Ashley: Welcome to episode #157 of the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I’m Ashley Scott Meyers Screenwriter and blogger over at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today, I’m interviewing screenwriters, Barry Wernick and James R. Hallam. They just completed a film called, “Bad Kids, Crestview Academy.” Which is actually the second installment in a franchise that they are starting to build. So, it’s a really interesting interview. They talk about the original film and now they are talking about this sequel. So, stay tuned for that.
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A quick few words about what I am working this week? So, once again, the main thing I’m working on is. Post-production on my crime, action, thriller, film, “The Pinch.” I did get another cut of the film done. So, I’m now reviewing that. I’m very close to locking picture. But, I’m thinking, we might need a day or so, of some inserts. I’m just going to run around and get a couple of shots that we still need. So, it might take a while to get that figured out. But slowly but surely I am moving the project forward.
I thought I would take a minute and run through the various script options that I have about. I think last year. I did this at the end of the year. Just as kind of a round-up. But I got very busy the last couple of weeks of this year. So, I thought this might be a good time to do it. I talk about the options as they happen on the Podcast. But, I never really go back to them if they expire. And as you are going to see with my recap. Most of my options do end up expiring. When I first started doing the Podcast, I debated whether I should even mention the options on the Podcast? Because, as I said, most of them do end up expiring before, you know, before the producer actually-takes the option and purchases the script, and produces the movie. So, I was kinda thinking, why I even bother mentioning it? Since most of them are considered go anywhere. But, ultimately decided it was important for people to understand. That getting a script optioned is just one step on the road to getting an actual produced credit. And really, you need to get many, many optioned scripts before one of them will probably result in a produced credit. This was a bitter sweet lesson that I learned.
And again, I think this is why it’s important to be transparent about it, this process on the Podcast. It really was a bitter sweet lesson that I learned early in my writing career. The first screenplay I ever optioned. I actually-did get produced. And it, you know, it got sold, it got produced. And so, I thought that, that’s sort of how it worked? You write a script, you option that script, it gets produced. But then after a few years after this first option. I continued to option more scripts. And after many, many, many, many, more options, and no more produced credits. It started to dawn on me, just how lucky I was with that first script. And again, the lesson is? It’s just going to take probably several, a half dozen, maybe a dozen optioned scripts before one of them actually turns into a produced credit. So, here’s a quick
re-cap, I haven’t done a lot of options this year. Mainly because most of my time has been focused on, “The Pinch.” I haven’t written a whole lot of new stuff. And so therefore I haven’t done a whole lot of Email and fax blast for myself. And that’s usually how I get most of these options. So, as I said, this year’s really been devoted to, “The Pinch” not so much in writing new scripts. So, anyway, if you’ve been listening to my Podcast over the years. Hopefully, some of this will kind of jog your memory, as I said, I talked about these scripts as I have optioned them. So, hopefully kind of, you’ll remember it’s just. I kinda want randomly as the options come out, I will mention them on the Podcast as I get an option. And now, as I said, I’m going to re-cap sort of, what’s happened with some of those scripts.
So, I have a horror, comedy script coming. I’ve talked about this script several times over the last two years I’ve optioned it several times. I think probably about a year ago, year and a half ago. I optioned it to an Indian producer. And it was kind of a strange deal. He only wanted the Hindi rights. So, basically, he was planning on producing this movie in India. And only distribute in India. So, he said, “Listen, let me option those rights from you. And you can still go out and try to option the other rights to a producer. And sure enough, I did find another producer to take all the other rights except for India rights. And that option, I think I did it about six months ago. And that is expired, I think it expired in November or December. So, that option is up. The Indian producer, his option expires in the next couple of weeks. I think in the middle of January. Where his option will expire. I haven’t heard from him in well over a year. So, I would say, that’s probably done, I doubt he’s doing much with the script at this point.
My baseball comedy again, it’s another script I’ve talked about several years on the Podcast. That option has now run it’s course as well. The official option expired in December. The producer called me and said, he just want to pay any more money to extend. But he did want to kinda keep working on it. But, at least keep it on the back burner. He had a couple leads. And when I say leads, it’s just basically the key is, raising the money. So, he has a couple of more angles that he’s trying to pull and play out on raising the money. And he’s a super nice guy, I would really like him. I think he would do a great job with the project. And so, I basically said, “Well, listen I’ll, I won’t aggressively send it out. And if I do find another producer. I will let you know. So, there’s no official option there. But, you know, he still has got a few things he kinda going to look after. And you know, if some of those things start to materialize. Some of those other leads, if he finds some interest. I’m sure he’ll come back to me, and get an official Option Agreement. But, for right now, that’s kinda run it’s course. You know, and again, I really like the guy. And I think he would have done a great job with the script. But, the bottom line is that the option is over, so I can start sending it out again.
I have a teen comedy script, again, I optioned it, I think it might have been two years ago, three years ago when I optioned it originally to this producer. That option expired I’m not honestly sure when it expired? When this past year or the year before?
But, that producer is actually still working much like the baseball comedy I just mentioned. That option expired and I just sort of said this same thing to him. Listen, I’ll let you know if I option it. Because if he still wanted to kind of work on it? And he actually had continued to work on it. Because he’d still be out there trying to raise money. And last I heard, which was probably maybe a month ago. At least he actually Emailed me, and said he was coming to Los Angeles. He’s a European producer, so, he’s not based here in Los Angeles. But, he called, and Emailed me and said, “Hey, I’m gonna be in L.A. and still trying to get this together. And he’s going to start to do some of the casting for the project. And so, again, it’s very strange that he has not mentioned optioning the script again? You know, options they really exist to producer more than the writer. So, from the writer’s standpoint, from my standpoint. I don’t really care if he wants to work on it without a formal option agreement in place. But, at this point I kinda know he’s working on it. So, I am not sending it out now. But, a it’s a little bit strange. In my entire career, I’ve never see a producer work this hard on a project when he doesn’t have an option. And he didn’t even ask for one. It’s not even an issue of money. So, I’m not sure? It’s a little bit odd frankly? But, the bottom line is, he’s still seems to be working on the project. And he’s going to come here. I’ve never actually met him. All of our correspondence has been through Email since he is based in Europe. But, he’s coming to L.A. in February. So, I’ll get to meet him and hopefully sit in on some of the casting sessions. So, we’ll see, we’ll see if that materializes. It’s a little odd as I said, for a producer to be continuing on without an option agreement. But, you know, if he’s comfortable with it? I’m comfortable with it? So, we’ll just see.
I have limited locations limited protagonist thriller. Which I’ve optioned a few times over the years. The option is to that, the option is still active and will be for another six weeks or so. I talked to that producer last August. He was still out there pushing the script forward. The deal I struck with him is quite typical of what I generally do. Basically, I gave him, and this was now 18 months ago. But, I gave him a free six month option. And then after the six months he had the right to it, to extend the option for another six months. But, he had to pay another $500.00. So, after the first six months, and again this is very, very typical of what I do. And very, very typical of what a producer would then try and do. So, for the first six months. We got a Skype and kinda talked through what he was doing. And where he was going to take the project. He really didn’t want to pay $500.00 for the extension. And frankly, that was fine with me. So, I just gave him another six months for free. And then the same thing happened after another six months. Basically, it was the same agreement. So, he had to pay the $500.00 in six months. Again, we get on Skype he really didn’t want to pay for it. And I said, “Eh, that’s fine.” So, I gave him another six months for free. So, basically, he’s had the script optioned for nearly 18 months, once again, all for free. I get this question all the time about option agreements? How much should you try and get from a producer? Should you do free options? And I think this is a good example of kind of how I do things. You can do what you want, but this is kind of how I operate. And on top of I’ll give you my thoughts on it. Because I think maybe that would give you some insight into how you should approach your own option agreements. Now one thing to keep in mind, this producer is an experienced producer, with numerous IMDb credits. He’s got like real movies that he’s produced that are listed on IMDb. I would not cut this deal. And, the deal that I just described. I would not cut it with an inexperienced producer. If you run into a producer with no credits? It’s, you know, again, it’s on a case by case basis. So, I won’t say that I would never cut it with an inexperienced producer. But, for the most part someone who doesn’t have any experience, it probably, they are probably going to have a hard time getting a movie made. That first credit is going to be, very, very difficult.
Someone who has a lot of credits, obviously they know how to produce movies, they’ve done it before. So, it’s conceivable and probable that they will be able to do it again. So, a much more lenient with people that have a lot more producer credits. But, the way that this deal is set-up. As I mentioned at the end of the six months he would have to pay me $500.00. Or I could have simply said, “No thanks.” And moved on. So, that’s very, very important. In this case I did just continue to give him free extensions. But, I could have said, “No.” If I had thought that things were progressing. And if I didn’t like him, I could have just as easily said, “No.” I found that within the past, producers, they’re not going to want to pay the $500.00, unless they are making some real progress on the project. So, well, $500.00 is a lot of money. It’s enough to make them think long and hard about what or whether they want to pay it or not? In this case, I liked the producer and each new six month period. He had some new ideas that he wanted to try in order to push the project forward. So, you know, we would get on Skype, we would have a nice call and he would kinda tell me what happened with the last set of you know, the leads he was following up on. And again, it’s all not just about raising money, at this stage of the production. It’s just purely raising money. Sometimes you run into situations where were trying to get an actor/director attachment. Most of the 95% of the percentage of the work is the producers are doing at this stage is just raising the money. Is getting the money in order. So, we would get on Skype, every six months with these options that would expire. And he would kinda tell me what would happen if what happened over the course of the last six months. And he would kind of tell me what his plan for the next six months would be were. And again, I’ve liked him as a producer. He was experienced, he had a lot of credits. And each six month period he would come to me with some new ideas. Some new potential ways of getting the film financed. So, Each time it seemed like it was worth taking another roll of the dice with him. He also has some experience in distribution. And we’ve had a few talks about, “The Pinch.” So, he’s been helpful with a few suggestions on that project as well. And I will be going back to him once the film is done, to see if he might be able to help with distribution. Even if he can’t help the distribution. I’m sure he will have some ideas about who I could potentially take the project to. There probably are some distributors out there that this, “The Pinch” would be a good buy for, even if it’s not him. And he might know some of them. He might be able to at least tell me who those company’s are? Or maybe even introduce me to somebody. So, again, it’s just you know, building that relationship. Even if the film has even if ulimtately even if the film is not right for him. I do feel like there will be some value there. If you talk to anyone in the business they’re going to tell you that it’s all about relationships. So, that’s really how I approach these option agreements. It’s not really about trying to squeeze money out of the producer for the option at least for me. It’s about seeing if this is someone who I like and want to get to know, and possibly work with down the road. If it’s someone I like I’m very casual about how much money I try to get out of them. Again, the $500.00 is not a big deal. It’s not a huge amount of money. But, it’s enough to make them think. And on the same token it’s not so much money that it’s really going to affect me one way or the other. So, I don’t mind just saying, “Hey, no thanks. Or don’t, you don’t need to pay me the $500.00.” If they the producer they seem to making some progress. And new angles to pursue. I want to mention one other option which I think expired in 2015. Although, it may have expired in 2014? But it’s worth talking about here. Just if, as I said, in relation to what I just talked about, about networking. I have a sort of a sexy sci-fi thriller kind of a “Blade Runner” kind of a film, type of a script. Again, I’ve optioned it, several times. I think I’ve optioned it at least twice since I’ve been doing the Podcast. The first producer that I optioned it to, he ended up optioning some of my other scripts.
Have a whole bunch of low-budget horror scripts he’s on, I’ve optioned once or twice. And I think there may even be another script at one point that he optioned of mine. But, the bottom line is? He’s the first script I optioned to him was this sci-fi thriller script. And he had it for six months. And he wasn’t able to get it going. But, again, I’ve started to build a relationship with him, optioning some other scripts. He actually ended up helping me quite a bit on, “The Pinch.” He was willing to get on the phone pretty much as often as I needed. Just to talk through some of the producing problems that I ran into when I was producing, “The Pinch.” He has a lot of experience producing. So, having someone like that of having available to me, was very, very, valuable. And again, this was the same sort of deal that I cut with the other producers I just mentioned. It was some extensions, I had given him a lot of free options. So, I think he just felt like there was a little bit of good will. So, whatever reason, he was willing to just give it on the phone. You know, I didn’t pay him, it was just purely as a nice thing to do for me. And again, but I’ve have helped him out by giving him some free options on scripts. But again, I’m just trying to sort of show people how these relationships can grow and mature. And as the time has gone on he’s helped with “The Pinch.” And we’re talking about possibly doing something in the future on another script that I have. So, again, this is really all about how the relationships are built. I get a lot of Emails from people. And all of these options that I just mentioned. Have come as a direct result of the Email and Fax Blast service that I use for myself. And I send it through SYS Select. I get a lot of Emails from people saying, well, how many scripts have been produced? Or how many scripts have been optioned? And you know, they are definitely a bit of films that have been produced. And definitely been films scripts sold. And there’s definitely been a lot of scripts optioned. And that’s all great. But, I think that when people ask that question? You know, they’re missing the sort of the bigger opportunity that exists is actually, you know, networking and building relationships with people. And sometimes these things can you know, take months or years, or you know, decades. But, that’s what you have to do is? You have to get out there and build relationships with people. And this Email and Fax Blast system is one way to do it. Obviously you hope you option and sell and get your movie produced through something like Email and Fax Blast. But, I think that they are all, soon all opportunities that people don’t necessarily think of when they are a newer writer. That could present themselves by doing these types of things. Again, it’s not just all about the SYS Email and Fax Blast Service. Any of these services with maybe “Ink Tip” or “Black List.” Is, there’s going to be a lot of the same sort of thing. It’s going to just be about getting your script out there. Networking with people that have experience in getting to know those people. Because that’s kind of where your going to build a career. Also want to talk about the writing assignments in the fall of 2015. I talked about two writing assignments that I had. Pretty much back-to-back. I did one, I think in September. And then one was sort of October-November-December. And this was last year. Where now it’s well over a year ago. Where it’s January 2017, now as I record this. So, this was in the fall and winter
of 2015. And so about 14-15 months ago? One of them seems to have completely fallen through. I haven’t heard from that producer, probably in six months. And you know, I wrote the script and he paid me some of the money. And it just hasn’t materialized past that. The other producers you know, they, I wrote the script for them. They paid me, and they are supposedly in production of on that. So, that one may still actually turn into a movie. Again, I think it’s worth noting. You know, even when a producer hires you as a writer, and pays you to write a script. There is still a lot that can go wrong with the project. And a lot of things can, a lot of good thing have to happen for the project to actually make it into production. And actually become a produced film. So, it just takes a lot of effort to get those produced credits.
And there’s just a ton of things that can go wrong between now and the script faze. And the production phase. So, there’s probably a bunch of other options that I mentioned over the years on the Podcast. I was to say at this point, of those that have expired. I just went through my list. I have a little book I wrote. I wrote down all my scripts and the options on them. And then once the options expire, I just erase them, and write a little date next to them, and then I’ll erase them. So, as I was just you know, qu’ing up this Podcast episode, I just looked through that. And I’m sure there’s been some other options in the years I’ve mentioned. And, for whatever reason? Those have all expired. So, pretty much I’d say that’s an up to date kinda list of what’s going on with my various scripts.
So, let’s go ahead and move into the main segment of the Podcast. Today, I’m interviewing writer Berry Wernick and James Hallam, here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Barry and James to the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.
Barry: Yeah, thank you for having us.
James: Yeah, thank you.
Ashley: So, to start out, maybe you can give us a little bit of background on yourself. Kinda where’d you grow-up? How did you get started in the entertainment industry? Barry, why don’t you just start out, and then we’ll go to James then next.
Barry: Alright, well I started out in the entertainment industry, child actor. I acted in theater, through repertory theaters, foster, and so on. So, I started actually on stage and then started in front of the camera doing commercials and stuff, TV shows, then movies. After law school, there’s a big chill. Back then I went to New York. And then continued acting. And what I found out was? That a lot of the stuff I was reading, the scripts and stuff. Well, you know what? I’d like to try it myself. I’d be sitting there tinkering with a script. And putting my own take on it. Then I really got into writing for myself. Then utilizing my law background to help with high equity raises. And raising money for my own projects. And so, I started with screenplays. And got into actually 2004 a bit. 2006, the writer’s strike. Sort of, it put a little bit of a, it became kind of a hindrance to sell a screenplay. Because no one would take any pictures, there was a
writers strike. So, at that point. Figured, oh, turn a screenplay into a comic book. Because that’s what couldn’t buying anything. So, sold the rights, and basically that was action, “Go to hell.” From that screenplay, went into a comic book. And then, after the writer’s strike. We started pitching and we realized that that movie. And we realized that, that really wasn’t necessary for us to sell it. I could actually do the put up the production company private equity raise. And actually do a non-studio film. And so, we retained 100% ownership of the property. And that was actually when I met James. His and James, can you? Sure, James got involved in the entertainment industry, as a producer.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. So, James why don’t we take it back a little bit. And kinda get your origins and story here?
James: Yeah sure. So, backing up basically, my career primarily has been. And the distribution side of the business. I worked for a company that handles buying and selling media for
Anheuser-Busch, for brands like Bud Lite, Michelob Ultra, Budweiser, etc… and a lot of these esoteric top brands. So, when I got involved, with Arian Matthew, it was coming in at as an investor first project. Which Barry was talking about, that is, “Bad Kids, go to Hell.” So, at that point, the company and the money man needed. Basically some architecture to build out a media strategy and the branding strategy across all those platforms we were talking about earlier. Whether it be: Facebook, Twitter, InstaGram, etc… And then have that space built for future opportunities. So, I didn’t know anything really, in particularly about screenplays, or producing. But, I did know a lot of wild distribution strategy, and branding. And representing mass marketing brands. So, starting to work with him Arian Matthew, I just basically got submerged into that project. Got it San Diego Comic-Con, when we were doing our world premier. And then, as Barry and I sit in our production office. And that was the spring of 2013. During the screenplay, writing that out for that next installment. You know, that was a first for me. And I was really leaning on Barry and his expertise to start to understand the creative process around writing screenplays, and production and stuff like that. So, kind of here we are now, after going through this. One and half times from myself varies actually. We’ve been through this quite a bit. He’s done a productions besides this franchise. But basically, my side of the table is I was handling the building. And execution, of all of our marketing strategy. I was the distribution side. And then handling the sale, and all components of that for the distribution sale of the feature films.
Ashley: I see, I see.
James: You know I’m that.
Ashley: Go ahead.
James: I’m sorry.
Ashley: I was just, I was going to.
James: I was going to follow-up, I was just tell ya that. From the screenplay portion. And kind of how to sell you screenplay. They sometimes, sometimes in, what we found out in this case. We built the franchise. Basically based on this universe of questions. You know, “Crestfield Academy.” Spoiled rotten private school kids that want to see God basically. Sometimes it can become in your best interest to not to sell your screenplay. And that’s what we found in this, with this particular franchise. It’s not always the case, you know. Initially, you know, I was out there with Matthew, we were writing University, the original screenplay. And we were the original council theory, and you know, that was the idea. Write something, pitch it, sell it, let’s move on. And because of that writer’s strike. We actually held onto the property, own the property, never sold it, and didn’t have to. We were able to produce and then sell the finished product.
But as a movie, as opposed to selling the screenplay. So, and you know, in that case, no we did not sell that one. Getting it out to distribution. And let momentum pictures, and so on.
Ashley: Perfect. So Barry, can I back-up just a little bit. You mentioned that you turned this original “Bad Kids, Go to Hell” into a comic book. Did you have a background in producing comic books? Were you just a comic book lover, so you kinda knew how comic books worked?
Barry: So, the whole comic book idea came from a mutual friend of Matthew and mine, David Atchinson. Who had been writing comic books, I’m sorry, in Austin, of all people. And he trejected during the writer’s strike, that we turn our movie screenplay into a comic book theory. And to be honest, on my side. I wasn’t a comic book, I was a comic book movie fan. But, I really wasn’t into comic book, other than when I was a kid. You know, kids are super heroes, Captain America, okay, things like that. But Matthew on the other hand, was a big comic book hero. So, he was actually hesitant and really pushing you guys, who were with me. Because he thought I was just going to mess this thing. He said, “No, no, no. This isn’t a comic book person.” You know, a super hero, we were truly talking about. But, I think I surprised him. When I was like, absolutely, that was so cool, you know, let’s do it. So, we got a lot of help from guys who were in the industry: colorist, and writers, and helping us. Like I said, David Atchenson, we did add coloring, artist press, out of San Antonio that helps us fine tune our comic book lay-out. Because a lot of the comic book, a lot of the story, the comic book has to do with laying it out properly. Where each panel fits and stands up to certain place on the page, before you turn the page, you know. Different, just the whole comic book format. And then what you find out is? You can actually utilize it. It helps you, if you’re doing refreshing. It helps if you hire-on, this movie back at the Crestwell Academy. Then Browder, who had nothing to do with the comic book series. He does reprise his role as the Janitor. But he was able to utilize it, the comic book that does go to #2 Hell. Which the second movie based off of, and helps the story boarding of his own directive, to get an idea. It’s not always the end of the movie, you say, it’s a comic book, or the screenplay, for that matter, but, it does help, in the vision. So,
Ashley: Yeah. Now, I’m curious, after everything is said, and done. Do you feel like doing the comic book really did help you ultimately get the movie made?
Barry: I think it helped in a lot of ways. One way it helped, the vision, the visual. But, the other way it helped, it actually getting money to make your movie. Because, one thing I’ve learned is? You can sell your script or your screenplays out to anyone you want to sell it? People don’t read, people don’t read what you’re writing. I find maybe somebody the first couple of pages. Or they’ll surf through it because page ten. And they have page 30 and then page 68, just to get a feel for it. You know, if you have a comic book, most people are visual. The especially people in the movies are visual, they can see it. And they can visualize what’s on paper or on comic book paper. And visualize all that on screen, a lot easier here, than the word. And I’m talking executive people, and studios, even they have problems with reading. But it’s help there, it also helps with investors. Because if you’re looking to raise money. And an investor looks at a comic book. And wants to be that person also. Oh, this, I get it, I can see it, I can see it up on the screen, I can see whether it’s why that action was to shoot. Or, it’s this, something that’s animated. You can visualize both of those. You can develop an animated or cartoon format.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah.
James: It’s falls off of that. Questions just a smidge. What we’ve learned and the comic con side. Or space of our property, there is just a genuine acceptance by the public. Whether it’s you’re in Portland, or New York, or right here in Dallas Texas. And everywhere in between. Go on the wizard world tour. So, we’re on the road quite a bit. And we do, what we call,
“Creative Panels.” It’s when we got one coming up in New Orleans, on the fifth of January. It’s that the community just really roots for the independent comic book. They just love it. And when you get that type of attraction loyalty. I think it just more of that snowball effect. Where you take the pebble and you start to roll. And by the time you get to the investors stage. What they’re talking about were? No one reads anything. It just helps, because you can, you have a warm market if you will? You get assets out. And I think it’s visually really easy for people to spot and understand enough. I feel like that’s been, I don’t want to say, all of it. But it’s been would you say, Barry, a significant part of our recipe at least on this franchise. Where we are able to call out of this wizard role in San Diego. But basically the franchise chance, have helped us along this journey. And it just shows up when you call up and look at our Twitter feed. Or our, some of our comic books, shop partners that have done promotions with us. It’s just really have been a benefitted as a result. You think that’s fair Barry?
Barry: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s the fans, and the comic book store owners who actually got there. When they see something independent, it’s not Marvel, it’s not D.C. But it’s a new idea. And that’s something that they want more of. And I think the fans want more of. I’m not going to say that there are not haters, ya know? Because when you write something, you’re always going to have people whom you think are your friends. You don’t know either, you just need them behind you, your back, or your making you feel a little uncomfortable and insecure. About what am I doing, what I think I am, ya know. Will I be able to write some next? Will I go on a screen? The doubters, they are haters. But, comic books industry of comic book world fan base. They, are, they’re you biggest supporters. Even when they’re telling you, “Oh, you know what?” The hole here in the story. In this great feedback you get at the Comic Con. They tell you what they don’t want, and like what they do like. And give you ideas of maybe you should change it like this. And they, maybe you should use this, or that? And I think that it’s important that you humble yourself too, and take that feedback. From here, I guess that’s it? And that’s it, maybe they have a better idea? I kind of approach a certain, you know, plot, rise, or storyline.
Ashley: Yeah, one of the things they way you guys are just describing it? It sounds like it, you had some success with the comic? And I just wondered if there’s any keys to that? Did you some how bump into somebody along the way that you had to market the cover. Because all these things you’re talking about, I know nothing about? All these conventions, and these comic book store owners, these kinds of things. How did you actually make this comic book somewhat successful?
James: You want me to take it, Barry?
Barry: Yeah, you can, sure.
James: I think each is a combination of two things, maybe three. You know, a good storyline, if you will? And then finding good partners. So, Barry and Matthew, jumped on the wizard world. And all the Comic-Con fans board convention circuits early on. And we’re using that channel if you will. So, against leverage, if you will, and it’s this independent idea called,
“All Bad Kids to go Hell” or independent comics. For the longer journey, they bought into another better company called, “Antarctic Press” it’s out of San Antonio. Who, actually took some real time and investment, behind the comic book. And allowed them the space to be able to continue to go out and do these Comic-Con Fan Engagements. Barry was saying, with the fans, and the different cities, within the communities. But also they would work through “Diamond Comics” which would just be the distributor, nationally for all comic book shops, of which that, “Go to Hell.” Which number two held it’s distributor over 2500 comic books shops in the
United States and Canada, and around the world. So, I think it was leveraging those three things. Which kinda made it all come together, but, it’s very real. Now, we pulled back.
Barry: I want to interrupt, there is that one other component. Where we took it to another level. When we’re getting our printing front. One of our print runs we did. We actually allowed ourselves to take part in our Kick-Starter.
James: Oh, yeah.
Barry: So, oh yeah, that was pretty cool. And when you do something like that. Actually free to the Crowd Sourcing mechanisms. For like, when people get an idea. And we can see it would work, or not. And that was pretty cool to see, they came and put their money up and said, “Yes, go do another print run, for “Bad Kids 2, Go to Hell.” The number 2 film. So,
James: Yeah, so finish that line of thinking. So, I think it was after about 3 ½ years with Antarctic. We got to a point where we negotiated our distribution and publishing rights back. And then erected a company called, “Bad Kids Press.” Under our Bad Kids LLC. And now, that’s morphed into “Good, Bad Kids” which this property is on, “The Bad Kids” side. And ultimately the company does as one over view all comers. Whether your idea of a screenplay, or a comic book idea, or just something creative. And that’s a result of doing this creative panels for the last three years. With the wizarding world circuit. So, we have, you know, companies are individual franchise ideas and evaluate them for potential creation. Or distribution, or whatever that active. So, but yeah, I would say, those three or four challenges.
Barry: Yeah, and then to take that, and what James just said, let’s say you have an idea, or a screenplay. And you want to start an evil world comic book. Well, that’s something that we can do. And what’s wonderful about it is? You actually get a test market. These are what? Your first disasters, right? You get a couple of Comic-Con, you get a couple of comic book world. And before you go and raise money, and try to make a huge movie, or even a little movie, for a huge amount of money, right, see if it works? See if it’s right, have people ask if they like the conflict you had, an idea. And then you have your micro-cosm. Of, oh, you know what? This is not going to hit, no one’s going to. We hope you enjoyed it, who cares about it, there’s nothing to it, move on to another project.
Barry: And you just saved yourself a lot of time, and a lot of money. In making a movie that is something that maybe wasn’t a good idea. Or, you’re right again, hey it could be something that hits?
Ashley: So, let’s dig.
James: I just want to say, I just want to comment, to give away our secret sauce here. But, we’ve really learned that there’s just not at all, or audience for independent creations come together, to bounce ideas off of each other. Whether you’re talking about writing, or anything like that. We’ve had to just send overwhelming success when we do the creative panel. To get into these sessions with a bunch of artist about other projects. Because they don’t have an audience to go to, to share ideas. Which is ultimately the publishers responsibility.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So let’s dig into “Bad Kids, Crestview Academy” maybe to just start out, you can kinda give us a log-line or a pitch on the movie?
James: Barry, you want to give the log-line?
Barry: Yeah, we have a few, we do have a few, you know, the basic of it all, is daddies money can’t save them all now. General Snarkus is funny, humorous, and hopefully people get it based on the log-line. This school year, you know, this other school year experience. Every rich kid’s nightmare, right. But, I think it’s as worthy as the other log-line we’ve had in the past.
James: Right. Yeah, going there. About like the other one.
Barry: Yeah, detention sucks, but it’s killer fun.
James: Yeah, that’ll work.
Ashley: Maybe we can talk about.
Barry: It’s maybe the three log-lines.
Ashley: Okay. Let’s talk a little bit about your collaboration. I know I have a lot of screenwriters who listen to this that write with a writing partner. Maybe you can just talk about how that actually went it sounds like you guys were in the same room for a lot of this. But, maybe you can talk about how that goes. Do you guys sit there and spitball at ideas and then divide up scenes. Do you guys, one person at the computer, one person is looking over his shoulder? Maybe just describe that collaborative process a little bit.
Barry: I think it’s different for everybody’s writing team? And I’m a big proponent of having a partner. He’ll call you out, because that’s not funny. That’s for, yeah, he’ll say, that’s really great, but, go with this. Let me work on that angle right now and I’ll get back to you. But, I think having the and then there’s two choices. And then there’s two aces, those two aces have eyes on it. Matthew and I were usually in different rooms, and different, sometimes parts of the world. And stuff we’d write. Send it to the next, you know, send it over to the other guy. And get a response and go all the way through it. And make corrections, and make that, get it back to me. You got, you know, so many days to do it. And then I’ll get it back to you after my so many days of going through it. And sending it to you back to ya. Whereas James and I, have a much more collaborative type of effort, and James can go over that. Why don’t you go over how you and I?
James: Yeah, So, basically, we took us a spring, if you will. And sat in our production office. Put a in focus machine up on a blank wall, if you will. And then from using it, a comic book at as the narrative had kind of a rough outline going etc… And started to get some scenes going. And basically, whether it was me taking the lead, or Barry taking the lead. We talked through each one of the scenes. And say, “Hey, what were you thinking here?” This was kinda the whole for the last time, and does that fit? And then it would just take on an odd shape from there. There were some times when we had to leave it, or you know, work independently on something. But, for the most part. I mean, we sat right there. Can I, I do want to throw God in there. Our co-producers, actually got this whole thing written. We all three checked into a hotel room and just got that final polish, right Barry?
Barry: Yeah, we did. We went in and read through the whole, read through the whole screenplay. Before, the part of pre-production, and before we actually started shooting. And we started going through the whole. Everything that we saw in there that needed to be fixed, tightened up, and found there was definitely a real collaborative effort. Being in the same room, and working on this together. The one thing that I guess we didn’t mention was? How do you start though, right? Like you have this blank sheet of paper. Like the curser on a blank computer screen. And for me, that’s always the hardest part. But, if I get myself to start off with that sort of look at each page of the script of the minute into the movie. And look, okay at this point I’ll certainly know what genre to worry about. But, being able to put on page just an outline of what happens in the first minute of the movie. What’s going to happen, 3 minutes into the movie, ten minutes into the movie, and so on. Just kinda like, look at that point in the movie, ten minutes, where am I in the movie? Do I know everything that the movie can be able? That kinda thing, that’s important to have down there. Just so you can have that structure. And then you can fill in the space between those page numbers. And then, that’s when the imagination and everything starts to go wild. Because now you got, seven pages or so, in between 3 and 10, to get to the tense minute in the movie, and how you’re filling that up. Same thing, you know, half-way through the movie, if it’s page 50 or whatever, 45, 60. Where do you want to be, where you want honestly. So, that’s always.
Ashley: So, how?
Barry: That’s the hardest part, honestly. I always want to have something out there on tape first. So, it already when I do pages, pages along the way, get it to me. And I love to just talk the crap outta things, head it, untouched, I mean craft. It’s a lot better working with someone, something that already got something down on papers.
Ashley: No, yeah, excellent, great advice. So, how can people see
“Bad Kids at Crestview Academy?” Do you guys know when the release schedule’s going to be?
Barry: Yes, actually, appropriately we release on Friday 13th of January. We’re releasing in select theaters ten days to market in the U.S. as well as the rest of theaters. And then pretty much everywhere ONDEMAND, and on digital HD online all at once, same time, day and date.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. And
Barry: Friday, the 13th.
Ashley: Perfect, that’s a good release date. So, what’s the best way for people to keep up with what you’re doing? Anything you’re comfortable with sharing? If you’re on Twitter, Facebook, a blog, whatever you feel comfortable sharing? So, people can kinda keep up with what you guys are doing?
Barry: Our universe is actually www.crestviewacademy.com, that is crestview is our official webpage. But, James I’ll let him tell you all about Twitter.
James: That’s Gotohell/crestviewacademy\number2 we have basically, we directed every type of Google search we could do to get to our website. Because as far as our social platforms. The Twitter and InstaGram feeds are all called – Crestviewbadkids@/badkids Stagebook and Tumbler on badkids@crestviewacademy. So you can find us at social all day long, every day we love social media.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. Well guys I really appreciate your coming on the show and talking with me. Fascinating story you guys have, good luck with the film.
James: Thank you, we appreciate it so much.
Ashley: Thank you. We’ll talk to ya later.
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On the next episode of the Podcast, I’m going to be interviewing screenwriter and director Duo Lisa Robinson and Annie J. Howell. They just did a film called, “Claire in Motion.” We walk through the early days of their career and how they got this film produced. So, keep an eye out for that episode next week.
That’s the show, thank you for listening.