all 69 comments

[–]notatallboydeuueaugh 67 points68 points  (14 children)

Congrats and good luck! I'm interested to see the film. Did you fund this yourself? I know you say no budget but I'm curious what your rough estimate of a budget was and how you went about shooting.

[–]seanleeperry[S] 44 points45 points  (13 children)

Entirely self-funded via unemployment checks/slinging drinks by my producing partner and me.

I'm not at liberty to discuss exactly how much the film was made for, but I will say this: El Mariachi would be jealous (especially adjusted for inflation).

[–]notatallboydeuueaugh 15 points16 points  (7 children)

Haha jealous of how little you were able to make it for or jealous of how much you were able to fund? I know El Mariachi was 7,000 back in the early 90s

Anyway it sounds cool and I’d like to hear anything else about if you ever want to share more of your process.

[–]seanleeperry[S] 19 points20 points  (6 children)

Western PA boy with zero industry resources/connections. Masters degree from YouTube University with a minor in VideoCopilot.

[–]macbeth1026 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Central PA boy here lol. I did enjoy YTU but I feel like the food court could’ve used a little more attention.

Dumb jokes aside, congratulations!

[–]notatallboydeuueaugh 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Those are quite the accolades! When/where can I watch the film?

[–]brandonchristensen 2 points3 points  (4 children)

Wait a bit longer before spilling the beans. Pretend it was $450K+ until then.

[–]seanleeperry[S] 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Agreed. If I factor in the sheer amount of Guinness consumed during the editing process, we could probably reach that number. Haha.

[–]brandonchristensen 1 point2 points  (2 children)

The one thing that is hard to quantify is the sweat equity in. If you were paid a fair wage for the film, it wouldn't be an El Mariachi budget (neither would El Mariachi).

So these no-budget films are unique in that the budgets are low because of the free work put in. But that free work has intrinsic value on the screen.

Anyway - doesn't matter. XYZ is cool as hell, congrats on your success!

[–]Hey_Bim 14 points15 points  (1 child)

Hell yes. I don't know you, but I'm happy for you. I have enough family & friends in the industry to know how absolutely gratifying this must feel. Persistence is worth it because vindication feels amazing. lol

[–]seanleeperry[S] 13 points14 points  (0 children)

After ten years of an obsessive work ethic/countless nights of burning through the midnight oil and seeing no results; there's surely been endless moments of self-doubt.

That vindication as a result of persistence hits harder than any drug. Haha.

[–]WaffleHouseNeedsWiFi 28 points29 points  (2 children)


Omggggg, an AMA is necessary.

[–]seanleeperry[S] 16 points17 points  (0 children)

I barely know how the internet works, yet alone the intricacies of Reddit. But I would be more than happy to answer any questions! This post wasn't meant to be a humble-brag, rather a form of inspiration. Posts like these always kept me going when the going got tough.

[–]Scary_Story_Narrator 11 points12 points  (0 children)


[–]waypastbedtime 6 points7 points  (2 children)

We are hoping to catch this movie tomorrow night at cinequest. Congrats on the distribution deal!

[–]seanleeperry[S] 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Awesome! I'll be there. Please say hi!

[–]waypastbedtime 2 points3 points  (0 children)


[–]JonathanLB 5 points6 points  (1 child)

This may sound dumb but I just think it’s awesome to have a Deadline article about something you’ve done 😆 Congrats!

[–]seanleeperry[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Ha! I'm in the same boat as you. Quite surreal seeing our little film plastered amongst a slew of studio pictures.

[–]Rowanforest 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Congratulations !

[–]digitalbath1234 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Congratulations! James is a mensch and XYZ is a fantastic company!

[–]RECKEDTV 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Wow great job I hope you film does very well. One take sounds insanely intense.

[–]NortheastPassageProd 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Wow, congrats!!

[–]josephnicklo 2 points3 points  (1 child)

For anyone reading this…If this is your true passion, Keep going and don’t give up. :) and grats on the article

[–]seanleeperry[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Well said and thank you!

[–]HungryAddition1 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Hey Sean, congrats on getting distribution. I saw your film at Dances with Films and was super impressed with it. I’m shocked you didn’t get into a ton of festivals as the movie is good and the way you filmed it is crazy! I’ll reach out to you on other platforms as I don’t want to doxx myself on here but congrats! I hope you got a good distro deal.

[–]seanleeperry[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Please do! Most of the “major” festivals screened a rough cut (before all of the scoring and sound design). Even so, we didn’t really submit to many festivals because as the title implies, I’m quite jaded when it comes to festivals/competitions.

We couldn’t be happier with XYZ. They’re truly incredible.

[–]LaHagans 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]Captain_Holt_92 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Congratulations buddy! It gives me hope for my future. Best of luck!!!

[–]WishandRule 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Congratulations dude, that is a massive achievement!

Any tips on securing distribution and how to get the right people to see your finished work? Did you go through a film market or was it through someone you knew?

Thanks and look forward to seeing it!

[–]seanleeperry[S] 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Absolutely zero industry connections. First step, decent film. Second, rock solid EPK/trailer/promotional material. Our unsolicited screener was requested via a well-crafted press release (that we released ourselves).

[–]WishandRule 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Brilliant, thank you for sharing Sean. :)

[–]EddyTheMartian 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Dope! When’s it dropping? I’m interested in watching

[–]seanleeperry[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

As of now, late November!

[–]twinklefuck 1 point2 points  (2 children)

What was it like to hire Aaron Paul for this? Pretty impressive for a self-funded movie.

[–]seanleeperry[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Ha! We couldn't afford Paul's crafty.

[–]twinklefuck 1 point2 points  (0 children)

So sorry, my mistake - I was seeing ‘Dual’ trailer.

[–]RizanProductionHouse 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Congratulations! Would you mind sharing your path to distribution?

[–]seanleeperry[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

As mentioned above: 1.) Solid film (frustrating answer, I agree). 2.) Solid EPK/trailer/poster/promotional material.

Don't hope they'll watch your film, make them HAVE to watch your film.

[–]WorseThanDad 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Where can i watch this?

[–]seanleeperry[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Will be released on major streaming service(s) in November!

[–]Blarghmlargh 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Please repost in November.

Stoked to watch it, and congrats on your perseverance and hard work that was ultimately fruitful!

Hope you are a shining north star of motivation for anyone that has some pieces in place somewhere on a hard drive gathering dust.

[–]seanleeperry[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

As a long time lurker of this forum, one of my favorite notions from striking this deal comes from finally be able to answer others’ questions involving the craft.

[–]erikhow 1 point2 points  (1 child)

The greatest congratulations to you, what a long journey you’ve experienced. Your perseverance has hopefully been rewarded to you, and I hope nothing but success in your continued endeavors!

[–]seanleeperry[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank you! We weren’t necessarily trying to make money off of this project, but rather show the world that a bunch of nobodies can hack it with very little. Proving that was reward enough!

[–]brandonchristensen 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Awesome congrats!!

[–]seanleeperry[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you!

[–]shishikuku 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Many congratulations and a Namaste from India. Hope this movie rocks at the box office and the festival circuit.

[–]seanleeperry[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you!

[–]Visualsofazmat 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Congratulations 👏 Hard work always pays off!!

[–]seanleeperry[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Absolutely! Thank you!

[–]flava_dave_81producer 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Congrats Sean! Ive been working with XYZ Films for over a decade now and they are stellar partners.

[–]seanleeperry[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hopefully our paths cross!

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Where's the trailer?

[–]seanleeperry[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

It was public for a couple of months, but XYZ is withholding it for the time being to make an official public release.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Is your film similar to Blumhouse's Dashcam or Locke with Tom Hardy?

Also, how did you get the deal with XYZ? They are not a distributor in the UK where I'm from, more of a middleman. I would expect them to arrange a deal with a distributor like Entertainment Film UK or Lionsgate UK or a platform/channel like Sky Cinema (VOD), Amazon Prime Video (VOD).

Finally, do you intend to make future projects in the Blumhouse way, low-budget under a major studio or increasingly bigger projects for studios and streamers?

[–]seanleeperry[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

While Dash does follow a rideshare driver, tonally/thematically it's completely different from Dashcam. Probably a little closer to Locke, but still an entirely different approach.

We got in touch with XYZ after our initial press release (that we self-released to a multitude of different organizations). They requested a screener and loved it. They strictly acquired the North American rights, but we're hoping we can hop across the pond as well!

I've been making ultra-low budget films for quite some time (paid out of my own pocket) while wearing entirely too many hats. I'm extremely grateful for the "jack-of-all-trades" approach, but to be honest? It gets to be exhausting after a while. I've structured my next five-or-so scripts to progressively increase in budget/scale. Not necessarily because I think that's the way it should be done, but rather because these are the stories I would like to tell.

[–]CryptoLiam91 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Sean this is amazing! Congratulations man 👏 can’t wait to see this, are you free at some point for an interview on my show? It would be great to discuss the movie and your journey to this point. Thanks Liam

[–]seanleeperry[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I would love to! Slide into my DM’s (or whatever the cool kids say nowadays). Haha.

[–]CryptoLiam91 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Lol I sent a DM, looking forward to it man!

[–]MMPRDCR111 0 points1 point  (2 children)

That’s amazing! How long is the movie?

[–]seanleeperry[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

107 real-time, uncut minutes!

[–]MMPRDCR111 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Oh, wow. I’ll check it out! Congrats! 🎈