The art “do desenrasca” to solve business problems. And how a $0-budget movie became America's No. 1 film
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Imagine the problem.
March 2020. Movie theaters across America have to close because of a pandemic. Hollywood is paralyzed. Movies are delayed.
So what do you do if you're an indie filmmaker?
It started as a joke, "Any film we put in a theater would instantly top the box office."
But later filmaker Christian Nilsson and YouTuber Eric Tabach saw an opportunity in the coronavirus crisis.
Nilsson and Tabach realized there was a loophole. In the film distribution industry there's a thing called “four-walling".
When distributors rent out a movie theater and buy all the seats, that's four-walling. You pay a flat fee to rent the theater, and 100% of the box office revenue is yours.
So Nilsson decides to write a script for a short horror film. He writes it in one day and calls the movie Unsubscribe.
Tabach asks a few friends (actors and YouTubers) if they can star in the movie.
They say yes, and they'll do it for free.
The plot is simple. Five YouTubers join an online video-call. Then they find themselves haunted and hunted by a mysterious internet troll.
They shoot the movie in only five days in May, and use Zoom to film everything.
On 10 June, Nilsson and Tabach rent out a theater in Westhampton Beach to screen Unsubscribe.
Only two people watched it, Nilsson and Tabach. But that didn't really matter, because the next day Unsubscribe was the No.1 box office movie in America.
In Portuguese we have a word that describes perfectly what Nilsson and Tabach did: Desenrascar.
de · sen · ras · car (that's how you pronounce it).
Desenrascar means the art of solving any problem like MacGyver. Simply and inexpensively. You have to use the tools you have and find a way to fix a problem.
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