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The Journey of Perseverance with Tony Nardolillo

I’m extra fired up because you are about to hear the story of the ages. We're talking to Tony Nardolillo. He is the producer, the director, the writer of a movie right now out in theaters called Shine.

He takes us on an amazing journey of perseverance and how he was able to kickstart his movie on Kickstarter, raise money, get to the next step, that got to the next step, that got his movie into over 600 theaters. This is the true underdog story and the true story of perseverance. Whether or not you're a moviegoer, you are going to appreciate this journey, you're going to appreciate this story of perseverance. I believe his journey alone could be a movie. A movie of a movie, it is that great of a story. I don't know that I've heard a better story and the way that he delivers it is absolutely amazing.

If you're looking to get fired up, if you're looking for some inspiration, if you are looking for the classic story of perseverance and having a dream, an idea for your life, something that you want to create, then look no further.

Dustin
Tony, you're driving back from Vegas, it's almost midnight. You get a call from your investor and he says, “What's going on with the money?” 
Anthony
I got a call asking, “What was going on with our spend?” As any investor, they’re in for the journey and the excitement. “Where are you guys at in the process?” I said, “We haven't spent anything yet,” and that’s immediately where the conversation shifted. She goes, “What do you mean we haven't spent anything yet?” I said, “I haven't gotten any money from the producer,” and this producer was bringing in the money. It immediately caused this, “I'm going to call the producer and find out.” Within an hour I got a call back from her saying that she thinks that the money has been embezzled. I wasn't hearing back from the producer at that point and that's what ended up happening. That was $150,000. That's what it was used to start production, but we were in preproduction. I guess he had been telling her that he was using it for preproduction and needed more and more money so she completely provided that $150,000. Then I had identified a business partner in between all of that process that had said, “You're dealing with all this business. Let me be a signer on the account. Let's make sure,” because she was leery about that $150,000 and that producer. She tried to warn me.
That same night, I had gotten a notice to my phone that my account was negative. I had opened up a new account to put the $20,000 of my own friends’ and family’s money into an account. She had written checks. Because it was at zero, there was a monthly fee and it dropped below. That's when I had identified that. There was nothing I could do because the bank said, “She was a co-signer.” I showed prints of checks and emails and I said, “This is clearly fraud.” They go, “You could press charges but no one's probably going to take the case because we have trouble prosecuting a million dollars let alone $20,000. You could take the small claims but it's an LLC. This woman clearly knew what she was doing.” I was out completely hit rock bottom in terms of the little funding that I had. 
Dustin
What were you thinking then? You're alone in a car you're driving back from Vegas, which is a nice little drive. You get this news and you got to sit in your own head with it. What's going through your head? 
Anthony
It's weird, my personality. Even at the moment that I'm in right now, I go through this mourning phase, where I’m mourning and I'm upset, “What am I going to do?” Immediately, this optimism comes in. This was when I decided I was going to go to Kickstarter. I was like, “People know about this film.” Within those three hours of literally being in darkness, I went from mourning to, “I can't believe this,” to, “How am I going to take this person to court?” I then tried to identify the solution and came out with an alternative. I rode the next day. I go through the ups and downs of being upset that money was taken and could have, should have or would have. I do also blame myself for the impetus of having it happen right away. Maybe if I was more cautious, I would have not allowed her to be a cosigner for example. I had to put some of the blame on myself but then I turned to what the solution could be at that time. 
Dustin
I wanted to lead with that because it's so gripping and I want to go back to the start of this. You shared with me, it took you ten years to pull this off. Let's talk about the origin story. How did you get the idea for Shine, the idea for the script and the story?
Anthony
I've always worked in corporate finance and I started dancing when I got out of college. As I was dancing, I started touring and I would align my tours up. I was working for Lafarge at the time, the largest cement manufacturer in the world out of Paris. I speak good Italian and I speak fluent Spanish. I would travel a lot internationally. As my dancing skills started to go up, I was booking gigs around the world and I aligned my bookings to wherever I was traveling for work. I came to LA one night and there was an audition for a movie going on. I was to teach at a cruise, one of this three-day to Mexico cruises. My dance partner at the time said, “Come out.” I was like, “No, I'm tired.” She goes, “No, come out. They were having an audition for a movie at this club.” I decided to go and I see the dancers there. I was a New York East Coast dancer at the time and I see the dancing that's going on. I asked if I could audition and they said, “No, it's over.” The music came on and I started dancing. I started trying to show off a little and immediately the producer comes out and goes, “Can you act?” “Absolutely,” even though I had not even thought of acting, it was my instinct to say yes. 
That you could say was the seed because what happened was I went back to Washington DC and I immediately started looking up acting classes. I would drive to Manhattan. I’d leave work at 4:00 PM, got to New York by 7:30, take the four and a half hour acting class, drive back, sleep in the car and go to work. I did that for six months, I did this once a week trek. By then my passion started to build. This was a movie that I then got cast in but at the time I didn't know it was far from being funded. I stayed in touch with the producers and I figured, “I need to get a consulting job that gives me the flexibility so I can start flying out to California.” On my birthday in 2006, I got a call from my recruiter saying, “We got you the consulting job but even better. We got you a job in LA.” At the time, I was trying to get the flexibility to fly to LA. I got a job in LA. I was doing Sarbanes-Oxley consulting work. I got out there and I started networking, got my headshot, did all the typical off the boat actor does. 
You're networking your headshots, you're registering, you're trying to get an agent. My first audition was for the movie that Beyoncé did, the big dance movie. It was huge. It was a $100 million film. Anyway, it was a big Beyoncé dance film. That was the first audition I walked into. I was a salsa dancer, but I was being thrown into an audition that was jazz and hip-hop. I got cut as quick as I walked through that door. It was a swift reality check. What happened while I was there was I then befriended Columbus Short, who is the star of Stomp The Yard. His last major show was Scandal. He's not on that show anymore. The movie never happened. I continued auditioning. I started doing prospectuses for him and other filmmakers to finance their films because what I knew was business. I did presentations and that's what started to get me in. I started to meet a lot of named talent, leveraging my finance and business skills. 
He invited me out to the set of Stomp the Yard to hang out, which to this day is the highest opening weekend grossing dance film. I'm on the side of Stomp The Yard and that was my first set. I was starstruck with the technical equipment. I was seeing cameras and lights and seeing the secret sauce of what for most of us is just this foreign world. The director, Sylvain White, said, “Let's put your boy in the movie.” I was in an opening scene with Chris Brown, Columbus, because I had cornrows at the time. It was on that set where Columbus said, “I want to do something like this for Latin music and dance.” He goes, “You know the business, you know how to raise money, go write a script. Everyone in town has a script but doesn't know how to raise money and doesn't have money.” That's exactly what I did. 
The next month, my job in LA sent me on an assignment in Delft in Holland for a three-month gig. I downloaded Final Draft. I watched a couple of YouTube videos on how to write in terms of structurally and setting up the interior and exterior characters. I started to write. I wrote my first script. I called my uncle and all the excitement. He goes, “It's funny that you're calling me now because I'm in Louisiana and I'm with my partners. Here at the table is a producer from LA. Why don't I connect you guys?” I got on the phone with him, set up a meeting, met him in LA. I shared my excitement and I said, “I'd love to create a trailer to showcase my vision for this film.” He goes, “Why don't you do a short film? You'll showcase your vision but then you can get it out into the film festival circuit.” I wrote a short version of that and those same Louisiana guys gave me $30,000. I had created my own film but at the time it was for me to act in, nothing to direct. I was my own acting vehicle. 
The late Lee Thompson Young and I, who was Jett Jackson at the time, he was in the movie Friday Night Lights. Everyone knows him as the light-eyed African-American kid that ends up going in the game at the end of the movie. He comes on board and when he came on board, Laz Alonso came on board, Giancarlo Esposito from Breaking Bad came on board. We've got this short film and the director fell out a couple of days before. He and I were forced to direct. When I got on the set of Mano at the time, which was as big as a production as a Stomp The Yard but a short film, I knew we were wearing all this gear. I had no idea what we had created. It was nuts walking onto our own set. It was in that moment when I realized I wanted to direct. 
You could say recap the genesis of Shine came when I was on the set of Stomp The Yard. When it started to transform was into that short film. It was when I was forced to direct this short that I realized I wanted to direct. My ambitions to be an actor went out the window. I just loved the feel of storytelling, which was reinforced when we screened Mano in front of 700 people. I had no idea what it would be like to sit in the back of that theater and watch everyone react to the emotions you’ve created on screen. That was the ultimate high. That was when I knew that's what I wanted to do the rest my life. 
Dustin
What's the next step? What is this journey like? I know this is second nature to you but for us in the WealthFit Nation, we have no idea of where the story is going. What's next to you? You get the short. How do you take it from there? How do you get it into 600 theaters?
Anthony
When I did the short in 2007, we sold out at the Egyptian Theater, 700 people in the industry. There was a lot of interest to then take the original long form scripts and turn it into a movie. Immediately I met a production company that did Rescue Dawn. Someone in that camp was arrested three weeks later for embezzlement, forgery and fraud and the scripting goes down with it. It then became the long arduous journey that a lot of independent filmmakers is courting different investors. Being told over and over, “We're going to do it. You go to dinner and you have a great night,” and then you don't hear from them anymore. That happened often and so there were a couple times I was close to being financed between 2007 and 2009.
In 2009, I was close to being funded and it fell through. I get a call from my cousin who is the attache of Homeland Security in Saudi Arabia at the time. We're big cigar smokers. He goes, “Tony, I'm in Riyadh in this underground cigar lounge, smoking cigars. I pitched your movie to one of these businessmen and he's interested. Let’s get you a visa and let’s get you out.” Within two weeks we got a visa, got on a plane, went out there. At the time I was renting a house in North Hollywood. I went out to Saudi Arabia and the investor was committed to doing $3.5 million to $5 million. The same thing, we went to dinner and hung out and it was great. They were very welcoming but then he had a death in the family. He was like, “I've got to take an emergency trip to Turkey,” and we never heard back from him at least within those seven long days. 
When you're told the money is there and then it goes silent and then you're in a foreign country, they were seven long days. I had to decide to go back or stay. I had met so many people in those next five days, so I called my buddy and I said, “I'm going to break my lease. Can you go to my place, pack it up, put it in public storage?” and I stayed for a year. That became a new journey, a new evolution where I met up with an investment banker, Abdulrahman. He has a company called Darfin Capital where I started doing prospectuses for him because he was doing a lot of mergers and acquisitions. I have always had a way with analytics in knowing how to present a story from an analytical perspective so that's what I would do. I would help load up his decks with the analytics to support his acquisitions, mergers and consolidations. He and his partner eventually agreed to put up the $3.5 million after a year. I can say that they truly were more investing in the trust and in our relationship because $3.5 million was nothing for them.
Dustin
Had they ever invested in a movie before?
Anthony
No, that's what it was. It was a little excitement. It was me educating them over the time and it was “We're investing in you.” That was being paired up, my producers at home were also coordinating efforts with local investors. They then identified a very big producer in Hollywood that was willing to fund the other half through tax credits out of Detroit. Come back, sitting in his office, he's calling CAA saying, “We're going to get Antonio Banderas and we're going to do this and do that.” The contractual process started. The Saudis had hired very savvy attorneys in Beverly Hills, those entertainment attorneys. The attorneys for whatever reason did not see eye to eye from both parties. The contract got bloody very quickly. Redlining this and redlining that and the deal fell apart. A year, this time with money in escrow, it hit the bottom. I wasn't working because they were giving me a stipend. Immediately I got back into work, I said, “I need to regroup. I need to start making money again, keep directing smaller gigs, commercials and music videos, and try this again.” That's when I started working at Kaiser. 
I was leading all their analytics for their claims division for all of Kaiser across the country. I started coming up with a plan. My plan at the time was to take the budget down to under $1 million. All this time back, the budget was between $7 million and $10 million. I've started learning what it takes to not just direct but produce. What are the real nuts and bolts to getting something shot? Your camera, your lenses, your crew, your grip and electric. Forget all this fluff of millions. What is it going to cost me if I was to go nineteen days with two cameras and get a deal from this camera and start to do the research and come up with a number? That's when I started working. 
I was directing and trying to raise smaller money to come up with slightly under $1 million, with the assumption that I would do a tax credit, which would then bring half the money back. That then takes us to the end of 2013, beginning of 2014 when I met this producer that had this $150,000, which for me was a start. I've gotten down to such a little amount of money but whatever, I'm going to start with the $150,000. We started casting. You can go to YouTube and see the videos with Gilbert Saldivar who’s JLo’s dance captain and Christina Aguilera’s dancer and best friend. Those videos are up until today where we're auditioning dancers. That was the time when I had this $150,000. We were going, we were starting and that's when that night in Vegas hit. 
Dustin
You've got this momentum, another setback. Your story of creating this movie could be a movie. We made it back to the 150. You picked yourself up. You've got this bright mentality. It sucked at the moment. Then you found yourself becoming optimistic and then looking for the solution. What's the next solution? 
Anthony
That's when the people around me were like, “Go to Kickstarter, raise it on Kickstarter.” I didn't want to at the time because I still circulated and relied on the dance world. That was always my target audience, and everybody had known from 2007, it was now 2014. I was telling everybody probably every year, “It's going to get made, we’re close.” I went to Kickstarter and everything with Kickstarter and in my opinion and the research that I did starts with a strong compelling video and pouring your heart out to people. I paid someone a few dollars. I told my story like this. I wanted people to appreciate the journey, to appreciate that I've tried my best and that I had a plan in place and that I also knew what I was doing so I put a video together. I had my girlfriend stand by me and convince me that this was the right thing to do. Then someone that was successful on a smaller campaign on her own gave me the basic stats on, “Don't go more than 60 days. If you're not at 30% by week two, try to find small money you can pump into your Kickstarter campaign to give everyone a feeling that it is raising, spreading your money even if it's a few hundred dollars.” 
We launched on July 1st and had a nice four-minute video that I had. Other people gave their testimonials, so it wasn't just me. There were people validating and took to Kickstarter. When I set the Kickstarter plan, I set the production plan. I was like “I'm going to make this goal. We're going to start shooting this movie in September.” There was no backing down and we did. We met our goal. It was tough but it's like you’ll never know until you start. What happened in the middle of that, we had created action. Because of that, it created awareness. Because of that, someone reached out and said, “I want to give you $25,000, but we treat it as an investment.” I said, “Absolutely.” I took a portion of that and kept it in a reserve to pump the Kickstarter whenever it would fall flat. Then people start to match, and we get creative and create contests and say, “We've got this person that's going to match $500 if we can reach $500 at 8 PM tonight.” You create the surge and synergy and it does, it works. We reached our goal on day 45. I remember when we reached it, we legitimately had someone that was willing to match the final $5,000. We peak to 103 when our goal was 100, which was good because Kickstarter has one of the highest fees. We were going over $3,000 that helped us account for. 
The date from Kickstarter to production was so close that we ended up going to New York to start preproduction still and not monies in hand. That's how I gave myself a four-day window and then realized it takes fourteen business days for it to transact. Kickstarter was probably the best thing that I could have done because we were already starting to create our audience for the movie too. We were creating a fanbase that to this day supported the theatrical release. You start to create a fanbase and we were starting to carve our own journey for everyone to see. Kickstarter was probably the best thing that I could have done. It truly did what it stands for because it kickstarted funding. It made a little easier for me to then go off and raise increments of $25,000 to give us a starting budget and start production. 
Dustin
I want to definitely continue on with the story and the journey for sure but I'm very curious how the money works when it comes to movies and investments. This will get the movies out. It gets launched. People are buying tickets at it. The money flows back to you somehow. Do you pay them a return? How does the money work?
Anthony
The reasonable and customary for the movie is you take 100%. You split the pie right in the middle and 50% goes to your investors. Whatever money they put in, they'll get their money back and then they'll own 50% of all other net profits that come in. It's not just a return. You're giving them a stake in the project. We did a 60/40 split because we were doing everything so cheap. A lot of it was our own sweat equity. We kept 60% on the producer side, 40% on the investor side. The simple formula, whatever your investment represented of the total budget, you’ve got that percentage of that 40% pie. As monies come in, the first position is those investors. After that, then everybody's doing that 60/40 split. Right now, you're selling tickets and the Waterfall works as theaters keep 50%. That's even if you go to theaters, which we did. Theaters keep anywhere from 45% to 55% of the box office.
Whatever is distributed goes back to our studio, and pays back whatever it cost to market the movie. Once that's paid back, then we have a deal in place with that distributor that gives us a split of 65/35. We get 65% and they get 35%. That 65% that comes in is what's going back to now my investors until they're paid in full. Once they're paid in full then we're all pro rata sharing that 65% of that. That then carries over to home entertainment, video on demand, DVDs, Redbox and then international and foreign. As an investor, films can be risky but you mitigate the risk two ways. You keep the budget low and you ensure you've got a good story. 
Dustin
When someone invests, do they get a credit in the movie? 
Anthony
It all depends on the producers, but what's reasonable and customary are executive producer credits to people that you have to define for us. Anybody that invested $25,000 or more got a co-executive producer. Anyone that invested $50,000 or more or was responsible for bringing that money, got an executive producer credit. In the movie business, people price the executive producers, producers, co-producers. Executive producers are those that have pretty much anything to do with the money or have brought something of real value. Let's say you know Brad Pitt. You bring Brad Pitt and he does it because he's a buddy. You're probably going to get an executive producer credit. This is why we guard that credit very closely, that's what makes the movie. That is the nuts and bolts, the sweating, the busting your butt every day. That is who physically makes the film. That's why it's always a challenge in Hollywood when people want a producer credit because they do bring an actor or they bring money. It's like a Navy SEAL, it means a lot to have that. 
Then a co-producer is somebody that is acting in the movie making function. It didn't make the whole movie but contributed something significant. Maybe they provided a few locations or got a bunch of discounts from the vendors. The stuff that has to do with the making of the movie that contributes to some aspect. Then associate producer, I call it a throwaway credit. People probably are not going to like me for that. They don't want other people hearing that because people try to sell an associate producer credit and it's a throwaway credit. It's something that you give to your buddy or somebody that there's not much you can do. Executive producer, depending on what you put in there. I gave everyone a special thanks, every person. I had people give me $500. They’re at the end of the credits in the movie. 
Dustin
Thanks for breaking down the money. I was curious about that. You've got the Kickstarter money. You're in New York, the money comes in or I guess it's pending because it takes fourteen days. You're in New York and now you're in production, you're filming. 
Anthony
We're filming, we had two weeks to prep. I had one more someone stealing the money story. We hired a line producer which you can look at as your controller for the movie. We had given a deposit to a line producer. His job was to secure all your vendors and start crewing up so that when we got out there, things are in place. We got out there and not a single crew was hired. Not a single vendor was hired. No permits. Nothing was done. I asked him what was going on and he wasn't returning my calls. Then he said he got into an accident. That night we saw him on Instagram with a picture at Wimbledon with his mom and it went downhill after that. That's when I called my current producing partner, Sandra, who co-produced the movie with me. She wasn't with me in New York at the time. She was working with Maker owned by Disney. I said, “Sandra, I'm going to buy in. I need a producer out here with me.” She within eight hours had quit her job at Maker and was on a flight to New York. 
We had two weeks to do probably what most movies have maybe three months to do. We got an apartment. We have pictures on social media. We got a four-bedroom brownstone and we converted that into all our keys sleeping there and our production office. We crewed up. We were interviewing hair and makeup, grip and electric, first and second ACs, and sound and boom, you name it. We locked up our locations permits. We started production the day that we had intended on a sound stage because our first shot was the hospital scene which takes place on a sound stage. We used the same sound stages where CSI and Gotham shoot. We got into production. That's when the obstacles only began because you're shooting in New York City. You're dealing with the weather, lost locations. My Kickstarter money, you go back to that. It was payroll in the middle of the second week and I had enough money to float the payroll for the first week but definitely not the second. 
I got a notice on my phone that all my accounts were locked up. I called Bank of America. This was a huge distraction because we couldn't afford to slip to a second day. You have a location and that's it, you have your talent. They thought it was money laundering. They didn't understand what this huge transfer money was because I never had that amount of money deposited at once. I had to come in and show all the IDs in person and prove who I was. I was trying to get a wire to our movie entity account because I had this come into my personal account. They said, “We can't help you. We can give you your money. You can withdraw it in cash but we have to close your account.” I was in the Bronx and I was in basketball shorts and a t-shirt. I withdrew in tranches of $15,000 in cash. I put it in my shorts and was running across the street to chase back and forth, in the middle of the day. 
Dustin
Were you super sketched out?
Anthony
It was not. Someone was going to make a payday if I got robbed that day. This is all while I'm thinking about my next shot. How am I going to shorten my shots up that afternoon because I'm not going to make my day? How can I get the narrative going? I got an Uber and got back. That was one for the books. 
Dustin
You've got this money transfer over but $150,000 isn't enough to complete the movie. 
Anthony
We had enough money, total that we had was $186,000. We had enough money to take us nineteen days. I raised a little money while I was on set because I knew that lights camera action, I could invite some people. To speak from the heart, let them see what was happening and raise five and ten here and there. We were able to get 85% of the movie in the can. We did it smart where we wouldn't have to come back to a location. We knew that we could shoot in LA where we had a lot of favors. That's where we did the building fire. We did some interiors. That was October of 2015. Over the next year, we did a few pickup shots and reshoots. The movie takes place in London. That time we agreed to just do interiors and shoot, it was stock photography. When we had a rough assembly, it wasn't selling. It felt stuck, it felt cheated. We Googled the director of photography in London and we budgeted $10,000 and said this is going to be for our traveling gear. The camera alone would be $10,000 but we found the one DP that was owed a favor from Panavision London and got our entire camera package for zero. What we had to pay for was our insurance. We did a day in London, three days total. We used the Airbnb that we rented as the interior. We went back to New York. We had to do a couple of pickups. The total budget, we were a little under $400,000 for everything. 
Dustin
Your mindset, your grit, your resourcefulness, where does this come from? 
Anthony
It was a compliment when our post-production house, Sugar Studios in LA, they do a bunch of movies. They did The Oath with Ike Barenholtz. I got to meet Ike. I saw the Shine trailer only a month ago. Gigio tells them, “Anthony directed and produce.” He was like, “I’m not taking away from his directing but I've never met a producer like this guy in my twenty years in Hollywood. He's so resourceful.” It's the grit. It's a combination of the entrepreneurial side. You hear that from Spike Lee, Lee Daniels. It's tougher where you’re in a lesser position, being black, I’m Puerto Rican. You're in a lesser position but you get so creative. You try to climb the fence, they push you down, you dig a tunnel, you build a spaceship, you will get over it. That's what happened with this movie. You do have to have patience and that's what I realized. The tradeoff was, “I'll find a way to get it done but it's not necessarily going to happen on my watch.” When I accepted that, things would happen. 
Dustin
It is almost as if you were detached from the outcome. You wanted this movie to be produced and made, but you were detached from what would happen. Is that what you're saying?
Anthony
No, as a filmmaker you want it to come out right away. My acceptance was I'm not going to fail. I'm going to get it done. It may not happen as soon as I want it. That's when things started to happen. I always had the vision. I could see myself in a theater watching it even though when we finished the movie, we didn't get one theatrical offer, not even close. 
Dustin
Walk us through that, 85% you get the film done. 
Anthony
It’s in the can. We do post for a year and a half and now it's ready to show. We get into Urbanworld. We almost got into Toronto.
Dustin
What’s Urbanworld?
Anthony
Urbanworld’s like Toronto and Sundance. It’s the largest multicultural film festival in the world. It's HBO, a lot of glitz and glamour in New York. We didn't get into Toronto. We submitted an assembly and another lesson I learned is do not show your movie until you're 110% absolutely. When they say you could submit a rough cut, it doesn't have to be. At the end of the day this perception, you're sitting there and you can't watch it and go, “I know they're not.” No, your brain is going to conclude on certain elements. When we completely had that in the can, we got a recommendation from Toronto to submit to Urbanworld. We rationalize that’s probably the best home because it's multicultural and it's home. We'd be premiering in New York City where we shot this movie. Urbanworld has been around for eighteen years. 
Lee Daniels and Ava DuVernay, who just did Selma, they were the ambassadors for that year. We were announced on variety. They announced the lineup of films and within 48 hours, our film had sold out. They thought something was wrong with the internet. A movie had never sold out within 48 hours in eighteen years of that festival. We had a sellout crowd at the Empire AMC on Broadway, Time Square. It was exciting and that was unique because it was one day after Hurricane Maria hit. We were mostly Puerto Rican cast and some of our crew couldn't even come. It was a special time for us and we ended up winning the Audience Award for best feature. It was well-received and that’s what gave us some momentum to then shop the movie. We had a sales company early on the exchange. They're very big. They’re one of the largest sales companies in the world. I had worked closely with Brian O'Shea and we started to shop in. The best offers we were getting were every studio passed. It's not that they didn't like it. They’d go, “We don't know how to market this,” because it's different. The only Latin content that's at a studio level is Mexican genre. Of the Latino minorities, they’re the largest demographic. 
A lot of them said no, we were getting some low offers like HBO Latino, Netflix. We were going to get maybe $60,000 for all the foreign. The economics were you either have a movie that's comparable, which we didn't. We’re a dance film but we're Latin dance film. You can't compare us to Step Up or you have an A-list actor that's got paper value behind him in the foreign marketplace which we didn’t. David Zayas is known but he's not Brad Pitt or Denzel Washington. That's when I said I'm not selling. We're going to fight, we're going to somehow get into at least eight theater or ten theaters. That's when GVN Releasing, a very small studio that does faith-based movies, happen to be at our post-house where our trailer was. They saw our trailer and said, “What's going on with this?” We got a screening set up and they loved it. 
It started out to be what's called a Day-and-Date. You know how movies come out in the theaters on the same day they go digital? That's called a Day-and-Date. It's not to garner huge theatrical earnings. It just helps boost your home entertainment value a little more if you can say you released in a theater We started out as a Day-and-Date and then during this process, I started to educate them on our market. There's a huge dance audience. We're in a time right now where Latino pride is very high. Hispanic Heritage Month, we release around then. I started educating them and they saw it. They’d go, “What about we maybe we’ll roll it in ten theaters?” I said, “Yes, if we go out in ten theaters and at least get a $10,000 theatrical average, bump us to 200.” Our initial contract was ten theaters. If we did a certain amount of revenue per screen, it would bump us up. While all this talk was happening, our sales company, knowing they had gotten us into a domestic deal, had sold us to BuenaVista Disney, which required us to come in 300 theaters. 
About five months ago was the change in direction, we're going to now in 300 theaters. After that happened, a Netflix slot came open, Relativity Media went bankrupt. They’re a huge studio and they owned all these Netflix slots that are like gold. They pay 65% on movies that release in 600 theaters that end on 12/31 this year. GVN had one of those slots. Then that's when I was like, “Three weeks out, we're going to push to 600 theaters.” Then it was the push to 600 and this is a studio that's only accustomed to doing Day-and-Date in maybe 10 to 50 theaters. This is not even a Lions Gate. They're not even The Orchard that you see. They're very small independent. We went from barely anything offered initially to a 600 theatrical release and we didn't have the marketing money to support. The rule of thumb is $5,000 to $10,000 a theater, which that would put it at $3 million to $6 million that we would have needed. I spent a few hundred, but we relied on a lot of grassroots and word of mouth. 
Something special happened that weekend because to this day, there's always a perception with your movie being in a theater. I would get asked all the time when I said I made an independent movie and it’s going to theaters and they’re like, “Is it going on an independent theater?” I'm like, “No, we're in AMC and Regal and Cinemark.” Because of all the buzz that built, even though we didn't have the marketing, the marketing campaign itself was the release. Once we hit theaters that weekend, people were sharing. They were seeing the red carpet and the people that did go to see it were sharing it. It's created something unique. It's a victory to take a Kickstarter film with $180,000 something at the time to a platform that people are seeing around the country which is now positioned as nicely for home entertainment which is January 1. It’s probably the best date to go on home entertainment because everyone's home. 
Dustin
To get into a movie theater, is it paying to be there? 
Anthony
Yes, you have to convince. There’s what they call a four-walling where you can rent out a screen for a week. A theatrical run starts Friday to Thursday. That's like $10,000 or $20,000 a theater. You go the route where your marketing team is, you hire a booking company which our studio had and is marketing to the buyers to say, “This is commercially viable. This is the marketing that we're doing. This is the award that it won.” The buyer goes, “Okay,” and they agree to book it and then it's a little under $1,000. That's the cost of what they call the virtual print for your DCP, your technical medium for the movie to show. Your one sheet, which is your poster and all the logistics around that. That's why they keep half because you're not renting. The theaters taking a chance on you. It doesn't do all, that’s revenue they could have used for another movie. You are paying a fee per theater. It's a nominal but for 600 theaters, it's $600,000. 
Dustin
What's the future for the film right now? What's the future for you? Let's start with the film. 
Anthony
The film is interesting because I just talked to our marketing director and she goes, “The story for Shine is not finished being written yet. We're getting videos every day of people. This movie is a little different, they don't just watch it and leave. They watch it and they record how inspiring it was or how entertaining or how great it was to see themselves on screen portrayed so positively and fresh and so many different perspectives. It's growing. I do believe that Shine, hands down, will be called classic. We'll be right next to La Bamba and Selena and there will be Shine. You see it, you can hear it right now.” We're opening in Puerto Rico. That's exciting for us, we're in ten theaters. There are only 30 theaters in Puerto Rico. We then may do a run in one single theater in LA, one New York and one in Orlando, because there's so much demand. We might do a run in one theater in each of those markets between November and when we go on demand. Then on demand starts. 
We're in stores. That's why I think the movie will find its audience. That's where we'll cross over to mainstream people because they'll see our trailer. It's always intriguing, just like when I watched Slumdog Millionaire. I'm not Indian but I was intrigued. I think that's what's going to happen. We'll continue to grow. As everyone around me said, “You've started your career. You've got your calling card. You've created a movie that's watchable, that has a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Even though it's 90%, you're in the 95 percentile.” People don't ever get 90%, it's very hard. Even A Star Is Born is like 76% right now. I'm still young for a director. I've got Hawaii Five-O. I’m meeting with Shonda Rhimes’ company to start Sharon Grey's Anatomy. I'm taking studio meetings about the sequel, about other projects that I have. I say when I'm pitching and I'm sitting up in a room with an exec, “Look what I did with this,” with all the mental barriers as well where I couldn't focus on 100% creative. If I can just sit and create and direct, give me a shot. I think that's where I am. It's exciting. 
Dustin
Tony, any advice to the young you? He's got the script, he wants to go in your path.
Anthony
I'd say especially now with technology whether you have a DSLR or an iPhone, get your story out, tell a story. If you've got that one that you're passionate and you feel it deserves to be made more traditional, that's fine. Push it, but then create other content while you’re doing that and prove yourself. If you haven't gone to film school, don't let anyone tell you that you need to go. If you've gone to film school, volunteer to get on set because you’ll learn stuff that film school will never teach you. Network, volunteer services for free and don't lose sight especially if someone out there truly has that passion project. If this was easy, everyone would be doing it. You can't afford to divert for two or three years and then maybe come back to it. You've got to run a six-minute mile for as long as it takes. I'd like to promise as close as I could promise that it will happen. It may not happen the way that you had always envisioned it. That's exactly what's happening with me in this film right now but I've gotten it out, I've gotten it made. Appreciate the journey, take a beep, step back and go, “I'm actually human just at this point.” I had to stop while I was in production and when I was stressed out and say, “I'm here. I'm doing it.” Appreciate the journey. 
Dustin
Tony, thank you big time. We appreciate you coming in and speaking with us here at WealthFit. How can people find out key dates about the movie? How can they see it? How can they get notified when it comes out, streaming all that stuff?
Anthony
If you're in LA or New York or Orlando, we'll probably be showing at some point in November or December. Otherwise, on all the platforms on January 1, iTunes, your individual cable carriers Time Warner, VOD and stores and Walmart. You can go to ShineTheMovie.nyc to stay in touch. Our handle on social media is @ShineFilm2018 and just follow and we're still doing interviews. We've submitted ourselves for the Spirit Awards, we qualified for the Spirit. That's the Oscars for the independent world. We'll see what happens there. We qualify for the under 500,000 category. There's a journey and I encourage you to watch the movie. You don't have to be Latino, you don't have to be a dancer. There's a message for everyone and there's definitely a feeling of love. You feel whole at the end of it. I definitely encourage you to watch it. 
Dustin
Thanks again, Tony. 
Anthony
Thank you.

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