By Ben Yennie

Interview with Former ICM Agent Jim Jermanok.

 

Ben: How did you Transition from ICM Agent to Filmmaker?

Jim: I think a lot of entertainment business executives are very creative. Many of them are shadow artists and, for some reason or another, did not follow their first occupational choice. I was an actor and stand-up comic before becoming an ICM Agent.  After 9 years there, I yearned to be creative again.  Indeed, I started becoming jealous of my clients and knew it was only a matter of time.  After quitting, I started as a writer and producer and then began to direct after a few more years. I had to start at square one and meet an almost entirely new contact network as my agent contacts were much too big for me!

Ben: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

Jim: If you find yourself walking into a brick wall, try to avoid hitting your head against it over and over again—and find a way around it.

Ben: You travel across the country to lecture.  Do you think the film scenes vary by region?

Jim: Absolutely.  The biggest distinctions are those locations where the wealthy are encouraged to invest in film and theater. And if there is a decent film or arts tax incentive/rebate. It can make a huge difference in creating and encouraging a professional creative community.  It can also have a very positive impact on attracting tourism to their region.

Ben: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about the industry?

Jim: To have thick skin and not to take rejection personally.  Usually, it has nothing to do with you.  To avoid toxic people or assholes whatever the sacrifice—it’s not worth it!

Ben: You’ve worked with a lot of notable names, which one had the biggest impact on your professional life?

Jim: I’m currently directing a documentary about the life and art of Oscar-winning actor Martin Landau.  I’m learning a lot about entertainment, life and art from him. I also learned a lot from Alan Arkin, Arthur Miller and John Chancellor.

Ben: Where do you think the industry is headed in the next 5 years?

Jim: I think it is on a collision course with Silicon Valley/tech—which will divide, conquer and acquire Hollywood.  I also believe that the obligation will be on us creatives to become more and more entrepreneurial and create our own audiences and followers.  Hence, the impetus for my Creative Entrepreneurship workshop on May 20th .

Ben: Get your Tickets for that workshop below!

 

The Reviews are in on Jim Jermanok!

MAKING YOUR PROJECTS HAPPEN: Successful Film/TV Producing & Financing Workshop by Jim Jermanok from Jim Jermanok on Vimeo.Powered by Eventbrite

Can’t decide whether or not to go to Jim Jermanok’s workshop on May 20th?  These Testimonials may well convince you.

In order to work professionally in any kind of creative industry, you need to create your own opportunities and make your own projects. This workshop is for those in the business and those who want to enter the business. Jim Shares 30 years of experience.  He’ll speak on finding your own work, building your brand and becoming the creative entrepreneur you were born to be!

BEYOND THE CRAFT: What You Need to Know to Make A Living Creatively!

Based on the bestselling book by Jim Jermanok

This is an insider’s no-bull, no fluff presentation of the current state of creative career success.

Want a taste?  Check out this article he wrote on Indiewire!

6 Techniques to Research and Locate Film Investors

An acclaimed, intense and empowering professional 4-hour workshop geared toward actors, directors, writers producers, investors, filmmakers, key crew,  and anyone who wants to start or expand their career in Independent Film and Media.

The workshops takes place on:

Saturday, May 20, 2017 @ 10 am-2:00 pm 

The Secret Alley

180 Capp Street

2nd Floor

 SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94110

Get your tickets now!

                                                                      

“For Here or To Go?” Writer/Producer talks immigration issues and Lean Filmmaking

Rishi is the driving force behind the new film, “For Here or To Go?” Which opened yesterday.   He’s an immigrant technologist who produced his first feature film, For Here or To Go which tells the story of the struggles skilled immigrants face.  I’ve known him for years, so when his movie came out he answered some questions about filmmaking I had for him.

Rishi S. Bhilawadikar

The film has been been called a welcome counterpart to HBO’s Silicon Valley, and both entertains and educates on a part of a hot button topic we often don’t consider.  The story has its roots in reality, and could be a way to communicate our flawed economic policies.  It may even be having some impact, as it screen before congress last year

“For Here or To Go?” follows a young immigrant looking to do a startup in silicon valley, and the trials and tribulations he faces along the way.  The film has been covered in variety, The SF Chronicle, the USA Today, Breitbart “News” (Scoff) and even screened before congress.
You can find out more about For Here or To Go? on their website or Fandango. The film itself is well worth the price of admisssion, but this interview is less about the movie and more about the process of making it.
Rishi used some unorthodox tactics to create a hybrid of the processes driving innovation in Silicon Valley and the standard filmmaking processes. Rishi, the film’s writer and producer, is a skilled immigrant from India, and the film gives us a look into his experiences.
I talked with Rishi about the film just before it’s limited theatrical release on Friday.   Here’s that conversation
Ben:  Given you’re an immigrant from India working in tech, how much of this story is based on your life?
Rishi: It is a combination of my experiences and observations. I was writing a blog called “Stuff Desis Like” which was talking about the Indian assimilation experience and was started off as a meme following the “Stuff White People Like” blog. The blog was where the main inspiration came from.

B: How has being an immigrant affected your life?

R: Like with anything there are advantages and disadvantages to the situation. The advantages have been the sheer amount I have learned coming here and the exposure I’ve had with my higher education and work experience. You tend to come in more hungry and eager to learn as an outsider. But once you learn about the culture there are some very real assimilation barriers that you encounter (socially and legally) which can make it very challenging.
B: How did you line up a screening before congress?

R: We met the congressman and his office at an advocacy event about the immigration issues that are the core premise of this film. That’s how the screening took place. Essentially, a bill [was] re-introduced in the house that aims to fixes the issue. Under current law people get hired based on skill and education but get green cards based on country of birth. So there are long wait times for people from India and China. India especially and these wait times can be as long as 70 years! That’s according to some of the latest research.

I’m collaborating with an advocacy group- skilled immigrants in America and the bill- HR 392.  The Bill aimed at making the system fair and first come first serve regardless of country of birth.

B: What do you think of the current administration’s immigration policies?

R: It is clearly fuelling a great amount of anti-immigrant sentiment. If [you] look different you seem to be in trouble. Three shootings, one fatal targeting Indians. It’s all very heartbreaking.
B: You’ve mentioned that you used Lean Startup Principles to make this film.  How did that go, and what advice do you have for other people who want to utilize lean principles in media?
R: I leaned on those principles quite a bit!
B: I see what you did there. (Chuckles)
R: (Chuckles) Anyway, the core philosophy is to continually test and learn to build bit by bit and to eliminate wasteful activities and resources. Filmmaking is perfect for it, especially at the writing stage before there’s some much risk and uncertainity involved in the process.
As indepenedent, we have to be scrappy and be sure what we are building will work. The advice really is find your story and lean is a great way to find it or what they call “product-market” fit.
B: How would you iterate on the process next time?
R:  [I Wouldn’t] be so linear, I and find the distribution first! Quality product is table stakes these days, its how you deliver to the final audience that’s become a very big challenge. Now that I’ve been through the entire process of going from idea to production to delivery, the main thing to learn will be to think and plan on these things simultaneously.
B: That’s something every filmmaker deals with, it’s a huge challenge. Your Background is in tech, What made you want to make a film?

R: This film to me is a solution to a problem. That’s how I see it. The problem is that there is no authentic mass media representation of Indians in America.

There’s nothing to influence popular perception and to create empathy and awareness of this very complex legal issue that affects lives. Storytelling in mass media is a required solution. It’s about solving this problem, shifting the narrative- film is a great medium for it.
B: What was the hardest part about making your first film?

R: Team, funding and distribution. Like any other entrepreneurial effort.

B: What advice would you give other immigrants working in film or technology?

R: Keep the passion and the curiosity. Backgrounds, qualifications and training don’t entirely determine what you can accomplish.

Rishi’s Film, “For Here or to Go?” opened in theaters on Friday! If you’re in the bay area and want to promote films shot here, you shoud go see it.  If you want others to support your film when it comes out, you have to be an active and supportive part of the community.  Get your tickets on Fandango.

[PODCAST] What is a Film Market and how do they work?

In this preview chapter from the first ever audiobook (and book) on film markets, author Ben Yennie shares some insights into why markets like AFM are still relevant, even with the rise of OTT platforms and the collapse of DVD.

Yennie summarizes how film markets are the most accessible place to cultivate relationships with sales agents and distributors. Those partnerships are how you can grow your career. Many of the PayTV channels and larger OTT networks still have large dragons at the gate, so in order to make money in independent film, you still need to build these relationships.

While AFM 2016 is behind us, this book and this chapter are something that every filmmaker should listen to. The book is used as a textbook in many film schools across the US, Canada, and even the UK. The audiobook is conversational, but not preachy. It’s made such that even people who got into the film industry to be creative can not only gain a lot of vital information but also enjoy the listen.

Podcast – Content Marketing with Jeremiah Boehner – Film Insight S03E01

Welcome Back to the Film Insight Podcast!  We’re happy to have Jeremiah Boehner on to talk about content marketing and a way for filmmakers to finance their ongoing operations by working with brands to create content to market their products.

As you’ll hear in the interview, creating content for brands isn’t as droll as it used to be.  Brands are increasingly open to entertaining related content that isn’t a direct advertisement.

For more on Jeremiah, follow him on twitter.
@SFBoehner

Hosted by Ben Yennie and Evan Plegar

Produced and edited by Alex Nigro

Find out more about connecting with brands at www.BrandwoodGlobal.com

Learn more about ProductionNext and apply for the closed beta at www.productionnext.com

If you’d like to sponsor Film Insight, please email Sponsorship@ProducerFoundry.com

Check out The Guerrilla Rep, American Film Market Distribution Success on No Budget at Barnes and Nobles and Amazon, and more content on www.theguerrillarep.com

Would you like to be on Film Insight?  Apply here!

Like the Producer Foundry page and join the group on Facebook

Follow Producer Foundry on Twitter

 

Film Insight Season 2 – Episode 12 – Scott McMahon AKA Film Trooper

This week on Film Insight, we have some excellent Independent Film Marketing Advice from the one and only Film Trooper.  Scott spent nearly a decade at Sony before branching off on his own to make a feature on his own with only 500 dollars.   After that, Scott found himself in the trap most Independent Filmmakers do, which is how to market your film.  Scott chronicled his experiences in learning how to market an independent film through his website, and cultivated his own community online.

Scott also wrote a book on the subject, How to survive the Hollywood Implosion.  

Get Scott’s FREE Gear Guide through his website so you can make your own 500 dollar feature!

Follow Scott on Twitter here,

If you listened to Ben in our commercial breaks, and would like to check out his book,

BUY IT NOW ON AMAZON OR BUY IT NOW ON BARNES AND NOBLES

Also, Check out Ben’s Workshop on The American Film Market here.

Save 10 dollars with code FilmInsight!

Film Insight is Hosted and Produced by Ben Yennie (@TheGuerrillaRep) and Randy Hall (@RandyHall)

Edited by Alex Nigro

Film Insight Season 2 – Episode 11 – Jim Cummings

This week on Film Insight, we have Two Time SXSW Speaker and avid Film Insight listener Jim Cummings.  We talk about some of the seedier sides of studio advertising, how to make a viral video, and the decline in storytelling.

In talks of the digital revolution, we discuss how while filmmaking has been democratized,  yet rising above the sea of content being created, and how to not eat top ramen for the rest of your days.

Later in the episode, Ben and Jim debate the merits of Marvel’s franchise management and the lack of original content in hollywood.

After the break, Jim talks about some advice on how to make a video go viral, and some tips on using Reddit.  He also shares a story of how one of his producing partners got to work with some of the Members of Pink Floyd based on a viral video they posted to Reddit.

And finally Jim goes over a bit of Film Finance, and alternative methods to get your movie made, and shares a great resource to find .pdfs online.

To find Jim online, follow him on Twitter and Reddit @JimmyCThatsMe

If you listened to Ben in our commercial breaks, and would like to check out his book,

BUY IT NOW ON AMAZON OR BUY IT NOW ON BARNES AND NOBLES

Also, Check out Ben’s Workshop on The American Film Market here.

Save 10 dollars with code FilmInsight!

Film Insight is Hosted and Produced by Ben Yennie (@TheGuerrillaRep) and Randy Hall (@RandyHall)

Edited by Alex Nigro

Film Insight Season 2 – Episode 10 – Barry Freeman

Ratings are a tricky and often overlooked subject for filmmakers.  It’s an area that is far too often shrouded in mystery.  This week, Randy and Ben talk to Barry Freeman, who spent 10 years on the ratings board at the MPAA, appeared in This Film is Not Yet Rated, and currently makes his living as a ratings consultant for independent filmmakers.

As we all know, geting an NC-17 rating can be the kiss of death for a movie, and even an R Rating when your target audience is younger can greatly impact your film’s profitability.  Knowing how the ratings system works, and how to go about getting the rating you want is an important part of making a commercial film, if you’re seeking traditional theatrical distribution.

If you would like to contact Barry about his work as a ratings consultant, you can do so through any of the following mediums.

Follow Barry on Twitter

Connect with Barry on LinkedIn

If you listened to Ben in our commercial breaks, and would like to check out his book,

BUY IT NOW ON AMAZON OR BUY IT NOW ON BARNES AND NOBLES

Also, Check out Ben’s Workshop on The American Film Market here.

Save 10 dollars with code FilmInsight!

Film Insight is Hosted and Produced by Ben Yennie (@TheGuerrillaRep) and Randy Hall (@RandyHall)

Edited by Alex Nigro

Film Insight Season 2 Episode 9 – Leah Meyerhoff.

The

In this week’s episode of Film Insight, Randy and Ben speak to Leah Meyerhoff about Theatrical Distribution for her Independent Film, as well as the importance of community building.  Leah just released her independent feature film I Believe in Unicorns which premiered at South by Southwest (SXSW).

We also talk about ways for independent filmmakers to get people out to see their independent film in the theater, as well as ways to help people find ways to build community and spread word of mouth about your independent film.  If you’re interested in Independent Film Marketing, it’s a great listen.

Later, the conversation shifts to Women’s growing role in independent film and media and particularly Leah’s organization Film Fatales.

Follow Leah on Twitter

If you listened to Ben in our commercial breaks, and would like to check out his book,

BUY IT NOW ON AMAZON OR BUY IT NOW ON BARNES AND NOBLES

Film Insight is Hosted and Produced by Ben Yennie (@TheGuerrillaRep) and Randy Hall (@RandyHall)

Edited by Alex Nigro

 

Season 2 Episode 8 -David DiVona of Proven Entertainment

In this Week’s episode of Film Insight, Ben interviews David DiVona of Proven Entertainment.  Proven is one of the few companies actively acquiring webseries and getting them wider distribution.  This is the first full on Distributor we’ve had on Film Insight, and he provides excellent information all aspiring filmmakers really should know, and thing that ofter are not taught in even the top film schools.  Proven Entertainment is currently representing former podcast guests, Claudia Christian and Adam Shoemer and their film One Little Pill.

In the interview, DiVona talks about the essence of the strategy to take a Webseries from Youtube to Network Television or Pay Cable Providers.  In Essence, Proven uses intermediaries like Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus to get tens of millions of views on the content, then uses that to levee the project into a television deal.

Later in the interview, Ben and David briefly discuss the impact of Cord Cutting Over-the-Top (OTT) Platforms like HBO Now, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus.  The conversation shifts into a fascinating discussion as to the future of television, film, and media and how as we all know, the current landscape for media will be almost completely unrecognizable in the next three to five years.

David has worked for the Travel Channel, and been showrunner for more than 30 shows.  If you want to keep up with David, Follow him on Twitter.

@DavidDivona

You can learn more about getting distribution for webseries through Proven Entertainment, Check them out on their Website, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Proven Entertainment’s Website

Proven Entertainment on Facebook

Proven Entertainment on Twitter

Proven Entertainment on LinkedIn

If you listened to Ben in our commercial breaks, and would like to check out his book,

BUY IT NOW ON AMAZON OR BUY IT NOW ON BARNES AND NOBLES

Film Insight is Hosted and Produced by Ben Yennie (@TheGuerrillaRep) and Randy Hall (@RandyHall)

Edited by Alex Nigro