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Kevin is an actor and producer, known for Badland (2019), Zeroville (2019) and Big Legend (2018). Recent original motion pictures which did not receive a long enough brick & mortar release are finding massive new audiences. Such is the case with Kevin’s indie Western, Badland, in which he produced and stars alongside Mira Sorvino, Bruce Dern, Wes Studi, Trace Adkins, James Russo, Tony Todd and more. Hitting Netflix two Fridays ago, the Papa Octopus Prods. presentation started out at #3 on Netflix’s movie chart and #7 overall amongst Netflix’s massive library of offerings appealing to their 167 million subscribers. This astounding massive audience with exceptional word-of-mouth has given new synergy to the labor of love project Kevin Makely developed, fueled and actualized.
SUCCESS STORY PODCAST
The Success Story podcast is focused on speaking to incredible people who have achieved success through trials, tribulations, wins and losses. In each episode we sit down with leaders and mentors. We document their life, career and stories to help pass those lessons onto others through insights, experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.
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movie, people, netflix, film, home, theaters, audition, kevin, call, streaming, business, acting, western, love, big, watch, bit, actor, friends, released
Kevin Makely, Scott, Scott D Clary
Scott D Clary 00:06
Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott Clary. On this podcast I have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, politicians and other notable figures, all who have achieved success through both wins and losses. To learn more about their life, their ideas and their insights, I sit down with leaders and mentors and unpack their story to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. Without further ado, another episode of the success story podcast. Alright, thanks again for joining me. Today. I’m sitting down with Kevin Merkley very excited. Now Kevin is actor producer. He’s known for Badland zero Ville big legend and if you look on his IMDb, there’s a whole bunch of other notable works that he’s been in. But right now, I’m excited to speak with Kevin for a variety of reasons, but Badland is an indie Western that he produced and he starred in alongside country singer trace Adkins, Golden Globe winner Mira Sorvino, and Bruce Dern. And right now Badland is doing incredibly well on Netflix. So the story the short premise is it tells about a gunslinging detective, Matthias Breacher, played by by Kevin, who was hired to track down Confederate War Criminals and it hit Netflix, two Fridays ago. It started out at number three on Netflix, his movie chart, and number seven, overall, on next Netflix, his entire library, and that’s 167 million subscribers. I just pulled those stats and obviously 1000s of movies. So that’s, that’s incredible. So, So Kevin, I want to speak about first of all, thank you for sitting down.
Kevin Makely 01:48
I want to be Yeah.
I want to chat about bad land. But I also want to I want to speak about like, I just want to get a little bit of context about about you about like, who who Kevin is, you know, you’re acting now, is this something you’ve done? And want to do your whole life? Just walk us through like your story?
Kevin Makely 02:07
Oh, yeah. Five hours? Yeah, really? Feel free to cut me off any time. But, uh, we’ll go back to the beginning, though. I Yes. I’ve been acting for over 20 years professionally. Not successfully. But professionally. You know, it’s been a long, hard road. You know, my creative outlet when I was younger, was musician, obviously. I mean, you could, you know, I, I play bass, I was in a lot of bands and stuff hair down here. And, you know, the acting bug, you know, when I was a kid was raised by a single mom, you know, just my mother, my brother who grew up in the woods in upstate New York and Poughkeepsie, New York, and I didn’t have any male role models. So my mother was a big movie buff. She was like, she was a huge Trekkie. So every night at 6pm, we would eat dinner in between her nine to five and her night job, we would sit down and watch, we would eat dinner and watch Star Trek. Yeah, and that’s, you know, that’s how I grew up. And every weekend, we would go to the movies and see what, uh, you know, I’m an, I’m an 80s. Kid. So we would see at Star Wars, you know, Return of the Jedi. jhaza, it didn’t matter. Well, Joseph 70s. But it didn’t matter if it was right at all, or not. My mom was pretty cool like that. I you know, just wanted to see, whatever was the new cool movie, you know, she was a young mom, she wanted to see movies, and she had two young kids. And, you know, it’s not like today we sit home and I can order trolls World Tour at home and put, you know, put my kids on the couch, and they can watch, we would have to go to the movies. So we anything that she wanted to see and take us to see we went you know, we would wait in line blockbuster lines, you know, back in the day. So I grew up in movies, TV and music. My mother’s a, you know, a pianist, so she you know, music filled house. And I always thought acting you know, was an unattainable, you know, was for those people, movie stars that the acting, but my mom bought me a bass when I was 14. And I was very into, you know, playing bands rock and roll heavy metal, you know, it’s into all that stuff. And then, you know, when I got to be, you know, later, you know, 1920 or whatever I, I could, you know, I started seeing that, you know, like, like, looking into that world a little bit. The New York City was just a train ride away. And one day there was an open case to get backstage magazine. I don’t know if anybody knows what it is. But this was a actual paper and fall about acting in news and this and that, and in the back of it, it had like classified ads. And there was this open call for a Woody Allen movie called celebrity. I think it was 98 and I called up my good friend Wade Griffin. And I said, Wait, we’re gonna take the train, you know, you’re gonna be my support system. I’m gonna go do this open call for this movie. We’re gonna go Ma’am, go for it. And I did it was my first audition my first anything and it was, you know what we call a cattle call, which is basically 1000 people lining up around the block to go into audition. So we, you know, I finally got him in the room. And there was Woody Allen, I’m probably eight hours six to eight hours online. I mean, forever all day long. Got in an audition or anything, but you just talk to Woody Allen, he took the time to talk to everybody was Woody Allen. I mean, Woody Allen, right. They’re like, wow, this is happening. Like the veil was lifted. And, you know, the Hollywood, you know, mistake kind of, you know, whisked away for a second. That was what he on. And he was so nice. And he gave me my two minutes. He talked to me when I went about, you know, went on with my day. And they wrote notes on my picture, and I left and you know, couldn’t get it out of my head. Oh, no, what did I do that, you know, just, you know, that whole thing. And then like, a month later, I get a phone call. I got the gig. And you know, it’s just glorified background, you know, I was an extra. But I got the gig. I was on a movie, I get to walk on set. And I wasn’t having like a feature role, no lines. But I was like the cool guy getting out of a limo go into a nightclub with some girls. And you know, it was it was really cool. I had a good time. So we shot that all day, and I got to talk to Woody out, it was very nice. Again, you know, and he treated me like I was just one of the regular actors. It was really cool, really cool experience. And then about six weeks, eight weeks, four weeks, whatever, a little time. After that, I get a call again, from the same people. They have to reshoot the scene. They had a problem with the actress that was in the scene, they have to reshoot the scene. So we reshoot the scene. And, and it’s Charlie’s throne, who is now in the movie, and she wasn’t really anybody back then I think she did movie two days in the Valley at that time, so but she was an up and coming. So we reshot the scene, my role got truncated quite a bit, but I’m still in it. And I still got to work on it. And that was really my introduction into the film business. And then I realized, wow, if I keep working at this, I can do this. I, I reason I can’t do this. So it was hard to balance the bands and the pursuit of the acting dream, because you know, a band is 150% commitment and acting 150% commitment. And it was very hard to, to do both. So I still play but I I quit the band and did everything I could do to move to New York City. You know, I worked like five jobs, you know, between Poughkeepsie and New York, and I commuted until I could find, you know, save up enough money and find a place and then I moved to New York City. And that’s how I started the whole thing. But I was a personal trainer was my day job in New York City when I was you know, and then one thing led to him, I’d say, I told you, I’m long winded. And that’s just the first audition.
Scott D Clary 07:53
No, no, it’s good. Well, like so like, it makes a lot of sense. Because the second you decided to sort of like run after this pursue it, it’s when that veil was lifted like that, that it turned from, like an esoteric skull into like, a tangible, and I actually really liked that story a lot, because it’s still not easy. Like, you’re still working five jobs and you’re set like, and to be honest, man, like, deciding between playing in a band or being an actor. Those are both to start very low, low paying gigs. You know what I mean?
Kevin Makely 08:22
Yeah, but you know, I’m an artist at heart, man. So, I got yourself, you know, and I, you know, I was all you know, oh, you know, you know, I was in a rock band and a heavy metal band was, you know, one of the highlights of my life, we used to play gigs and people, you know, dancing, marching, and you know, and screaming a lot of your songs. Yeah, it’s, it’s so fulfilling, but, uh, yeah, I got the acting bug in and I didn’t look back.
So so how did that how did the career progress? Like, how did you get to like, you know, acting is not is not producing. So what, like, it just walked through, you have to go through, like, every single thing you’ve done to know you’re done a lot, but just walk through that, if you can.
Kevin Makely 09:02
Well, so yeah. So I finally you know, made my way to New York City. And, you know, you have to be there to do the auditioning and I, I ran, you know, I ran the gamut had a little bit on on Sex in the City. I had a, you know, a little bit on The Sopranos, all uncredited, just on screen, you know, like, a lot of featured background stuff. You know, what, through all those shows, you know, as there were all the soaps that were on, I had little parts on them and I you know, I did all that and New York really wasn’t you know, it was kind of on the decline for productions at the time. So, like she had a little role and beautiful mind and that time as well and I did some commercials I got my sag card, you know, things were off and running. And I met a gentleman named Joseph Middleton’s really big casting director. In most recently, they he was the VP of casting at Paramount for quite a few years, but this time he was on his own. We became good friends. We had mutual friends became good friends, and he really influenced To move to Los Angeles, he said, you know, you have to be in Los Angeles. You know, because that’s where it’s happening. So I, I left, you know, I mean, that’s the commitment, you have to make the commitment, you know, you, you know, I’m a New Yorker, you know, I was there during 911, I was a, you know, born and raised in New York, I’m in New York. But I made the move. And, you know, I’ve pursued the dream, you know, I’m an all or nothing kind of guy, and in some way to LA, and then, you know, like this, so many close calls and ups and downs and ups and downs. And I don’t want to say I quickly learned because I didn’t quickly learn, it took me decades, but it’s a business where you know, the only control you have is over your own instruments, you have no control of what anybody else is going to do. He just, there’s just no control over you, you, you know, you get an audition, you spend as much time as you can possibly spend on that audition, or whatever it is, you get a role you work on the role, you do all that, you know, but you get this audition. And you know, sometimes you have an hour, sometimes you have three days to rehearse a page, 10 pages doesn’t matter, you go in the room, you do it, you do your best, and then you leave and you get a call, you don’t get a call, and usually you don’t, you know, nine times out of 10, you don’t and I want to say I has a lot to do, it doesn’t have a lot to do with your performance. Because you can give an amazing performance. But there’s 100 Other people given the same performance or different levels of performance. You know, it could be 10 people could be 300 a lot, but there’s a lot of people for it’s only one person get the world. So there’s not a you don’t have a lot of control over that. So at one point, I decided, you know, there’s there’s a lot of people between you and yes, and at what point, you know, I’m the kind of guy you know, I was a bodybuilder for a spell, you know, all natural, no steroids, I you know, in a band, you know, do I have personal trainer, I always perform myself, you know, 150% whatever I do. And then I, it took me a long time to realize, but you know, that I wasn’t in control of this at all, I can only be in control as much work that I do. But once I do the work, it’s so at one point, I’d said, you know, what, why can’t I just make my own movies do the movies that I want to do. And I and I found a group of like minded people that were, you know, that felt the same way and all different aspects from from shooting the film from, you know, the director photography to producers, to casting directors to, you know, directors and writers and, you know, all these people that are struggling the same way that I am, you know, I wouldn’t say we’re all masters but you know, masters at their craft, but not successful monetarily you not not out there. And we all kind of banded together and, you know, people come and go within that group, but then the core is there. And we started making our own movies, and they resonated a little bit we wind up getting, you know, we’ve made five films today, five films. And, you know, I produced them, you know, from start to finish. I don’t I started three of them two of them on, you know, I’m just kind of in, but how to make them for everybody else. And, you know, we got the first three got destroyed by Sony Pictures, home entertainment. The second two got distributed by a company called xenotime entertainment, and the most recent one is bad lamb. And it got distributed, you know, I mean, you know, 20 years in the making this career of mine, you know, seemingly an overnight success. Nobody heard of Kevin make Lee you know, and now all of a sudden, you know, 40 million people saw my latest movie. It’s, it’s amazing. It’s amazing. But so Senate dive entertainment put it out and they have a good connection with Netflix. The cast was very you know, it’s a great cast Mira Sorvino Brewster West duty trace Adkins, Jeff Bay, Tony Todd, Amanda with Kevin Mayfly. And they put it on Netflix. And it took off. I mean, it just organically took off. There was no marketing, there was no anything. So I went from, you know, the guy who took the train to a cattle call audition, you know, an hour and 45 minutes to canticle audition, you know, then traversed to another coast, you know, did all that all the auditions and all the struggling and you know, struggling to pay my rent and not knowing where I was going to live because this is happening and that’s at all these all these things, you know, and along the way I’ve worked with Russell Crowe, I’ve worked with Ron Howard I’ve worked with Billy Bob Thor and I work with Naomi Watts you know all these huge actors Oscar winners along the way little parts, but here and there made all these little like, Ah, I can’t believe this is happening, you know, all these ups and downs. And then And then finally, you know, it’s all about you want your work scene, your hard work scene, and organically this movie that we sweat blood for, went to Netflix, and there was no marketing push just march 26 What’s new on Netflix, 20 movies and Badland and all of a sudden Badland just the number three one Movie on the whole website number seven in the overall, you know, now I’m talking to you and it’s you know, it’s what a ride man what a ride it’s how
Scott D Clary 15:11
does that happen? Like, I have no idea and I How does something like that happen because you’re seeing this more and more. And I’m seeing some of these these movies come up that that didn’t have the you know $50 million marketing budget plot, you know what I mean? Like, you know, write a book,
Kevin Makely 15:31
we’re in a weird time, obviously, you know, we’re on a virus pandemic, a lot of people are home watching movies, you know, and I think I can’t wrap my head around it right on one side. There’s, you know, a millions of people are home streaming, you know, so much. I mean, like in Europe, they had to downgrade the the quality of the streaming, because so many people are watching and there’s not enough bandwidth, you know, hasn’t quite hit that here yet. I think we have pretty strong internet in America. But you know, they’re talking about I mean, that’s how many people are streaming at the same time record numbers. So so many eyeballs on, on on the streaming services? So what are the chances that they’re gonna pick my movie? You know what I mean, but at the same time, so many eyeballs on it, and they picked my movie, and so many people picked it, that the top so you know, what was it? It wasn’t because there were so many people, because you think the more people that are watching something, the chances go down for all of them to look at your thing, but at the same time, with so many people watching it, the chances go up? I don’t know, it’s a you know, it’s a crazy, I think, sense here, but I think you know,
Scott D Clary 16:37
no, you’re not, no, you’re not. But you know, what I think it speaks to, I think it speaks to the quality of the content, because you could go both ways, right? So you look at the other things that are our, I don’t know, very popular on Netflix, I the only one I can really think of right now outside of what’s going on with Badland right now is was Tiger king. And you know, that one took off. But it’s not positive reviews, if I look at the reviews of Badland on your Instagram, or just even like anywhere you see the reviews are all very positive, like, you know, solid Western flick, like like very, very good reviews about the quality. Nobody is saying good things about Tiger King, they’re saying absolute shit show. And it’s entertainment. But it’s not quality. It’s not quality content. So
Kevin Makely 17:23
it can’t take your eyes off. Yeah. The content of what you’re watching is like a train wreck. But the people that made that film, were super talented to be able to put that whole story together that the documentarians as you call whatever that you know, the people that produce that that show are are great, you know, but the but the content. Yeah. I mean, it’s like, watching something on Jeffrey Dahmer, you know, like, can’t take your eyes off it. But, you know, it’s a terrible thing to watch. But, you know, some made it and it’s a pertaining, so, but to speak on on on Badland Yeah, you know, it’s it’s a Western? I don’t know, maybe the timing was right. I mean, I like to think we shot a great western, I know, we have a fantastic cast. I mean, you know, my mike, my cast is unbelievable. And I’m so honored and privileged to, you know, share the screen with each and every one of those amazingly talented people. But it’s also the tail, you know, it’s it’s a tale of the American West. You know, it’s a it’s a fictional tale, you know, loosely based on some kind of historic events, sort of, but not really. And, you know, I mean, did you know that the period was right, where, you know, the costumes, right, the guns were period, all of that stuff was accurate. You know, the time period was accurate, just the story obviously was fictionalized. But I, you know, I find that westerns are the mythology of, of America, they’re, they’re, you know, we, Jesse James, you know, is is the Robin Hood of, of, you know, the old west of America, you know, Billy the Kid and all these guys, you know, they’re the King Arthur, they’re, they’re the these larger than life, people that have been told, and stories passed down to generation and generation, you know, much like, you know, King Arthur and the roundtable, and Excalibur and, you know, and now, you know, these are our stories, and we’re home, bonding over this, you know, this pandemic, this crisis, and maybe people are feeling nostalgic for an Intel, and it came out at that time. And if if Badland is filling that, you know, giving a little escapism, or or filling that need for something, you know, home grown, I’m honored and touch that we can be that platform for people to watch and escape a little bit.
Scott D Clary 19:41
So I think I think that could be accurate. I think that I think that, you know, you don’t see a ton of Westerns come out anymore. I don’t like I’m just thinking back. I don’t remember that. I can name a few but like, there’s not like an influx of Western movies being being made. So I think that The timing was right. I think that yeah, it could be a little bit nostalgic. I think people are, are looking for things that you know, maybe they’ve maybe it’s just they they’re looking for things they’ve never heard of before. And they found it like, you know that the hidden gem. And they’re the sort of latching on to that, because I think it’s just I think there is, you know, it’s not it’s obviously not a great circumstance, what we’re dealing with, obviously, but it could be the perfect storm of events, that’s leading people to consume other types of content that isn’t like that blockbuster, you know, heavily promoted heavily produced content. I think people enjoy that stuff, too. Because, like, like, as an indie. I’m not I’m not as involved in film, as you obviously. But as an indie film ever received this much notoriety on Netflix? Do you know, I don’t think so.
Kevin Makely 20:44
No, but you know, if you go back in, in history, like Slumdog Millionaire was like that, you know, yeah. Nothing too huge, you know, or go bad. I mean, that’s a, you know, a foreign film. But if you go to, you know, think of like Napoleon Dynamite, for example, this little movie was just a little indie film, I made it to the festival circuit, it did all that, but it blew up into a phenomena, different medium, obviously, it was in the theaters, it was really before the whole streaming revolution. But, you know, I find that the streaming, you know, this is, and this is part of the reason why I think my company Paubox was my production company. You know, we’re a little messy, we’re a little, you know, riding the crest of the wave, where we have the streaming in mind, and what I think for independent film is, you know, everybody wants their film up in the movies, you know, every every independent filmmaker, you know, if I could shoot it on film, and put it into movies, you know, and that’s what we want to do. The reality is, you know, blockbusters are going to the movies, theatrical releases are getting smaller and smaller, it’s very expensive to put them out, you need a huge marketing budgets, put them out independent films, you know, you’re struggling to get enough money to shoot your film, let alone do any marketing for your film. So, you know, you’re, you have to gear it towards, you know, a smaller release and streaming leveled the playing field for independent films, you know, competing Yemeni, never gonna I’m never gonna compete with Hobbs and Shaw, or I mean, at the independent level, maybe we’ll make a movie. You never know. Rock, that’d be awesome. I can dream come this far. Right? Yeah, I’ll get to you. Anyway, um, but but, you know, I, we can release Badlands, you know, the same week digitally as Hobbs and Shaw or the Avengers, or, you know, even hostiles is a big Western, they came out last year, the year before a fantastic Western. And, you know, then you look on iTunes, or Amazon Prime or Netflix, you know, depending on when they’re all released. And there they are. It’s, you know, Hobbs and Shah, Badlands, you know, hostels, you know, all the, you know, the, the keel all the little, the, you know, the what, you can click on it, it’s all it’s all right there in a row. And I mean, you know, before streaming it, you wouldn’t go to the multiplex and see, you know, a Raiders of Lost Ark, and, you know, Empire Strikes Back and bad land. And, you know, yeah, it’s at, you know, and it was impossible. But now, you know, they all wind up going for you, once you have your big theatrical, they all wind up going through the same system. You go on the premium streaming to the streaming services, like like Netflix and Amazon free with prime, then you go to like a to be free with ads or you go to HBO, you do all you know, you do that whole thing. It’s the same once it’s out of the theater, it’s the same process for everybody. Maybe you get Redbox, you know, so you can still rent the DVDs, they all get a DVD or a Blu ray release. Ours is you know, you can buy Badland on Blu ray or DVD at Walmart or Target Best Buy, it went through all that stuff. It just didn’t have the big theatrical release, because there’s not enough marketing to put behind it. So I think the streaming age for independent filmmakers, leveled the playing field. So if you if you if you follow your dream, and you and you work hard, and you get like minded people, and you make a quality product with quality talent, like you have to have names that are recognizable, that’s one of the one of the things as an independent filmmaker, if I can give any advice out there if you’re making your passion project, find a way to carve out a little extra money and get it get a name and your movie doesn’t have to be the lead if you’re writing it around yourself like I often do, you know, obviously I’m in my own movies. It should be a good enough part you know, that will attract a name actor and because otherwise a distributor probably won’t put it out. You know, statistically, people don’t really watch movies that don’t have a name. I don’t like the formula but you have it’s that’s the business side of it. But anyway, if you put a name and you and you make a good movie, you can be released next. I don’t know I keep saying Hobbs and Shaw it’s just the movie that’s stuck in my you know, you can get released next to Hobbs and Shaw or you know, or love gain or you know, any of these, you know, movies that are do you think?
Scott D Clary 25:04
Yeah, no, I agree and I understand so like Netflix already disrupted a lot of like the the movie that but now it’s now it’s enabling another level of disruption because you don’t have that cultural attitude that you go see the blockbusters in the theaters because now we legally will not even legally, besides the fact that they’re closed, we legally can’t even leave our homes or we’re going to get fined, right, like so. So, you know, I’m curious what your thoughts are on and this is obviously very hypothetical, as most people are trying to figure out what the world is gonna look like on the other side of Coronavirus, but how do you think Coronavirus is going to impact the movie industry?
Kevin Makely 25:43
You know, a very I have been thinking about this a lot. Uh, you know, I might get you know, I think, you know, I was trying to look at, you know, my glasses half full kind of guy, which I look on the bright side, especially in this business. So obviously, this is the worst thing that’s happened to us since 911. Or even you know, there’s other terrible things. And, I mean, this is awful, we’re losing lives. You know, I’ll take this opportunity to say, stay home, stay home, everybody stay home, you know, where they people, people go to war and die for this country. People go to war and die for their own country. This is this is a world thing. This is world war three, basically. But it’s it’s one enemy, and it’s silent, and it’s deadly. And you can’t see it coming. You know, the end, the only defense is to stay home. I mean, for the majority we’re working on, you know, on vaccines and stuff. But if all that’s being asked of us as a human race is to stay home to beat this thing. I mean, come on, it can’t be easier than that. I know, it’s tough, you want to see your friends, you want to whatever, but you know what, you’ll see them in two months, and just stale, please. But with that being said, I, it’s a horrible thing. But if you look on the brighter side, I think the movie business has been changing, you know, much like I’ve seen as an actor, I seen, you know, we went from you know, I black and white headshots, to colored headshots, to digital headshots to no more headshots, and just the, you know, just a thumbnail, you click on it, you know, like, you have seen all that stuff from, you know, being paid, you know, $80,000 over a year to be in a commercial to to, you know, because we ran on network television, to being paid, you know, $8,000 for being on a commercial that was played 7000 times, but because it was on, you know, all the cable channels and everything, you don’t get that you know, all of the different. It we’re always seem as a business or as a community that the filmmaking business, you know, from actors to producers, big budget films to indie films, is you’re always behind the technological curve, we’re always behind it and trying to catch up. That applies to the Screen Actors Guild and all the guilds that make the rules and then the format’s change. And, you know, you know, so how do you how do you stay ahead of it? And I think, you know, Netflix changed the world for us. For indie filmmakers, I think it improved it for us, at least our ability to be seen the digital age of digital cameras and and moving away from film changed the game for indie filmmakers, it makes it a lot less expensive. I can edit the movie myself on the same laptop, I’m talking to you right now you’re in from a Badland was was done I did all actually all the extras on the DVDs I did on the computer that we’re talking to each other right now I did it myself. I had a brilliant editor on his crazy that Michael Tang edited the film on his crazy setup, but the DVD is extras were on a laptop. You know, it doesn’t get more simple than that. So long winded but everything is shifting. And either you’re going to stay ahead of that shift or or you’re or you’re going to play catch up. And I think, you know, the movie business, the theatrical business. It’s really shifting right, smaller movies aren’t getting seen theatrically. There’s more of these what we call them small day and date releases, which is like what what we do, it comes out like 15 cities very limited, very small, maybe 1520 theaters, tops. And on the same day, it’s released on premium video on demand. So if you say you know, like on spectrum or dish or whatever, in theaters, now you can watch this movie at home. And it’s in theaters, but it’s not in a theater within 100 miles of you but it’s in theaters, you know, and a lot of things are shifting that way and really only like, blockbusters are getting made because that’s what’s attracting the audience. That’s what’s worth the money. But at some point, it’s so cheap. And I think that the Coronavirus is awful as it is was the wake up call for the big studios to change tactics to really and again this is an outside looking in my opinion. It was a wake up call like just the other day I bought where I rented trolls world. So I have two daughters, a three and a half year old and a two year old. And they love the trolls. And, you know, I remember seeing the preview, yeah, they’re all excited. We’re gonna see trolls when it comes out. And then this happened. And then they just released it. It’s a movie that’s supposed to be out in theaters. And for 1999. I think actually, when I read it on Prime was at 99. We get it for 48 hours, and I can watch it in my home. Is it the cinematic experience? No. But we got to watch it, and they’re not losing their shirt. So you know, and because you can’t, you know, release dates and things, you can’t just push it out to nowhere, that, you know, they have projections, and they have things that you know, it’s a business, they have all these things. So I think this was the wake up call to change the way that they approach releasing a film. I’m sure they’ve been working on it. So you know, it’s not an archaic system. But I think this forced everybody’s had to change. I mean, Disney released frozen two on Disney plus, before it even really came out on Blu ray or anything. And we already own Disney plus, so for $6 a month. Oh, no, what came out on Blu Ray, because we had rented one time, but but for $6 a month, I’m getting frozen, which I would have bought it Disney plus wasn’t out. If I didn’t have Disney plus, I would have bought it. I mean, I own an incredible Disney library that I almost wish I didn’t spend all that money on, because now we get to watch them all streaming. But they released it because people were home they did it, you know, people were able to get to drive business to towards their streaming net, you know, to towards Disney. So they released it way early than they normally would have people Shifting gears to accommodate to adapt. Where does it go from here? I don’t know, I think it’s gonna take time for people to feel comfortable to go back to the theaters. And I think that by the time it catches back up to normal that or whatever the new normal is, the impact is going to be so large that this really forced the hands of the big companies that you know, theatrical release companies to change the way that their approach to it. And I think I think it’s going to save them in the long run, because they’re taking this time now, instead of just sitting on their butts and losing all the money. They’re shifting gears, and how do we get ahead of this and plan for the future. And so I think, unfortunately, you know, the lemonade side of the Coronavirus for the film industry is that maybe it’ll say that made you know, it’s the fire that was lit under their butt to change the way that they do business to, to adapt to the future to the changing landscape of the digital age.
Scott D Clary 32:33
But also also it it opens up the doors for independent talent. Because now like you mentioned, I love the analogy where like, you know, Hobbs and Shaw will use that analogy, again, you have all the you have all the titles side by side. So that’s something that’s unprecedented. So now it’s going to force it’s going to force the whole industry to modernize and to and to better serve customers where the customers want to consume their content, which is very important. And that’s what other that’s how other other industries are being forced to modernize. It may not always be content, but it’s about convenience. Right? That’s, that’s number one. But it’s also I love that it’s like, it’s just it’s removing that, you know, that multimillion dollar you know, requirement to put stuff out, which, to be quite honest, makes everything better. Because the second you just open up more competition. Now you have not to say that the stuff that people make isn’t already incredible in terms of blockbuster movies, but it’s still you have that extra, we still have to make it that much better, because this is what we’re being held accountable to and imagine if the respect an independent producer can can garner if they produce content that is perceived by the audience to be the same quality as $100 million blockbuster movie, right. That’s, that’s a big deal.
Kevin Makely 33:50
Right? I agree. I say like you Badland for instance, I can’t tell you how much it costs. But it’s, it’s Yeah, that’s fine. I mean, it’s expensive if if you were writing a check, yeah, if I was writing a check, you know, if Donald Trump was writing a check, not expensive, but right, you know, expensive by, you know, anyway. Yeah. thumbs go. Not inexpensive. But who knows that nobody knows that. You don’t I mean, I’m saying it to you. But when you watch it on we get the mystique is when you watch it on Netflix. It’s a movie. You’re not saying oh, well, it’s good for a little independent movie, which is really what the and I have so many people that are friends that make movies and you know, their their benchmark is it’s good for that budget. And I don’t ever strive for that. And as another bit of advice for any indie filmmaker, anybody, don’t make it good for your budget. Just make a good movie. Period. It’s not never strived for good for the budget and I hear it all the time. Well, we gave it our best shot. You know, it’s great for the budget. I don’t I don’t believe in that. I think you know, you. You you make the best movie For the budget you you have, you don’t make it good for the budget, you take the budget you have and you make a great movie, whatever, whatever you have to do. You know, but you get to Netflix, it has to be Netflix comes with a certain amount of saying every movie on Netflix is, you know, five star movie, obviously. And it’s all subjective, right? Some people love Badlands, some complaint, Batman, some people, you know, love Star Wars, some people hate Star Wars, you know, obviously Star Wars, you know, as a big influence on me as a big Star Wars picture by me. But, you know, but you know, so it’s, you know, subjective, but you can’t take away the quality of the movie. You know, if it’s quality movie, you might not like the subject matter of the actors, or you might not like it performance or whatever, you know, somebody wins an Oscar like, why? They were terrible, but they won an Oscar. So somebody thought they were great. You know, like, it’s all subjective. But just, you know, you just see, so you put it on Netflix, and there’s a, you know, there’s a quality level production quality, whoever. And once it’s on there, nobody knows the difference. They don’t even know people are thinking, Oh, I didn’t even see it in the movies. You know, so it must not be good, because it wasn’t in the movies. I don’t know what people think. But I know. I mean, for instance, again, I’m not really, you know, kind of an overnight success at this point. But like two months ago, it was out on Redbox. And it’s just a funny story. I happen to go visit my wife. She works in Santa Clarita, and I went to visit her I was done early for the day. And I wanted to surprise her. And I stopped at a Ralph’s, which is our grocery store in Los Angeles. And I bought flowers, and bam, that was just released on red box a couple days ago. So I stopped to see is it in this red box, you know, and I have flowers in my hand, and there are two red boxes next to each other. And there’s a guy next to me looking at me, you know, looking looking at me, and but yeah, I was like, and and I think you know, I get sometimes, you know, people say oh, you know, you look like Bradley Cooper or you know if at time if Wolverine is out? Oh, you look like Hugh Jackman. I have that Kenny and I get that, especially in LA. So people do double takes I’m like, Oh, he thinks I’m Bradley Cooper for a second. Anyway, so I leave. And he follows me into the parking lot. And he texts me on the show is hey, can I ask you something I see. And he goes, You look like a guy that I just watched in a movie. And I said, I said Oh really? And I said what I said was it a Western? He was like yeah, Badlands and I’m like, Oh, that’s funny. That’s me. And he was like, Oh my God. He was like, Can I take a picture? Oh, it’s my son’s birthday. Will you do a bit like he did this whole thing? Like it was this amazing. And the guy happened to be returning Badland and I was standing next to him. You know, that’s a la story. It only happens. But to him. I was moviestar not the guy that produced his own movie that happened to get it on Netflix or in Redbox getting to him it didn’t matter he got a DVD from Redbox or Blu Ray whatever it was and he put it in his you know his DVD player at home yeah, the movie came on and and I’m a movie star you know so that’s how people perceive it you know that your movie is out and you know so again, Netflix all the digital streaming it’s leveled the playing field for you know, guys like me and you know and Dwayne The Rock Johnson obviously I’m sorry I love him I think he’s an amazing talents and what a career what a story but you know I mean we’re our movies play next to each other and it’s what it what a what a cool thing
Scott D Clary 38:18
it’s a very I can I can only imagine it’s a very it’s it’s an incredible feeling like it’s like it’s the it’s like the fruition of like you know years of hard work and whatnot that’s like finally like you know like it’s it’s there it’s like you’re you’re living through it but I can only hope would you know be like what you what you’ve always wanted to like sort of live through and and then some and I guess then you know on that point you know what’s what’s next for for you? Like what do you do after this? This was not a plan to success it is successful. But how do you take that and you want to sort of roll with it you want to the next thing you do you obviously don’t want to lose that momentum. So what do you
Kevin Makely 39:00
do? Yeah, it’s tough obviously right now because things are shut down. We’re in we were in pre production for my company pop box was like two awesome partners Jennifer Ambrose, Sean night and gal we all worked really hard to keep this. This company afloat. Especially in this time. We had a movie called Dead Reckoning on deck. It’s an app cool, a modern action film in a rural setting and you know, small town cop and the bad guys are coming and it’s cool Movie Action Pack. Luckily, we weren’t too far into that, that we’re losing money right now. We just kind of honestly we pulled the plug but we we shut it off for a minute. Yeah, put it on. And that’s going in and then in the meantime, I acquired an awesome book series, my company, written by this guy, Bobby Cole. The first book is called dummy lining. It’s about this character Jake Crosby takes his nine year old daughter, turkey hunting. He’s an avid turkey hunter takes place in Alabama, Mississippi. And these bad guys that are on the run, are hiding out in the woods, they come across each other. And he’s forced to make a game time decision, he has to kill one of them, and it changes his life and they’re hiding. And it’s like a survival horror, thriller action. It’s really cool. And then there’s two more books that follow. And it’s a really great selling book series. So really excited about that. But right now, obviously, there’s not a lot going on. And, you know, again, a blessing and a curse. Here I am, you know, I don’t know if you know, I NDB if people design my star meter, I mean, it fluctuates. Obviously, it’s been as high as 5000 in the past, but I think it was like, like, 20 something 1000. And then, last week, it was 500. Right? So 500, which is, you know, this like a list, you know, and unfortunately, we’re in a climate that people aren’t saying, well, oh, you got to snatch this guy up right now and put him in this movie. That’s good. You know, like, because that’s normally what would happen. But it’s catch 22 Because the decline may create the 500. And now there’s nothing with the 500 Is it? Yeah, I don’t know. Either way, I’m happy that people saw the movie. You know, if I don’t make another movie, I achieved something phenomenal for me. And, and for the team around us. We should all be you know, take pride in this. But I am working to up the level I you know, what would I like to do next? You know, I would love to take up the claws of Wolverine. I know Hugh Jackman hung them up and they’re looking for somebody new. Why not get a fresh face? You know, I have the physicality. I’m a comic book fan. You know, that would be my dream, you know, to play. You know, as an actor. I’ve auditioned for almost every single one of those roles. Reese most recently I auditioned for cable and Deadpool two. And you know, Josh Brolin was that character, and I’m fairly certain he had that role before I even auditioned for it. But I still go in Audition, you know, Kevin is the guy that fills those shoes. And, you know, but now maybe I can be the guy that has the offer, you know, and other people will audition as the backup. So, you know, I’m trying to transition into that. We’re hoping, you know, Hollywood takes notice, and just, you know, but whatever happens organically, I’m still going to continue to do what I do still get to make movies, make my own movies, because, you know, no matter what level of success I achieve, outside of this, if they if Hollywood wants to bring me into the fold, and you know, which would be fantastic. Obviously, that was the original dream, the original goal, but there’s nothing more satisfying than making your own movie, making your own movie and putting it out. And I gotta tell you, nothing more satisfying than you and your friends and your colleagues and people that work so hard to make a movie that you, you know, that did this. And then all of a sudden did this. And we’re sharing in this in this glory. And we did it ourselves. And it happened organically the people. So people watch the movie America, watch the movie, and I thank you for it. And if there’s if you don’t get a much bigger high than that, I mean, I so excited to see where the road takes me and everybody involved. But you know, right now, I’m enjoying this.
Scott D Clary 43:08
Good, good for you. Congratulations, man. Seriously, congratulations is very, very, very impressive. And let’s see what happens. Let’s let’s see where this goes. And I want to I want to, you know, I feel like you’re a great interviewer. We could probably chat for a bit. But I want to I want to wrap up this one. And you know, maybe maybe when this is all over the Coronavirus, we do like a sit down in the future. I don’t know we’ll figure it out. But what I want to two things I’d like to ask, just like bring up some insight from like your life, what would be one lesson that you would tell your younger self that would help you get to where you are today a little bit quicker?
Kevin Makely 43:44
Start making movies. You know, like I’ve only been doing this part of it again. You know, if you told me to talk to my younger self, yeah. Yeah, do everything you can to start making movies. And, you know, somebody told me probably 10 years ago, when YouTube was just starting to, you know, you should be making your own content, making your own content. That’s where it’s all going. And I’m like, yeah, how do you do that? I mean, come on, you know, I’m an actor, you know, I you know, and I don’t think I ever really ever talked like, I just made myself sound like the kind of guy but anyway, but I thought Yeah, I would, I would come back and be like, hey, talk to everybody, you know, get you know, get 10 bucks from everybody and make a movie, anything that takes make a movie because you can do it. You can do it. And you know, I’m the kind of guy you know like said once I’m I was a competitive, natural bodybuilder. I had been working out and he said, you know, my whole life since I was 14, my mother the same year my mother bought me a weight bench and a bass guitar. And I you know, I did both of them. I wanted to be Geddy Lee from Russia and I wanted to be Sylvester Stallone. So, you know, my two heroes, and you know, and I worked so hard to achieve that for myself. Personally, I never thought of it to do it for gain elsewhere. And then one day somebody said, Hey, man, you should be you should be competing bodybuilding. You know, this, this natural circuit. And you I don’t know why you work out as hard as you do. And like, I’m not just what I do, I don’t you know, so I’m competing. And my first competition I, I won the whole thing, and I went professional, and you know, so I was in that circuit for a little while. And it was because of all the hard work I did. Prior to it, it wasn’t I decided to get into bodybuilding worked hard and won the competition. I had worked hard, obviously training for bodybuilding my whole life up until that point, and, and then somebody opened my eyes to something else. And I was like, Oh, wow, oh, yeah, I guess I could do that. And, you know, so the same thing I’ve been working so hard for, you know, 20 some odd years in this acting world and everything I’ve been doing, and if I was guided into working hard to make my own thing, and bodybuilding is very personal. There’s no team, it’s you. And you know, and filmmaking is, it’s a team effort, but somebody has to make the decision to make the films. Well, you know, that’s what we did. And if I could, if I could, just me, so if it’s been four years with this company, and all of a sudden, we’re up here. You know, if you go back 10 years, you know, so if we would be six years past all that, right, so who knows where we’d be, you know, we’d be six years in the future. If I’m doing my math, right, that’s a little squishy, make a movie about that.
Now, uh, you know, like, everything you’re saying, and I appreciate the people that listen to this that would obviously be interested in terms of like, in terms of like film creation, but the people that are just not not involved in film and acting, but I think the takeaway is like, you just, you, you, you sort of this has kind of been like the theme that’s like salt and pepper, the whole thing. It’s like you, you realize the limitations that were imposed on you by others, and you just really just took it by your you know, and you make your own movie, you do your own thing. And this is where it gets you. So just, that’s, that’s my takeaway, at least that’s what I’m sort of pulling out of that.
Kevin Makely 47:02
Yeah, I agree. That’s it. I mean, take take it into your own hands, you know, that. If I give advice, I’m not going to ask that question. But I’ll take it to next level, if it’s not just advice to me, if it’s advice to anybody. I like to tell people, you know, there’s no expiration date on a dream. And I’ve been in I’ve been in LA for 15 plus years, I’ve been in the acting world for 20 plus years. And I’ve never stopped, you know, and it wasn’t until I you know, took matters into my own hands to make my dreams come true. And but you know, I’ve seen people come and go, people come along and come out for pilot season, they’re out here for six months, nothing happens. They give up, they go home, they do whatever they’re going to do. Give you know people give it five years, people give it 10 years. And I’m not saying you can’t shift, you know, whatever. But I’ve never stopped doing this, you know, and now I’m living proof that something just popped up on my screen.
Scott D Clary 47:59
Oh, no worries, no worries.
Kevin Makely 48:00
I I’m living proof that there is no expiration date in 20 plus years, I’ve been working at this and you know, no expiration date on the goal on a dream you just keep plugging on you just keep doing what you do. Don’t take no for an answer. And when you know, if you have the opportunity, take it into your own hands and do it yourself.
Scott D Clary 48:20
I love it. And last question, I wanted to ask for you before we close this off. Where do you go to improve yourself? Like is it a mentor? Is it a book a podcast and audible? Like what’s your thing to sort of grow as an individual? Ah,
Kevin Makely 48:35
my wife and kids? Yeah, I mean, I mean, you know, they just inspire me you know, every day those faces and never knew, you know, the level of love and deep connection and respect it’s my safe place you know, I’m out there taking chances every day and I sometimes I take chances on their behalf that might have a detrimental effect on them. And yet they’re you know, I take time away from the family and I go out and I make a movie and I take time and I might not get paid I might not get but who knows might not be food on the table and yet no matter how long I work, how long I’m away how aggravated I am when I come home because I’m you know I’ve been falling off a horse for 15 hours or you know this you know, the sales weren’t good whatever they whatever it this crazy business brings. I come home and they’re there with smiles on their faces and, and hugs and kisses and my wife is my rock. She’s my biggest supporter. I mean, if this grows and and becomes something, you know, which we’re hoping it will, you know, she was a huge component in supporting me through the thick and thin and keeping me going. So if I didn’t have that support system, you know, I would be lost. I hope that’s not a cliche answer, but I love on him.
Scott D Clary 49:57
I don’t I don’t care about cliche or not I care about I care about on us, and I think that that’s a good answer. It’s a very good answer. Um, how do people how do people you know, get in touch with you watch your movie check out you know more of what you’re putting out there if they want to is there you know, websites? What devotionals Are you on?
Kevin Makely 50:15
Instagram at Kevin McLean calm. My Facebook is you know, I’m bad at social media, you know trying to take it to the Facebook, I think I’m gonna turn my facebook page into a, what they call a fan page because it’s filling up with so many people. So I’m about to change it over. But at Kevin mainly at Instagram is is where to find me on Instagram. And you can watch badly on Netflix. Obviously, you don’t have Netflix, you can rent it on prime or Vudu or that but also check out any bullet we’ll do is our first Western. I love it. I think it’s great. You can see it on Blu free with ads to be if you have prime, you can watch it for free. And then another movie Big legend if you’re if you’re a fan of Bigfoot or creature features. That’s a fun one. And you see it in all the same places. I’m hoping now that we can ship those over to Netflix since the company has had some success. But check those out. And then also, I’m working with Scott lob Dell. He wrote a lot of the X Men comics in the 90s. And he works he pens a Red Hood and some DC stuff right now. He also wrote the movie Happy death day. Great friend of mine, we’re working on a Badland comic prequel stories of bias Wayne Breacher. To keep us busy in this time, it’s an online comic, it’s going to be free. So check out Scott Lobdell on Instagram or at Kevin make Li on Instagram. And we’ll keep you posted on when that I mean it’s coming soon. We’re we’re knee deep in it. So we might take some of our other properties like big legends, and do comic versions of them as well. Just to have people you know, something to look at during this time. So
Scott D Clary 51:49
yeah, build the community. That’s smart. That’s very smart. Now’s the time to do it. Everyone’s everyone sitting at home. So what else? Anything good. That’s all I got. Is there anything that you wanted to touch on that we didn’t? That we didn’t discuss, I think was a good chat.
Kevin Makely 52:02
I think my mouth is dry.
Scott D Clary 52:04
I know I was gonna say you’re not drinking any water man. You gotta you gotta get in. Like, you got to get your interview cadence down
Kevin Makely 52:12
by cop is way over there.
Scott D Clary 52:16
That’s amateur buddy. That’s amateur anyway. All right. That’s all I got, man.
Kevin Makely 52:20
I’m learning. Oh, man, this is this has been great. I don’t you know, like said stay home. Stay safe, stay healthy. And watch Badland. And everyone, thank you. I can’t thank you enough for watching and supporting. Hit me up on Instagram, I do my best to get back to everybody. I don’t have that many followers. But tell your friends, everybody started following me. I’m trying to I’m trying to get into this social media thing. And I just love it. I love interacting with people. Like it’s like, I think one time I posted on it was I had this picture in the back here that was made the fourth and big Star Wars fan. And it was a picture of me and my good friend Todd, who happens to be in Badland. He was also the assistant director and a co producer, and I’m holding my daughter, and we’re in front of the picture and it was May the Fourth be with you, we put it up. And Mark Hamill. You know, liked it. And I flipped out you know, Amazon people like you know, and, and you know, and can recreate those feelings, people if you’re out there and you liked the movie and you’re like me, whatever, hit me up on Facebook, and I will get back to you and let’s interact. It’s, you know, I’m a fan before I am anything else. And if I can, if I can bring that veil down for anybody, you know, and and, and bring you into that world a little bit and bring you some joy or anything. You know, please Have at it. You know, I’m here. I’m here for everybody. And I love it. And I love you love everyone. It’s just so cool, man. It’s really
Scott D Clary 53:48
a year. You’re riding a high right now I can tell it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing. Keep it up. I love the energy. And this is
Kevin Makely 53:55
a matter of success. I’ve been at it too long to get jaded, man. So, you know.
Scott D Clary 54:01
Good. All right. That’s all I got. That’s all I got, buddy. Thank you. I appreciate it.
Kevin Makely 54:08
Thank you, man. This is great. This is this is your cool. Let’s do this again.
Scott D Clary 54:13
That’s all for today. Thanks again for joining me on another episode of the success story podcast. You can download or stream this podcast wherever podcasts are available, including iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, I heart, radio, and many others. You can also watch his podcasts on YouTube. If you haven’t already. Please subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, coworkers and peers. Please leave us a rating on iTunes takes about 30 seconds as it allows other people to find our podcasts and lets our amazing guests reach even more people with their message. And remember any rating is fine as long as it contains five stars. I’m Scott Clary from the success story podcast, signing off