This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 182: Filmmaker Ritchie Greer Talks About His New Short Film, Lost And Found.
Ashley: Welcome to episode #182 of the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I’m Ashley Scott Meyers Screenwriter and Blogger over at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today, I’m interviewing Writer/Director, Ritchie Greer. He recently did a $1500.00 short film called,
“Lost and Found” which you can watch for free at www.screeningforfree.com. We walk through his entire process for writing, directing and producing this film. So, stay tuned for that.
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I’d just like to mention a free webinar that I am doing on
Wednesday – August 9th at 10:00a.m. pst. Its called,
“How to Effectively Market Your Screenplay and Sell It.”
I’m going to go through all the various online channels that are available to screenwriters, and give you my unfiltered opinion on them. I get questions all the time about, “The Black List” and “Ink Tip” and various contests. And so, in this free webinar I’m going to talk about my experience with these various services. Again, this webinar is completely free. Don’t worry if you cannot attend the live event. I will be recording this event. So, if you sign-up you’ll get a link to the recorded event after it happens. To sign-up, just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/freewebinar. And “free webinar” is all one word, and all in lower-case letters. Of course I will link to this in the show notes as well. Anyone who is already on my Email list. I will Email you the details so you don’t have sign-up for the webinar specifically. You will have access to it just by being on my Email list.
So, once again, I’m still working on Post-Production of my crime, action, thriller, feature film, “The Pinch.” I don’t have a lot of real updates. But, things are moving along slowly but surely. My special effects guy just Emailed me the closing credits, it looks great. So, that’s moving along nicely. And that’s the little ending credits sequence where it highlights the main actors in the film. It’s a little clip of the actor, a little freeze frame, and then their name along with that. So, it took a little of effects to get that all in place. I also wrote up a scrolling credits. And this is pretty much everybody’s credit into the end credits, that’s all be scrolling stuff. I had to look up in the boiler plate, you know, legal stuff. Just all that stuff, I worked on that over the last couple of weeks. I got that to my editor. So, now he’s going to be typing that up and putting that into the end of the film.
I listened to the first pass of the score last week. I’d say that’s almost done, I had a few notes. But, over all I would say, the composer is pretty much done. Again, there’s a few notes, so were at maybe I think 90% done with the score. So, that’s great, that’s moving along.
I’m going to be looking at something, color correction footage. This week, my colorist sent me a new pass of that. So, I’ve got that to work on. So again, everything is, moving along slowly but surely.
Also, I want to mention a live webinar I’m going to be doing in August. Where I will go through all the steps of production of producing a micro-budget feature film. The webinar is called, of all things? “The Pinch – Producing a Micro-Budget Feature Film.” I’m going to do this online webinar on Wednesday August 23 2017 at 10:00a.m. pst. I’m going to charge a small fee to attend. But, if you are looking to produce your own micro-budget feature film? Or are just looking to learn about writing a low-budget micro-budget feature film. I think this will, this webinar will be of some value to you. I’m going to go through every avenue and aspect of production. How to write a micro-budget script, how to raise money for a micro-budget project. And then of course, how to do pre-production. And every aspect of Post-Production. As I close in on completion of my own feature film, “The Pinch” I think this is a great time to do this coming up. Everything is very fresh in my mind. So, I’ll be able to answer any questions with relevant fresh information. Any and all questions that get asked? I will answer that’s a big part of this webinar, is just answering the questions. I’m going to be going through my own budget
line-by-line. So, you can see exactly how I spent the money that I had. And hopefully that will be something that will help move your own budgeting. If this sounds like something that you might like to learn more about? Just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/class, again that’s – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/class. And the word “class” is all lowercase letters. And I will of course be linking to this in the show notes as well.
So, that’s what I am working on. And now let’s get into the main segment, today I’m interviewing Writer/Director Ritchie Greer, here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Ritchie to, the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I really appreciate you coming on the show and talking with me today.
Ritchie: Hey, it’s good to be here.
Ashley: So, to start out, maybe you can give us kind of an overview about your background. Where you from, where did you grow up, and how did you get interested in the entertainment industry?
Ritchie: A, basically, after college I moved to Willaims South Carolina. And I got a job in a big nightclub called, “Studebaker’s.” I quickly moved up to be the “Entertainment Director” there. And basically, my job was to design skits and shows to music and choregraph dances, and just basically use my creativity to draw customers in. I was there 16 years, and it was a very successful business. But my passion turned to writing. And in Williams South Carolina there’s not a lot of an industry there, so I knew I had to make the move to L.A. and be on my own.
Ashley: Okay, perfect, great, perfect. So, how did you make that transition to, did you start while you were working as the Creative Director at this night club? Did you start to write scripts? Did you start to shoot you know, short films? What was sort of that transition like for those.
Ritchie: Well a, what I had to do was? I went out twice for those plays, but I didn’t know how? So, I know there are all kinds of websites and stuff like that to learn. What I did was? This was probably 15-16 years ago, I went to the library and they had this script. What I thought was my favorite of all time, “Shawshank Redemption.” So, I read the script, and I was watching basically how, they put it all together. And that was my personal introduction, as far as how to make this screenplay and how to write it. After that then of course, you read books some, and so on. I just knew that my passion was creating stories, and I was going to follow that passion no matter what mess. So, that’s basically how it started. Was me going to the library, moving on to writing a screenplay.
Ashley: Okay, perfect. How many scripts had you completed, before you made the transition to L.A.?
Ritchie: You know, I probably had I would say, 7-8?
Ritchie: Maybe even more?
Ashley: And had you started try and maybe quarry agents and managers, and production companies? Had you started doing anything, in terms of marketing scripts.
Ritchie: Yes, absolutely. I blasted the internet with quarry letters, and so on. I did have success, and I knew that there are so many screenwriters like me out there, that they get flooded with those. I thought the way to make it would be to meet people and shake hands, and meet
Face-to-face with the people that make things happen. So, that’s the reason why I went to L.A.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. And I just want to take a little bit of a side detour here, on your move to L.A. This is a question I get so frequently. Hey, can I be a screenwriter without moving to L.A. And maybe we can get your take on that. How has it been worth it, worth all the you know, turmoil and moving and such a big thing. Was it worth it, worth the effort to move to L.A. and be here as opposed to being somewhere else?
Ritchie: 100% yes. You know I had very little success on the east coast. Year by year, by computer you’re sending out things, you know. Every once in a while you might get a bite. But, by moving out here, you know, you really get to meet people in the industry. Like I said, you’re face-to-face with them, and you build relationships with them. So, that’s something you can’t ever really do over the internet on. But, your chances go up dramatically when you’re
face-to-face with someone.
Ashley: Yeah, sure advice. What was that preparation of moving to L.A. like for you. Did you have friends or family out here that could kind of tell you where to move to in L.A.? Did you have some money saved up, kind of a run way. Did you have a job set-up? Because these are all the big issues you know, that people are asking, you know, when they are thinking about that transition.
Ritchie: Yeah, you have to realize that you are going to have to sacrifice. When I came out here, I had no place to stay, I had no job, I only had 1 or 2 people to actually meet here in L.A. But, it wasn’t someone I was going to crash on the couch with or anything like that. I knew that if I moved out here, it would be all lonely. And I just knew the chances are I would be sleeping in my car, or who knows where? But I knew that I thought, that if I didn’t move out here, my chance was going to decrease as far as fulfilling my dream.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. And what’s your advice for people that are coming out here. I got the advice right before I moved to L.A. to move into the valley village, North Hollywood area. It’s central pretty located fairly inexpensive by L.A. standards. What was your experience, what were your, where did you end up first, residing, and how did you end up finding that place. Any advice for people that are thinking of making it to that transition now?
Ritchie: So a, I remember sitting in a little bar in it was like showing a Pittsburg Steelers football game, of which I am a big fan of. And I realized, I knew that night that I had no place to stay, and no where to go. So, I looked on Craigslist, and I just happened to see that someone was renting out a room. That was just a couple of blocks down from where I was at. And so, I watched the Steelers play, and won the game. So, I got in a good mood, and I went, and I met with a guy, and ended up on Hollywood Blvd. And basically, back then, you know, things have changed so much, in the 7 years that I have been out here. Basically back then you could get like a place for $1600.00 for 2 bedroom, or something like that. So, anyway, I ended up moving a guy, he was a drummer, and a really cool guy. And that night, till now, I was just going to sleep in my car. Because I was determined to no matter what! I was not going to go home, I was going to make it in this business, no matter what.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, good story. So, let’s dig into your short film, “Lost and Found.” Maybe to start out you can give a quick pitch or a log-line for that film?
Ritchie: Well basically, it’s about a girl who, goes on a journey to uncover why her dad died? And she sort of follows in his footsteps on this journey. And that’s basically how it’s a little bit like, “Wild” with Reece Witherspoon. And so, she discovers things about herself, and about her father that she didn’t know before she went on this journey.
Ashley: Okay, perfect. Where did this idea come from?
Ritchie: Well I mean, when you don’t have funding, and have passion. You have to think about, okay, how do I, or how am I going to make this film. So, what you’re going to do is? Okay, the first thing you’re going to think of is, locations. What do I have access to. I knew I could use my apartment, and I knew that I could use some woods somewhere. And basically that was how it all started. My daughter, who just turned 18, moved from the east coast, here with me. And she wanted to be an actress. So, I thought, why don’t I write something for her. And that way she can use her talents. And that’s how it sort of all went together. And that’s how “Lost and Found” got created and started.
Ashley: Okay, perfect, perfect. Let’s just talk about your writing process a little bit. This probably, you know, the movie is about 25 minutes or so? So, I’m assuming the script is about 25 pages. How long did it take you to write the script and even break it out in like, idea phase, versus opening up Final Draft and writing the pages.
Ritchie: Right, right. You know, with “Lost and Found” it was my first short film. Because as I mentioned before, I cannot hear a word with 8 or 9 screenplays, and now I’m up to 18. So, I have been working away at it. But, this was my first short film. But, it really didn’t take that long once I get an idea, it’s almost like I see that it’s planned in my head and it just grows and next thing you know, you have a movie. So, I would say that “Lost and Found” took me about a week, to a week and a half, to write. And you know, I was focused on the locations that I knew what locations I could use. And I knew what characters that I had to become friends with. That’s another thing about being in L.A. that’s very important. Not only is it about connecting with people in an industry that sell you forms or whatever? But, you also meet and need the good people that are actors that are very passionate about being actors. And who love being, you know, in forms their dreams as well. And so, I have friends that were actors, and I used them on my film.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Perfect, perfect. There is a ton of voice-over, in this script. And I’m just curious to get your take on voice-over. This is something I have discussed on the Podcast, with other writers. You know, it’s a lot of times people sort of poo-poo voice-over. It was used a lot. was that a plan, did you shoot the movie and then feel like you needed it later. Or was that put into the script early on. Maybe just your thoughts on voice over in general.
Ritchie: A, was it written in the script? Yes, and no. It was written believe it or not? I added some more to it as I thought it, the narrator that took you on this journey. And I blame
Morgan Freedman, because I love the guy. And I think he is an amazing, amazing actor. And when I hear his voice, you know, it just love it. So hopefully, I went back and one day I can work with him. I like voice-overs, I have nothing against it, as an independent film maker. So, I’m a big fan of them.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. So, let’s dig into the actual production of this. Once you have the script ready, did you know from the beginning you were going to produce this like that was the whole idea, write something that I can produce?
Ritchie: Absolutely. Like I said, I knew the locations, actors that I was going to use, I knew what it would take. Obviously you got to have good camera guide, which I was able to get through Craigslist, believe it or not this was the guy I didn’t know until I put an ad out there. I actually got 2 great camera people. And I also got a good sound person. So, you know, if you got that 4, if you got a script. And you have a camera guy, and a sound guy. And you got a couple of actors, you can make magic, you can, you really can. So, obviously, most the times when you drive to L.A. you’re driving around the city, like 15, 16, 18, big trucks lined up on the side of the road shooting something. You know, hey, maybe one day that’ll be us. But, as for now, we’ll take a couple of cars and a camera, and we’ll make some good things happen.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah.
Ashley: Yeah. Do you mind talking about the budget of this? And how much money you spent on it?
Ritchie: I think, I don’t know what we did, it was around $1500.00? You know, obviously when people who are working for credit and so on, definitely take care of, you want to feed them, and obviously you’re going to have props and other things you’re going to need. But, I think I always around $1500.00 for the music, and the special effects and everything. So, like I said, it’s a very, very, small budget. But we’re very proud of the way it turned out.
Ashley: For sure. Do you know what kind of camera you guys shot all this on?
Ritchie: A DSR, a you know, just one of those cameras. Shawn, who was my DP, has, I had a Cannon. And he has, I’m not sure? If it’s a Cannon or not? Different model or not? He has a couple of lens, and I love using one of those lens, and I love the auto focus behind the actors. I think it looks real movie’ish. And so, I’m, I think it gave it a great look. And there’s a lot of rich colors. And I think that he would be nominated for rich photography. But, I think it’s a beautiful area, I think it’s shot real well.
Ashley: Yeah, perfect. So, let’s talk about locations. You keep talking, obviously using stuff like your apartment, that’s pretty easy. Because you’re in there and you’re not really a lot that anybody is going to do to bother you. But, let’s talk about the woods a little bit. One of the things, I just did a feature film. And one of the things that I found. All these things you’re talking about. There’s a huge talent pool in L.A. But, I would say the fun side of shooting in L.A. is, the locations are actually more difficult to find. Because everybody is wanting money, and you know, you need permits. And everybody’s, if you go outside of L.A. everybody is in awe of the film process, so they’ll let you shoot in their diner for free because they just think it’s cool.
Ashley: A, they are thinking pay check. How did you find these woods? Did you need permits, did you just shoot “Gorilla style.”
Ritchie: Oh, we did “Gorilla style.” And you’re absolutely right about the difference between L.A. and other places. Right now, we’re looking at shooting a family film. I’ve been in contact with my hometown and in North Carolina. And they are ready to roll out the red carpet for us. Because it’s a cool thing to have a movie being shot in your town. Whether it’s a small production, or a big production. Here, you see it everywhere. And people get a little, you know, they are not fans of it. Because we’re blocking traffic and driveways, or whatever. But, when you move outside of L.A. it’s a whole different ball game. And there’s people that really, really, enjoy the processing, it’s a very exciting thing, it should be.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, where is this woods, that was in the L.A. area, the woods that you used.
Ritchie: Yeah, I think it’s in the San Bernadino Forest, up in that area. It was a little bit of a drive. I think we drove an hour, hour and a half, two hours to get there? And I drove around, I thought what a great location. And we shot there, and then we also shot along the
Pacific Coast Highway. One of those twenty miles you can go look over the ocean and so on. But, like I said, it’s a lot of beautiful scenery.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. And no problems, you didn’t get harassed by Park Rangers or anything else?
Ritchie: No, like I said, it’s not like we had that, 5 or 6 big trucks. A couple of cars and a lot of passion.
Ashley: Okay, perfect. And you keep mentioning that you have a lot of friends that are actors. Is that all the actors that you used were people that you knew?
Ritchie: Yes. For this one it was all actors that I knew. You know, just recently shot a teaser trailer for a family film, that we put on L.A. casting. And we shot it in real good. So, that was people that I didn’t know, just came in and finished up. So, there’s different ways. You can use your friends, that are, they can be friends. They also have to be talented and good actors and stuff. So, but, for this one, I used my friends who were also talented actors.
Ashley: Okay. And you talked a little bit about the crew. You found some of them on Craigslist. And I found a lot of my crew through Craigslist. So, it’s an excellent resource for people. But, maybe you could just describe what your crew looked like? Was it literally just a sound guy, and the DP? Did you have a first DP’s or what, or anything else on set?
Ritchie: We had a person that ran the sound, that was Armoni, and she also did the slate. So, she was ready to jump into the loop hole and so on. And there would just be two camera people. And, you know, that was it, and we were rockin’ and rollin.’
Ashley: And you were still shooting two cameras throughout the process just to speed things up?
Ritchie: We did, through a couple of days. But, some days Sam couldn’t be there. So, the majority was shot with Shawn, I mean, our guy and stuff. Like I said, he was real valuable.
Ashley: Yeah. And did you mind having two cameras sped things up. This was a conversation I had with my own Cinematographer for that. It all almost seems like they, they’ve got to get everything lined up. And it actually can, we felt it could actually like, slow us down at times.
Ritchie: You know, I’ve like, I like using one camera. I mean, we can use two cameras. Because I think it could speed it up. And in some scenarios. But I love shouldering it, because I love movement shots. So, when me and Shawn began. He’s got that shoulder rigging kinda hooked up, and man we can really get some great shots, and it doesn’t take that long. But, I do see the benefit of having two cameras.
You know, that way it matches better whenever your editing one thing on a high budget film. Use just one camera guy the whole day, with a shoulder rig all day long. And I’m thinking, that’s what I do. This is a huge movie. And come to find out, I asked that guy, like, who is that guy, that director? And because you know what he’s doing, that’s what I do. It was the director from, “Dallas Splash Club.” So, I think okay, if he can do it, than I can do it, and felt okay about it.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, sure. Okay so, once you had this film completed, or “In the can.” Maybe you could describe the Post-Production process a little bit and how did you get those people. Did you edit it yourself? Did you find an editor? Obviously, there is a lot of good music in this you must have found a composer. Just tell me a little bit about what the Post-Production process looked like?
Ritchie: A, Post-Production looked like, what I usually do is? I edit it, the first version myself. I use Adobe Pro-Printer 6. And then I’ll pass it onto my other editor, which is Ashton. And he’s a, he’s really good at what he does, he’s a specialist. So, he’ll clean-up my mistakes. And then we sort of we’ll talk about the changes and stuff. And then once it’s done. And then I take it and move forward with sound.
Now, a funny story about how I got my score guide is? He reached out to me, his name is, Scott Greer. And he’s got the same last name as me. So, he just wanted to get in touch with me, and wanted to know if we were related? And I was like, no, we’re not related, I don’t think? But, he’s like, I’ve been in music and stuff. And I was like, really? And because of my last name, I was able to connect with this guy. And he is super talented with his music. And that’s how that music got came, come down to because of the last name. And that’s sort of how we connected.
Ashley: Okay, perfect, perfect. So, let’s talk about then, once you’re done with the film. What was your sort of marketing approach? Did you submit to film festivals? Maybe talk about that process a little bit? What did you do with the film once it was complete?
Ritchie: What I did was, basically some submitted it to two film festivals. And I was very fortunate because one made it to the Semi-Finals. And the other one, it won “Best Drama.” And the criteria’s for me was? I wanted to make sure that the film festivals were here in L.A. That way if they did chose my film? It would be a “No cost” for the crew, that has to go and watch it, instead of going across the United States, and so on. I wanted to be in L.A. especially, I knew that film festivals all over the world are, good. But, an L.A. film festival, they have so many people submitting to them. I know that if you can win one of those, or at least place. That you’re doing something right. So, I’ve been very fortunate to do well when I submitted it to the film festivals here in Los Angeles California.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Do you feel like they’ve helped you? Did you make some contacts, was there just anything to sort of help your career along the way by way of by being in these festivals.
Ritchie: Well, I think, you know, with you’re in a film festival and it wins. It places, like if I’m trying to find an investor? And I’m looking for money and stuff like that. When you won something, it makes them feel better by giving you, by cutting you a check in store. It also goes along with if you’re talking to actors, or producers, of any sort?
Let them know, hey, this is, I shot this, and it won. It gives them a piece of mind that they owe this guy, he has something to offer in the film community and so on. And I think that’s one of the best things about it is? The notoriety that you get saying, hey, you know it was against a whole other bunch of films, and it rose to the top. So, I think that’s, that helped us.
Ashley: Yeah, perfect. What was kind of your goal? Just taking a step back. Before you started this project, what was your sort of goal for it?
Ritchie: Well, I wanted to get some exposure for my daughter, who I think is an amazing actress. When she was the leading actress, and she had never been in front of the camera before? So, before she’s sitting there, you know, in front of the camera that you know, is high budget, or whatever? I wanted her to basically, show me she could do it. And prove to herself that she could do it. And like I said, I think she did it, and did a great job. So, that was one goal that was to her used to the whole process. You know, she didn’t know, go back to one. She didn’t know what that meant, or whatever? So, it helped her in that sense. And it helped me to, because I love working with actors, whether my daughter or whatever, collaborating, and creating stories, it is a passion for me. So, that was, I knew that I could shoot the film and that it wouldn’t cost me a lot of money. And I knew through the context that I had met, since I’ve been here. That we could make it look pretty cool, and that’s what we did.
Ashley: Perfect. So, let’s talk about your current film, “The Electrician.” Maybe you could give us a quick pitch, or a log line on that one?
Ritchie: Okay so, “The Electrician” is about a guy named Mike, who is an electrician by trade. And he marries this girl. And comes to find out, she is a witch, and later learns that his family has been cursed because of something that happened a long time ago. So, he is, on a journey to try to step live after the witches come after him. His great, great, grandfather, was the head judge, when it came to the Salem Witch Trials. And the witches that did survive that, put a curse on his whole family, and his blood line. And Mike, our lead character, is part of that family. So, he’s trying to find a way to stay-off and stay alive and find a way to end the curse that has been placed upon him.
Ashley: Perfect, and I just, before we started the interview we talked briefly about this. And I thought you had an interesting approach to this film. It’s a feature film, and maybe you can just describe sort of what you’ve done so far, and what you’re plan is for this feature?
Ritchie: Okay, so what we did was, I used a lot of the people that we used for
“Lost and Found.” Because I had a lot of confidence in them obviously. So, I wrote the script. And decided let’s go ahead and shoot what we can. We ended up shooting half the movie. Which was 45 minutes, using some different actors. But stayed pretty much the same crew. And my thought was, well, if we can shoot it and make it look amazing. Then we could pitch it to producers or companies. And say, hey, look at this product. Would you be interested in giving us the funding to release the film? Or after people have viewed it as said, it would make a great mini-series. Which is another possibility for, “The Electrician.” So, we’ll sort of look at right now, we’re working on the score, and working on the special effects. Because they have to be on-point when it comes to movies like this. And it should be done, in the next 2-3 weeks.
Ashley: Oh, yeah.
Ritchie: But, my whole goal was to shoot something that looked amazing. And then I could show people, and say, okay, this is what we got. And instead of going to people and saying, another reason why I shoot trailers, is because it’s a lot easier for them to see your vision, that for you to tell them your vision. So, I like to shoot a trailer and say, okay, here it is, what do you think? And that opened some doors for us.
Ashley: So, when you say, you shot 45 minutes, is it like a linier 45 minutes, like the first 45 minutes of the film? Or it’s just 45 minutes of you know, the scenes.
Ritchie: A, yeah.
Ashley: That you could shoot easily.
Ritchie: Yeah, we shot the first 45 minutes of the film.
Ashley: Okay. And so,
Ritchie: And so, go ahead.
Ashley: Why not just complete the whole film? Just shoot the whole film out, and just try and distribute it and make money that way?
Ritchie: Yeah, that is a possibility. But the second half of the film, has a lot more special effects, and a lot more locations. So, I wrote the beginning to be really character driven. Because I knew that we had, my business partner and I. I went up to her and said, “Okay, what locations can we use? This is how “The Electrician” started. And she said, “My husband owns a electricians, electrical shop, and we can shoot there.” And I was like, we could shoot at here house. And I said, “I know where there’s a cave at.” And that’s how “The Electrician” started. Just because her husband owns an electrical company. I said, “Okay great, I’m going to write a screenplay around that.” And I’m going to make it something a bit more edger than what I’ve written before, I do a lot of family films. So, that’s how “The Electrician” was born. And I would love to finish it, and I think we’re going to. But, it’s going to take a little bit of funding, to completed it. Because I want, there’s a lot of special effects and a lot of different locations that we will being going to, the way I want, the way I finished writing the script.
Ashley: Yeah, perfect. So, how can people see “Lost and Found?”
Ritchie: A, they can go to – www.screeningnow.com, it’s a great website it’s not only short films, it has feature films, that they can check out. So, it’s really a great concept. It’s senator Hulu, and NetFlix and stuff to go on. You just go to subscribe, and get to watch it for free, which you can’t beat, free! And there’s a lot of other great short films that are on that website as well. So, I highly recommend, www.screeningnow.com.
Ashley: Okay, perfect, perfect. I will get that link, and I will put it in the show notes too, so people can link to that. What’s the best way for people to keep up with what you are doing? Twitter, Facebook, blog, anything, website, anything you’re comfortable sharing, just say it now.
Ritchie: Sure. You can always go and find me on Facebook, which is www.facebook.com/ritchiegreer. And also we have a company called, “Magic Arrow Films” So, go to www.magicarrowfilms.com, that’s another way. You can also go to – www.ritchiegreer.com, which there is a list of all my screenplays, and short films, and so on, there. So, a lot of different ways to get a hold of me, so you have no excuse.
Ashley: I will, I will round-up all that stuff up, and put it in the show notes. And we’ll link over to it. Ritchie, I appreciate you coming on the show and talking with me today, fascinating story. And well done on “Lost and Found.” I can’t wait to see the “The Electrician” one when it’s finished.
Ritchie: Yes, and also, just a quick note. The one thing I also do to help the process is, as far as getting your stories out there. What I’ll do is, I’ll write a screenplay, and then if I think it’ll make a great book? I’ll turn it into a novel, because you know how many books are turned into movies. So, that’s another thing that you can also do. If you write a screenplay, and you think, wow man, this can be a great book, than you need to do that, take that next step. So, when you go and pitch your product, you can say, oh here’s a screenplay, and also I’ll turn it into a novel as well. So, that’s another way of getting your stories out there. I have 5 books out on Amazon right now. So that’s another thing if people want to read any of my books? They can go to, put in Ritchie Greer, at now Amazon. And a while list of the books that I have right now, is on there. So, you know, you do whatever you can to get your word, and get your work out there.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Sound advice. And do you actually write these books? Do you pay someone to come in and convert it, to convert your screenplay to a book, or you wrote the books?
Ritchie: I do both, I do both. Some of them, I, they are 100% mine. Other ones I’ll use a ghostwriter to come in and you know, do it, what they do best. But, as long as it’s still my story, and it’s the print characters, and anything like that. It’s still, you know, even though I negotiate every once in a while, it’s still from you. You’re creating the characters, you’re creating the stories and so on. So, yeah.
Ashley: Well, perfect Ritchie, once again, I really appreciate you coming on and talking with me, good luck with this film.
Ritchie: Thank you so much for having me.
Ashley: Thank you, we’ll talk to ya later.
Ashley: I just want to mention two things I’m doing at “Selling Your Screenplay” to help screenwriters find producers who are looking for new material.
First I’ve created a monthly newsletter that will be sent directly to producers. Every member of SYS Select can submit one log-line per newsletter, per month. I went and Emailed my large list of industry database. And asked them if they would like to receive this monthly newsletter of pitches. So far, I have well over 400 producers who have signed-up to receive it. These producers are hungry for new material and are happy to read new material. And how they get to read scripts from new writers. So, if you want to participate in this pitch newsletter? And get your script into the hands of lots of producers. Sign-up at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/select.
And secondly, I’ve partnered with one of the paid premier screenwriting leads sites. You can syndicate their leads to SYS Select members. There are lots of great paid leads coming in each week from our partner. Recently I’ve been getting 10 to 12 high quality paid new leads every week. These are producers, and production companies that are actively looking to buy new material. Or are looking to hire a screenwriter for a particular project that they may be working on. If you sign-up for SYS Select, you will get these leads Emailed directly to you several times each week. These leads run the gambit of production companies looking for a specific type of spec. script.
To producers looking to hire a screenwriter to write up one of their own ideas. Producers are looking for shorts, features, TV, and web series, pilots. It’s a huge aray of different types of projects that producers are looking for. And these leads are exclusive to our partner and SYS Select members. To sign-up, go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/selelct.
On the next episode of the Podcast, I’m going to be interviewing, writer/director, John Butler. He’s a British film maker who recently did a film called, “Handsome Devil.” This is a coming of age story about a prep-school that loves rugby. It’s a really excellent film. It’s not the sort of typical low-budget genre film I talk about a lot on this film. I know there is a lot of film makers out there that want to do these sort of coming of age sorts of stories, the autobiographical coming of age stories. And I think this is a real great example of one of those stories. So, keep an eye out for that episode next week.
To wrap things up, I just want to touch on a few things from today’s interview with Ritchie. Once again, if you haven’t already checked it out? You can watch “Lost and Found” on www.screeningnow.com, it’s completely free. So, definitely check that out, if you haven’t already done so. The discussion is just, I had with Ritchie will have a lot more context if you go and watch the film.
So, what I’m doing is, running a series of these short film showcases. And each one will be slightly different. But, a range. I started a few weeks ago with an interview with film maker, Mark Hanley, who did a short film called, “A Dark Afternoon.” And he literally spent less than $200.00 producing that film. It was episode #170, so check that out if you haven’t already. And then in a few weeks, I’ll be having another film maker on, a fellow named, “Joe Taylor.” And he did a short film for about $4000.00. And that’s sort of the next budget range up. And then a few weeks after that, I’ll be Sunny Dio, who did a film in the $15,000.00 range. So, it’s a wide spectrum of budgets.
And hopefully you’ll kind of get an idea about what these various budget levels look like. And hopefully you can kind of plan accordingly, you know. Depending on where you are in your life? And what your financial situation is, how much money you can potentially raise. Hopefully, one of these films will work as a template for your own short film. I talk about this often. But really, I really feel like just you know, if you are just starting out as a screenwriter, you don’t have any credits. I think writing short films is an excellent way to get your career started. It’s fairly easy to get these films produced and get a credit. These will show up on IMDb. And those films you know, just having some IMDb credits, it just separates you from the pack. But you will learn a tremendous amount by doing these short films. You’ll learn a lot of the writing process, obviously the production process. The realities of production. Again, just a quick little tip, if you are writing shorts. I don’t necessarily think you have to write and direct, that might not be what you want to do, I totally get that, and that’s totally fine. You just want to be the writer. You know, there’s millions of people, maybe not millions? But there’s lots, and lots of people looking for short films. And lots of directors looking for short scripts. There’s lots of producers looking for the short scripts. One excellent resource, I always recommend, if you go to the “Craigslist writing gigs” section. You can do a little, just do a keyword search, under that Los Angeles – Writing Gigs section, for screenplay or screenwriting. And you will almost every week you can see a handful of people looking for short films. I don’t look, I haven’t looked in many years, the New York, city section. But I would guess there is probably a few there. There’s, there may even be in your local town. If you live in Austin or Chicago, or even a smaller town, Minneapolis. You know, there might be some film makers in them, just check out your local section on Craigslist for people looking for short films. Now, you’re not going to make it, or money, or you never know? You might get paid $100.00 for something. But, for the most part these film makers are just passionate people who want to jump start their career. Whether it’s a director or producer, or maybe even an actor looking for a project. So, they’re not going to have big budgets. They’re not going to be paying the writers, and that’s totally fine. You’re never going to get rich doing short films. I don’t think you should even expect to make any money, if you make a little money, great. If you don’t though, that’s not the point. The point is just get the producer credit, decent film makers need some actors. And just start to network, and start to build your resume. I had a chat with a, I was at a conference this last weekend. I had a chat with a young lady who had a friend and she heard that I had “Selling Your Screenplay” and she kept on with, “I have a friend that’s a screenwriter, she’s written a couple of scripts. And you know, she said, “Oh what about your screenwriting services, and how much do they cost?” And you know, my response was, to her, and it was the response I give other people when they Email me. If you listen to my Podcast, no matter what the service is? Whether it be the Lead Service that I am offering screenwriters, that leads through SYS Select. Whether it be the Email and Fax Blast Service that I offer. You know I’ve had some of these people that have used these services, and have had success. And I’ve had some of these people on the Podcast. You can see some of the success stories of Selling Your Screenplay, on www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/success. If you want to see those.
But, you know, the advice I gave her. She’s like, oh, what service should he use? And I was thinking about it. You know, the best thing to do? Is to get some experience. And the services that I offer. Or any of these services, whether it be “Ink Tip” or “The Black List” or any of these services. If you had, if people are going to succeed with them, most likely are going to have success. And I know this for a fact, with my services, I think. Again, you can go with and listen to the people that have had on the Podcast.
And you can just go and look at the success stories on my website. People that have had a little bit of experience. And I’m not talking about selling studio level scripts. But a little bit of experience, they tend to do better with these services. Because they are more experienced. It just stands to reason that you have some experience, you get better, your scripts get better, your writing gets better. You understand how to write a script that can be produced. And you know, her question was, well, what does that mean? What does that experience, does that mean somebody that’s sold scripts. I was like, no, you don’t necessarily, I don’t think you necessarily have to sell, or sold numerous scripts to get value out of my services. But, I think doing a few short films. I think that’s the type of experience that helps you, and I’ve had some of those film makers Jordon Imiola, is such a film maker. He’s done a ton of shorts, he’s optioned, and sold some scripts through my Email and Fax Blast Services, I’ve had him on my Podcast. I guess I can’t remember what episode that was? I will link to it in the show notes. But, you know, before he met me, or as I said before. But, before he did the Email and Fax Blast to my services, had the success. He was out there doing little web series, web shorts. And putting them online. He was building his own resume. He wasn’t asking for permission, he was just selling tons of scripts. But, you know, he had a lot of experience by the time he had some success, you know, with feature films. And I think he got an option, and a sale of through my Email and Fax Blast Service. And you know, he built, you know, a resume of work. And it wasn’t, you don’t need to ask permission. This is not something you have to sit back and wait for someone to buy your short film script. No, you’ve just got to go out and make things happen for yourself. And that experience, will help you immensely. And these short films, most likely, they are not going to go viral. And they are not any of themselves, are going to catapult you to the next level. But, that experience, the subtle experience of doing a film, or doing short films, will give you a lot of context of how film making works. How writing a script, but that can actually be shot works. There’s just a lot of things you’re going to pick-up by going through this process. And again, there’s no excuses for not doing this. You don’t have to wait for some person to call you up and say, I’ll buy your short film script. You just have to decide that you’re serious about screenwriting, and you want to make this happen, and go out and do it. You know, as I mentioned earlier, in this little segment, Mark Hanley sold a film for $200.00. I think that’s probably within the reach I hope of most people that listen to this Podcast. I think spending $200.00 on a short film. I think he shot it on his iPad. He used a bunch of iPad apps. And iPhone apps. to do editing and special effects off of on it. And he on again, episode #170. But he works through all these processes. But, this is the sort of experience that you need to get to that next level. And again, it’s not going to be like a linier progression where you do 3 short films and then. You know, you do a feature film. And then all of a sudden, you’re writing studio scripts. It’s not quite that simple. But, you know, I can tell you again. Someone who’s been doing this for a while. And sees who is succeeding, who is not succeeding. It’s the people that are actually doing things, and making things happen for themselves. Those are the people that are advancing in their careers. And this is the first step in. Again, pretty much anybody, I’d say, who is listening to this Podcast probably can afford $200.00 to do a short film. And so, again, always not to do is that you do, what you don’t want to do. And then it’s the question? You are really committed to becoming a screenwriter. Is it something you are really passionate about? Or do you really want to succeed. You know, maybe producing, maybe directing, maybe those are things you don’t necessarily want to do. But, if you are willing to put up a little bit of money to write the script. I bet you could put an ad out on Craigslist. And you could find a producer.
And you could find a director. And you could sort of make those things happen instead of just constantly waiting for someone else to make things happen for you.
Anyway, that’s the show, thank you for listening.