I co-wrote and directed a film with a buddy a couple of years ago called Ultrasonic. It got picked up by a local distributor and is now on Netflix, Amazon, Google Play and iTunes.

It's been in interesting ride... AMA.

edit: all the critics and most of the viewers HATED the movie. but this one critic liked it: http://www.shockya.com/news/2012/06/09/ultrasonic-movie-review/

edit: imdb link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2070883/

Comments: 108 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

Accent1215 karma

Added it to the queue. What kind of compensation do you get from netflix? I always wondered that. Do you get anything for the number of views or is it just the studio that profits from its deal with it?

substationine8 karma

i'm not sure, i need to discuss it with my distributor.

Perno5 karma

No idea whatsoever?

substationine4 karma

Not sure I didn't know it was on there until this morning. I need to ask my distributor

rage-quit7 karma

What would you say was the hardest part of the process of creating the movie?

substationine15 karma

i think the most difficult part was continuing through til it got finished. there were a lot of times where it got quite discouraging and tiring.

rage-quit3 karma

Would you care to expand? Was it more the beginning of creating/filming or near the end with the editing and whatnot?

Also, would you consider going through the whole thing again?

substationine8 karma

well, don't get me wrong i really enjoyed the process as a whole. however, there were so many phases, it started out small with just a couple of us writing it. there were challenges there, where at times it felt like maybe we didn't have a good enough script. my funding got knocked down from 50k to 10k, i had to convince my wife to let me put 10k of our savings in it. 20k is not a lot of money to try and make a feature film, so with that came a lot of its own challenges. i had to edit the thing myself, and the person who was going to do the post-audio had a family emergency so he had to go out of the country for a few months. i ended up hacking my way through apple soundtrack to get audio in there. it was pretty nuts all in all.

substationine7 karma

i would do it again, but i think my wife would leave me if i try making another feature for no money. we shot the first 4 weekends in my house, so she had to take my kids for those entire weekends and stay with my parents. she was not happy :)

NinjaDiscoJesus6 karma

budget?

substationine9 karma

i made the film with really crappy audio for $22,000. when the distributor picked it up, they had the sound re-done for another $20k

NinjaDiscoJesus4 karma

i looked at the trailer it doesn't look half bad

any other plans for a film?

want a free screenplay?

substationine7 karma

i'm slowly working on writing another screenplay with my co-writer mike. i'm hoping to have the script done this year and will try and find some real funding for the next one.

would love to read your screenplay!

BigTinz5 karma

What did you edit with? PC/MAC and what program?

I'll check it out on Netflix...

substationine5 karma

Thanks for checking it out. I edited on Final Cut Pro 7

AmishRobotics-3 karma

Mistake number one...

substationine2 karma

i love fcp7 actually. fcpX came out right when i was in the middle of editing, glad i didn't go that route.

NoQuadBearFight5 karma

Sounds really interesting and high-concept, I'll check it out. Sorry that it didn't get the reviews you were hoping for (just surmising from the edit in your original post).

Did you ever consider telling your story in a different medium? It could make a really cool comic book or novel; I'd read it.

substationine4 karma

thanks re: the reviews. yknow i never really thought about a different medium as film and music have always been the mediums i've been comfortable with creating in.

EveryBreathMW4 karma

What DSLR did you use to make the film? And. How did you go about promoting this?

substationine5 karma

i used a canon T2i.

i submitted to festivals, it didn't get in the big ones. finally the dc independent film festival (great folks there) called and asked if i wanted to do the premiere there. i did, and just myself and the cast and crew promoted the screening. it sold out. a local distributor was there, saw it, contacted me and essentially took it from there.

scuczu2 karma

what's the name of your distributor? Or can you not mention that?

Because if they took you straight to netflix/amazon it shows they have a decent sense of what's going on in the media landscape.

substationine1 karma

they're called garden thieves pictures

EveryBreathMW2 karma

What lenses did you use?

substationine2 karma

4 lenses total...

tokina 11-16 canon 28mm canon 50mm canon 100mm macro

the 28mm ended up being the staple, with the 100mm being pretty nice for closeups

groinkick3 karma

I like the synopsis. Checking it out now.

Congratulations on finding the discipline to see the project through. I envy that.

substationine3 karma

thanks!

Mankyspoon2 karma

1) Do you have a favourite film? A top 3?

2) As a small time independent, how would you feel if tomorrow you found out your movie had a couple thousand downloads on The Pirate Bay? (I'm not saying it does, or that it is even posted there, just wondering how it would affect you.)

substationine3 karma

  1. i'll give you directors instead as i'm a fan of most all their films. all time favorites: stanley kubrick, paul thomas anderson, quentin tarantino.

  2. i believe that no-names like myself need new paradigms of getting our work out there. it's not about the money. i'm working on building a site where i can post the film for free.

Mankyspoon1 karma

The question I ask everyone who is experienced in a field I'm not is: What are the three tips you would give someone who wants to get started in the field? So, three tips for a person who wants to start making films on their own?

substationine5 karma

  1. buy a cheap dslr camera
  2. start shooting
  3. learn how to edit

Mankyspoon2 karma

How many times do you think you have seen your own movie?

Did making the movie change the way you see big budget Hollywood features?

What's the most interesting audio commentary you've ever seen on a dvd/blu-ray?

If you could work with one established actor who would it be?

What do you think is the "best" written TV show?

Is there a movie, besides yours ;), that you feel is under rated/unfairly obscure?

Feel free to answer all these in separate posts, or not at all. Just typing them in between sips of Hemingways Lemonade.

substationine3 karma

  • while editing, i watched each clip countless times... but from start to finish, probably 20-30 times

  • i watched a lot of audio commentaries during the pre-production of ultrasonic. one that i remember enjoying a lot was for the film "the secret in their eyes" (amazing film, btw)

  • actor... hm. not sure. i really like daniel day-lewis but it looks like he's getting his cummupance, so joe gordon-levitt

  • best tv show. i've been enjoying happy endings and key & peele a lot lately. drama... i was a big lost fan.

  • pootie tang

substationine2 karma

hemingway's lemonade... nice

Mankyspoon1 karma

Hah, can't take credit for it. It's from an episode of Community.

substationine2 karma

ah community. yes, community was up there until this current season. i'm still trying to come to terms with the new writing style.

i_am_the_fish1 karma

Sine your piddy on the runny kine!

substationine1 karma

sa da tay my damie

ciacciojon2 karma

What movie director gives you the largest boner?

substationine5 karma

quentin.

Mankyspoon2 karma

What's your day job?

Did you have any formal training or education in film making before you started making Ultrasonic?

Have you seen any return on your financial investment since the distributor picked it up?

What's the worst reaction you've ever had to your film?

What's the best?

Have you seen Gareth Edwards Monsters? If you have what did you think? I ask only because the relatively "low" budget was a big talking point about the film and he specifically set out to make the film on a low budget.

substationine2 karma

  • i'm a software engineer by day
  • not a dime, unfortunately
  • i've had a lot, but the one that i still think about was a reviewer that said the soundtrack was tone-deaf. given that i take my music-writing [somewhat] seriously, that one stung.
  • i've had a few of the good ones too. i think the review i posted up in the description was my one validating not-someone-i-know-already reaction
  • i have not, but i'll look for it.

WannabeNywriter2 karma

Any tips on how to make it in the industry? I want to write for tv...what tips do you have for me?

substationine1 karma

still trying to figure that out myself :) i would say start writing and finding indies to produce your work

WannabeNywriter2 karma

Well as a writer what do I need? Should I be searching for directors? Producers? or try and go right to Production companies?

substationine1 karma

well that's a tricky one, you would need to find someone who is interested in producing your script. i would start small by getting involved in the filmmaking goings-on in the closest city to you. the idea is to find people that are also just starting out that you can collaborate with. you're looking for a filmmaker or someone who wants to maybe create a web series or something like that. if you feel like doing it yourself, then i'd say buy the camera and get started on pre-production yourself, otherwise you would need to align yourself with an aspiring filmmaker.

bandola2 karma

Hi! Sounds like a good movie, but could you also get it available outside the U.S? On Netflix in Sweden I just get "Ultrasonic is unavailable to stream". Would be better for us to watch it legally than to pirate it, no?

substationine2 karma

pirating ultrasonic is NOT ILLEGAL. i own the movie, and would make it available for free immediately if i could.

substationine1 karma

i will try and put up an actual free version somewhere soon and let you know

substationine1 karma

Let me clarify: I don't know the legalities of ripping this movie from something like Netflix, but I do own all the rights to the movie and I'm going to figure out how to get it somewhere downloadable.

edit: so don't rip it from anywhere until you know the legalities of that. thanks, had to clarify.

bandola1 karma

Sweet! And thanks for the quick reply. Also:

if i could

What's stopping you? Why don't you create a high-quality torrent and put it on the Pirate Bay? I'm pretty sure they'd put it on the front page, as they've done for filmmakers and musicians in the past.

substationine2 karma

because i've never created one and don't really know how yet.

CompanyThrowaway2 karma

What does your distribution deal look like? Any cash up front or how is it working?

substationine2 karma

no cash up front. basically was a 10 city theatrical deal, comcast on demand, fios on demand, along with all the online outlets in exchange for a percentage.

CompanyThrowaway2 karma

Nice. Way to go, man. Good job!

substationine1 karma

thank you

CrysDawn2 karma

I dug it! It has a great story line. I hope you guys keep working together!

substationine2 karma

thank you very much!

cozy_lolo2 karma

Someone may have asked this, but what does it feel like to make a movie that is poorly reviewed by critics? Does it bother you at all, or even offend you?

substationine3 karma

Shitty... But I've really tried to take what I consider constructive criticism and let go of what I think is bogus. One reviewer said it had a slack mid-section. I can see why they would say that. The reviewer that said I was tone-deaf.. Well whatever, that I disagree with.

Mankyspoon2 karma

What's the log line?

substationine8 karma

A musician with hyper-sensitive hearing goes in search of an ominous sound that plagues him, but is inaudible to everyone else.

dotted_indian1 karma

what inspired you to get into movies, especially in DMV area?

substationine1 karma

always wanted to, and when i saw the dslr footage i jumped at the chance to make a feature. dmv is where i grew up..

puppypilgrim1 karma

[deleted]

substationine1 karma

ah too bad!

Mankyspoon1 karma

As someone that has actually produced a feature length film, did the experience change your view on film critics? Is there a critic you respect above others?

Do you think the latest round of 3D is yet another fad, or is it finally here to stay?

With the advent of On Demand and streaming services, do you think movie theatres will die out all together? Or will there always be a place for them?

Can you point to one specific film or moment that made you want to make movies, or is it something you've always wanted to do?

substationine2 karma

-critics... well it really is important to have critics to help find jewels in the rough etc. sometimes i think critics abuse their power. there were a few different occasions that i remember reading something that was like "oh man dude... you coulda just said it sucked"

  • i'm legally blind in one eye so i'm hoping 3d isn't going to become the standard

  • not sure if they will die out, maybe thats because i'm from a generation that still views theaters as a magical experience... and even though my kids are all about the ipad watching etc, they still enjoy the theaters

  • watching indiana jones and the temple of doom in the theater is my first memory of a theater. i have been in love with movies ever since.

TheShroomHermit1 karma

Why didn't critics like it?

substationine2 karma

i think it should have been marketed for what it was, a film made with a whole lot of limitation. the critics i think reviewed it on the level of normal films that come out of indie studios

TheShroomHermit1 karma

Shouldn't you want critics to be treating your movie on the level they did, rather than to ignore it.

substationine2 karma

yes, in hindsight i'm glad it was gauged at that level.

substationine1 karma

even if most of them didn't like it

RingsOfYourAnus1 karma

What did you get monetarily from being on Netflix Instant?

Do you get any royalties based on how many users stream it?

Trying to be as objective as is humanly possible, on a scale of 0 to 100, what would you rate your own film?

substationine1 karma

i honestly dont know. my distributor didn't tell me it was on netflix! my co-writer texted me this morning saying a friend of his found it on there!

jideas1 karma

I too am looking to see if I could get a movie on netflix. Are there any tips you could give me?

substationine2 karma

i've heard netflix is tricky, unlike itunes and the like where you can find an aggregator and pay them to put it on. netflix requires a demand for the film before they stock it (hence the awaiting dvds), but things might have changed now. i'm not sure how he got it on there!

fringe_event1 karma

I assume you are of Indian descent, how did you get the middle name Colin?

What do you think about piracy, obviously it sucks you get no money everytime someone torrents or downloads your movie but do you think every extra person watching your movie is good? Have you ever pirated a movie?

substationine2 karma

i'm indian, yes. when we moved to the states and i didn't have a middle name my parents said we could pick our own. my sisters and i picked our middle names from a list of pen-pals in our church's weekly youth guide

x_yz_x_yz1 karma

Indian, as from India? Oh so is there singing and dancing in the film like any good Bollywood production?

substationine1 karma

no singing and dancing but a LOT of music, and def some homage in the title credits.

substationine1 karma

i wouldn't care if ultrasonic was pirated, but i can understand if people who have made movies feel differently about their.

back in the early aughts i remember watching a couple of pirated movies, could never get over the bad quality.

reel_big_ad1 karma

How much does Netflix pay you per view?

substationine2 karma

dunno...

OurRoyalWe1 karma

[deleted]

substationine1 karma

it was a percentage deal for rights to certain outlets including netflix, amazon etc.

iamstraightama1 karma

[deleted]

substationine1 karma

i'm indian

iamstraightama1 karma

[deleted]

substationine1 karma

Hah my dad is telegu and my mom is Gujarati

Felpeh1 karma

Could you give a simple list of how you spent your budget? I've never known where all the money goes when making a movie.

substationine1 karma

i bought a lot of equipment. camera, dolly, monitor, sound gear, lights, etc. the rest went to key cast, key crew, craft services etc...

DurtyKurty1 karma

Pontypool and The Sound of Noise are both pretty good films about sound/audio. Worth watching.

substationine1 karma

interesting, haven't heard of them, i'll check them out.

mikeykelch1 karma

You mentioned in another comment that your original budget had "really crappy audio". Did you know going in that your audio was going to be an issue and were hoping to fix it in post or were you surprised by the quality afterwards? Also what were you guys using gear wise?

P.S. I just put ultrasonic in my que!

substationine1 karma

The recorded audio wasn't crappy actually, we did our best to get good field audio. It was the mix that sucked because I'm not an audio mixer and just did the best I could on it. When we put it in the hands of a good post mixer I think it turned out pretty good.

We used a tascam DR-680 to record through a sennheiser mkh-416

substationine1 karma

And thanks for putting it in your queue!

Panwall-4 karma

AMA is now less about finding interesting people and more about pimping out the PR :(

substationine7 karma

Well for what it's worth, there is no PR agency behind this. Just a guy who has been working really hard to try and make it creatively in a DIY way. But yes, with the freeman debacle, I understand.

RerouteToRemain6 karma

I think a guy that set out and made his own movie and got it onto netflix is pretty damn interesting.

substationine2 karma

thanks!