Some general info


Our distributor is IFC Midnight (the horror division of IFC Films). Blu-ray/DVD distributed by Shout/Scream Factory.

We had a theatrical run in approx 20 cities back in January, but it seems Hulu will be our main source of viewers. The theaters we were in were small indie/arthouse ones.

My name is Mark. I produced for our company Stag Pictures. This is my second horror feature film with the same director (Daniel), writer (Zack), and co-producer (Michael).

Where to watch: iTunes | Google Play | Hulu


Comments: 834 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

Imbeefy2236 karma

Is AMA just movie advertising now?

pledgemovie86 karma

Haha. Ask me about my personal life too!!

jet_heller151 karma

Is your personal life just movie advertising now? ;-)

pledgemovie155 karma

More or less! As a proud AMC A-list member, my life is pretty much advertising my own movie or watching trailers to others.

Lockheed_Martini35 karma

Ass or tits?

pledgemovie107 karma

The former!

tha_dood21 karma

But why would we care about your personal life?

pledgemovie156 karma

You wouldn’t! Making this movie is definitely the coolest thing I’ve done.

IFellinLava57 karma

How did you get a 180k budget? That’s something really difficult to get.

pledgemovie112 karma

(1) reinvested money from our first film (Uncaged: $100k budget) (2) tapped our personal networks of friends/family. The originally budget from the first film also came from that network. Making most of our money back on that first one / getting it on Netflix streaming gave our investors confidence to keep believing in us!

GaussZ90 karma

How did you get a 100k budget? That's something really difficult to get.

pledgemovie126 karma

A generous relative passed away. My friend’s. Let’s call it bittersweet.

verylargetuna_1394 karma

I've seen several different movies that are basically: Nerdy kid rushes frat but the hazing rituals are too intense and all of the pledges go insane.

What makes this movie different?

P.S. Respect the grind I used to be very into film making in high school.

pledgemovie184 karma

There's a twisty twist

justscottaustin527 karma

Did you consider cross-posting in /r/movies?

It's a pretty lively community. Just don't insult Nolan or Tarantino, and stay the hell away from conversations about Marvel movies. ;)

pledgemovie234 karma

Haha I just might! And I think the last Marvel movie I saw was in 2011....

Permanenceisall206 karma

Can I be in your next film? I’m an actor out in the Bay Area and I love to work. You don’t even have to pay me, I just wanna do it!

Rodis53888 karma

share what you can do. We will decide then

Permanenceisall235 karma

I can do a really good Obama impression and I can do that trick where it looks like my index finger is detachable

Edit: alright here ya go, you know maybe it’s not actually good

pledgemovie26 karma

Wow this was so much better than we expected. You're hired. What's your suit size?

compooterman166 karma

Why did you delete yesterday's post?

EDIT: This is weird, this is the post I was talking about. Different film looks like, but similar wording. Maybe they pay the same advertiser

pledgemovie18 karma

What post are you referring to?

danellender90 karma

So, Mark, how did you budget this? I mean, are there specific costs that are pretty much known? What were your big ticket items that you spent your budget on?

I just wonder how you do this either as a pitch to backers or as a goal for self producing.

pledgemovie196 karma

The goal with low/micro budget stuff is to try to build the budget around things that you can get for free. For example, the above the line costs (Director/writer/producer) typically will work for just equity in the backend or a deferred payment. That’s what we did. Locations are also great place to save. Our main location was found through Airbnb, but we we were able to get a solid deal on it. In most cases I’d recommend using locations you already have access to (as much as possible).

In terms of where you really shouldn’t slump on the budget: department heads and equipment. Sometimes you may find a DP with their own equipment who is willing to cut a rental deal for you. But in general, if you want your movie to look like a real movie, you will need the same equipment that real movies are using (RED or ARRI camera, professional grade audio recording and lavs, etc). I can’t stress this enough: don’t cheap out on sound!! Get someone who has done feature film sound before or you will be kicking yourself. Same goes for post production sound and editing.

0ocanada72 karma

What did u guys spend 180k on?

pledgemovie182 karma

Ha for sure. The main location was between $3-4k. Crew and equipment daily rates was definitely the biggest expense. We had an ensemble cast as well. The more heads, the more daily rates, the more meals, the more lodging, the more expensive it general I advise filmmakers to keep the scripts to 2-3 main characters. We definitely broke our own rule with this one.

Post production was also more expensive than anticipated. We didn’t spare expenses in making sure we got the best freelancers we could afford for editing, sound, music, color, VFX, etc. Those add up pretty fast!

Wahngrok64 karma

I can see the name of your production company (Stag Pictures) is connected to your name (Hirsch). Was it hard to come up with that and has anybody else noticed yet?

pledgemovie113 karma

Wow you’re very keen!! No one has ever noticed that before. It was partially based on that and partially my friend/Pledge director Daniel whose grandfather owned a store with Stag in the title. Also we like it because it sounds like a porn company.

pledgemovie34 karma

My other question is, for the keenest person in this thread, notice anything else about the photo? Like where I am?

miasere32 karma

Why is horror so popular for small budget productions?

pledgemovie98 karma

Horror, unlike other genres, does not require name talent to ‘sell’ the audience. Audiences can be intrigued by the poster/trailer/premise of a horror movie whether or not it stars someone they’ve seen before. This is what makes horror a relatively safer investment than say, a comedy. No one is going to buy your indie comedy feature film most likely, unless it has a star (a notable exception: Napoleon Dynamite).

In addition, horror is relatively cheap to produce. Maintaining suspense does not require a whole lot by means of production design, fancy locations, or even performance. Music cues can guide the audience in their journey, moreso than other genres.

justscottaustin31 karma

Where can I rent it? That gives you the most profit?

pledgemovie51 karma

Haha you are far too kind. Well, we would love some more Amazon ratings!! Rent or buy in HD!

nkostel29 karma

I saw the movie about a month ago and liked it a lot! You guys did a hell of a job. My question to you is how did you guys connect with IFC Midnight and Shout Factory? Is this a relationship you guys established on the festival circuit?

pledgemovie23 karma

Thanks for watching! Yeah it's what you guessed--someone from IFC saw the film at the Fantasia Film Festival and they were interested in it. Can't say enough positive things about Fantasia and IFC.

Then IFC distributes their DVDs/Blu-rays through Shout Factory/Scream Factory

Grimmmm18 karma

Outside of technical know how of filmmaking and set production- what were some of the challenges in getting this film made that surprised you? What did you have to learn or figure out?

pledgemovie47 karma

A key challenge is just dealing with the amount of things that can go wrong on a daily basis. Every day felt like its own mini project. We did mostly overnight shoots, and when we wrapped at 7am the next day truly began. Before napping we all had to make sure the pieces were in places for the following night. It was tremendously exhausting and next time I think I will give coffee a fair chance.

Another challenge I wasn’t anticipating is workflow—make sure you know exactly how that’s gonna go before your shoot! As in, talk to your colorist, editor, and VFX person and make sure they are all on the same page. Post production just wasn’t something we were thinking about too much in the moment—we just wanted to get through production. But if you find yourself with the luxury of free time, definitely use it to think three steps ahead.

StrangerAxolotl12 karma

What advice would you give to beginner filmmakers?

pledgemovie33 karma

My advice is to start out creating realistically-budgeted projects that YOU are passionate about. Don’t try to fit a mold or specific genre. Find your own voice as a filmmaker on YouTube with short narrative fiction or non-fiction, that’s what my friends and I did. Also try to link up with people that are also into filmmaking. You don’t need a huge team or anything to start out—just a group of 2-3 friends that have some free time on nights and weekends.

StrangerAxolotl11 karma

Me and my buddies were thinking of making a movie but we don’t have much money. How could someone in college, get money. I know there is fast food jobs but there like minimum wage jobs around us.

pledgemovie36 karma

Again, I would stress the ‘realistically-budgeted’ element here. Before my friends ever made a film with a ‘real’ budget we made zero-budget YouTube sketches and eventually an essentially zero-budget mockumentary feature film. The only costs of that one was the camera, mic, and eating food to stay alive. The experience of that first feature gave us the confidence to write a real script and raise money from family and friends.

So that’s who you always go to first: your personal network. If your personal network doesn’t have that type of expendable income—do you have a dentist? Ask them to invest. Dentists love movies. And dentists are bored. Be sure to call it an investment, not some sort of charitable donation. A movie is an alternative investment after all, not so different from investing in a VC fund in terms of risk. That said, don’t make a comedy on no budget. Go for horror or psychological thriller. Those don’t need star actors to succeed.

damn_turkledawg12 karma

How do we properly abolish the studio system of movie making?

pledgemovie48 karma

Now isn’t this the real’s tricky. The studio system isn’t going anywhere. I think there will always be these big-budget films based on existing IP. As much as I hate most of it, it would be bad business NOT to capitalize on IP like that.

That said, I have tremendous faith in the indie film/series market. Instead of abolishing, we need to make a push to co-exist. How? Make good indie films. And if you make one, don’t immediately go sign with a studio. Continue making indie films and maybe do some studio work on the side. The market decides what the market wants and audiences are smarter than studios give them credit for! Indie Filmmakers need to keep this in mind. We need more movies like Primer. If you build it, they will come. Netflix and Hulu are about to lose a bunch of content when Disney and others pull out...who is gonna step up and make content to fill that void? The ball is in our court.

LACamOp9 karma

Congrats! I've always heard movies are a terrible investment, how did you manage to turn a profit?

pledgemovie26 karma

Foreign sales help! Make a movie that can appeal to a broad audience. Breaking even on the U.S. sale is potentially doable. But if you want to maximize profits, keep foreign audiences in mind. That’s why horror is a particularly good genre for indie filmmakers. It crosses a lot of cultural barriers.

qwerty65565 karma

What is your opinion on The Room? Masterpiece or trash?

pledgemovie13 karma

Master trash

Comfythinking4 karma

How much was the profit?

pledgemovie4 karma

Not enough. We're still eating pizza twice a day

dawn_jelly4 karma

I’m starting to brainstorm and plan an idea I have for a short film. Hoping to shoot it before the end of the year - however, I’m about to start school and money will be tight!

What would be your advice on how to scrape the absolute most out of a very small budget?

Any tips/tricks on how to elevate the basics?

(Title made me laugh btw, well done!)

pledgemovie15 karma

Haha. Thanks for the Q! My advice would be to make sure the script capitalizes on any free resources you might have access to (locations, talented actors who are also friends, your uncle’s camera if you don’t have one already, etc).

Also: be upfront with your crew. Let them know the budget is tight and make sure they’re not in it to make a quick buck on a Sunday, but are actually interested in making the film itself. Tell them you’re not taking any money from the budget for yourself and they’ll be more willing to work for free or cheap. Lead by example! If you must hire people, try to keep rates down obviously. Film students will be your best bet for crew, if you have access to them. You may even get some access to equipment from them for free.

nooneisanonymous4 karma

So ... how will you spend your $20 profit from the movie?

I suggest on Pineapple Pizza.

Because r/knightsofpineapple have excellent taste in food, music, television and movies.

Their palate is finely refined between the sweet, bitter, crunchy and soft, tangy and zany.

pledgemovie8 karma

Hahah I will give pineapple pizza a fair shot at my next opportunity

Anchors_and_Ales3 karma

Hi Mark!

For a bit of background, what are a few of your favorite movies (any genre)?

Is there any equipment or software you would recommend to someone taking a stab at making their own movie?

pledgemovie4 karma

Hey there! In recent years, some of my favorites include: Killing of a Sacred Deer, Midsommar, It Follows, Raw, Interstellar, Ex Machina, The Social Network.

In terms of software, I like Adobe cloud software! (But hate the pricing...try to get student discount). In term of hardware, rent the best camera you can without breaking your budget! All depends on your budget. Get one of those mirrorless cameras everyone's talking about.

bestminipc2 karma

what places or ppl or channels etc did you go through to get a release in theatres? what's most effective channel / way?

where was the 180k budget gotten from?

pledgemovie2 karma

In theory anyone can put there movie in a theater if they pay to rent the space. So typically a distributor who purchases the rights to the film will front the money to do that. To get one of those distributors interested in purchasing the rights, you'll want to either get into a top-level film festival or have a really good sales agent.

alexbgoode842 karma

What scares you the most and how does it influence your filmmaking?

pledgemovie4 karma

Aren’t we all just running from the inevitable fate of becoming our parents?

funique1 karma

Did you actually pay yourselves before you calculated profit? I'm curious how a budding filmmaker assesses the worth of their own time.

pledgemovie6 karma

Negative. I nannied and tutored on the side during post production. Have creative equity in the backend profits.

None of the above the line paid themselves, but moving forward will probably have to take something small. With budgets that low a producer maybe takes 2 or 3% of the budget. There’s no rule, that’s just what I’ve heard. Everyone’s situation and every project is different.

d_rickards1 karma

Were you, or any of your team (Daniel, Zack or Michael), in a Fraternity?

pledgemovie3 karma

Guilty as charged! That would be me, clearly the coolest of the group. Zack the writer/one of the leads I believe tried to get into a frat but was rejected. Numerous times I believe. So he drew from the feeling of that experience as the basis for the main characters’ desire to fit in.

jkannon1 karma

Have you considered partnering with a horror-specific content company? Something like Crypt?

pledgemovie5 karma

Funny you mention Crypt! Recently sat down with their founder when I visited LA. They just made that awesome deal with FB Watch for some series content. Hoping to eventually partner on a feature or adapt something into a feature one day, that’s really as much as I can say!

houtman1 karma

Did you edit your own trailer? And why not?

pledgemovie5 karma

Haha. We edited our festival trailer! The director Daniel did most of the editing, and I helped out with additional edits and sound. The U.S. distributor will typically cut their own even if we already have one, that’s just how they like to do it.

houtman4 karma

Your festival trailer is a way better trailer. It sets the mood and gives you enough to get interested in the movie without showing the whole plot of the movie. Your movie looks great. Will definitely check it out.

pledgemovie3 karma

Glad you like it!! And thanks so much!