Ashley: Welcome to episode 112 on the Selling Your Screenplay podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyers, screenwriter and blogger, over at sellingyourscreenplay.com.
Today I’m interviewing Director Augustin. He started his career as a screenwriter and director by making a feature film with just five thousand dollars, and now he has about seven feature films into his career with his most recent feature film Badge of Honor starring Martin Sheehan so stay tuned for that.
If you find this episode valuable please help me out by giving a review in ITunes or leaving a comment on YouTube or re-tweeting the podcast on Twitter or liking it on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread the word about the podcast so they’re very much appreciated.
A couple of quick notes, 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 in case you’d rather read the show or look at something later on. You can find all the podcast show notes at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcasts and then just look for episode 112.
If you want my free guide How to Sell a Screenplay in Five Weeks you can pick that up by going to sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. It’s completely free. You 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, how to write a professional log line inquiry letter, how to find agents, managers, and producers who are looking for material. It really is everything you need to know to sell your screenplay. Just go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide.
A quick few words about what I’m working on, obviously I’m still getting over my Kick-Starter campaign. As I record this the campaign is actually not quite over. I’m recording this on the Monday before this episode is published. So I still have one more day for my Kick-Starter campaign. I did hit my goal over this past weekend so that was a great sense of relief just knowing that I actually hit my goal and am going to get to keep all the money that I’ve raised and actually go and make this movie. So that’s fantastic. I’m still trying to come up with some ways to kind of hit some stretch goals so I’ll be pushing a little bit, but the bottom line is as you listen to this, the Kick-Starter campaign has successfully ended. I want to thank everyone who participated in this, who contributed this, who checked it out. I got a ton of emails from people saying stuff like hey, you know, I don’t have any money right now, but I just wish you good luck with it. Those are very much appreciated. It was nice to get those. There were definitely some down times where contributions were not flowing in. I was feeling badly about the campaign and getting those emails was very much appreciated. It was a nice pick-me-up. I certainly understand that not everybody has the luxury of having money that they can contribute to something like this. So thank you to the folks who did send nice emails in. Those are very much appreciated.
I want to thank the people who contributed since the last time I did an update. I thanked all the previous people on the Kick-Starter update. I just want to thank these people personally. Thank you, Jan. Thank you, Lisa Cunningham-Gibson. Thank you, Tye. I personally thank you, Robert Cartland. Thank you, Jordan Imiola. Thank you, Joey. Thank you, Rick DE Mille. Thank you, Julie. Thank you, Brian McDonald. Thank you, Rick McCormick, Sean McKee, Daniel Gooch, Loretta Thompson, Roy Gordon Walker Music Group, Robin Carpenter, Zarog Estovar, Frank Lind, Kurt Brindley, Todd Zane, [inaudible 0:03:36.9] I also want to thank a bunch of people—and these are all the people that just contributed since the time that I did my last Kick-Starter update which was just last Thursday. So these are basically all the people that contributed over this past weekend. That really got me over the hump. I think when I did the last Kick-Starter update I was only at eight thousand or nine thousand and then got well over twelve thousand. I’m standing close to thirteen thousand now so three or four thousand dollars just in the past five days. That’s just such a great feeling. So thank you all those people who contributed, and there were a bunch of people also who increased their pledges they had contributed earlier and then they went and increased those pledges over this last weekend, Julian Biancci, Mary Goldman. Thank you, Bradley Palmer, David Basheers, Darin Quell, Matt Atkinson, David Santo, Andrew Olek, Jason Spellman, Seanna Kay, Adam Strange, Rick Harden, and John Oswald. So thanks to all of those folks. They, as I said, had contributed earlier in the campaign, and then they went and contributed some more money again. It was really fantastic the way this thing all came to a close. As I said, I was definitely getting a little worried as time was going on. That’s what everyone said. They said the first week you’re going to do pretty well and then the last week you’re going to do well but those two weeks in the middle are really slow. I was pretty much just stuck at about five thousand in that five to six-thousand-dollar range almost right up until the last week and then finally the last week things really got hopping. I got a few bigger contributions. That was the other interesting thing. I did get some big contributions this past week. I did have a couple people contribute at the executive producer level, and there were at least a couple of those people who seem to just find me on Kick-Starter. They just wanted to support some projects that were actually going to get made. So once I kind of hit that ten-thousand-dollar mark where my goal was twelve thousand, all of a sudden it was clear and I still at that point had five days to go. It was clear the project was going to get funded. I had a bunch of people kick in who I don’t think I know at all, and I don’t think they listen to the Selling Your Screenplay podcast. So that’s definitely something to keep in mind as you’re running through this. I would say don’t panic. If you only have half your money going that final week, you’ve still got a pretty good shot at it because that’s about where I was. I was only about the halfway mark going into that final week.
I’m going to do one last podcast update that will kind of be dedicated just to the Kick-Starter campaign. I’ve been releasing these kick-starter updates throughout the campaign. What I’m going to do is I’m just going to wait probably a month and then I will do an update in about a month. The reason I’m doing that is I want to kind of let things settle down and really get my thoughts. I’m taking notes as I’m going through this process about some of the things I learned, the things that surprised me. So all of that will be rolled up into a specific podcast, and I’ll call it something like “The pinch Kick-Starter roundup” or something. That will be just one last sort of all my thoughts on this kick-starter process. I want to give myself a little bit of space to kind of just mull things over and kind of see how I feel about things. Again, big thanks to everybody who supported this. I mean obviously I couldn’t have done it without all the people who listened to this podcast, all the people that come and contribute. So thank you very, very much. It’s really exciting too. I got a lot of email congratulations. When I hit that twelve-thousand-dollar goal, I got a ton of emails, people just congratulating me. So again, thanks, folks, for sending those in. It’s just really exciting. I’m going to get to go make this movie, am going to just get out there and it’s fully funded. If you’ve never been through this process of raising money for a film, it’s a gruelling process and whether it be Kick-Starter or going to private equity, it’s just a gruelling process and once you get over that hump—and there’s nothing really fun about it truthfully, it’s like the worst part of the process is asking people for money, trying to raise money, putting your own money into these things. Once you have that money and you basically know you’re going to get a check, that’s really the most fun creative time because now it’s like that’s a huge headache, a huge sort of burden off my shoulders. I know now I can go make this movie. So, again folks, I really do thank everyone who contributed, checked out the campaign, everyone who sent me kind emails, thank you very, very much for that. Keep an eye out. As I said, probably in about a month I will do another significant update kind of how I felt about the campaign.
The next step is really just starting to get into pre-production and get this thing set up and moving. So I’ll definitely be updating everyone through the podcast on that, but right now I’m just really excited to be funded and moving forward.
So the other big thing I’m working on is as I’ve mentioned before, this TV pilot script. I’ve been talking about. I put it up on my writers group last week and got some good notes from them. I met with the producer this morning, got some notes from him. So I’m going to take another quick pass at this. It should be too terribly difficult, but there’s definitely some work to be done. The one big note is I was not alive in 1961 so I certainly don’t remember how the world was or anything like that. It’s all just kind of researching movies. So that was one big note I got from the writers group and from the producer was let’s try and give this a little bit more sort of authentic because it takes place in Southern California, as I said, in 1961. So I have to go back and just start to do some research. So that may take me a week or two before I even dive into actually start writing some pages, just do a little research on the time period so that I can really kind of make this thing feel a little more authentic. That’s something when you’re writing a period piece, that’s something that is very important. So that’s what I’m working on.
Let’s get into the main segment. Today I’m interviewing writer/director Augustin. Here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome, Augustin, to the Selling Your Screenplay podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show and talking with me today.
Augustin: Thank you for having me. I appreciate being here.
Ashley: So to start out maybe you can just give us a little bit of background on your career. How did you get started and maybe talk about some of your first credits and kind of how you got those off the ground and really anything you want to share. Take us as far back. I’m always curious to hear if you’re one of these film geeks as a kid and shooting videos as a kid and did that sort of segue into a professional career. Really, where did you get your sort of beginnings?
Augustin: I wasn’t shooting films as a kid. I was born in Cuba, and I don’t think there was anywhere in the island that I could make movies for a living. I was always a film buff sort of thing. It’s been my favourite art. It had music, and it had fashion and it had pictures. I guess like Eddie Murphy’s character in that movie, and he was like yeah, I got a [inaudible 0:10:20.9] so I was a film fan for a long time. It wasn’t real to me that it could be a career really or even an expression of myself through film. I always wrote all my life. I wrote poems; I wrote songs. I wrote short stories, and it’s kind of a way that I could do it cheaply by myself. Film requires so many people but writing just requires you and [inaudible 0:10:45.5] right? That’s really I think my beginnings. I started writing plays in New York, and I started just producing them and putting them up. I thought I wanted to be an actor. I did a couple of things and it was fun, television, films, and a lot of plays. It was really always the writing that I kept coming back to and it’s where you have the most control, where you have the most fun I think. I fancy myself a novelist I think. I thought I’d end up there. My writing is always so visual. I think my pallet was informed by film so much that when I discovered that I could write a film even though not well, my first ones, but when I discovered I could put something on a piece of paper and people could kind of get it, we could turn it into living images, it was just a monumental shift for me. I just dropped everything. I’m not going to be an attorney. My parents are going to disown me at that point, but there was no way to go back to me. I can write something and make a bunch of other film geeks who want to get on board and sort of help me make these words come to life; it’s amazing.
Ashley: So how old were you when you made that transition?
Augustin: I wasn’t young, maybe 25. It was a good 12 or 14 years ago. [Inaudible 0:12:10.6] As I said, I didn’t see it as something I would do. I just thought I’d be like a Hippie writer. I have a novel that I’m still 300 pages into. I’ve never finished. I’m probably a shitty novelist, but when I made my first two films when I had my student films. I didn’t go to school for film. I just basically put in a little bit of money together. [Inaudible 0:12:41.6] Do you want to shoot one of my movies, and I met an actor, put my friends in it. I was just basically going to learn how to make movies, and being as hard-headed as I am, I finished an entire feature. I joined the film club with Paul Calderon, who’s a really brilliant actor, and I had gone out on my own with five hundred bucks and shot a short film. It was like a ten-minute short film. It wasn’t even great, but I had a great time. I put it together, and we had this film group that Paul Calderon had started and a bunch of New York theatre actors which I fancied myself one. We would meet and talk about we wanted to make films. I showed my short film, and he was like you made this for 500 bucks? He said come on man, if you made this for 500 bucks, why don’t you just make ten of these and make a feature for five thousand bucks. I was like yeah. I probably had no business making a feature at that point or any film, but I was not going to be deterred. I basically had no money, but with Paul’s idea I just did a film and oddly enough we got accepted to some festivals and it’s on Netflix now. I’m embarrassed to say it has no sound, makes no color corrections. It’s me acting in it. It’s like pressing the record and running in front of the camera, but it actually got received well enough where I started getting directing jobs.
Ashley: That’s the film that’s on IMBD listed as three plays.
Augustin: Yeah. The truth is nobody should ever see that. That literally is a home video. That film is actually responsible for why I don’t use my last name; that’s a long story, but I remember we did festival and I was talking after. They flew me out to a festival in San Francisco, and the people were asking questions. It was just me and the camera and I pressed record. Somebody in the audience was like damn, that’s a home movie; I can make a home movie. I said yeah, it kind of is a home movie.
Ashley: So you had no cinematography. It was just you setting the camera up on the tripod.
Augustin: I did have a cinematographer, but he was literally like that. There were a lot of people. I don’t want to diminish the help because a lot of people helped me on that movie. Any film that ever gets made has a lot of help. There are a lot of people like me who are like let’s try and make a movie. I mean literally every actor in it were my friends, my best friend in the movie and my best friend in the Marine Corps, my girlfriend was really my girlfriend. When I finished it I was so proud that I edited that movie on two VCRs tape to tape. It was crazy, and I went down to Miami when I realized I had to do a digital version. I would sneak into this film school—I won’t say which one—at night to edit—it wasn’t the [inaudible 0:15:36.7] it was another thing that they had that they were using and halfway through it I had a friend who let me sneak into the film program school at night. I remember that halfway through editing the digital version, a professor asked whose project is this and nobody knew and he erased it. So I had to start again. Then I got a hard drive that I would sneak in through the dorm every night. I learned what not to do. I’m proud of it; I just wish nobody ever sees it.
Ashley: You know one thing I noticed, I did a movie a few years ago and one of the pieces of advice I got was put some very attractive scantily-clad women on the box cover and that will sell a certain number of units. I noticed your film has two attractive scantily-clad women. Was that something you actually did on purpose or it just played into the actual story?
Augustin: No, man, this is my girlfriend for real. The story was weird—my parents are going to disown me again. I just got them to like me after produc9ing Lady in Number Six, but I was dating two girls at the same time and it was kind of like everybody thought it was oh man, you’re having porno life right? I’m like not really, dude; it’s kind of like a pain in the butt really. So I wanted to make a story about that. It was just my girlfriends and I think the distributors probably thought about putting in scantily-clad women. The original title for that was Love equals Emmy Cubed. L = ME cubed, this whole high-concept thing I had of love is not supposed to be defined by any way. My girlfriends were Gay at the time, and I didn’t want them to be judged. I was like love is relative. It’s me to the third power. I had all these young Hippie New York ideas. Then the distributors were like no, we’ll make it sexy with two hot [inaudible 0:17:23.4] they’ve got to be a threesome. I said hey. Are you going to pay me for my movie? I literally made ten times what I spent on that thing. So I thought it was a huge success. Looking back I probably should have burned it.
Ashley: Believe me if you made ten times what you spent, that is a huge success. Very few filmmakers can say that.
Augustin: I spent very little but I did literally think I spent like five now on the movie. I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but I think we got like $50,000. I was like holy cow, I can go buy a camera now and make another one.
Ashley: So you’re saying as your career went on, that was sort of the first thing from that movie. Other people hired you to direct stuff and write stuff?
Augustin: Maybe from that movie I learned what not to do really like hey, get a real camera. I talked to my DP on that. We made another one for ten grand, Carlito’s Angels which were just spoofing Charlie’s Angels. My first [inaudible 0:18:17.0] were right back to back. I wasn’t really a filmmaker yet though filmmaker is kind of a state of mind. You can talk that way, but I didn’t have the skills to be a filmmaker. I had the desire, and so we made two films back to back that were really just us playing around. Again, we were lucky because it was like Charlie’s Angels was coming out, and I made this Carlito’s Angels for ten thousand dollars out of fifty thousand or whatever and got some studio in New Jersey to release it. So at Wal-Mart it was like Charlie’s and Carlito’s Angels. How did that happen? I think I learned enough lessons to start puttering my wedge as a director. I really started really wanting to learn, and I did some videos and a lot of commercials. There is a gentleman who I still collaborate with a lot, a real visionary [inaudible 0:19:05.2] He was like a media mogul who hired me to do all the commercials for his radio stations. It kind of gave me my first professional shot. My first commercial I shot with him I shot on a 35-millimeter. I just wanted to be a filmmaker. Even though I didn’t have to, I could have done it on digital. I learned a lot there, and then one of his deejays—I made a comedy with him which is a Spanish Language comedy in 2005—which went theatrical. Again, it was me wanting to just do it. I shot it on 35-millimeter with a $500,000 budget, but the movie actually ended up grossing like crazy numbers. [Inaudible 0:19:41.2] First thing, we only had ten screens, but we beat Dune that year. We beat Zorro and got all this press, and then they were like hey, what do you want to do next? I went off and made [inaudible 0:19:53.2] which is really my first feature. I wrote it, directed it and am very proud of that. I think I got a chance to make a TV show with [inaudible 0:20:02.7] that I have been very proud of. You’re constantly learning as an artist, but that’s not where I feel like I want to be. I feel like now I can call myself a director without bowing my head.
Ashley: So let’s dig into Badge of Honor for a minute. That’s your latest film. You co-wrote it and directed it as well. Maybe to start out you can give us a quick pitch of it or a log line for the film.
Augustin: I mean the film came to me [inaudible 0:20:28.0] It was based on his father’s life, a true story. His father was a cop and sort of had gone straight. That really attracted me. That’s really what it was. It was to get a chance to tell a character story of this cop who maybe started out wanting to do good but ended up doing really bad. When I started dealing with the subject matter, the Latino kid getting shot and so appropriate at the time. It was just the tip of this whole thing that’s a big issue now. I think that’s what really attracted me, the fact that we can build into this character and talk about both sides of the issue. There are good cops in this movie trying to do the right thing, and there’s this bad cop who really doesn’t see himself as a bad cop. He thinks he’s out there protecting us from the bad guys, but he’s sort of been in the shit so long—I don’t know if I can say that—he starts to smell like it. That really attracted me, the fact that we can delve into that psychology and how it goes bad.
Ashley: So let’s talk a little bit about the script. So you’re saying this guy had written a script, gotten Martin Sheehan attached, and he came with you. What condition was the script in because ultimately you did some rewriting on the script? Correct?
Augustin: Yeah. I don’t want to talk about conditions because that kind of stuff is subjective. I had a lot of ideas for the script and Anthony was really receptive to the ideas. So we kind of locked ourselves up in an apartment in Hollywood literally for two to three weeks and just rewrote the whole thing. It did have some issues acting. It had things in it that I didn’t want to direct, and I think what happened to Anthony and why we responded to this version of the script was because he wanted it to be a character study about his dad. He had been peddling it around Hollywood trying to get it sold, and he got the usual comments like more action, more this, and more that. There was a lot of action that I just thought was kind of mindless and stuff. When I mentioned it to him, he was like yeah, man, I agree. I did those changes because such and such asked me to do it or Such and Such producer said I needed more crash every ten minutes, but that’s not what I want. Then he gave me the money anyway. So let’s do this. I had some kind of cool producers, Phil Goldfein, Tim Marlow and they said go ahead man. Make the movie you want to make. It’s rare you get that chance.
Ashley: So how did you get Martin Sheehan attached to the script? Do you have any insight on that?
Augustin: I don’t have any insight on it. I know that Martin was attached, and that was my job. I got to work with the guy from Apocalypse Now. To be honest I was a little bit scared because we made so many changes on the script that I’m like what is Martin hates this shit. What if he loves the other one, but he’d done it a lot. He called me himself and supported the vision. I think he was also drawn to the fact—I don’t know how the whole process of attaching him was, but when I spoke to him, what he was drawn to was that the female cop trying to do the right thing. She goes against the whole precinct and still doing what she has to do even if she’s ostracized and the struggle of this cop—he also felt like his character—he had kind of done it before, a police captain, but he felt like his character was a little implicit in the crime just by sort of turning a blind eye. He wanted to explore that. So I think that’s what attracted him, and I’m glad it did.
Ashley: So take us through this process. You kind of mentioned it just a moment ago, but so now you guys have been in this apartment for three weeks rewriting this script, what did you then do after that to actually go and start to get these other producers interested and actually start to get the money attached?
Augustin: I was lucky in the sense that the producers were already interested I think in a film—I want to say a film with me but maybe also a film with Martin with me and I am friendly with Tim and his father and Phil as my partner and some stuff. So I think they backed the project before I went into that apartment and I get to make this movie. I was like well, I want to rewrite it and these are the changes. They were like go ahead. So they kind of gave me a little bit of a green light to go write it. It’s always a chance of being on a rewrite but the money was there before I started doing it. Then, of course, it’s still hard. You had to make it for very little money and you’ve got to cast the rest of the thing. It wasn’t like I wrote a script and then I went to peddle the script. That’s not what happened on this one. It’s happened on other ones but not on this one.
Ashley: So before we started the interview, you had mentioned how proud you were of the cast that you had. Maybe we can just talk about that a little bit, the casting process and getting actors involved and a lot of what you’re talking about. You don’t have a hundred million dollars to make the movie. So you’ve got to do some creative casting. Maybe talk about how did you get them involved and some of the other casts that you worked with? How did you go through that process?
Augustin: Like I said, mine came with a project, and I’d like to sit here and tell you that everybody was dying to work with this young director that did Carlito’s Angels. I think more likely they probably liked the script, and they wanted to work some with Martin. There was another female attached to the lead, a great actress as well. I believe she got pregnant and the part opened up. Then when I heard that Mina was available and interested, to me that was amazing. She’s really a great movie star to be honest. So I talked to her. We met over lunch about the script. I think the first time I met her; she came to a screening of a documentary I produced. We went and we talked about the script, and she was so sharp about it, the research she wanted to do and the questions that she asked, I kind of knew she was the right person for it right away, no casting. We were just lucky to have her, and Patrick Muldoon was also involved in the process from the beginning. He’s a great actor as well, and the biggest part that was hardest to cast was Mike and David because we didn’t have those guys. We sort of had everybody else in the cast. Tasha was great, and so was Hilary. But I didn’t have a David and a Mike, and I think also because of Anthony’s dad, you’d really have to be who do you want for this guy? Oh, I want Sean Penn to play this guy, and I don’t know that Sean Penn was available. When I met Lockland Monroe in Canada, he’s known for comedy right? He came ready. He had a friend who was an undercover narcotics guy. He took me with him for the real deal going under cover. He said I want to really get ugly on here and really go for it. I mean, I’m really proud of Lock. He went so deep on it, and he really took chances with the character. For me there was only one really hard part of casting, but the lead guys were easy. We got the call that Jesse was interested and Jesse Bradford I saw on the Swim Fan. He was great in that movie. When I started really looking into Lachlan’s work, he was in Unforgiven with Clint Eastwood, and he came so prepared and he had so many great ideas. He really convinced me that he was going to knock out the part which he did. So those lead guys came together fairly easily. [Inaudible 0:28:29.7] script into the whole project.
Ashley: Can you walk us through—give us some steps because I get emails from screenwriters saying well, how can I approach this actor or that actor. I think that obviously the stage at your career is probably different than a lot of the people who are emailing me—and just like what you mentioned, a documentary you produced, Mina happened to show up for that, but I wonder if you can walk us through the process of how do you get a script to someone like Mina. How do you even get that initial spark? Did you hire a casting director and the casting director went out to their agent or was it through personal contacts? Just give us a little sort of insight into how to approach actors like that?
Augustin: I’m not going to give you too much insight because that’s like secret sauce. No, but I think you’re right. I think a lot of people hire a casting director and if you’re lucky enough to have a casting director who’s fond of your script—I’ve got to tell you casting director is an art form. A lot of young producers and even old producers just really downplay the job of the casting director, but I would say take a note from Ridley Scott who says he just hires really great actors and really great casting people and then he can direct. I have never had a chance to do that but it’s always in the back of my mind. It’s what I want to do. If you can get a casting director to do that and she can reach out to the actors, I think that’s the ideal way, but extrapolating on that, what a casting director does is they have credibility and they have personal relations. So it is ultimately about personal relations because you can send a script to an agency—and I’m sure somebody can read it. I remember a story when I first started when an agent had Copland in his desk drawer for five years, and he wanted to sign Stallone and he pulled it out and said Look Stallone, this is what you should be doing and if you were at my agency it would be this. I’ve heard that as a story; I don’t know if it’s true, but apparently Stallone liked it and read so I’m sure that does happen, but for most of the part I think you’ve got to try to cultivate a relationship with actors. You have to write a good script because if you’re lucky enough to get in the door, you want to put your best foot forward. It really is all about the script. When you get it in the door you’ve got to have something to show, and then I think you have to be able to get people to take a chance and read for you because an agent’s job I think is to protect their talent from a thousand scripts that they’re getting every day. So how do you get them to read yours? That’s not really the secret sauce, but the answer is if you can have a personal relationship to someone, in this case you’d think the anchor for our film is [inaudible 0:31:09.5] To me I’ve got to be thankful to him because he was really the anchor. He believed in the script even from the first iteration and he believed in my rewrite. I remember thinking that he was going to hate the rewrite and he’d have tons of notes. I got a call and his agent’s calling and like Martin wants to talk to you. I’m like oh shit! Mr. Sheehan is going to scream at me. He gets on the phone and is saying hey, kid, I love the script; I like your vision. I see what you’re trying to do. I know you don’t have a lot of money; I’m going to bring my own wardrobe. I’m going to support you. He’s an artist, and so getting somebody like that to sort of buy in; it’s kind of like the Good Will Hunting story. These two great actors, great writers got a director to buy in and got Robin Williams to buy in, and this thing becomes so amazing, not that my film is anything like Good Will Hunting.
Ashley: I understand, and you just said he was the anchor. I think that’s a very valid point is when other actors hear that an actor of his status is involved in a project, it makes your project seem much more—it gives it some cache and then they become more interested and that script goes to the top of the pile.
Augustin: I think so, all thanks to the producers who believe in it and for Anthony to bring in the story around the first script and getting it to Martin. Maybe you should interview him and see how he got it to Martin. Once Martin says I believe in you crazy kids, then I think other people go if Martin Sheehan believes in this, then there’s got to be something to it. At least we know Augustin’s not going to bunt. He is going to try to hit it out the fence. He might strike out, but he’s going to really swing.
Ashley: How can people see Badge of Honor? Do you know the release schedule, when it’s going to be Video on Demand, theatrical? Do you know anything about that?
Augustin: I really don’t know the exact [inaudible 0:33:00.4] I’m out of the loop with that. I think it’s coming out February 2. I think that’s what I’ve heard. I don’t know the exact of where or what. I’ve got another film coming out tonight that I’m actually running from here to get shaved and go to the premiere of.
Ashley: Okay, congratulations on that.
Augustin: That’s coming out February 5. I’m really proud of that I’ve got to say.
Ashley: I’d just like to wrap up the interviews by asking how can people follow along with what you’re doing. If you’re on Twitter, mention your Twitter handle, anything you’re comfortable sharing, Facebook, a blog, a website—anything and I’ll put it in the show notes so people can just kind of keep up with what you’re doing.
Augustin: I’m not on Twitter; I’m not on Facebook. I just don’t think I’m that cool. I don’t know what the hell I would say. I just recently joined this thing called groupnews which is like musicians come to your house to play light classical music so it kind of forces you to start a Facebook account, but I don’t really update it or anything. I know I should because I know so many great artists do it and they have so many great things on there.
Ashley: There’s no shame in that. Time is finite so we only have so much time to do stuff.
Well, Augustin, I really appreciate you coming on and talking to me, very inspirational story. I really tell people to just go out and do it and make a film for five thousand dollars. I think that’s really the best thing anybody can be doing who wants to get in this career. So your story is inspirational to us.
Augustin: Thanks, man. I mean, look, sometimes I think I really should have waited and had my first film be this amazing opus, but it’s kind of not my personality. I imagine I’d have to jump in and I’m glad I did because those first two films are definitely bad. I couldn’t have learned more in film school than I learned from shooting those films in two months making every mistake possible. It was amazing to make all those mistakes and bloody your knees and get up and then sell the freaking film. It’s like it’s amazing. The bad part is yeah, somebody might judge me on that film might see it, but it’s okay because they can see the next ones, the growth, and I’m proud of everything I did. It’s all part of the process.
Ashley: Absolutely. I’m going to go check it out on Netflix tonight. Thanks man, we’ll talk to you later. Good luck with this film.
Augustin: Thank you man, I appreciate your time.
Ashley: Thank you. Bye.
Ashley: I just want to mention two things I’m doing at Selling Your Screenplay to help screenwriters find producers who are looking for 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. I went and I emailed my large database of producers and asked them if they would like to receive pitches from screenwriters at Selling Your Screenplay. So far I have well over two hundred producers who have signed up to receive this newsletter. These producers are hungry for material and happy to read scripts from new writers. So if you want to participate in the pitch newsletter and get your script into the hands of lots of producers, sign up at sellingyourscreenplayselect.com. Again, that’s sellingyourscreenplayselect.com. Secondly, I’ve partnered with one of the premiere paid screenwriting lead sites so I can syndicate their leads to Sys Select members. There are lots of great paid leads coming in every week from this partner. Recently we’ve been getting ten to twelve high-quality paid screenwriting leads per week. These are producers and production companies who are actively looking to buy material or hire a screenwriter for a specific project. You sign up at Sys Select you’ll get these leads emailed directly to you several times per week. These emails include direct contact information with the producers. These leads run the gamut from production companies looking for specific type of spec script to producers looking to hire a screenwriter to write up one of their own ideas. There are producers looking for shorts, feature films, producers looking for TV and web series pilots, it’s a huge array of different types of projects that these producers are looking for, and these leads are exclusive to our partner obviously who is creating them and the Sys Select members. To sign up go to sellingyourscreenplayselect.com.
Also I recently set up a success stories page for people who have had success through the various Sys Select services. So if you want to check that out, please do go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/success. Again, that’s the success page at sellingyourscreenplay.com/success.
So in next week’s episode I’m going to be interviewing writer and producer Gabrielle Campezi. He just did a horror movie called Little Dead Riding Hood. He’s been working in the industry for many, many years in a variety of capacities from writer/director early on in his career to getting into more of the business side and raising money and financing and then he’s back with this one as just a writer on this most recent project. So he’s got a lot of great information to share and as I said covers a lot of different areas of filmmaking. So keep an eye out for that episode next week.
So to wrap things up, I just want to touch on a few things from today’s interview with Augustin. I’ve talked about this often but I love his can-do attitude, just going out there and getting it done, making a 5000-dollar feature film. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, good things can happen if you finish stuff and push them out into the world, but nothing can happen if you don’t do anything. So really listen to what he said. All these problems he’s talking about, editing at a film school, having his cut deleted and having to start over and just all the problems. Those are the problems of low-budget filmmaking. You don’t have a lot of money so you don’t just have all of these assets ready to go, and that’s sort of the process of fighting through those. It is painful at times, and even with a budget of what I’m going to be doing with my own film, The Pinch, even with the budget far greater than five thousand dollars, there is still going to be a lot of that. There are a lot of little problems that come up. You just have to have that can-do attitude. You know you’re just going to get it done. You dig in, and you just say I’m going to get this done no matter what. You slowly work through it. It is a process. As I said it can be painful, but it can also be very, very creatively fulfilling. That’s one thing that I really didn’t understand when I got into the industry. Now that I’ve sold a few scripts, get produced, when you sell a script and again it goes to the producers and the directors and they go and they start rewriting it, they don’t really consider the original writer that much and they’re much more concerned with their own notes and their own ideas. That’s totally fine because they’re the ones who raise the money, but for the most part the smaller budget projects that I’ve worked on have been much more creatively fulfilling as an artist. I think that’s something to really consider. You’re not going to get the chance. That’s kind of the trade-off. You run into these things like what Augustin’s talking about. If you don’t have a lot of money and you’re producing yourself, you have the creative freedom to do what you want, but you don’t have a lot of the money to compensate for a lot of the problems that you run into, but you do get this creative fulfilment. You get to make the creative choices that you want to make. Hopefully I’m taking my own advice with my film, The Pinch and just getting out there and getting some stuff done. Of course, I’m going to be chronicling that through the podcast so hopefully people can kind of come along for the ride. I hope it inspires people. I hope the interview is like what I just did with Augustin. I hope that really inspires people just to hear. As a guy he didn’t know anybody in the industry. He just went out there and made a five-thousand-dollar movie and that slowly got his career going. Now seven or eight feature films later, he’s directing a movie with Martin Sheehan. It all started with that five-thousand-dollar movie. Nobody hired him to do it. No one told him to do it. He just went out on his own and made it happen. So hopefully people listening to this podcast can really take that lesson to heart and get out there and kind of make things happen for yourself.
Anyway, that’s the show. Thank you for listening.