Movie Money Confidential (2022) Movie Script

[melodic flourish]
[somber music]
I just wanna apologize...
to Mike's mom,
and Josh's mom,
and my mom.
I'm so sorry for everything
that has happened
because, in spite of what
Mike says now, it is my fault.
And it's all because of
me that we're here now,
hungry, cold, and hunted.
I'm scared to close my eyes,
I'm scared to open them.
We're gonna die out here.
[Rick] At the point
that you were hired,
what exactly did
they hire you to do?
They hired me to write
the business plan.
[Rick] What was the
budget for the film
in your business plan?
The budget in the
business plan was $300,000.
[Rick] So let me
get this straight,
you're writing a business plan.
-There's no screenplay,
-there's no movie stars,
-there's no name director,
It's this weird genre,
which is mockumentary,
how the heck do you go
raise $300,000 on that idea?
Very carefully.
The business plan is the
thing that gets people excited
that, why this film
is gonna do well.
[Rick] So when you
were sitting there,
writing this business plan,
did you think, oh my gosh,
"The Blair Witch Project",
this is gonna be the highest
grossing independent film,
ever made, the highest
return on investment,
or did you think,
well, it might work,
what's going through your mind
when you were putting
together the business plan?
It might work [laughs].
One of the things the
filmmakers were aiming for
from the beginning was
for people to believe
that this was a real story.
And what I said to investors
was that the budget
was low enough,
that there was a good chance
that they would at least make
their money back because
everybody who saw it believed it
was a true story.
Sometimes people will ask
me if it was a true story
all these years later,
and I will say no.
And they'll say, who
are you protecting?
[Rick] What was
your top projection
for "The Blair Witch Project"?
My projection for the revenue
was $23 million worldwide.
[Rick] And what did it do?
$350 Million worldwide.
[Rick] So why would
anyone ever hire you
for a business plan?
No. The whole point is that
you wanted to make more.
I've always said if
I was gonna forecast
they will earn $350 million
off a $300,000 film,
they should never hire me.
That would have been insane.
My name is Louise Levison. I'm
a film finance consultant,
and I write business plans
for independent filmmakers.
[Rick] I don't wanna
put words in your mouth,
but in many ways you were
one of the architects
of the entire film since
there was no script, no star,
and you sat down with
a blank piece of paper
and created an entity called
"The Blair Witch Project".
There's a lot,
that's been written,
what we might call "fake
news" or "misinformation"
about the film.
The truth is it was
shot on 16 millimeter.
Well it's super eight and 16.
[Rick] Right. So they had
like a $300,000 budget.
[Rick] There was something
like 89,000 in there,
for the transfer from 16 to 35.
A lot of people
thought they just went
and got a video camera, went
out in the woods, made a movie,
-I know, yeah.
but that was sort of the
big part of the marketing
and the joke.
Which was bumped because
I'm over here on the side.
Yeah, I did that.
But over time, the numbers
that they said the budget was
has even gotten lower.
So that right now,
someone on the internet
is saying that bunch for "The
Blair Witch" was $15,000.
I was like, wow.
[Rick] But the truth is,
as innovative as
it was in concept,
it was a traditional
business plan,
-a traditional budget,
shot the way films are
done traditionally,
-it just pretended not to be.
[Louise] The thing that
filmmakers have to remember
is that you have to make
something you really care about.
You can't say, well, now horror
films make a lot of money
so I'm gonna make a horror film.
It's really hard work.
Even though it looks like,
well, they didn't do much.
It's very, very hard
work raising the money
and making the film itself.
You really don't
wanna be doing that
unless it's something
you really care about.
Because if you don't care,
you're gonna be making
a lousy film anyway,
no matter what it is and
no matter who's in it.
You can have stars in it,
they can't really overcome
a really bad film.
[Rick] "The Blair
Witch" was a cultural
and media and box
office phenomenon.
It was on the cover
of Newsweek and Time.
[Louise] Right.
[Rick] And it was made by
five unknown
regional filmmakers.
[Rick] Do you believe, based
on your experiences, that today,
the same situation
could occur again?
-[slate clapping]
-[upbeat music]
My name is Scott du Pont.
I'm a professional actor
and a film producer.
There's a lot of secrets to
raising money for movies.
The first thing I
think is you gotta have
the right psychology.
Everyone seems to think
that people out there
you're talking to don't
want to give you money
for a high risk investment.
I believe it's the opposite.
I believe every single person
I talked to actually wants
to give me money.
Now, with that said, not
everyone is in the position
to give you money.
There might be
liquidity factors.
There might be a husband
and wife that talk you back,
but I believe you have to
talk to every single person
you run into.
I was working on a movie
many, many years ago,
an Adam Sandler picture
called "The Waterboy".
I'm sitting up in the stands
with 5,000 other extras.
I ended up sitting
right next to this guy.
He had kind of a grungy T-shirt,
he had some holes
in his straw hat,
ended up talking to him
'cause I talk to everyone.
That gentleman, Jeff,
ended up giving me $780,000
for my first feature film.
So, you can never,
ever pre-judge anybody.
[upbeat music]
My name is Maggie
Phillips Pamplin.
I'm a producer, production
designer and artist.
I think the advice
that I would give
to a beginning filmmaker is
to gather a team around you.
I think there's a misconception
that there is one producer
and he or she
brings in the money.
People think that they are not
the ones to raise the money.
I just think anyone can.
Anyone can have a relation
or a friend or acquaintance
or business acquaintance
that can come in
and help bring money
for an independent film.
And you can be part of a team.
You need more than
just yourself.
You need to start
gathering people around
and really have
everyone pitch in
and have everyone have
ownership in that film.
[Scott] This is
extremely important.
I've done this in every
single one of my 12 plus films
over the last 20 years.
The first thing I do
in my production office
is I build what's
called "The Wall".
I literally take
up an entire wall.
Sometime it's 10,
20, 30 feet wide.
And I write different columns
of people that I know.
I start with my family.
In magic marker, write a big
column of family members.
I write St. Andrew's people,
I went to high school
years ago, cousins.
So you have all these
different categories of people.
You start writing
down their names
and you never ever
pre-judge anyone.
[upbeat music]
My name is Rick Pamplin.
I am a screenwriter and a
motion picture director.
I was teaching seminars and
I met a very interesting man
that was distributing
movies direct on video
to places like Blockbuster and
United Artists Pay-Per-View
and Showtime and so I
was one of the pioneers.
My very first film "Provoked"
was made under that
guaranteed distribution
and under that new methodology
of how to make a motion picture.
I just started telling
every single person I knew,
every student, every
faculty person, I said,
I'm making my first
feature film as a director
and I would like
you to invest in it.
And one thing led to another
and eventually we raised
the entire budget.
So we made the
picture for $115,000
and on the figures
that I've seen,
the picture made about
a 50 to one payback.
This small little independent
film with virtually no names,
which was kind of
a feminist diehard.
I love making motion pictures,
I love writing,
I love working with
talented people,
but I hate the concept
of raising money,
asking people for money.
You know, lots of very wealthy
people have told me
that you have to
get over that fear.
So when I needed to raise
larger amounts of money,
I had gotten everybody
I knew to invest
so I at times would bring
in funders or finders
and pay them a
percentage of the money
that they would raise and I've
been very successful at that.
And I prefer to work
through a producer
or an executive producer who
has the skills to raise money.
I think the reason I'm
probably successful
in raising money
is persistence.
I never ever give up.
And one of the reasons
why this producing team
we'd had a lot of trials and
tribulations through the years
and a lot of it
was totally unfair.
I see this movie as redeeming
the partners of this movie.
So I just said, you know,
I'm gonna lock myself
into my office.
If it takes two years,
I'm gonna sit there and make
over a thousand phone calls,
do a thousand meetings
and here we are,
we finally got it funded.
A lot of times when you
raise money in a movie,
it gets a little
bumpy like this ride
and people think they're
going to give you the money.
They sign the contract,
and then they aren't able.
You don't decide what
order your films are made,
your investors
decide in what order
you're going to make your films.
I think there's
something really true:
if you get up in the morning
and you think you will just die,
if you can not get out
and make your own film
and produce your own film.
If you don't think
that every day,
then you might
not be a producer.
But if you get up in the morning
and all you're thinking
about is how to make a film
and how to get your
film out there,
then you're probably
a film producer.
I had the great fortune
of directing a film
with Ernest Borgnine, Academy
Award Winner, living legend,
over 200 motion pictures.
I had group of investors
who came to the set,
saw me make the movie,
the movie opened in theaters.
The movie was nominated
on the Ballot for
the Directors Guild,
the Academy Awards and
people got very excited.
And one of those people was
the great artist, Borgnine
who said, kid, you're done
making little pictures.
Let's make bigger pictures.
We had all kinds of
stars calling us,
knocking on my door
at Universal Studios,
wanting to come in
and be in my movies.
You know, we really try to
communicate with investors.
I try to always be responsive,
but sometimes investors
become, you know, abusive.
My son came up with an idea
called "Crime Busters",
which was basically little
meets the police academy.
So, we designed "Crime Busters"
as the most commercial film
I could ever make that would
be an instant slam dunk
and we would make the film
and then we would go on to
making more artistic films,
more representative of
what I wanted make here.
Here I am 10 years later, I've
been smeared on the internet.
I've had my life threatened.
I've had people sue me simply
because it's taking too long
to raise the production funds.
I had very dark, terrible
thoughts, but faith
and a great wife saved my life
and my revenge is
making this movie.
I'm not dead.
You haven't destroyed me.
You haven't bankrupted me.
I'm still gonna make
"Crime Busters".
I'm still gonna make
the other two films
and I'm gonna make this film.
The best people I've ever
met at fundraising in my life
are in this motion picture
and I'm so thrilled
so I'd rather let
them talk about it.
[soft music]
Yeah. I think this
is a great business, I mean.
It's full of heartache,
and all those cliche things.
You're gonna get
beat up pretty good
but still, it's a
wonderful business
because you're...
What are you giving? Joy.
Hopefully a few laughs or
hopefully you scare somebody
or whatever the hell
you're trying to do
in your picture.
It's a wonderful,
wonderful thing.
[Rick] Did you ever try
to raise money for films
or did you have to?
No, I never did.
I never liked that idea.
I wouldn't be good at it.
[Rick] What's the secret of
getting a project funded?
Is there a secret either in
Hollywood or as an independent?
Well, you got a script that
is a commercial script.
Commercial in the sense that
it's got the things in it
that people wanna go see.
[Rick] What advice would
you give to a young director
starting out today?
Find something that's good,
that you believe in,
that you'll fight for.
Don't let them tell you
how to make your movie,
you make your movie.
[Rick] Where does
Hollywood get their money?
[Louise] Hollywood gets their
money from banks.
[Rick] What's your
take when people say
that Jews run Hollywood?
Does it offend you?
Does it not offend you?
It offends me because
if anything goes wrong,
it's like, let's blame the Jews,
which since I've grown up
before, it was the original cry.
When anything was going wrong,
it's let's blame the Jews.
But I don't think it's...
I think at one time it was true.
I don't think it's
so true anymore.
If you look at who all
the executives are.
[Rick] Conversely
then, is it easier
for a Jewish filmmaker
to make a film than--
No. No. It's a
money driven thing.
[Rick] Is it easier for
a liberal to make a film
than a non liberal?
No, that's another thing.
You know, oh yeah
nobody likes my idea
because those
people are liberal.
Now we're talking
about Hollywood,
and we're talking about
see, independent's
a whole 'nother place.
[Rick] Is it easier as a
white male to get a film made?
Probably, yeah.
[Rickie] Harder as a female?
[Rick] Harder as a minority?
Yes, definitely.
[Rick] But I think
that's changing.
Yeah. No, I know it is.
And again, it really
changes more from people
starting with independent films
because they just need to,
they can start
with small films.
They can just find people
who believe in their film,
put it together and make a film
and once they're successful,
when you're telling
about studios,
then again, they're right,
they don't care who you are
as long as they're
gonna make money.
Yeah. I think I know
what's commercial
and you may hate that word,
but you have to have a
little bit of that sprinkled
around in the screenplay.
[Rick] What do you think
of the movies today?
Not much.
[Rick] Why?
Well, I see them trying
to be commercial,
trying to, what do we do to
make this picture make money?
Well, let's see.
We can have some bare boobs.
We can have...a rape scene
or we could have
a comedian say wisecracks
for the whole movie.
My name is Russell Cardinal.
I am a location manager.
Well, I think Los Angeles,
everybody wants to get
something for nothing.
You know, when I
first went out there,
I went to a lot of potential
opportunities out there
and they all expect you to
work for free when you're young
or you don't have a, you
know, really strong IMDB.
Well, Los Angeles is an
expensive place to live.
Very difficult to get around.
Everybody's always late,
very difficult to stay
professional out there.
There is a lot of greed
and a lot of cutthroat
and stealing of ideas I believe
but there's also the
greatest people in the world.
The most talented
people behind the scenes
and it's a really great place.
I want them to understand
that when you go to New York,
whether it's for a
year or two years.
Two years, better than one.
And then you go to LA,
you're a New York actor.
[Rick] And is it because
of the stage work
that they would maybe do
off Broadway do stage?
They'll do off Broadway
and they'll do...
Also, there's a network
with New York actors.
That's very important.
If they don't have
any other place,
certainly not in Hollywood.
In Hollywood they're out
to, you know, find out
where the next party is or
what whatever's going on
but then it's not
about the work.
Whereas in New York,
it's about the work.
But you still believe they
need to go to New York?
I do.
And then from New
York to Hollywood?
Yes, the last time I was on
Broadway, I was in a play.
It was a good little play.
There were five of us and
we were all newcomers.
And I remember
Richard Watts said,
"we hope these young people
"don't go to Hollywood."
I left the next
day for Hollywood.
[Rick] What is wrong with you?
What possesses you to do this?
You have to do it.
If you wanna be a
legitimate film producer,
or if you're a
writer and you want,
if you're frustrated
with some big studio
picking up your script,
if you're a director and you
want to direct something,
sooner or later if you or
your team of people with you,
don't talk to every
single person you run into
or if you don't ask for money,
you're not gonna have any money.
And whether you're a writer,
whether you're a director,
whether you're a producer,
any end of the business,
if you want your project
to get out there,
it's very unlikely
that some studio,
oh, we love that script out
of the hundreds and hundreds
of scripts we're
getting in Hollywood,
we'll just pick yours.
Or if you're a director and
you're trying to break through,
the quickest, easiest
way to make it,
especially in the independent
world, is just talk to people
and get your own money.
I mean, the equipment's
a lot smaller,
it's a lot cheaper.
There's all these new platforms.
It's never been
easier to distribute,
but it all starts
with the money.
If you don't have the money,
there is no movie
so it's that simple.
[soft music]
[audience applauding]
So I wanna ask you guys
a couple of questions.
How many people here wanna
make motion pictures,
make movies?
Okay. How many people wanna
write movies, be screenwriters?
Raise your hand.
How many people wanna be
directors, direct a movie?
How many of you
wanna act, be actors?
Okay. Let's talk to
you guys about things
that you're interested in.
Hi, I'm Alex Hassig.
Do you think it's important
to go to school for acting
or do you think it's
easier just to go to school
for something else and
then find opportunities
around cities and such?
Great question.
I think when you leave here,
wherever you go, undergraduate,
if you wanna study theater
acting, I think that's great.
I didn't.
I was actually an
economics major.
I fell into my passion
for acting later,
but I think whatever you do,
you also need to take
some business classes
to take some
marketing classes,
to be very, very
I became the busiest,
most working actor
in the entire
state of Florida.
And I'm not a great actor,
but I knew how to market myself
and I knew how to network.
So I think all that stuff
is really, really important.
What's your name?
Brendan Asaf.
I was wondering, for
a junior director,
what you think might be
the best place to start,
for example, would it be a
good idea to try directing
in theater before directing
and film or television
or are these mediums
entirely different
from one another?
Theater and motion pictures
are two different
mediums completely.
Number one, you've gotta
have a sample of your work,
a student film.
Number two, it helps
if you're a writer,
if you have a spec script
and number three, I
think assistant directing
is a great way to
learn, to get in,
to really learn your craft.
Grace Sodie.
So as an aspiring screenwriter,
there's always this fear
that you're just rewriting
as you reference
the same one story
that's been done
over and over again.
How do you overcome that?
I'll tell you one
way to avoid it.
I've had people come to me with
stories that are essentially
"The Blair Witch
in a Submarine",
"The Blair Witch on Mars"
and I keep trying to tell
them "The Blair Witch"
has already been made.
You don't wanna remake
somebody else's film.
You can learn the
format and the technique
in about an hour but you've
got to open up your heart.
There's a great quote
by an old sports writer
named Red Barber.
He said, writing is easy.
You just take a razor
blade and cut open a vein
and bleed on the page.
And having faith is
not having any fear.
And you need to be
bold as a filmmaker,
you need to say things that
other people aren't saying.
If you wanna make a
film, almost always
there's some good that
somebody wants to do.
Don't get corrupted
by the money.
Don't get corrupted by Hollywood
or the fake propaganda.
Make that film.
[soft music]
Angela Lodato.
I teach film studies
and broadcasting
at Saint Andrew's School.
In film studies what I
love to do is analyze film
in ways that students
don't think to
in terms of screenwriting,
in terms of music cues,
in terms of what actually
puts a film together
in ways that can make
an audience empathize
with characters.
Not in terms of
what's entertainment,
but in terms of what can
actually reach an audience,
what can actually
touch an audience?
[Rick] What kind of films
to the students talk about
wanting to make?
We watch a lot of dialogue films
and we watch a lot of older
films with a slower pace.
Prior to coming in,
all they can think about
is action and something
that is pure entertainment.
After taking some of the courses
that I teach and learning
how you can touch an audience
through deep emotion,
they start talking about how
to find their own inner voice
and start expressing
it in that fashion
rather than just flesh.
Some of them really are
appreciating independent films.
And what they like about them
is that they're more accessible.
Particularly if you look at
all the female objectification
that has gone on since the
beginning of print media
and now of course we're
seeing so much of it now
with male objectification.
A lot of them are starting
to rebel against it,
which I'm happy to see.
So they're starting to think
more about independent films
and by which they
can create films
that are using more real
people, if you will,
and just reflecting
more of human nature
the way it really is.
I'm Ty Hammer.
Does all of your advice
and more extreme ideas
also apply to television and
all of its respective jobs?
You wanna work in television?
Aim high.
I went to prep school.
I went to this school
called Cranbrook.
They always pounded in our
heads, aim high aim, high.
Shoot for movies
and if you fail,
you can always
work in television.
All right.
-Never start in television.
-[Louise laughing]
If you start in
you're gonna
end up I don't know,
selling oranges in the
freeway or something.
My name is Nikita.
You mentioned few times
writing business plans
for motion pictures and it's
an interesting path for me
that I would like to consider.
Is there any advice
that you could give me,
what majors to take along
with finance or business
that would help me start up?
Finance and business is good.
I worked in other
businesses for 20 years
before I got into film and
I've been doing this for 30.
So I like to say that I
graduated from college
when I was six in case
everybody can add.
Yes. Ma'am, what's your name?
I'm Avery Stark.
How do you come up with the
ideas for films, characters,
and ideas for issues
inside the movie
to make it long enough?
I was hiking up the
Hollywood Hills,
with one of my
business partners,
a place called
Runyon Canyon.
This was, God, probably
10 or 12 years ago.
And we came back down the hill,
in the parking lot there was
this brand new Tesla Roadster
and a bunch of us had
seen this documentary
a couple of years prior called
"Who Killed the Electric Car?"
which is a really provocative,
interesting edgy film.
So we're sitting there,
within 10 minutes this guy,
the owner showed up,
he had 30 people crowded around
his car asking questions.
"You mean it runs on no gas?"
"How do you plug it in?"
"How far does it go?"
So we got back in
our fossil fuel car
and we looked at
each other and said,
someone's gotta make a
movie about these new cars
that we thought at that
point were coming out.
We took a big gamble
with our investors
but we had a pretty good inkling
that in the next two years,
the market was going to be
flooded with electric cars
and thank God every
single car company
now has different plugin models.
So that's how that whole
documentary came about.
It's just a story that
had to be told.
Hi, I'm Jenny Hemmer.
Personally, I want to
get into like costuming
and makeup stuff for
film and theater.
And do you have any advice
on getting my work out there
as a costumer?
Yes. Work on everybody's
student films, build your reel,
learn your craft and
you'll be very in demand
and I expect to hire you
in a couple years.
-Thank you.
-My name is Tim Lerr.
-Yes, sir.
So in a short summary,
what would you
advise on how to make
your potential investor
care about your project?
You put together a business
plan that shows him
what a wonderful project it is.
Like what would you put
in your business plan?
The most important things
that are gonna make him care
are gonna be the
story, the audience,
and then all those numbers
I was talking about
that are at the end.
You have other things
you have to put in there
that are just business things.
But basically the story has...
He has to care, or she has
to care, about the story.
If they don't care
about the story,
then they're not gonna
care about the money.
After that then they
worry about the money.
You've gotta start with a story
that you're passionate
about like Rick said.
And then after that, I really
think it's a numbers game.
So getting back to what
is the electric car,
I called up hundreds
and hundreds of people.
A lot of people said no.
And then I made a phone call
to an old fraternity brother.
I went to Rollins
College and he said,
wow, you're making a
documentary about electric cars?
Next thing you know,
he came on board
as the executive producer.
So sometimes it's about
just reaching enough people,
it's gonna spark with one person
who puts up most of the money.
[soft music]
I've been teaching
here for 26 years
and what I find fascinating
is that something happens
to a student when they have
a camera in their hand.
They find that they're
able to speak in a way
that they never did before.
I had a student once, I'm
going back maybe 12 years ago.
Great guy, but he was just
always sort of on the wrong side
of the administration,
if you will,
in terms of discipline issues.
And we used to
talk after school,
and I remember one
time I asked him,
can you describe yourself to me?
He couldn't do it.
But I gave him a
camera and I said,
could you do it with a camera?
The next day he came
back to me with an image
that I still remember.
It was his shadow on the ground.
And he put as half
smoke cigarette on it.
He just threw it down.
He stepped on it
and he walked away.
Go put that into words.
Do you, tell your students
that they can incorporate
-their faith into film?
Absolutely, absolutely.
Nothing is off limits if
it's deep in your soul
and you want to express
it, even just for yourself,
as a catharsis, go
right ahead and do it.
Nothing's off limits.
It seems like this would
be a really tough time
to be a kid, to be growing up.
And this is kind of
a loaded question,
but are the kids all right?
They're facing
challenges and situations
that I never
experienced in my life.
In terms of whether
they're all right,
it's hard to say.
If you take, for example,
just even coming to school
and feeling safe in terms
of the violence in schools,
the school shootings.
When they talk to me I
always just try to be quiet
and still and listen.
And they're expressing anxieties
that I never experienced.
So when I hear their choices
of music, books, entertainment,
I understand why they're
gravitating towards
the harder edgier things.
I think it's expressing
what they're feeling inside.
Are they okay?
I think they can be,
they just need guidance.
They just need to learn how
and it's finding that
still inner voice,
that deep character within them,
whether it be faith
in themselves,
faith in a higher
power, whatever it is,
they just need guidance.
Hi, I'm Samantha.
And I was just wondering
if there were any times
when you felt like giving up
and like how you overcame that?
Yes. I've been very
depressed at times.
I've lived in my car.
I've been broke.
I've had people slander
me on the internet
because when I cast a
movie and I audition
a hundred actors and
99, don't get it,
they like to write
bad things about me.
I have anonymous people
that are jealous of me,
it's very hurtful but I
have bigger fish to fry.
I have bigger stories to tell.
And I think that if you look
at what happened to Jesus
or what happened to the Gandhi
or what happens to anybody
who advocates something
in our society, in our world,
sometimes, you know,
they're vilified.
And I just think you
have to be strong.
I go through a lot of periods
where just no one wants to do it
and you just really
learn to get through it.
A lot of people have
mentioned going to Hollywood.
You do not have to
go to Hollywood.
There's films being made
all over this country
besides other parts of the world
and you can be an actor,
you can be a director,
you can be a producer,
you can be in the
business I'm in, whatever,
without ever going to Hollywood.
Hi, my name is Colin Vinny
and I am an actor
at Saint Andrew's
and I was just wondering where
I could go or what I could do
to start transitioning
from the high school stage
into more films and more
professional things.
I heard that Tom Cruise,
when he first started out,
worked on 50 student
and short films.
So when I first started I
wanted to transition away
from commercials.
Up in Orlando,
where I was living
there was eight
full-time film schools,
including Full
Sail, UCF, Valencia.
I did over 50 student films.
Mostly on the weekends.
So I really wasn't
giving up a lot of income
and that's really how
I polished my craft.
I had a reel and I got the
respect and I was networking
and then from there, that's
kind of spring-boarded
my whole film career out
of those short films.
Yes, sir, what's your name?
Tristan Moss.
What's your favorite film?
That's too hard to decide.
"Napoleon Dynamite", isn't it?
[audience applauding]
I like that film.
So my question is, I
was just wondering like,
if you have a short film what
would be the very first thing
that you would do to make
your work more well known?
If you can, if it's not too
far go to a film festival.
I've gone to
Sundance for 30 years
and I keep telling people
now that's a more
expensive track to take,
but I learned so much early on.
I was already trying
to do what I did,
but nobody knew who I was.
I didn't have a book out and
I started going to Sundance
and talking to people.
That's the biggest thing,
is send your film
into film festivals
and get the experience
of knowing how to do it.
-Ok, thank you.
-[Rick] All right.
Thanks so much.
There's somebody else.
Yes, sir?
And your name is?
Hi, I'm Will Hagan.
Hi, Will.
I just really wanna know
what is yourfavorite movie?
-My favorite movie?
-And why?
Well, when I'm really
depressed "Citizen Kane",
and when I'm depressed and
don't wanna be depressed,
"It's a Wonderful Life".
Those are probably
my two favorites.
In the old days there
were great role models,
men and women of character
and today it seems
more exploitative
and it seems harder
to find role models.
Do you see a yearning at
all for the kids for that?
Interestingly enough, I
do see it when I show them
some of the older films.
They identify with
the older films
in a way in which I
never thought they would.
And when we have the
class discussions,
I hear them identify
with the role models,
to which you're referring.
So, yeah, I do.
They may be absent
in the present films,
but they now know
where to find them
in some of the older films.
Are you hopeful
enough and optimistic
that this new generation
will create movies
that will provide moral
leadership, role models?
I think I'm optimistic in the
sense that there is starting to,
I think, be a backlash
of all the violence
that they're seeing.
I mean, look today on campus,
we just had a demonstration
against the gun violence
that just took place
and the school shooting
that happened a
little while ago
only 30 minutes
away from here.
I think what the kids need
to do is not just deal
with the externals networking
so on and so forth.
That's wonderful.
I think they need to learn how
to develop an inner strength.
They need to learn how to
identify with who they are
and that's something that's
truly missing in our society
and I think that needs to go
hand in hand with the external.
While we're rolling I
just wanna say that,
this is an extraordinary
experience today.
This school, you really,
really went to bat for us.
This might've been the
most important interview
we've done in the movie.
I love you, I salute you,
you are a courageous person.
You're a leader.
You're a person of
faith and you gave us
a great blessing today.
I wanna thank you.
-[crew applauding]
-Thank you.
You're awesome.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
It's a difficult time
to be growing up.
It is, you know it is.
You can see what's going on
around you in this community.
You can change a lot of that.
You can do things better.
Do not squander the
opportunity you have here.
Soak in every bit of
knowledge you can get
from this institution,
from your faculty,
from your classmates and
realize the power that you have.
Every one of you is significant.
Every one of you is
here for some purpose,
a purpose greater than
what you may think.
As a kid I went
out to Hollywood
and I let Hollywood
convince me otherwise
and I learned to
play their games.
You don't have to do that.
Make a better world.
God bless you, thank
you for coming.
[audience applauding]
[upbeat music]
My name is Nichole
Weaver Hanson,
and my occupation is
Entertainment Attorney.
First of all, it's
a good idea to hire
an entertainment attorney
because entertainment attorneys
know the ins and outs
of the financial aspects
that are involved
with investors.
You have SEC complications
to look into,
you have various states
with different regulations
to look into.
So it's important to
note, to have somebody
who knows the ins and outs
and the possible pitfalls
that you can fall into as an
investor and as a producer.
Best advice I could
give a producer
from an entertainment
attorney standpoint
would be to make
sure that they have
their contracts written
correctly for their investors
to make sure that they have
all the state regulations
and the federal
regulations taken care of
because there's not
just the civil aspect
of somebody's
money being taken.
In other words, that you could
sue me if I was a producer,
it's also that there are
federal issues involved
and you can also have federal
charges and state charges
brought against you
if you don't handle film
investors money correctly.
My name is Richard
Troutman and I go by Rick.
I'm an attorney here in
Winter Park, Florida.
And I think so long as the
person raising the money
finds people who can
understand that language,
that they're probably
gonna lose all their money,
they are aware of the high risk
and they signed that document
knowing what they're signing,
I can't imagine how the
producers of the movie
or the people that raised
the money for the movie,
could have any
legal liability.
I don't think people that
are giving money to a film
really think of
it as a business.
I don't think a business
plan is that helpful
because I think they realize
that it's it's high risk
hopefully with the
chance that if it hits,
if it gets popular
and people watch it,
then they're gonna make,
you know, a lot of money
and they probably shouldn't
put more money in it
than they could easily lose
and not lose any sleep over it.
My name is Kevin Dinneen
and after graduating
from the Wharton School
I spent the majority
of my career
as a real estate
investor and attorney.
I think a business
plan is very important
but I do think it's
much more difficult
in the movie business
than in others
because I don't think
anybody candidly knows
what's gonna catch on and
what your gross is gonna be.
You know, I think it's the
same as in any investment,
a previous track record
and a person who really
has a little
consciousness of budget
to keep the costs
out of control,
because even a great movie,
if the budget's three times
what it's supposed to be,
isn't gonna do much
return for the investor.
I think you better have
a little fun in it too.
And I think you better sort
of believe in the project
and that even if the movie
doesn't make a fortunate,
at least you're proud
that you were part of it.
[soft, exciting music]
[Rick] Let's talk
about Salma Hayek.
How did that come
about in "The Prophet"?
Kahlil Gibran was considered
one of the most popular poets,
in a sense, behind
He lived in the Middle East
and then he moved
here and taught
and he wrote this
book, "The Prophet",
which were essays on life.
And they took this book
and decided to make it
into an animated film and
had a different animator
animate each
chapter in the book
the way they saw that chapter.
It's a terrific film.
It was a fascinating
way to do it.
I wrote the business plan
and it was a gentleman
who'd been in my
UCLA extension class,
who was the executive producer
on the film, Will Nex,
who then called me and hired
me to do the business plan.
[Rick] And how did Salma
Hayek become involved?
She became another
executive producer.
She was a fan of
Kahlil Gibran's writings
and she helped raise
the money for the movie.
You can not even begin to
imagine how difficult it was
to try to...
It's a film that
breaks all the rules.
[Salma] Yes, there were many
times where I said,
what, am I crazy?
What was I thinking?
But whatever happens with
the film, every headache,
it's been worth it because
I am very proud of the film
and for the people
who have seen it.
There's been
people who tell me
it is the most inspiring film
I've ever seen in my life.
Maybe not for everyone.
Not everybody wants to seek for
the best silent side of them
and not everybody wants
to remember to be a child.
Not everybody wants to have
a moment with themselves
as they have a good time
but for the people who do,
there's nothing
out there like it.
And this is for them.
[Upbeat, vocal music]
You're gonna be all right.
[Man] My crime, poetry.
As a Lebanese woman,
as a Mexican woman.
What's misunderstood
in general
is that we have to look at
individuals as individuals.
We have to create art pieces
that make people remind
themselves of how precious
we all are and give them
the courage to explore
their uniqueness so we can
find new ways of thinking,
so we can change the world.
I hope the film makes people
curious about their perception
about the Middle
Eastern people.
Yeah. And particularly
when it comes from you,
because everybody knows you.
You're well known
around the world.
And so when you come,
and I loved it in Cannes,
you stood up and you said,
I'm also an Arabic
Lebanese actress,
not only Mexican.
It's true.
That means a lot to
people to understand
that even sometimes...
I'm proud.
Proud of me.
[upbeat music]
Greg Hopner, I'm
the founder and CEO
of the G-Star School of the
Arts and G-Star studios.
[Rick] Let's go back to
when you were a producer,
did you ever invest
in a motion picture?
Yeah, that's how I
got into the business.
I was actually working
with Burt Reynolds
up at the Burt
Reynolds Theater
and I was around a lot of movie
stars and I was doing hair.
I was a hairdresser back then
and a bunch of people
in the movie industry
were there obviously
all the time.
And they came up to
me one day and said,
do you wanna be a
producer on a movie?
And I said "yeah,
great, what do I do?"
And they said, "well,
the producer comes up
with all the money."
I said, "oh really?"
"So you want me to
put up money?"
"Yeah, sure." So I did.
And I found out later
that wasn't true.
My name is Alistair Hunt.
I have almost 10 years of film
and television
production experience
from on-set
production assistant
and a assisting with two or
three production companies
in all aspects of production.
I am trying to be a
independent filmmaker
and I can tell you that as
I have tried to raise funds
for my projects and
colleagues' projects,
it has been by far the biggest
challenge and undertaking
I've ever considered.
[Rick] And why is that?
Rejection [laughs nervously].
[Rick] Do you ever
regret pursuing
the motion picture
business as a vocation?
I absolutely don't
regret pursuing
the motion picture
industry, the ups and downs,
the good times, the bad
times have been fabulous.
[upbeat music]
I'm Jon Zietz, I'm
a producer director
and president of
Think Visual Group.
Almost every project I did in
middle school and high school
was a film, some kind of short.
So I loved it.
I knew that's what I
wanted to do with my life,
but, at the same time it
needed to be practical
and I went to the
University of Florida
where I majored in finance.
I took every film,
media studies,
every film course they had,
my parents always encouraged
me to follow my dreams
but also have something
to fall back on.
And so, while I was
going to school,
while I was getting
that degree,
I would come home on the
weekends, summer breaks
and work on first a short film
and eventually a
feature length film.
We created a feature
length independent film
on a $3,000 budget.
I wrote, produced and directed
the movie with a friend
and fellow filmmaker and
that experience ended up
being the film school
that we both never had.
I like to call it a
psychological drama.
A kid who's in college finds
out that his twin brother
who he always thought
was dead and had died
when he was younger, he's
actually still alive.
There's a lot of twists
and turns in there,
but essentially
that's what it is.
A feature length psychological
drama, very independent.
[Rick] And what happened
to this $3,000 feature film?
So we had a big premiere
for the film locally
at Cinema Paradiso.
It was part of a couple
of small film festivals.
And eventually we actually
secured a distribution deal.
Went through the entire
process of packaging it
and getting it ready
for distribution
only to have about a year
later the distribution company
actually go out of business.
My name is Sadie Cabrera.
I'm a co-founder of Think
Visual Group and I serve as DP.
Well, I can trace it
back to high school.
I was in a school where
they had a magnet program
and they had the largest
broadcasting studio,
back in 1996.
And so my, my background,
you could say that
it was broadcasting.
And immediately after that one
of my teachers hooked me up
with a company that was...
They would shoot
events, social events.
I started with that and
built basically a business
or a little bit over 10
years, like 13 years.
And it was something
that, it taught me a lot.
Eddie and I first met
each other in 2001
and actually the
funny thing about it
is the night that we met,
we made an award-winning
short film.
And so we worked together on
a number of other projects
through the years but we
didn't fully join forces
until after 2007.
And ultimately what
prompted that was a trip
that we took to
the Grand Canyon.
What? Wow. if we fall, we die.
And we just decided that
let's take this trip
and let's try to
formulate something
and come up with the start of
what it's gonna take for us
to fulfill our dreams.
[upbeat music]
We, at the time, had very
troublesome relationships
and I think it was almost
like a spiritual thing
that we wanted to
go all the way down
and I guess bury
those relationships--
[both] Leave them at the
bottom of the Grand Canyon.
December 29th, '07,
we're inside the Grand
Canyon, it's very cold.
We still have like four
and a half miles to go.
I gotta go back
to try to sleep.
[upbeat music]
Well, we have that
energy, nature,
-getting spirit accomplished.
-Spiritual adventure.
-It's very spiritual.
Very much a
rejuvenating trip.
Exactly what it needs
to end the year right.
[Eddie] End the year, right.
Look at this scenery.
Once we were there, we
realized it was like,
look, we both wanna get to
the entertainment industry.
We wanna make films.
We had a realization there.
We said, we're gonna leave
our past lives behind
and we are going to
concentrate full force
on how we're
going to make it
into the entertainment
how we're going to
realize our dreams.
But we also realized we're
not going to do it quickly.
We'd already learned when you
try to do something too quick,
that's typically when you fail.
We both agreed that it would
take us at least a decade
to transition our company from
corporate to entertainment.
In fact, it has been,
-10 years now.
-10 years, yeah.
Almost exactly 10
years right now
and we're finally
producing this feature
which is 15 years after
we produced that last one.
My name is Kujaatele Kweli.
Most of the people in the
industry called me Kooge.
I'm an empowerment educator.
I'm a producer, I'm a
director and I'm a writer.
Filmmaking is both
an art, a science,
and it's also a business.
And if you're not prepared
to excel in all three areas,
this isn't the
business for you.
What are they interested in?
There are people that
are interested in
not eating animals,
not killing animals
and wearing them for clothes.
There are people
that are interested
in this whole immigration
struggle that's taking place.
There are a lot of
people interested in
various political issues.
So what you want
to do is put together
a community of interests.
Number one, I teach
that you have to have
a compelling story.
Content is king.
So if you don't have that, it
doesn't make any difference
what you're pitching.
It's got to be good.
Then you've got to be able
to tell that story well
or you can have a
compelling topic,
but you don't know
how to tell it well.
And telling it well means
telling it visually.
I had hair salons and I got
divorced and it was a mess
and I had to sell them all
off in one thing or another
and pennies on the dollar
and I wound up being
absolutely broke.
All I owned, and at
that point I had a,
I don't know if anybody
remembers a Geo,
but it was a little car.
It was this big.
Everything I owned
fit in the Geo,
including my clothes, a computer
and I had a two drawer
file cabinet in it also.
You know, I was just broke
and I was cutting hair
and I thought, well, this
is the end of my life.
I, you know, I'm not making
any money, hardly gotten here,
I don't have any skills.
What do I do?
And I, in the
middle of the night,
I woke up and I thought about
my son whom I love dearly
and he's here now with me,
but he was six years
old at the time
and I wanna do
something for him.
And he loves when we
were doing movies,
he was always on set and
he loved running around
and doing all that
kind of stuff.
So I said, I'll start a
small little video program
for him at least make him
happy and I'll call it G-Star
'cause his name is Gregory.
So it would be Gregory
and then the star
that would stand for
students in the arts.
I went and started a summer camp
for middle school
students and we turned out
a little half-hour video
cassette format show,
we finished it and darn
if PBS didn't pick it up.
And that show lasted
four years on PBS.
[Rick] What advice would
you give young filmmakers,
just getting started looking
to raise funds for movies?
I was taught to,
don't ask for money.
If you ask for money
you'll get advice,
you ask for advice,
you'll get some money.
[upbeat music]
Somebody came up to me and said,
you should start a school,
a charter school literally.
And I said, what do
I want to school for?
And what's a charter school.
So anyway, I went down
to the school district
to sign up for this thing
and they wound up
giving me a school.
And I walked out the door
and I had a piece of paper
and I went, oh, I think I
really made a mistake here.
And six months later, we opened.
We opened with 156 kids.
So I knew I was in profit.
So each year we added
more kids and more kids
and now we have
over a thousand here
and we built our soundstage.
We started doing other
things and it just grew
into a full regular
motion picture studio.
We wanna change certain
things that we see
that are wrong or
not being done right
and put them in the most
beautiful form of art
that I believe the world has
ever seen, which is filmmaking.
You get to play with all
the spectrum of things that,
you know, from sound,
lighting, camera work,
through all of the different
arts that have existed
and we get to play with them.
So it it's phenomenal.
I think there is no end because
ultimately I'm hoping that
the films I make
will live on forever
and that is
ultimately my legacy.
I believe that the power
is there in filmmaking
and in film to do that.
You can change the
world with what we do.
[upbeat music]
[upbeat music continues]
My name is Kim Karel Zink
and I'm a Senior Account
Manager here at Production Hub.
Production Hub is an online
directory at its core.
We're a global network of
local crew and vendors.
Production Hub is a resource
for kind of both sides
of the supply and demand chain.
We work with people that
are looking for crew,
vendors, freelancers facilities
for any of their production,
post production
live event needs
and then we work
with the people
that provide those services.
My tips for people that are
trying to finance and get money
for their own film is to ask.
If you don't ask
you, don't get.
I think a lot of people
passively ask these days.
I think there are great tools
for that with social media
and Kickstarter
and it's wonderful,
but focus in on specific
people and ask them.
It's just like sales.
You're trying to
sell your product.
You're trying to sell yourself
and have people believe
in you and invest in you
and your film and your project.
So ask them directly.
If they say, no, that's only
going to help you move on
to the next person.
So just ask them, just come
right out up, you know,
everyone, call them.
Pick up a phone and call them.
If they say no, they say no,
but it's gonna be very hard
for someone to say, no,
if they've been asked directly.
People will have no
problem ignoring, you know,
a social post or an email
but if you pick up the
phone and call someone,
I bet you'll get a yes,
I bet you get something.
My name is Jenelle Jordan.
I'm a Production Manager
at Production Hub.
We work with folks that
call in or, you know,
fill out our web form
and find out their needs,
their budgets and then help
in any part of the process.
You know, whether it's
just finding the cameraman
and handing off the
information or, you know,
helping out with call sheets
or scheduling,
visits to studios, site visits,
event logistics,
anything like that.
For filmmakers
trying to raise money
my first go-to,
you know, resource
is always your
local government.
So whether it's a film
office or film commissioner
or your local
representatives, you know,
see if there is any
incentives locally.
If not, you know, start
researching grants.
You'd be surprised
by the amount of,
even small couple
thousand dollars grants.
But that adds up
every little bit helps.
And then, you have
great things like GoFundMe,
philanthropic, different
for documentaries
and stuff like that.
So there are a lot of
different resources.
Use your local
resources and network
and build relationships
with people.
Don't try and do
everything online.
Even though we are, a very
internet focused world,
meet people face to
face, go to trade shows.
You never know who
you're gonna meet,
what you're gonna win.
I've met so many people that
win cameras and equipment
at trade shows
because they go in
and they put their name
in and they come back
and there's a drawing
and there you go.
And support those
local organizations.
They need your support too.
You don't know how
you can help them
later on down the road.
There might be people that are
looking to do the same thing
that you're trying to do
and meeting up with them,
collaborating, joining
forces that might
be the secret ingredient to
getting you where you want to go
with your project, with
your career as a whole.
My name is Ken Hickman.
I have raised millions of
dollars for the movies.
After 20 years in California,
I knew a lot of the movie
people and a lot of the actors
and a lot of the
producers I ran with them.
I would never
invest in a movie.
Last thing I would ever do.
I moved to Orlando to
expand our insurance company
and I met some fellows
from Universal.
They kept after me for about
a year to invest in a movie
and I just wouldn't have
anything to do with that.
But we became good friends
and after about a year,
I went home one night and
I told my wife, I said,
these guys are different.
They have a passion
I've never seen before
for the movie business.
And I said, I'm gonna
take a small plunge.
And I did during a premier.
I was so impressed, again,
with the drive and the passion
and the professionalism.
And they asked me to help
them out to raise some money
and I got involved.
We had some successes and 20
years later, still involved.
Well, basically I've
raised a lot of money.
Primarily I've raised money
from either the federal
or the local government.
I've raised money, for example,
from the Department of Justice,
for anti-drug
prevention campaigns,
from their Orlando
Tech Health department,
for teenage
pregnancy prevention.
I raised money from foundations
for a documentary series
on resident ownership
of public housing.
Most students and people want
to go get money from, is the
actual worst place
to get money from.
And that is people
in the industry,
people in Hollywood,
they don't have money.
They may have contacts but
they're not gonna put money
into your project.
Oddly enough, the
place to get money
is from people that
don't have luxury jobs
in the entertainment business.
Most investors honestly
come from your friends
and associates.
Essentially, this is the
key to raising money.
First, you establish
and then you ask people
that you have relationships
for money.
See, opportunities
are plentiful.
Money is plentiful.
Relationships are rare.
I'm Jeanette Bliss,
and I'm a realtor.
I'm Tom bliss and I
am also a realtor.
[Rick] How would
you characterize
the whole business of
fundraising for movies?
I would look at it as
more of an opportunity
to invest money and be
sure that they understand
the rules of the game.
[Rick] Is different selling
a piece of real estate
versus selling someone
an interest in a movie?
I don't think so.
Everybody's got a hot button
and you need to find it,
whether it's real estate or
a investment into a movie.
Different things, turn
different people on
and you need to read the
people and find that out.
This film industry,
as you well know,
is extremely different
and could be difficult.
Raising money for
a film is not easy.
It's one thing to
find the money,
it's another thing
to get the check.
They think, movie stars
and the industry itself
being wild and unpredictable
and some success
and they know big names that
are going to be successful
so I think if you had
somebody very successful
that would walk in
and be in a movie
you'd probably
have more response
but yeah, in general,
they roll their eyes.
[Rick] Most people think
Hollywood or filmmaking
is a big con game
and they're like,
"ah, I don't want
anything to do with it."
Why is that?
There's a lot of evidence
out there that, uh...
they're right,
in a lot of cases.
How many movies, uh,
big movies have been made,
where the investor
didn't get one dime back?
I've never brought an
investor in, to my knowledge
that I don't say, look,
if you can't afford to
lose $10,000 on a card game
in Las Vegas in a night's time,
don't invest in a movie.
And there was no sense of
trying to sell somebody
a black suit if came
in to buy a white suit.
So you've got to really
evaluate who you're talking to.
And you're right, the
international buyer
is totally different.
Their motives, their goals,
the way they communicate,
their aggressiveness,
they're totally different
than your domestic investor.
One reason why we've
been so successful
is that we have come across
honest and we are honest.
That's very important.
Just don't tell the investor
what he wants to hear.
Tell him the facts.
And I have found out
something over the years,
nothing happens overnight.
If you don't have patience
you're probably gonna be
in a lot of trouble and
it's never gonna happen.
Some of the greatest movies
ever made take 10, 20, 30 years
to get on the big screen.
And you can have, uh,
13 signed contracts for
all the money,
13 different times
and all of a sudden there's
a real estate crunch.
All of a sudden there's
a stock market crash.
All of a sudden, one
of your key investors
or two or three of
them pass away.
You've just got to stick to
it and make sure it happens.
And you can't ever give up.
[soft music]
I'm Chuck Elderd,
Film Commissioner,
Palm Beach, County, Florida.
Well, the first thing we
do is attract filmmakers
to an area.
So it's an invitation for
filmmakers to come and shoot
in that jurisdiction.
We also make it extremely
easy for filmmakers to shoot
because we tell them
where they can shoot,
most of all, where
they can't shoot
because they may fall
in love with a location
and all of a sudden
they find out
they can't use that location.
And then we are responsible
for helping them do two things,
stay on time and
stay on budget.
We are part of the
production crew
and that's the first
thing we look at.
And when we take
that responsibility,
it's not just when you
come here and shoot,
it's when we talk to you on
the telephone and we say,
we have your
location or we don't.
We have wonderful shorelines.
We have wonderful
other locations.
And we have 2,000 square
miles of gorgeous locations.
All of this is the kind of
location you wanna shoot in
if it matches your script
because then you have
to have the cooperation
and that is what the film
commission is here to do.
All of the services
that you're looking for
we can help you
provide on your budget.
Hi, I'm Christy Andreoni
and I'm the
Production Director
with the Palm Beach County
Film and Television Commission.
First starting out
in the industry,
I had no idea that film
commissions existed
and I didn't know
that government
got involved in the industry.
But the more I
was exposed to it,
the more I saw how
beneficial it can be
when you're an independent
filmmaker or otherwise
because you have a place to go
in no matter what
community you visit
where you can get all expert
information on locations,
on what kind of
regulations there are,
on what kind of
permits might be needed
and what kind of crew is there,
on what kind of
catering companies
might be best to work with.
How do you talk to filmmakers
as a state that currently
doesn't have incentives?
The message back to filmmakers,
especially young filmmakers is,
sometimes those incentives
that you hear about
the motion pictures
getting are more difficult
to handle on your budget
because the incentives
comes with responsibilities.
They call them deliverables.
So if you're gonna
get an incentive,
you wanna know what is the
criteria for using that?
And maybe it doesn't fit into
your script or your budget.
There is no free money.
The money comes with
The money comes with red tape
that you may not want
to be involved in
and only experience
will tell you that.
What we have to do in the
absence of the incentive
is make everything else
better than anything else
they're gonna find.
With Florida, that
kind of comes naturally
because there's such a
diversity of locations,
sunny year round weather.
What we have to do beyond
that is really offer
the best service
we possibly can.
So that's having a
staff available 24/7
to address their concerns,
that's being actively involved
with location scouting
process to make sure
that they come here and film.
And all we can do is make
sure that every other aspect
of production here is the
most ideal it can possibly be.
When you're filming in
these major production hubs
in LA or New York
you're not gonna have
some of the barriers
here that you have there.
We wouldn't be a film commission
without Burt Reynolds.
I'm very fond of Burt
and I'm always impressed
with how much he cares
about the young people
in our community.
Once a year we have him in the
student showcase for films.
He gives a grant to
young students here
that meet with him
and interview with him
and he's still teaching
well into his 80s
as well as still acting.
So we're proud to call Burt
Reynolds our favorite son.
[Rick] What advice would
you give a filmmaker
looking for funding?
Have a really good story.
There are a lot of
projects that may sound
like they're
really good to you.
They may even
look good on paper
but we are in the entertainment
business, and storytelling
is first and foremost.
So know that you
can tell that story.
When you start throwing
in the locations
and the attachments know that
you can get the money to pay
for that story to be told
to where it is entertaining.
The rest of it is do
your homework, research.
A potential film
investor wants to know
you have your ducks in a row.
That you know that your film
is gone to shoot from A to Z.
Not only is the
permit important,
your investor's gonna wanna
know you're gonna have insurance
and you're gonna get permits
and under what circumstances
you're going to
do those things.
You cannot take a
shortcut in making a film
and think you can do it
without permits and insurance.
And that's the bottom line
to getting the confidence
of a financier.
My name is P.J Marks
and I'm an investor.
I actually have worked
on several movies.
One of the ones I worked
on was called "Meatballs 4"
and it was a water ski movie
and I was the water
ski coordinator.
[Rick] And how did
you get that job?
I was actually working
at SeaWorld at the time
and I intercepted a phone
call and kind of stole it.
And then I've also worked
on one that I produced.
It was a wakeboarding
instructional DVD
called "The Book DVD".
They owned a Wakeboard Camp at
the time and all my students
were asking for a
wakeboarding instructional DVD
and there really wasn't
a good one at the time
so I got together with a
couple of friends of mine
and we put it together
and I put up the money
and it did really well.
I think we got about a 38
times return on my investment.
My name is John English
and I'm a retired
government worker.
[Rick] Have you ever
invested in a motion picture?
Oh yes.
I started out small
and when I learned
what I was doing somewhat,
then I started moving
on to bigger projects.
I was very reluctant at first.
What type of financial
return do you expect
to see on a movie
you invest in?
Well, I hope to see
my initial investment
or at least two and a
half times the investment
then royalty checks
every 90 days.
[Rick] Oh, excuse me.
Scott has walking
in on the set.
Scott, what's going on?
John, I wanna thank you
for being one of my
most loyal investors
over the past 10 years
and instead of mailing the
checks, here's a few checks.
So open them up if you want.
Okay, sure will.
Okay. I love it every 90
days when this happens.
There's approximately
three checks there.
Well, there's one
I'm very happy with.
There's another one
I'm very happy with.
So out of the three,
I'm really happy.
One's a smaller one but I've
expected that over the years
for it to diminish.
I have never actually
invested in a movie before.
This is my first chance.
I knew some of the people
involved who were great people
and I thought it was an
interesting diversification
of investments.
What turns you on about
investing in a movie?
The fact that a there
can be potentially
a very high return in
a short period of time
but I think it's counter
cyclical to real estate
and the stock market
and other investments.
My name is Carl Blesione.
My occupation is I'm a dentist.
[Rick] Have you ever
invested in a motion picture?
[Rick] What turns you
on about investing
in a movie?
Well, first of all,
you wanna make money,
that's number one.
Number two, turning you on,
listen, I like getting
in front of the camera
so if I could be part
of something like that
to exude the passion and
the excitement of it,
that turns me on too.
My name is David Mackey
and I'm an actor.
The phone call that Scott
made to me regarding this film
just came out of the blue
and I listened to his
remarks, his pitch,
and after just
chatting with him
for a good 10 minutes or so,
I felt very strongly that I
needed to be a part of the film.
The way I got
involved in this was,
I think you saw a
post that I made,
that I was looking for
something to invest in
and you sent me some things
and I was kind of interested,
but it never really clicked
until I talked to you
on the phone because when I
started asking you questions
about this, you had
all the answers.
There was no stumbling.
There was no I'll
get back to you.
There was no BS.
Every time I asked a question,
the answer was right
there right away.
I have a natural tendency
to like to help my friends
and to help pretty
much all people.
I do that in my law
practice and in my life.
So when I received the call
that there was just a certain
amount of money needed
to break escrow, it was a
really easy decision for me
because the film sounded
like a great idea.
So between the friendship and
the need that was apparent
at that particular time,
it was an easy
decision for me.
[Scott] All right. I got
one more question for you.
I'll just preface by saying
we're gonna be friends
no matter what.
So I'm just gonna
throw this out there.
We need like three or
four more $5,000 shares
for our marketing budget.
Would you like to put in
another one or two shares?
I'll put in one more share.
We get that on camera?
[Mark laughs]
Casey Tennyson, I'm a
writer, I'm an author,
I'm a book publisher
and I own an ad agency.
Invest in something you're
going to have fun with
and something that you like,
in a topic that
you're interested in
because then you become
a better investor
because then you're gonna
be excited about it,
you're gonna help promote it
and really word of
mouth and networking
is all part of a marketing mix.
Was one of the reasons
that you invested in this film
that you could promote your
own writing and your own books?
Yes, of course.
So, my books, my
novels, again,
were always written
with the intent
of making them into films
and so this film just
ties in perfectly
with what I'm already
doing in the world
and I can't wait to write
an article about it.
Thanks for including me.
I'm excited to
be a part of it.
[Rick] What the hell
are you doing here?
Man, I am excited, Barb
we're investing in a movie.
It's exciting.
[Rick] Is this the first movie
you've ever invested in?
Yes, absolutely.
[Rick] Why did you
invest in thismovie?
We were approached by a friend
who we have a lot of faith in,
I was intrigued by the
magic of movie making
and wanted to see the set
and what it was all about.
For me as a business person
and a practical person
it was a win-win.
Here's an opportunity to
help move another friend
along in his career and have
a potential to capitalize on
their experiences and
also to help promote
what we care about.
It's helping other people
with their health
and eventually a lifestyle of
a retirement residual income.
[upbeat music]
Oh, it's so great to be here.
My name is Bob Bell and
this is my beautiful wife--
[Barbara] Barbara Bell.
And you know the feeling you
have just before Christmas,
just that excitement and
anticipation of, you know,
there's something really
special right behind the door.
That's the way Barbara
and I feel about
what we're sharing here today.
I was introduced to
Valentus by a friend
that I knew 30 years ago.
They told me about a product.
Jenny Craig meets
Starbucks, oh my gosh,
a weight loss coffee,
my energy level's great
and so we just
had to share it.
And by sharing it, we're
helping other people.
The latest part we came out
with was the hot chocolate,
which is really exciting
because who doesn't
wanna lose weight
while drinking hot chocolate?
We have these beverages that
you just add to powder to it
all natural, no GMOs and it
helps your body function better.
So if you wanna learn more
about this, go to our website,
Barbara and I look
forward to meeting you
and helping you meet all your
health and wellness needs.
Thank you so much.
Well, to be honest, being
the biggest investor
is a little nerve wracking.
I mean, this is my
first big project
and I'm really
rolling the dice,
but now that I'm here
and I'm meeting everybody
and I'm seeing what's
going on every day,
I'm starting to feel
more comfortable with it.
Well, one thing I realized
about this project
is the enormous amount
of pre-production.
I think that's something
that's really overlooked.
The planning that goes into
it is probably more important
than the actual
production itself
because that's
not gonna happen
if everything's
not laid out right.
And I was really blown
away by the amount of work
that everyone's put
into it beforehand.
There's a track record,
there's a history.
and all of these things make
you feel more comfortable
as an investor.
[Rick] Valentas, we
took money to put them
in the movie and to promote
their product, you know,
and I loved them,
they're great.
But do you think
we in any way hurt
the integrity of this film
by taking money from them
even though we'll disclose
it in the credits?
I think any other movie, yes
it could be compromising.
I think in this
particular movie,
'cause the whole movie
is about film financing.
The whole point of this movie
is to show and empower people
how they can raise
money for their movie.
Well, Bob Bell, I've
known for 35, 40 years.
One of my best friends.
I called him up, there's no
secret that every single person
that we talked to, if
they had any interest,
they could possibly
be in the movie.
And we got a lot of the
investors in the movie.
So in Bob's case, we knew
he had this great product
that he's passionate about.
I said, Bob, if you put
in a little extra money,
we can actually
put your product,
not only mention that you're
a Valentus representative,
but we can actually put your
products, show your products
in the movie.
[Rick] I just think
it will be criticized
by some people that we lost
the integrity of the movie
by doing it.
And you know, as a filmmaker,
you'll always want purity.
I always want integrity.
They're wonderful people.
I know nothing
about the product,
but it's just odd
that we did it.
But I do think it's
an interesting example
and you should have got a
hell of a lot more money
than we got from him.
He got a hell of a deal.
[upbeat piano music]
[audience applauding]
My name is Donovan Parker.
Thank you.
I wrote a script based
on Christopher Dudus Coke.
It's an interesting story.
Everyone love it.
I want to know about the
financing of that project.
I love writing and I want a
connection to make it happen.
My suggestion is when
they're trying to raise money
and they need to put
together a business plan,
they first perhaps find
a producer to work with.
If you're lucky, also a
director to work with.
I think it's really
all about networking.
You never know if
you learn that skill
of just meeting people
and talking people,
you never know who
you could meet,
that can take your screenplay,
get excited about it,
and help you finance it or
help you take it to a studio.
Palmer Edward, and
I'm a screenwriter.
I've written a script.
I'm an award winning
I've won awards and you
know, just film festivals
and things like that.
It's small stuff,
but I'm trying to write
between one and $5
million low budget.
Any advice in what I could
do to keep it that angle
and make sure I don't go past.
I'm gonna say if you've
written eight screenplays,
you haven't sold one,
you're doing something wrong.
So what you need to do
is go back and figure out
what's the flaw
in the material.
When I taught screenwriting,
I used to teach an introductory
class and a workshop class.
We sold about 65 movie
scripts out of my classes
in the years that I taught,
which was unbelievable.
Some of those movies got
made like "Closet Land".
The Steven Seagal movie,
"Hard to Kill" got made.
What happened in my classes
was the first 10 ideas
that every screenwriter
had never sold.
So I used to tell them
you have to come up
with a hundred ideas.
So I made all of
my writers come up
with a hundred movie ideas.
Almost every one of the
65 or so scripts that sold
was above number 75.
It was the last 25 that
you finally figure out
what you wanna say.
You wanna figure out
what your story is.
And what I think you
need to do is come up
with a hundred great ideas.
When I used to go to the
studios to pitch ideas,
and I went to most
of the major studios,
the studio executives
would say to me,
"tell me a story
I've never heard."
-[Louise] Yeah.
-[Rick] "Dazzle me."
And one studio executive
said to me one time,
I hear dozens of
pitches every day.
And he said, when I
go to bed at night
and I put my head
on the pillow,
it's the idea that I think of
I call the next day and I buy.
You've got to create an
idea that's so unique,
so original, so compelling
that someone is willing
to go raise money for it
or write you a check for
it or make that film.
And you're competing
against everybody.
You're competing against
me, Steven Spielberg,
you're competing with
"The Blair Witch" guys.
You're competing
with the smartest,
most creative
people in the world
and you've got to come up
with something better, unique
and original
That's interesting, but
you're the second person
that gave me the advice
about the a hundred concept.
Who's that other person?
A guy out in Hollywood.
That's a genius.
If you don't have a fire in
your belly to tell those stories
and to cram those stories
down someone's throat,
to make money
people look at them
and to pay attention to them,
they're not gonna get paid.
So my thing is, get in
touch with your passion.
And I think the people
that make great films
have a sense of outrage,
a sense of anger
and that drives them
to create great art.
And we live in a society
today, in my opinion,
where it's getting
harder and harder
to be an original person.
You're penalized.
You know, my favorite
filmmaker is Stanley Kubrick
and Stanley Kubrick went out,
made all these great movies
and warned us about letting
everybody become a number
and losing our humanity
and machines taking over
and everything that Kubrick
projected in those movies
is coming true.
Look at what's happening in
our society and in the world.
And so art will save us.
Politics will not save us.
Media will not save us.
And art has the capability
because it opens people's minds,
it changes opinions, and
it influences people.
-Thank you.
-[Rick] That's my answer.
[soft music]
Hi. My name is Laura Faye.
I'm a writer and I wrote a
book about Muslims in America
based on my own
experience as a teacher.
I have a couple of questions.
One would be how to get
it made into a screenplay.
You made a point earlier
about there are other people
who create and then there are
the people who have control.
I wanted to know if you could
speak to that a little more
and how do you have both?
Because one of my fears
about making this into a film
is obviously losing control.
First thing I would recommend
is make it a published book.
Even if you go on and
do it through Amazon,
just to control a copyright
and to have content control.
It is treacherous when you
have original literary material
and you don't want someone
to steal it or dilute it
or rip it off.
I would get the book published
because then you're in control.
Almost every book published in
the world is read by somebody
who wants to make
a movie of it.
In other words, they're
looking for that product.
You'd be shocked.
One thing that appeals to
me and what you just said,
and there's a shortcut.
You go to a star to play
the character in the memoir
and let's just pick, you know,
who would be a good example?
Reese Witherspoon.
Reese Witherspoon,
perfect example.
Reese Witherspoon
has her own company
and she makes great movies
and she might wanna play
that character or she might
wanna call one of her friends
and now you're kind
of on a fast track.
Whenever you can get
a movie star attached
to your literary property,
you're now in the fast track.
You're like in the turbo lane
and it always makes
everything go faster.
It's harder to
maintain control,
but if you publish the book,
they're gonna respect
you a lot more
and you're gonna be
able to remain part of
the creative process.
What happens is, when
you write a screenplay
and you're just
trying to sell it,
you have no creative control.
Like in your case, they're
just gonna throw money at you
and they're gonna tell
you to get lost, right?
And so, you know,
that's fun for awhile,
but then it's like
selling your children.
You really don't like doing it.
You know, when I
first sold scripts...
You're right, I don't
know your children.
You are correct.
Thank you.
Thank you for asking.
I appreciate it.
Hi, my name is
Gabrielle A. Paris.
I'm an actress and a student
of Mr. Burt Reynolds.
So the thing that
you're talking about
with the whole producing
and the actresses
and they want the good parts,
I've had a really hard time
with that in terms of quality
and just, you know, I
had to really learn like,
who's the sound guy?
Who's this guy?
Who's the AD you know,
what type of camera
we're using, is it 4k?
All the good stuff,
is it a good editor?
So I had to learn
the back end of it.
So I just recently had somebody
write just a short film
and I played the lead in it.
I produced this,
I co-produced it
but I didn't put my name
down as a producer on it.
You didn't put
your name on it?
Not as a producer
because I was talking
to another producer
and I was like, I'm producing
my first short film.
He's like, well, that kind
of makes you look bad.
If you produce your own films.
I don't think it hurts at all.
It says that you're motivated.
It says that you're willing
to put yourself out there.
I think you're to
be commended for it.
I a hundred percent
agree with Louise.
Yeah, I totally.
You're a actor and a producer.
Yeah. So I totally agree,
you should have your name
on as a producer as well.
So go back and fix those
credits if you want.
One of the first
short films I did,
very, very little money, $5,000.
It was a pretty beefy short.
Ended up being 29, 30 minutes
and we got a lot of local
press with different people
that were attached to the film.
Just little pieces of
press however we could
then we started taking
it to festivals.
We got really lucky,
won first place
at the New York
International Film Festival
and because of this buzz
that we started developing
from these festivals,
that's what ended us
getting a million dollars
to make the feature
version of that short.
That was where I was--
So if it starts playing
well in festivals,
promote it as much
as you can, you know,
it might be expandable
into a feature.
Lot of feature films you've
seen over the years started out
as a short film.
It's very strange.
Sometimes it just takes one
person for you to connect with.
You're gonna be successful
just because you're doing that.
See, 99% of the people
never do anything.
They just talk about it.
[ominous music]
[soft music]
I'm passionate about
self-expression art.
I write and I was making a
movie when I was in Michigan.
It was about the struggles of...
It was about a couple cool cats
going through a rough breeze
at a hard time, really.
But it--
Wait a minute. Say it
again, couple of what?
Cool cats going through a
rough breeze at a hard time.
And I was making this
movie and the idea
was to make it sort of a musical
and add the poetry into it
but it was about two people
who I met through my job
and Lansing up there.
They're a homeless couple trying
to get back on their feet,
who had their six
kids taken away.
And I thought their
story needed to be told
and I got really into,
very passionate about it.
It was a no budget
movie, not a low budget.
It was, I love
it, but it's okay.
It's not 4k, It's
more like "no K"
but it's way too
long right now
it's like, I don't
know, three hours
and I don't even
know what to cut out,
but I definitely know it
needs more but I'm not there
so I can't really finish it,
but I'm kind of trying
to cut it together still
when I have time.
What else do I have to say?
I have a question for you.
Oh yeah, will you
fund my movie?
I will potentially invest
in it but I won't fund it.
And the key is to finish it.
No matter how good or
bad it is, finish it.
Like this guy right here
with the eight screenplays,
no, I give a lot of
respect to this guy.
He's finished a screenplay.
He will be a motion
picture screenwriter
in this lifetime.
You've already
started and committed,
but you got to have
stick to it-ness.
You've gotta get obsessed
with one project,
get a project that you
can't sleep at night
'cause you're thinking about
and finish it no matter what.
I don't care if it's bad,
sometimes it's okay
to make a bad film
to figure out what you did
wrong to go make a good film.
I applaud you for
asking that question.
Will you fund my movie?
Because a lot of
people just are afraid
to ask that question.
So really get focused,
really figure out a game plan
to finish this movie and
just have that persistence.
A quote by one of my
favorite indie directors,
John Salzi, said,
"Raising money for a
movie is like hitchhiking.
It could be the first ride.
It could be the thousandth,
but you have to stay out
there with your thumb out
and be patient and
you also have to know
when not to get into the car."
I wanna leave you just
with one little secret
that I've never shared with
any group before in my life.
I firmly believe you
have to pick up the phone
and call somebody.
Whether it's an idea, whether
you're looking for money,
I believe that's the
truly the best way
to further your career.
So here's the secret and
you're kind of breaking
the rules a little bit.
Here's exactly what
a friend of mine did.
If you go on some of
these social media sites,
if you do not mask
the phone number,
sometimes you can click
and find the phone number,
but more often than not, you
can't find the phone number.
Sometimes you can Google.
It's a little bit easier to us
but it's still pretty tough to
find people's phone numbers.
So this individual, who's
a producer in Hollywood,
he posted an all his
social media sites.
Oh, I just lost my phone and
all my contact information.
Will you please DM me
your cell phone number.
Within two or three days, he
got about 400 phone numbers.
By the end of the year, he had
his next feature film funded.
So a little trick.
If you happen to
lose your phone,
there's a way to get
a lot of phone numbers
and just reach out whatever
you're trying to do.
I wish you all the best.
I thank you deeply
for coming tonight.
I hope you learned
something from this
and I appreciate you
all being in my movie.
Thank you very much.
[audience applauding]
[soft music]
So here's the thing, Ken, as
we're wrapping up this film.
we wanna pitch you to come
on as executive producer
on our next film.
Scott, Maggie, and I wanna
talk to you tonight
about you coming on board.
This is the last
night of filming
and we want to do another
film in this budget range.
And we've got a
very creative idea
that's never been done before
that we believe can be done
for the same exact budget we
just did this documentary.
And I wanna know
what it's gonna take
to get you to commit to being
the executive
producer on that.
[Scott] I think if we can shoot
for June 1st as a target,
never promise any
investor anything,
but that would be the
targeted delivery date
for all the funds.
And if that went well, we
could shoot this summer
and still catch a
late Sundance entry.
Now, if we miss that
target by a month
or two or three months,
we can still shoot at the
end of the year, either way.
-[inspiring music]
-[dialogue fading out]
[Rick] Y ou have the power to
make the movie you wanna make,
the way you wanna make it.
Don't squander the great
opportunity you have.
Empower yourself,
make the things that
you want in your life
and make a better world.
Make a better world.
God bless you, thank
you for coming.
-[audience applauding]
-[soft music]
[upbeat music]
[Rick] What question
should I have asked you
that I didn't?
[Burt laughs]
I can't think of a single one.
[Rick laughs]
[Rick] You're too nice.
[upbeat music]
[Rick] There were
lots of actors
when I was in Hollywood
imitating you,
but your personality,
and your range,
I think you're one of the
most underrated actors ever
in the history of cinema.
To go and do "Deliverance",
then go do "Smokey
and the Bandit",
to do the films and the prolific
number of films you made,
you directed, you produced.
I mean, it's an
extraordinary achievement.
What was the secret?
Was there a secret?
Was it hard work?
Was it you learned your craft?
Was it the force of
your personality?
Is this question too long?
Thank you, first of all.
I never had a problem...
going into the
darkest place to go,
the hardest place to go.
You know, you can't try to
be anybody, just be yourself.
[upbeat music]
[Rick] But you also produced,
how did you get the money?
Because when I was in
Hollywood, people said,
"Burt Reynolds can film the
yellow pages and we'll fund it."
In other words, if you wanted
to read the yellow pages,
the studios would
have backed you.
Is that true or did you just
pick up the phone and say,
hey, I wanna do this or
somebody brought you a project?
I haven't tried the
yellow pages yet.
[upbeat music]
So many films, so
much diversity,
so many great pictures.
I just think my gosh,
you've been part of America,
you and John Wayne.
It's like, if there was a
Mount Rushmore of actors,
if you will look at the box
office and the popularity,
it's you and John Wayne,
those are the numbers.
I mean, that's an
extraordinary accomplishment.
I hope you like John Wayne.
[crew clapping]
Yeah. I love Duke
and I love this work.
[upbeat music]
[Rick] Did you ever have,
when you were directing people,
try to tell you how
to make a movie?
Oh yeah.
And I tell them how to make
a couple of other things.
[Rick] Might've
been a knuckle sandwich
in some of those.
It was something
like that, yeah.
[upbeat music]
[Rick] What's the
secret of getting
a project funded?
Is there a secret either in
Hollywood or as an independent?
Well, you got a script that
is a commercial script.
Commercial in the sense that
it's got the things in it
that people wanna go see.
I mean, I don't know, what's
the hottest movie today,
you know?
[Man] "Black Panther"
"Black Panther", yeah.
[Rick] "Black Panther's"
what you just said earlier
but it's something people
haven't seen before.
-It's overdue, it's overdue.
-[Rick] Exactly.
That an African-American has
not had the lead in a movie
playing an
action-adventure hero,
is ludicrous. And this is what?
2000 and what?
[Rick] Let's say 19
by the time this film,
this film comes out. No, I'm
just teasing.
No. In "Wonder
Woman", same story.
Same thing.
[upbeat music]
[Rick] One of the
highlights of my life,
to do this interview with you.
You are an absolute
national treasure
for this country, Mr. Reynolds.
Thank you, sir.
-God bless you.
-[crew clapping]
-Thank you. Thank You.
-[crew clapping]
You're very kind,
very, very kind.
Easy to to talk to.
God bless you.
[ominous music]