Indie Film Academy | Free Online Filmmaking School for Independent Filmmakers | Screenwriting | Crowdfunding | Cinematography | Directing | Editing | Distribution & Sales

Your free online film school. Learn filmmaking from other independent filmmakers. We cover topics such as screenwriting, film finance, pre production, directing, film editing, marketing and much much more. Join us as we talk with filmmakers in all walks of life to first-time filmmakers outside of the Hollywood system, to Oscar Winners and Filmmakers who have worked for the Studio System.
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Indie Film Academy | Free Online Filmmaking School for Independent Filmmakers | Screenwriting | Crowdfunding | Cinematography | Directing | Editing | Distribution & Sales




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Now displaying: 2016
Oct 12, 2016

Today I'm talking with Shant Hamassian about his short film "Night Of The Slasher" and how it was accepted by SXSW  and many other festivals.

Jul 12, 2016

Alex Ferrari of Indie Film Hustle drops by to talk about his latest project, This Is Meg. 

Jul 7, 2016


Linda Nelson from Indie Rights discusses what's hot in digital distribution and how Amazon Prime fits into your overall strategy.

Indie Rights, Inc. is an American distributor of independent films, based in Los Angeles, California. Indie Rights is a subsidiary of Nelson Madison Films and was incorporated in 2007 to act as distributor for other independent filmmakers.[1] The corporation began as a private MySpace group where the makers of independent films could get information about the changing face of film distribution; founders Linda Nelson and Michael Madison created Indie Rights so that distribution contracts could be signed by a legal entity. The corporation distributes films largely through video on demand services, though more recently it has overseen suchtheatrical releases as We Are Kings and Fray, both in 2014.

Nelson Madison Films has produced three features: Bigger Than Live (2002), Shifted (2006) and Delivered (2011).[2][3]



Linda Nelson is a former investment banker and computer systems analyst based in Los Angeles since 1980;[2] Michael Madison moved there in 1999 from Duncanville, Texas, to work as an actor and film producer.[4] They first partnered in 2000 to create and distribute the NSYNC concert film Bigger Than Live for IMAX theaters. In 2003, they formed their own company[1] with the goal of making independent features using local talent. Madison acts and handles writing, producing and directing duties; Nelson writes and produces[4] while developing distribution plans for other filmmakers.

Lawsuit and recovery[edit]

Bigger Than Live broke even during its theatrical run, but Nelson and Madison "failed to tie up the necessary rights in our initial contract" and lost home video distribution in a lawsuit that shut down their production office. They moved into "more humble digs" and tried again with the crime thriller Shifted, learning the ins and outs of distribution while attending film festivals.[3] Nelson soon discovered that the chances of getting a film seen at a major festival such as Sundance or Cannes without having connections in the industry "are slim to nothing."[5] The company began a private group on MySpace called Indie Co-op, where filmmakers could get details on self-distribution, including attendance at smaller festivals where films are likely to benefit from local coverage and reviews.[6]

Nelson believed that film distributors didn't have any systems for accountability in place[2] and that they tended to buy the rights to entire catalogs rather than individual films,[7] so she and Madison decided to do it themselves. Since they needed a legal entity to make distribution contracts valid,[3] they incorporated Indie Rights in 2007.[8] Nelson said doing both film production and distribution gives them a greater understanding of the challenges that filmmakers face than would a company that focuses only on distribution.[9]

Film distribution[edit]

By 2013, Indie Rights had built up enough name recognition that video on demand providers began approaching the corporation for information on available independent films rather than waiting to be contacted.[10] Those features are steered mostly to such platforms as Amazon Unbox, Google Play, Hulu and iTunes,[11] where the filmmakers can earn up to 50 percent of the revenue.[12] Innovations include searchable film rentals on YouTube and through video game consoles, allowing filmmakers new sources of income—in 2011, Indie Rights had "little films making five grand a month on PlayStation".[13] In 2014, the company was the first independent studio included on M–GO, a subscription service supported by "all six of the major studios" that offers films for home viewing that are still playing in theaters.[14]

Filmmaker and Baylor University professor Christopher Hansen turned to Indie Rights in 2015 when his film Where We Started failed to make the major festival circuit. After a short run at the Arena Cinema Hollywood led to favorable reviews, the film was released via digital platforms.[15] Theatrical releases by Indie Rights also include 9 Full Moons (2013), featuring Amy Seimetz and Harry Dean Stanton;[16] We Are Kings, the feature-film debut of America's Got Talent winner Bianca Ryan;[17] and Druid Peak, starring Spencer Treat Clark and winner of Best Feature Film at the 2014 Omaha Film Festival.[18]

Indie Rights became part of the Independent Online Distribution Alliance in 2008.[19] Nelson and Madison also conduct seminars for independent filmmakers looking to build an audience through social networking.[20] said Nelson "really gets what it takes to win with Facebook."[21]


Starting in 2010, the budgetary constraints of independent film-making required that Nelson Madison Films go tapeless. Delivered, their second "crime thriller", was their first to utilize Red Digital Cinema cameras and Adobe CS5 production software.[22] Madison directed, and played the lead role in an "uneven performance" where "at times he's spot-on".[23]


May 30, 2016

Jon S. Baird  is best known for his 2013 film Filth.[2]

Baird has also directed for television, e.g., Vinyl (on HBO), season 1, episode 8, "E.A.B."

May 25, 2016

Simon Cade is the founder or DSLRGuide,  a popular blog and YouTube Channel. To learn more about Simon you can visit his webiste at or check out all of the great videos on his YouTube Page. At the time of writing this Simon has 221,946 subscribers.

On this episode we talk all about YouTube as well as how to start making short films. 


You can also follow Simon on Twitter. @DSLRguidance

May 17, 2016

In 2013, David F. Sandberg made a little horror short film "Lights Out" for an online Horror Short competition. The film not only won, but became a viral sensation. Not too long after that, Sandberg started getting calls from Los Angeles from agents and managers.

Fast forward to Sandberg sitting in an office with James Wan (The Conjuring, Saw) talking about making "Lights Out" into a feature. 


May 10, 2016

On today's episode we're going beyond the Hero's Journey to discuss mythic themes in storytelling. My guest, Pamela Jay Smith, is an expert on the topic of mythology and understanding archipaths.

Apr 25, 2016

On today's show we're talking with Pat Flynn of and the Ask Pat Podcast. I was extremely excited to introduce my audience to Pat because he has been so instrumental in the founding of the IFA as well as helping me to understand the world of online marketing. One of the key concepts we discuss is the way that filmmakers can start to build their audience and look at their films as passive income generators.

The concept of passive income is pretty straight forward. Instead of generating an income through hourly income, passive income is income generated from things like ebooks, videos, affiliate marketing, etc. over time. One of the most alluring aspects of passive income is the idea that at some point, you will create enough passive income that you will not need to work for an hourly wage. Although this sounds nice, I have found in my own experience that most people typically like to have something they do to earn a living as well. Pat himself hasn't let a monthly a 6 figure monthly income slow him down. But I do think it's important for filmmakers to learn Pat's techniques to be ahead of the game when it comes to sales and distribution. 

Mar 24, 2016

A few years ago, I was blown away by the Indie Film "Spring". It was a nice break from the long line of horror films that were basically cookie cutters of other better horror films. This is the second film collaboration between Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. They started with the love budget surreal thriller "Resolution", which they paid for out of pocket. 

Feb 18, 2016

In this episode I am talking with Jeremy Gardener and Christian Stella. Two of the creators behind the wildly popular zombie film "The Battery" and the upcoming "Tex Montana Will Survive". We discuss what it was like to make an indie film for 6k dollars, what happened after the film came out, and how their experiences have made them want to change the way they approach distribution by offering their latest film for free. 

To learn more about their crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter go to

Feb 11, 2016

Nancy Gerstman is co-president and co-founder of Zeitgeist Films. She has worked in all aspects of film distribution and exhibition including a stint at Landmark Theatre Corp., the largest independent theatre chain in the US. She is in demand as a juror, panelist and commentator on issues related to independent and foreign language film and is Permanent Artist-in-Residence in the Master's Program in Media and Communication Arts at CCNY. She was born in Queens, New York.


Zeitgeist Films is a New York-based distribution company founded in 1988. We acquire and distribute the finest independent films from the U.S. and around the world.

Zeitgeist has distributed first films by such notable directors as Todd Haynes, Christopher Nolan, Francois Ozon, Atom Egoyan and the Quay Brothers. Our catalog includes films from the world's most outstanding filmmakers including Agnes Varda, Guy Maddin, Olivier Assayas, Jia Zhang-ke, Abbas Kiarostami, Derek Jarman, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Peter Greenaway, Philippe Garrel, Yvonne Rainer, Jan Svankmajer, Andrei Zyvagintsev, Laura Poitras, Astra Taylor and Raoul Peck.


Six Zeitgeist films have been nominated for Academy Awards and one, NOWHERE IN AFRICA, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Our films have been honored by festivals throughout the world with Grand Prizes at Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, Tribeca, and IDFA in Amsterdam.

The Museum of Modern Art honored Zeitgeist with a month-long, 20th anniversary retrospective of our films in 2008.

Feb 2, 2016

Today I'm talking with one of my heroes, legendary film producer Roger Corman. In this interview we discuss what filmmaking is like today for the Hollywood veteran and we discuss some of Corman's favorite memories and films. 

We also hear from Jonathan Demme and Ron Howard about their experience working with Mr. Corman as well as a fun clip from Conan. 

Jan 26, 2016

PILAR ALESSANDRA is the director of the popular writing program “On The Page” and author of “The Coffee Break Screenwriter.” A sought-after teacher and lecturer, she’s traveled the world teaching screenwriting, pitching and story analysis. As a consultant, Pilar has helped thousands of writers create, refine and sell their scripts and was named “Cream of the Crop” in Creative Screenwriting’s Script Consultant Survey. Her students and clients have sold to Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Brothers and Sony and have won prestigious competitions, including the Austin Film Festival and Nicholl Fellowship.

Pilar jump-started her career in film as a script reader for Amblin Entertainment. With the formation of DreamWorks, she became Senior Story Analyst and a reader liaison between the studio and Robert Zemeckis’s company ImageMovers. Her expert script analysis was also sought out by The Robert Evans Company, Cineville Entertainment, Handprint Entertainment and Saturday Night Live Studios. Work at Interscope Communications led her to a position as Senior Story Analyst for Scott Kroopf’s production company Radar Pictures.

Pilar was later bitten by the “teaching bug” while teaching screenwriting and story analysis at the UCLA Writers’ Program. In 2001, she started her own company “On the Page,” and in 2004 opened the On the Page Writers Studio in Sherman Oaks, California. In the interest of expanding access to her teaching tools, Pilar created the instructional DVD “On the Page” and presents the weekly “On the Page Podcast” with guests from within the industry. Recently, Pilar was listed as one of LA Weekly’s top 100 people in their “Best of LA People” issue.


Jan 22, 2016

Today we're discussing comedy in writing with Steve Kaplan. Steve is the author of the book "The Hidden Tools of Comedy" as well as the founder of the HBO Workspace and the HBO New Writer's Program. 

He is a consultant and script doctor for Dreamworks, Disney, Paramount, Touchstone and many others. and is also a highly sought-after instructor at UCLA, NYU, Yale and other top universities.