Anaïs Webster Mennuti and Kim Kessler discuss their new documentary that exposes the understaffed and overwhelmed reality of retail pharmacy.
Speech to text:
Mike Koelzer, Host: [00:00:25] Anaïs and Kim, for those that haven't come across you online, introduce yourself and tell our listeners what we're talking
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: about today. I am Anaïs Webster Mennuti, PharmD and I am a pharmacist at a hospital system in Oregon.
Kim Kessler: My name is Kim Kessler, and I am a writer, editor, storyteller, and filmmaker.
Um, I run my own, uh, self-employed business, helping authors tell awesome stories, which is how Anna east and I met actually as a writer editor, and now we're writing partners. So, uh, yeah, today we're gonna talk about our pharmacy documentary that we are in the trenches with right now. And we're really excited to get everybody, um, on board with us to make this thing happen.
Mike Koelzer, Host: When we met up online and I heard about the topic of this, I'm like, I don't wanna talk about the crap of pharmacy, but I really wanna find out about the documentary. I said, that's really cool. So here we are.
Kim Kessler: Well, it's interesting, Mike, actually like, because this is exactly the point exactly. You said you're like, I don't wanna talk about this anymore because everyone in the pharmacy knows everything that's been happening and nobody wants to talk about it anymore.
Well, they really want people to listen, right? Like they really want, there's so many people like myself who I'm not in a medical background. I just run through my right aid drive through and I pick up my pills every month and I have no idea what's going on in pharmacies.
Mike Koelzer, Host: You're exactly right, Kim, when I say I'm sick of it, I guess, like you say, I'm sick of talking to my wife about it and other pharmacists about it.
Right. And to people on this show about it, you know, I mean, we bitch a little bit just to have fun and to write. Make it interesting. You gotta air
Kim Kessler: those grievances. Right. You gotta air '
Mike Koelzer, Host: em out, but then we kind of move on to. Things that are more topical in the business world. And so on, you can only talk about something so much, but you're right.
If I had an audience that would listen right, then I'll talk forever if it's the right people. So, you nailed it there.
Kim Kessler: Yeah. So that's really what we're looking to do is we want to bring the issues that are going on in retail, pharmacy that on east educated me about and our, our other, uh, teammate, Ethan, um, Because we're just, you know, layman, right.
We're just like people who just, you know, go to pharmacies or whatever and don't know anything about it. And so now we're like, oh, we need to get this in front of the masses so that they understand what's actually going on.
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: Where did this idea start from? When I left my retail pharmacy job, I was. So I was still working at the hospital and I stayed on with my retail job because I enjoyed who I worked with and I enjoyed the, um, patient and customer interaction.
Um, and if you only work a few days a month, you don't deal with any of the issues at all. And so, um, Then the COVID vaccines and all of the stuff with COVID hit. And I decided I was done with that moonlighting job. This isn't fun anymore. And so I was complaining to Kim and I was like, Kim, this is awful.
you guys were buddies. We're buddies, we're buddies outside
Kim Kessler: of this. Oh, we're buddies. Oh, we're writing partners. Like we write scripts together, like features, like we're trying, we're trying to get a pilot picked up and we write books. And
Mike Koelzer, Host: you said that, but I thought it was because. You got together, you were already writing partners and Kim just bored with you on each
Every time you go out for coffee, it's like the same damn story. And Kim's saying let's put some structure to this so I can get this off my back. Yes.
Kim Kessler: I'm like, wait, so what's going on? Wait, how does pharmacy work? Wait. What do you do? Like you mean? Um, you know, and just like mind blowing to learn about everything, because I just didn't know this
Mike Koelzer, Host: wasn't from a one time gripe session from an east, right.
This had been building up over time. Cuz you were friends.
Kim Kessler: Yeah. We're friends and, and she's texting me all of the tweets. Right? All of the screenshots of all of. Tweets from pharmacy, Twitter, which apparently is a thing that I didn't know. And so, and I'm just like, wait, what? Wait, what? And we just, it's just everywhere.
And I just had no idea about the dumpster fire that was a retail pharmacy. And
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: Then one day I just texted her out of, I texted her tweet like I did, like I always did. And then sh I was like, someone needs to do a documentary about this. Were my exact words. And Kim goes, I have friends who can help us with this.
And I said, us, oh, we are, you mean we are doing it. And so that's how I was introduced to Ethan. Um, Kim connected us via email and Ethan was like, Hm, pharmacy. I don't really understand anything about it. Let me look into it. Yeah. I
Mike Koelzer, Host: looked that up. He's a cinematographer.
Kim Kessler: Yeah. He's amazing. And him and I, we live in the same area and we work together on films and, and do things together.
You've already worked together with him. Yeah. So I've already worked together with him and he bleeds documentaries. Like that's like his passion is to tell the truth. Right to use film as a medium, because it's [00:05:25] so accessible and, you know, audiences just were clamoring for really great content. Um, and so there's stories that need to be told.
And so that's his hardest to really like to tell and I'm like, oh, we have a meaningful documentary. I have a person who wants to tell meaningful documentary stories. And I just wanna tell meaningful stories. I tell fiction nonfiction, like, you know, I don't care. I just wanna be. And I'm all about the collaborative team effort of like what we're doing.
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: A month goes by. I hear nothing. And I was like, okay. And then out of the blue, he says, there seems to be a lot of frustration on this subreddit. He was brought into the fold and he was like, I'm ready to do this documentary. We're doing this.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Not looking at pharmacies. What's the overall market for documentaries?
Is it hard to break into not doing them, but into selling them? Do you then sell it to Hulu or Netflix or something like that? How does that work out?
Kim Kessler: That's the thing about film in general, right. It takes a lot of money to make a film. Well, right? Like anybody can make a film for free. It just might not be that good.
Right? Like you wanna have good equipment, you wanna have enough staff like enough crew, right. To be able to do all the things
Mike Koelzer, Host: it's kind of like any schmuck can host a podcast. That's kind of.
Kim Kessler: I
don't let him say that about you, Mike. Don't worry.
Mike Koelzer, Host: anybody can do it, but it costs money to do a good one.
Kim Kessler: Yeah.
Right. You can point and shoot and you can get editing software and whatever. And so the thing that we're really excited about bringing is, um, Ethan's really awesome with a camera. So, and he's, you know, he's really genius about what he does. Um, anise and I are storytellers, right? Annie east has the.
Like expertise and background, and like knowing where the issues are. Like, goes like, oh, we gotta go look at this dirt corner over here. And then I go, I know what this means. This is what it means to a layman audience person like me. And that's who we really want. That's who we wanna get on board. So at this point for any film, right, you need money, right?
You need funding, you need a budget, right? If you look at how much, how much you. Industry films are costing, you know, millions of dollars to like, do all of the pieces that you need to make something really excellent. Um, and you could make something and then you need to distribute it. Right? So getting a distribution contract can be really tricky because sometimes they're kind of scammy.
Right. You know what I mean? They're not necessarily a great deal. Um, and so maybe it means you need to get an agent or, you know, representation, a manager, like there's all these things, right.
Mike Koelzer, Host: It's kind of like, you'll see online where they'll say. You know, we'll help you write a book and get it published and all this, but it's like, well, what audience do they have?
Who are they? So a lot of people will take you on, but you're looking at the end goal of who's gonna see it. That's where you have to
Kim Kessler: start. Absolutely. We're on a mission. It's
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: interesting because, um, we had a big shift in our potential ability to distribute this on Friday. So on Friday we had a big name director who is actually interested in having a meeting with us based on a connection we made from someone we interviewed for the documentary.
The director's name is Curry. Dick. And he did the bleeding edge documentary. And one of the people in that documentary works at an independent pharmacy. Who's trying to start a nonprofit. So, um, she works at an independent pharmacy in New York and she said, Kirby just. Emailed me out of the blue and asked, Hey, do you have any leads?
I'm looking for my next project. And that was on Wednesday.
Kim Kessler: The Innerwebs of our connection of like all the connections has just been the most magical part of all of this. What's really interesting when we're looking to distribute this, this documentary is. Because streaming services have just totally revolutionized the way that we take in film and take in TV and take in anything.
So honestly it feels like the market for documentaries is higher than it's ever been because of streaming services and people's interest in documentaries. You know, it's not something you're necessarily going to release in theaters to like go have that kind of a run, but on streaming services, like my sister goes through every true crime documentary.
There is. It's just like with podcasts, right? People are starving for meaningful content that they want to gobble up. And as soon as you watch one, you're like, I just want more of that. Like give me more of that. So it's, it feels, we feel really optimistic. , you know, maybe naively
Mike Koelzer, Host: documentaries too. When I go there to watch a documentary, there might be the world's greatest documentary, but if it's not a topic I'm interested in, it's not just.
A mystery or a thriller or action or a comedy, those things, I don't care so much what the topic is. Like, if I'm watching a comedy, I don't care where they work or what profession they're in, if it's funny, it's funny. But with documentaries, a lot of times you really wanna watch a topic. So it seems like, you know, having something pharmacy it's like, yeah, I know there's a lot of other ones, but we're the.
Pharmacy is one kind of thing. I would think it's an easier way if you have the right interesting story in a certain field.
Kim Kessler: Well, I think the fact that right [00:10:25] pharmacy, just like anything medical right, is so universal, right? Like it's such a universal thing that like, Millions upon millions of people use a pharmacy, um, have life saving medication and life sustaining medication that they need.
And if we go, there's a broken link in the chain, like you need to figure this out about your pharmacy that you might be going to. There are a lot of, you know, the bleeding edge that we mentioned earlier is about medical devices. Right? So it's a, and that's why we're really hoping that it's gonna end up being a really great fit.
Um, and you know, these things, yeah. How many people have had a hip replacement, right? That's a really common surgery and watch out, like, if you have cobalt in those that's bad news, you know, like, so you're learning about things that affect everyday people. Um, and that's the power of documentary is it's telling you something that you might not know that you're interested in yet, but just watch.
Right. And you are gonna learn about things.
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: Our other hook is, um, that's why we picked our title is because we know it's tongue and cheek.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Tell me the title,
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: our title is, would you like shots with that?
Kim Kessler: The crisis behind the pharmacy counter in the us
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: again, full title. Would you like shots with that? The crisis behind the pharmacy counter in the US, we went with that because of the fast food ation of pharmacy.
Everyone treats us like McDonald's. So they're like you roll up to the drive through, Hey, would you like to supersize that? Would you like fries with that, but just take that into those metrics and goals surrounding immunizations and then couple that with the public perception.
Kim Kessler: Yeah. That misunderstanding of what is actually happening behind the counter.
What a pharmacist and pharmacy Tech's job actually is. They're not just slapping stuff on, you know, slapping the label on a bottle. They're like checking everything, you know, like the real craft.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I can see the artwork now you're gonna have something that looks like a hamburger, maybe like a big pill, and then you're gonna have like a French fry thing, but it's gonna be like 30 needles sticking out of it instead of French fries.
right. Cause that's like, would you like fries with that? Would you like shots with that?
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: Yes, right? Yes. Something like that because, um, it just has to be fun. Like the world is very bleak and dark and this topic is a really heavy one and sometimes the only way to access those types of emotions is through humor.
So we really wanna make this kind of funny because you have to ,
Mike Koelzer, Host: I don't know, a full documentary on. I've seen like 20 minute ones on PBS or something like that. I'm not even sure if there's pharmacy ones, but I haven't seen a supersize meat kind of documentary on pharmacy.
Kim Kessler: There is one on Netflix called the pharmacist.
It's all about the opioid epidemic. That was a little dark, wasn't it? Well, it is right. It was, it was. And um, we talked, we got to talk to Dan. We actually interviewed him. Um, and he spoke with us and we have his full support in what we're doing. He, we have his stamp approval. Um, and yeah, I mean, his thing, he was really trying to, you know, he was dealing with the death of his son and it was all of his in personal investigation, like everything he had done to try to bring.
You know, doctor to justice, right. Like, and so it's definitely, um, and it was really, you know, highlighting and focusing on the opioid epidemic and what's going on. And I think a lot of times, great, that's where people's minds stop about pharmacy. You know, they're like, oh right. Like, you know, people who want them, want their drugs, whatever, and they're not looking okay.
But what about your insulin and what about your antidepressants? You know, like what about these other things that you need? Um, you know, there's other stuff going on that you need to be aware of.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I think that you said that your next step is probably a trailer for this, then you get a two minute trailer and you bring that to investors.
Is that kind of the idea?
Kim Kessler: Yes,
That's right where we are. So we have a trailer, we call it our sizzle reel.
Mike Koelzer, Host: What's it rated
Kim Kessler: not scandalous Mike
Mike Koelzer, Host: not scandalous. Just sizzle. OK. All right.
Kim Kessler: You know what I feel like. I wonder how we could do this. It would be really awesome to have Mike watch the sizzle. I wish we would've shown it to you before we got started.
Mike Koelzer, Host: How long is it?
Kim Kessler: Two minutes.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I'll watch it right now. Can you send it to me?
Kim Kessler: Yeah, let's do it.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I
I just watched this two minute trailer and I'm giving. Anaïs and Kim, my reaction right now, that was fantastic.
Kim Kessler: Ah, thank you. We're so glad. I'm glad you liked it. You
Mike Koelzer, Host: know, documentaries, you watch 'em and you get done. You're like, oh my gosh, that's ridiculous. Whether it was a hidden camera, the music gets perfect.
It's kind of perky, but kind of like I can't believe this is going on. And they've got. Annoying phone ringing in the [00:15:25] background, and then they show this line of like 20 people and then they show this sign of, uh, there's no pharmacist here, but then the next shot is the same sign with like pencil scratched into it, like F you kind of thing from the customer guys.
That was really, really good. I didn't know what I was gonna see. That was top of the line. Oh, yay. And those are people that you interviewed and so on or is that just dummy stuff in
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: the beginning? The first shot in that sizzle reel, that is someone we interviewed. And then when it gets into the, um, Arkansas board of pharmacy there, the board of pharmacy meeting was just on YouTube.
So we just took it off YouTube. And then, um, we used footage from TikTok videos. So, um, Just B roll that was out in the world that we were able to, um, use. Plus the interviews that we've done,
Kim Kessler: every person that is talking to us directly, like is someone that we talked to. We've spoken since January, we've spoken with over 40.
Different people, you know, pharmacists, pharmacies, um, patient advocates, patients themselves, like we've, we've done a ton of pre-interviews that have helped us build sort of the story. Like we have a really clear vision for what the story that we're telling. Um, and we just, now it's kind of a matter of going in and capturing all of the real footage in the wild, so we can really make it into, into a.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Did you do long interviews or did you say, Hey, we're doing this trailer. Can you give us five minutes?
Kim Kessler: No. We talked to people for like an hour and then those are like, I just cut down. So you already
Mike Koelzer, Host: have the footage that you need basically for the
Kim Kessler: interviews, right? There's certain people like key players in the story that we wanna go to.
We're gonna fly to them. We wanna be with them. We want them to show us the places and how things worked and talk to them in. People are really used to seeing zoom footage now. So there's certainly gonna be some in it. Um, and so, but yeah, when you're making a documentary pre-production is the, is the, one of the most important parts of creating any film
Mike Koelzer, Host: project pre-production meaning getting the interviews and all that kind of stuff.
Kim Kessler: Pre-production is everything you do before you hit. Action. Right. So it's gonna be everything that you do. So it's, you know, it might be finding locations. It might be finding funding. It might be writing a script. It might be revising, you know, all those things that you did before. You're actually on set with the like black and white clapper thingy, you know, everybody thinks of that's production.
Mike Koelzer, Host: The trailer is still
Kim Kessler: pre-production yes. The trailer is still pre production at this point because we're just using it off of pre-production footage. But what we love is we're like, you can see there's a story here, right? Like there's a story here and there's so much more of a story. What's the last line they use.
Where do you hear
Mike Koelzer, Host: about the rodents? Yeah, the last line of the trailer, they get done showing these people basically dying the text and then the lake says, wait, do I tell you about the rodents? Yep. That was fantastic. You don't
Kim Kessler: wanna expect to hear that in a, in a zoom interview?
Mike Koelzer, Host: what are the rules for documentaries as far as, do you need permission from people to put it in.
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: We've done some research into, um, what those laws are. And we're also working with a law firm to help us along this process. And so we have consent forms. So we have a, um, release waiver to get permission from all of the people we've interviewed directly. And then for documentaries, there is a. I guess it's like an actor law of some sort called fair use.
So you are allowed to use certain footage without having to get permission for the purposes of a documentary. You can probably
Mike Koelzer, Host: use the board meeting cuz that's like not copyright information and it was a public forum, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, there's a Karen on, uh, I call ITAC. I know it's tic TikTok, but I call it tic TAC just to get my kids.
It's funny because I put little segments of this podcast on my TikTok channel, the biz of farm pods and my kids. See it all on their F Y P page. You know, it's like all on their front page and they see me constantly, but then I come in and I call ITAC just to kind of mess with them. But if you've got like a Karen in the pharmacy on TikTok, can you
Kim Kessler: use that?
So there's a certain amount of fair use that you can use if someone's posting something online. Um, And you noticed we had, we had several TikTok videos in, but we've, we've credited them. We've shown the source of where they come from. Um, and so, you know, you can find their channel at whoever and, and yeah, that, that point, there is a certain amount of fairies for social media, which means you should be really careful about what you put on social media.
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: So we had asked our attorney and she was like, everything. We have shown her so far. and we had talked about using it, she said it was fine. We didn't really broach the subject of how long, because we knew everything was gonna be short.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Do you need any permission from Karen or that's been published too.
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: It's state by state.
So with that, um, With recording laws there, it depends. If it's a one consent or a two consent state, some states you can record another person. [00:20:25] A lot of times they're talking about audio, but you can record someone as long as you, the recorder, are consenting to it. Some states you have to get permission from Karen before you record them.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I'm gonna say you can use it because there's a lot of documentaries that have pictures. People in their worst moments, you know, like really angry and this and that. They obviously don't get permission for all of that or else the documentary wouldn't be any fun to watch if you're not, you know, kind of pissing somebody off.
So it must be
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: legal. And I think that's where fair use comes in because they do want people to be able to document things like that. So
Mike Koelzer, Host: you're right. Cause what if everything had to be whitewashed, then it's like, how exciting is that to watch anything?
Kim Kessler: Well, and it's not the truth. Right? And like you're saying, when it comes to reporting, right.
When it comes to journalism, you know, things like that, um, you know, which. You know, we're kind of falling somewhere in there, but I would say we're probably a little more biased than, uh, the regular journalist, but, um, but we do still really, you know, we're, we're here to really tell the whole
Mike Koelzer, Host: truth. Well, there's a lot of journalism that, I mean, you think of 20, 20, and 60 minutes and stuff, they obviously have a slant.
They're not going in to discover something they're going in to stick the microphone into someone's face and yes. You know,
Kim Kessler: get that. We have a hunch of how this is gonna go. So yes.
Mike Koelzer, Host: You know? Right. Yeah. . That's why? One of the reasons I recommend pharmacists get ahold of their news once in a while, so that you can say, Hey, if you ever need, uh, someone to talk about anything on the news, let me know, get a few reporters on your side, because inevitably you get some young reporter, every.
Three or four years who say they're gonna reveal to the world that there's like different pricing in pharmacy or, you know, something, or they're gonna reveal to the world that this pharmacy, uh, you know, charged 10 more cents to this than to somebody else kind of thing. And then they shove the microphone in your face.
So it doesn't hurt to have those relationships ahead of time. So when they say, where are you going with this negative story? It's like, oh, I'm gonna go see Mike. It's like, don't go see him. He helps us once in a while. Mm-hmm, . So the documentary boy, I forget who said this? I'm gonna say it was, um, Mark Twain because none of my listeners know the difference anyway.
So I'm just gonna say the great Mark Twain. said that to do a long speech or something is easy to make, you know, a 10th of that is really hard.
Kim Kessler: Oh, yeah. Right. It takes longer to write a short letter than it does to write a long letter.
Mike Koelzer, Host: You got it. You got it. So Kim, that writing and anise that writing was superb.
I don't think most people understand. I of course have an eye for the, I don't think most people understand a trailer's tougher than. The 60 minute documentary was you gotta tell the story. So who writes that you two write
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: it? It's really hard. All three of us did.
Mike Koelzer, Host: And do you write that before and almost have like a storyboard where you say we're gonna put three people in here and then we're gonna talk for a bit, then we're gonna have a long shot.
Did you know, or how does that work out?
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: Honestly, a lot of it was by feel and I know that's not a, that's kind of a woo woo answer, but, um, we got a lot of footage. And then in general, we were kind of putting the BI broad brushstrokes, like it looks like, um, for the beginning of our trailer. We're gonna really showcase the issue in terms of like, what's a really gut punch type of opening.
And then we knew we wanted to also close with something really dramatic. So neither will change until fatal mistakes are made. And then the rodents and kind of with those parameters, these things are floating around in our minds. We're kind of adding clips here and there. And then one day Ethan was just playing around with it and he said, you know what, I'm gonna try to do it.
Um, The first rough draft of the trailer. And so that became our scaffolding once he was like, I'm just gonna throw some stuff in there. That's when we really crafted it. Ooh. What if we have a phone ring? Throw out. How funny would that be
Mike Koelzer, Host: in the old days? You know, back until 30 years ago, 20 years ago, you'd actually physically have to like to cut film, physically, cut it and then tape it back together.
And so on. Now you can, like you say, you can rough draft this together and get a feel for
Kim Kessler: it. What's happening is when we're interviewing people. We're the story is always in our mind, always about how this is gonna translate to a broad. How is this going to, you know, cuz we need to know like, oh my God, this is a person we have to fly and see them in person like we have to, or okay, this was interesting.
And maybe they connected us with someone else, but this may or may not actually make it into the documentary, but you know, you're just gathering and you're kind of just, you're just perceiving, UN processing all this information and certain things are sticking out to us as we're taking it in. And we.
That needs, that's important. That's important. That's important. And then, um, and then also on, Issa's been, you know, capturing tweets and talks and we have a, we have a document called Linky links and all [00:25:25] the links of all of the stuff that on Issa's found online that relates to pharmacy and this retail nightmare.
Um, and so, you know, scouring those for this is the most compelling. This is the most compelling. This is gonna, you know, Demonstrate this specific thing that we're trying to make and then, you know, kind of gather those things. And then Ethan goes, okay, let me take a crack at it. And the amazing thing about storytelling is that it is, um, it is innate in each human being, right?
It is a way that we communicate. And, um, when you are a writer or an editor or a filmmaker, or, you know, any, any person who's really actively working in storytelling, you learn. Name these different things, right? There's we, we put names on them so that we know we can communicate with one another, but there are things that the audience, whether they know it or not already knows inherently, because it's literally the way our brains are wired.
And it's the way that we have survived as a species. Right. We tell stories so that we pass on information so that people, you know, survive to make more people and pass on more information. Like storytelling is our amazing, you know, human technology that we. Right. So, so we're, we're tapping into those things that help people make connections and make PA they recognize a pattern and they, they, they understand, oh, this might have been a bunch of little clips together, but when I watch it in its entirety, at the end, I go, oh my God, I understand what they're trying to tell me.
And. You know, so that's the stuff that we're, we're doing right.
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: Going along with that, um, the naming of the innate sense of story into something that's structured is really helpful for, um, keeping the like global, the big story in our heads, because, um, this weekend, when we were working on that grant application and we did put together kind of.
Like storyboard, if you will, for that committee, we were like, okay. So we know that in the first act we have to establish, okay, we have, it seems like we have patients and customers, versus pharmacy stuff, and we are kind of pitting these two groups against one another, because that's what. The public perception is.
And then from there, we start to chip away at that public perception and introduce some basic education about what's going on behind the counter, before pivoting into who we're following in our main characters and following their journey through kind of the, um, getting to know them, the really like dark night of the soul, like emotional core that you hit towards like three quarters into a movie where you're like, wow, I've gotten to know you.
And this is a. Tricky situation that you're in and really showing almost hopelessness like the villain's too big. They're never gonna make it. And then coming out of that in your, um, your third act and being like, but there is hope we took you through the ringer. We took you to the bottom and now there's actually hope, you
Mike Koelzer, Host: Now, you're 40.
Do you know that group? They've got the song that I love. It's called, uh, I think. Puddle or puddle at my feet. And I love it except like stories, songs are supposed to have a troubled first verse, a troubled second verse, and then kind of the refrain. And then at the end it sort of wraps up a little bit, but this one, the first, first was like a problem.
And like the resolution was almost coming in the second verse already before the refrain even came. It just didn't sit right with me. So a good storyteller. Almost like filling in the holes that they know that we humans need. That's
Kim Kessler: absolutely what it's all about is understanding. What does, like, you know, what you want someone to understand, but it's like a great teacher, right?
Like, you're like, I need you to understand this concept, but I can't just tell you that whole concept and you're gonna go right over your head and you're not gonna care about it. You're gonna be bored and you're not gonna hear me. So rather than just tell you the thing, I'm going to give you a. At a time linearly, I'm gonna drip it to you.
I'm gonna give you this. I'm gonna help you care about this person. I'm gonna give you some conflict and help you care a little bit more and we build it so that by the end you have a full understanding. You've been able to, you know, piece it together bit by bit and take it in and process it and see the big picture.
And so a story becomes, you know, greater than the sum of its parts, right? So it becomes, there's a, there's a greater meaning that we, we get from it. Um, and you know, it's just true of. Any story and that's, this is particularly why Ethan is so passionate about documentary because it's real life. Right. So, um, you know, I'm really passionate about fiction, um, because I'm going to write you a story that will tell you a truth about real life.
Um, and I get to have all my creative control and Ethan loves to capture the real. The real life of what's happening. Like these are people's lives that are out there right now. And you know, and this is what's going on and you just don't know. So we just need to, we wanna educate you and communicate what's really going on.
So. You actually have freedom, will you actually have a choice to decide if you want, want to, you know, oh, I'm gonna stop going to my, you know, chain pharmacy. I'm gonna go support the, the [00:30:25] independent, you know, or if I can, if, if my, you know, not everybody has that option, but, um, but we just don't even know what needs to happen if people aren't advocating and, and.
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: but you still have to make sure the emotional signal is clear. So, um, one thing that we were talking about yesterday actually was I had, um, written a line of text and Kim was like, that sentence is factually, correct. Nothing is wrong with that sentence, but you're not hitting the emotional notes.
You're just telling them facts. And so it's really just making sure that you. Are appealing to your audience in a way that hits them in an emotional core, which is why. Sometimes reading articles about what's going on in pharmacy, doesn't really hit the same as really watching a story about
Kim Kessler: it. Right. You watch that one TikTok with that person who's on the floor, on the phone.
And they're just like, absolutely feeling insane with probably whatever doctor's office they're trying to talk to and just going to the insurance company. Right. And we're just like, I just, you know, just my whole nervous system just lights up because I know what it's like to be that frustrated. Right. I've never worked in a pharmacy, but I know what it's like to be that frustrated.
And it. Connects you as humans,
Mike Koelzer, Host: Let's say a story has like 30 parts to it. That last part it's almost like documentaries, good documentaries. They almost leave you at like 29. And the 30th part is then the next step that the viewer does. I think I like some of these documentaries, my daughters are vegans and they make me watch these things.
They strap me down.
Kim Kessler: You watch all the food, right? Yeah. . Yeah.
Mike Koelzer, Host: So I watch, you know, nines over forks and supersize me and all this stuff, you know, I know that wasn't vegan and how terrible the free market is for promoting fast food. So like, I'll be out to eat with my wife for lunch at McDonald's while I'm shoving a big Mac in my face and 10 fries, and I'll be telling her how great those documentaries were.
So they don't work on me, but at least I think about that 30th step, you know,
Kim Kessler: Right. You're more aware than you were before, and then you decide, I don't care. I don't care. I want what I want. I'm a red blooded American and I'm going to eat my beef and that's gonna happen, right? Yes.
Mike Koelzer, Host: What's the worst emotion you've had so far?
Is there any negativity at all? I mean, have you been, has there ever been hopelessness cuz you couldn't get enough people to respond? I mean, has what's the most negative emotion so far
Kim Kessler: limited time and limited
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: resources? My most negative emotion is probably frustration just because it's very difficult to do a project of this scale with limited time and limited resources.
We all have day jobs, families. And so it's just like if I could only commit to this full time. Then we would be able to just run with this, but I still have to go to work tomorrow. So
Kim Kessler: yeah, that's really been it. It's just been knowing how important it is, knowing how powerful it is and, and how much, how passionate we are to tell the story and how passionate all of the people that we've spoken with are to tell the truth and get the story out so that other people know what's going on.
Um, and then, yeah, being, you know, being limited on how much time we can really invest in it on a weekly, monthly basis because, you know, we. Other clients' gigs in the east have, you know, the hospital to go to like, and we just, we just want to be doing this right. We just want to be doing
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: this. Yeah. We had a big heart to heart.
Um, not too long ago about this, when it was really getting down to like that brass tax, like, okay. We are running out. Resources for Kim and Ethan, because they are both in it's burnout and they're both independent contractors. So any time spent on this project is time. They're not with a client. And so we had been in the first few months after we started doing this, we were on calls almost every single day.
It was a fire hose. It's
Kim Kessler: a fire hose, a fire hose. People were so excited to tell us their stories and it was amazing. It was amazing.
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: But then both Cam and Ethan are. We're running out of resources for our own personal lives. And like, we need to eat, we have to pay the mortgage. And I was just like, had that moment of like, I know they both really want to do this project and it's just, it makes me very sad because I'm like, they both wanna do it, but I'm not gonna stand in the way of them paying their mortgage, feeding their.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Not counting the marketing and the, the red carpets and the interviews and all that. How far do you feel you're done with this project now that you've had a lot of the interviews you've got the trailer done. Do you feel you're 25% done?
Kim Kessler: It's so interesting in terms of, I feel like we have a really good handle on the content.
As far as knowing the kind of footage we want to go capture the kind of people we wanna talk to because we have gathered a lot of information. Um, and, and we have a really good understanding [00:35:25] of what we need to communicate to our audience in the final product. So I feel really good about that. Um, now it's, it's just a matter, it feels like it's a lot of execution, right?
We need to be going out and we. Get all the information to fill all of those holes. Right. Get the footage, um, get the, you know, get the sources. There's probably, you know, there's a certain amount of, you know, in documentaries, there, there might be something you need to explain. And so you'll make a little animated explainer video that is like with graphs and points and, you know, so there's those things that need to be put together and, and made.
But I think. I feel really good about knowing what we're doing and how we're, you know, what we're trying to do. It's a matter of getting the resources so we can take the flights so we can hire the local crew so that we can capture the footage. And so that we can, and, you know, get access to locations, um, you know, so we can get all the footage that we want to get.
So all of the production still needs to happen, which, you know, is what's interesting about this project and I was thinking about it. Um, and I was con you know, thinking about other documentaries, You know, lots of times it can take years, right. It can take years to put a documentary together. Um, and so what's interesting is how it feels.
Everything that we're trying to capture can be captured. Like it's people talking about the past and it's, you know, it's, it seems that we can go be on site, get their stuff, but it, it's not really like, we, we don't necessarily have to follow, um, you know, like a campaign, right. That's gonna take a certain number of months and time, you know what I mean?
So, it feels like the history of a thing so that we can change what's going to happen. And we would like to do that sooner rather than later, rather than like, we're gonna, you know, Capture someone's voyage around, you know, around the, the ocean or whatever, which you're like, you're just here for all of the time to do that.
Um, and so it, it does have, so it feels like. It can go faster if we have the resources, right? That's, that's how it feels
Mike Koelzer, Host: to me. If you need somebody to tell you how things should be done in a pharmacy, I could be that person. And then you could say, all right, now, everybody you've seen might do it. Now do the opposite.
and then you can put like a left and right screen with a big X through me or something. And then put the green check mark on the right side, you know, with an animated person. What is your size? Speed bump. Now you have the trailer. Are you trying to get funding from anybody? And you need that funding then to get the final product.
And then when the final product comes in, you need someone to pick that up. Where are you in the business? Part of that?
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: The money. So right after this podcast airs, we are going to start our first crowdfunding campaign. Our slogan was put your money where you can't put your mouth because a lot of people are so scared of retaliation.
They don't wanna talk to us. Fine. That's okay. No harm, no foul. Give us two hours of your time. So the amount of money you would make in two hours, Um, contribute that to this documentary and we will find someone who can tell your story.
Mike Koelzer, Host: The typical person they'll see the trailer. And then at the end you'll have a QR code or something, and then they'll go on their phone and then they'll go to a site or something, and then they'll have the opportunity to donate to this.
How does that work out
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: actually? Yeah. So, um, for film, there is a platform called seed and spark. It's kind of like Kickstarter, but for, um, film specifically. So essentially what we are planning on doing. We have built up some communities on Twitter. So we're going to basically tweet out our seed and spark and let people know we've started fundraising, but we also have a, um, pretty lengthy list of people we've either talked to, or we, um, know who are more influencers than we are with bigger platforms.
For example, like the cynical pharmacist or the accidental pharmacist, um, we've talked to them and so they have a hundred thousand people, plus you follow them to be. Here you go show this to your audience, their pharmacy, this whole campaign is marketing to pharmacy staff. So they get it and we just need to have those voices amplify us so that they watch that trailer.
And then go, man, I'm ready. We're gonna contribute. This is a community documentary. We're all doing this documentary.
Mike Koelzer, Host: You mentioned crowdsourcing. Now I ain't no genius ladies, but I'm thinking you've got this excellent trailer. I'm imagining that's somehow going to come out with your notice that we wanna raise some funds.
Right. Those are gonna be kind of together, right?
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: Yeah. So they will be. So when, um, People either look at our social media posts or when they listen to this podcast, they will be able to. Um, so for example, here, look at the link in the show notes, it'll take you to our season spark page. If you click on that, um, it'll be the main video on that page and you can watch it and then just [00:40:25] donate from that page.
So, um, how people will get access to that video is through our seed and spark. So we might. Either, um, a still shot of it, or like maybe the first couple seconds to really draw people in. Ooh, that's intriguing. I wanna watch it, but in order to watch it, we want it to be from our fundraising page so that you have the impulse to donate and contribute right
Kim Kessler: away.
All links to watch the trailer will take you to seed spark. You watch the film, you watch the trailer there, and then you'll have a, you'll be right there so that you can donate your two hours,
Mike Koelzer, Host: two hours money
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: worth your time. Yes, too, is money worth your time. This is,
Kim Kessler: You know, for, for your industry, right?
This is for your profession. Um, this is for. You know, making things better, um, for you and for your patients.
Mike Koelzer, Host: The trailer really right now is really for pharmacists. It absolutely is when this is done, you might do a different trailer for the streaming executives or for the consumers. It might be absolutely different than this.
This is more to say, we understand pharmacists and we're here and let let's raise
Kim Kessler: this. And this message that's in the trailer will be in the film. It's just not the only message that will be in the film because the consumer needs to. Okay. And now what do I do? Right. So we are able to show like, why is it so jacked up the way that it is and what do we do about it?
So those parts are coming in the main film,
Mike Koelzer, Host: But when they're on this and give money, I'm not implying you do this. I'm just wondering, do they say, we'll let you know of the premier night, do they become part of anything when they give,
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: So we want, um, whoever is giving to feel like they are a part of this documentary. It is a community documentary, which is why we want the pharmacy community to fund it. So we really, the, um, the perk they get is a documentary
Kim Kessler: that's number
one, delivery. Number one,
Mike Koelzer, Host: I think that's a good answer Anaïs because it's kind of like. Do you guys know what bazooka gum is?
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: Yes. Yes.
Mike Koelzer, Host: When I was a kid, you would collect bazooka comics that came in the bazooka bubble gum, and then you'd send in like a hundred of these things and you'd get like live jumping beans or something like that.
But sometimes you can cheapen stuff. Like what if I bought my wife's engagement ring? What if she found out I bought that with bazooka comics. so this too, it's like, if you start giving giveaways, it's almost like the project itself is not as important. It's like, no, you give, because this is important.
You're not gonna get any gimmicks. This is just,
Kim Kessler: I. think, you know, for one, we don't have a budget for giveaways. If we had a give, we had a budget to do giveaways, we would just go fund the film. Um, and also, you know, it is about, um, yeah, the main purpose obviously is to make the documentary. But one thing that they will be a part of is seeing the progress.
Like this might take us a year or two to make. Right. But there's gonna be a lot of. Stuff that happens between now and then. And if you wanna stay in it and stay, you know, be a part of it and be, you know, there's gonna be multiple opportunities to give. So even if you can't give up on this first one, you know, we're gonna, we're kind of, we're breaking it down sort of by segments.
Um, our first one is the west coast tour. We're gonna try, you know, map out like, okay, planes, trains, automobiles, what do we gotta do to try to make it and do our, do our west coast. One of our interviewees is gonna hook us up with some good flights, like, you know, so there's things like that. So people will definitely have a chance to be a part of something like, Hey, we're gonna be in this city these days.
Like, come hang out, let's talk like here's behind the scenes footage. Here's some, you know, just like this is where the project is at and giving those updates and letting people know that like, This is what we learned and like, really just cuz it's, it's not just about the documentary, it's about making actual change in the world of pharmacy.
Right? So if it's like, Hey, this is the thing we learned about, take this back to your, you know, your associations or whatever, you know what I mean? We're just, we don't even know. I don't know what all of that's gonna be, but I just know that when that happens, when we're all in, right, we're all in and we're going to be bringing our best effort and bringing the best content.
Really, um, infusing some life and some hope back into a community that's been really been working so hard and just so downtrodden that it's like, okay, let's, let's all band together and do a thing, you know? So, um, yeah, so we'll figure out what all of that is.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I was talking to somebody who was trying to make change in the industry and we actually got to the.
Where I finally understood that one of the things with the upper echelon people and the chains and stuff who ultimately would be making this change was embarrassment. You were embarrassing them. Or embarrassing their kids to say, my father or mother is part of that operation that has rodents in their place.
That kind of thing. I didn't see any of this on the trailer, but is any of this going to be where you are? Where you find a CEO. So and so at a pharmacy function and you've got a mic in his face and he says, no comment where you go to a [00:45:25] dinner undercover. I didn't see any of this, but are you attacking at all?
I'm guessing you're not, but are you going to
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: funny? You should say going undercover. We did, um, say. Because we were technically the partners and CEOs of our own little independent business shots with that LLC. We went to an executive summit and we listened to people at a, the higher echelons of some of these companies talk.
And we took some notes as spies,
Mike Koelzer, Host: as spies. And you got in just because you were a company that didn't do any background check. No.
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: We paid the entry fee and, um, it was all virtual. So it made it easy. No, they don't care.
Mike Koelzer, Host: No, they didn't care. Someone's not gonna say anything too much when they're on
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: there. No, and
Kim Kessler: they're not, but it was very eye opening though.
The things that we heard, just, just from listening in like the level of disconnect that they have with their, with their front line, like. You know, and it's just, it's just that gap in understanding between the haves and the have nots. Right? Like, um, and it's really interesting. I think that's, you know, it's almost becoming a class issue, right?
Like when you have the CEOs at the top, you have the pharmacists, um, and then you have, you know, Your patients. And so they're like, you know, pharmacists shouldn't complain about their jobs because they're making X number of dollars, you know, blah, da, da, da. They're seeing them as a different class of person.
Right. And they're being, they're offended that someone has, you know, would dare complain about their job. And, and so, you know, it's just, again, this is, this is part of what we're trying, the lines of communication that we're trying to clear up in the film, because it's just, it's all a big misunderstanding.
It's all a big, like, I can't okay. This is my naiveness. I cannot imagine that the people that are, um, you know, trying to revolutionize healthcare, right. Walgreens, whatever, like. I don't think they're evil people, right? I mean, money hungry, maybe
Mike Koelzer, Host: Kim,
they don't give a crap. I have no dog in this fight. I'm an independent pharmacy owner.
I mean, through vertical integration, I deal with these people cuz they're PBMs and stuff. But as far as the pharmacies go, I don't really have a dog in that fight with a retail chain. They don't care. They know they're burning people out, people that have to pay off student loans and all this kind of stuff.
That's why this one person I was talking to said, how can you affect these people? And maybe it's embarrassing, you know, maybe it's somehow. When they're on their yachts, you know, they're embarrassed or their golf game, or, you know, how do you affect those people? Cuz they don't really care. I think it's embarrassment and the rodents do a
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: great job of it.
The rodents do it. Yes it does. And also, um, embarrassment in their pocket book, they're offering a hundred thousand dollars sign on bonuses that pharmacists aren't taking. If you have no pharmacist to open the store, eventually that's a problem.
Mike Koelzer, Host: What's gonna be really cool about this for you? I
Kim Kessler: can say for me, like, this is one story that we wanna tell.
So like for, I think beyond, you know, the change that's gonna happen to pharmacy, we just wanna tell stories, right? The thing is, this is one issue that we are passionate about and we are gonna do our damnedest to tell the best story that we can, and it will have whatever effect it's gonna have.
That 30th step of the film is in the hands of the audience, right. At some. You know, the story is theirs and they are gonna do what they want. But I wanna break into the industry. Like I have stories to tell, oh, we have things to do like, and we know what we're doing. We just need access. Just let us in.
Like we are knocking on the door and I just, I want in.
Mike Koelzer, Host: So this becomes really popular. Then you can say, Hey, yeah, we did this, would you like shots with this? And then you can do the next one. And maybe funding is easier. That kind of stuff. How about you anise?
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: We are on the exact same page. This is why we have been, um, writing partners for the last few years, because we want into this industry.
We have got great stories to tell, and it's just, it's so fun. Like it's just. Pleasure to tell these stories and just have a chance to be creative all of the time. It's a
Mike Koelzer, Host: blast. Kim, you like fiction more though. Is this gonna pull you away from the fiction or can you just lie in these documentaries? And that's gonna be your fiction.
I'm just asking. I'm just asking.
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: I don't think it'll take away from the fiction because like, we, we actually are concurrently writing a series of pirate novels about female pirates
Kim Kessler: and you have more time to invest in the things that you're trying to build. Right. It gives you, um, Yeah. And, and gives you contacts, you know, didn't go to film school, right.
But it's like, just let me in the room and let me show you, right. Let me show you what I can do.
Mike Koelzer, Host: No fame at all. Don't care about
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: that. I don't wanna be famous at all. Even in the industry known as one thing famous is another. If people wanna give me jobs because they know I'm good, that's
Kim Kessler: fine. The stories are what matter.
And connecting with the audience is what matters. [00:50:25] That's what we're here to do. And, and anything, whether it's, you know, academy, award nominations, like they're all tools. So someone's like, oh, that was really good. I haven't watched that yet. We should watch it. Like if it just gets more people to take in the story, I'm all for it.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Well, ladies, I usually have an official goodbye after these things, but I'm not even gonna take the time to do that. I'm just gonna tell listeners right now when this ends, go watch this trailer and donate to this.
Anaïs Webster Mennuti: Cause thank you so much. We appreciate it. Thank you so much.