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SYS Podcast Episode 205: Director Richard Friedman Talks About How He Got His Start In The Business And His Latest Feature Film, Christmas Crime Story (transcript)

This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 205: Director Richard Friedman Talks About How He Got His Start In The Business And His Latest Feature Film, Christmas Crime Story.


SYS Podcast Episode #205: Richard Friedman

Ashley: Welcome to Episode #205 of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyers, screen writer and blogger of the www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I’m interviewing director Richard Friedman who has been directing genre films for more than three decades. He just did a film called Christmas Crime Story which is now available and we talk about that film as well as how he got his start in the business and how he’s been able to keep making movies over the years. Stay tuned for that interview.

If you find this episode viable, please help me out by giving me a review on iTunes or leaving me a comment on YouTube or retweeting the podcast on twitter or liking it on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread word about the podcast, so they’re very much appreciated. 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 every episode incase you’d rather read the show or look at something later on.

You can find all the podcast show notes at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast, and then just look for episode number #205. If you want my free guide- How to Sell a Screenplay in Five Weeks, you can pick that up by going to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. It’s completely free, just put in your email address and I’ll send you a new lesson once per week for five weeks along with a bunch of bonus lessons. I teach the whole process of how to sell your screenplay in that guide. I’ll teach you how to write to write a professional log line and creative letter and how to find agents, managers and producers who are looking for material. Really it’s everything you need to know to sell your screenplay. Just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide.

So now let’s get in to the main segment. Today I am interviewing director Richard Friedman. Here is the interview.

Ashley: Welcome Richard to the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.

Richard: Thank you for having me Ashley. This is terrific.

Ashley: 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 business?

Richard: Sure, I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. I was Pre-med in college. I was gonna be a doctor but I always wanted to be a filmmaker. So I did my first film when I was 21, a small feature which kind of got released and I spent the last 30 years making independent films and episodic television and movies for television.

Ashley: Okay, so let’s dig into that first feature film just briefly. How did you raise the money for that and how did you put that project together?

Richard: You know it’s funny, because raising money for an independent film is always different. Sometimes you get the same people come back if you make them money, if you don’t make them money they never wanna see you again.

[laughter]

Richard: But this film in particular was raised from one…actually two independent investors. One was a friend of mine who has been calling me for years wanting to invest in a film and we finally found the right film. The other one was an investor who was a buddy of my partner in crime Vince Lozano, who also produces this with me.

Ashley: Okay, perfect. I’m curious, at 21 years old, what gave you the confidence that you could direct the feature film and get this thing off the ground? Did you have experience, had you gone to film school, had you done some shots?

Richard: It was all in my naivety. I was taking my Master’s degree at NYU and it was for filmmaking. And about 30 years ago filmmaking schools were not as prevalent as they are now and not as influential as they are now. But anyway, it was time to make my thesis strong and I decided I had to make my thesis strong. So in my own naivety I decided I was going to raise $500,000 to make a film. I spent about eight months doing it and I came close. [?] Bear Aspen at one point told me that they were gonna give me the money until they realized I didn’t have a distribution.

Finally I was about to give it up and I was really angry and going through my drawer of addresses and numbers that people had given me…telephone numbers and I found one number that I never called and I said should I call it or not. I finally called the number and some woman from Phoenix Arizona answered the phone and she had produced Shining [Inaudible 00:04:15] on Broadway and won the Tony Award for that, but never produced a movie. She and her husband and her lover ended up giving me $500,000 to make a movie.

Ashley: Okay, that’s a great story and sometimes that’s exactly what it takes, just the last Hail Mary. What is it that you think attracted you to the entertainment industry? And that’s kind of a broad question but what is it about this business, because after you’ve been in it a while you realize that it’s really not the money. You always hear the stories of people making millions and millions of dollars but I’m sure you would have made more money as a doctor if you would have pursued that profession.

Richard: Absolutely, I mean, the truth of the matter is if you wanna make money and you don’t have a love for this business, find another business. But I had really from the day I was born, loved filmmaking. It was what I enjoyed doing and to this day I love doing it. I mean, you wanna make money because of your putting so much time and so much effort into making a movie. It would be ridiculous not to make money doing it. And I have been lucky and I have made money making movies, but it’s not about that for me. It’s about the love of making movies and getting on set and having the problems that filmmakers have. You know, it’s funny, the people that I work with are pretty much the same way. They really enjoy doing what they’re doing. We’re a good team together.

Ashley: Yeah, perfect. Let’s dig in into Christmas Crime Story. Maybe to start out you can kind of just give us a pitch or log line, kind of what the film is all about.

Richard: Christmas Crime Story takes place on Christmas Eve. It’s this dark thriller about a bunch of people who have different stories that all come together and it’s really surrounding a diner on Hollywood, Boulevard. It’s a story of a woman who wants to kill her husband and it’s a story of a husband who ends up killing his wife. It’s the story of a hitman and it’s the story of basically a bunch of people who are having problems on Christmas Eve, who are really miserable on Christmas Eve. In fact there’s a line in the movie that says, everybody’s miserable on Christmas. That’s really what this is about, but in the end it’s this twisted thriller that really comes together and pays off with a surprising ending that’s the vain of it’s a wonderful life.

Ashley: That’s very nice, that’s a great pitch. How did you get involved with this project? Maybe you can kind of talk about that evolution. As the director and the producer, how did you find the script, how did you get hooked up with it?

Richard: You know, the last few movies that I made I’ve actually found online. I find them in a number of different places. I’ve either found them on InkTip or I find them on SimplyScripts. This one I found on SimplyScripts. What I do is I go online and I begin to read all the log lines and synopses of the scripts and if something excites me or kind of piques my interest, I’ll download the script and when I’m finished with the session I usually have about 10, 15 scripts that I download and then I begin to read the scripts.

If I love it and it keeps my interest, I keep reading. If I don’t, it’s usually done by 10, 15 pages or so. This script kept my interest throughout and then I sent it to…this was from SimplyScripts and then I sent it to my partner Vince and he read it and he said, “You know, it’s a cool story.” And It’s the kind of thing that I like to do. I like thrillers and I like this kind of twisted stuff you don’t expect to happen. So we went and made a deal on the script and moved forward.

Ashley: Okay. And I’m curious, so you download 10 to 15 scripts then you started to read them. How many of these scripts do you typically make it through those first 10 or 15 pages?

Richard: Good question. I would say that usually it kind of works out for every film that I end up doing I’ll download 40 to 50 scripts. Out of those 40 to 50 scripts I’d say that I make it through 10 percent of them.

Ashley: Okay, and what are you looking for when you’re in that process of looking for scripts? I mean, are there genre requirements, are there budgetary requirements, is it just purely this story attracts me so let’s start there and see if we can back into a specific budget? Maybe just talk about your process of what attracts you to these log lines.

Richard: Absolutely, and it’s very specific what I look for. You know, what I find on these websites is that a lot of writers write huge scripts that unless a studio is gonna pick them up and they get miraculously lucky, it’s tough to get made, it’s not gonna get made. What I’m looking for is something that I could do within my very very low reasonable budget. I’ll even open up a script and I’ll look at the locations and I’ll look at the number of characters in it before I even read it and if it doesn’t look like something that really interests me, I might even put it down then, because I know that there’s no sense in reading it because I can’t make it. So what I’ll do is I’ll look for something with…limited locations are great. They’re fantastic on a lower budget.

Limited characters are great. The thing that I really like to do with movies is make them look a lot better than what they cost. If I can do that then we’ve accomplished a lot because it becomes easier to sell in the end. So what I’ll do is I’ll look for a script that is within what I like to do. I’m a thriller mystery guy. I spent years doing horror films and I like doing horror films but I kind of fell into that and then the last few years I’ve been doing thrillers and mysteries and that kind of thing and darker stuff, which ironically is harder to sell because it is darker. But I enjoy it and it’s what I like to do. So I looked for the right script. I looked for the script that will fit my perimeters for the budget and I looked for something that’s different and unique and that’s hard to find.

Ashley: Yeah. Just to talk about genre for a little bit. Is it purely like you said these darker thrillers are a little bit hard to sell than say horror. You’ve done a bunch of horror movies so now you’re sort of moving into that. But what about comedy and these kinds of like…the big knock on comedy doesn’t play overseas, it’s gonna be hard to sell. Like how much of dark thriller…dark thriller it seems to me are still easier to sell than comedies. How much does that sort of play into your factoring of what you wanna do? You’ve done horror, I understand that but you haven’t done a comedy. Is that just something that not interest you or you know it’s gonna be a hard sell?

Richard: Both actually. I like comedy. I laugh a lot and I’m not a dark guy. I enjoy comedy like anybody else. But when it comes down to it, I don’t know that I’m the guy to do comedy. It’s just basically what I’m attracted to. But in addition to that, comedy is a much more difficult sell. Especially low budget comedy. Unless you make something that’s different and really unique and not seen before, when you go to a distributor or a distributor comes to you with comedy, it’s tougher and I’d rather not have to fight that battle if it’s not my preference. If I was in love with comedy I would do it and I’d say I don’t care. But I’m not in love with it, so I do what I love, which is, you’re right, easier to sell than comedy.

Ashley: Let’s talk about your development process a little bit. You downloaded the script for Christmas Crime Story, you cut a deal with the writer, were there some re-writes that you felt needed to be done? Maybe talk about that process a little bit and how you maybe collected notes.

Richard: On Christmas Crime Story, it was actually set in a small town and my first inclination was to do it in LA where I live and where we’re based and where I have my whole crew and I know I can make a movie. I talked to the writer about re-writing it from the small town and getting out all the snow because we obviously don’t have snow in LA and shooting it here. So we had talked about stuff like making locations Hollywood Boulevard, which is an interesting location. The whole movie takes place at night. It’s one night on Christmas Eve, so we ended up shooting…we shot the movie in 10 nights.

I tried to come up with locations that would be visually interesting, so I said, write the scenes for Hollywood Boulevard. And then a lot of it takes place in a diner. So we had to find the right diner and the diner that we found for this had windows around so it made it more interesting because you could see outside the windows and you could see cars passing by and it wouldn’t be as claustrophobic for as long a period of time that we were gonna be in there. The diner was at the bottom of a hotel and it was out of business, but it was all set up as a diner so it worked out great for us.

Ashley: Yeah. I just wanna touch on one thing you just said about shooting in LA. I just did and you can see my poster back here. I just did a micro-budget feature film which was shot in LA as well. I’d be curious to get your thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of shooting in LA versus shooting someplace else, because there’s definitely some sort of…I mean, the talent pool is deep in LA, but locations and stuff become more problematic because people want…they think that they can make a lot of money off location, so there’s ups and downs and I’d be curious just to touch on that for a second.

Richard: It’s interesting that you asked that because our biggest problem in making this movie was the location of the diner and not because of the owner of the diner who owned the hotel, but because of a man across the street who decided that it was his street and if we looked at his buildings which he managed, then we would have to pay him. He literally harassed us. He sent us emails while we were shooting, before we were shooting he sent down someone down to speak to us, he shut off the Christmas lights on the street, but we battled the whole thing. I think what it boils down to is if you shoot many other places it is way easier to shoot. There are places with no permits, there are places…and they’re not far from LA that will welcome you to shoot and charge you a lot less than any locations in LA.

The other thing that you run into LA is that there are film brokers who will go to stores and say to the stores, listen, if I bring you movies, you split it half with me. And you go to these stores if you want a location like that, they’ll turn you over to the film broker and you’re in trouble as a low budget film. You’re done. So the key to shooting in LA, and I’ve shot a bunch of films in LA, the key to shooting here is to find…just battle it and find the locations. Film LA is…I have found it relatively helpful if not at all [laughs]. I mean, they were okay on the last one, they didn’t help us with this guy across the street, but they did force us to have a monitor at the diner and the monitor became helpful because he went to [?] bet for us with the guy across the street. So indirectly they were okay. But there are easier places to shoot than LA. I shoot here because I have my crew here, I know it, I’m originally from New York, I love to be shooting in New York, which ironically is easier that shooting in LA, but I’m set up here so I do my movies here.

Ashley: Okay so, you’re also the producer on this film and I assume was at least somewhat involved if not completely involved in raising the money. Maybe we can talk about that process a little bit. You’ve optioned a script from the writer, you’ve done some of these re-writes, maybe you can just sort of walk through the process of actually turning this into an actual production.

Richard: Well, the first thing I do is when I find the script I make a deal with the writer. And you know, there are all kinds of writers on SimplyScripts and on InkTip and some writer guild, some not writer’s guild. The last few writers that I have…I’ll tell you the deal I made because it might be interesting to you. I give them a full Written-By credit as they would want in the writer’s guild. So regardless of what happens with the script, if I re-write it, if somebody else re-writes it, they get a full Written-By credit. I give them a small fee on beginning of pre-production, and then what is really important is I give them gross points, not net points in the movie, because gross points are exactly the same points that I have and that my partners have on it and the investors have on it.

It’s pari passu with the gross points, which means that the same time that I get paid, they get paid. Now, how can I do that? I don’t take a salary when I make the movie. If the movie is successful and it makes money, I make money. If it’s not successful I put everything on screen in advance. I ask the writer to be a part of that and the last four writers that I’ve worked with have done that and they profited from it. And Christmas Crime Story, the writers will do well on that. So it’s in essence a really smart thing to do if you’re a new writer and you wanna get a film made and you want guarantee that you’re gonna get the Written-By credit and you’re in it with us.

Ashley: That’s part of the tip. And just what’s a range, you haven’t talked specifically about this one, but what kind of a range of back end points can a writer expect?

Richard: Three to five. Three to five gross points which is a very reasonable amount because really when it comes down to it, I’ll be honest with you I get 20 points…the split that we make with the investors usually is that we get 40, they get 40 and 20 percent goes to whoever we have to give points to- the writer talent along the film. So out of that 20 we use them. If they are not used, then we just split them up between the investor and us. So it’s a very…ultimately what I’ll come out with is personally I’ll come out with about 15 points in the movie. Vince my partner will come out with about 15 points in the movie and the writer can come out with anywhere from three to five points.

Ashley: Perfect. So then okay, now you’ve got the script locked in. What is your process of starting to raise money? Was it a matter of going back to some people that had invested in the past or was there new investors and maybe just talk about some of that process?

Richard: Yeah, it’s both actually. I have some investors that I’ve worked with before that have made money on films, so I can go back to them and they would probably be open to it. I mean, we’re not asking for a lot of money. I make these films really inexpensively. So I’ll go back to them and the other thing is there always seems with me to be somebody new that pops up that says, “I wanna get involved.” Sometimes it takes a little more time, sometimes it’s quick. I mean, I’m doing a film next called Acts of Desperation and it’s an investor who a few years ago I knew her and her husband and we talked to her and her husband about investing and then her husband just became a pain in the butt to be honest with you and Vince and I said, “You know what, life’s too short. We don’t wanna deal with it.” And then ironically he died since and she came back to us very recently and said, “I wanna invest. I wanna make this movie.” So that’s the next movie we’re making.

Then after that I’m gonna go back to the investor in Christmas Crime Story and make a small movie with him and probably add in the other investor who is a Filipino business man who invests in movies and put them together for the next one. So it’s kind of a mishmash. It’s just where people come from but luckily it just seems to be there when I need it. Sometimes we got to fight for it, sometimes we lose a few. I had one investor who was a close friend of mine, my friend’s father and for years he had said I wanna invest in a movie, I’ll give you some money and we finally said okay and he was…for about three, four months until we found the right project and got everything in order he was 100 percent in and he even sent me his financial papers and everything, and then we went to make the movie and we met him in Starbucks one night and he walks in and he says, “You know what guys, I’m out, I can’t do it.” It happens.

Ashley: So back us up on some of these relationships. What was sort of the genesis? Like you talk about a business man in the Philippines. How do you meet those types of people, do you go to film festivals and meet them, do you do networking events? Just how do you meet those types of people that are looking to invest in films?

Richard: You know, it’s funny, film festivals are a great place to meet people, but the problem with film festivals is that everybody else is trying to meet people there [laughs]. So yeah, you can get really lucky. I mean, I wish that there was a way that I could say to somebody, “Hey, this is how you raise money,” but I really in doing this a long time, I’ve made 14 films and I honestly can’t say that there is a method to the madness. It just kind of works. I think the bottom line is, and this may sound stupid but the truth of the matter is you got to be committed. You got to wanna make these movies. If you wanna make the movies and you get out there and you talk to people, somebody will come up and have a good project. Have a project that’s sellable.

What I found is that the people that I work with and the people that I meet, I prefer working with non-film industry investors, because when you work with film people, they always wanna take control and we’ve kind of got these little movies down to a science, so I can go out and make the movie and know that I’m gonna make it. I know I’m gonna finish on time, I know it’s gonna come in our budget. If you get involved with a film investor then they wanna know all the stuff and they say, “Well, how are you gonna do this and how are you gonna do this?” If you work with not…for example, I did a movie called Born and I did it with four investors. It was two doctors and a lawyer. Two doctors from [Inaudible 00:23:49] and two lawyers. They were an investment group together.

The way I met them was …my partner who I worked with at the time, his wife works at [Inaudible 00:24:01] and she spoke to them and they came to us and they said, “Hey, we wanna do it, we wanna invest.” That’s terrific to work with because they are non-film people and they come down to the set and they enjoy what’s going on. If they make money they make money, if they don’t make money they take it as a loss. So it’s just who you hit and where you hit them.

Ashley: Yeah, so maybe you can just give us a few tips on what your conversation looks like when you’ve got two doctors and two lawyers in a room that are considering investing in this. What does your pitch look like? I’ve had a number of people on the podcast that they really try and get away from the whole [Inaudible 00:24:43], just exactly what you’re saying. They come down to the set, there’s a number of other intangible things let’s say, that people can get out of a movie. So maybe just hear what your pitch is like just in a nutshell.

Richard: You know what works for me and it always works for me, honesty. What I say to them is that this is a risky investment guys. And I tell them, I say it’s a risky investment if it’s gonna hurt you to lose the money, don’t do it. The people that I’ve spoken to, most of them come back and say, “It’s not gonna hurt us and we wanna get involved and we wanna do it.” The pitch is basically, I tell them the story, I stay away from saying what the returns are because I can’t in all honesty say what the returns are gonna be on movies. We made Christmas Crime Story and as soon as we finished the film, we had a really good distributor come to us and they wanted it because it was a Christmas movie and it was the kind of Christmas movie they wanted. But you can’t guarantee that.

So I’ll talk to them and I’ll say…distribution we will do everything in our power, we put in seven months, eight months of our life into this project, so we’re not gonna do it and not hope for distribution and not work for distribution. As far as making the film, I guaranteed him the film is gonna be made and we’re gonna have a movie which some filmmakers can’t guarantee that. And I said, come down and have fun. Have fun and hopefully we’ll make money doing this.

Ashley: Now that you’ve been doing this for a while, do you ever try and go to distributors before raising the money and just pitch them the project? And I’m curious, we can talk specifically about Christmas Crime Story, had you had some conversations with distributors beforehand, and then ultimately how did you find this distributor and why did they come on?

Richard: Okay, in answer to your question “do I go before”, there’s two ways of doing this. You can go before or you can wait until after. If you wait until after and you make a good movie you usually get a better deal. If you go before you better have all the elements that you need. The number one element when you call a distributor, they don’t care that it’s Christmas Crime Story. What they care about is who’s in it as you know. And they’ll say, “Who’s in it?” And we don’t get the big names on this budget that will justify a “who’s in it”, that’s gonna make them jump. So yes, you can if you have a connection, if you have a relationship with a distributor in advance you can go to them and you can say, “Hey, I’ll put this together. What is it that you require?”

But what I found is it’s easier to make the film and then either take it to festivals and see what happens at festivals or begin to contact distributors yourself and sell it to distributors. I’ve made a bunch of films and I have never had a film not distributed. So it’s kind of worked for me in that respect and Christmas Crime Story just ironically worked out easily.

Ashley: How did the distributor hear about it as you were going through production?

Richard: What happened was we had just finished the film and we were about to submit to film festivals and we get an email from Gravitas Ventures. They said to us, “We are very interested…we’ve heard about your film.” To this day I don’t know where they’ve heard about it. But they said we’ve heard about your film and we really are interested in meeting with you to distribute it. What was interesting was…what I found out was the real reason that they really were interested in the film was because it was a Christmas movie, hence the next film that I make- The Backdrop, is gonna be Christmas time, because holiday movies sell. They sell and this was evidence of it.

So they said, “We really want the movie. And then they watched the movie and they said, “We really want the movie. We really wanna distribute this movie.” So we went in and we met with them and we talked to them and the deal was…we probably could not have asked for a better deal anywhere else, so we took it immediately. It was…it’s pretty much streaming everywhere that you could possibly stream. Video on Demand is everywhere, it’s worldwide and it’s on Blu-ray DVD. The only thing that Gravitas does not offer, is they don’t offer any kind of advertisement or marketing. So they count on the producers to do that themselves, which is a monumental task, I mean to get from out there.

Ashley: Yeah, so I’m curious maybe you can talk about…and as I said I’m kind of going through the same process with my own micro-budget film, so I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on it. How do you vet the distributors like Gravitas? Had you worked with them before, had you heard through friends that they were a good distributor, because I’m sure you’ve been doing this probably longer that I have and it’s like you meet so many filmmakers where they sign with the distributor and literally never see a cent. So I’m curious, did you vet them, did you try and contact other filmmakers to make sure that they were a reputable company?

Richard: Well, more often than not, you don’t make any money with a distributor. The number one thing to know is how to make the correct deal. If you’re making a deal with a distributor where they take up marketing expenses and you don’t cap anything, you’re done. You’re done because what they’ll do is that every market that they take it to and everywhere that they go, they’ll write it off. So it’s finished. So Gravitas I knew from their reputation and from people who had worked with them, was a very reliable, credible distributor. They do release theatrically. When we met with them they were honest and they said to us, listen, we could release it theatrically, but do you really wanna do that because the thing about it is, you’re gonna spend more money releasing it theatrically and you’re not gonna make money.

So you’re better off going everything else, and not a theatrical release. My feeling was the same way. I had films released theatrically and I’ve made more money in other venues, in international sales and stuff like that than I’ve made going to a theater. I think a lot of times going to a theater is an ego thing. It’s great to have your film in a theater. But these days, does it matter? I mean, you get your film in a theater for a few weeks, a week or two if you’re lucky and maybe you’ll get a review from a couple of critics or something like that, but does anybody care, does it matter? It’s much more influential getting blogs out there and going on blogs and having people hear about the film and know about the film than having a theatrical release in a few theaters.

Ashley: On some of your other films, have you ever tried like Bitmax or Distribber, one of those self-distribution models where they aggregate the sites? Have you tried those and have you had any success with them?

Richard: No, but I thought about it and then we’ve looked into it. I haven’t actually tried it before but the thing about Distribber and that is you pay piecemeal. I mean it’s…you pay for it, you want it on Amazon, you pay for Amazon, you want it on Netflix you pay for Netflix and then they get it in. Really what the company that we’re with now, Gravitas is, it’s everything that Distribber offers, but they do it for you. They’ve been doing it for a long while and they have the connections to make the deal that with every distribution out that you can find, every platform you can find. So I’d much rather go that way. Though I do think that the aggregators, those kind of things are actually pretty good for people who wanna get their film out there and can’t find another way to get it out. The good part about it is that it’s a flat fee upfront then they don’t take anything.

Ashley: So, just a quick lightening around her with a couple of questions. I’m just gonna run through just some very basic questions and this is gonna e short few answer [Inaudible 00:33:34]. So for this film, what camera did you guys use to shoot this on?

Richard: We used the Red Scarlet and the reason why we used the Red Scarlet is because I got it for free.

[laughter]

Ashley: Okay, that’s a good answer and a good reason. On a film of this scope, what crew positions were you utilizing? How many grips and how many ACs? Maybe you can just run through a quick overview of what the crew was.

Richard: We had four-man camera department, we had a four-man group department, we had a…the only thing that we didn’t have, which my wife ended up doing because there was no one else that would do it and she said, “Alright, I’ll do it,” was a production designer. But we pretty much filled every position. Some of it deferred, some of for points. I’m DGA so I have to use a DGA department. The DGA low budget contract is excellent because they allow you to pay whatever you wanna pay to yourself and whoever you…and your first AD and second AD. They work with you and SAG low budget contracts…new media contracts, which lets you defer on actors and stuff like that. So to get a movie made like this, you have to utilize all of that, otherwise you can’t do it.

Ashley: So you did do SAG, you just did the [Inaudible 00:35:02] low budget?

Richard: It’s the new media. I have never made a movie non-SAG. If you want any name or responsible actors or credible actors, you have to go SAG.

Ashley: Okay, and I think you answered this. You said that you shot for 10 nights. How long was the script just so we can get a sense of how many pages per day you were shooting?

Richard: The script was about 105 pages.

Ashley: So you’re talking about more than 10 pages a day on a 10 paged shoot?

Richard: That’s correct. In fact wed had a day or two which has over 25. I’m not kidding you.

Ashley: Yeah, I can imagine. So what was the time frame on pre-production? How many months did you spend in pre-production?

Richard: I’d say we spent about a month in pre-production. Putting it all together, getting locations together, putting the crew together, making sure everybody was available.

Ashley: Casting and all that stuff…

Richard: Yes, casting and then we had about five, six days of casting sessions and we were ready to go.

Ashley: So it’s a busy month. And then how much time is post-production of a film like this? How many months once you wrap shooting? How long till it took to get the film done?

Richard: Well, I normally always cut the film, but I let an editor cut it first. On this film my friend and I worked on it and we cut it together from scratch. The biggest problem with…what took the most time was that we shot 4K and we had to bring down the resolution to edit and it became an issue to get it in there. But it shouldn’t be an issue, it was just us. But after that it took us about…we cut the film in about a month and a half.

Ashley: And then how about the other stuff…sound and all that stuff?

Richard: Sound and everything was another month or so, so in about two and a half months after production we had it finished.

Ashley: Okay, that’s quick, that’s great. Are you planning on going to some festivals now that you have distribution? Is there any motivation to try and promote the film or is there anything you think you can get out of festivals?

Richard: Well, the big promotion that I wanna do on the film now is prior to Christmas time. So we did not submit to festivals once we got distribution, so we’re never gonna get a festival in before Christmas time. After Christmas, the film until next year pretty much doesn’t require any major marketing or anything, so no I’m not gonna go to festivals on this, but I normally do.

Ashley: Okay. How can people see A Christmas Crime Story? Do you know what the release schedule is gonna be?

Richard: It is everywhere. It came out about three weeks ago for Christmas. It’s on every cable platform. You’ll find it on Video on Demand, on Direct TV, on Brizon, on anything you can think of. Check your cable distributor and it will be there. Sometimes it’s listed on the A Christmas Crime Story. It’s also on Blu-ray, on Amazon, on everything there, so it’s easy to find…iTunes, it’s very easy to find.

Ashley: Perfect. And what’s the best way for people to keep up with what you’re doing? Anything you’re comfortable sharing…a twitter account, Facebook account, blog, website, I will round it up and put it in the show notes as well so people can click over.

Richard: Sure, I’m on Facebook, Christmas Crime Story is on Facebook, Christmas Crime Story is on Instagram. Just search Christmas Crime Story and you’ll find it on both. As far as the next film goes, it’s Acts of Desperation, which will be up on Facebook, Instagram…I don’t know, I’m not a twitter guy. So we are on twitter but I can’t tell you…

Ashley: I’ll track those down. Usually I can. Once I find the Facebook page there’ll be links and stuff and I can track it down. Well Richard, I really appreciate your coming on and talking to me. You gave some great information and I think people will get a lot of value out of this. So I really do appreciate it.

Richard: Great, I hope I can help somebody out.

Ashley: Thank you, sounds good. God luck with the film.

Richard: Thank you very much, I appreciate it.

Ashley: Bye.

A quick plug for the SYS screen writing analysis service. It’s a really economical way to get a high quality professional evaluation on your screenplay. When you buy our three pack you get evaluations at just $67 per script for feature films, and just $55 for teleplays.  All the readers have professional experience reading for studios, production companies, contests and agencies. You can read a short bio on each reader on our website and you can actually pick the reader who you think is the best fit for your script. Turnaround time is usually just a few days, but rarely more than a week. The readers will evaluate your script on six key factors—concept, characters, structure, marketability, tone and overall craft, which includes formatting, spelling and grammar. Every script will get a grade of pass, consider or recommend, which should help you roughly understand where your script might rank if you were to submit it to a production company or agency. We can provide an analysis on features or television scripts. We can also do proof reading without any analysis. We will also look at a treatment or outline and give you the same analysis on it.

So if you’re looking to vet some of your project ideas, this is a great way to do it. We will also write a logline and synopsis for you. You can add this log line synopsis service to an analysis, or you can simply purchase this as standalone product. As a bonus, if your script gets a recommend from a reader, you get a free email and Facts Plus to my list of industry contacts. This is the exact same blast service I use myself to promote my own scripts, and it’s the same service I sell on the website. It’s a great way to get your scripts into the hands of producers who are looking for material. So if you want a professional evaluation of your screenplay at a very reasonable price, check out www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/consultants.

The next episode of the podcast, I’m gonna be interviewing distributor Keith Leopard from Uncork’d Entertainment. I’ve mentioned this interview before in the last couple of podcast episodes. Keith is the distributor behind many of the films that I’ve show cased on the podcast over the last 12 months or so. Last week’s The Gate House by Martin Gooch is being distributed by Uncork’d Entertainment and a couple of weeks before that I had on filmmaker Justin Price who did two films recently, The 13th Friday and Elf. Both of those films are being distributed by Uncork’d Entertainment. Greg first did The Cold Moon, I had him on a couple of months ago. His movie is also being distributed by Uncork’d Entertainment.

So there’s a great number of these films that I’ve interviewed the filmmakers on it and I just thought it would be fascinating to kind of get the distributors perspective. What kind of films is the distributor looking for and ultimately what kind of films are selling in the market place. Even if you don’t wanna necessarily be a filmmaker, you just wanna be a writer, understanding what types of films sell in the market place can really help you understand what types of screenplays producers are looking for, because ultimately producers obviously, they wanna produce films that have a market and that they can sell in the market place and recoup whatever money gets invested into the film.

It’s important to understand these things, even if you want a cut against grain and maybe do something a little more art house or a little more experimental, I still think it’s a good background and education to kind of hear what actually sells in the market place and what is commercial. So keep an eye out for that episode next week.

Anyway, that’s the show, thank you for listening.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Limor Noy December 17, 2017, 2:12 pm

    Nice. How much is 3 to 5 points? What i fear is those screenwring where e eryone can download a script. I fear people can steal an idea. I like that tbe screenwriter gets credit even if it gets rewitten. Nice. I read the text instead of video informative. Thanks to sys i am rewritting n writting new screenplays. (With tons of grammer mistakes).