I invited on the show award-winning producer/director, best-selling author, film festival organizer and public speaker, Jeff Bollow.
He is the author of Writing FAST: How to Write Anything with Lightning Speed. Jeff Bollow began as an actor at age 12 in his native Los Angeles (credits include Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead and TV's Columbo) before working nearly every job in production, from camera to sound to lighting — and including jobs in development, post-production, and distribution.
Jeff has worked on feature films, TV series, commercials, music videos, radio, and corporate productions for companies such as Universal, Castle Rock, Propaganda Films, DNA and the Oxygen Network.
After migrating to New Zealand, where he directed television for TV3 and co-founded the Big Mountain Short Film Festival, he moved to Australia, where he launched Embryo Films. Through his company, Jeff has reviewed over 20,000 project submissions and has edited, assessed and/or mentored over 350 projects. He has script doctored in Singapore, Australia, NZ, and the US; and has conducted over 80 live weekend workshops to over 1200 writers in 9 cities in 5 countries, with a unanimous "recommend" approval rating.
His students have been optioned, produced and won (and placed) in competitions worldwide. He designed FAST Screenplay in 2004 and began officially building it in November 2009. It was finally completed in July 2016, nearly 7 years later. Alongside it, he created the FASTscreenplay YouTube Channel, which now includes over 30 detailed and insightful free videos to encourage writers and screenwriters around the world.
In May 2015, Jeff Bollow delivered his first TED Talk, "Expand Your Imagination... Exponentially" at TEDxDocklands in Melbourne, Australia, to prepare for the next phase of the larger plan. Jeff's aim is to build an independent film studio that inspires creativity worldwide, to help prepare humanity for the dramatic changes our future holds. When he's not busy helping writers with FAST Screenplay, he is working on a new book, developing a television series, and planning two feature film projects. Enjoy!
Keep it up!
Good info but too many ads.
I like IFH. Alex does a really nice job interviewing some really interesting people who offer tons of advice. And that is why it gets 4 stars from me. BUT - the number of ad breaks have increased exponentially over the years. Everyone is allowed to make a buck, but at some point the ad breaks just become too much and it interferes with the enjoyment of listening to the show. I find myself hitting fast forward way too many times lately.
Great content after the 1,000 ads
Alex does a great job but I can’t sit through ads about shoes, furniture, etc for what feels like forever.