Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film Transcript

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film Transcript

Lenni Uitto - Xelot Film

Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos may be present.

Rob McNealy
Hey, today guys, this is Rob McNealy and I have an awesome guest on the show today. It’s someone I’ve known for a while, and I think it’s gonna be a fun show. So I want you to listen along. We are talking today with Lenny you Ito is the founder of zealot films. He is an indie filmmaker, director, producer and actor. And he is someone I would even call a personal friend, and definitely a colleague and so welcome to the show. Wendy. How are you doing, buddy?

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
Thanks, so good know Glad to be here.

Rob McNealy
Well, I’m glad that you could take time out of your quarantine to take your time with us. Seems like everybody’s got a lot of spare time these days to make content on the internet.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
Definitely,

Rob McNealy
But, so for the people who don’t know you yet, give us a little bit of background by tell us about you.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
A little bit background. I mean, filmmaking, it wasn’t my first thing I was. I’m a software engineer, honestly. So I’m a little bit of a nerd.

Rob McNealy
A little about you.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
I know. I’m like six foot four. I’m a big guy. Like, I got into filmmaking about like, what was it like four years ago? And well, four years. Okay, so we gotta go further back. I started I was I like to camp. I like to go camping. I found that I like to also make videos and edit them and it kind of like, it scratched an itch that I had. And so I found that I really liked doing that and then I I started taking an acting class with a local actor here in Utah, a cool guy, Jim Stevens. And it’s kind of where my my whole film career started. And I made my first short film called The trap, which is part of the WR o L series. Excuse me. Um, but yeah, so started out. And that’s where I’ve kind of gone that, but that’s trajectory and started making short films and other film related things. And I’ve been doing it for about four years. I’d say four years professionally, but I mean, probably more like 10 years, like goofing around with filmmaking. doing like a YouTubecamping videos and stuff. But.

Rob McNealy
Well, you know, everybody’s got to start somewhere, right? I always joke around and say that as a grown up, I went to welding school because I didn’t get a chance to learn shop class when I was a kid. And like as it is, I’m like, I’m like, I want to learn something new. And I just had this interest and it just kind of I took a little welding class started goofing around with a welder and I’m, like, really want to learn welding because I’m really passionate about making art and metallurgy and being able to make stuff. And then next thing, you know, I’m like, in a full blown, you know, act, you know, not acting but welding program. And so I understand, like, you know, it’s interesting, seeing a lot of people that are older, like my age and your age, that are trying new things, you know, and just following their passion and kind of finding things that help them express their creativity. And I think that’s kind of a I think it’s an important thing.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
Yeah, for me. I mean, I’m the kind of guy that I like to get stuff done. So I mean, I like trying new things. Like if there’s, if I got to fix my car, like, I’m happy to go and learn how to do it. So like learning something new is kind of fun for me, and not expecting others to do it for me, I guess. So that’s kind of where I like to do a lot more than just, you know, I don’t just Direct to film or accident film all end up editing as well as editing as well and doing other parts of the filmmaking because it’s a huge process. There’s a lot involved when you actually start to look at it. But I’m always puzzled. I mean,

Rob McNealy
Well in my limited exposure to working around, you know, making videos and things like that is you don’t realize there’s you know, there’s the artistic piece right, the whole warm and fuzzy artist kind of nonsense that goes along with it right? They always hear the stereotype of bad actors are always in in this spacey artistic zone. But all right, maybe not. But that’s my side view of it. But But what you really find there’s a ton of technical stuff that goes into it too. That is just like, you need to know how to assemble this piece of equipment you need to know how to work this piece of software. Tell me a little bit about that. What are all the pieces you’ve had to learn about to get where you are right now.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
That you go so in depth with that I mean, the camera department, you know, there’s so much to learn about, technically how to use the camera as well as like artistically how to convey a message with movement and with different lenses. And like, there’s just, there’s, there’s a huge depth to that, that you can explain about cameras. And then I mean, then when going to editing, like editing is also a huge area of expertise that like, you can go and get yourself a Novus editor that knows how to put together a little clip, but then you can also get an editor that can do something that’s really amazing. I mean, I’m not sure how familiar your audiences with films and stuff but like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, if you ever watched that film, that film is like, that shows you how doing some crazy editing can make things funny, as well as really cool. So I mean, there’s the editing aspect, there’s What else? I mean, there’s even like, the artistic aspect of the costumes that like things that people are wearing during your film that make it like better also vocations. Like, there’s so much you have to like really nail to, like, make something amazing. And it takes a while to learn. I don’t think I’ve ever even touched it, you know, I’m still I’m still learning myself. So, but I’m getting there.

Rob McNealy
So, um, these days all the rage is pandemic and the whole seems like everything’s melting down like the economy. We got a global pandemic now. It’s like a whole bunch of big movies slapped together in reality and you got a weird corrupt politicians being inept. It’s just like a really bad movie. You know, it’s almost like wag the dog really happened. kind of stuff. And, and it’s finally interesting part of the film and artistic things that you’ve worked on with me films have been kind of in that apocalyptic kind of feel and journey as far as the topic and can you talk a little bit about, you know, you know your series that you’ve been working on, and what kind of was the genesis idea for that?

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
You’ll find that most filmmakers, they make stuff they enjoy, like they like to make, and that for me, I love sci fi eyes. I love post apocalyptic stuff. It’s a lot of what I really am drawn, drawn to when I want to watch something. And so for me personally, that’s what kind of made me make the first episode of WRAL was that I just love post apocalyptic stuff. So I made the first one and then I realized, like, there could be more depth to this, this world to these characters. And so we made a second one and that was the loaner. And after the loaner, then we’re like, Okay, this This can go even more. And like we’ve got all these bad guys are obviously part of this world. And so then like the third one was the town business with what is called. And it basically shows you the bad guys, the leader of them and kind of the business that they’re dealing with in this post apocalyptic world. And then after that, the third one, we went back to kind of the roots of the whole how the whole apocalypse began, and what set it all going and it kind of follows one of the bad guys and his introduction into this bad guy game. And But yeah, I mean, like, we just started going with it. And now we kind of have like this huge story and world that we’ve built. And so now we’re writing in and it’s kind of like we’ve, we’ve got rules as to how things happen and what can happen and stuff. So it’s kind of fun. Like we’ve built this imaginary world. No, but

Rob McNealy
I like imaginary worlds. One of the things that I find that’s fascinating about, you know, telling a story with film is and especially with the indie stuff, because I’ve been on a couple of your shoots now and seeing some of the stuff that you guys have done. It’s been very impressive. And it’s really fascinating how you can really tell a story. And and to me, I you know, I’m not creative, like you guys, right? But I think like a business some days, my wife says, I’m full of shit. I don’t know if that counts. But, uh, but whatever the thing is, as I see is that that the skills that you’re developing have direct applicability to business, and telling commercials and building commercials and telling stories of companies of startups of kryptos in our case, and you’ve been working on some of the first stuff for Tosca, and so we plan is as a project we want to use the basically the Indian media me, you know medium to go through and tell our story in funny and humorous ways. And tell me a little bit about how you could see filmmaking in general. Help people in their small businesses tell stories.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
Well, I mean, if you go back to this is called film, business and film business succeeds, not only with just film and so there’s a huge business aspect to it all and knowing how to market get your story across. So it goes hand in hand I think with like, what we did with the #TUSC commercial. We’re trying to get everyone to be introduced to #TUSC first of all so that people can learn about it and know how its utilized by the average person, not just the crypto person because #TUSC is it can be used by whoever and it’s got value, it’s money. I mean, it’s got value. So, but getting people to laugh and I think that’s common is a natural, mutual thing. And most people get it. And so for us, like, coming up with a comedic commercial for #TUSC was a great way business wise to introduce people to the cryptocurrency.

Rob McNealy
I think makes a good point. It’s like a relatable, like, everybody uses money for something, even if they you know, and even digital. I mean, you look at we most people already are used to the concept of digital money with like credit cards and debit cards and other payment systems like PayPal, Venmo and things like that. And to me, most people don’t care how it works under the hood. It’s just being able to use it and transfer value electronically. I mean, that’s all crypto is it’s just another way to transfer value. But I think one of the things that I really like about what you guys are doing was Sell it and how we’re working together. Going forward on these, you know, new kind of commercials is I think it’s important that people understand that if you’re going to get mass adoption with crypto or with any business, let’s just say I mean, it doesn’t have to be crypto, but it’s something that I’m familiar with is that you got to be able to make your system your product, your project, relatable to the everyday person. And I think, and you got to make it interesting. If you just get up there and say, yeah, we’re blockchain and there’s digits and you know, Merkle trees and SHA256, and people don’t care.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
People won’t sit there listening to that

Rob McNealy
People don’t care about. People just don’t care. It’s just not relatable. It’s like, okay, whatever. You know, people don’t understand that there’s this whole thing called swift and that’s how banks move money around in the real world. People don’t care. They don’t want to know Just not interesting. And and the problem is, I think a lot of people, especially tech guys, and you get this, and I’m kind of a tech guy is that a lot of people? You know, they go through and tech guys are really into the tech. Right. And but they, I think sometimes they forget that most people don’t care about the tech. They just want their stuff to work. And so we get hung up on the thing that we like, Mm hmm. And I always say you gotta you gotta meet people on their level. And, and I think with making things funny people can relate to funny stuff. People have a harder time, I think, at least when you’re dealing with the masses have a harder time trying to get excited about the technical stuff. It’s like, I don’t know, trying to get them. You know, you know, people that are really into like anything sports or automobile racing or whatever you get, you pick someone who’s got a real passion about those things. And if they’re talking to other people that are also passionate about those things, it makes absolute sense. on how they focus on that one topic, but when you’re talking to people that don’t care about sports, or don’t care about automobile racing, you got to figure out another way to reach them. And I think that indie media and I think film specifically, is a great way to do that.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
That’s, honestly what you’re trying to do with a film is relate with your audience, get them to, to find it important. And that’s, yeah, so that’s what you do with that medium as well. You know, try and get your audience to relate to it. And so..

Rob McNealy
So, getting into film, how did you get how did you get your start? So you said you started getting into this about 10 years ago, and you started working for money four years ago? Mm hmm.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
So yeah, 10 years ago, I was was playing with a cell phone when I went camping, and then put together a little YouTube video from it and then I think I moved to like a GoPro after that, and then from the GoPro. I do, I was just like a candidate. RX was it. It was like a little camera, a little camcorder, you know, one with a flip out screen. And so I’d use that to set up the tripod and put it places and, and film, little expeditions out to the woods and stuff. And then that after that kind of when I got to filming, like more short film narrative stuff, that’s when I got like a, a seven s and a seven s to Sony, which is a nice DSLR. And that’s what I started filming on. I’ve kind of moved to a Blackmagic. And I’m not sure why I’m talking about cameras, but I’m sure.

Rob McNealy
People that are into cameras really understand that.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
Totally. Yeah, yeah. So I mean, like 10 years ago started just like, Yeah, I would say four years ago is when I really got serious about it. I started like, looking up how to do filmmaking like all the difference theory and stuff behind it. Just Yeah, that’s it. Closer.

Rob McNealy
So say I so say someone listening here will had an interest in film, do they need to go to film school? No. Did you go to film school? How do you get started? I mean, if say like, I just have an interest, what do I need to do? Where do…

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
If you’ve got the drive, then understand that you’re able to do it all. Now, do you have the time to do it all that’s really what it comes down to? Because it’s a lot of self learning. So I did, I would watch a lot of videos on YouTube with, there’s a YouTube channel called Film Riot. But there’s also a lot of other good channels out there that teach filmmaking. And so I started with that stuff and film, right. It’s cool because they goof around. They have fun while they’re teaching stuff. So you learn and you laugh at the same time. So I really like their content. So I don’t think you need school. School definitely gets you connections, but you can make connections through other means and so I made connections through acting classes. Meeting actors and then making films and then like, some people knew other people like and then like, if you kind of just really dive straight into it, you start to create, like, you start making friendships and meeting people, just all around you because everyone interacts in the film community here. And so as soon as you dive in, you can start meeting people who you can work with and collaborate with.

Rob McNealy
So one of the things that I really liked when I started kind of, you know, dipping my toe into the community, right is that there’s so many people that are really supportive and just want to help out and really just help support the projects, you know, sometimes for cheap, sometimes for free. But that’s what’s interesting is that there’s a whole community of people that are really passionate about helping other people succeed and learn and and and there’s a lot of collaboration is so far. That’s It’s been real exciting for me

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
Right. Now that’s, I there’s there’s tons of people that just they want to learn. They want to make something. You just have to meet them. And once you meet them, then you guys can start working on stuff. And that’s kind of what I’ve been doing.

Rob McNealy
So long term, what would you say your your professional filmmaking kind of goals are?

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
Long term. I mean, I want to make a feature film. That’s kind of a that’s a main goal that I’ve got right now. When I do it, I want to do it. Well, though, that’s kind of my main motto is, I got to do it well, because if I just do something, and it’s, you know, kind of crappy, I’m not gonna be satisfied with that. And I don’t think it’ll represent truly what I can do with it. And the people that work with me could do that. As a long term, I’d like to make feature films. Right now I’m doing short film, like episodic stuff, because that’s what I can afford to do because filmmaking is expensive.

Rob McNealy
It’s kind of like owning a boat. It is keep dying. I keep getting upgrade, keep in the tail kind of like guns too, right? You just gotta keep upgrading those things. It’s expensive. And that’s one of the things that the equipment is pretty expensive. What would be? That’s another question. I guess. What would be a good budget? Say you wanted to make a short film? how cheap and what’s a realistic expense? Like we’re talking every everyone’s getting paid? Are we talking? It’s a passion project, a passion project? If I want to just make my own film, and it’s a passion project, how much could it cost, like a short indie kind of thing.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
So Bug Out. Bug Out was probably the more expensive, but it was a few grand but then you could go to like What we shot not too long ago, which was second episode of Airborne and we had like, you, me, Musa like four or five, like it was three people. Three, four people. It’s four people. And we shot that with zero budget. I mean, it was just food, food was really the budget. People got fed who participated. So I mean, it just depends on what you can get, what people are capable of and what people are passionate about. If you’ve got passionate people, I think you could do a film an amazing film for a very small amount of money As long as they’re happy with what they’re doing. You know.

Rob McNealy
So do you think the technology has come a long way though, so for instance, you know, I’ve seen things that are unlike shot on an iPhone now that like Wow, that’s pretty impressive stuff. So technologically, it seems that the the editing software and some of the hardware that is pretty affordable seems to be Offering really almost, you know, cinema level quality in some instances, what would you say to that.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
Um, I think that there’s always a place for a professional camera. And I say that because like iPhones where they’re at right now they don’t do the same stuff that you know professional lenses and stuff where you’ve got like the bokeh or you got the blurry background up here. and stuff. I’m pretty sure this isn’t that blurry. It’s still somewhat in focus on mine, but most cameras, they don’t allow you to do artistic stuff, when they’re, I mean, like your iPhone, like, it can take some artistic photos, but I feel like it can’t do the shallow depth of field that a professional camera can’t and so and then also like colors like the really professional cameras that cost $20,000 to a little bit more, you’re getting a lot more color in the data that is picked up by it and so You can kind of capitalize on that. It’s like if you take a picture of the sunset, you’re like, it doesn’t look the same when I when I, when I could see it, like the camera can only get so much those colors that are that are in that sunset. And when you get a better camera, it starts picking up more and more of it. So it just kind of it also costs a lot more.

Rob McNealy
Always the problem.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
I mean, you can rent them though. So if you wanted to rent a really expensive camera, it’s like three 400 bucks per day.

Rob McNealy
So there’s so you can then figure out a budget if you want that level and move to that next. So what would say you want to break into the business and you want to do a film? The one thing I don’t know how do you get the How do you get distribution? What are the strategies to get distribution in the indie film?

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
Oh, man, that’s, that’s complicated. That’s kind of where I’m at. Like, I think when I make my first feature film, I’m gonna really start looking at distribution. There’s Obviously, distribution through Amazon Prime, which you can do yourself doesn’t cost you anything, it literally is just filling out some forms and then it gets sent to Amazon Prime. YouTube is another medium that you can put stuff on there. And you can create an audience through that, through people that find it. It’s really finding it. I mean, distribution is a way to reach your audience. And most filmmakers, they make something and they don’t know how to show it to people, like they don’t know how to reach their audience. So they make something and then it kind of dies in the water unless I can find distribution. And so it really comes down to how much of the filmmaking process you can do if you know how to market you can get your stuff to people a little better than someone who has no idea how to market it’s a business So, but distribution like there’s there’s also things like Sundance, if you can get to Sundance, which is a complicated thing. But if you can get to Sundance, that’s where people usually sell their feature films. that’s usually where people make a little bit of money. But an indie film, I say, it’s extremely difficult to make any money off your film. Not until you’re in Hollywood, are you actually making money that like, you know, is an excess, like, it feels like when you’re in any film, you make money, but it pays back exactly what you put into the film kind of thing. So it’s like, you didn’t really make money and stuff, you’re just kind of breaking even. So and that’s where, you know, hopefully the you start getting side hustles and start doing things like commercials and where you get paid. You know, maybe not as maybe not as fun. But right. It’s getting you paid and you’re when you start a film career, and you start meeting people, you start making things you start making a name for yourself, you start making, you’re building that relationship with the community. And so people start seeing seeing things. And so, yeah, you’re always, you’re always doing that. But at some point, like after you’ve made something awesome, and like, you may not have made a lot of money off of it, but you did get people who want to work with you or something, so that then now you’re, you know, at the next level that you need to be.

Rob McNealy
So one of the things that, you know, I’ve heard a lot is how do you start like, do you? You want to be an actor or you want to be a director, you don’t want to go to film school? Like literally, where do I start? I say I live in Ohio. But I don’t want to move to Hollywood. What can I do if I live in? Oh, you know how old I don’t wanna live in Ohio. But let’s just say I lived in Ohio and I wanted to make films what where would I start? Or would I’d meet where would I meet other actors or people that are in this space?

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
So Well, do you got friends who are actors?

Rob McNealy
Well, Pretend I don’t.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
You don’t. So you’re literally just a person in the woods in the way that I like to say like you should reach out to your friends when you’re just starting because like, their level of acting is probably the same level of your filmmaking. So, like, meet at that same level and make something it might, it might be crap, but you guys learn something in the process, and then the next one you do make it better. And steppingstones, it’s really what it is. And so like, if you want to meet people who act then there’s Facebook groups that I mean, Utah has Facebook groups, that’s kind of how I got involved with a lot of other people who I didn’t know and then also I was taking an acting class and I had to find that acting class how did I find it Facebook group? So I mean, there’s so many social media methods to to connect with people nowadays that it’s kind of amazing that you can just find stuff at the at your computer. It’s nice, nice

Rob McNealy
Yeah, I think, you know, even like background acting, you know, sometimes there’s one group. That’s kind of where I started, you know, and mentally I met you a few years ago doing an acting class. And so, you know, go online and see if you can find an acting class in town there. And at least, you know, from what I’ve seen, there’s acting classes in every state. That seems like they’re pretty common, where people have an interest. But, you know, it’s interesting, because there’s a lot of cool stuff happening out there. And and I think, you know, as technology gets more decentralized, and the technology is just getting better, I mean, let’s just be honest, something that would have been 10 years ago, $100,000 cameras now like $5,000. And so you can get some amazing quality stuff if you want to buy your own cameras and stuff really, really cheap now and the software some of the best software out there is even cheaper, free as well for editing and things like that, so but I’m really Uh, I’m you know, I’m learning and you know, I’m getting it’s funny because I’m getting the bug to make stuff in film now that I’ve been kind of working around it a little more and I’m like, Oh, I kind of think I dig this. And so I can see that is gonna cost me money. It’s just gonna cost Yeah. But I take my hobbies very seriously. Definitely So, so Lenny, where can people find out more about you?

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
Well, there’s YouTube channel about me or find out about Zola film and the stuff mentioned. Like how about both? I’ve got an Instagram. That’s a great place to start post a lot of like projects. I’m working on pictures from them. I keep that interesting. And then there’s art film on YouTube. So if you look up x e l ot film on YouTube, you’ll find a link to all the videos and stuff I’ve been making. We get Can you show a teaser of why well can you give you that And then you could play it during this. I will link I will post it on the page posted on the page. Okay, cool.

Rob McNealy
Yeah, that’s all embedded. Absolutely. Wonderful. Well, Lenny, thank you so much for your time and Sir, you have a wonderful night.

Lenni Uitto – Xelot Film
You too and everyone else who watched and hung out for this little podcast. Thanks, guys, whatever, whatever it is. This little chat.

Rob McNealy
Alright, let’s say you have a great one.

Episode Links

Audio Interview
Video Interview
Interview Transcript