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 458: How to Sell Your Indie Film and Yourself with Alec Trachtenberg
Today on the show we have independent film producer, author, and sales consultant Alec Trachtenberg. With over a decade of experience building and managing the sales teams of some of the most cutting-edge technology startups, Alec has worked with major companies, such as Airbnb, Sony Pictures, Netflix, and Amazon. He has directly generated millions of dollars in revenue for a variety of companies in the technology and entertainment sectors, including Surkus, MomentFeed, and Entercom.
He has taken his sales knowledge and skills and written and published Lights, Camera, Sell: Sales Techniques for Independent Filmmakers. Here's a bit about the book.
Film producer and sales consultant Alec Trachtenberg argues that one must adopt a sales mindset in order to be successful as an independent filmmaker. By highlighting a variety of sales strategies that have worked for him in the world of startup technology companies, Alec shows how you can use the same sales strategies in every stage of filmmaking.
Whether you are a budding freelance cinematographer searching for your next gig, a first-time director ready to shoot your first feature-film, or an indie producer acquiring funding for your next project, Lights, Camera, Sell will teach you how to succeed through strategic sales techniques used by cutting-edge tech startup companies. Walking you through the five stages of the sales process, Alec shows you relevant case studies involving a variety of scenarios in the low-budget independent filmmaking process. Alec will teach you how to:
Prospect a screenwriter and option a feature-length screenplay
Lead a discovery call with a prospective domestic distributor
Demonstrate value with a powerful pitch deck to a financier
Close a deal with a non-union actor by creating an initial talent agreement outline
Resolve conflicts with crew members by understanding the principles of relationship success
Lights, Camera, Sell will debunk the negative myths surrounding salespeople formed by our media and society, reveal best practices on asking the right questions, explain how to present your ideas and services in a compelling way, and more.
Enjoy my conversation with Alec Trachtenberg.
IFH 457: Will Netflix Destroy the Last Blockbuster with Taylor Morden
Many of the tribe know that I spent thousands of hours working in a mom and pop video store throughout my high school years. This is why I'm so excited to bring you today's show. We have Taylor Morden, director, and producer of the nostalgia documentary, The Last Blockbuster (2020).
The Last Blockbuster is a fun, nostalgic feature length documentary film about the rise and fall of Blockbuster video and how one small town store managed to outlast a corporate giant.
In 2017, when Morden started filming the Blockbuster documentary, there were only 13 blockbusters around the United States. You need to listen to him recount the moment he got the idea to produce The Last Blockbuster and all the ways the universe aligned for this project. We talked a great deal about his distribution plan, the challenges indie filmmakers face, and his company PopMotion Pictures.
He also directed Pick It Up!, aSka in the ‘90s chronicles the rise and fall of Third Wave Ska music in the US of the 1990s.
Enjoy my nostalgic conversation with Taylor Morden.
IFH 456: From Indie Docs to the Last King of Scotland with Oscar® Winner Kevin Macdonald
On the show, today is academy award-winning documentary and film director, and producer, Kevin Macdonald. He is one of few directors who dance the line of film and documentary seamlessly. He directed documentaries like Whitney (2018), crowdsourced documentary - Life in a Day (2011), Marley (2012), among others.
He is famously known for his 2006 drama film, The Last King of Scotland, starring Oscar winning best actor, Forest Whitaker. Kevin has made a huge name for himself and his work over his 27 years in the industry - dabbling in commercials, films and documentaries.
As a boy, his granddad, Emeric Pressburger who was a legendary filmmaker in the 1940s lit his passion for filmmaking. When his grandfather passed, Kevin wrote a biography in 1994 about his grandad’s life journey, titled, ‘ The Life and Death of a Screenwriter’, which he later made into a documentary ‘The Making of an Englishman’ (1995). This was the start to him becoming a documentary maker.
In 1999 he directed the Box office hit and Oscar-winning documentary, One Day in September, which is about the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre, featuring a lengthy interview with Jamal Al-Gashey, the last known survivor of the Munich terrorists.
This project catapulted his career big time. He then made the adventure-docudrama, Touching the Void, another critically acclaimed film that won Best British Film at the 2003 BAFTA. The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.
Kevin’s directorial debut on a film was the Oscar® winning, The Last King of Scotland. It is an adaptation of Giles Foden's 1998 novel by the same title. This historical drama which also carries a political thriller genre received riveting reviews and performed exceptionally - both commercially and critically. Forest Whitaker's performance stole the show and earned him an Oscar for Best Actor. This $6million budget film grossed $48.4million at the Box Office and has an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The story details the brutal reign of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin as seen through the eyes of his personal physician. James McAvoy stars as the doctor who slowly realizes that he is trapped in an inescapable nightmare, and Forest Whitaker assumes the role of the notorious despot.
In commemoration of Youtube’s fifth anniversary, Macdonald was hired to direct and produce the very unique film, the Life in a Day (2011) documentary. It was crowdsourced from 80,000 Youtubers and regular people all over the world sharing their life in one day. The film serves as a time capsule to show future generations what it was like to be alive on July 24, 2010. The completed film debuted at Sundance in early 2011
In February of this year, Kevin's latest film, The Mauritanian was released in the US. He explains in this interview that it was a very difficult subject matter to tackle. The entire movie was shot in two locations. Both in South Africa and in Mauritania.
The Mauritanian is a suspense legal-drama based on the 2015 memoir Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Salahi, a true story of Salahi's experience of being held for fourteen years without charge in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The film stars Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Shailene Woodley, and Benedict Cumberbatch.
You going to really enjoy this conversation. We dig into the nitty-gritty of documentary structuring, tales of directing huge movie stars, and navigating the Hollywood machine.
Enjoy my conversation with Kevin Macdonald.
IFH 455: The RAW and Scandalous Truth Behind the Making of Boondock Saints with Troy Duffy
I’m always looking for success stories in the film business to study and analyze. Edward Burns (The Brothers McMullan) Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi), Kevin Smith (Clerks), and Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity) come to mind. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the cult indie film classic The Boondock Saints but many of you might not know the crazy story of its writer and director Troy Duffy.
Well, prepare to get you mind BLOWN. I had an EXCLUSIVE discussion with Troy this week, and let's say, he did not hold back. Nothing was off-limits - from his instant rise to fame to the smeary fate he met - getting blacklisted, all of it. He wanted to set the record straight because there is always another side to the story, and what better side to hear than that of the man who lived this brutal Hollywood adventure?
Of course there is two sides to every story. Troy took full responsibility for what he did and said in the documentary but as I told him editing can be a bitch. The filmmakers amplified the negative, manufactured storylines and really damaged Troy's film career. I mean the film made Troy look insane.
Troy and I dive into the deep end of the pool in this conversation. He revealed things he never had before. We discuss the making of Overnight, his interactions with the now disgraced Harvey Weinstein and where he sees himself going from here.
Enjoy my eye-opening and entertaining as hell conversation with Troy Duffy.
MOTIVATION: Make a Living as a Filmmaker
We all need a kick in the butt sometimes on our filmmaking or screenwriting journey. This show will do just that. Never stop chasing that filmmaking dream. Keep on hustling.
Proud Member of the IFH Podcast Network (ifhpodcastnetwork.com)
IFH 454: Self Distributing Your Indie Film with AltaVOD with Robert Schwartzman
On the show today is LA native, music artist, filmtrepreneur, filmmaker and actor, Robert Schwartzman. Robert comes from a long line of musicians and film talents. He’s related to industry names like Nicolas Cage (cousin), Sophia Coppola (cousin), Jason Schwartzman (brother), Francis Ford Coppola (uncle), etc. Growing up with these influencers, he ultimately went the same route - acting, studying film editing, and directing music videos.
His career tipped slightly towards his passion for musical he became the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the band Rooney.
We did a deep dive into Robert’s newest venture, AltaVOD, a self-distribution platform for feature films. It’s a split structure, direct-to-consumer video-on-demand platform that eliminates the middleman (buyer) to support creators directly. I put Robert to the test and asked him hard questions about AltaVOD and he passed with flying colors.
When he is not building tech companies to help filmmakers, Robert has been known to act a bit. He began his acting career in Sophia Coppola’s short film Lick the Star and her directorial debut The Virgin Suicides. Even though these were Robert’s first acting experiences, he had already learned much about behind-the-camera technical skills. He shadowed and learned from Sophia and other relatives as much as he could.
A clique of school girls devise a secret plan that they code-name "Lick the Star".
The Virgin Suicides is about a group of male friends who become obsessed with five mysterious sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents in suburban Detroit in the mid-1970s.
In 2001, director Gary Marshell offered Roberts a role on box office success, The Princess Diaries as Michael Moscovitz, Lilly's older brother, harbors romantic feelings for Mia (Anne Hathaway).
Mia Thermopolis has just found out that she is the heir apparent to the throne of Genovia. With her friends Lilly and Michael Moscovitz in tow, she tries to navigate through the rest of her sixteenth year.
He's utilized his music career to produce soundtracks for shows like Late Night With Seth Meyers, Pretty Little Liars, Switched At Birthed, Demi Lovato: Live at Wembley Arena, Princess Diaries, and many others.
It was cool chatting with Robert and bringing you guys (tribe) new avenues and resources to share your work cost-effectively.
Enjoy my conversation with Robert Schwartzman.
Preaching the Indie Filmmaking Gospel
Keep it coming.
Why do you have your mouth open as if your screaming?
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.