Film Distribution Is BROKEN: How To Creatively Self-Distribute The Documentary "Crystal City" By Terrence Crawford


Traditional film distribution strategies for documentary filmmakers are BROKEN. 

Filmmaker Terrence Crawford directed the documentary "Crystal City" which is the first film to highlight how the LGBTQ community is recovering from Crystal Meth addiction. 

The topic is intense and many people avoid discuss it all together. 

Which is exactly why Terrence made this film. 

Recovery from Crystal Meth addiction is incredibly difficult and he made it his mission to show those who want to recover that they are not alone. 

Watch the documentary Crystal City here:

In this interview you'll discover:

  • Multiple creative ways to approach self-distributing your film
  • Perpetual distribution methods most filmmakers completely ignore
  • How to think outside the box and make distribution as fun as directing

My hope is that after watching this interview you think of new creative, clever & resourceful ways to self-distribute & maintain ownership of your films.

Seize the day,

– Paul Xavier

Transcript / MP3


All right. Hey there, film making community. Today I have a special guest that is Terrance Crawford and he is going to be talking about the distribution side of filmmaking with me and he's going to talk about a very powerful documentary that he has just released called crystal cities a Terry first. Thanks for being here. Oh, thanks Paul. It's great to be on. And Terry, what makes crystal city a unique documentary about recovering from crystal meth addiction? Well, crystal city is the only film about crystal meth addiction as it pertains to the gay and LGBTQ community in New York city that focuses on recovery. So there's a couple of other documentaries that had been released since 2010 that focus on active addiction and chem sex, uh, you know, as it pertains to gay men and how it ruins their lives. But this is the first film that really focuses on how people find, help get better, you know, and live their best lives. Wow. And so, you know, um, for anyone who doesn't know, as, as you're watching this, you know, Terry is my brother's boyfriend. He's a great guy. I've met him in person a few times. Now. We have a lot of fun where we all hang out. And, um, you know, one of the questions that, and led me to, you know, I wanted to watch the film of course because of our connection knowing you and, and, but what was it that drove you to make this documentary in the first place? Like what was that driving force behind it for you? Um, you know, this is still sometimes a little uncomfortable to self-disclose, but, uh, you know, I have my own history of crystal meth addiction. Uh, I've been in recovery, uh, in full step program since 2015. Uh, so, you know, it's been a difficult journey, but, um, what I experienced in trying to make a short film version of this in my college documentary production class in 2016 was a lot of like, shame associated with pitching the subject matter to even my professors and my classmates. You know, it was up until the very last minute that I, you know, I held out on sharing what the topic was even about, uh, before like requesting resources to go film it. So I realized that in the media there haven't been really that many templates of people sharing my experience, you know, like gay men that have, you know, a history of crystal meth addiction, finding help, getting clean and sober and you know, living a successful, productive life. And I felt that maybe if, you know, I were to make a film that, um, you know, shares my values and you know, I film basically about me but not being about me, uh, through the experiences of other people that I might be able to reduce stigma and shame surrounding addiction in the general public and also, uh, for addicts in recovery that they might themselves be able to self-disclose more openly without fear of being looked down upon or stigmatized. And I think that is a really, probably one of the most things for someone. And I can't comment on this, I that kind of looking at it from your perspective or you know, to get from you, which is that stigma and shame. Um, you know, I don't know this, but as, uh, going through the 12 step process, is that one of the most difficult things to you overcome to begin that process? Um, well, certainly, uh, an addict in recovery has to first come to the conclusion that they need help. Um, and usually that's after a long series of, of pitfalls and self destructive behavior that leaves one's life and some sort of a state of ruin or, um, it's very difficult for me personally as an addict to like really, uh, request help and, and no, when, when I can't do it alone. And you know, I think Maddix, uh, in general, uh, like share a degree of stubbornness and, um, you know, we all feel like we're very self sufficient and, you know, we don't need help. But, uh, I think that's the most difficult part is just taking that first step. And, you know, really seeking out, um, like a community of people that have shared experiences that you might know how to do stuff, how to live life, you know, in a different, more productive way. And, and that's what, that's what I think as I was watching the film, I really got that emotional connection to every single one of the stories that you had shared. Um, because at the end of the day, it's so interesting when someone says the word addict. Um, and like as a human being, we all want to say, that's not me, right? It's just a word. It's not mean necessarily and there is some type of shame or something like that associated with it. But what you did was you created this connection with these human beings who are going through this experience. Almost anyone on planet earth can look at that and say, I have had that feeling before. I have been in that place before. I've felt that type of shame before, maybe in a different context. Maybe it was something different in my life. Um, I've wanted to feel that good before all of it. Right? And so that connection that you pulled through the whole documentary, I'm for one, just applause on it cause it was very well done. Um, and too, I think it really makes it's gonna make a big difference for the people who watched the film, who have a connection to you, that addiction wanting to get better. And that actually leads me to a question to who, who did you make crystal city for? Who's the intended audience for it? Um, well I would say that medical professionals and addicts that are currently using that might be wanting you, they might want to reduce their usage and get clean or, you know, try to change their lives, but they're not quite sure how or they're not quite sure why. And, um, you know, like one of the documentary subjects in the film is a practicing psychotherapist. He shared with me that in his training to become a therapist, you know, a lot of his peers wouldn't take on addicts as clients because they felt that they were too difficult or that they were beyond saving. And I felt that maybe if we can introduce this film to universities and medical forums, um, which we've already begun doing, that maybe we can, you know, uh, kind of like help push this message, this message of positivity that, uh, I think addicts are capable of treatment. Yeah. And you're approaching, uh, um, you're approaching a subject matter where a lot of the emotion comes from a disempowering place, right. The place of is this real shame as you said, and uh, how do I overcome this thing that's so deeply personal that you don't want to share it with anyone? And then you're approaching that from an empowering place by, by shining a light on it in a sense, and showing people who aren't afraid to talk about it and to share their experience with it and to share their thoughts with it. So, um, I can only imagine watching that had I been in that place. I think that it's going to be a very powerful or transformative message that you're putting across there. Um, I think a, a point you just made before the previous question was really interesting because one of the main ways we can reduce stigma is just to show how shared of a human experience addiction is. You know, maybe it's not to crystal meth, but you know, in the film, uh, there's a character, my boyfriend who her brother Andrew, who's a, you know, a professional illustrator, um, but also an avid video gamer, which he describes as his first addiction. And that's something we can all relate to you. I remember, you know, uh, my non, uh, crystal meth addict friends in high school and nearly flunking out because they were addicted to world of Warcraft and just spending higher weekends or, and you know, all the time they should have been doing homework on a MMO RPGs and, uh, you know, or just, um, people that are addicted to bad relationships and they, they don't know how to keep their, uh, their toxic spouse or, um, you know, people that overeats, you know, and that's the number one addiction in the world. I believe it's eat. And think of all the deaths due to like cardiac arrest and diabetes and all those other illnesses. So the stats on that are incredible. You know, more, more than 55% of people wish they could stop eating so much. It's an astronomical number of people have an addiction eating food yet. Uh, of course, step one, right? Admitting to it, acknowledging you need some help or could use some help or could use this as supporting hand when you, that's that connection that I was talking about. Cause you know, I've had ice cream on the couch a few too many times in my life, uh, at certain points in time. And I was like, I shouldn't be doing this. I don't want to do this and I'm doing this and I feel shame about it as I'm doing it. And then the mixed motions happen the next day and it's like everyone's had that in some way, shape or form with something, right. To humanize that experience for someone who, for me, who has never done crystal meth, um, that, that logical path, that empathetic path is now open, that wasn't there before. And for one, I greatly appreciate that viewpoint. Yeah, I mean that's, that's the idea. And then the other thing I wanted to point out is, you know, historically crystal meth has been with us for over a hundred years, was first a synthesize in Japan in the 1920s. And then both allies and access soldiers in world war II used it to stay up late at night in combat. Um, like a lot of the friendly fire accidents in the U S military during world war two are caused by people staying up too late on stimulants of the kamikaze pilots for using it flying their, uh, their, their, um, zero plans sense of warships. Uh, John F. Kennedy who suffered from chronic pain would take injections of amphetamines before meeting world leaders to give him the stamina to perform. Uh, Housewives were taking, uh, amphetamines, you know, to treat depression in the 1950s. Um, you know, it was, it's been around as long before it reached the gay community and the club culture and how we view meth today. So if you think about it, it really is like integral to some of the major events of the 20th century. And I think that's also important and people's perception of what the struggle really is and who the people are that are using it. Yes. And um, you know, that was something I was completely unaware of before I saw the film was its history to the way it's interweaved. Um, this, this drug and this addiction has interweaved itself throughout society, um, throughout the different cultures and subcultures that it now is very prevalent in or was very prevalent in. Um, it's interesting how it, you know, that drug has morphed over time the same way. All, you know, marijuana has morphed over time. Anyone who smoked marijuana 50 years ago tells you the same stuff their kids are smoking these days. A little Florham cause it's like, right. You know, genetically modified and all that. Um, so it's really interesting to see the history of it. And something that really captured me, this is something that I think might maybe relatively unique about crystal meth addiction was the way it interacts with our brains. So this particular drug has, as you were talking and shared in the documentary, it actually blocks our serotonin receptors, is that mean receptor dopamine receptors? So can you talk a little bit about that? Because anyone who is struggling with this addiction, I think this is one of the most important logical things to understand about if you're going to stop, if you really want to stop, if you keep doing it, this is, you're hurting, you're shooting yourself in the foot so much by taking this or using this in specific because it, every time you take it, your chances of stopping are far less, right? Well, it's not as deadly as say opiates. Um, it's equally as addicting for different reasons. So in the limbic system, which is our brains for pathway where, um, you know, we're taught that certain activities are pleasurable if we repeat them, uh, you know, the neurons release, uh, a certain number of units of dopamine, you know, per, uh, associated activities. So like for instance, eating a good meal releases about a hundred units of dopamine, uh, smoking a cigarette, uh, releases about 200 units because of the nicotine. Um, and then sex is a, you know, a little bit more than that. Uh, about two 50, and then cocaine is about 400 units of dopamine release. Well, crystal methamphetamine has 1300 units released and not only does it release this, you know, abundant amount of dopamine and so that, um, then there the neuron, sorry, the synapse, uh, it blocks re-uptake so that the body can then absorb and metabolize it. So it stays in our system for 12, 13 hours and then a couple of days after that to a lesser effect. So you have this extreme pleasure that lasts for quite awhile, much longer than any other drug that's out there. And it's, uh, you know, anyone who uses it a couple of times, you know, it's like Veetsa developed some sort of, um, I think dependency, I'll, you know, obviously, um, like the more frequence and the more space together, the more likely it is someone will become addicted. And obviously if someone has, um, you know, genetic or familial, um, uh, you know, like, uh, like a, like a familial tendency towards addiction or predisposition I guess is what I mean to say, then the likelihood goes up. But it's, you know, it's not something that uh, you know, like only those other people over there can become addicted to. It's really all of us have the potential human humans, all humans. Right. Um, yeah. I, I can't remember there was a, um, my, one of my business partners and colleagues at next level creators talks about um, these different tests that were done on mice I believe. And they were saying, you know, different, uh, different types of drugs can uh, actually, uh, like sugar being wa basically considered a drug as well. They were doing a test on mice where I think it was giving a cocaine water versus sugar water and sooner or later the, the mice started going for the sugar water cause it was doing that exact same thing. Like sugar is even more powerful in some cases. That's right standpoint. Then cocaine, which is another reason for them over eating one, but wild. Um, it's, it's wild to understand how these, these drugs, when you start to logically put the stones in place in your mind as to what's happening to you, and then you start to stack on emotional aspects of these drugs. Um, any experience that you're talking about here and then shining a light on it and you do a really good job in this documentary of talking about the pathways that lead people to this addiction. Right, right. So go ahead. Yeah, I was, I was gonna say, um, do you mind talking about a couple of the pathways or the most common ways people get into, uh, this addiction? Um, well, the film specifically focuses on the LGBTQ community and I can say, uh, the primary, um, path that most, you know, gay and trans men take towards using crystal meth, um, has been sexually motivated. So for instance, there's a lot of shame associated with coming out as gay, like, especially in other parts of the country. Thankfully I live in New York and I'm from California, so it wasn't quite as big of an issue. But you know, there are still trans women being murdered across the country, I'm sure coming out. And, um, I think a lot of the ways people deal with that shame and, um, that kind of, uh, discomfort with, uh, you know, living openly is by using drugs and also by, uh, you know, connecting sexually with other people. And so, uh, one of the things that meth does is create, um, hyper, uh, sexuality. So it makes sex much more pleasurable and it, people really horny makes people want to have sex. And the sex that they report having is usually just the best that they've ever had, at least for the first couple of times. And so it's something that, you know, they definitely want to repeat and it makes people feel sexier than they've ever felt. Uh, I mean, you know, I'm not promoting the drug, but you know, there is a reason people use it. It's just so extremely pleasurable that, um, it kind of hides a lot of the interpersonal issues that gay people share. And, um, so I think definitely one of the ways to kind of solve the spread of this epidemic is by building like healthy sexual templates in the media, uh, for trans women, for gay men to see that this is what, you know, this is what the ideal sexual template is for me to follow, especially for younger people because we're kinda like all figuring it out on her own. Um, you know, just kinda like as we come out, there's these dating apps, you know, we're trying to use this prevalence. Uh, same with the clubs. So, uh, you know, as for all, you know, kind of like just trying to, to figure it out and live our best lives, um, we encounter drugs and I think the more information that there is out there about what to expect, the better. Yeah. So a lot of it has to do with, um, you know, as you said, the, the community is very prevalent. There are these different apps that are prevalent. The clubs make it prevalent. And so, um, understanding the, that you could be walking into as a young gay trans individual knowing, um, you know, if you're watching this and you're not, and, and had edge, for example, knowing this and hearing this from somebody who's new, who's had experience with it, um, when you walk into those environments, like anything, the easiest way to remove a a bad habit is typically to remove yourself from the environment where the habit happens. Absolutely. And then replace your, your, your timeframe or replace your activities with something that moves you in a completely different direction, have be busy, be busy, but doing something that's completely separate. Um, so, uh, from that perspective, I think that's a really powerful thing and, uh, to mention is the environments where it's very prevalent, identifying them and then being able to walk away, which is something in that film I believe did very good as well. Right? So like for instance, um, in terms of recovery, if the reasons that, uh, you know, gay men and trans women are using methamphetamine is to fill this social need, the sexual need and to, um, you know, uh, disassociate from their discomfort. I think the solution therefore must be, like you were saying, to keep busy with, you know, connecting to one's creativity or, um, you know, the community aspect of recovery where, you know, people use drugs to connect. So therefore like we need a healthy community of people that have shared experiences that we can rely on to provide an alternative method of living. Yes. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, as a, as someone who is viewing the film, one of the things that I got from it was the way you shot it was very wrong. I mean, you were in these people's lives. You were, I mean, it's a documentary, which, you know, you can expect that, but even the styling of the film that, you know, a lot of it was late at night. It was very dark in many ways. It could have been classified as, as moody. And a lot of these shots. Um, did you do that cause you wanted to show the authentic way that it is like in real life for these individuals going through the addiction? Well, I mean, of course like the, the whole purpose of a documentary that shot verite style is to, um, you know, reflect the characters reality. And, uh, I felt from the very beginning that even though we were working with more limited resources and some other documentaries that you see that we needed to be on par in terms of production value in overall quality as much as we possibly could given the limitations, um, you know, that, you know, it could be easily equated with something on HBO or Netflix. And I think that's, uh, imperative to building credibility for the character stories. You know, we, the audience needs to know that we're taking this seriously and that should reflect in terms of the production. But, um, in terms of this shooting, like I wanted it to be as dynamic as possible. I always felt that, um, outside of the interview portions that the characters should always be framed in, you know, like I think there should be this kind of kinetic energy about the filmmaking that propels us forward. Um, just like the characters are moving forward in their lives. And then also in terms of the editing, um, I just felt that it needed to be as engaging and quick as quickly paced as possible. Uh, you know, within tastes full measure. And, um, like while there are plenty of interviews and as for some of the characters share their experiences, I wanted it to be seen, driven, uh, you know, where their, uh, the characters are out in the world. Uh, you know, we get to see, um, you know, like a marriage, uh, happen. You know, we get to see people deal with recent deaths, uh, people patrolling the subway, preventing crime, uh, FBI arrest, reenactments, um, musical numbers, painting, photography, uh, dog-walking, uh, and crystal meth injection. So yeah, it's not just, it's not just people sitting in a chair, you know, talking to the camera. Like it's people out in the worlds doing like a very diverse array of things. And that's what really captured me in a, in a, in a way. And that's what I meant by that raw aspect of it was you get to see many intimate parts of different individual's lives. You've struggled with the addiction and I mean, you don't hold anything back there is the injection scene. There's the reality of it. You get you, you watch it. And then there's also the reality in the feeling of someone losing their loved one and there's the reality and the feeling of someone getting married. I was like captivated at all the different highs and lows and then highs and lows of, of the film. As you're watching it, it's really, uh, a diverse set of emotions that you get as you're connecting with the individuals and the story. And, um, you also did, uh, as you were going through, it was throughout a period, a period of time, which seemed like a quite a long time. How long did, did the film take? It was about a year of a year of shooting and then, um, six months of going back and getting pickups and just kind of like filling in some of the things that we were missing. And then it was about another six months of editing. And once we finished the film, we've, you know, this submitting to festivals and I've just been doing a lot of like institutional screenings and private events. Um, and then the film is a recently released on the all nature T VOD platforms. And so, um, now I, I think this is a good opportunity for us here because, uh, I think we have a really good idea of what the film is, who created it for the message behind it. What makes it different in a really empowering look on the recovery cycle for gay men? Um, a trans men who have a crystal meth addiction or even medical professionals or parents that, that want to encourage people to know they can get help, they can succeed with recovery if they, if they need it, if they choose to. Right. Um, so the next question here is you have this film, you've put your blood, sweat and tears into it. It's an incredible film. It's got a powerful message to share. How do we get it out there to people? How do we market it? And that's what leads me to a quick statement that most filmmakers agree with that is film distribution is garbage and it's broken. And when there needs to be clever, entrepreneurial, resourceful ways to get films out there today, especially ones like this with such a strong message to share. Uh, so tell me, walk me through right now what you've done from a film distribution perspective and then we'll, we'll try to work through a couple of creative ways to get it seen, get it out there to people who need it. Awesome. Uh, looking forward to it. So like you were saying, the traditional distribution outlet, at least in my experience, has not been very effective in terms of like overall reach. Uh, so we started the traditional, um, independent film making path, applying to festivals around the country and around the world. Um, and so by the end of 2019, we'll have screened in eight festivals, um, all around the U S and then also in Denmark, um, of all places. And a screened that two universities, the Yale school of medicine recently hosted the screening. And then New Mexico state university is coming up. Um, we hosted a screening at the LGBTQ center in New York city for act up, which is the major HIV activist organization. Um, we've, uh, gotten positive reviews in a number of publications, uh, including psychology today, which is, uh, has like a 300,000 reader, um, uh, readership, I guess. And then, uh, I want to say I w you know, I've done three podcasts including this one, so I'm including this on the tally. Sure. Uh, but in terms of, uh, the actual film being available for rent and purchase, it was released on September 10th. And in a way, I've kind of shot myself in the foot because I still have these upcoming screenings and then in the New York city area. And so I'm not trying to cannibalize my audience. Um, which is also the core demographic, you know, people in the recovery community and medical professionals in New York city. So I haven't really been pushing it on social media in terms of, you know, letting people know that it's available, uh, in the New York area. But in like California, in Florida, we've also been pushing, uh, you know, like sending out emails to, uh, to, uh, groups of social workers and medical professionals. So it's kind of like, I mean, this is the first time I've done this personally. Um, I worked on one previous as a producer, but that film was picked up by stars, the premium cable channel. And so they sort of like handled it from there. And this is a film that, uh, it's not available in any major streaming paid streaming platforms. It's only available for rent and purchase. So I'm sort of struggling with when is the right time and, uh, how do I get the word out? You know, that this is available, it's to, you know, all the relevant communities. And then how do I leverage the partnerships? I have made to um, you know, have them spread the word as well. Yeah. So there's a lot of different things that you can do, but I want to talk about possibly, um, from a self discipline creation standpoint, one of the thoughts that I think goes through most people's minds is why don't I just do paid advertising for this? Why don't I put up a Facebook ad? Why don't I do an Instagram ad, a YouTube ad, and just get the word out? Because that's going to work. I'll get people to buy the film. If I can make enough profit, I'll reinvested in the morning. Just keep that, that money train going or that distribution train going. So I want to talk about the economics behind this really quickly because this will give us the what is called a economic scale for what's possible from an advertising standpoint and also what is not. So, um, from, uh, the economic standpoint, you're selling this on Amazon prime, correct? Right. A few other channels, but the price point overall, this is pretty streamlined across the board, correct? Right. It's a four 99 two rents and 1199 to purchase NHD and it's a little bit cheaper in standard definition or, and then the DVD and Blu-ray physical copies are 12 and $13 respectively. And so when we think about it from that perspective, um, we have 12 to $13 for the DVD Blu-ray, four 99 to rent one time, 1199 to purchase. The great majority of online is rentals, right? That's what most people do. They go and then they rent a film. They watch it once they like it, they recommend it to other people. They rent it once and they like it enough. They rented again because it's the satisfaction of doing it that way nowadays. Um, now with that being said, um, when we look at four 99, that's not what you take home. Correct? I take home 75% of all of gross receipts, and that's after the platform takes a kite as well. And then, uh, the distributor gravitas ventures takes 25%. Okay. Exactly. So out of that four 99 on a rental, because we're going to go with the, um, whenever we're looking at advertising something, we always want to take the minimum price point and figure out how to make that profitable. So we wouldn't try to optimize a campaign around the 1199. We would go for the rental at four 99 cause that's the smallest price point you would get. Now. And with that being said, 75%, but after the distributor, Amazon takes their cut, which would be like a little over $3. Basically. It's what I'm getting out of the $5 rental. Eh. Okay. So, and this is your deal specifically everyone who's watching. There are different types of deals out there that people make all the time. Some people get advances, some people use distributors, et cetera, et cetera. Um, with this, if we're trying to self distribute, we've got $3 to work with and then we look at the way of marketing in order T typical e-commerce. Okay. Just to give you, uh, some, uh, numbers to work with here. If we're trying to run Facebook ads with e-commerce paid advertising them, what we typically see on average is a one to 2% conversion rate on a landing page. Meaning, um, if a hundred people land on a landing page, one person will buy the product. If I marketing, does that sound right? Yeah. Alright, so that's about what we see now. That leads us to the next part of the business economic unit case here, which is, um, how much does it cost to get one person to land on that landing page? Cause if we can get them for 1 cent, 1 cent times a hundred, that's $1. You know, $1 we're profitable, we're happy, right? Fortunately that's not what we see with Facebook friends and Instagram and Facebook and average cost per click depending on the quality of the traffic. If it's really quality traffic with a really specific message, um, at least 50 cents a click. That's what I typically see. And that kind of blows that model up where I see a lot of people promoting this idea of just spend money on Facebook, Instagram ads, and you'll make tons of money with your $50, you know, per purchase a $5 $5. Yeah. And so that's what we see. It's, it's, it's not that it's too far off, it's that it's fun and 50 cents is a good cost per click. Um, in a lot of the campaigns we see, you could be spending even more than that. You know, we make profitable campaigns spending $5, $10 a click in some cases. Um, but the profitability on those offers has to be much higher. So with that challenge, that's the paid advertising conundrum that I keep seeing in the film distribution space. I wanted to clear that up for you. Going into it just to make sure that knowing if you're trying to go to an audience that doesn't know who you are isn't receptive to you, they're strangers. Those are the types of types of economics we can typically see with paid ads. Now, um, if we're going to a very receptive audience, on the other hand, an audience who knows who you are, knows who about the film, they want to buy it. I had been waiting to buy it. You'd haven't had the opportunity to do so. Put a message in front of them with a paid ad. We can definitely get clicks very cheap and we can get purchases profitably. But the problem is typically that pool is very small, right? Cause there's only so many people who know about you want to buy it ready to buy it have had that opportunity so far. Right? I'd say that's limited. So maybe a couple of hundred people. Precisely. And this is the challenge many filmmakers get into. So then we come to the question of how do we distribute it? In your case and in every case with any film, a film is typically made for an audience. And when we want to distribute it, we want to define who that audience is first, which is one of the questions I asked you earlier. Who did you make this film for and why is it unique and beneficial for them to watch, which was medical professionals and then, uh, addicts who, uh, eh, you are going through the journey of recovery that want a, a positive feeling. You know, want to understand what that journey is going to look like and what they have to go through, what's happening to them and how to, how to get through it successfully with other people. Right. Cause it's important to have that. Um, so understanding that that's who your audience is, you've done a good job at going and looking for partners to get awareness, right? You're doing screenings. This is typically what I see a lot of people do is they look for screening opportunities where they can show their film to a large number of people. Right? But then do those people who just watched the film go rent the film, right? They'd have to be a repeat customer. Someone who's you enjoyed it so much that they'd want to see it again. And I think what I've been hoping is that they'd recommend it to a friend who they know would be interested in ed who didn't have a chance to make it to the screening. And just even though no one's, you know, paying me for the opportunity to see it at these screenings necessarily, that ultimately it broadens our base. Yes. And so the challenge is unfortunately we don't have very much control over ways to um, control word of mouth, right? It's one of the things I talk about in business is referrals and word of mouth. They're great in all great things. We'll get that. You know, if you have a really good product, really good film, you will get word of mouth. But to rely on it is very dangerous because you're putting control in the other individual's hands and mouth versus yours. Um, so I tend to like hat to have as much control as possible over the distribution, which is why I think an approach that works really well and in different industries is there are different offers that make a lot of sense. Um, you want to look at your market and ask the question, who S who else stands to benefit more than I do by my success. Who else stands to benefit more from selling this film than I do, which that can be addiction centers. It can be medic medical, it can be the people who are going through the addiction. I'm sharing it with a friend in some way, renting it together so that way they can become accountability buddies, um, partners to go through it. So a variety of different ways to kind of get distribution or to create enough profit for you to run. Paid advertising would be to partner with an addiction center and offer the film for every person who enrolls in addiction help. So what that does is it allows you to increase the profit margin of the film because every single person who enrolls would then purchase it like it's a mandatory purchase or it's a purchase at the addiction recovery center would handle for the client coming in. Um, which then, uh, is an added benefit to them and you and for all parents and family members involved to see what that journey to recovery looks like. Right. Absolutely. And universities and classrooms would also be another Avenue. I think that we could also duplicate that approach where it was part of a curriculum, you know, having to sit to watch a film and report on it. Yeah. So curriculums, um, having it from that perspective is definitely very smart. So, um, you've thought through those lines and so far, um, where, where the shift in strategy is here is, um, approaching them with a screening is great for getting the people who show up to the screening to watch it. And then potential word of mouth, the shift is in the offer. So looking at bare offers and finding a way to position your film as a added benefit to anything that they're selling. So that way every time they sell one of their things, whether it's someone into their curriculum, whether it's, um, someone into their addiction recovery center. Now this is a bundle piece of that and it's included. That right there allows you to start essentially selling the film, getting it in the hands of the people who need it. Um, but it's a different offer than, than simply a screening. It's tying into what they have and value that you can bring in a sense is, uh, depending on how you're doing the distribution for the film, you can leverage your partnership with these different addiction recoveries or these universities to promote those universities and parties as well to get people into those universities. Um, or as medical professionals or addiction recovery centers. Um, I've also been, uh, dabbling with screening fees. I mean, this is on such a small scale, honestly, like a $300 per appearance. Right. Um, which is, you know, like barely more than I make, like at work [inaudible] the day that I would have to miss to attend the screening. So I'm wondering if if there, there's a way in which I can, um, maybe charge more per screening for larger audiences depending on the institution. But then again, that's like on such a small scale, I think even if we did a dozen screenings, that's only, you know, a couple of thousand dollars. Yeah. Yeah. And what we're really looking for is ways to, um, you know, we want to make, we want to create systems that are leveraging other people's human capital time and money, um, in a, in a win-win manner. So that's where like screenings are powerful, but they cost time from you. And if you're selling your time to do the screening and it's getting out of a evergreen, perpetual model where this film is going to continuously be seen by more and more people, or it's going to be a, uh, a flow of people every single month for you. So we really want to look at, we want to look at in one offer, one one addiction recovery center that says yes to this right is worth dozens of screenings because they're going to, they're going to get that film purchased dozens and dozens of times every single month depending on the number of clients they're bringing in or the volume of clients, right? And then the value of your film being seen by all those people could sit and be amplified. The word of mouth is amplified because now you have another authority basically recommending recommending as well. Um, so that offers what we want to work through as far as creating it. Um, that's one really big one that I see. I know you mentioned you did some film festivals and again, a film festival is in a sense a form of a screening as well. Uh, right. Uh, how did you have any success with those? Right, so the largest turnout we received was about 110 people, um, at a festival in Portland. And then the smallest screening was basically 30 people. So it's varied in size, but certainly like I've had people attend these festivals, screenings that then reached out to me after the fact. And like for instance, that's how the Yale school of medicine screening came to be is because someone from the Boston LGBTQ film festival reached out to me saying that they were affected by the film. They thought more people, more people should see it in their organizations in new Haven. So there has been some success. Um, I haven't really circled back, um, to the festivals themselves to see if maybe they'd be interested in promoting it. Um, you know, like I know they'd like to be associated with films that are successful, um, after premiering at their festival. So, yeah. Yes. Yep. That's another, it's another way. Again, it's a onetime press piece, but it can, it can do everything. Benefits, um, everything's moving you forward. The, the other idea I have is, um, so again, what we're really looking for is a way to increase the profit margin of your offer so that way you can directly advertise it or find others who are investing massive amounts of time, money into getting the attention of your market and then partnering in ways that are perpetually getting your film in front of them. So, um, from that perspective, that's, uh, that the two groups that you'd mentioned, they're universities and addiction recovery centers, addiction recovery centers are oftentimes spending a significant amount of money. And when I say a significant amount of money, I'm not talking about a thousand dollars a month, right? Hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars a month are spent advertising. What are the, what are they doing when they're advertising? They are trying to attract people who are addicts, um, to their recovery center to give them help now, wow. What would be a better advertisement than a documentary talking about the progress process of literally overcoming this addiction from human beings who've had it struggle with it and then, um, are successfully working through that right now. That is an advertisement that is a, it's a documentary. It's a real life one. And essentially approaching recovery centers with that proposition of listen, here's the documentary. It wasn't filmed to be sh to be created as an advertisement. I realized this after talking to a marketer that it's the probably the best marketing advertisement for a 12 step program for addiction recovery centers that exist. And I want to help you leverage this to bring more people to your costs. So interesting. We are tapped into, um, at least through a couple initial, uh, recovery centers, like an entire national network of them. And, uh, you know, one of our producers appears in the film. Uh, David Foster is a pro prolific, uh, author of, uh, recovery issues. Um, and I feel like we could certainly leverage those connections in the ways that you're describing. And that's not something that I, I've approached him about, uh, yet. Yeah. So that right. There is a massive, massive market take note on that one because again, what we're looking to do, and um, I say this all the time to our clients is there's, you want to look for who can benefit more from your success than you solve that problem. You solve a lot of your problems. Um, for me, it's the people who stand to benefit more from my success or my direct clients, right? Um, the more successful I become intern, the more successful everyone I work with becomes because that means I'm making something that's better. My product is better, which means they can use it to get better results. Um, your product is very good. We know that the film is phenomenal now, who can leverage that phenomenal film with the people they care about to succeed at a higher level as well. Um, uh, so those are a couple of thoughts I had there. And they can leverage it from a number of perspectives. Like there's so many different ways to do it because they're spending so much on ads. They can turn the documentary into an ad. They could leverage the documentary as a, uh, something that's included when people invest with them as a, uh, a gift. You know, here's the film that you will get for your family members, for the people involved. Um, so it's a complimentary thing there. So you're, you're getting clients for the film viewers, for the film people who actually need it. Then from a university perspective, as you said before, the joint venture that kind of comes to mind in your eyes is getting people getting the doctors to watch the film and critique it. Was that the thought process? Um, well it, just, in terms of impacts, I wanted, you know, medical professionals to, um, watch the film just so they can build more empathy towards their clients because there isn't a lot of stigma in the industry that X or troublesome clients that aren't reliable and that can't be treated effectively. And so I think just in terms of like helping people's day to day life, uh, it would be good to present it to that community. But in terms of like monetizing that, um, you know, like it's not like a purely academic film as you as we've talked about. It's like, yeah, it's very Anshul and there's a lot of verite footage and while there are facts and figures, you know, the majority of it is just people living their lives. So I'm not sure like if it could be directly included in a curriculum, um, like as like a tool expressly for learning. But I think somehow if we could, uh, figure out a way to incorporate the, uh, the compassionate and empathy portion of it, maybe it could be useful in those spaces. And I certainly like a lot of the people reaching out to me are in academic spaces, you know, wanting to see the film and screen it for their peers. Um, I'm just, I'm not quite sure how to monetize that. Yeah. The question would come from them. The answer to that question would come from them. So, um, you know, universities or large organizations with the, typically if it's a curriculum, I mean curriculums are put together by who knows who and there's lots of bureaucracy behind them. They're a pain in the butt. So, um, that route might be a bit cumbersome to go down if it works. Massive reward potential, which is great, longterm, perpetually as well. However, uh, again, massive endeavor to make that happen. What we could, what we could do is ask them questions related to, uh, maybe not including it in the curriculum, but what other opportunities do they see for the film within their organizations? Where do they see the ability to let her to film like this? I don't know, but when I ask people that type of question, they know their business. So the ideas might start to populate for them. Yeah. And that's the beautiful thing is just don't stop asking, where can we use this? How can we use this? Why should we use this year? Um, how do you think this could serve these people better on it? I know, I feel like I've missed a lot of opportunities to do just that. I mean, we've had so many of these screenings so far and it's always been like, well, you know, it's so great that you invited me and like everyone enjoyed the film. The talk was nice by, you know, thanks for this. Like it hasn't really ever been me. Um, following up and you know, asking them how could this be further useful to you? It's not something I've done that right. There is a marketing strategy where you have, you haven't to fold all the screenings coming up, which you said you have some in New York. Prepare yourself with questions to ask. And a few questions that come to my mind that would make a massive difference is who do you know that would benefit from watching this film at the end of your screening? Asking that to the audience will make each person in the audience think of similar. Interesting. Even if even if they don't recommend it to them, they will have thought at some of them will. Um, so that's a benefit. That's very, um, the questions are so powerful when we're talking to people. So there's that one. Um, there's what ways would you recommend as an audience that I could get this film in front of more people who need to see it? Again, the audience comes up with your distribution ideas. Okay. And everyone's always so afraid to ask questions of the audience cause they're, they're looking for feedback. In a sense. As a filmmaker, you're a little bit vulnerable because you're up there like, did you like my film? But also asking them for feedback on the different ways to leverage it. Granted the people did like it can can brainstorm a million different ways for you to leverage it that you hadn't thought of before and you'll find those few evergreen perpetual channels on it. I like it had a lot. It's so simple, but it's just, it's, it would never occur to me. Like you were saying, just being in a vulnerable and kind of feeling, um, you know, like insecure sometimes just by virtue of like putting myself out there like that, you know, that I would never think to, you know, like essentially ask the people, my, my demographic, you know, what tools should I use to, to distribute this? Yeah. And here's, here's the thing, right? These people are asking you questions, looking at you as an expert in a sense and a driving force behind creating this film because you care and you do. That's why you did it. Like making a documentary sucks. Yeah. I mean fashion and you know, like I have a day job too, so, yeah. Well, it's even, I want to get rich, right? Like it's just, it's what I love to do. It's what you love to do. Pairing it with a mission. You believe in a cause that you stand behind and you care. So that's what I'm saying is when you care about something, now it's time to, to start to ask the questions here. Um, as to, well, that's just stating that when you're talking to people, I really care about this thing that I've created. I think it could really help these people with this. How would you, or how could you help me to get this out there? At the end of your screenings with the people you screen with, ask the person who helped you get the screening or the person in charge of it. Who else do you think needs to see this? Can you make a recommendation? Can you refer me to them? Not, not necessarily. Um, Hey, can you give me their name and phone number? That's one way to do it. That's typically, and then you reach out to them. But would you mind if you sent an email? I'll even write it for you. Uh, to those people. I'll write up the email for you. I'll write up the text message, whatever it is that, what you don't have any work to do basically. So that way I can get this out to more people because I really care about this. Yeah. I mean it's a case by case situation and obviously like asking people for things, but um, yeah, no, I think that's just certainly something I haven't explored and you know, I still have plenty of, uh, potential, um, screenings to try, try stuff like that out cause like, well, you know, what do I have to lose? I don't want everything to gain. So pretty much. Yeah. Um, and then everyone you worked with in the past, send that, send an email out, say, Hey, listen, I really appreciate the time that you took with me to reach out so that way we could do the screening. Um, who has, I, I want you to know we're available on, on Amazon prime here and, um, I really care about getting this in front of more people. Who do you think should see this? And I haven't reached out to you yet or that may not know about it. Um, that right there again, a lot of opportunities there. Also asking those people, how would you go about distributing this film or getting it in front of more people like yourself. What would you do to make that happen? I'm asking them where are you looking for things to show your audience? Because another thing is medical professionals, universities, they are um, looking at the beginning of the journey and the end, they are looking for things to show their students that will help their students, that will make them better. Doctors will make them better people, where do they look, find their sources and then go there and then be everywhere. Your ideal client is um, certainly uh, LGBTQ health clinics as well as uh, you know, not just mental health spaces but like physical health. Cause the film does touch on, you know, HIV and AIDS and prevention. So I think that could also be another Avenue. There's plenty of those popping up more and more in, in major urban areas. Yeah. So those are, those are a few methods. And that was the second one that I wanted to mention. So the first one was for all the screenings coming up and then the second one was for reaching back out to the people that, uh, you have had screens with in the past and uh, uh, T taking it from there. So those are a couple opportunities. That's really, again, that's more so looking at getting more screenings or looking for opportunities to leverage those relationships and those strategies further. Right. I mean it's certainly a much more active approach than, you know, passively waiting for an algorithm to generate more clicks. You know, for such a like a high fee I think know that's it's just, you know, everything, uh, you know, worth doing like requires a lot of effort. And so I think it's just kind of like re-evaluating like what I can personally do. Yeah, they're there. I mean there's a, there are so many different marketing strategies though. I mean, as I was saying with paid ads, that's one method on paid advertising probably isn't, unless you find a, another product to partner with where you can increase profitability. Um, I highly recommend doing that. So that is getting in with addiction recovery centers, being able to advertise their offers to make a problem for yourself, that would work 100%. Um, we have to find the right offer, the right partnership where that makes sense. And I've said I've helped a lot of people do that. To give you an example, in a different market, um, in an eCommerce space where people were selling low in unique creams, right? Like little facial stuff. Okay. Um, clients were coming to me, they wanted to sell that. Um, and one of my students actually over in Australia, he tried to do it and it was, it didn't look like it was gonna work economically cause of the price of clicks. So what he did was bundle, he bundled multiple things, created a premium product. It's a higher profit margin that was profitable to sell directly at one case. So he threw 20 things together, increase the profit margin, we're good to go. Sold it. If you can find a way to bundle or film with something in your target market is buying that gives you the profitability to sell and the, the amount that you should be willing to spend if you're going to do that from an eCommerce perspective would be between 40 to $50 on Facebook or Instagram, at least in today's day and age of 2019. That's a target cost per acquisition where if you're not very good at spending money on ads, you can still hit that relatively easily. Yeah. That, that's going to require some thought and I'm not quite sure what other products related to the film could be bundled with it. Um, I don't know. We'll see the, and again, you don't need to come up with the idea you can ask. Right. So, so going to an addiction recovery center and asking them, do you have any online programs that you sell for people that are to help them, that are $100 affordable that we could package this with you? I'm going to, uh, universities, you know, online programs that they're selling, where there's no instructor, where there is an instructor or anything of that, um, companies that are selling similarly related addiction products. So perhaps it's not crystal meth, but it's, um, uh, I have a friend who does a lot of work in the porn space, addiction to porn. Um, and partnering with someone in that space. You're selling selling products, um, to help people with that addiction, which includes this film. Sure. It's about crystal meth, but it also, in a sense, there's so many different relevancies do the path path to recovery and the messaging of if people can overcome crystal meth, you can overcome porn. That's a, that's a good one. You know, now that here's how they did it, you can do it too. Um, so there's a lot of different ways to do that. It's being creative and being willing to ask questions that will open up those doors. Um, yeah, certainly I'm going to start with recovery centers and addiction institutes and, um, I'll ask them how they feel this film could best be used in tandem with their products. Yeah. And then maybe if we can bundle it so that each time you have a new client, there's a new opportunity for revenue. Have you thought of that yet or did you try that? I haven't, I haven't thought of that. So that's, that's something new. And then I haven't thought about asking the audience for a, you know, like who they feel this phone could be useful for in their lives. You know, ideas. It's really just been like, based on my experience with my one previous film, like there, you know, and there's, uh, and don't forget, and of course you'll be able to watch this over and over and over again if you want to. Um, but, uh, uh, anyone who's spending money on advertising, how can they leverage this film in their advertising? Okay. That I can't tell you enough. They are millions of dollars spent on advertising every single year from those organizations trying to get their attention. You can help with that. Your film can be the lead magnet in a sense to that for them. Um, so that's massively valuable. I have a number of thoughts on that. Um, and that's, uh, that's really my, you know, it's one of the interesting things about working with so many filmmakers. You know, I work with ethicacy over 800 filmmakers today and I, I bring this business background, it's so diverse in terms of work in so many industries and price points and things for consultations, $100,000 sales, million dollar sales down to selling $20, uh, community products and a profit. So I get to bring that funnel of knowledge into a very, what seems to be focused market where everyone does things kind of the exact same way and just give a little bit of a diverse way of, of what creates success in all these other industries can easily be replicated in the film industry, but it's just never been done. Um, but it creates, it's like how other businesses operate. Their entire tire business is built these ways, but no one else in the film industry does it this way, which is really interesting. Um, so, okay, we did a big legacy. Like I certainly as a filmmaker, you know, I just want to be creative and do my thing. Do what I love and not really consider like how it's going to be profitable. So we needed someone to kind of steer me in the right direction, I think a little bit, especially because, you know, dealing with all these screenings and what have you, it's just a little bit overwhelming. And I think I have a little bit more clarity now just in terms of other avenues I can take. Yeah. And it, it can be fun. Um, the business side of things always wants to be thought of second, but being good at the business side of film and also be very, very enjoyable because at the end of the day you get to see your work that you were creative producing, um, succeeding and thriving and becoming successful as well. Yeah. And that's the dream. So, so any other thoughts that you have here or any ideas for marketing that you wanted to talk about? Um, I do, well, I do have one idea, but I want to offline with you about it. Okay. Just in terms of like a celebrity endorsement, do you know what I mean? Like someone with a significant number of, uh, Instagram and Twitter followers who has a history of crystal meth addiction. And so escorting and HIV positive status, you know, who recently came out of Craig came out about it. Um, it's probably one of the most significant, uh, public figures to come out about their experience. Um, you know, maybe seeing if that person or people like that person might be open to tweeting about it or, you know, just building awareness, you know, to their military. Absolutely. So those one shot awareness things influence influencer marketing is extremely prevalent right now. It's very powerful. It can give you an influx of viewers, which can then lead toward the mouth in that side of things. Again, it's not going to be a perpetual pillar. Yeah, it's very limited. Sure. Maybe in terms of scale, if they have millions of followers, it can be very profitable. And then in a short term burst, which then can be used to fuels some other recurring aspects or perpetual systems. So that's absolutely 100% do that. Um, and I would create a list of, I mean there's a couple things I would do this in business. We call them time, methods, shares, money, methods and time methods to get distribution or marketing have to get your, your thing out there, your offer, in this case, it's a film that you're offering and we have a $3 profit on it. So time methods are when we're leveraging our time or we're, we're spending a tiny amount of money and our time to get in front of one person who has the ability to distribute our thing. Too many, right? That's what you're talking about doing with influencer marketing, offering those people a joint venture opportunities. Massively powerful, right? So profit share with them. Anyone you send to my film who buys my film from this link, I'll give you 50% of the profit. And just the saying that's a joint venture proposition. Um, there are different affiliate tracking systems that we can implement to make that happen. Um, then there is a time methods where there are systems out there that exist that allow you to do mass emailing, mass automated messaging through social media platforms. Um, I can't name the systems that do that, but there are, they do exist and we know how to use them. So how those work is essentially you pick a target demographic like universities and every, every month you send out, let's just say 20,000 messages to target people who work at those universities, inviting them to watch the film. Now your cost on a like this would be 100 bucks a month for 20,000 messages. The response rate on it, very low, you're probably not going to get very many responses, but if you can get enough responses and they're one to many relationships, it can become very profitable once again. So, um, that's an offline discussion again, that we can have and I could talk about the systems and show you a couple of them, but that's that one to many relationship again of who could succeed more from me being successful. That's what you're taught. That's the question you're answering with the influencer. And with the [inaudible]. Right. So that one time burst, um, you know, like I could maybe take a loss or like may make less profit on a one time burst, but then you know, follow up on the new leads that it generates to kind of like keep the conversation going. Absolutely. Cool. Uh, definitely a couple of things I hadn't thought about. So that's what this is all about. Well again, I think, um, I think you've done the right thing. You created something, you cared about, you put your heart and soul into it. It's got a message, it's actually helped that can help people who watch it and it's helped me. I think I'm a better person for watching it. Um, um, that's something worth sharing. So now that you have it, it's, it's definitely your responsibility to figure out the distribution side, the business side of things so we can put this out there and get it seen by people all the time who need it when they need it and then, um, as much as possible, make that part of this process fond as well. Right. Cause if an incentive, if you don't like it, I promise you, you probably won't do it very much. That's human nature. We all want to move towards pleasure and away from pain towards pleasure, away from pain. And if distributing this and the business side of things is really painful for you and you don't find a way to make it fun and find the systems, uh, that can be a leverageable versus just basically exhausting your time, willpower and emotional, you know, strength than, um, what typically happens is people go back to making another film cause, uh, like immediately because they just can't handle the side of things and they don't get over it. So I don't want to see that happen. Right. So I'm probably going to take a break from making the next film for about a year. So I think that'll give me enough time to sort of get this all together, you know, and just make a concerted effort to at least try to, um, you know, do these different strategies that you've suggested and you know, like stuff that I've already been aware of. So, yeah. Yeah. We'll see. I mean, this is like a first for me. So, uh, you know, I'm excited to, to just, you know, fumble around and you know, see what works, see what doesn't and learn a couple of tips for the next time. Yep. Exactly. And then from there it's just doubling down, doubling down, doubling down and having fun throughout the process. It's all a growing journey. I'm here to help and, um, I hope I could do my best. I'm going to do my best to help you out, uh, beyond just this conversation today. Uh, actually trying to implement some of these things. I mean, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Yeah. And like you said, you know, the, the, just the traditional distribution model for documentaries is broken and, or sort of like, uh, you know, not too many people have really figured it out. You know, they haven't cracked the code yet in terms of pioneering new strategies. So yeah, I think we could, you know, I could, uh, you know, trust, trust, some of the things. Well, that's where the discussion begins. All right. Um, Terry, I don't have any other questions. Do you have anything else for me? Uh, no, not at this time, but, uh, this has been very productive, so I do appreciate it. Yeah, me too. Um, so we're going to end it there folks. Thank you all for watching Terry. Thank you for being here and thank you. If you're a documentary filmmaker who wants to distribute your film, figure out ways to do it. You got something you care about that you made, that you're passionate about getting out there. Um, take on the business side of this. Have fun with it, enjoy it. It might suck at times, but so does shooting the film in the first place. So let's make the distribution as fun as possible. Alright, everyone. Bye now. Bye.

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