Ashley: Welcome to episode #177 of the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I’m Ashley Scott Meyers Screenwriter and Blogger over at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today, I’m interviewing Writer/Producer/Actor/and Comedian, Chad Ridgely. Chad has a couple of films that are finishing up right now. He moved out to L.A. from the East Coast a number of years ago. And he just started working on moving his career forward. He sold a pilot to a studio, and now he has two feature films that are coming out. We walk through all of this and much, much, more. So, stay tuned for that interview.
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A quick few words about what I am working this week. So, once again, I’m still working on Post-Production, on my crime, action thriller, feature film, “The Pinch.” Things are moving along slowly but surely. My Composer said last week, the first maybe or so, the first 20 minutes of the film. And he has scored, and that sounded great. So that’s moving along very, very, nicely. I heard from my Dialog Editor. He’s making some good progress. Heard from my Sound Designer, he said he should be done his first pass in it this week or so. The guys who have been doing the special effects, you know, there’s just different shots. I think there’s probably maybe 15, or 18 effects shots throughout the movie. And slowly they’re getting those shots done, and sending those in, so that’s going along very, very, nicely. I’ve got my ADR session set-up with my lead actor for this Friday. I’m going to record a bunch of voice over, there’s one line that I need to get from the film. And a bunch of voice overs. So, we’ll record that on Friday. And then get that to my Dialog Editor to incorporate into the dialog. I’m meeting with my colorist tomorrow to go over that. He’s the first pass of the color correction done, so that’s all great. But, I’m going to just go and meet with him and sit in the room. We’re going to go over a few scenes together. I don’t have a lot of experience. But, no real experience with color correction, and color grading. So, I’m having trouble even getting him good notes. So, I’m just hoping if we can just sit in the room and really talk about the different scenes.
We can kind of figure out what direction to go? Whether to go one direction or another direction, I’m not even sure the correct vocabulary? Well enough to give him some good notes. So, I’m hoping that a good long session with him will solve that problem. So, I feel like I’m finally, finally, on the home stretch with, “The Pinch.” Again, it’s going to take some more time. There’s definitely some more work to be done, but things are moving along nicely. And as I said, this kinda feels like the home stretch. So, I’m starting to think about distribution and film festivals for “The Pinch.” If anyone has any insight, into some specific film festivals? Please drop me an Email. Sometimes it’s hard to know which festivals are good and which ones aren’t even worth it, entering. So, if you know of one that’s especially good. Please just send me an Email on it and let me know? And when I say, “Good” I really mean is? A festival that’s well run, organized, has good attendance. You know, I’ve been to those film festivals, where literally no body is in the screenings except for the film makers. And it just doesn’t feel like those festivals are often times are even worth going to. Much less enter and spending the money and entering. So, if you have some real experience with a festival, please again, just drop me an Email. And let me know what your experience has been with those festivals. You know, not even so much bad festivals. Really I’m just looking for recommendations. Ones that you think are a good ideas, just send me an Email. I’d love to find a festival in Los Angeles California to premier “The Pinch” at. Since the most of the cast and crew is here in Los Angeles. It would be nice to have it premier here. And all the cast and crew could show up and you know they are usually very fun. We have a full packed house, when cast and crew is there. A bunch of other people are there. The screenings are usually very, very, fun. Just don’t apply a really good energy. So, finding a festival in L.A. would be sure ideal. But, it doesn’t always happen as nice and clean as that. So, I’m thinking the same thing on with distributors? So, if you have some good experiences with different distributors, who work on low-budget films, please let me know that as well. I want to start building a list of potential places that I could take this film to when it’s done. So, again, please do Email me any given information of these two things. You can send me an Email at – email@example.com.
So, also I finished the first draft of my horror thriller script last week. I’ve been plugging away on that for the last couple of months. I’m hoping to have it polished up in the next few weeks. I’ll probably end up in a few weeks. And then I can start to figure out what I am going to do with that? Like “The Pinch” I’ve written it so it should be fairly easy and inexpensive to produce. I’ve had a really good time working on “The Pinch.” So, just trying to figure out what to do next? I say, this is something that it does feel realistic. I’ll probably raise roughly the same amount of money or a little more, it can get done. As I said, I’ve written in such a way that the cast is fairly limited. And the locations are all fairly easy to get, in places that I have access to. So, we’ll see? But, the next couple of weeks I’ll be working on that and polishing that up. So, that’s what I’m working on.
So, now let’s get into the main segment.
Today I’m interviewing, Writer/Producer/Actor/Comedian, Chad Ridgely.
Here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Chad to, the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I really appreciate you coming on the show and talking with me today.
Chad: Absolutely, my pleasure.
Ashley: So, to start out, maybe you can give us a little bit of background. Where did you grow up, and how did you get interested in the entertainment industry?
Chad: I grew-up in Washington D.C. born in Washington D.C. raised out there. Went to the University of Maryland, studied radio and television and film out there, at first. Let’s see, I’ve always been interested in film making, in fact, my grandmother gave me an 8mm film camera. Which I used to shoot my first movie, when I was 8 years old. It was on 8mm film, and it was called, “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” It was based on the “Credence Clearwater Revival” song. I was trying to make a very artistic statement at 8 years old. It was an anti-war film. That I made at 8, which we shot in my basement at my parent’s house, in my backyard.
Chad: Using some models and what not? I actually had to do some physical film splicing on that.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, sure, sure.
Chad: Which was something you don’t see too much of these days. But, that’s how I got started.
Ashley: Okay, then talk about maybe some of your first steps to actually turning this into a career. You graduated from college. What did you do next? Just before you never even knew, potentially do a lot of stand-up comedy active. Maybe just take us into those first couple of steps of actually turning this into a career and earning a few bucks.
Chad: Well, I’ve always wanted to pursue acting and writing, and comedy. But, after college I actually worked just outside of Washington D.C. as a police officer for a number of years. It’s kinda funny, I never actually wanted to pursue law enforcement. But, I got a role on a TV show that would be shooting out there. So, I went on some ride a-longs with the police. Where they let you ride around on the car with them during their shift. And totally by accident, I fell in love with the job. I was like, Wow! This is exciting! This is, I want to do this. So, I decided I would do that for a few years and that, and then move out to L.A. So, that actually took a little bit of a convincing mentally to leave that job.
Because it was such a great career, I really, really enjoyed it. But, it wasn’t my true calling, my true calling was certainly the acting and writing, and producing. So, I came out to L.A. So, I’ve been doing, producing my own web series, comedy web series, comedy stuff. And ended up selling a show to FOX. They ended up producing a pilot called, “The Chad Ridgely Show.” Which unfortunately didn’t go anywhere. But, it still was a really big victory to have that kind of a sale. And it was very validating to have a big network studio be interested in my content. So, that was like, okay, so, I’m on the right track. So, I started doing that kind of stuff. I started doing more short films, and now I’m doing features.
Ashley: Okay, let me back-up, just a little bit. I get a lot of Emails from people. (excuse me) And I think your perspective would be interesting. I get a lot of Emails from people, they are in a similar situation where they have a career way outside of Hollywood. And they are wondering, how do I know when it’s time to make that move. Maybe you can talk a little bit about your preparation? Did you save a bunch of money? You know, how did you even know where in L.A. to move? Maybe just some tips and tricks for people who are thinking about moving to L.A. Maybe you have some advice for them?
Chad: Sure. Now I didn’t. You’re going to need some money of course. Now, I didn’t do it the most conventional way. Because when I moved out to L.A. I just did it cold turkey. I drove across country, it took me three days. I had all my stuff that I was bringing in my car. So, I didn’t want to leap and get a motel room for fear someone would break into my car. So, I slept in my car each night. And then, I would wake-up and then keep driving. So, I got to L.A. And I didn’t know a soul out here, I didn’t know anybody. But, I kinda dove in, feet first. And of course, as my luck would have it. That’s right when the Writer’s Strike began to occur. So, there was a lot of work that wasn’t happening for writers and actors at that time. But, I started to just doing the leg work, getting, you know, the “Head Shots” out there, the resumes out there, the writing samples out there. And it was really, very, very, tedious. And it can be very discouraging. But, my mentality was, I’m doing this, and I’m not quitting. So, I didn’t have a “Plan-B.” And I didn’t give myself a time line. So, if you’re going to move out to L.A. and pursue this full-time. You can’t really give yourself a timeline. A lot of people say, oh, I’m going to give it a year, I’m going to give it 2 years. And then if that doesn’t work? I’m going to go back to Michigan, or Maryland, or where ever? And resume that kind of life. You can’t really have that. Because it doesn’t really work that way. It’s not like a traditional career path, as you are aware, to a writer yourself. You know, if I do this, if you’re at a job at the police department, you know that if you are on it for this many years, and you take this test. And then you will be promoted to this rank and then you can move up to this rank. And you know, in this career it doesn’t work that way. There are so many different ways to get there. You have to be committed. And you certainly can’t be easily intimidated. Because, as you know, Ashley, it’s just moving from one rejection to another rejection, to another, and not letting that discourage you.
Ashley: Yeah, where did you actually pull in and live? And would you advise people to live in the, that area? Where did you actually live in L.A.?
Chad: When I first got out here. I just rented a place temporarily in Culver City, right next to the Culver City Studios there. And I stayed there for just about a month.
And then I found another place in Studio City, and I’ve been in Studio City in that kind of vicinity ever since. I love that area, it’s close to the studios, it’s close the freeways. And it’s really been my home since I’ve been out here.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Coincidentally, I’m from Maryland, when I moved out here. Me and my buddy pulled off right on Laurel Canyon, and we were just a little North right on Valley Village. Where Magnolia and Laurel Canyon cross. So, a very, very, similar story, yeah, to yours. How many, or how much money did you save if you don’t mind sharing that, in just general in terms of what can people expect, in terms of apartments, and food, and costs of living if they’re going to come out here? A few months, or even a year without working.
Chad: Well, I really didn’t have as much of a cushion as I would have liked. I think I probably only had maybe $5000.00 grand or something? And that went away fast. You know, you’re paying security deposit, and then I found out you got to buy a refrigerator.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Chad: Down here, I found out they didn’t have refrigerators. And they didn’t all have that back in Maryland and D.C., Virginia, and that whole area. You find a place and then they had refrigerators. I came out here and it’s like, what’s that? And they’re like, oh that’s where you can put a refrigerator there if you want? If I want?! What am I just going to hang meat there? I don’t want a refrigerator, do I have several? So, you have to budget for the refrigerator. Although, they seem to be doing more refrigerators in apartments these days. I really lived off my credit cards, for about my first year. And that was really, really, really, terrified. Because I had all this stuff going on, going out, and nothing coming in. And you’re thinking, oh, well, okay, I’m going get on a show, or I’m going to sell this, And I’ll be fine. Like, sometimes that doesn’t happen. And it didn’t for me. So, it was really, really tough, to persevere and get through that when I first moved out here. You know, I had from a career job where I had seniority, and a steady income. To coming out here, and working, I was working 3 jobs at one point. I was 2 full-time gigs, and then another part-time gig. It was just, it was really just hellacious! And somehow or other I just persevered through that, and things started to take a turn. But, a you certainly need to be committed. I think that would be the most, the best advice I could give, is just. If you’re going to do it? Make sure that you are not going to half-assed it, and you are committed. For me, like I said, I did not have a “Plan-B.” And that has really helped propel me through those tough times.
Ashley: Yeah. So, let’s talk about “The Chad Ridgely Show.” And maybe how you went about getting that sold to FOX? I think that would be an interesting show. Maybe you could just tell us what that show was all about? And then go into some of the details of how you actually got that sold?
Chad: Sure. One of the things that I learned early on, in L.A. is, you have to be able to make your own content. So, that’s what I started doing, pretty much early on I started making my own sketches, pretty much my own sketch comedy stuff. And just blasting it out online. I had a number of pretty successful web series. There was a show I did called, “Healthy Tips.” Which his about this restroom doctor, who thinks the show is called, “Healthy Tits.” It’s network safe, it’s all innuendos, and play on words and stuff like that.
So, he had a pretty successful run. And then I had another character that was hosting a game show called, “The Gay, or Not Gay Game Show.” So, we did a number of episodes of that. And I was also in “Growlings” which was also an improve school, improve troupe. So, I did that for a number of times “Growlings” is a very character based, very character oriented. So, it really gave me a lot strengths and tones of making a individual characters for sketches. So, I had all these, I had all this content. And some of it was doing pretty well, So, I blasted it out to all the studios. Hoping of course I would hear something, but not really expecting to hear anything back. And then, at the time I got a call from FOX a comic, Mrs. March, and “The Rocker” stuff like that. They a, eventually they went away, they folded into just FOX Studios in general. But, I ended up getting a meeting deal with FOX. And I went in and it was a real successful pitch meeting. And that led to another meeting. Which led to them offering to produce the pilot. Which was amazing. I think at that point, I was definitely hooked, on L.A. I had been out here a couple of years at that point. And for me there was no turning back. Because once I had that kind of validation, with the stuff I felt was funny, somebody else thought it was funny. And was willing to put my name behind it. I was, like okay, alright, I’m in it.
Ashley: Okay. So, let’s talk about this.
Chad: The pilot, the pilot never went anywhere. But, it was still a phenomenal win, I mean pretty much, just a 1 in a million shot to be able to navigate that treacherous path to land back. So, even if you have something? It just gets that far, that’s still a win.
Ashley: Yeah, sure. So, you keep saying blasted out to this, studios? What exactly does that mean? Did you get Email addresses, did you make cold calls, did you send letters, what exactly does blasted out mean? In these short films too the studios mean?
Chad: When I sent the sketches out, it was all, it was just Email. And I had gotten some Email, plus I think I had made a couple of calls. And there were a number of handbooks that were going around that various acting organizations said I was in? They had, had this kind of a treasure trove of information in terms of contacts. And so, I went through and I picked as many as I could. And sent them all out, with a little personalized Email, and I got a response.
Ashley: And you a, mentioned the “Growlings” I just want to touch on that quickly. A lot of writers, a lot of comedians, get into that. Maybe you can talk about that? Even if there is some other similar type of programs. My understanding is “Growlings” is when you start, you like pay some sort of fee to take classes or something there. And then, once you kind of get in the flow of things, you eventually work your way up. And then they have like a separate added in show case. I’ve never done it, so? This is sort of my, you know, peripheral understanding of it. But let me, maybe you can explain what it is? Because I’m sure there are some writers listening to this that might want to get in on it, and want to get involved and want to know more about it?
Chad: Sure. And they do have a writing program. It is primarily a school. They do bring you in, you audition to for the school. And then they quickly do a certain track. And of course you’re paying as you go, as you move up the ladder. So, you get to what they call, “Sunday Company” which is like a little live S & L. Which runs for a while. So, I did that for a couple of years. And they have improv, it starts off in Improv, and they make you learn to develop characters.
And learn to develop a sketch comedy writing style. And finding the beats as a writer. They also work with the students a lot. They, the stand-up class is what I love. But, as a writer, for me, it helped with me the development of the sketches. And it helped me with the development of the characters. Because this, they are really, really, strong in character development. So, you’ll, if you will just participate in that, you’ll end up with a number of sound developed characters. Which you can plug into different sketches. And then of course you’ll be writing for those as well. I had already had a pretty good idea of the sketch structure. Because I had been doing that at the same time as before. But, yeah, it’s great.
Another nice thing about it is? Of course is, just the networking from your classmates. You’re going to meet so many people there. And they are all ambitious, and they are all doing the same things. And you are going to find people that you can point them to your own stuff that you are making. And I still, and that was 6 or 7 years ago, and I’m still in touch with a number of those folks.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So, let’s move into some of the feature films. How did you kind of make that transition from doing these sketches, these shorts, these web series. Into trying to turn that into a feature film? What was your first feature film?
Chad: I started doing short films first, to kind of get the, to just kind of get the process down. Because there are so many mechanics that go into producing a film. So, I started doing short films. And since I’m doing most of this stuff. So, I needed be proficient at pretty much the entire process. So, I did a couple of shorts, I did one, which is a short thriller called,
“The Hand of Now.” Which is, was nice, it was a friend of mine Dan Strawnsack who wrote in the name of the king film, a number of years ago. He wrote that for me. And the next one I did was a short called, “Acting With Sharks” which was a comedy which takes place in a workshop setting. Where it’s like a casting director workshop that you’ve probably heard about. Except the instructors crazy. And the actors are signing up to learn how to act with sharks. And that was born out of a real situation in an acting workshop, which I was in. Inevitably, in any of these workshops actually have somebody ask the question that is like, what? But, the casting director was talking about how she just cast a project where the actors need to feel comfortable acting with real sharks. And of somebody asked, where do you learn to act with sharks? Well, it was like, in the workshop, Dah! So, I went home and wrote “Acting With Sharks.” And wrote and produced and directed that. It’s pretty funny, you should check it out. And then it’s a, and from there I kind of graduated to features. I figured once I had those down. The process for making a short is just the same as it is as a feature it’s just longer and more of it, and more money. But, once I had that, I was ready to take the leap into features. My first feature is
“Massacre On Isle 12.” Which has just been released, just been released now. If you have NetFlix you can add it to your physical DVD Queque. It’s on all the streaming services. The DVD release is coming up. And from there we expect you’ll be able to pick it up on larger platforms as we go. We’ve met with some of the larger ones. I can’t say yet, but.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Chad: Hopefully there. But, Massacre was a horror comedy script. That I initially found on
“Ink Tip.” Which is a service as you are familiar with, that writers use to kinda get their scripts out there.
And so, I found it there, and the original script was a guy named A. J. Via. And it was about 125 pages. It was definitely written with a much higher budget in mind. In my arena it would not have been producible. I came to that with my producing partner, Jim Crock, who runs Code 3 films. And we agreed that we could develop that, and make it something that we could produce. So, I did a number of heavy rewrites on it. I got it down to a producible 88-89 pages. And added some characters, and made a lot of changes to the story that would get it where I wanted it. And incorporate more of my style of humor. From there, Jim directed it, and Co-directed it with William Mark McCoa. We shot that in Savanah Georgia, at the end of 2014.
Ashley: Okay. I’m curious, at what point did you just say, you do, when you’re doing these shorts. Do you, you were doing most of the stuff. I’m curious, if you could break that out into some specific jobs. We, you, obviously you were acting in them and writing them. But, were you also the producer, the director, the producer, the editor, you know, the sound editor, the sound mixer, like how far? How deep did your actual work go?
Chad: For the shorts, okay so, Anna McKowski Directed “The Hand of Now” I directed and acted in “Acting With Sharks.” On the producing side, of course that was all that stuff defined some of the producing, acting in it as well. And in terms of editing I always have gone on somebody else to do that. That’s just not my strong point. I can edit, but and I did edit a lot of my early stuff. But it’s very, tough job. I really admire editors who can spend 60 hours just doing that. But, I don’t think the editing, but pretty much everything else.
Ashley: How many scripts on “Ink Tip” did you read before you found this one that you liked and wanted to produce?
Chad: I found, I’d read a lot. And I still do. In fact, I spend a lot of times reading your pitches. And reading the ones that come through on Ink Tip. And I probably read, I was looking for a horror comedy so, I probably read 15 scripts I think? And before I found one that I liked. The nice thing about these services is, you can read the log-line and synopsis and that kind of tells you in a way if you want to read it or not. But, you know, since Ink Tip has had a magazine with all of them and what I’ll do with. And I’ll just go through, and I’ll book mark them. And then circle the ones I want to read and then I’ll ask and reach out read those. And it’s the same with yours when your Emails come through. I know that I’ve reached out to some writers and they’ve been very prompt in sending their scripts out.
Ashley: Okay. And I’m curious if on the business side, there was somethings about this script. We can see the poster behind you. You know, there’s a half naked gorgeous woman with big boobs. Was there something when you told, is this just your sort of flavor of comedy? Was there something when you talked to distributors and said, “Yeah, this is a movie we think we can sell.” What sort of made you gravitate towards horror/comedy, as opposed to maybe broad comedy, or any number of other comedy. Because as I’m sure you could plug your humor into?
Chad: Well, I wanted to do really comedy. As a comedian it’s just really my favorite thing. I love to make people laugh. But, it’s harder to sell comedy, just the straight comedy, horror is, the low-budget especially horror is much, much, easy to sell. And get a distribution to, or especially if you are considering opening up overseas sales.
Because with a comedy sometimes our sense of humor doesn’t always translate to whatever that market is. But the horror pretty much is universal. And then it’s easier to sell. It’s like, okay, well I want to make a comedy, but I also want to get it distributed, so let’s make a horror comedy. So, that’s where that came in. The big boobs didn’t help.
Ashley: So, a it, I watched the trailer, and it looked very, very, contained. It’s inside this a one store. And I’m curious if again, when you’re reading that script from Ink Tip, did you know you had that location? Was there some sort of pieces that as you’re reading the script, yeah we can film this. Because you knew you had that location that would work.
Chad: Well, going back to the seeking out the script I was looking for one that was very minimal locations. So, when I found one that did take place in one location, that really peaked my interest. No, we did not have a location. The movie would not have been made if we hadn’t found the location. And we were in pre-production Jim Klock and I and Darrell Martinelli, the other producer on the project. We were looking all over the country to find a suitable hardware store that we could use. We considered shooting it in New Jersey. We had found a hardware store out there, that we thought might work. And Darrell Martinelli and went out and met with them. We were kinda concerned about how they might think about the script. Because it is edgy humor, and it is well, there is this, it comes with sex scenes and stuff like that in there. So, it’s a, we waited till the last minute to send them the scripts. Then when Darrell got in there for the meeting. They were like, Whoa!
Chad: You read this? He’s like, yeah! Okay, yeah, we’re a fan of the store so we don’t really want to do that already. Ah, okay, we get it. So, we ended up, our Co-Director, William Mark McCullough lives in Savanah Georgia, and he’s like, well, ya know, I know a spot that might work. So he went and reached out to the owners of the location we ended up shooting at, and they were fine with it. The location actually could not have been better. Because so many things that were in the script. That ruling, we had there, and it was all one location. And it was a huge, it was a 100 year old hardware store that was over a whole city block and 4 stories tall.
Chad: Over the years it just had this part of the building that became the hardware store. And then they bought out the next one. It just had so many different visual things in it that really upped the production value. And it had in it, it had an amazing fork lift style elevator. This giant elevator shaft, so of course one of the re-writes to seek a location. As soon as I saw that elevator shaft. I was like, okay, somebody’s getting killed here, this is going to be a great kill. So, I rewrote a scene so we could get that in there. No, I mean, the location was the key to that movie getting made. Because if we hadn’t found that, we just wouldn’t have done it. And very, very, blessed and fortunate that we did get that. Because we’re getting down to the wire, in terms of when that was going to be a “Go” or No, Go.”
Ashley: A-huh. So, let’s talk about the process of raising the money and actually getting this thing into production. Once you kinda had the script polished up. You had it where you wanted. What were your next steps to actually raise the money. Maybe you can talk about it a little bit. Just how you went out and how you financed this?
Chad: Well, all of the hard money came from me.
Chad: It was something that I knew I was going to have to do. And so, I financed all of that, so, that was on my end. The soft money came from my producing partner, Jim Klock and a company called, “Code 3” because they came in with Darrell Martinelli, and they had the equipment. So, with his equipment and my money. We were able to make this happen. But, it’s a quite an investment. And I really had to scramble to make that work. I put a lot of it on credit cards, I took out a loan. But, at the end of the day, I really couldn’t be happier with it. So, the film, it is amazing, and it’s beautiful I’m just so proud of it, the work that everybody did on this. And it just came together amazingly. So, it was definitely worth it. And distribution, that’s just success.
Ashley: Yeah, perfect. The trailer looks great so, I wish you luck with that.
Chad: Thanks, over a million hits on the teaser trailer. It was amazing.
Ashley: Yeah. So, what’s next for you, maybe you could talk about what kind of is the next step for “Massacre in Isle 12?”
Chad: We’ve already got it in the can, another horror/comedy called, “6:66p.m.” And it’s another one location horror/comedy. It’s already been shot, we’re in Post-Production now. My composer – Brooke deRosa, wrote the score for that. They’ll go into sound design and color correction in it delivered in that one. So, look for that one in hopefully this fall as well.
Ashley: Perfect, so just parting advice what advice do you have for screenwriters, who move out to L.A. and are looking to break in.
Chad: Well, a few things, well, I guess the most important, the first thing I would say, is, don’t wait until you feel like the situation is perfect to start. Because, if you wait until you feel like everything is perfect, you’re never going to be there. And it’s never going to happen. And you’re never going to make it. You’re never going to make the movie, the script, just don’t wait! Don’t wait! Jump right in, you have a camera, grab it start shooting something. Like, just do it. If I had waited until the situation was spot on, to make “Massacre.” If I had waited until I had all the money ahead of time? I’d still be waiting to make it. So, I would say, jump in, don’t wait, I’ve been there. I also say, if you’re on the fence.
Now, there’s a couple of books I would recommend. There is one that I really enjoyed, called, “My First Movie” by Stephen Lowenstein. And it’s interviews with a number of directors, The Cohan Brothers, Kevin Smith, Berry Levenson, just a whole bunch. It’s just, a book of interviews about how they make their first movies. And it’s, I found it’s really insightful.
There’s another great book, I recommend called, “What They Don’t Teach You At Film School” by Camille Landau, and it’s kind of a starter guide, in terms of what to expect, to need and you know it’s got a lot of information you’d learn it if you just went and did it. But, it’s nice to go in with that knowledge ahead of time. But, the number one thing is don’t, just don’t wait. Just get out there and do it. And be prepared to say, fail, and if you fail, that’s okay. Because if you don’t try you’re never going to get, but if you try and fail you learn from that. And that’s what this business is, it’s about trying and facing rejection. It’s about not getting the answer you want. If it’s writing, writing is re-writing, you know, for the FOX Show. I mean, that was re-write, after re-write, after re-write, after re-write, after re-write, after re-write. And some folks evidentially, talent agents, well, I’ve got it, here it is, it’s done, but, as you well know, writing is re-writing. And if you’re not writing, write something. And if you’re not shooting something, shoot something. I mean, make it easier, Caan Film Festival these days. It’s fantastic. Just don’t
dilly-dally. Get out there and just do something.
Ashley: Sound advice. So, what’s the best way for people to keep up with what you’re doing? If you’re on Twitter, you can mention you’re Twitter handle. If you’re on Facebook, you can mention your Facebook page. Anything you’re comfortable sharing. And I will round it all up and put it in the show notes. But, feel free to mention it, any kind of contact information.
Chad: Okay, sure. I’m on Twitter at @ChadRidgely that’s R-i-d-g-e-l-y, I’m on Facebook, same handle – www.facebook.com/chadridgely. Instagram – Chad Ridgely. Feel free to add me on those if anybody has any questions on, I’m always happy to help someone out. Give whatever advice I can. I’ve got 2 produced and distributed features, now under my belt. Which is great progress, you know, people look around, and they say, oh, this person over here’s an over night success. But, if you dig a little deeper, you realize, they’ve been doing it out in L.A. for 10 years, or so. There’s a saying attributed to Harrison Ford, an interview where they ask him. How did you make it? And he said, “Well, I came out here on a bus with 100 people and eventually 99 of them left.” And that’s so true, it’s perseverance, it’s networking, it’s meeting people that you can work with. When you move up, bring them up, and you help bring them up. Relationships are, exceptional key, and it’s business, people work with the same people, over and over again. And you see that all the time. Something that I’ve been doing. Anyway, I would just say, networking, relationships, and Do It!
Ashley: Sound advice, sound advice. Chad I really appreciate you coming on and talking with me. I wish you luck with both of these films. You know, as you move along, you’re always welcome to come back on, I’d love to hear up dates from you.
Chad: Awesome, I’d love to, thanks so much Ashley.
Ashley: Perfect, thank you Chad. We’ll talk to ya later.
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On the next episode of the Podcast, I’m going to be interviewing, screenwriting coach,
Lee Jessup, She just wrote a book where she interviewed a whole bunch of writing/working screenwriters. And we go through some of the important insights that she’s gone through while writing it. It’s a great interview and there’s a ton of varied pointed information for screenwriters. So, keep an eye out for that episode next week.
To wrap things up, I just want to touch on a few things on today’s interview with Chad. As I prepared to record the Podcast each week. You know, I spend a few minutes just trying to think about some of the lessons I’ve learned from the interview. And I feel a little bit like a broken record. Because I think a lot of the lessons that I feel like I’ve learned from Chad is just the hustle that he has is super inspiring and him just getting out there and making things happening, doing stuff. You know these are a lot of the same lessons that I talk about every week. And I really kind of lately focus on bringing in new writers to the Podcast. They are kind of like Chad.
They are making things happen, getting out there, doing projects, and that’s just how you’re going to advanced your career. Not waiting for permission, not willing to find an agent. Just getting out there and doing stuff. So, I won’t belabor that point too much. But, I hope this is an interview you guys really liked and I hope it was as inspiring to you as it was to me. Because again, I just love hearing from people and see people who are just out there and doing things. I will be doing a bunch more of these. I’ve had recently a couple of people who have done short films, web series, and things, I have a bunch more of those interviews recorded. So, again we will be going through this process, and I think Chad is a-ways along in his career, he’s doing feature films. I don’t necessarily recommend starting out with a feature film, starting out with a short film. But, you know, Chad has done a bunch of short films as well. Leading up to producing feature films. So, I think that’s a smart way to go. I’ll be bringing on some short film makers in the next couple of months as well. And I’ve got a whole different budget range, the short film makers are usually very happy to talk about budget. So, we really talk about how much some of these short film makers spent on their films. And then you can kind of model your own situation hopefully after some of these film makers. And then just see a progression and then hopefully you go through a couple of short films and then get to the point where you reach that level where Chad is actually at, and producing feature films.
Anyways, that’s the show thank you for listening.