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Matthew Helderman

Matthew Helderman is the founder and CEO of Buffalo 8, a film and television production company in Santa Monica, CA.

Making it in Film and TV
Making it in Film and TV

Making it in Film and TV

Ep
102
Oct
12
With
Matthew Helderman
Or Listen On:

Making it in film and television

Matthew Helderman is the founder and CEO of Buffalo 8, a film and television production company in Santa Monica, CA. He also co-founded the media financing firm, BondIt Media Capital, which is now one of the leading film financing firms around.

He and Chris discuss both the business and creative sides of entertainment, and give you a peek into the world of filmmaking and production. And when we say peek, we mean a nuts and bolts explanation of what it takes to produce a film.

The two talk about how Netflix deals work (e.g. Tiger King), the value of never-ending curiosity and why you should learn how to the play the orchestra, and not just the instrument.

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Episode Transcript

Matthew:
My dad has always been a huge proponent of study things that will make you think as opposed to study things that will make you think a certain way, which I think is a really interesting sort of takeaway. He was a philosophy major before he ended up going and doing a business degree at Columbia. Really, laying the foundation of thinking and learning. Using philosophy as a way to actually jumpstart your mind about questioning things and thinking through really complex ideas that you're really not going to get a chance to do that again, other than being in college in that environment.

Greg:
Hi, I'm Greg Gunn. Welcome to The Futur podcast. Today's guest is what smart people would call a veritable polymath. He runs three companies that each connect to a different facet of the entertainment industry and he runs them well, securing about 50 to 60 Media deals per year. That is a lot of deals. He and Chris discussed both the business and creative sides of entertainment and give us a nice peek into the world of filmmaking. When I say peek, I really mean that they go incredibly deep, like nuts and bolts of what it takes to produce a film. It's pretty eye opening to hear about how all of it works. They talk about how Netflix deals work. I'm looking at you, Tiger King, the value of never ending curiosity, and why you should learn how to play the orchestra and not just the instrument.
Also, there is some light swearing in this episode, so heads up if there's kids around. All right, grab some popcorn, put on your best listening ears. Please enjoy our conversation with Matthew Helderman.

Chris:
Matthew, thank you very much for doing the show with me. For people who don't know who you are, can you introduce yourself and tell them what you do?

Matthew:
Sure. My name is Matthew Helderman. I run three companies all in the media and entertainment business. The first is a company called Buffalo8, a production and a post-production company. Simply meaning we create content and we finish and deliver content to distributors. The second is a company called BondIt Media Capital, we're a media financing company, so literally financing production, as well as providing capital to middle market media businesses, everything from podcast companies, film and television all the way to live events and music. Then, the third company is a company called ABS payroll, which is a 30-year old entertainment payroll company that we bought in about 2016 that is over in Burbank. It's about the least sexy part of the entertainment business, but we can certainly dive into why it's such an important piece of the ecosystem we've built.

Chris:
I see. I remain skeptical on the last one, but we'll see what happens here.

Matthew:
Yeah.

Chris:
Yeah. I'm really interested in what you do, how you do the business of filmmaking and I think our audience is going to be really interested. For people who don't understand, what is it like behind the scenes when you say you're financing films and productions, how does that happen? Is it your money that you're spending? How do you make your money back? What projects do you decide to finance, et cetera. Give us the overview of how this works.

Matthew:
Yeah. Yeah. I know we have other topics as well to discuss so I'll try and give the abridged footnoted version of film and television financing. I think it's honestly, first off, it is our capital. I started Buffalo8 in college. As Buffalo8 grew and grew and grew out in ... I went to school in Chicago, but we moved the company to LA right after graduation. My co-founding partner and I were producing content boots on the ground and sub million dollars, sub $2, $3 million type movies. You're really just learning the real process of how films are made, which I think the easiest way to sort of sync up what that experience is like is you're basically just managing almost like a real estate or construction project. Then, managing many different types of personalities from someone that's making $500,000 a day, to someone that's working and making $500 that same day, right next to each other on the same set and the expectations that each of them and their respective unions ultimately have for them and their experience.
Those first several years, we were really just building Buffalo8 through the experience of making content with other people's money. People were coming to us and wanting us to produce content. We had built a pretty reliable brand as trustworthy producers, both that understood the creative side but also had a business sense. Both my partner and I were born and raised in Connecticut, families in more traditional financial and business backgrounds, but we love content media and so it was a perfect mix, if you will, that brought us together in college to launch that company. We got out of school in 2011. At that time, banks had already largely started, if not, had already exited media and one off film and television financing due to the credit crisis of '08, '09. The restrictions that had been put around what banks could do in terms of risk taking and so on.
We ultimately realized not because we were so smart, simply sort of just scratching our own itch, there needed to be a more streamlined and more reliable source of capital in the market. It took about a year to sort of flesh out what that model was going to look like. Originally, we thought it was going to look more like an equity fund. We think sort of venture capital, you put money in and take crazy risk for crazy upside. Very quickly, after that, we're talking with family and friends and colleagues that we knew who had raised funds sort of realize that equity financing in media is something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.
That's the misnomer of the entertainment business is that folks look at it and read the Monday morning box office results and sort of look at it and say, "Oh my gosh, these returns are just astronomical." There's so many layers of hands out in between those dollars coming in versus actually paying out the person that invested in content that you realize, unlike technology and venture capital, the equity actually sits at the very bottom of the waterfall.
You think of the person that put the first money in Facebook or Uber, they have ultimately the largest risk capital, so their premium on the exit or an IPO is actually the largest whereas in film, the equity is buried so far beneath mezzanine capital and then senior debt capital that it makes no sense. For whatever reason, the business has always been structured this way. We realize, all right, let's raise a debt fund and that became what is BondIt. BondIt now has done somewhere between 150 to $160 million of on balance sheet financing over the last eight years.
All that really means is we went out, in early days, we were financed by a group of high net worth individuals that bought pieces of BondIt that we had the ability to either roll them into common equity, or we could take them out after three years of operating the business. To prove whether or not we could prove out the thesis of the company and then raise more institutionalized capital. Luckily, we were able to do that. In 2017, we sold half of BondIt to a company called Accord Financial who are a publicly traded non-bank lending company based in Toronto and in New York just shy of about a billion dollar balance sheet. They bought half of BondIt and that gave us not only an equity injection, but an ability to go put a very large credit facility in place to support our financing and production activities.
Everything we fund is with our own capital sits on our balance sheet and our team members oversee those projects, whether loosely and passively if we sort of have production partners that we trust, then it can be a more hands off experience. Or, projects that require us to be more heavily involved. As it scaled, it's definitely become a challenge to balance how you think about portfolio and investment allocation, intermediate projects.
It's all about the security of the structure and the distribution agreements you're able to negotiate prior to actually going into production. Now, as I said, it's scaled up to 50, 60 film and TV and media deals we do per year. It requires pretty much everyone on the team to be able to have an equal parts of focus on both the deal front and the creative front to, again, go back to that original thesis that was really the entertainment business. It's just balancing relationships and balancing people's expectations to get through production.

Chris:
Wow. Okay, that was a lot to process and you did that flawlessly. I had to say, you dropped a lot of different concepts that was just hovering right above my head here. It seems like you're talking about two, at least in my opinion, two very different worlds. I want to try and help our audience to understand everything that you just said. There's this part that you're in school and you're doing production and post-production. I'm curious, because it didn't seem to line up with the bio that I read about you in your studies in philosophy. How does a person in philosophy get into filmmaking? How did that happen?

Matthew:
Yeah. I was always obsessed with content. Truly, always obsessed with it. Film and TV and music and totally geeking out over building a gigantic music library and a vinyl library as a teenager, totally into it. You grow up on the East Coast in sort of a very financially focused area of Connecticut, where almost everyone's parents and everyone you're around work in one way or another in some sort of institution or corporate level of finance, either in New York or in Connecticut.
Osmosis sort of sets in and you end up sort of taking into yourself an understanding of certain aspects of finance and business. It's the natural thing that you'll go on to study. Most of my friends did and most of that sort of area ends up looking pretty and sounding pretty similar because of that. I think what was different about me is I played hockey, and I got recruited to play hockey out at a school in Illinois, in Chicago for college. Hockey was my life.
At that point, I was an economics major declared my freshman and sophomore year from going down that track with a philosophy minor. My dad has always been a huge proponent of study things that will make you think as opposed to study things that will make you think a certain way, which I think is a really interesting sort of takeaway. He was a philosophy major before he ended up going and doing a business degree at Columbia, but really laying the foundation of thinking and learning. Using philosophy as a way to actually jumpstart your mind about questioning things and thinking through really complex ideas that you're really not going to get a chance to do that again, other than being in college in that environment.
That was really the catalyst of philosophy was, to me, probably the first time I really started thinking about my academic experience very differently. After my sophomore year, I decided I was going to step away from it. It was kind of almost like having a quarter life crisis, if you will, because I was stepping away from hockey realizing college sports and playing NCAA sports is a full time job. There were other passions I had. There were other things I wanted to experience. I think at a certain point, I felt that I had learned the skills from that sport that I needed to take on for the rest of my life, the teamwork, the work ethic, the drive, the ability to be pretty willing to deal with setbacks and adversity.
Ultimately, when you're going to school and also playing a sport that's taking up 40 plus hours a week, it's hard to actually experience college. I think it became clear that I was going to step away from hockey. I was also going to make the bold call to my parents and say, I'm not going to major in economics. I'm going to take some of this money that I've saved and launch a film company and shoot a feature film. You sort of expect that my parents would react and say, you're totally nuts. I think they got it. I think like a lot of parents, you know your children, even if your children don't really know themselves yet. They knew that that was what I needed to do and that step I needed to take.
I think my major ended up being philosophy with minors in English and business. I think I pivoted away from pure economics and during that time launched a company and had no ambition or grand ambition, I should say, to know what it would become. I mean, I always was super hungry and subscribed to the idea that you've got to look at opportunities where other people aren't. I had friends that would say, "Oh, you're nuts. You're going to LA, why aren't you going back to New York or Connecticut and getting a job at JPMorgan or Merrill or Goldman or one of those summer programs."
I was literally building a company from an apartment in Chicago and then took it to Los Angeles and grew and grew and grew it. I would really give dual credit to the philosophy background of challenging me to think about things differently and question things differently. Then also, the other part of the credit to hockey and the experience that that really did lay just an incredible foundation that has still stuck with me to, I would say, almost every day of my life and in many ways, almost everything we do, I can sort of trace back to the lessons I learned from those foundational years.

Chris:
Wow. You are some kind of wild crazy anomaly. Just from listening to that, it sounds to me, it sounds like, you're this hybrid jock philosopher business artist all wrapped into one. It's like usually people just spend their life trying to be one of these things and you're just like dancing between these. You don't have to be modest with me, do things just come easy to you like that?

Matthew:
No, no, I mean, look, my mother and I always joke that I was a terrible math student, like terrible. What's so interesting now looking back on math is that it's incremental, right? If you didn't grasp early geometry pre-calc is going to be challenging. If you didn't grasp pre-calc, calc is going to be challenging and so forth. I think, for me, there were parts of those earlier building blocks that were really tough. Now today, I run a company with almost 50 employees. I've got a portfolio of over $50 million of media transactions at any given time and we've raised hundreds of millions of dollars and some numbers.
The detail around those numbers became a gigantic part of my life that I think almost every math teacher I had growing up would say, "That's not what's in the future for you, kid." I think it was more so about recognizing areas that you're good at. The areas that I'm ultimately good at, which I think you picked up on, is you can tell a story, you can spin the narrative and you can motivate people around you to want to do great work because they're really excited about working together in a culture that you can build.
It took me probably 10 years to realize that that really is what I was doing my whole upbringing. I formed bands growing up and recording other kids' young youth bands and building this little record studio and organizing things that really were bringing different people and different people's experiences and skill sets together to just maximize the output. That's really all building businesses, right? It's ultimately surrounding yourself with people that are significantly more gifted to the way you sort of say, do things come easy?
I think the thing that comes easiest now is I'm surrounded by people that are significantly smarter and more detail oriented than I am across many of these areas. It's my job to tease out and make them the best they possibly can be. I've always loved that, there's another quote from my dad early days, play the orchestra, don't play the instrument, focus on the orchestra. I think if you can get to that level in terms of thinking, you'll find incredible people that want to be part of the orchestra because they really believe that you're conducting it in a smart direction.

Chris:
Right. I just think I figured out how to bring all of our audience into this because they sit on the other side, they just sit on the other side, they're artists. Back in the day when we're making commercials, I think, it's everybody's dream to go and make a film. They work their lives to save some money to make something that isn't commercially viable at all. They're sinking tens of thousands of dollars into expressing their art form. You're coming in from a whole different side, because in college, you're making films and presumably, you've already figured out how to make money because this is a business. This is not just like a philanthropic thing, because you like the arts, right?
From that kind of indie filmmaker mindset, what aren't they getting? What are you doing to figure out films that you can sell and actually make some money on that people give you more money to make?

Matthew:
Yeah, yeah. It's a really good question. I think you made the comment about having the mix of being an athlete, an artist caring about philosophy and history. I think that that level of curiosity is what led me to ... I have a phrase internally that I use about with our whole team, especially when we have really good young smart kids that come at it from ... they go to film school or they go and study art or they study business and they come to us sort of like an unformed ball of clay.
You realize you have this opportunity. It's always, personally my preference to have someone that hasn't been formed by some huge corporate perspective. They haven't had sort of the naivety beaten out of them yet. I would much rather them have that and chase that creatively and passionately knowing that every great artist you're obsessed with in film, let's just use film, film and television. They're entrepreneurs, almost equal parts, if not more so than they are artists.
You look at Steven Spielberg, or Lucas or David Fincher, these are people that they were, yes, the catalyst was the creative and was the storytelling, and was the cinematography and was the direction and the history of acting and working with actors but it became so much more. It became so much more because they were so much more in themselves to keep pulling the thread to be never endingly curious, which I think is ultimately what the skill we've had and what we've been able to instill in our own culture at our companies.
The way we've found, I go back to the earlier part of the conversation when I said, Buffalo8 was getting hired to produce these low budget films. We were realizing, we could produce 10 of these movies a year. I think at the height, we were producing 6, 7, 8 of them a year and producing commercials. You sort of realize there's a ceiling to what this can be infrastructurally as a business based on these fees. Even if you're just building a very simple back of the napkin forecast of, I do 10 of these at this price at this margin, and I've got this staff to help me grow it. I'm going to keep hitting the ceiling. I think it was that point where we realized you've got to take hold much more of your destiny.
Then, another really interesting thing happens. I won't mention the name of the company, but I'll just say that there was a production company based on the Paramount lot in Los Angeles. They hired us to basically produce what were shitty B movies. What we realized is that they had some significant intellectual property, things like Rush Hour and Conan the Barbarian and Hannibal Lecter. They had very meaningful IP. That IP was stalled in the never-ending cycle of development at the network and studio level.
It wasn't very revenue generating enough to really support this company that they had built over 30, 40 years. They hired a bunch of scrappy young kids who had a scrappy young production company to produce a bunch of shitty B movies. That taught us the real economic structure of the entertainment business. At that point, it was almost like the philosophical method, the veil of ignorance, the veil hadn't been lifted yet that this entire world existed of filmmaking, because we all see it from the other side as these brilliant directors who are this sole person standing on the top of a mountain bare chested with a flag waving.
Actually, there's a gigantic infrastructure and business behind it that has made it even possible to make the film to begin with. It all came full circle because we got to start going to things like the Cannes Film Festival or Berlin. These festivals aren't just events for showcasing completed content. It's actually a place where the majority of the business per year is actually done. We saw that this company was giving us a million dollars to go shoot this movie, but they were actually having sold the entire worldwide rights of that movie for $3 million before we even turn the camera on.
If it's Van Damme or Chuck Norris or Bruce Willis or Stallone, whomever was in these movies, they were taking that letter of commitment from the actor and the script and who was going to direct it, selling it again, giving us a portion of the of that proceeds to go make the movie. That was before we even, again, rolled frame one of a camera. We realized they're sustaining this business on the backs of this model that we are powering. Why don't we just go do this exact same thing? We were 24, 25. That was the catalyst to realize there is a way to make money at this.
The phrase I have to bring it full circle is that I think 99% of people are looking in the wrong direction. I think they're so focused on a specific creative project, because that is the ultimate hook that drew us all into this creative industry, no matter what side of it you're in. Then, if you don't have a willingness to expand your mind, I always find it hysterical when a creative will say, "You BondIt guys think like suits." We may think like suits, but we're going to make 50 movies this year and we've had things nominated for the Academy Awards and we built an infrastructure that has 50 employees.
I think like a suit, but I also understand the responsibilities of the creative. I also think it's a mistake that creatives make not to want to expand to learn the other side of it just as much as I think it's a problem that there are plenty of huge Hollywood agents we deal with, executives, that have never stepped foot on a set. It's really challenging to think that they can give guidance and advice and feedback when their perspective is also equally as limited. To me, it was really just about opening up that window of how you take in experiences and turn that into your future, ultimately for us, future business.

Chris:
Okay. I know you're on production and I'm looking at the time here and I have a lot of questions I want to ask you because this world is fascinating to me. I'm wondering if you could just give me shorter answers. Is that okay, Matthew?

Matthew:
Of course.

Chris:
I just want to bomb you with a million questions and I don't want to interrupt you.

Matthew:
I'll go quick.

Chris:
Can we try that and see what happens, okay? Because I'm going to have a hard time following up on all the breadcrumbs that you just keep dropping here. Okay, there's a lot of fascinating things going on here. Let me see if I get this straight. What you glean from working for one of these production companies, first entering it from a production point of view, meaning like, we're going to get the film made. You guys are going to figure out the payroll, you're going to just get the film made to a certain level of quality that they're going to be content with. Then, that's your job, right?

Matthew:
Correct.

Chris:
Then, you saw the business behind the scenes, which is the brilliant part and the part I want to talk about a little bit, which is, oh, my god, they already sold this movie so there's going to be $2 million in somebody's pocket after production, which is crazy. Then, you guys thought, "We've been on this side of it, let's get on the other side of this and let's be the ones who broker the deal." The key ingredients are they control the IP so they made an investment to have the IP, the rights to produce films and derivatives from the IP. They also have, which I think is the bigger part of this too, is the network of people who are willing to buy products that aren't even made yet, just on concept alone, right?
They can pre-sell them, they can use that money to finance the film. Artists I think are looking at this from the other side, which is I have this thing that I want to make. Since I don't know anybody to sell it to and it's not based on IP that people get excited and there's no name person attached to it, well, heck you're not going to get money for this. They wind up financing it themselves and getting no distribution, no deal. That's why almost all of their films are a labor of love. Am I understanding that correct too?

Matthew:
You are. You are. I think the only really quick footnote I would make is not only did we want to be on the side of putting the deal together when we peek behind the curtain and saw how they were doing it, but in that moment, we realized I want to own the entire pipeline. I want to own the relationship with the creative. I want to own the side that runs the actual payroll. I want to run the side that actually provides the financing. I want to put the deal together with the distributor. I want to hand out the delivery through post production. Because in each of those terms, were inefficiencies at each of those terms were an opportunity to expand this network that ultimately grew like a web of a spider.

Chris:
You wanted to be the person to handle this thing for lack of a better expression from cradle to grave, like everything between the beginning and end, you guys are just going to take on?

Matthew:
Absolutely. I mean today ...

Chris:
That's nuts to me.

Matthew:
Yeah.

Chris:
That's nuts to me because you're 24 years old, having been out of school for just a few years, and you're already thinking like this. I'm going to get into the mindset of that a little bit later. Let's talk a little bit about, okay, so for everybody [inaudible 00:27:03] what does it mean to produce a film? Not on the brokering IP and selling it, but just okay, here's the script, the rights, go make it happen. Really quickly, what does that mean?

Matthew:
Yeah. I'll try and sync and put the one sentence answer that I heard one of the biggest producers in the world, someone who produces for Martin Scorsese. They say your job is to be the chief firefighter, right? You are literally shielding the director from all of the fires that need to be put out around them at all times and bringing them only solutions to those fires. They shouldn't see fires ultimately. That can take the form of so many different things, right, financially, cast wise, locations, the actual crew, the unions, the distribution.
Great producers can usually straddle all of those lines. They have a firm grasp of the financial. They have a firm grasp in relationships with the distributors. They have the ability to talk to actors and to creatives. They also have deep relationships with agents because the agents still are very much the gatekeepers. If an agent won't return your call, all of your content is going to be a labor of love for the rest of your career. It doesn't have to be your call. It just has to be someone you partner with, a producer.
In the early days, no one took my calls either. It really was about finding that gradual stepping stone and producing alongside of someone who is a more seasoned producer. I know we're trying to keep it quick. The other great comment I heard about producing is that it's one of the last apprenticeship roles in the world. I truly believe that. I think the best producers are generally people that were trained by the best producers before them and so on and so forth because it is part showman, part businessman, part creative and part sort of wizardry being able to constantly problem solve.

Chris:
We'll be right back with more from Matthew Helderman.

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Welcome back to our conversation with Matthew Helderman.

Chris:
Just talking to you reminded me of a series called Project Greenlight, which I'm sure you're familiar with, which gave every day individuals a little peek into that world. It's been some time since I've seen it. I remember there was the boss guy from the studio. He hired a line producer, basically to run the production. It was a nightmare for this person. Sometimes, I think, it was always a man, the two seasons that I saw. They were just dealing with just crazy stuff like the director, usually in this series, it was a first time feature film director and they didn't know what they wanted. They didn't know what they were doing. They weren't confident. They most likely wrote it or accepted the script.
It was just a S show the whole time. Sometimes you watch these things and you're thinking this thing was engineered from beginning to end to be a total dramatic thing. Is that an accurate depiction of what it's like to be a producer on a film?

Matthew:
Yeah. I would say every physically producing content is the most inefficient thing.

Chris:
I hope you would say no.

Matthew:
No, no, no, it's horrible. There's no other way to say it. It's horrible. Physically producing is a really, really, really, really tough and many more often than not instances, a thankless gig. I think that's very accurate ...

Chris:
Who would want to sign up for that then? Because you're getting beat up from everybody. The director hates you because it's like, I want this set. I want that location and this actress or actor and we can't get them, what are you doing? Then, the studio boss is like, you got to bring this under budget, your directory is out of control. There's no way we're not going to make any money on this thing. It's just nonsense after nonsense. What kind of crazy human says like, yeah, that's for me?

Matthew:
Yeah. I think a lot of different kind of crazy humans. I think that's the other really fun part about the entertainment business is I think the creative draws the good folks in. There's a lot of shadiness in this industry, so there's a lot of producers that are doing it because the barrier to entry to become a "producer" is simply putting a contract together and having someone on the other side sign it saying you're a producer on that piece of content. You end up dealing with a lot of people that are really in it for the wrong reasons.
Also, only in it because they think it could be a quick buck and they sort of see the glamor of the entertainment business, but they don't realize it's actually one of the least glamorous businesses, because it's so physically labor intensive, as you know, from commercials and producing content. There's nothing glorious or glamorous about a 14 hour production day, when you're eating at a craft services table out in the middle on a location shoot somewhere.
The reality is like you've said, everyone's pissed at the producer for one reason or another. I think producers do it mainly or in the best of sense, because they believe in the content, and they believe in the storyteller. Whether that storyteller is the writer or the filmmaker or a collaboration thereof. I think in the end, there are still many, many people we deal with that are in it for the wrong reasons but most of them don't last. They're not in it for the long haul.

Chris:
Right. Here's the other interesting thing about the Project Greenlight series, which is the films, I don't think they wind up being great and they didn't do well, because the show ended. These are two industry veterans in terms of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. I think the studio boss was a guy named Chris, I think. How did they make a film that didn't work?

Matthew:
Yeah.

Chris:
Or was it designed not to work because it was so dramatic to begin with?

Matthew:
Yeah. No, all of these are obviously great questions. There are movies made by like, I love Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. We're friends with some of the folks that were involved in Project Greenlight. They're great producers. There are great people involved in that show sort of every stage. I think the reality is that it's such an unknown whether lightning is going to strike for a film. I also think we now live in a time where the topicality of the content is so crucial.
There were obviously pieces of content that made political statements or were saying something more than just the underlying story, right, being real social commentary. That became something that companies like A24 or Neon, that are really modern day pioneers of capturing the zeitgeist in a way that film did in certain ways. They weren't, in my opinion, companies that were based purely around building a catalog and a brand around doing that.
I think the challenge with something like Project Greenlight is kind of like, who cares? Really, I know that's an upsetting thing to say. There are 5000 feature films made per year for pre COVID, now, how many come out after COVID is [inaudible 00:35:01] as production starts back up. Of those 5000 films, I think the reality is who cares about so many of them. There's so much great content being produced by world class storytellers, who are now capturing things in the zeitgeist, that if you're just telling a story with compelling actors and high production values, you and I both know, there's 500 of those that are new on Netflix and Amazon and Hulu, we can go watch tonight.
It really is about having to transcend that in a way now that I just think is so different. Even then 10 years ago when we started doing this, it feels like a different business.

Chris:
Okay. I think if I'm hearing this, you're saying that if you just do a film straight up, like good acting, good script, that's not enough, and maybe it hasn't been enough in a long time, but for sure, now, it's not enough that you have to be able to have your finger on the pulse of what people want today and what's hot and what they're talking about, right? You're saying just the sheer volume of films that are being made, so what if that one didn't work? So what?

Matthew:
Exactly.

Chris:
I look at it from a professional pride point of view, like these two guys, who were the face of this, it doesn't, in my opinion, reflect well on their ability to like, yeah, you guys know what you're doing [crosstalk 00:36:20]. Yeah. You can't pick winners. You pick these directors who have ginormous egos who don't seem to be very grateful for the opportunity or just ... why not just pick someone that you know it's going to work, a buddy that you have, and just show us that it can work that this model can make money and everybody's not going to have to fight each other every minute of the day.

Matthew:
Yeah. I think it's two things. The first is the show you just described while it may have resulted in a better film, it won't make great television. We're around the, literally as I'm down here on this production now, there's some pretty large celebrities and there are some pretty large reality personalities here. You hear the amount of coaching business folks around them from agents to business managers that are literally coaching the outlines that come in for "reality television shows".
There's so much coaching going on behind those shows to create ultimately, great television. The business model of selling advertisements during that content is at a premium. Then, the other piece I comment on about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck is look at sort of the average tenor of a major studio executive, especially on the creative side. I mean, you're talking three to five to six years best case. I mean, the number of studio executives I know that have run places like Sony or Columbia or Universal or you name it. Best case, you're in for a few years, right?
You green light a few projects, something doesn't go right because the dynamics are so difficult to predict and you're out. I think if studio executives can do it with the amount of data and information and capital resources, and the fact that they own the distribution side of the business, both television and theatrical, I just think it's unrealistic. It would be like being a venture capital firm and picking Facebook every single investment you make, or at least, on mid-level IPO company every time you invest.
I just don't think it's possible. When I think about our model, it's much more about, I'm going to hit singles, doubles, and a couple triples, and every now and again hit a home run. I'd rather just continue getting on base to continue staying in the game and not to sort of knock on that analogy too many times. I think for most studio executives, you have to by business model definition, swinging for the fences. That ultimately leads to challenging results.

Chris:
This is very much then a hits business that a few like home runs, does that then support the singles because are the singles profitable? Are you breakeven are you in the hole?

Matthew:
Yeah, I mean, I think for us on a single, still, you're still profitable, right? Let's say, on every deal, knock on wood, we've done 300 film and television deals with our own capital on the BondIt side. Of those, two have been real challenges, primarily due to things like fraud and misrepresentation on the production side. Again, that goes back to what kind of a person would want to be a producer. Unfortunately, oftentimes, it's an unscrupulous person. Your underwriting and the discerning nature of how you need to run that underwriting process changes over time.
Of the other 295 plus of those projects, they, I would say, are probably more heavily concentrated single or doubles that are profitable. There are a handful of triples and there's probably two to four to five home runs. The home runs may not, in some instances, be more economically winners than the singles and doubles. From a branding perspective, you have something, like when we were involved in helping finance Loving Vincent, the Vincent van Gogh animated film that was nominated for the Oscar and for the Golden Globe.
Having a picture like that will change the trajectory of where you are in sort of the pecking order of this business in a way that it's worth, like economically it was a great win for us as well. It also has ancillary benefits that you have to sort of look at it through that lens. I know I'm trying to keep this quick but I'll make a very quick comment that I think is amazing thing for creatives to think about. Bob Iger, who obviously runs and now is the non-executive chairman at Disney but was the CEO for so many years, has a comment that I always found so fascinating, which is even at Disney's level and scale, the motion picture division is really just the marketing arm for ancillaries, merchandising and theme parks.
Until you can get that through your head that a company that generates $10 billion plus of revenues per year from theatrical is only looking at the theatrical content as ways to drive these other divisions of the company, I don't think you've sort of unlocked the way you think. When we think about portfolio allocation, we think about it through the lens of is this likely to be something that's going to hit big on Netflix? Or on home entertainment or theatrically?
Yes, it may still just be a single or a double, but the ancillary knock on value to the rest of our ecosystem is going to be exponential.

Chris:
Okay. Of course, before I can finish all my questions, new questions are formed. I think you said 300, right, 300 films you've produced as BondIt?

Matthew:
Yup.

Chris:
Okay. Of those, what percentage have broken even or made money just so I can figure this out.

Matthew:
All of them except two have made us money.

Chris:
Oh, really? That's fantastic.

Matthew:
Yeah. Again, that comes back to the very early response I made which is the way a capital stack is structured in motion picture, I don't take the equity risk at the very bottom of the totem pole. I take the risk at the very top, which is what I learned at that Paramount base production company all those years ago when I realized they were financing these movies by pre-selling them. I take that piece of risk. The risk I'm really taking is, is the producer able to get this thing completed? Do I have enough controls around it to make sure I can help troubleshoot it if it doesn't, or if it has issues?
Then the third, oftentimes biggest risk is, is the distributor who's pre-bought it going to be in business and able to pay me when I deliver them this finished movie?

Chris:
I got it. You're talking about there's relatively low risk to you because you pre-sold it. You have, I think, theoretically money to produce the film. As long as the film was done and everybody fulfills their end of the bargain, meaning producer delivers you a film that you can air and then the people who you pre-sold to actually then give you the money and they're still around, then you've already made money, right?

Matthew:
Correct. That's exactly right.

Chris:
Okay. Wow. All right. Okay. When you have made that comparison to say a hedge fund manager investing or venture capital company, my understanding is you're going to have nine losers to one winner or something even more ridiculous, but that one winner is going to hit so big, it doesn't even matter. They're picking losers all the time. This isn't actually an apples-to-apples comparison here, right? Because then, they're losing almost all the time and just winning when it matters whereas you're winning almost all the time but your singles and doubles aren't going to be the next Facebook, it's not going to be like a 10,000 return on investment.

Matthew:
That's all correct. That's all exactly correct. Yup.

Chris:
Beautiful. Okay. This is like a slow and steady race. You said, we're making films, we're making 50, 60 film and TV projects a year. That's what matters to us because you just like the whole process and you're in love with the business itself, right?

Matthew:
Yeah. You also can continue to pull on that thread of curiosity to grow other areas of the business. It's led to other mergers and acquisitions and so on.

Chris:
When we read in the trades, that XYZ tentpole picture or whatever, it has grossly underperformed, let's say it was a $200 million picture that's doing $100 million at the box office. We look at oh my god, whoever financed this thing is just ... or not finance it, the production entity is just in the shorts on this, but most likely, they've sold it for 400 or 500 million, and they already have the 200 million. Is that me understanding this correctly?

Matthew:
Theatrical business is a bit of a different animal. Those films, so let's say I think you just said a $200 million movie. Assume that it was 200 million. Then, on top of it, they probably spent 150 or somewhere between 100 and 150 million marketing it. They're in the hole of 300 to 450 million bucks. What they're banking on is the return on that is not only in window one, which is theatrical. The reason that Hollywood so cleverly structured it to have theatrical and to show those results is that remember, they can carry those losses forward.
If they have huge wins in their theme park division or their television division or their merchandising division, they're carrying that loss forward for multiple years on a go forward basis. The big, big difference between us is an inability to well, I guess, I think the biggest difference between us is we don't have a merchandising or a theme park or a division that that kind of a loss is justifiable. That kind of a loss really hurts. Yes, you can still carry it forward but you may not have the same revenues to be able to justify doing so.
They look at the movie business really as just the gateway of the consumer into the rest of the ecosystem of running an entertainment conglomerate whereas when we look at a deal, we look at it as each of the divisions of the business need to be able to stand alone in a performance perspective. That is completely the antithesis of a theatrical movie. The other thing to remember about a theatrical movie is the number of people. When it says the movie did 100 million and it costs 200. Not only are they in the red because of the marketing spend, and because of the underperformance on the production budget, they're in the red because there's also the theatrical distribution fee, which is anywhere from 10 to 25%.
There's also the premium on the marketing spend, usually somewhere around 15% or so on that 100, 150 million investment. Then, there's the actual production fee and corridors. You make a movie with someone like Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt, they have a theatrical corridor. They're making a percentage of the gross dollars that come in. A movie that underperforms, it is creating a gigantic change in the corporate financials of a studio. They're using that strategically on a carry forward basis based on that performance.

Chris:
Okay. This is still working in a similar scale as what you're talking about that even though the picture costs them 200 million, 150 million to market and then all these other fees, didn't they just pre-sell it for more than that? Or?

Matthew:
No, no, not really. Not really because a theatrical movie, their hope, but also the difference if you're Universal or Warner Brothers. Universal and Warner Brothers have channels all over the world. Their "pre-sales" are already factored in to that budget because they know, okay, after it goes theatrical, they're going to cable. Yes, over time, they are generating revenues from their other outlets, but they're not pre-selling it because theatrical movies, I know this is maybe getting a little too inside baseball, it's based on rate card.
The rate card is simply if the movie does a million dollars in the box, here's what the rate card is for the Latin America and European territories for the television rights who does $10 million. Here's what the rate card is for Latin America and European rights. They don't want to pre-sell it because they don't know yet what the actual performance is going to be. They would ultimately only be leveraging or pre-selling to themselves, right.
They don't need to pre-sell because studios are by definition conglomerates that own the distribution infrastructure in ...

Chris:
I got.

Matthew:
There's all three windows, right? There's theatrical, there's home entertainment, and then there's video on demand. They own those channels so there is no one to pre-sell to. To them, it's a much more of a longer play that if something underperforms in window one, window two and window three become more and more important to recoup.

Chris:
I see. For these larger conglomerates, the ones that we're used to hearing about all the time, they've got such a deep web distribution, multifaceted companies that it's all this intertwined, interlocking thing. If they lose in the bet, as long as they are still in business, they just write off the loss moving forward. Eventually, they'll be fine if they just stay in business long enough, right?

Matthew:
Exactly. That's right.

Chris:
A few hits to carry them, they'll be fine.

Matthew:
Yeah, that's exactly right. I mean, I think, again, this number always is incredible. When Lucas film sold to Disney, it was $6 billion, it was 4, 5, $6 billion deal. That's how many pieces of IP? It's Star Wars. It's Indiana Jones. Beyond those, it's not a ton of IP. Then, when recently ...

Chris:
It's a very good piece of IP, I just have to say.

Matthew:
I mean, it's the best piece of IP maybe of all time. Then when Paramount as a studio with 700 film library and over a thousand series television library was valued at half that number, that comes back to your point about the value of IP. It wasn't the value of just the movies. It was the brilliance of Lucas to recognize that Star Wars is a world for the consumer whereas Paramount never really created that IP. Yes, they have White Christmas. Yes, they have Top Gun. They have amazing pieces of IP. They have some of the best movies ever. They're just as memorable. The business infrastructure wasn't built the same way around them.

Chris:
Yeah, there's the video games. There's the toys. There's all the licensing of the bed sheets and coasters and mugs and everything that you could think of because the universe is not just a film you experience. When I heard that he had sold it, I was like, I think it was a good deal all around because we need somebody else besides who are doing this now to pass it on to another generation of younger filmmakers who could maybe make us more in touch with what's going on and George can do whatever the heck he wants ultimately, right?

Matthew:
Correct. Correct.

Chris:
Then, also, that Disney buy-in, it was like such a genius struggle. How long does it take before they make all that money back and then some? It almost seems-

Matthew:
Very, very, very quickly.

Chris:
Right, right. It seems almost unfair. They now own Marvel and Star Wars and Pixar or Lucas and Pixar and they basically own everything I want to watch and consume.

Matthew:
Again, if you haven't read the Bob Iger book, I would try ... I think he released it right at the end of last year. It will change the way that hearing your excitement about Disney, I feel the exact same way. I think he's the greatest. He's the greatest content architect maybe in the history of entertainment.

Chris:
He talked about it a little bit in his masterclass. I was like, wow, okay. This is the business of filmmaking.

Matthew:
Yes.

Chris:
Okay. I have a bunch more questions here. Let's talk about Netflix. Let's shift gears because I know you have some properties on Netflix. Are you allowed to disclose any kind of numbers?

Matthew:
Yeah, I mean, what kind of numbers? They don't disclose a lot of numbers to us so I can disclose what I have available.

Chris:
Okay, so I'll ask and then you say, hey, I can't say or I don't want to say. Okay. Netflix, I think, a couple of months ago was now valued more than Disney. I was like, oh my god. Okay, that's pretty shocking because of a lot of things that are happening right now. I'm watching Netflix all the time myself. I'm sitting there thinking, oh, this is a great documentary. I just love the variety and the volume of it. There's something in there for everybody. I see, Tiger, is it Tiger King?

Matthew:
Tiger King. Yeah.

Chris:
Yeah, Tiger King. That thing went nuts all right. The company that produced this, and who then sold it to Netflix, how much was that thing worth? I don't think the filmmakers or the production company gets a piece of the back end. There's no back end with them, right?

Matthew:
There's no back end. Yeah, I think, Netflix has turned the business on its head in so many ways in an unprecedented way. I mean, I think one of the biggest is not only is there no back end. Netflix when they buy a piece of content, they're generally buying it in perpetuity in all rights and formats. What that basically means is what you've just made is your producer fee or your directing or writing fee. That's it. It's over. It's a part of your resume.

Chris:
You're done.

Matthew:
You're done. You're done. You own none of the intellectual property. You create Stranger Things. Obviously, that would be a gigantic merchandising opportunity. Netflix has historically and notoriously not focused on merchandising, they've been focused on just building the content machine. Imagine if you're those Duffer brothers are creators and you want the ability to go build, which clearly they do, something like a Star Wars like merchandising opportunity or toy opportunity around that franchise, you are restricted from doing so.
They generally come in and they finance on what's called a cost plus basis. That basically means cost plus is the total negative cost of the content. Let's say it costs $10 million to produce whether it's a show or a film, and then they're going to pay A premium, so cost plus the premium. The premium is usually what's called 15 to 20%. That is split up amongst the right holders and the producers. The upside you've made on the best case scenario is something like that, 20%.
Of course, people will always say [crosstalk 00:54:18] that's right. That's 20% of the budget. In that instance 2 million is split. That's right.

Chris:
Yeah. Okay.

Matthew:
I think the thing people always point to is someone like Shonda Rhimes or Ryan Murphy that do a gigantic overall deal with Netflix. Again, this is maybe super inside baseball, but basically all that really is, is like a studio overhead deal. Meaning, they're paying for your offices, they're paying for your staff, they're paying high fees, they get a first look at everything, but they still own your IP.
Ryan Murphy, he was able to retain ownership and things like Nip Tuck and American Horror Story. If those existed on Netflix under the new deal he has, he wouldn't get to own them. It is very much a shifting paradigm. Yes, they can pay dollar for doughnuts more than anyone even close, maybe other than Apple. Apple is, interestingly enough, doing something pretty similar. All rights all formats in perpetuity, they're not going to give you a ton of access to the data, whether one person watched it or 1 billion people watched it, you don't know and your number doesn't change.

Chris:
Okay. What these digital distribution networks streaming networks like Netflix, Apple, probably Amazon and everybody else, is if they've basically converted this whole model into work for hire agreement.

Matthew:
That's correct. Yeah. That's right. Yeah. It's horrible.

Chris:
It sucks. It is changing it. I mean, there's good and bad to everything, right? The good is you're a filmmaker, you love making films. You're not going to sweat this stuff. They'll just help you make films. You don't have to worry about the hits and you're losing money. You take none of the risk. They take the risk, they're just going to give you the money. If it works, it works, it doesn't matter. Okay? Then, you don't have the opportunity to build a whole business, an empire like George Lucas did with Star Wars, you just can't do it.

Matthew:
You can't.

Chris:
I see that industry veterans like Spielberg have been very vocal about Netflix or going against Netflix, like not wanting any of the productions that come out of Netflix and these types of distribution networks to be able to be qualified for an Academy Award. Where do you think that's coming from? Is that a reaction to some of this?

Matthew:
Yeah. I mean, I think there's always going to be the old guard. I think what Netflix has done such a good job of is planting their feet on both sides of the content landscape and the technology landscape. Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, had made an awesome comment, not this this last ... two earnings calls ago. At the end of the quarter, he made a comment that said, "Netflix has such a low number of employees." It's incredible. It's like 6000 employees, especially for a company worth more than Disney, as you correctly point out.
He said, "Our company has 3000 employees up in the San Francisco Bay Area that believe they work at the best technology company in the world. Then, we have 3000 employees down in Los Angeles that believe they work for the best entertainment company in the world. The best part about Netflix is that both of those groups are right." He's been able to create that business that now has this incredibly aggressive push back. However, unless you're Spielberg, I mean, we deal with A list actors and directors and producers and agents.
Netflix is your first stop. They're quicker in their responses. They say yes, more often than not for quality package. They also have the prestige factor. The rumors about them maybe buying something like AMC or a theater chain so that they'll have their own theatrical footprint and they'll repurpose the theatrical experience so it won't be just used for movie going but it'll be used for multi-purpose entertainment would give them a foothold for all their best films now to be Academy Award winning qualifying.
Look, I think, it's an incredibly smart company, obviously, with very, very politically sensitive, like Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer, is one of the most well respected creatives in the entertainment business. He knows he's way better off being in Netflix than he is being in Paramount, or Disney or DreamWorks or wherever. He's so well suited, like you've said, to touch so many different areas of creative and so many different types of audiences, because he's able to green light things in a way that no one has ever been able to do because of the breath that Netflix is embarking on.

Chris:
What a dilemma we live in. On the one hand, somebody's going to say yes, somebody's going to move quickly. Probably get out of your business so that the artists can be the artist and pay you probably more than you thought you can get paid. Then, they cap off the back end, it's like there's no perfect world there. On the other model, it's like slow. We approve this. We're going to make changes. You don't have the artistic freedom and the prestige. It's like, what the heck?
You might make it really big and you can own it and that could be your legacy. Wow. It's like, there's a little bit for everybody. I'm just curious, though, so they buy the rights to the Tiger King, and I think it's just like a cultural beast. The people who produced this thing, what are numbers that they looked at? What do they sell themselves for?

Matthew:
Yeah, I mean, I'll tell you, we finance on the BondIt side, probably the largest unscripted content company that does business with Netflix. The average budgets range anywhere from $200,000 per episode to $750,000 per episode. That's the total budget. There may be some breakage, meaning they might pay that premium that I just mentioned. You're not talking huge numbers. You're talking maybe a maximum a million dollars episode. You don't know how much your work for hire, as you said.

Chris:
Right. Yeah. I guess, in the doc film world that sounds like a ginormous number, but episodic television, that's nothing, right?

Matthew:
Correct. That's right.

Chris:
Wow. Okay. All right. Okay. Tell me a little bit about how you decide what projects that you want to put your money behind, like your own money, like the money that you've worked hard to get. How do you decide from your point of view?

Matthew:
Yeah, I mean, I think it's probably a three step process. The first is what's the collateral or the guarantee or the security behind this? Is it a distribution contract? Is it multiple distribution contracts? Is it distribution contracts plus a tax credit? How [inaudible 01:00:49] that's bucket number one. First off, does the project have a real security package and a structure? Bucket number two or method number two of looking through that lens is really determining the team that's going to be boots on the ground running it. Do you trust them? Do you believe that it ultimately is going to get over the finish line?
Every project as going back to your Project Greenlight example, every project is a nightmare, every project is dealing with so many problems. Ultimately, you know you need someone with a steady hand and great bedside manner that's going to steer it through when that inevitably happens. Then, the third bucket is, is it the right place for our capital? Frankly, we looked at literally 1000 plus inbound financing opportunities a year across film and television and podcasts and sports and digital content and new media.
If it's not the right place for our capital risk or structure or pricing wise, we have the luxury at this point in where we are as a company to pass on something. We've missed on things that I wish we had financed but we've also have been, knock on wood, good stewards of the capital that we have. That's why we've been able to win the confidence of big time investors and institutions that have supported us into growth. Believe just as the team does around us that the trajectory we're on will continue to discern the investment decisions through those three lenses in a process, while not losing sight of working and partnering with great teams and great creative to make sure it gets over the line.
Above everything else, is the security there that's going to get us comfortable or I think I could have put capital into some of the biggest movie stars in the world then I would have lost all that money. If I had sort of played the game, a Tom Cruise movie comes across your desk or 1917 comes across your desk. These things come across our desk weekly, but it's all about where are you structured in that finance plan? You're not just buying a ticket to a premiere and the ability to say my name's on that movie. We want to be in this for 30 years and we want to build something big and that will have a legacy long before or long after we're not running it.
If I took those crazy risks, even though I love the finished product of that content, I'm not getting my money out. Going back to your earliest comment about my personality of balancing those sort of conflicting personality traits or types. You do have to have that internal conflict when you make these investment decisions that the creative might be amazing and the team might be excellent, but the security sucks. I have a good sense that my intuition tells me we're going to lose our money in this structure and so you have to pass.

Chris:
Yeah. You have to be a wise and disciplined investor when it comes to this stuff, right? Your heart might say, do it. This is going to be hot. Then, you're going to eat it in the shorts because the other variables don't work for you.

Matthew:
That's exactly right.

Chris:
Okay. Netflix has been buying a lot of comedy specials. When you talk about a docu series going for 200 to $750,000 per episode, what is the budget for a comedy special?

Matthew:
Very, very similar. We've been involved with comedy special content. It's been anywhere from a quarter of a million dollars, maybe less, maybe $200,000 all the way. I mean, like the Chappelle stuff is crazy but that's a different ... They're buying exclusive Chappelle.

Chris:
That's a different category.

Matthew:
Correct. Correct. I'd say 200,000 up to a million.

Chris:
Okay. All right. This sheds a lot of light on that because I thought these guys are now rolling in the cash and they're not ...

Matthew:
Some. Yeah. Some are. Yeah.

Chris:
Okay. Here's my, I guess, my last question for you, I'm mindful of your time at all. I think I could talk to you hours about all the geeky stuff that you're like, I wonder if anybody's paying attention to this at this point, but I am. I would love to get your forecast. Just give me three predictions on some big moves that haven't happened yet. I want to get your pulse on the industry.

Matthew:
Absolutely. I'd say the first is Amazon buys either Amazon or Disney buy a theatrical theater chain. I think within the next 12 months, maybe 12 to 24 months. I think that's number one. I think number two, I think, the reason being is the diversification of their business model allows them to use that foothold in real estate in such a different way to repurpose the entertainment experiences in those venues in a way that the theater chains that operate is just true traditional theater chains cannot do.
If anyone can make those businesses profitable, it's Disney and Amazon to figure out where to squeeze money out of those real estate holdings.

Chris:
Right. I think if they just wait long enough, AMC will be cheap.

Matthew:
I think that's right. I don't even have to wait that much longer.

Chris:
Right. It's like it's on edge, right?

Matthew:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay.

Matthew:
I think theatrical business changes in terms of who owns that business. The second thing is that home entertainment becomes a real venue for big tentpole movies, which I know is the antithesis of what we think of with some of the theatrical and so on. Seeing how COVID required theaters, I'm sorry, required studios to rethink a theatrical release, and then push experiences like Trolls to home entertainment, and they end up generating close to if not greater economic reward from doing so. Obviously, the dollars are going to dictate that decision. If you don't need to pay the expensive crazy marketing costs to drive people to a movie theater, I think you're going to make that decision.
I think that becomes a standoff between the theater owners which is there's really an organization of the theater owners. A standoff of them versus studios and I think that we've seen some of that already happening during COVID and I think we're going to see a lot more of that because there's just no need to go traditional theatrical. Then, I think, the third prediction, yes, I could make a number of them.
Anything from as you know, I'm down here on a set at the moment on a film that got shut down during COVID. After being halfway through production is now starting back up. The challenges that face production are significant, and I'll say that firsthand having been in production meetings nonstop the last several days down here. I think there are certain areas and certain films, I think, TV type content made for TV type content, so things with less big star names. I think that is easier and more likely to be something that can be produced without too many hiccups.
Things that are bigger budgeted? This film, I had to come on down here, I had a 200 person crew prior to COVID. That crew is now down to 102 people. There are four actors that are essential elements in the distribution agreement. Ultimately what that means is if we don't have them or even one of them, the collateral shifts and drops out. If one of them tests positive for COVID, are you shutting down temporarily? What does that knock on effect look like for the rest of the crew? Meaning, are crew members feeling like they're not safe, and so on and so forth.
I don't know how long that goes. I think people that think that there's a vaccine or we're flattening the curve, and we're going to be back at work normally in 3, 6, 9, 12 months. Film is such an incredibly nuanced thing with all of these people and departments working together in one space. I don't know how you can achieve that unless you bifurcate this risk in some way that right now, frankly, even with really smart producers, and production folks on this project, I don't see it happening yet.
My prediction on that would simply be the kind of content we see is going to be produced in a different way when it is produced, but the majority of content being produced is going to be smaller footprint, smaller impact. That will likely change the way unions are going to fight for their workers. Meaning, there's just less of them working. It also changed the ways in which the speed at which we're able to shoot and make our days is going to change.
My understanding from having gone to a set yesterday was if a light needs to be changed or an adjustment needs to be made for the director of photography, the entire set clears every single department that's already isolated in their own, literally a quadrant, has to get off the stage so the director of photography can make that change. That is going to take a gigantic toll on the ability to get through a day of production, unless you just pre-light and don't change anything the entire day, which we know a great cinematographer, they're never going to go for.
I think there's structural changes coming to the distribution of the business. There are business changes coming at the sort of conglomerate level. Then, there are also production changes coming with how we're going to make content for the next year plus.

Chris:
Yeah, I'm with you. I've been thinking about the same things. I'm wondering in some kind of fantastical solution, Film Island up here is where it's totally isolated. Every that's on the island is quarantined for 14 days or whatever. Then, once you're cleared, you're not allowed to leave and once you leave, you're done. Then, that way, everybody is safe, that you can do whatever you need, and you can move at the same speed. People who are sitting around thinking that, I'll just wait this out, everything will come back to normal probably, that's not a smart play.

Matthew:
Yup.

Chris:
Right? Okay. Wow, Matthew, this was super informative. I think you gave me a really kind of an insider's peek into the world of filmmaking. This is so fascinating for me. I hope our audience enjoys this. If they want to get more or learn more about you, where should they go?

Matthew:
They can check out the websites at Buffalo8, buffalo, like the animal, eight, like the number .com or BondIt, B-O-N-D-I-T, .us. Then also same handles on Twitter and Instagram. We'd love to certainly always open our doors certainly open to hear. We've made projects with people from every walk of life from really experienced seasoned executives and producers and directors and writers all the way down to first timers. We're always interested in hearing from people. We certainly welcome any anyone to reach out.

Chris:
That's very generous of you. I'm sure some people will reach out with their projects.

Matthew:
Great. I appreciate, Chris. Thank you again for taking the time. My name is Matthew Helderman and you are listening to The Futur.

Greg:
Thanks so much for joining us in this episode. If you're new to The Futur and want to know more about our educational mission, visit the futur.com. To find more podcast episodes, hundreds of YouTube videos, and a growing collection of online courses and products covering design in business. Oh and spell The Futur with no E.
The Futur podcast is hosted by Chris Do and produced by me, Greg Gunn. This episode was mixed and edited by Anthony Barro with intro music by Adam Sanborn. If you enjoyed this episode, then do us a favor and rate and review us on iTunes. It's a tremendous help in getting our message out there. Let us know what you like. Thanks again for listening. We will see you next time.

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