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In this episode, I get to speak with Ron Newcomb. He’s an organizer & moderator for the VIP TV & Film Summit, and that’s one of the first ways I connected with him. He’s a director, writer, actor and producer at The Forge Studios. He’s written and directed many award winning shorts and feature length films.

And I was like, hey, that’s a place that I’ve been struggling to figure out and have been passionate about for the past, many, many years. How can I get a behind the scenes of what it takes to have a short film that’s been produced. how to get out there and connect with people in this field. And I figured Ron is the perfect candidate for us to talk about tv & movie production.

You can reach Ron Newcomb through the, via Linkedin and Facebook.

Enjoy the episode!

Our Guest

Ron Newcomb

Hacks to take Away

  • Entrepreneurial spirit and the biggest business acumen, as well as that creative element people.
  • The certain right alignment of things to come together to be able to really kind of capture it.
  • What could be done what was possible in the digital age.
  • Found the love of directing and producing a product of wanting to keep projects going.
  • Getting shows on the indie-friendly platforms.
  • Sustainable filmmaking.
  • The producer is the one that green lights the projects and gets a project going and without the producer, all these other people get nothing.

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Read Full Transcript

Junaid Ahmed 0:10
Thank you for tuning into hacks and hobbies with your host Junaid. In Season Two of hacks and hobbies were visited by our amazing guests coming from all walks of life want to learn their story, their struggles and their journey on how they got to where they are today. So stick around.

In this episode, I get to speak with Ron Newcomb. He's an organizer moderator for the VIP film summit, and that's one of the first ways I connected with him. He's a director, writer, actor and producer of the forge studios. He's written and directed many award winning short and feature length films. And I was like, hey, that's a place that I've been struggling and been passionate about for the past, many, many years. How can I get a behind the scenes of what it takes to have a short film that's being produced and out there and how to connect with people. And I figured run is the perfect candidate for to talk about that. So Ron, thank you so much for taking the time and coming on to the podcast. Yeah, no,

Ron Newcomb 1:38
I definitely appreciate it. It feels like there's a lot of good synergy for sure. And a lot of people I'm hopeful can resonate with this because we all have that. Many of us have that entrepreneurial spirit and the biggest business acumen as well as that creative element people like to tap into.

Junaid Ahmed 1:55
Fantastic. Yeah, absolutely. And being on the side of the camera where you shoot. I've had some opportunities where I got to be on a set where we're, it's a indie film, and there's crew of small people. And we're out in the cold and in early day in Colorado, and it's snow is coming down and I'm shooting behind the scenes. I'm like, wow, this is this is a ton of fun. You're you're fighting the elements, but then you're also capturing some really good shots for what the director has in mind or what the story has in mind.

Ron Newcomb 2:33
Yeah, you know, it's, it's interesting. It's that collaborative, creative medium, and a lot of times those beauty shots, the aesthetics, it does take, you know, the certain right alignment of things to come together to be able to really kind of capture it

Junaid Ahmed 2:49
in the lens. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So tell us a little version of your story. Since my earliest is this is the first time They get to hear from you. So tell us a little bit about yourself how you got into the film industry, what inspired you and where does it Where does this all started? Get Started?

Ron Newcomb 3:11
Yeah, so I kind of came way of an actor. So back when I first started out if there wasn't any digital opportunity, and so I started out as an actor, really grew up as a jock. And in my younger years, but when I went to college, they didn't have any sports or anything. And so I had always desired to do some acting. And I had done a very little bit when I was really young, and decided to audition for a play, and I was cast and that just solidified the bug in me. So as a result of that, I ended up doing a bunch of auditions, getting cast and some things. And I picked up a local agent and the DC market which is where I'm at. We call it the DMV. Yes, Carolina, Virginia. Yeah, it's just not a huge in particularly then was not a big film or or acting area we had certainly some theaters for stage performance, but nothing really on screen. But then the digital age came and that kind of changed all that. And so I went in the Marine Corps when I was younger, got out and move to LA for a very short time in around 1994 to 95. And most people probably don't remember what there was a minor recession back then it was just very difficult to get a job coming back home shortly thereafter, and it became a police officer and I thought, well, you know, that's my acting days are over. That's kind of behind me. But I ended up meeting a friend of mine on the police department who is a fellow officer, a guy named Jim clock, and you can look him up on IMDB. He's done several film projects now but he too had the acting bug. And him and I did a project to get together. He was definitely the lead point person on it on it. And it was an indie feature very indie around the year 2000.

And it showed me thought, what could be done what was possible in the digital age and I thought, Man, this, this could actually be something. And so as a result of that experience, I started to pursue to see if this is something I could do. And in 2006, I was hired on to be a director of a feature attended this screenwriting program that was very stringent it was an eight week six to eight week course, called the Act One. It was very intensive in screenwriting and television writing, and then just started to selfteach myself, but I tried to get on to other sets and it just wasn't a lot going on. So by proxy, my love for the industry and to do acting, I found a love of directing. And I produce as a byproduct of wanting to keep projects going. And so I ended up co-writing, and producing and directing my first feature film called The rise of the fellowship and that was kind of getting like an MBA and filmmaking we ended up getting domestic distribution we sold in 19 countries translated to I want to say 13 languages wow sold units to Walmart, it was on Netflix, the whole nine yards and it made enough money they just get me addicted. So for for six years, I did filmmaking full time. Wow. And just always some trying to you know, enhance the craft and to add value to different projects. And so people do in the area of the words kind of gone out people do come to me and with thoughts, comments, questions, or just help trying to get stuff done because although it's gotten less expensive because the gear has gotten less expensive, and consumer ship is an all time high, there's also a just a mass volume of content being created. And so how can you get seen or heard through just all the noise and so that's another, you know, thing that one must consider in trying to tell a story and then get it out there. Absolutely.

Junaid Ahmed 7:40
That's that's, that's quite a story. That's quite a journey, man. That's, that's really cool.

Ron Newcomb 7:47
Yeah, no, definitely when and we're not done yet. Because as you know, selfishly, I wanted to meet certain people in the industry. I just felt like I wasn't getting to the decision makers. A lot of us indie filmmakers. There's talk about getting shows on the indie friendly platforms called the streamers, which is, you know, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu. But although they're disruptors and distribution, the way they take on content is very traditional. And so one must have an inroad in there. And regardless of what people think about Hollywood in LA specifically, that is where the decisions of major decisions are still being made at that executive level. And so I set out to try to get connected. I started out with hypothesis of how could I level up and take this like your show? Yeah, hack, this hobby of mine. It was it was a passion, you know, it was a calling and I wanted to be able to try to hack the system. And so you, you, there's four prominent ways. You're either going to find the right producing partner and we know that in the entrepreneurial world as a joint venture, right? You're going to get a man manager or an agent, you're going to get a, an executive to believe in you, you're you're going to find an investor to invest in your projects, and you're just going to go make it. So I put together this thing, as you indicated where you and I first met. Yeah, this event called the VIP film and TV summit with that iPod hypothesis of mine. And I flew out 20 VIPs. And we would do an hour long seminar talking about those topics with those specific panelists. And then 10 filmmakers per panel would get up and pitch these people. Yeah, with that with the desire to get projects going. I knew that in the in my area. I wasn't going to be able to do filmmaking full time unless not only could my project be greenlit but so first and so could your listeners. Yeah, more projects we have, the more opportunity there is and that can create what I call sustainable filmmaking. And that's the goal. It's not where one person gets rich. It's where we can all do this in a full time capacity. Yeah, not have to, you know, I have, I have a Masters, I have a wife, I have four girls and another little one on the way I have a house. I have two cars, you know, and I only bring that up. Because we live in the real world. There's real world expenses. Exactly. And you know, the arts in particular. And although filmmaking is a business, it is labeled as one of the arts, it doesn't get kind of its fair. Do what people think you're willing, you know, people the expectation of what it costs. Yeah. So part of the problem is, is when the digital age came in, and stuff got cheaper, everybody in their brother and their nephew and, you know, a high school student, that's teaching classes, which is great. Yeah, they gave this false expectation that you know, this 17 year old kid can get out with a camera and film something and all those songs. may be able to do some great things. Still some aesthetics and art form that needs to be built those 10,000 hours of mastery can't just be leap frog and bypass.

Junaid Ahmed 11:13
No, no, that's that's absolutely right. You know, in the entrepreneur world and in the Social Media Marketing World, and we talked about this, you know, sure your, your teenage nephew might be a social media expert, but when it comes down to creating ads and creating revenue and bring people into your business, yeah, you can't expect that from a 17 year old spending all day on social media.

Ron Newcomb 11:44
Yeah, right. They're great consumers. They know how to do certain hacks, but when you're trying to run it as a business you know, we all know the same is true. You're going to get what you pay for.

Junaid Ahmed 11:55
Exactly, exactly. That's beautiful man. And, and the More I, the more I delve into this film production arena, it's the more My eyes are open. And you know, I see, while there's a whole lot of process involved, there's so many people involved in creating anything. Be it is Mars short commercial, to a short film to a feature length film, and you will see hundreds and hundreds of hundreds of names. On the back of the movie, like when the movies over, there's thousands of names scrolling by and these are people that were essential to creating the product that you just consumed.

Ron Newcomb 12:41
Yeah, what I love about film is that it is an art form, but it's one of the few art forms where it's taking several artists, musicians, musicians, sculptors, painters, you know, CGI artists, all these different artists and coming together under one specific piece of art. Yeah, however, I would like to note that it is what I find fascinating. And the reason I really want to highlight the role of the producer, the producer is the one that green lights the projects and gets a project going and without the producer, all these other people get nothing.

Junaid Ahmed 13:24

Ron Newcomb 13:24
Yeah. So it's that one person or few people that that champion a project. And as a result of it, it creates all these jobs. Each film is like a small little individual LLC, a little company, and it has its own breath within that company that I find truly fascinating, but, you know, it can be addicting as well. I love it. And I just you know, if you're out there listening and you're wondering if this is something for you, I encourage you to explore what the role of producer Is

Junaid Ahmed 14:00

Ron Newcomb 14:01
that's probably the entrepreneurial spirit that you want. And then there's, there's producers even have some say over the aesthetics, etc. So that'd be the role I encourage people to look at.

Junaid Ahmed 14:12
No, absolutely. Producer hours are super important. And for the longest time, I didn't know till I attended the VIP phone, TV summit and I, and I learned from Tom Malloy, about being a producer, and what it means. And from the beginning, I was like, Oh, I'm gonna be behind the camera, and be running the camera and technology and I had no idea about lighting I know about sound, but I was like, Oh, god, this camera can do all of these things. But no, so many things go into it. And then the more I looked at it, the more I was, like, you know, connecting the people who have the talents who can do the thing is as important as the idea. It's

Ron Newcomb 15:02
Oh 100% I mean that that is and you're exactly right you're you are describing the role of producer everyone thinks the director has the power and although creatively the producer is brought them on to execute their creative vision, the reality is the producers the one in charge.

Junaid Ahmed 15:20
Absolutely they they bring the big bucks they they bring all the people together to be like all right, this is what we're shooting this is the project this is the timeline. Let's get this done. Where do we need to go and then we involve people like scout scout agents and God I don't know know half the time to go into this but it's it's a area that I am exploring more and more every day.

Ron Newcomb 15:50
Ya know, I encourage you to and it film interest you particularly not just as a hobby, but as you start to drive into is this potential business opportunity. would encourage you to look at that. Another podcast to check out would be the producers guy who by a guy named Todd Garner. They just wrapped up but it literally was in the last couple weeks and he's got a ton of episodes where he goes out and interviews true legitimate working producers in the industry. And if you're interested in this something that's starting to create an itch and you I would encourage you to go listen to the producers guide by Todd Garner.

Junaid Ahmed 16:30
Todd Garner, perfect, I will check it out. What I have been doing in the past three to six years is getting more connected more to the film industry connecting more to the actors and producers to directors and and how they unveil and how they go about producing a film and luckily being part of Kickstarter for the past many years. I was just counting the other day. And I've backed over 20 different movies over the time. And I was talking to one of the the gentlemen on the Kickstarter project, and they're like, hey, you're a producer on one of these movies that you back. I was like, Really? So I looked up on IMDB. And like, there I am as a producer back in 2013. Nice. So it's pretty neat. Just Yeah, just having that monetary also helps to be to get the project moving forward as well.

Ron Newcomb 17:34
Yeah, you know, on a percent and I would say that, you know, if this is a hobby for you, it's an expensive one.

Junaid Ahmed 17:41
Oh, my God.

Ron Newcomb 17:42
And so so you need to find a way in order to try to, to turn it into that, you know, bringing in potentially money back and, and where we live in a great time, where crowdfunding is an option. You know, money is not a problem. It's the problem. The problem by With crowdfunding, you're it's kind of interesting because not only are you getting funding and buy in and and the crowd of the word crowdfunding is probably more important than the funding part. Oh, yeah, the crowd. The crowdfunding is interesting also, because it kind of green lights, your hypothesis. So you have a idea for a film a short or a show. You're putting it out there into the world, giving them a taste of what you want to do, and the world will decide if it's going to greenlight your project. Yeah, I believed in this so much that I partnered up with some guys. So I predominantly do fantasy and sci fi not because not that I don't have other stories just because I found a niche there. I know how to sell in those arenas. And I partnered up with some other filmmakers, and we created our own distribution platform called the fantasy network. So if you go to the fantasy network. And this is specifically with the creator in mind with the thought that all of us are creators, all of us have a story to tell. And we just need to be given the opportunity or taught how to do it and collaboration to do that. And then we also needed the means to be able to get it out under a unified banner to reach to the masses, because a film is not made in isolation. And it's not meant to be read a film is only birth when it's seen. So it's a visual medium, and it needs an audience to give it life. And so don't go out there and try to do something yourself when there's other great joint ventures out there happening around you. And if I would encourage you if you are leaning into a fantasy or sci fi, you know to look us up, we can come alongside and help not only with a potential crowdfunding opportunity Yeah, one of my business partners has raised over two million dollars. You've heard that right?

Junaid Ahmed 20:02
That's awesome

Ron Newcomb 20:03
On kickstarter.

Junaid Ahmed 20:07
is that the Arrowstorm network entertainment,

Ron Newcomb 20:10
though what Arrowstorm that is a company called zombie Orpheus entertainment or they call it Zoe for a short guy named Ben Dobbins runs that he is a excellent entrepreneur, excellent filmmaker, great guy, kind of a fan of the people if you ever go to Gen Con, which is just gaming convention every year. He's like a rock star there. But my other business partner, as you indicated, is a team called air storm entertainment. Now they have a TV show called the outpost that's on The CW right now. So they're creating these VIP business development opportunities for all of us. And when I say all of us yeah, I mean, that could be your listeners, yourself included. Fantasy or sci fi. We consider this a we opportunity. Yeah. So you can go on to it. We have apps and you know, Android and Google and Apple and Roku. And yeah, you can go and watch the bulk of our content for free and finally, revamping our model to basically give it all away. Yeah, understanding that those of us who really get it know that you can't do film with zero dollars and yet the monetary element is a is a way to get an A a deeper driven subscription. Yeah, you get training elements and access to discord and wikis and some other things that we do creatively. Are we have worlds or IPS intellectual property that is on our sites that we allow people to co create it. So for instance, I created this world of the Rangers and I give it freely to allow you to go create in that world legally, most time when you're doing You know, let's say you go create a short in the Star Wars realm. Yeah. Even though you're not making money, that's not a deciding factor or whether or not you're in copyright infringement. We shouldn't be. Most people say, Well, I'm just doing a fan film, and I'm not going to sell it. That's not the differentiating factor, right? It's someone else's IP. You're not allowed to do it. Now traditionally, George Lucas has loved fan films. Yes. But Disney owns it now. And they, they were smart, where they didn't isolate that they actually have a Star Wars competition. They allow you to go in and you certain things under their guidelines, you follow that you can do it and put it out there wherever you want with their blessing. So there's a way to do it. Plus, a lot of times we find that a lot of people are very technical and might not be as creative or they're, they're great directors might not be great writers. And so it's putting these teams together and Sometimes we just need a playground. So again, we've created these worlds that you can go and create in. We have another world on the network called stragglers. It's kind of a what if scenario, what if magic was in modern day, but it was considered illegal. And they have these cops are kind of agents that hunt down these magic users. Oh, wow. You know if that's kind of fun, or sounds interesting. You can go and create in that world and we have had teams in Mongolia. We've had teams in New Zealand, literally all over the world fill out stragglers, universe and Ireland. It's been really cool and it's the community doing this together.

Junaid Ahmed 23:41
That's, that's just too fantastic man. I have been so a little background. So I had been involved in the meat not not really involved, but been passionate about video and production for many many years and But I didn't, till I got my first DSLR I didn't really take it or learned too much about, okay, these are the things that you need to look and what you're all explaining. It all comes down to or came out of. Back in 2014 or 2013 I joined a local film clubs in Denver, Colorado because I had the free time. But then when I moved to the to DC DMV area I was like, or I need to connect with people that are shooting films or producing films. And I was lucky enough to participate in a few short films. And just going down that path and learning and applying what I'm learning to more and more things. It's just been it's just been an amazing journey so far, and what you're telling me, you know, the collaborative power of people here working in DMV It's just blowing my mind like, why didn't I'd like how did not how did I not know about this for the past, you know, the many years I've been living here, but now I think everything is happens for a reason. And just recently, I've joined, I've teamed up, teamed up with a friend of mine, Chris McPhee, and my friend Diana riffey. On and we, he's been running this media shop called greenbriar media, and he's just focusing on photos, photo shoots and whatnot. But we're bringing the film element and doing more and more commercials and I've been lucky enough to have taken up more of the video production side and shooting more commercials and our dream is to have a short film and you know, in a film festival eventually, but what you're telling me is that there's more and more people that are open to collaborate. And building these things out.

Ron Newcomb 26:03
Oh, yeah, no, I think we live in a day and age where technology is very comfortable. And so people have gotten really good with collaborating online and you don't even need to be in the same geographical location. To give an example, we created a epic fantasy adventure called the Rangers. And our lead CGI guy was a guy out of Germany. Oh, well, so it was great. Because I'd be editing or overseen editing. We had an editor. We had a team that was working on it. We met it segments, we put it online, we'd send it to our CGR I CGI artists Stefan over in Germany. He would while we were sleeping, he'd get up and be working on the stuff. So by the time we awoke, he had something to show us. It was a great collaboration. Wow, that's Yeah, yeah, you don't you know, life is not meant to be a solo. Sport, know a community. And film is the same way, you're better off, co collaborating with others. And there are people out there that want to collaborate with you.

Junaid Ahmed 27:12
Love it drawn. I love it. So walk us a little bit through how you went through the Kickstarter campaign, and I see that you you've, you've managed a few of them, and you created a few of them, and they were all pretty successful. So what's the little process of why would somebody need to do they wanted to create their own campaign for a short film or a feature film?

Ron Newcomb 27:38
Yeah, I mean, definitely I one I, and all sincerity, not because I'm trying to just say my website again. But I honestly think that if you're going to do fantasy and sci fi, really should reach out to the fantasy network. We help Absolutely. Kickstarter is we help people run them. But let me tell you a few things. So Kickstarter has been fantastic and has been a game changer, but it simply has just gotten hard. Oh, yeah, that is extremely difficult, particularly for film and why it's because a lot of people that raise money didn't do what they said they were going to do, or it's taken a lot longer than anticipated. I fall prey I have fallen prey to that where I have a feature film, that the goal of the campaign was to get it in front of the eyeballs of the studio executives. Yeah, although we've had some fantastic meetings. The the opportunity still is still ongoing. And so you know, people want we live in a want it now. Oh, my God, timeframe. And so you know, life cycle of a film I have found, not only in my own life, but in talking with other filmmakers, that it's a seven to nine year average of getting a film made from the moment you say, Hey, I have this cool idea to ended on the screen is is about seven to nine years. So imagine that right? I have 23 flushed out ideas.

You you so it just takes a long time and when you're out on Kickstarter people don't didn't realize how long it was going to take these are the backers started, you know, getting upset with the filmmakers of like, you know, it's been three months. Why can't we watch this? Yeah, some people got really smart like entertainment. Yeah, they traditionally do is they use it almost like kick finisher, when they're already 80% done with filming. And they're just using this to probably, you know, add some aesthetics or CGI elements they might not have been able to afford and quite honestly just to get the fan engagement involved. So they got really smart that way. There is a way to kind of bring a film opportunity to One of the questions I get often is, you know, film is visual, as we've already said, when you're doing a crowdfunding campaign, people generally want to see something. Yeah. 90% of your backers are only going to watch your video, they won't even read your page. So you have to have a nice page. Your video is what's going to capture everybody, people will watch the video first. And if they like it, then they'll read your page. Exactly. However, let's say you're going to do a fantasy. Now, a lot of people ask me, well, should I do a little sizzle film? And that can be a two edged sword. Yeah, I mean by that is, if it's really good. Of course, you want to do a sizzle. Or if you're like arrow storm and you're just about done anyways, you got all this cool stuff to show? Heck yeah, show it show as much as you can. That's what people are buying into. Yeah, think of it as kick finisher. However, if you do a sizzle, and you're just doing little elements, and just to be DirectX effin ox and fits no good. Yeah, you just shot yourself in the foot. Yeah. And you'll feel because you took time out of your weekend probably filmed an entire weekend, you've got a lot of people together, you'll feel obligated to use the footage, even if deep down, you know, it's not very good. What you'll hope is you'll hope people will kind of extend grace. And yet the people that love you will, but not the traditional backers. No, really have to discern whether or not a sizzle is going to be if you're going to spend the time on that I have found with the proper story elements and a passionate, honest, authentic request and a call to action that can get just as much just as many backers as showing something. Yeah. So that's that's kind of the first caveat the same. Try to only give your rewards to be digital rewards. Nobody cares that much about getting a T shirt. The margins are just not there, you have to be very careful that you don't give away all the money people are giving you to make the movie in a way to the reward for film it. So Kickstarter takes about and they tell you this, they'll take about about seven to 10%. Okay, due to Kickstarter fees, and like credit cards getting turned down, out seven to 10% right out the gate, then you're going to spend about another 25% maybe as high as 35%. On fulfillment of Kickstarter rewards. Yeah. So that already you're up to like 40%

on on expenses, and you haven't even rolled cameras yet. Oh, my God. And then you say, Hey guys, we're going to do a blu ray when and we're going to do a DVD. We're going to do t shirts and a coffee mug. You offer a physical product, need to understand the costs there. One, if you're going to ship it internationally a huge expense, who you created a physical product that now you need to go make if you can keep the items digital way better and that's the way people are going to consume it anyways. Yeah, a digital download. Here's some other digital rewards artwork you could do with the poster, an HD copy of the poster. The Rangers we had a really cool map made so you could download this map and use it for your role playing campaign if you wanted to know you know, you you have the score, right. So the music you can those are all great digital downloads. Now, I say that with the caveat. Ironically after I say all that our number one reward area was signed DVDs. Oh wow. So I'm saying don't you but we didn't you know you don't have to do blu ray or you don't have to do t shirt. T shirts are just a loss leader. I mean, yeah, they look cool, but no one's really going to be going out. You're not going to hit a tipping point where you know a million people are wearing your T shirts and it's spreading the word that much. Yes is about your fans and your fans really wants you to use the money to go make the movie nice t shirt if they were going to go buy a T shirt, let them meet you at a convention where you have a booth and you might have some t shirts then but I try to stay out of other people's businesses. What I mean by that is I try not to do t shirts now I have a box of T shirts in my basement. So this is lessons learned. Right? Yeah, because I've done this stuff. Exactly. So try to keep your rewards digital and your fans do your fans want you to but secondly, try to keep your rewards reasonably priced. I lately I've been seen digital rewards people want 35 bucks. Wow. You know for for a 25 minute short film. That's and that's this is like a friend of mine. So I want to support them. But that's, you know, I'm not saying it's going to break the bank. But to get a 25 minute digital copy of what you'll probably put out free later on anyways, it's a hard pill to swallow when I tried to help you out. So a digital reward of even like a feature should be about what it costs you if you were going to watch it on Amazon or that it should be around 10 to $15, no more than no more than 15 bucks. And that's probably going to include the other downstream rewards that are underneath it. So you'll probably get the poster the score with it, because remember this, you're your biggest fan of your IP. But if your IP or your story doesn't become popular, then no one really cares about the poster or the score. If they love the film, those assets become extremely valuable, but they're not going to love the assets and dislike the film, the film, above all, He's actually so you have to have

you know, a great film now, film starts in writing. So I encourage everyone please, please, please get the script right before you roll cameras. Don't assume that you're the writer, director, producer, actor and star know and and editor and score, you know, you're going to do it all. You don't need to be a one man show you should at least have a few others that know about story, craft, and screenwriting, to read your story to offer feedback and notes. And I encourage everyone to do a table read if you can. This is just where you bring in actors and you they literally read and through auditory means act out if you will, your script so that you can hear for the first time and then ask those people have a survey ready to go a little questionnaire and see if they got lost at certain points or bored. Or I mean, wouldn't you want to know that before you even rule cameras. So yeah, exactly. You know, those are ways that you can engage the fan base in order to get it right. But you have to start building your fan base before you even start to think about a Kickstarter exam. I know it's a catch 22 I know what I'm asking and it's why I keep going back to you don't need to do it alone. Yeah, come to us. Yeah, the fantasy network and we can help you we have a ravenous fan base that is raring to go and we can't feed the beast fast enough. But I guarantee you go out there and try to do something on your own. It's just going to be a hard lift. You know if you're like Ron, I'm just going to do it anyways. Well, let me encourage you to do a couple things. Try to pay and I mean pay for don't just get you know, a freebie. Pay for some concept art. People love to see concept art, pay for maybe do a photo shoot. If you're going to do a fantasy or sci fi project. Yeah, maybe you can highlight if you haven't A, what's called a dp or director of photography, get their real and highlight their real. If you have certain things again, it's a visual medium that you can show. Show your audience what you have. And then don't expect your Kickstarter to cover your entire budget. Oh yeah if you're if you're trying to do a, you know a $50,000 project, I've seen people make the mistake of that's what their goal is. Now, I say that with the caveat that if that's your budget, then hey, that's your budget and you don't want to undersell and then not deliver like these other people because that's why people are very suspicious of film Kickstarter slightly. They starters do really well with physical products particularly like board games. Yeah, right now films are just really difficult but because Zoe, my buddy Ben with and co owner the fantasy network has done so well is because they deliver right And you know what's great, one of our rewards that we give give is a subscription to the fantasy network. And so you know, you get access to a bunch of content that you wouldn't be able to do just as an individual. But those are some things that you can start to think about. And then find ways don't think that they are going to be passive ways to engage your your fan, get them and fall involved, ask about their opinion, trust me, the word crowd and crowdfunding is more important than the funding. And I know, I know that funding. We just said it all agreed that money's not a problem. It's the problem. But you got to understand without the fans, you creating a visual film that's meant to be seen, if no one sees it, it doesn't matter about the funding. In fact, it's almost worse because you've wasted it, because now it's no one. No one's going to see

Junaid Ahmed 39:55
it. Exactly. No, you're you're absolutely right that that's so true. You gotta you gotta get the crowd, you got to get the people involved before you even start something. And I A great example of a Kickstarter for a physical product was when I watched. And I learned about the switch pod. And this was created by Caleb and Pat Flynn of Smart Passive income. And he was saying that they advertise before even they even launched a Kickstarter campaign. They advertise and talked about this product for about a year. And he's got a network of 130,000 people on his email, you know, both people are in the film area. So as soon as they launched a Kickstarter product, they've been teasing it and to the people. Within the first day, they're able to raise the funds that they needed to get

Ron Newcomb 40:57
Of course. Not See that's that's brilliant, and that's great. Now That's exactly right. You need to be banging the drum. And there's certain things that you can do look at you. I mean, you're doing a podcast, you're doing the very thing. You're building the fan base, you found a need a desire that you weren't finding outside of this. And so you created it. Yeah. And let me tell you, podcast have become the new comic book. Hollywood right now is actually buying stories off podcast. In fact, if you have a fantasy or sci fi story that you think you could turn into a podcast, yeah, we'd like to hear from you. Cause that's a low hanging fruit that doesn't take a lot. But they're doing these This isn't like just a regular podcast. These are narrative podcasts with sound effects and music. And there's some really cool ones out there that I'm encouraged people to check out that interest you. But that's another way that could be a little bit not as expensive as trying to take on like a feature film. So the other thing is, is that I've realized that you film, it just money spends fast and films can be expensive. And so people are creating these films, particularly features and spending just enough money to lose people's money. Yeah, and it impact. You know, if you're in the 250,000 range. That's just enough money to have people lose it and to feel that impact. Yeah, you know, before you pull the trigger on that, try to get a seasoned producer on board. And again, reach out to me absolutely talk people through Yeah, help people with those things.

Junaid Ahmed 42:35
Fantastic men. See you. One of the things that I've been working on or trying to get started is a gentleman reached out to me and he's like, hey, I want to do a small pilot episode for a real estate development in the DC area. And I was like, Alright, that sounds good. Let's let's get the script rolling. So then we can Figure out what it would cost, what it would take all to get that rolling and what your What is your final product is going to be in where you want to put it. So we're still trying to get through that scripting product process and he's been busy with because he's an actual realtor for the past 14 years. He's got projects going, moving forward constantly, so I'm definitely gonna reach out to you and like, hey, Ron, how can we do this? How is this possible?

Ron Newcomb 43:32
Hundred percent not happy to help and that's exactly the perfect example that we just talked about.

Junaid Ahmed 43:38
Yeah. Fantastic. Alright, I have some questions for my guests that I bring on. Silver me go through them. What is one hobby that you wish you got into?

Ron Newcomb 43:52
You know, video games, so I consider myself a storyteller right and video games. Who doesn't like to play them? Oh, yeah.

You know, video games, something that I find very intriguing. And there's a huge volume of story. It's not that I'm not into games I wish I had more time to be you know what, I think there's not enough hours in the day. So if I had a hobby and I love all the things that it does its story it's bringing I love a co op, you know, you're bringing people together. You can be anywhere in the world and have your crew have your tribe that you can go out with. So I wish I had more time to do gaming. A nice Well, well guess what, man as as your kids get older, you will have the opportunity to do play video games with them. That's that's a good point to share. Nice.

Junaid Ahmed 44:47
Cool. All right, what is your favorite movie or TV show?

Ron Newcomb 44:52
You know, man, it's it's hard not to peek out to Lord of the Rings. You can probably tell I'm a fan. So you know me mazon spending a billion dollars on the new Lord of the Rings TV show. Wow I am. I'm salivating. I just cannot wait to see that. I'm such a geek and love Lord of the Rings so much that somebody very close friends of mine and I like brothers. In fact, we went and flew to New Zealand in 2006 I swore I'd never get a tattoo unless it meant something. New Zealand at the same place if you know anything about Lord of the Rings on the gods fellowship got an Elvish number nine. Yeah, my two best friends. We all got the Elvish number three at the same location in New Zealand tattoo. So that's tells you how much of a geek I am so I've got I gotta go. I gotta go Lord of the Rings and I got to even say, I'm just salivating at the work that's going to be put off by Amazon.

Junaid Ahmed 45:54
That's awesome. I did not know that they were putting a show out a TV show around the lower It's gonna be really cool.

Ron Newcomb 46:01
It's gonna be great. I mean, no better studio than do it. You know, Emma Scott, Amazon has the money. Yeah. There they seem to be really treating it with reverence. It's going to be before the film's Okay, I'm kind of thinking like in this second age, but you know, hey, there's there's more stories to be told, oh my god Really? As much as I love talking. All of us have a story, right? Oh, yeah, I have a story. And there's a limit the world to just a few epic tales. Let's

Junaid Ahmed 46:28
go tell a few of our own. Exactly. So when you say it's going to be before the Lord of the Rings, so I'm guessing that's going to be sitting right between the Hobbit. I leave

Ron Newcomb 46:39
it I think even even before that I really like yeah, I think it's in the Second Age. It might be like, you know, 2000 years before Lord of the Rings. There's rumors that originally it was going to be a young Aragorn. And then there was rumors that it was going to be a young South Iran. So they haven't quite Amazon's done this cool thing where on Twitter they dripping out pieces of the map and the map keeps changing. And so they're letting people know and guessing what age they're going to release the show in.

Junaid Ahmed 47:17
nice enough to check that out. Alright, next question. Who is your favorite superhero?

Ron Newcomb 47:26
superhero? I gotta go. It's hard not to like and it's probably the actor to Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Nice. Wolverine is a fun character. I know he gets a little dark. Yeah. But you know, he's got a dark past and that mystery and story element. You know, as a creative, he's a complex character. And I'm liking that.

Junaid Ahmed 47:48
So gotta go Wolverine. Awesome. Awesome. I love it. Last question, and you did mention this earlier about board games. So if you are a board game, what would it be?

Ron Newcomb 48:00
Ironically, I am working on a board game for our IP, the Rangers and I love a good strategy game. So if I was going to go with one that is in existence already. If you're familiar with axes and allies, it's kind of like risk on steroids. It's during World War Two, you know, the Axis Powers versus the allies, its players. There's money involved and armies. It's a strategy turn based strategy game.

Junaid Ahmed 48:28
So yeah, I gotta go x and allies when I was younger, we would play like entire weekends. Well, on one game. Nice. That's awesome. Cool, man. Thank you so much. Well, and where can my audience find you? You mentioned a lot of different websites and networks and whatnot. We're Yeah, is the one place

Ron Newcomb 48:47
yeah, no, I'm happy to, to please do reach out. So the easiest is the fantasy network or the fantasy dot network. The forge studios is my personal own production company. Okay, you can go there, but you can find me. Ron Newcomb on LinkedIn, on Facebook, all my contact information should be there several email addresses but the easiest is going to be Ron at the fantasy network. You can send me an email there. And you know again, you don't need to do this and isolation. There are people Yeah, yeah, help you out.

Junaid Ahmed 49:25
Perfect. Thank you so much, Ron. This was this was a really exciting conversation. I've been waiting to speak with you for some time and, and we're glad that we're able to get that on the books.

Ron Newcomb 49:37
Yeah, saying Me too, man. I know life is hard, right? We it's, it's easy to get busy, but sometimes you just gotta you gotta stop for a minute. You know, not just share the roses, but get other people on the boat. And so, listening to this, it's time to put foot to action and get in the boat.

Junaid Ahmed 49:54
That's right. Do it. Awesome. Ron, thank you so much. Have a great day, man.

Ron Newcomb 50:00
alright you too. Thanks for having me.

Junaid Ahmed 50:06
Congratulations you made it to the end of the episode. Thanks so much for listening to our guest on this episode. Please send me an email at Junaid at hats and hobbies. com to tell me what you loved about our guest today. You could find links mentioned in this episode of the hacks and hobbies. com website.

Transcribed by

Junaid Ahmed has been a user experience designer for over 15 years. As a UX professional, he uses the user-centered design philosophy to come up with solutions. Trust the system, it works!

“People say that we only live once, but I believe in living every day!”

Junaid has been interviewing people from all walks of life on his podcast Hacks and Hobbies.