Jason Faller Makes Movies

I am always impressed by filmmakers who wake up, take action and get their movies made outside of Hollywood, without asking permission. Jason Faller is one such filmmaker.

With his company Arrowstorm Entertainment, he produces, markets and sells his own movies.

Jason Faller stopped by Filmmaking Stuff to share some tips on how to become a successful, entrepreneurial filmmaker.

Filmmaking Stuff
Hi Jason. You’ve been doing some interesting stuff. Can you tell our readers a little more about you?

Jason Faller
My name is Jason Faller, I’ve been producing feature films for about 10 years. I grew up in Eastern Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. That’s the capital of Canada. I went to film school in Utah, and put together a crew and ended up staying.

Filmmaking Stuff
So would you consider yourself more of a producer?

Jason Faller
I do a lot of screenwriting. But more particularly I am a producer. I do a lot more producing than I do writing.

Filmmaking Stuff
What is a history of your company?

Jason Faller
My current company is Arrowstorm Entertainment, which has exclusively produced “genre films”, all of them action films in one way or another.

Filmmaking Stuff
Like what? Horror? Zombies? Kung Fu?

Jason Faller
Fantasy is our most prolific genre, we have focused on fantasy themes for most of our films lately. Medieval fantasy, high fantasy, Earth-hybrid fantasy.

Filmmaking Stuff
How many movies have you made?

Jason Faller
In one way or another I have produced ten films in those ten years. Only two have had theatrical releases, but all except one have been profitable.

Filmmaking Stuff
That’s an amazing track record. What was your release schedule?

Jason Faller
I started out making about one every two years, but every since we started Arrowstorm, I’ve been much more productive. We made two in 2011 (principal photography, anyway), three in 2012, and I expect we’ll do five this year.

Filmmaking Stuff
What is your business model?

Jason Faller
We stick to a small crew, limited to 12-15 crew on set, but professional high quality department heads.

Filmmaking Stuff
You guys also use a lot of VFX too.

Jason Faller
Yeah. VFX is a big part of our success. All our films have VFX. Additionally, star power is good when we can afford it, but we also have found that sometimes star power is “Dragon”, rather than, let’s say, “Steve Zahn.”

Filmmaking Stuff
And how do you decided on which movies get made?

Jason Faller
We tell stories that we are excited about, but which are commercially driven. I like the movie “Pi” (about a mathematician on the verge of unraveling the mathematical essence of the universe, which is fairly unmarketable as a concept) but I also like The Empire Strikes Back.

Filmmaking Stuff
Does potential for return on investment play into this decision?

Jason Faller
I choose to make something inspired by Empire rather than Pi, because then I can make money. I don’t believe that filmmakers have to make commercial failures to be artists. They just need to think about the films they love that are commercially viable as concepts.

Filmmaking Stuff
How do you find investors for your project?

Jason Faller
We raised private equity from local business owners and film enthusiasts. We pay them dividends on their investment, but now all our capital comes from the revenue our past films have generated.

Filmmaking Stuff
This is what I mean about modern moviemaking. You guys really are a mini studio.

Jason Faller
As long as our films continue to be profitable, we can keep making more movies with the profits.

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Here is an example of a Jason Faller Film


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Filmmaking Stuff
What are your distribution strategies?

Jason Faller
We sell to foreign territories through international sales agents at all the major film markets including Cannes, MIPCOM, MIPTV, AFM, and Berlin. Then we sell to the domestic market, mostly TV rights sales.

Filmmaking Stuff
Is there still a market for DVD?

Jason Faller
DVD used to be more than half of our revenue, but these days DVD is dropping off, and it’s more about TV rights. We talk with distributors and sales agents BEFORE greenlighting a concept. This provides us with insight about what they’d like to see us produce. This is based on what buyers are looking for for their channels.

Filmmaking Stuff
What marketing strategies have you used to sell your movies?

Jason Faller
Trailer and Key Art. That’s pretty much it. Our sales agents take it from there in terms of advertising at the markets. Buyers who are looking to license rights can usually make a decision based on the trailer and the key art.

Filmmaking Stuff
So oftentimes, it’s not necessary for them to even watch the movie?

Jason Faller
The actual film is less important in a sense. But having a great film to deliver in the end is what builds reputation, which is also crucial. Crowdfunding is great for raising extra capital for finishing funds in post production. We do some minor social network marketing for that.

Filmmaking Stuff
What about festivals? Is that part of your strategy?

Jason Faller
We don’t do film festivals, for the most part.

Filmmaking Stuff
How have changes in the movie industry affected your business?

Jason Faller
Because DVD is disappearing, hard R rated material isn’t as profitable now. TV doesn’t pay much for trashy horror films or smutty indies. In addition, the decline of DVD worldwide means that the Key Art is becoming less important, because TV buyers need a film that will hold an audience through commercial changes. Having a strong first half of the film is essential for TV, because if the audience makes it through the one-hour commercial break, they will likely finish the film, which is everything to TV…

Filmmaking Stuff
Any closing thoughts?

Jason Faller
Digital cameras, advances in VFX, and crowdfunding have made it a lot easier to make the stories we want to tell, and to make a quality product without huge budgets.

Filmmaking Stuff
Thank you for stopping by.

Jason Faller
Thank you for having me.

Comments

  1. says

    Jason is doing a business plan very similar to Charles Band’s Full Moon Productions in the late 80′s and before that, Roger Corman. The most important thing was to make what the distributers and audience were buying at the time. That is the driving mantra, not necessarily what you would like to make. Charles Band would have meetings with his distributors and just show them Key Art / Movie Posters. When they selected the posters they liked, only then did Band go out and make those movies. He only made what he could sell.

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