This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 230: Writer/Director Devin Cameron Talks About How His Latest Indy Comedy/Drama, Kid Brother.
Ashley: Welcome to Episode #230 of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyers, screenwriter and blogger of the www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I’m interviewing writer- director Devin Cameron who just did a film called Kid Brother. This is a great story for everyone who doesn’t live in Hollywood. He lives in the Midwest and is building his career from there, so we talk through how he was able to get his latest film produced as well as how he’s been able to forge a career living far from Hollywood. Stay tuned for that interview. If you find this episode viable please help me out by giving me a review in iTunes or leaving me a comment on YouTube or retweeting the podcast on Twitter or liking or sharing it on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread a 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 #230. 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, 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. I’ll teach you how to write a professional log line and query 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.
A quick few words about what I’m working on, a quick update on The Pinch, the crime-thriller feature film that I wrote, directed and produced last year. I’m gonna start selling the film starting today directly from my website so stay tuned for that announcement, I will talk more about that in a moment. I’m gonna talk through a little bit of the logic of what I’m doing in terms of my release and why I’m doing that as well in a moment. But first a quick update on the festivals. A couple of weeks ago I announced that The Pinch had been accepted into the Action On Film 14th Annual International Film Festival which takes place in August in Las Vegas. Once I was accepted into that festival, Action On Film sent me an email saying I will automatically get accepted into their sister festival Hollywood Dreams which takes place at the same time in Las Vegas.
So I did submit there and I also did get accepted, so that was nice. It might sound like a strange thing for a festival to do but I actually think it’s smart and I kind of appreciated it. It helps both the film festival, I mean, they get another entry fee. But it also helps the filmmaker as now I get another set of laurels to add to my poster. I’m in contention for a whole other set of film festival awards as well. And while I did have to spend the money on the submission fee I really didn’t mind spending it because I knew I was going to be accepted. As I’ve been talking about the film festival on the podcast over the last few months I’ve had a number of people submit emails to me to say, “Hey, you should submit to this festival or that festival.” Sometimes I have, in fact I even think Action On Film was actually a recommendation from a listener.
Just in the back of my mind because it’s a little outside of the window. Taking place in August, I submitted mostly to festivals that took place sort of January through June, maybe a couple into July. So the Action On Film, I think it might have come from a recommendation. I get a lot of recommendations as I talk about film festivals. People say, “Hey, submit to this festival or this festival and that festival,” and when I go to look at the festivals, at this point I’ve gotten rejected so many times, I’m just very weary to spend more money. I don’t mind spending the money if I know I’m gonna get accepted. Again, then I get another set of laurels that has some value to me. Potentially I could pick up some other awards that potentially could have value for me and the film as well. So I kind of appreciated what Action On Film is doing here.
Again, they do get the entry fee but I get a guaranteed another set of laurels and contention from more festivals. I just wanna review…so that’s where I’m at with Action On Film. I don’t have any of the specific dates. They haven’t said when the film’s gonna screen or anything like that but it’s in August in Las Vegas. I live in Los Angeles so it’s not a far drive. If they’re gonna screen the film I probably will try and drive out there depending on what my schedule looks like, but I’ll give some announcements as time goes on when I learn more about when that’s gonna take place. So I just wanna go and do a sort of an overview of the film festival submission for The Pinch. I would say it’s kind of coming to an end. As I said Action On Film was one of the later film festivals that I submitted to. So there’s not that many left.
There were some I’m still out sending but not that many left. Basically with these two acceptances, the Action On Film and the Hollywood Dreams, my total acceptances were three festivals. I got into three festivals. I mentioned the one other acceptance a few months ago. It was a sort of a strange deal where The Pinch was a finalist but not a winner and they only screen the winners at the festival. Again, this may sound like a little bit of a rip off for the filmmakers but again I kind of appreciate it because I got some value out of it. They didn’t just give me a rejection and say, “We don’t have room to screen.” Still they gave us a finalist and they made it clear that they want us to have the laurels and that kind of stuff. So again I think that they are giving some value to the filmmakers, not just a flat out rejection.
And frankly after going through this process I’m surprised more festivals haven’t caught on to this and don’t do this because it’s a great way to give value to the filmmakers even if you can’t screen the films. And as I’m going through this too for my next film I will probably submit to these three festivals because again, the chance of getting acceptance is pretty good and then again getting those laurels, getting those awards, and that’s really a big part of this filmmaking process. Obviously it’s nice to go to the prestige festivals, obviously it’s nice to meet distributors, but more importantly it’s just getting the laurels, getting the awards, potential awards, who knows, maybe I can pick up a directing award. Maybe one of the actors can get an acting award in one of these festivals that I’m in and that would be great for the actor but it would also be great for me as a filmmaker.
I then on my next project can say, “Yeah, my last film I got these awards and those will have a little bit of cloud, even though the reputation or reliability of these festivals might be somewhat questionable, they’re just festivals and you win these awards and that’s kind of what it’s all about and it does not seem like…I mean, if you’re in one of these murky festivals, obviously Sundance, Tribeca, Cannes, these are big festivals, everybody’s heard of them. But outside of those festivals it’s all kind of a wash and some of them are better than others but they’re all kind of second, third tier festivals anyway. So it doesn’t really matter if you get an award from Action On Film versus The Omaha Film Festival. Nobody really knows what these festivals are like or what the competition is like. It’s just like, “Oh okay, he got some awards.”
Again I do feel like I got some value out of at least those three submissions. So let’s just do a little recap here. I ended up submitting to 31 festivals. Originally I submitted to 30 festivals and then this Hollywood Dreams was the 31st festival that I submitted to. I got three acceptances out of these festivals so I guess that’s a little less than 10%. And then I still do have three more festivals that I’m waiting to hear back from, so there’s still some hope that maybe I’ll pick up at least maybe one more which would be nice, and that would get me above 10%. So now that’s the festival run for The Pinch. Now, after talking about The Pinch…so this is kind of the big announcement. That’s kind of the housekeeping and kind of where I’m at with the festivals. And now let’s talk a little bit about what I’m doing in terms of selling.
For nearly three years I’ve been on the podcast talking about The Pinch and writing it, producing it and directing it and now just trying to distribute it and market it. So as of today as I mentioned earlier you can buy The Pinch through Selling Your Screenplay, you just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/thepinch. And the word “The Pinch” it’s all lower case and it’s all one word. Just T-H-E-P-I-N-C-H. I’ve got two options, I mean, I’m basically trying to make a check out process similar to what you see on Amazon or iTunes. I’ve got two options, purchase or buy. I’ve also packaged the purchase or buy options with the making of The Pinch webinar that I did last summer. This a three-hour long webinar where I go through the entire process of how I made the film, raising the money, how I spent the money, how I produced it, directed it, wrote it.
Lots and lots of tips about writing low budget scripts, producing low budget scripts, directing low budget scripts is in that three hour webinar. Again, you can add that to the purchase when you buy the film. I will be rolling the film out to iTunes and Amazon over the next couple of weeks. I’m figuring probably six to eight weeks I will sell it through my website and then eventually I will go to iTunes and Amazon. So, why did I decide on self-distribution? And I’ve talked about this over the course of the last few months on the podcast but now that I’m actually launching my mind is kind of made up. I did get some offers from distributors but none of them were great offers. What I mean by that is that simply none of the distributors offered any money upfront or any minimum guarantee.
Distributors are notoriously unscrupulous so if there’s no minimum guarantee it’s quite likely that you’ll never see another dime, so that obviously worried me a lot. I’ve been in this business for many, many years. I know a lot of filmmakers that have been ripped off by distributors or just never gotten a dime from distributors. That was a big worry. I do feel like some of these distributors obviously they know what they’re doing in terms of film distribution a lot more than I do. So I think the film probably could have gotten out there further and wider than I’m ever gonna be able to do. But again my worry was just simply they have a lot of cost. The typical distribution model is some of the distributors will do their own poster, they’ll do their own trailer, they will create marketing material, they’ll go to the various film markets, and all of these costs, they start to add those up.
It’s very typical to be $25,000 or $30,000 is what these distributors will claim to be spending on marketing your film. And so you won’t even recoup any money until they’ve recouped their $30,000 upfront. And then it goes to a split, typically like a 75/25 percent split where the filmmaker gets 25% of the money. But again you’ve got to get to that $30,000. So we’re increasing the amount of money the movie has to make even before I see a dime and then I’m splitting it up. So this just really worried me. I think that there’s more potential upside if I would have gone with one of these distributors I do think that there is more potential upside because they can get it out far and wider. Maybe the movie could take off and maybe they could make more money with it.
So there’s more upside, but there’s also in my opinion more downside because I think there’s a good chance if I would have gone with any of these distributors for all practical purposes there’s a good chance I would have seen next to nothing or no money. At least with the self-distribution I will be collecting all of the money that comes in through the film. Now obviously I have to market it, I have to create the marketing materials and that kind of stuff. I feel like I’m in a reasonably good position to do some of that stuff. I have a podcast, I can start to promote it here, I know a lot of other filmmaker podcasts, I’m hoping I can go on there. Those podcasts talk about the film, get some interest this way. I know a lot of film publicists because they come to me and want me to interview their clients on the podcast.
I’m gonna go back to some of those publicists and say, “Hey, what can you do to help me support my film?” So I feel like I’m in a pretty good shape to market my own film and again any money that is made I will get to keep it and I will know what the marketing costs are. I’m not trusting one of these distributors to just tell me what their costs are. Who knows what they’re really spending on these things. I can certainly get the things done a lot cheaper. I’m sure for a trailer that was probably like $5,000 I can get a good trailer done for a lot less than that. That $30,000 number, this marketing cost that the distributor have, they might say, “It cost us $5,000 to do the trailer.” And will their trailer be better than mine, it probably will but I can get a trailer done in a fraction or a poster done in a fraction of that cost.
Those are the types of costs that they sort of bill back to your account and make you pay that money back before they start sending you any cheque. Anyways, that’s my logic. We’ll see if it actually pans out, but that’s my thinking and that’s kind of what I’m going. I do get a lot of emails from people asking how they can help and support what I’m doing in terms of this podcast, in terms of my blog. And this is really the answer, if you like what I’m doing and you like me sharing all this information about what I’m doing, this is a great way to support me as a filmmaker and also the podcast. Just go buy this film, check it out. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it. Tell your friends, mention it on social media, mention it on Facebook. Just buying the film but also helping to promote the film is a big help. That’s how these grass root things happen. That’s how they take hold.
Again, if you go to this podcast you get something out of it and you’ve just been thinking, “Hey, I wonder how I could give something back,” this is a great way to do it. It’s a great opportunity, it would help me, help the podcast and hopefully the friends that you recommend the film to, hopefully they will enjoy it as well. Again, if you have any interest in checking out The Pinch please go to www.sellingyourscreenplay/thepinch. I will of course link to it in the show notes as well so you can just go to episode #230 and then you’ll see a link to purchase it on Selling Your Screenplay. Anyway, that’s what I’m working on, so now let’s get into the main segment. Today I am interviewing writer-director Devin Cameron. Here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Devin to the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. Thanks for coming on the show and talking with me today.
Devin: Thank you 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 business?
Devin: I grew up right near Detroit in a town called Dearborn. After that I always kind of wanted to work in movies and after college I was doing grip electric work eventually knowing that I wanna be more on the other creative side. So I’ve been doing that for the past I don’t know, five, ten years now.
Ashley: Okay, and how did you get those initial jobs just working in grip electrician? Did you go to college, get some sort of degree, did you just start working as a PA on low budget productions and worked your way up? Maybe you can talk a little bit about that.
Devin: Yeah, I went to Grand Valley. They have a really good practical hands on program and so right near the tail end of that I ended up helping a friend on a film and they ended up having really only one person on grip electric. So I started helping him and then I started doing it on campus because I had learned from this guy and after I graduated he’s the one who called me and said, “Hey, there’s a gig.” The incentives had just started in Michigan, so there were great film incentives there and so they were bringing some productions. He called me up to grip and then I just started doing that.
Ashley: And I guess this is kind of a random question but I’m always curious to just hear people’s opinion. I’m looking at your IMDb page. You’ve got a number of electrician credits including It Follows which kind of is considered almost the gold standard of low budget genre films. You kind of broke out, got a good run as opposed to Zombie Apocalypse that maybe didn’t break out, is another one of your credits. I’m curious if there was any difference when you were working on those sets. Did you have a sense that this story was maybe a little better or had a bigger chance of breaking out, or did it all…from just the boots of the ground type of perception, did it all feel very similar?
Devin: From the G&E side you can never know. You can never know. I thought It follows…Okay, here’s the thing, I was a day player on It Follows which was really nice of them to credit me because I’ve day played on Batman, Transformers and stuff and they don’t credit you because you’re a day player. They did and it was great. I wanna tell you that only because I sort of a limited experience. I got a four day window into their world and I thought this movie is gonna be awful. I thought it was gonna be terrible. But of course I didn’t know that they were going for a certain aesthetic and I didn’t know that they were going for a certain mood and tenor and then later they were like, “I hate that movie we worked on that went to Cannes.” And I was like, “Which one?” And they were like, “It follows.” I was like, “The one where they were throwing crap into a pool? They one we were trying to put stuff into a pool?” They were like, “Yeah.”
I was like, “The Cannes?” And they said, “Yeah, yeah!” So anyway. And Zombie Apocalypse was just a riot and that was where I first learned grip electrician work. So that always in near and dear to my heart. In fact I’m still friends with the director of that film. He’s helping me out in my next film right now. But From grip electric you can never tell. From production, sometimes you can.
Ashley: Good, words of wisdom. I think that’s fascinating. Okay so let’s just dig into this. So you’re doing this grip electric work, you’re getting some experience on sets. How did you then make the transition from saying, “Well, I’m gonna be in the creative. I’m gonna write scripts, I’m gonna direct, and I’m gonna produce.” What was that transition like, what steps did you take to make it?
Devin: The only way to promote yourself to a new position in filmmaking is to just walk around and start calling yourself that thing and then eventually it’s true. It’s sort of like being a pro golfer, right. If I show up on the pro tour and I shoot a great round they’ll let me in. I’ll play the weekend and all of a sudden I’m a pro now because I’m playing with the pros. So a lot of guys do that. If you wanna be a key grip you just start calling yourself a key grip and make business cards that say key grip and they you get a key grip job and now you are one. But to do it the way I did, to transition from doing whatever fraction coordinator work and G&E to writing and directing, you just have to tear it all down and start again and redefine who you are and what you do. I was ready to make that leap when I knew some people who could help me on the production end.
Ashley: So let’s talk about fundamentally, what are some of those steps? I would imagine the first step is actually writing a couple of scripts so you have something to show people. Did you then just say, “Okay, I’m gonna go shoot the movie this summer, who wants to join me?” What were those steps of getting your first project off the ground?
Devin: It sort of started with a web series. I had someone who was interested in being a part of filmmaking, so kind of an outsider. They said, “Hey, I would like to do something like a project, like a web series. So we [inaudible 00:20:03] we came up with an idea and started writing it and then I brought some friends of mine into the fold and we ended up shooting a three episode pilot for it. From there I was sort of able to take that opportunity to make the transition over but then I moved towns. This was on Chicago, so then I moved to Detroit and that was an opportunity where nobody knew who I was and nobody knew what I did, so I just started telling people I was a writer-director or whatever and they just believed me. They didn’t know any better.
Ashley: But then at some point you’re actually starting to accumulate credits as a writer-director. So let’s just talk briefly. It looks like the first feature is Emory Wendon’s Fantastical Autobiographical Museum. Let’s talk about just specifically, how did you get that off the ground? Was it a matter of financing it yourself, getting friends and family to pitch in money, pitching it to an experienced producer who then went out and found financing?
Devin: That one was all me. So to be candid, I had left a group in Chicago who I feel like they liked to talk about stuff and we never actually finished anything. We all liked to sit around going, “Wouldn’t this be a great idea?” And then we’d write it or we’d get close and then we would never cross the finish line. So at some point I was like, “I’m I a talker or am I a finisher?” So Emory Wendon was all about deciding whether or not I could finish what I started, and so I made for very cheap. Only a few of us worked on it. In fact I didn’t really have a lot of plans to make it until one day I kind of learnt, “Oh shoot, I could make this really easily and for very little money and I just went off and decided to do it almost as an experiment.
Ashley: And have you been writing scripts this whole time you’re doing the G&E work? Are you writing scripts on the side so you’re accumulating a stack of scripts that you could potentially produce?
Devin: No, not in those days. Now, I sort of am. My brother and I are now writing partners and we have written another screenplay. So after Kid Brother we have another one that we have completed. Then we kind of have a stable of treatments. If we get the time we’ll write another screenplay, but in the meantime we have a lot of treatments and so if someone says, “Hey, what are you working on next or after this?” Then we can tell them if they are interested we’ll give them the treatment and if they wanna see a screenplay then we’ll write the screenplay. But I try not to write [laughs] all the time. I try to think of the ideas and map it out and then write only…like the last step would be writing a lot in a very short period of time.
Ashley: How many of these treatments do you have in this treatment bank?
Devin: Six maybe.
Ashley: And how developed are they, are they worth one page or ten paged?
Devin: Well, we try to keep them all around five pages, maybe up to ten because essentially if I’m giving somebody a treatment and they’re flipping through it and it’s like over 10 pages, they’re like geez, I might as well given [inaudible 00:23:18] screenplay. The point of a treatment is to make it manageable enough to where an interested party could read it and digest it and be excited about it. So if I feel like if it’s more than five pages and I’m a producer I’d go, “I don’t have that much time on my hands.” This is like five, ten minutes I’ll blow through it and decide if I like it. So we really do try to tailor them for someone who has a busy schedule.
Ashley: Perfect. So let’s dig into your latest film Kid Brother. To start out maybe you can give us a quick pitch or a log line for that film. What is that film all about?
Devin: Yeah, that film is all about we all have a little growing up to do. So two estranged brothers who are pretty distant in age and the younger one comes [inaudible 00:24:00] to stay with the older one in the summer between high school and college.
Ashley: Okay, perfect. And where did this idea come from? What’s the genesis of this story?
Devin: Okay, so back to the Chicago days. I had a nephew who lives in Texas and he was turning 18 and his parents told my brother and they were like, “Hey, would you mind if he came to stay with you in Chicago to see the city, and he’s never been out to Texas?” And I was like, “Oh sure, great.” And I hung up the phone and I was like, “Oh fuck, I’m not ready for that. I can’t house somebody and feed them and show them around, my life’s totally out of order.” And it never came to pass, he never came to stay with me so that was a sigh of relief for me. So the film really came from that. So it turned into brothers obviously but it’s someone who’s not ready to be that father figure who’s forced to be.
Ashley: Okay. Let’s talk about your writing process a little bit. It sounds like when you have an idea you flush it out to this five paged treatment. What does it look like when you actually open up final draft and start writing? Is the treatment get flushed out beyond the five pages or is that generally enough and then you start writing in final draft?
Devin: I write almost everything in one sitting. So what I’ll do is I’ll make a bunch of notes in a notebook. I like to draw out a timeline then I sequence that out so then I just sort of have what…what happens in a sequence, in each sequence what’s happening there and what are the major story touchstones and then once I feel like it’s completely ready, it’s almost like cooking something in the oven, when it’s ready I just write it all at the same time because sort of internally I’m ready. I find it terrible sitting in front of the computer thinking about it, and so I like to really do that all at once and do it last.
Ashley: And that’s like literally for a feature film. So using Kid Brother’s example you guys had this five paged treatment and then literally in one 24/40 hour block you just wrote the entire screenplay?
Devin: I did that, yeah. That’s how I did it. And that’s how I do it and that’s how I draft. But I would prefer never to write a screenplay ever again. My brother is a better writer and I would prefer to help him draft screenplays. This happened to be I wrote this screenplay but I think our process moving forward is gonna be him writing it and then me helping to shape it and then make sure it’s o point on theme and punch it up or add drama if necessary.
Ashley: So for Kid Brother once you start opening final draft and start writing how many hours did it take you to write that script?
Devin: It had to be 10…I don’t know.
Ashley: Okay, so pretty quick. Because I imagine it’s gonna be 80, 90 pages minimum.
Devin: Yeah, it was like 85.
Ashley: So the outline must be pretty detailed that you’re able to basically just …
Devin: Yeah, most of it is in my head and a lot of the scenes I’ve actually talked out loud. I’ve talked them to death. As a writer I would say my major strengths are writing scenes and writing realistic dialogue. So those are my strengths. My major weakness is plot. Is making sure that the plot is tight and making sure that the events make sense, they go where they’re supposed to go and there is an emotional [inaudible 00:27:51] that is earned at the end. That’s tough, so I do a lot of sequencing, I do a lot of thinking about the plot and as soon as I’m comfortable with that I can write the scenes. That’s the easy part for me is scenes and dialogue. So essentially I have to frontload my process because if I wrote it out and the plot was bad I might never draft it. I’d look at it like what is this piece of crap, I don’t know how to fix it, it’s too big to wrap my head around so I have to frontload all of that so it’s airtight.
Ashley: Okay, so let’s talk about the development process a little bit. You’ve written this first draft of the script. I would imagine in this case your brother was probably the first person that you sent it to but maybe there’s some other people too. Maybe just talk about that process of sending it out to people who you send it to and then what sort of notes you get back from them.
Devin: I send it out to some of my peers, some of my old college friends and people who I respect their sense of story. I got notes back about whether it was certain characters being underdeveloped or there were certain events that they wanted to see that I knew we couldn’t do. We didn’t have the budget to do them, so certain things got written out. But I showed it to my brother and I said, “Hey man, you have to make this funny, I wanna do a drama.” I always that I’m writing comedies and then when it’s finished I go, “Hey, read this comedy I wrote,” and everyone goes, “Oh boy, that’s pretty dark [laughs].” So I have a habit of writing dramas when I think I’m writing comedies, so I said, “Hey Brice, please make this funny and make it more approachable.” And so he did that. He did the rewrite.
Ashley: Perfect. So once you’re done with the script, you’ve got a draft you’re happy with, what were the next steps? Did you send this out to producers, did you try and use services like InkTip or something like that, did you try and get the script out there or did you guys just decide, “Hey, we can shoot this ourselves, we can raise the money.” Maybe talk about that process of actually getting into production.
Devin: Yeah, so this is one of those scenarios where it’s sort of a no lose situation. We were in development for another film. We were talking with a line producer, we were coming up with a schedule and a budget for a feature film and we were like, “Hey, we would like to direct this film. We would like to sort of my brother play producer and myself play director,” and when it got time to do our short list of actors they were like, “Hey, a lot of these actors won’t work with a first timer. They just won’t. They’ll say, “What are his credits,” and say, “Well, this is their first feature,” and they’ll say, “I’m sorry, no. No amount of money in the world.” So that freaked out my brother. I said, “Hey Brice, let’s just hire a director to make this movie. And it freaked him out he said, “Well, why don’t we just make a movie first and then we’ll have more of a resume?” So we didn’t really set out to make anything big, we didn’t have any plans to raise real money or to get Hollywood or New York talent, we just wanted to see if we can tell a story and have something that we could use as a part of our investor package for the next film. So we had really low stakes. We met a couple of guys in town who were interested in the film, just a group of people I knew. They were young, up and comers, they had production companies only in name, they hadn’t quite built their own infrastructure yet and so we partnered up and we just did a split on the budget and then we just went forward. So Brice and I shouldered a lot of it.
Ashley: Okay, perfect. And has that come to pass? Do you think this Kid Brother has opened some doors for you, has it helped this next film that you’re developing a little bit?
Devin: It will. It hasn’t yet but it will. I don’t think it’s gonna make any festivals but it did really well locally for us because our local weather man was actually the main actor in it which was great. So it was a nice story, a few young guys make good, they made a film, the weather man’s in it. We actually won some awards just last week. There’s a Michigan sort of all Michigan awards called The Eclipse Awards. It like the Academy Awards. There’s a ceremony and there’s [inaudible 00:32:20]. So we won best screenplay and best feature and a lot of our actors won. So that kind of hardware helps when you’re enlisting off your resume for the next one. It’s hard for people to believe that what you’re telling them is true about your next film.
Ashley: Do you have any advice, just parting advice for people that are looking to do what you do, write scripts, direct films? What is your advice when someone asks you, “What’s the best thing I can do to break in?”
Devin: Well, don’t do what I did. I live in Detroit and I have no plans to move. Everybody else I know pretty much moved to Atlanta a couple of years ago and they’re doing great. They’re working on all the big shows, they’re having tones of fun, but I’m staying here with my brother. I’m making a life here. So we’re going at it from a strange angle where we’re gonna grow as large as we can here and there’s a max to that and that’s we don’t mind playing at our corner of the sandbox. But if you are looking to break in, go to a hub, go to one of the big cities. You can go to Louisiana if you want to, you can go to Atlanta, you can go to LA, go to New York and then just be nice to people and be on time and you’ll go really far.
Ashley: Yeah, for sure. I’ve been asking some guests lately about what they’ve been watching. Are there any things, Netflix, Hulu, HPO, any films that you’ve seen that you really like and maybe just deserve a shout out?
Devin: Not really, I’ve been watching…I stumbled into Hap and Leonard [laughs]. So it’s James Purefoy and Michael K. Williams. I think it’s on the Sundance Channel or IFC.
Ashley: What’s it called again?
Devin: Hap and Leonard. It’s just a show. It’s based on a series of what I’m assuming are pretty sleazy novels and it’s just on the one side of like every cliché in the book but it gets away with it because it’s super earnest about it. So I don’t know.
Ashley: Perfect. How can people see Kid Brother, do you know what the release schedule is gonna be like. Do you guys have distribution lined up?
Devin: No, I think what we’re gonna do is most likely go onto a streaming platform this fall at some point. We’re waiting on the round of festivals. I think we’ll play a couple of festivals this summer and then obviously if someone approaches us and wants to broaden distribution or purchase it they’re free to, that’s great. But if not then in the fall we’ll probably just release it through something like Amazon Prime. You can look for it there in the fall.
Ashley: Okay, perfect. What’s the best way for people to keep up with what you’re doing? Twitter, Facebook, a blog, anything you’re comfortable sharing I will round up and put in the show notes.
Devin: Well, we’ve got a website but it’s not built yet for okay Motion Pictures but no [laughs]. Otherwise we’re really terrible at that. We desperately need representation. We’re on our way there.
Ashley: Okay, perfect. Well Devin, I appreciate you taking some time out of your day to talk with me. Good luck on this film and the next one you’re working on.
Devin: Thank you so much.
Ashley: Perfect Devin, will talk to you later.
Devin: Alright, thanks.
A quick plug for the SYS screenwriting analysis service. It’s a really economical way to get 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 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, character, 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 also do proofreading 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 log line and synopsis for you. You can add this log line and synopsis writing service to an analysis, or you can simply purchase this service as standalone product. As a bonus if your screenplay gets a recommend or gets a consider from one of our readers, you get to list the screenplay in the SYS Select database which is a database for producers to find screenplays and a big part of our SYS Select program.
Producers are in the data base searching for material on a daily basis so it’s another great way to get your material in front of them. As a further bonus, if your screenplay gets a recommend or consider from one of our readers, your screenplay will get included in our monthly Best Of newsletter. Each month we send out a newsletter that highlights the best screenplays that have come through our script analysis service. This is a monthly newsletter goes out to our list of over 400 producers who are actively looking for material. So again this is another great way to get your material out there. So if you want a professional evaluation of your screenplay at a very reasonable price, check out www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/consultants.
Just a quick shout out to screenwriter Marco Pitino who optioned a screenplay through SYS Select. Congratulations Marco and thank you Marco for emailing me to tell me about the success story. I added a little blurb about his option to the SYS success page. If you wanna learn a little bit more about it or if you wanna check out some of the other success stories from people who have had some success with SYS Select just go to www.selingyourscreenplay.com/success. On the next episode of the podcast I’m gonna be interviewing writer-director Alex D’Lerma who just did an arthouse indie film called Fear, Love and Agoraphobia. We talk through exactly how he was able to bring this film to life. Keep an eye out for that episode next week. That’s the show, thank you for listening.