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24: $20M/Year Making Independent Films with the “Michael Moore Nemesis,” Jeff Hays

Episode 24 . 00:00

Today, I’m chatting with my friend Jeff Hays, who is an award-winning filmmaker who has been producing films since the early nineties.

Between his production company, Jeff Hays Films and his film studio, he pulls in $20M/year with a nimble team of 20. And aside from a few projects early on, all of his work has been self-funded.

Jeff first gained national attention in 2004 with Fahrenhype 9/11, a response to Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. He’s released many other documentaries and multi-part series throughout his career—some acquired by major companies like Lionsgate and NBC.

What’s fascinating about Jeff is the way he monetizes. Generally, independent films don’t make a lot of money. It’s just not very lucrative. But Jeff is doing things differently…

In this episode, I dig into the unique business model that allows him to make millions off his films—and how he then leverages existing buyers to sell other people’s products, generating even more money on the backend.


“The more money we give away, the more money we make.” – Jeff Hays

“If you can bootstrap, bootstrap. I have $1.5M in personal money out right now in my own productions. My partner has money in addition to that. And I sleep like a baby because I know I’m the one that’s responsible for getting that money back. I’m investing in something that’s going to pay a dividend and I’m in charge of seeing that happen. More importantly, if I fail, I don’t have to apologize to anybody.” – Jeff Hays

“Real wealth to me is what you have after you’ve lost everything else.” – Jeff Hays


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