Behind The Scenes On The Making Of IMDBs Top Ranked Documentary w/ Jason Aron
Have you allowed fear held you back from pursuing your passion? As creatives we often find ways to talk ourselves out of diving into passion projects, despite our, well… passion for them! While he certainly faced challenges and doubts, especially as the scope of his project ballooned in front of him, today’s guest Jason Aron stuck with it, and the resulted documentary Back In Time became the top-ranked documentary on IMDB, and distributed through Netflix.
Jason was a wedding/corporate filmmaker and drone pilot who had also done a few short documentaries, when an amusing addition to a Bar Mitzvah video struck a chord in him that propelled him to dive into creating a documentary about the cultural impact of his favorite trilogy of all time, Back To The Future. He doesn’t hold back when discussing the challenges they faced daily, the struggles that their naivete around the business of making a big-time doc created, and how this passion project that he had set out to make for himself has actually positively affected people all around the world.
We also get deep into the business logistics of creating a full-length feature documentary which includes tips on getting distribution, the various legalities at every turn, and what the budget expectations and constraints might look like for you. I took a ton away from this interview and received a huge kick in the butt when it comes to jumping into a passion project like this smartly.
What is your project that you have been to scared to jump into? What are the fears that are currently holding you back? Leave us a comment!
In this episode:
- Some of the struggles and politics that you may face when shooting and editing a project like this
- Tips & Tricks to make the process easier, including things Jason wishes he had thought about from the get go
- How to budget for a large project like this if you don’t have any experience
- What you need to know about the business and legal side of creating a feature-length project like this
- Preparing for the sacrifices you will have to make
- Tips on getting distribution
“I think there is a big difference between criticism and failure, those are two totally different things. Failure is just something that doesn’t work while criticism is more of you put something out there and people tell you they don’t like it. It’s more of an active hatred then a passive one.” (14:25)
“[Some of the big challenges were] not knowing that we needed these different insurance things, not knowing how much a colorist would cost, not knowing the process of doing a sound mix, not knowing that when you’re done and you want to get it distributed, you probably need 6-8 months. Not knowing all those things, we were working from behind a lot because we were kind of chasing our tail very often.” (29:14)
“From a strict dollar and cents standpoint, there were plenty if shoots that we went on for this documentary where I could have been doing a paid shoot back in New York or wherever else that I had to say no to because of Back In Time. Dozens! So I did give up a lot of money-making opportunities to do this documentary but nothing would have yielded out the professional success that came from this documentary so I definitely don’t look twice at it.” (35:56)