This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 186: Writer / Director Joe Taylor Talks About His New Short Film, Last Call.
Ashley: Welcome to episode #186 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, Joe Taylor. He recently did a short film, which you can watch for free over at, www.screeningnow.com. The film is called, “Last Call.” He wrote and directed this film on a budget of around $4,000.00. This is the third installment of the short film showcase I’ve been doing. As each one of these short films showcases who moves up the budget ladder. We had a $200.00 one, a $1500.00 one, and now this is a $4000.00 one. If you’re thinking about writing and directing a short film. Or eventually thinking about writing/directing a feature film. I think doing short films is a great first step towards doing feature films. So, if you are interested in doing, producing some of your own writing, this is a great episode for you to hear. And I think you’ll get all out of it. So, stay tuned for that interview.
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Any websites or links that I mention in the Podcast can be found on my blog in the show notes. I also publish a transcript with each episode. In case you would rather read the show or look up something else up later-on. You can find all transcripts and show notes on the website, just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast, and look for episode #186.
I continually build out the SYS Script Library. Just in the last couple of weeks, we’ve added the screenplay for “Manchester By the Sea” and that was sent in to by Pare Mystery. Thank you Pare, for that. We also have the screenplay for “Fences” and “Short Term 12” that was sent in by Frank O’Cardinello. So, Frank O. thank you very much for sending in your script. If you have screenplay you do not see listed in the SYS Script Library, please do Email it to me. This is all The SYS Script Library, is something that we’re building as a community. People Email me scripts, I add them to the script library. Obviously if I run into one I add it to the script Library. And at this point, I think we have well over 1000 scripts. There’s many hit moves, there’s award wins there’s some television shows. So, it’s a pretty good gambit of stuff that’s up there. Every is a in PDF Format. So, you can just click them and download them, and click and read them on whatever device you use, your IPhone, your IPad, your tablet, whatever device you have it is in PDF format, which is a pretty standard format. Again, if you want to check out the SYS Script Library, again It’s completely free resource, just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/library, again that’s – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/library.
I’d just like to mention a free webinar I’m doing on Wednesday August 9th at 10:00a.m. pst. It’s called, “How to Effectively Market Your Screenplay and Sell It?” I’m going to go through all of the various online channels that are available to screenwriters, and give you my unfiltered opinion of them. I get questions all the time, about “The Blacklist” about “Ink Tip” about various screenwriting contests. So, in this free webinar I’m going to be talking about my experience with these various screenwriting services. Again, this webinar is completely free.
Don’t worry if you can’t make it to 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, again that’s www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/freewebinar. And “freewebinar” is all low case letters and all one word. I will of course link to it in the show notes as well. Also, if you are already on my Email list, you don’t need to register. Anyone who is on my Email list will get all of the details so that they can attend this webinar if they would like to. So, once again, if this sounds like something you would like to learn about. Just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/freewebinar.
So, a quick few words about what I am working this week? I’m back from about a 2 week vacation. Although I did use, kind of a working vacation. I went to North Carolina to visit. I went with my family, my 2 daughters, my wife. We went to North Carolina to visit my parents. And, I tried to keep working, you know, maybe half a day, use Monday through Friday, half days, or at least quarter days. At least keep things going. So, I did get a couple of things done. Some it was, some of which I’m going to talk about here in this segment actually. But, it was kind of a working vacation. But I’m back now, back at it. Again, the main thing I’m working on is, Post-Production for my crime, action, thriller, feature film, “The Pinch.” Things are moving along. Slowly but surely. My composer he’s finished the scores, and I’ve got that all completed. The sound designer, he is all finished with portion as well. And my dialog editor, I talked to him, Emailed with him over the last couple of weeks. And he was hoping to be done here in the next week or two. So, that’s coming to a close. And then the final piece of sound is, getting the mixer to come in, it’s called a “Re-mixer.” And then, mix all the score and the dialog, the
sound effects, the music. There’s also just some songs, all that stuff has to be mixed together so, it’s properly leveled out, and it has to be separated. We have to create what’s called a
“M & E track.” Which is just music and effects. And that’s so we can send the film to somebody that without any dialog what-so-ever. And then they can produce a bunch of dubbed it. And if we get a distributor and they might want to dub it into German. And so, they need a version of the film without any speaking parts. So they can get their German actors to basically speak the parts in those spots. So, that’s still, that’s the M & E track still needs to be created. But, the big pieces is mixing all this stuff together, and getting that audio completed. I’ve only got a couple of special effects spots left so I, the two special effects are working right now. I think the one effects artist, he’s got 4 shots. Which are basically the same shot, it’s putting a sign onto a building. It’s just the same sign in the same building. But, it’s a fortified angle. So, it is for a different effects shots. But, it’s very, very, similar. So, he’s hoping, he told me, he thought he could get it done in a week. So, that should come to a close here this week. If not this week, then certainly next week. And then, my other effects guy he’s finishing up on some cover-up stuff. There’s some logo’s and stuff that were in the background. Which we don’t really want to have, you know, branded logos in our film. Without the permission of those logo holders. So, we need to remove some of that. There’s one shot there, a light was plugged into the wall and you can see the actors standing next to this big light, and this big electrical cord coming out of the wall. So, we’re just going to digitally remove that, just clean that up a little bit. So, he’s got those, a couple of shots like that to do again. I think that will be wrapped up in the next couple of weeks. So, the effects are going well, my colorist, is actually the big thing I worked on while, not actually worked on? Really, while I was on vacation. My colorist sent me another pass of the film. And that’s looking pretty good. It’s very, very, close. I have maybe a dozen notes. So, need to meet with him this week, or next week.
And hopefully bring the color correction, and the color to a close. It was more complicated than I thought. I’ve never been through this process with a colorist? But, there’s a lot to it. We shot the film in what’s called, this “4K Wall.” We used a Black Magic production camera. It was this 4K Wall, so, I really can’t tell you, the image kind of looks like flat when you shoot it in this wall. I’m not sure exactly, why that? But, supposedly, the way the image is been captured. We’ve got all the image recording in a lot of color information. And so then, you put it through to a colorist. And your colorist can work to make the colors pop. And indeed he has done that. So, what’s starting to look really nice. The reds are really vibrant red and when you look as I said, it’s sort of the rough cut of the film. For some reason, there’s, they are very needed, the colors are very new to him now. The colorist is really bringing out, so that’s really going well. You know, things always take longer than you hope. But, I hopefully will meet with him this week. And then we’ll finish that up, a tweak. The effects shots have to be colored as well. So, I’ve got to get these effects shots that I made, that I just mentioned. That have to be completed. And then, when those clips, my colorist has to go through those as well. So, it’s not going to be 100% done with the color. But, you know, just as these effects shots come in, hopefully we can get them colored. Pretty easy to color, so only just a few seconds of a shot. But, bottom line is that stuff is moving along slowly but surely.
I want to mention a live webinar that I’m going to be doing in August, where I will be going through all the steps, how to produce a micro-budget feature film. The webinar is called, of all things – “The Pinch” Producing the Micro-Budget Feature Film.” I’m going to go, I’m going to do this online webinar on Wednesday August 23rd 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 film? I think you will get tremendous value out of this. I’m going to go through all and every aspect of production, how to write the micro-budget feature film script. How to raise money for it, a micro-budget project, pre-production, and every aspect of post-production. As I close in on completion of my own micro-budget feature film, “The Pinch.” I think this is a great time to do this webinar. As everything is fresh in my mind. So, part of the reason I’m doing this really, is almost for myself. I’m writing out the outline, and basically, I’m going to talk about my webinar. A lot of it is going to be good for me, when I produce my next film. There’s going to be a lot of tips and tricks that I found that are fresh in my mind now. That I myself will forget, and I want to be reminded of that. So, this webinar will be valuable for me and hopefully it will be valuable for you as well. If you are interested in producing some of your own material. If this sounds like something you might like to learn about? just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/class, again that’s – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/class, And you will get all of the details on it. Exactly as I am going to go over. And there is a link there to make payment as well. Of course I will link to it in the show notes as well.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, about a producer who, I knew for a long time. Hired me to write a TV show for him. There is always contractual things you can need to have happen before I actually start writing. That stuff is all taken care of, the contract is signed, I’ve been paid. So, I’ve actually started to work on that. What this basically entails. Basically, when this producer hired me to write the TV series. Basically, what he needs is a series bible. And that basically outlines the premise of the show. It’s sort of a broad overview of the first season. And then has short character descriptions. There is a few more pieces to it than that. But, that’s sort of the jist of it, it’s basically a summation of the show, the story, and the characters. And sort of what’s going to happen in season 1. And then ultimately what could potentially happen in season 2 and beyond. So, I’ve written that piece. And then, the next piece is writing the pilot episode.
As I’ve said, I’ve written the series bible. It’s definitely going to be involving document, you know, there’s going to be within film work and TV there’s a lot of people. You know, that come
on-board and help. So, we’ve already started, the producing part is already started too. You know, bring on other people. And they have an idea. So, just the series pilot you know, the 3 weeks I’ve been working on it. It has evolved, it has gone through several passes. But, we will continue evolving. But, I’ve gotten basically a good draft of that done. Which is kind of what we have. When I get home, I’m going to meet with this producer, and his partners tomorrow for lunch. We are going to go over sort of the series bible. And then I will begin in earnest writing the pilot episode. And that’s basically what, you know, he has hired me to do is, the series bible, and the pilot episode. And then, if the episode, or if the TV show gets funded. Then obviously I will be involved in more of those episodes. And then, they would have more money. And would have money to produce the content. And then hopefully have some money to pay the writers as well. So, I think this is exciting, an opportunity for me. I don’t have a lot of experience with TV writing. I’ve written a little bit, a couple of pilot episodes. Or, I’ve written a couple of TV episodes over the years. But, not a lot. These were the first pilot, series bibles for series bible that I’ve wrote. So, just learning about that. So it’s fun just to do something new. Because definitely, you know, a lot of similarities to feature film writing. But, definitely some interesting new pieces as well. And I’ve worked with this producer for quite a while. He’s optioned a few projects from over the years. None of those projects ever went anywhere. But, we’ve maintained a good relationship. He’s helped me a lot on “The Pinch.” Not for any money of or credit or anything. But, he’s just been kind of a real nice guy to me. Whenever I’ve had questions in particular. He’s got a lot of experience producing, you know, much bigger, bigger, movies than “The Pinch.” But, there were moments when I kind of didn’t know what to do? For example, the insurance thing, getting workers comp. insurance is complicated, at least here in California. By law you have to have that kind of stuff. There is some complexes with that, that I just never dealt with. Obviously never having produced a feature film. And I was able to call him up and ask him questions that’s kind of how that relationship has developed. He had this, he had another friend who had this idea, this is kind of a gritty thriller type of a script. Some of the stuff he writes, some of the material he’s read of mine. He’s liked, has been sort of gritty. He wrote material so he can probably be a good fit for it. And as I said, this guy who had the idea as he’s worked with his producer before and so we got together. And started to flesh out this idea. As I said, I’ve now written up the series pilot. So, just a long standing relationship I’ve had with this producer has been kind of lead to this particular gig. So, anyway, that’s what I’m working on today.
So, now let’s get into the main segment. Today I’m interviewing Writer/Director, Joe Taylor. Here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Joe to, the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I really appreciate you coming on the show and talking with me today.
Joe: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Ashley: So, to start out, maybe you can tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up, and how did you get interested in the entertainment industry?
Joe: Sure, I grew-up in the Pacific Northwest, around Vancouver Washington, which is close to Portland. I started doing stand-up comedy, about 5 years ago. And I did that kind of help my writing. I really wanted to get into writing, writing for TV and stuff. So, I went out and started doing stand-up to kind of help with that, and it definitely has. You know, talk about media feedback on whether or not your jokes are any good. So, I started doing that, I started writing some specs. and stuff, and eventually it was time to just move down here, and really give it a go. So, I’ve been here now for about 2 ½ years. You know, just make it, in every little steps towards that. And more of a creative career. So, you know working a day job and stuff. But, you know, finally starting to get some action with my writing and film making. So, it’s been a pretty productive couple of years down here.
Ashley: Perfect. So, let’s dig into your short film, “Last Call.” Of which you wrote and directed. Maybe just to start out, you can give a quick pitch or a log-line for that film.
Joe: Yeah, so it was a bartender who’s eager to get out of there and get home. It’s a slow night, and he wants to get home to his girlfriend. And one guy comes in sort of as he’s closing. And as the film goes on you find out this guy is a little bit of a shady character. And there is a little bit of a conflict with him wanting to stay. And the bartender wanting to go home.
Ashley: Okay, perfect. Where did this idea come from? I’m just curious? How you, what sort of genesis of this story?
Joe: Sure. I had been watching, you know, some Alfred Hitchcock, and Twilight Zone. And I really liked the short form thriller type of thing. You know, 20 minutes and under, 15 minutes and under. I thought that was a really cool capsule for a thriller, you know. Although it’s just type of a short story, and a twist, and that’s it. So, I wanted to write something like that. And I also kinda in the back of my mind needed it. That I could produce something like that. So, when I saw, that was something, kind of the origin of it, I guess?
Ashley: Okay. And I’m curious, from watching it. You got a lot of production value out of the bar that you used. Was that something you knew you had before you were writing it. Was that a sort of integral part of the story? Did you write the story and then have to go out and find the bar to shoot it at.
Joe: Yeah, finding the location was by far the toughest part and I talked to, again, an
Excel Spreadsheet somewhere there was probably 30 different bars on it. We went and visited a lot of places and the thing about being in L.A. is that a lot of places have been used for filming locations. And they are used to getting 1000’s of dollars from CBS or whoever? So, when you make them an offer of $200.00 bucks or whatever it was? Otherwise they weren’t too interested. But, the place we did end up finding was, out in West Covina. And they were very open to it. And this we just had to pay one of them, one of the employees to just kinda sit there while we were there. Which was keeping it. And he was just kinda sitting in the corner falling asleep and watching movies, and slept. So, they were very cool to let us shoot there. But yeah, that took a long time to find a suitable place. A month of searching for that bar.
But no, I and Eddie had not been in there before so, I hadn’t really pictured a specific bar. By the end of that we got exactly kinda what I had in mind, after a lot of searching. So, it worked out pretty good.
Ashley: And why were they willing to allow you to essentially shoot there for free, just to pay their employee. What was sort of the incentive. They just thought it was a cool project. They just said, “Eh, why not?”
Joe: I guess? I mean, I’m not really sure? I think the employee was just sort of the manager there? And he probably went to the owner, and just wanted to make a little extra money. So, and they actually don’t open until 6:00p.m. at night. So, we went in there, basically from 6:00a.m. in the morning until 5:00p.m. And I guess they just figured it wasn’t going to disrupt anything. And it was a little extra money for one of their employees. And of course, you know, thank them in the credits and on social media and stuff. The place was called, “The Chatterbox” by the way. It’s a very cool spot up in West Covina.
Ashley: Okay, yeah, yeah, good to know.
Joe: A quick plug, for them.
Ashley: Yeah, it’s a good to know, a lot of film makers might be running out to West Covina after this Podcast. So, maybe you can talk a little bit about the budget. What was your total budget, for this short film?
Joe: A, I think we wound up spending about $3 grand, on the short. And another, you know, $1000.00 probably in just applying to festivals and stuff. And it ended up being pretty expensive. Even if we apply to 40, you know, festivals. But, it was about $3 Grand. We went into it, I’m a big fan of the “Foss Brothers.” I like most film. Because, you know, they have kind of a theory about if you start with a budget. You’re going to spend all of it, and probably more if you start with $0.00-zero dollars. Then, you’re going to only spend what you need and you know, I will link to it. Just so you don’t know how to kind of pay for things as we needed to pay for them. And I figured that’s about how much of a cost. But, we didn’t do an outline budget or anything. You know, I work as a line producer occasionally. And used to kind of working the other way. But, for this to, it was just like we needed, and things came up. And you know, fortunately we had enough to pay. If we got everything we needed. So, and the thing about paying for it pretty much myself, was that we did have to take the local time with post. Except for me, it wasn’t like, you know, unfortunately, we didn’t have all that nice money up front to spend immediately. So, it took, you know, 3 or 4 months I think, to get the whole thing done, not including post.
Joe: Barring all that. You know, it came out to I think pretty good. So,
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, no doubt. So, maybe you could just very, in sort of a very broad strokes. Break down that. So at that $1000.00 went to film festivals. Break down that $3000.00.
And it doesn’t have to be specific to a person. But, like how much was for production? How much was for Post-production, of that $3000.00
Joe: Yeah. Though we spent, I guess it is about $500.00 bucks, all and all on location.
$400. Or $500.00 on that. And then, we had to rent some lenses, from bar rooms. Because that was probably $150.00 – $200.00. We rented a bunch of stuff from “Wooden Nickle.” That was maybe $200. – $300.00. The editing probably costs about $1000.00. we got a pretty good editor. So, that was a big chunk of it. We got it colored for $300.00, by a great colorist. Then we got the sound, the sound was actually a big chunk of it. Because there was a lot of editing to be done. A lot of sound editing, and some mixing up. So, We got that done, I think for another $800.00. And $600.00 of that was the initial cost. Then a friend of mine, who edits. He showed us some stuff, took a look at it. But that was originally at 13 ½ minutes. And once this guy went through it? He cut about 02:30 minutes off of it. And, you know, even as the writer/director, I can’t even remember what he cut out? He was, it was a good choice as whatever he made. So, we then had to go back in kind of redo part of the sound. And cut the 18 parts out. So, that was another $200.00 bucks. So post, you know, post was $1000.00 out of that $1000.00 spent. Fortunately, the director of photography he had just finished at AFI. He was looking to do a short. So, he worked this clip for free. And the 2 actors, were willing to work this film for free too. So, you know, that probably saved another $2. grand or whatever? Whatever it had been originally worth to rent the camera and everything like that too for free.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And do you know what kind of camera your DP was using?
Joe: Yeah, he had a Cannon BT 200, or C100, I’m sorry, a C100.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. I’m not that up on all that cameras and stuff. I just, people always ask those kinds of questions? What kind of camera was it shot at? So, there’s our answer on that. So, Let’s just talk about how you cast these actors? Were these actors that you met knew before? How did you actually physically find actors, and did you hold casting sessions? Maybe just run through that part of pre-production.
Joe: Sure. So, the guy that played Ben, his actual name was Ben. And I did know him before. I met him through mutual friends. So, when I worked good, I sort of had him in mind. That was his voice and stuff, kind of his lip. I had no idea if he would even be willing to do it, when I wrote it. But, he was, obviously wanted to do it. And then, he, we brought in new people. I think 3 or 4 more people was all for Gary. And Ben actually recommended and he came in for that part. They had taken some acting classes together. So, when they read together. They already had it pretty good chemistry. So, that was kind of an obvious choice, when I saw the two of them together, to go that way with them. And then the other people, the two new-casters, that was actually pretty tough to cast. I think we just put out a break down for that. And saw maybe a dozen people for these two parts. And the extra, there’s like a quick shot of an extra is in the bar when he is found there on Craigslist or something? She was the only one that we had to pay.
Ashley: Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And for people that are not in L.A. may not have heard of the Break Down Services. But it’s basically just a casting service that you could your ad into. And I did the same thing on my feature film. I used the Break Down Services. And pretty much every actor is piped into that, represented in that, represented. So you, get the gambit of peoples submitting on that.
Joe: Yeah. First let me say, you put something on there, you know, those film or whatever it is you’re casting? If you put something on, Break Down, it’s submitted to everybody in town. You’re pretty much going to see a totally L.A. response then. Trying to cast something too great, is worse.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, for sure, for sure. So, maybe we can talk about just the crew you had on this. Just looking at the credit on the, for “Last Call” on the IMDb. It seems like, you know, You kind of had the main positions covered. And maybe you can quickly just talk about what will? Who is actually on set, on the days of production?
Joe: Sure, so, there’s the DP. Derrick Cohan who is amazing. There was, let’s see, there was 2 Oscar role, they were great, he was basically supporting Gary there the whole time. And the other guy, Ben was kind of to move lights around and stuff. But, I think Ben was only there one out of 2 days, so we just one grip the second day. Then there was myself, and then the 2 actors, and that was it, I mean, it was a really small crew.
Ashley: Did you have a 1st AD, and a guy recording sound?
Joe: Oh yeah, I’m sorry, we did have a sound guy, Rob Spence who’s he’s very good.
Ashley: So, let’s talk about the film Festivals, for a minute.
Joe: Yeah. So, we applied probably to 40 or so that we submitted to, about 40 of them, of all sizes. I mean, we applied to Caan, and to Sundance, and all that stuff. We didn’t get into those. But, the first one we got into was Portland. Which was cool because that was very close to my family. And friends and stuff. So, the first screening of it, I was able to have my family and friends there, and up in the Northwest.
And then, I think the second one, was maybe, Cal-Shorts. Which was a really small. I know most of these have been pretty small. The biggest one we’ve gotten into so far is? Is next week, actually it’s going on right now, The Newport Beach Film Festival. So, I’m pretty excited about that, so I’m going to go down there for a couple of days. And try and catch some of the other films that. It’s a really, it’s a pretty big festival. There are buyers there, the documentary that won at the Academy Awards, I think were screened there last year. So, there are some big films, and buyers, and stuff. So, that will be the biggest one, we’ve gotten into. And there’s probably another 5 or 6 festivals we haven’t heard back from there that are coming up. Announcement dates are still coming up. So,
Ashley: So, do you think that these film festivals have helped you career wise? Have they helped you, you know, get you some attention on this film? What would you say your experience over all has been with the festival circuit?
Joe: Yeah, I mean, at these small film festivals, you know, there hasn’t been a lot of networking type of stuff. But, you know what? I think what’s really helped honestly is, getting the roles and getting them on the posters. And when people see that, I think there’s a lot of added credibility to your film making. And to just have something done, that you can show people. Has gotten me a lot of conversations, and some work. But, to be able to get into film festivals. And get through some filters. You know, I feel like I have some credibility now as a film maker, as before, or just being a writer. I think it’s a lot harder to get work. Until you’ve actually produced something you can show people.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So, what is next for you?
Joe: So, I’m working on a feature right now. I just got through our first draft. Which is actually, a drama. You know, it’s funny with my background doing comedy lately. And writing comedy and stuff. I also contribute to a show at Second City, called, “After Dark with Jenny Clark” and it airs on Amazon and so, that’s like my comedy outlet. But it seems like a lot of the writing I’ve been doing lately is actually drama, thriller type of stuff. Any honestly they are kind of the same thing, comedy and comedy thriller. Those are very, it’s all convert expectation. And comics, and stakes and that type of thing. So, I like writing both. But, the next thing for me, lately is to try and get back looking for speech or even if the opportunity came up just to sell it. I probably will at this point in my career. But, I would like to make something myself. You know, at this point, I think I could maybe outside track the way that I am going to pursue it, making things myself. Rather than trying to get into the studio circuit. You know, the writing fellowships or something? I think that’s a tougher or even the physical work or something trying to get into a writers room. I think my best bet is maybe outside track. So, that’s what I’m working on next.
Ashley: Okay, perfect, perfect. How can people see you, “Last Call” you want to talk about just where it’s available?
Joe: Yeah. So, actually have sold “Last Call” twice. Once was to Screening Now. Which is a really cool website. I think a lot of the subscriptions to that are still created because that is pretty new. You can go to school in now and watch “Last Call” with the subscription. On their website, and there are a lot of really cool, other independent reports. And you can see features I believe? On Screening Now. And then the other thing you do is, we sold it “Shorts TV.” Which is a channel it’s 563 on DirectTV. And their broadcast internationally. So, that’ll start up in July or August, it’ll be available on that channel on DirectTV. So, that will make two different sets of rights. That’s how we were able to do that. But, hint, hint, we were honest paid a whole lot, but it was something, ya know? It’s something, and it’ll keep some of the costs away. We could be cool, pretty cool thing.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, for sure. I mean, nobody really expects to make much money off of a short film. So, just being able to recoup anything I would say, is a big win.
Joe: Yeah, and it was really resonate with these, you know, it was like, yeah. And actually. I will mention real quick, kinda how I decided to make it myself. So, I wrote it, I pulled it up on ISA, which is, a website where people put things, that they are trying to sell.
And production companies can go look for things. I got several responses to the, from the ISA website in two different companies, small production companies I’ve approached about making it. And both of those called, through. But, you know, but based on the number of responses that I got. Even just people who are interested in reading it? I kinda knew at that point, that there was something there. And once I started thinking about it a little more. That’s when I did a little excited to get it for myself. And since I have put other things up, on ISA and have gotten very little or no response, that’s how I found out about it. Produced anything you know, of any significance, and understand that you know, just getting things out there. Getting someone to like coverage on it, I know, you offer a plug for your services. That’s how I got coverage from your company. Honestly it was great, it was one of the best useful coverages I’ve ever gotten.
Ashley: Oh, well thank you.
Joe: Doing things, and getting things out there. Yeah, yeah, I definitely recommend it. I’m going to be using it again in the future. But, doing it, and getting it out there. Getting real honesty back from people that don’t know you, who don’t care about your feelings. I think that’s the way the world tells you, if you got something. And if you got something. And if you are able to make it yourself, that’s a really dug. To get somebody back at, and have control of it. I really appreciate having control from a writing through post-production, to the very end of this project. And it’s hard to imagine kind of letting go of a lot of that process. You just saw something. I mean, who knows what they are going to do with, or where it’s going to wind up looking like.
Ashley: Yeah, for sure. What’s the best way for people to keep up with what you are doing? If you are on Twitter, Facebook, a blog, anything you are comfortable sharing. I’ll just list that in the show notes.
Joe: Sure. So, “Last Call” has it’s own Facebook page.www.facebook.com/lastcallshort2016. Which is Last Call short 2016. People can go there for updates, it’s on that. And then, I have a Twitter, it’s mostly my comedy shows and stuff. The people can see on there, kinda what I’m up to. Making some sketches, that type of stuff, doing that. The Twitter is, @JoeTaylorhaha, that’s the Twitter handle.
Joe: And I’ll, yeah. And my Instagram is, JoeTaylor – J-o-e-T-a-y-l-o-r and that’s a lot of lists and updates are on all those platforms.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. Well, I’ll round all that stuff up and I’ll put that in the show notes, so people can get to that easily. Thank you Joe very much, I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.
Joe: Yeah, thanks a lot, Ashley. I’ll see you around at the film festival, or somewhere?
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Now, are you planning on coming back to “Deadline Junkies?”
Joe: You know, I’d like to, I keep telling myself, I’m going to, I’ve been working on some sketches and stuff. That’s been taking up a lot of evenings during the week. But yeah, one of these days, I will get better. And it’ll be nice to catch-up with everybody.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. How did you originally find “Deadline Junkies?”
Joe: You know, I don’t exactly remember? It was right after I moved here. And I think there was a posting on Craigslist about the writers group. A couple, it was probably what I responded to initially. And I think I actually responded a couple of different times, over a few months. You know, you had to submit a writing sample I think, to begin with. And then I’ve, since then I actually done another short that was in DR 360-degree thing that was written by a guy there, named Phillip. And then we actually cast. I was talking to properties as an actor, who lives there all the time.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah.
Joe: Who actually, I highly recommend getting involved in the writers group, and I’m sure they’re all over the country. Obviously there’s a lot of them in L.A. But, that’s been a huge source of networking, you know, casting, and working with people since I’ve been down there.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, for sure, yeah definitely. If you’re going to come back, to Deadline Junkies, just, you can drop me an Email. We’re always go, me and Adam, and Dan, always go to dinner before-hand, you’re welcomed to join us. We usually meet around 6:00p.m. at the theatre and we just walk to a local restaurant. So, if you’re ever down for that, just let me know.
Joe: That sounds great.
Ashley: Cool, man Joe, I wish you luck with this. I’m glad that red, it will get us in contact here.
Joe: Yeah, yeah. That was nice of them. And check out Streaming Now, they got some really good stuff on there.
Ashley: Yeah, perfect sounds good, Joe, talk to ya later.
Joe: Alright, thanks Ashley.
Ashley: I just want to mention two things I am doing at “Selling Your Screenplay” to help screenwriters find producers that 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 database of Industry contacts.
And asked them if they would like to receive this newsletter of monthly 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 scripts from new writers. So, if you would like to participate in this pitch newsletter and get your script into the hands of lots of producers. Sign-up at – www.sellingyourscreenplayselect.com, that’s – www.sellingyourscreenplayselect.com.
And secondly I’ve contacted one of the premier paid screenwriting leads sites. So I can syndicate their leads onto SYS Select members. There are lots of great paid leads coming in each week from our partner. Recently I’ve been getting about ten to twelve high quality paid screenwriting leads per week. These are producers and production companies who are actively looking to buy material. Or are looking to hire a screenwriter for a specific project. If you
sign-up for SYS Select you’ll get these leads Emailed to you directly several times per week. These leads run the gambit from production companies looking for a specific type of spec. script. To producers looking to hire a screenwriter to write up one of their ideas or properties. Producers are looking for shorts, features, TV and web series pilots, it’s a huge aray of different types of projects that these producers are looking for. And these leads are exclusive to our partner and
On the next episode of the Podcast I’m going to be interviewing, writer, Michael Lurker. He’s been working as a writer for decades. And has written a number of animated films like:
“Spirit Stallion of the Camaron” and “Mulon 2.” He has a great story about arriving in Hollywood, and working as an assistant in the office with Steven Spielberg. And how he got him to read one of his early scripts. 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 Joe. Once again, I hope, people have been finding these interviews with short film makers valuable. I really believe that doing a short film is a great way to learn about the film making process. There are very few guarantees in this business. But one guarantee that I can give you, if you go out and make a short film. At the very, very, least you’ll come away as a better writer and or film maker. So, that’s the least you’re going to get out of this experience. But there is also quite a bit of more potential upside. You’re going to meet people. You’re going to, obviously learn. You’re short film could potentially take off and lead to other projects. Other people, you could go to film festivals with your short film, other producers. Other distributors, they can see this film, they can hire you, as a writer, as a director. As a film maker. So, there is almost an infinite number of upside. And there is very, very, little down side. And that’s just a great position to be in. Getting out there and doing things really is the key to advancing your career. Again, I get, I tell you from doing my own micro-budget film, “The Pinch.” Which keep in mind, it’s not even finished at this point. But, it opened up lots, and lots of doors for me. Since directing “The Pinch” I’ve had 2 producers already offer me the chance to direct their short films. And this is without having seen “The Pinch.” So, it’s just the old saying, “Hustle is contagious.” When people see you hustling, other people will be interested in and attracted to that, and want to be involved. Again, these are just kind of random things. But, I’ve had some people that I’ve dealt with before, over the years now. They saw us doing “The Pinch” they were producers, they were working on short films. It’s all coming direct, it wasn’t necessarily something that I by really consider myself a great director. I think sometimes I consider myself more a writer than a director. So, I didn’t always feel it was a good fit. If again, these were opportunities that just came to me.
I also met an actor who does some producing, as well. On “The Pinch” he ended up acting in it. “The Pinch’s also producer. So, I’ve also gotten to know him a little bit. And now we’re working on a project together. I mentioned my low-budget thriller, that I wrote last spring/late winter. That’s the script I’m working on with him. And so that’s probably going to the next thing that I write, produce and maybe even direct. Again, that will probably be the project in large part to that I met this guy. This actor, on the set of “The Pinch.” So, again it’s just really, things can happen when you’re out there doing stuff. The producer I mentioned, with the TV series. Hired me to write this TV series. One of the things he also offered sort of dangled as a carrot. Hey, you know, we’ll pay you some money to write these things up. But, we’ll also as sort of say, compensation. But also one of the things we’ll give you is, they are going to let me direct an episode or two of the series. So again, kind of again, because I went out and directed “The Pinch” he feels more comfortable offering me this opportunity. Hey, we’ll let you direct and have an episode or two. And again, these two are just small subtle things. But it’s really, and he has seen a rough cut of “The Pinch.” So, maybe he feels somewhat confident that I did at least a competent job on
“The Pinch.” But, the pinch isn’t even done, and some of these opportunities are kind of coming to me. I’ve talked about this on the Podcast before. One of my big reason’s for doing
“The Pinch” was? I always felt like a lot of these low-budget feature films that I’ve been paid to write. A lot of times, they go out and they start looking for a director. And if I have it, a resume as a director, I will be able to talk to them and say, “Hey, what about me? Why can’t I direct this film?” And that’s kind of exactly what happened with this TV show. Again, it’s just a little bit Synergy TV show may never get funded, and never go anywhere. But again, I’m in the conversation of, hey, what about directing one of these episodes. That’s all because I went out and just did something without waiting for someone to give me the money. Just went out and did it on my own. And again, I know a lot of people that listen to this Podcast. They don’t necessarily have experience. But, using, so going in and trying to do a feature film, is probably beyond the scope of what some people can do. But, the first step to that, is doing a few short films. Start with a low, low, low, low – budget 2, 3, 4, 5, minute short film, learn the process. And then slowly go from there. It won’t take you that long to get to the point where you’re doing feature films. Again, I will link to Joe’s film in the show notes as I have mentioned, that this is the third installment of my short film show case. I will link to those episodes, as well as the other 2 episodes. Episode #170 is exactly what I was just talking about. As far as just starting with something where the budget is very, very, cheaply. So, #170 is the film maker named Mark Hanley, he literally spent about $200.00. His short film is pretty cool. I think it’s about 5 minutes. And it’s just really, really, well done. And for essentially no money. Most of the people hopefully listen to this Podcast. They can afford to spend and lose $200.00. Especially on something that is furthering their career, and furthering their dreams as a screenwriter, potentially as a director, and as a producer as well. Start small and go from there, there is no downside, $200.00 is virtually nothing. If you go sign-up for a college class. You’re going to pay a lot more than $200.00 for any kind of a college filming, or directing class. You will pay a lot more than $200.00, and you’re not going to learn as much. And you’re not going to get as much out of it. So, this is a great investment in yourself. And again, look up what Joe did. He spent $4000.00 and that’s probably more than I would recommend if you never done this before. Joe as some experience. So, it seemed like a wise investment for him. And hopefully that will pay dividends down the road. But, start small. The longest journey starts with the first step. Think, I said, episode #170 with Mark.
I think it’s just such a great example of what you can do with very limited resources. And there is no excuse I mean, he shot it on his iPad. If you are listening to this Podcast. It’s, you probably have everything you need, to actually go out and make a short film. There’s only the real excuse, is that, you’re not willing to go out and do the work. And you’re not willing to go out there and make things happen for yourself. And again, I’m not trying to be negative. Maybe producing isn’t your thing? Maybe that’s not what you want to do. But, I just encourage you to think outside the box. And just think how you could get stuff done. Maybe you could find a producer, maybe you could write a bunch of super-low-budget short film scripts. I mentioned this before. Go on Craigslist, in the Los Angeles section, under the writing gig section. You type in you know, screenplay, screenwriting. You will find producers looking for short film scripts. So again, if producing is not your thing? You can still think about, this, and you could still be involved in this. By writing these types of scripts, that people can produce, quickly and easily, 5 minute, 3 minute, 8 minute short films. And there is producers and directors, who are not writers. Though, maybe you could meet up with one of them. Again, if producing and directing is not something you actually want to do. I still think that these are great experiences, great learning experiences. You meet people, you meet producers that produce, $200.00 short film like, right now, 5 years, 10 years. You might be producing a 20 minute full length feature film. And those are the people you meet, early in their careers and your career, and growing with them. So again, it’s just real about going out there and trying to make things happen. But, not waiting for a permission. You know, I just get so many Emails from people that go like, “Oh, I sent it in to a few contest. You know, and I didn’t win the contest. Or I didn’t place highly in the contest.” And I said, “That’s just not enough.” That’s not enough to get your career going. And you just got to do more. This is all part of marketing. I mean, and this is why I started, “Selling Your Screenplay.” To hopefully help people with this aspect of the process. Getting out there and doing things, entering contests, using the “Black List” using “Ink Tip” using my own service, producing your own stuff. Doing all of those things, is really what’s going to get you down the road. Get your can down the road a little bit, and move your career forward. Just sitting in your room, cooped up writing stuff, entering a few contests. It’s just, no matter how good? Your scripts are, I just don’t know that, that will ever really pay-off? You know, you never know, it’s how Hollywood someone says that one will never work. Exactly when it might work? But, if you don’t want to, and just sit around and wait for somebody to call you. Wait for someone, to give you permission, it maybe a writer. I think doing what Joe did during that other show makers are doing, is a great, great, idea.
Anyway, that is the show, thank you for listening.