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 510: How to Deal with Filmmaking Depression with Lucas McNelly
I read an article the other day about a filmmaker who spent the better part of a decade trying to finish a movie due to unforeseen circumstances and spiral depression. I was immediately intrigued because that's part of the package that this line of work comes with that we don't talk about as much.
So, I brought on the award-winning filmmaker and writer Lucas McNelly to talk about his movie, Upcountry, and how depression affects his life and creativity. Lucas McNelly has written and directed such feel-good projects as Blanc de Blanc, A Year Without Rent, L'Attente, Gravida, Maine Noire, and Indies for Indies series. He currently works as Director of Films and Assistant to Marla Singer at Long Winter Soap Company.
While his interest was initially in sports broadcasting like basketball and baseball, he pivot to filmmaking in his sophomore year of college after winning a students' film festival by happenstance.
The production of his 2021 movie, UpCountry, took almost a decade to complete. Lucas wrote and directed Upcountry--- a true labor of time and passion because he came to the brink of losing this project.
The movie plot is about a group of friends from New York City who hires a guide to take them on a fishing trip deep in the woods of northern Maine. But, when the guide takes all their gear, they find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere.
He goes in-depth about the process and all the curveballs he dealt with over the decade. Perseverance is one word I can use to describe Lucas's story and the making of Upcountry, but you have to listen to be your own judge.
He has another upcoming project, Maine Noire; you can check out on his website--- you can find all the details in the show notes below.
Not to give too much away, let's dig into my interview with Lucas McNelly.
IFH 509: How to Make Money with Short Films with Joseph Alexandre
It was a pleasure having today's guest on because, as a self-proclaimed hustler, I recognize another when I see one, and for the best part of his career, Joseph Alexandre has hustled hard in this line of business.
My guest today is director, writer, and producer Joseph Alexandre. He is most known for films like The Starck Club Documentary-The Final Cut, Back Home Years Ago: The Real Casino, and The Early Inauguration.
He's made his way in the indie filmmaking world with shorts and documentary shorts. We do talk about his 2021 short, Ralphie's Blue. But we dive more into his career and how shorts have played a massive part in generating revenue.
Joe used a lot of filmtrepreneur methods---way before I ever wrote the book.
He's written, produced, and directed the pilot for the reality TV show, The Body Shop Cop, which focuses on Rocco Avellini, owner/operator of Wreck Check Car Scan Centers, which provides consumers with vital consultations for Auto body collision repair and diminished value.
Joe's filmography includes, Split Screen TV show, The Devil Takes a Holiday and almost a dozen others.
Ralphie's 'Blue', which he wrote, directed, and stars in is the story of a hapless but likable, regular guy named Ralph Monti, a man with two strikes against him. One, he works nights and weekends as an umpire, but he can't seem to get past little league. Two, it takes him a fistful of meds every day just to keep it together. Ralph's game takes a dramatic turn when he meets Chase, the charismatic leader of a "men's group." Chase takes Ralph under his wing, introducing him to his group - The Order - at a weekend retreat in the mountains. Ralph encounters a committed band of dangerous white nationalists, more accurately, White Supremacists. (Ironic, because Ralph has a black girlfriend, but Chase has an "alternative" approach to Ralph's medication, which proves tantalizing to Ralphie.) Chase intends to shape Ralph into a dangerous weapon to be used by The Order as part of their plan of attack. Can Ralph help foil the event before it's too late?
His work is featured on the SVOD platform Fandor. You can stream them exclusively on there.
Enjoy my conversation with Joseph Alexandre.
IFH 508: Secrets to Successful Low-Budget Films with Jason Blum
I'm excited to talk to a fellow low-budget independent filmmaker today.
Granted, he does low-budget films on a completely different level than I or most people do at this point. But if we are going to talk about budget filmmaking, it is only fitting to have expert horror film and television producer, Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions.
Our chat sort out knowledge gems on Jason’s mentality behind his filmmaking and the budget strategy. Especially the ‘freedom’, he’s expressed in many other interviews, he gets from a low budget --- in the essence of the chances it allows him to take.
Jason has over 200 production credits for numerous horror television and films franchises. The likes of BlacKkKlansman, Jordan Peele’s Get Out, The Normal Heart, Paranormal Activity, Elizabeth Moss’s Invisible Man, The Purge, etc.
Black As Night, the Amazon original film, is one of the twenty-five projects he’s produced that have been released this year and streaming on various top streaming platforms.
The story is about a teenage girl with self-esteem issues who finds confidence in the most unlikely way, by spending her summer battling vampires that prey on New Orleans' disenfranchised with the help of her best friend, the boy she's always pined for, and a peculiar rich girl.
He’s recognized for his multiple award-winning works and his production studio which is currently booked and busy with over fifteen projects lined up for the rest of the year to 2023.
That is a testament to his company’s high-quality production. Blumhouse is known for pioneering a new model of studio filmmaking: producing high-quality micro-budget films and provocative television series. They have produced over 150 movies and television series with theatrical grosses amounting to over $4.8 billion.
Paranormal Activity: Next Of Kin will also be coming out this December. It is the second film in the franchise. Which continues to follow a young man who became the target of a malevolent entity, he must uncover its true intentions before it takes complete control of him.
All you horror and non-horror fans out there need no further introduction about our guest. Right in time for the Halloween spirits, please enjoy my 'spooky' chat with Jason Blum.
IFH 507: How the Sopranos Changed Television with David Chase
The legacy of the crime drama television series, The Sopranos remains a defining art of storytelling for mob TV shows. We have the genius behind this hit TV series, David Chase as our guest today.
As expected, Chase is a twenty-five-time Emmy Awards-winner, seven times Golden Globes winner, and highly acclaimed producer, writer, and director. His forty-year career in Hollywood has contributed immensely to the experience of quality TV.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of Chase, let’s do a brief of the HBO 1999 hit show, The Sopranos: Produced by HBO, Chase Films, and Brad Grey Television, the story ran for six seasons, revolving around Tony Soprano, played by James Gandolfini, a New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster, portraying the difficulties that he faces as he tries to balance his family life with his role as the leader of a criminal organization.
The series has been the subject of critical analysis, controversy, and parody, and has spawned books, a video game, soundtrack albums, podcasts, and assorted merchandise. During its run, the film earned multiple awards, including the Peabody, Primetime Emmy, and the Golden Globe Awards.
Even though David has continued to dominate his craft, with other works like The Rockford Files, I'll Fly Away, Not Fade Away, Northern Exposure, Almost Grown, Switch, etc, he is still most known for his television directorial debut, The Sopranos.
The genius is back with the Sopranos prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, which stars Alessandro Nivola and James Gandolfini’s son Michael Gandolfini as a young Tony Soprano. It has been in theaters and on HBO Max since October 1, 2021.
The plot explores the life of Young Anthony Soprano. Before Tony Soprano, there was Dickie Moltisanti, Tony’s uncle. Young Anthony Soprano is growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark's history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters begin to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family's hold over the increasingly race-torn city.
Caught up in the changing times is the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti, who struggles to manage both his professional and personal responsibilities-and whose influence over his nephew will help make the impressionable teenager into the all-powerful mob boss we'll later come to know: Tony Soprano.
We also talk a bit about David’s five-year, first-look deal to create shows for HBO parent WarnerMedia. More culture moments, please!
Let’s get into the chat, shall we?
Enjoy my entertaining conversation with David Chase.
IFH 506: How to Make Your First Feature Film with Rebecca Eskreis
I am pleased to have on the show this today, the gracious Rebecca Eskreis.
Rebecca has had a thrilling path to her dreams of filmmaking. Now a director, writer, producer, teacher, and film consultant whose projects have been recognized by huge platforms like SXSW, TIFF, SIFF, deadCenter, Savannah, Munich, Stockholm, and film Thessaloniki festivals, she’s surpassed her childhood dream.
Last year, Rebecca wrote, produced, and directed her latest film, What Breaks The Ice---a coming of age thriller about two 15-year-old girls, Sammy and Emily, who hark from different worlds but strike up a quick and deep friendship during summer break in 1998, set against the backdrop of a world consumed by the Monica Lewinsky scandal. But what should be the best summer of their lives takes an unexpected turn when they become accidental accomplices in a fatal crime.
What Breaks The Ice was her directorial debut project. For which she was awarded the Sandra Adair/Empowering a Billion Women Grant for promising female filmmakers from the Austin Film Society, and was selected for the Austin Film Society’s Artist Intensive, hosted annually by Richard Linklater. The project was also a finalist for the 2016 Mayor’s Office of New York/Women in Film/Producers Guild Financing Lab. The film will be released by Cinedigm in the fall of 2021.
As a kid, she would steal her dad's video camera self-delegating as the family-vacation videographer. Her parents harness her interest in filmmaking and had her attend film summer camp to develop her love for storytelling and the skills needed too.
Quite fortunately, she landed her first job out of college as a news writer/producer with Forbes. Her roles basically involved writing, producing, shooting, editing, and voicing more than 200 news segments and branded content pieces for Forbes’s online streaming network. While also playing a key role in the design and implementation of the video channels on the Forbes.com site.
She then went on to work in production in the Hollywood game for about seven years out in LA after going to graduate school at USC. some of her experiences included working with Clinica Estetico, 72 Productions, Red Hour Films, and Di Novi Pictures where she prepared herself for her self-venture by learning film development, and the rare opportunity of being mentored by the late Jonathan Demme.
Between 2005, to 2007, Rebecca thought part-time as a teaching assistant at USC for Cinematic Arts.
Eskreis's assistant produced the Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids 2016 documentary which documented the star's final performance and the Tennessee Kids' 20/20 Experience World Tour, filmed in 2015 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Some of her other short films include Noodling, The Wicked Waltz, The Argument, etc.
Please enjoy my conversation with Rebecca Eskreis.
IFH 505: How To Shake The Film Investor Money Tree with Morrie Warshawski
Today, we are going to be talking all about one of my favorite topics; how to raise money to get our films made. I think every filmmaker wants to know how to make or get money for their films. But it becomes very challenging.
My guest is an expert fundraiser, film financing consultant, facilitator, and author, Morrie Warshawski. He’s facilitated a lot of fundraising throughout his 35 years career and has authored Shaking the Money Tree: The Art of Getting Grants and Donations for Film & Video, and The Fundraising Houseparty: How to Party with a Purpose and Raise Money for Your Cause.
Shaking The Money Tree demystifies the art of fundraising for independent film and video projects for students, emerging, and seasoned media makers.
Morrie has assisted artists, filmmakers, and non-profit organizations with strategic planning, organizational development, and marketing across the entertainment and other sectors. Some of his clients are Habitat for Humanity, The National Endowment for the Arts, and Western States Arts Federation.
I really wanted to talk about the mistake filmmakers make when trying to fundraise. Morrie seemed like the right guy for the job and he delivered.
It was interesting learning that Morrie initially studied at USC in hopes of going into filmmaking but ended up majoring in English. And followed on with an MA in English and the graduate Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa.
He started working with independent videographers and filmmakers through the Bay Area video coalition in San Francisco and that's when he transitioned to fundraising.
Morrie was generous with knowledge bombs and tips we all need when it comes to fundraising.
He highlights in this interview how vital it is for filmmakers on the look for donors to have good comportment --- the basis of presenting oneself to the world. Another component is, understanding why they're doing the work and having a strong feeling that the work you're making must be made. And lastly, understanding where your strengths lie, and how you can surround yourself with workarounds for your deficits.
Our conversation was pretty much enlightening and fun. Check the show notes for links to learn more about the work Morrie does and his books.
Get a notebook and pen to jolt down gems and enjoy my conversation with Morrie Warshawski.
Preaching the Indie Filmmaking Gospel
Keep it coming.
Nice! But please segue into commercials to avoid interrupting recordings of guests
Inspiring and informative stuff. I just started listening to this podcast because I saw that Alex Proyas was a guest, and The Crow is one of my favorite movies of all time. However, it was very irritating to hear the episode suddenly cut into Starbucks commercials when Mr. Proyas was literally MID-SENTENCE (and then pick up in the middle of his sentence after the commercials ended). Constructive feedback: Please edit episodes so that there is some sort of smooth segue into commercials. Otherwise, very solid and inspiring stuff. Thanks for putting it out there.