“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ― Sun Tzu

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Haters, Hazelnut and Hollywood Kick Off’s

SMSDRelease PartyIt has been a nice week with most of the humidity taking a break and beautiful, cool days to enjoy. Yes, the hazelnut is beside me as I type these words to all of you. I want to welcome even more readers from as far away as Italy and Australia – welcome. We are an international family.

Theatrical

This moment in our film industry is really quite unique as the theaters are down in attendance this summer. I think people can get their fill of flying metal and action that is hard to follow. These movies have their place just like visual rides like you might find at Disney World but people like to FEEL. This requires characters that you actually care about. Some of you might know our “Ashes of Eden” film is playing in select theaters in Michigan now and will be expanding. Our hometown run (Hard to be a prophet in your own home town) has been surprisingly good and was extended to the end of the month. We will see if they move us to another locations. Aside from Celebration Cinema where we are playing we have four other chains showing interest and with one chain we are locking down dates. I almost get tired of the daily promotions which I feel you can overdue but this film is worth a watch. We just got a 4 Star review from a Canadian film reviewer that reviews family/faith content and this follows a Michigan 5 Star review. I think the acting and the pacing of the film allows you to invest in the story. There’s also a wide age of interest in the film because everyone can relate to something/someone in the film. So as the film plays or expands into Detroit-area and other cities do take a chance and see why this film is grabbing attention. I’m also happy to say, should it be impossible to make it out to theaters it will be coming to TV and DVD, BlueRay and video on demand. Our best estimate factoring in our theater runs would be shortly after Christmas. That could change but we shall see what happens. But do try to see on the big screen as it is a great experience.

I spent testerday packing and such for another trip North to complete the small pick ups on the “Bestseller” feature. (Which is looking great) It’s exciting to have so many wonderful stories/films rolling out one behind the other. This film is INTENSE and I think fans of dark thrillers will be on the edge of their seats. This film will also be doing theatrical runs once we get past post and our premiere(s). I think the premieres will happen in November/December.

“Donors” is looking to make a few appearances at a couple horror festivals this fall before releasing nationally. It’s time for some people to meet Dr. Savior:)

I could list more of the in “post production” films but you can see yourself on my IMDB.com (DJ Perry) – which brings me to that data base. I’m a beta tester for their casting sites and I love the direction that they are moving in. They are also cleaning up some of the Star Meter corruption that runs wild on there. Back in the day it was funny that we had issues with unreleased movies being attacked with ratings of 1′s and 2′s before a film had even released. The sad part for those folks lies in the fact that the final proof is in the pudding. Despite a few hateful remarks these films mostly got the release they deserved. A few bad comments thrown at “Book of Ruth” didn’t stop over 250,000 DVD’s from selling. Some rocks thrown didn’t stop “Ghost Town” from renting 85,000 times in the first week of release. On an international level this hatred is like throwing pebbles in a river trying to stop the water flow. Back in the day we traced IP’s and all this nonsense and it almost always went back to someone who we either didn’t hire or a filmmaker/screenwriter upset that someone else did the business and got their film made and seen. It has happen with almost every successful film. I can almost note which films are going to be successful based on how much hate comes at it.

“Ashes of Eden” has suffered a bit of this “Hate” as someone has added (usually via multiple accounts)… a series of 2′s when voting on IMDB. Now unbiased with test audiences and such we know what we have and anyone who actually watched the film I think would agree that they would never rate it below a 5 (on a scale of 10) unless they had other issues. I tried to explain it in a recent production meeting like this… People are quick to support if they feel they are doing a mercy favor such as buying girl scout cookies or going to see some hobby film to support an unlikely dream. But when that given support becomes real business and adds to the commercial power of an individual or group – some of that support dries up. The truth is that many artists don’t like to see others get ahead. I saw it in the actor slums of Hollywood my 1st trip out west. I had people saying to me, “You’ve done more in two weeks than I’ve done in two years.”  Really? NEWSFLASH – Group hangouts whereas you bitch why you can’t get ahead or why you didn’t get cast in this or that WILL NOT get you ahead in our industry. Same goes with whatever industrious hater is spending time doing the data entry (I know I’ve done my share of data entry) trying to knock someone else’s business and/or art. IF that person spent the same amount of time refining their own craft or looking at more effectively marketing their own craft – those people would be much further ahead. The HATE effort might make a few people go see PLANET OF THE APES versus our film but on the overall stage we’ll just grow further ahead because you can’t beat good word of mouth. If that person(s) is using our success as hate fuel – it will only get worse.

I honestly, sincerely do appreciate true success from other deserving people. When the art is good, the process to get that art is done fair and it’s executed in a business way so that it can benefit the entire group of artists – I say GOOD JOB! BUT – Throwing together something subpar and wanting me to love it, like it or anything else just brings my fathers words to mind on half assin’ things. I do credit doers and motivated self-starters-  I just think some of that needs to be refined or they will not evolve and thrive in the professional realm. So IF you are a person who looks over their shoulder constantly or is trying to move forward but spending more time being concerned with others art/success you will likely fail. This causes only more blame and resentment and the circle continues.

I’ve been rightly criticized because honestly I don’t pay much attention to other projects unless I really like it. I’m extremely busy with our slew of projects and when not doing my business I’m enjoying people, nature and learning new interesting things about our vast world. If I can inspire a few haters to redirect their energy towards positive growth – all good. Watch the films and if that hate is what your heart speaks by all means write it. It might make you feel better about yourself by not taking accountability for your own lack of progress. Blame others if you need to but know you can’t stop real success. If you can’t control your own destiny you sure can’t control others. Why? Good example below put into soccer terms.

In soccer terms – if you are pulling a jersey you are likely mismatched against someone better and you are about to be owned.

“SUPERMODEL SHOWDOWN Costa Rican Adventure” launched on http://www.indieflix.com See AFTERDARK Channel and TONIGHT in Hollywood our host Nadia Dawn will be front and center at a party celebrating the release. The first three shows are running on Indieflix and the others will roll out once an audience starts to grow. Pop over to the party and the Indieflix site to check it out!

We have had more investors approach on some upcoming films and so once I get past this pick up we will start looking at a couple of new film projects. I look forward to seeing where the path will lead and what new artists we will work with in the days ahead.

Have a wonderful weekend and be good to one another.

“Don’t hate – create!”

Nadia Dawn will host a "Supermodel Showdown Costa Rican Adventure" in Hollywood TONIGHT

Nadia Dawn will host a “Supermodel Showdown Costa Rican Adventure” in Hollywood TONIGHT

DJ


Theatrical News & Talking CDI Updates

As I sit here sipping a bit more hazelnut coffee I ponder all the things we could touch upon this week. I also want to take a moment and thank all my readers from different countries. We are all cut from the same cloth just different mountains, trees and grasses. I just returned from running around this morning that included a stop at SEARS. I was stopped by someone I didn’t know smiling and pointing before asking my name. ASHES OF EDEN bringing in new fans and I love it. I know many friends, family and fans who went to (some are there now) in the theaters watching the film. It has been fun having one of the films play in our hometown/state. Let’s talk about that a touch…

In 2002 we shot AN ORDINARY KILLER and the only HD digital projectors were in California and traveling with the National auto show. We encoded for it and rented one of those traveling projectors for just under a week. We had the best theatrical run with 3,400 people in 5 days with 12 sold out showings and one still over 200 seats sold. We took those numbers to LA and at that time it would be a transfer to film and creating film prints. Shipping on those things was big $ and so P&A money would have to be spent. The thing is that we beat Harry Potter in that theater run but the cost of a theatrical was beyond us.

In 2006 we shot our smokey mountain western “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” and we ran it an entire summer in conjunction with a theme park. We sold steady but in a limited area but for many, many weeks. I would have loved to play more theaters but we refused to go back to DVD/BlueRay projection. The HD projectors by this time 2007/8 were only between 500-1000 in the USA and that was reserved for studio films billing the new Digital as they would IMAX or THX – bottom line too expensive still. 

Now it is 2014 and I’m happy to report most all modern theaters are digital and we now have an in-demand film. This run is a partnership run not a four wall (rent out) and we are able to supply content. The cost is more in line and now theatrical could be part of our revenue stream. We will be opening CDI Theatrical and looking back into the CDI library to do some special screenings.

I will be going with some friends tonight to watch what could be one of the last showings at Celebration Cinema. Remark that I said at Celebration Cinemas:) Also we will be playing the film in the Detroit area and beyond but you have to wait for the official word on all that. We also had yet another distribution deal step forward that includes some possible foreign. I’m just happy that we are at a level where we can bring high quality content in the same format as the studios. Stay tuned for much more CDI action to grace the big screen!

“Bestseller” pick ups are about all set. By the end of this next week we will be locked up. Now my one pet peeve of the week. Insurance which we’ve always carried from film 1 at CDI. First you need to acquire high end gear not the small cameras and so these vendors require this. Next – we carry protection for our cast/crews because this is the right thing to do. Now again because we try to do everything right, note I said TRY, it costs. I was taken back because a one day pick up quote was near the same rate as our 18 day shoot prior. Because a new policy has to be started versus reactivating one. Anyway, we will do what we must but again I would bet a slew of filmmakers out there are running without insurance. It’s all good until something happens and it will, eventually. So stepping up is just part of playing as a professional I say but to the many who want to call themselves professional – actions speak louder. 

“Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” was suppose to start streaming on Indieflix.com yesterday. I would love to hear from anyone who subscribes and watches the 1st three shows.  www.indieflix.com 

I had some good development talks this week and a few more investors interested in this project or that. So once I get past this final pick up on “Bestseller” I’ll be ready to look at some new projects. I’ve been picking berries for an upcoming wine batch. We shared some good homebrew and wine with my mother and friends at her belated Bday gathering. We smoked a pair of pork shoulders for 8 hours and that turned out great. Okay. Now I’m hungry. 

Have a great week ahead!

DJphoto-8

 


When Work Reflects Your Efforts – Updates

What a week, what a day… where to begin? We had a blitz of media leading up to the Lansing, MI release of “ASHES of EDEN” that kicked off last night. It will keep playing in theaters for another week and starts the Grand Rapids, MI run on Monday. We’ve received new national distribution offers this week to consider and will keep hitting the theatrical cicles. I think Detroit area is next for this film. We also have a nice support of directors DVD, posters and T-Shirts. Our first night was a great kick off and we had a handful of the stars show to do some signings.

I was with my CDI associate/close friend Dean Teaster who tied the knot last night. It was a great dinner and social and I had one of the best steaks I’ve had in a long time. I tried a bevy of drinks last night and was reminded of my age with a small ache this morning. I was able to meet up with our “Ashes of Eden” keys and enjoy the exciting stories from the nights first showings. So if you have not had a chance to see the film please do. (Look at the CELEBRATION CINEMA websites)

On deck is our final pick up shots for the dark thriller “Bestseller” and we have all those details just about worked out. It will be fun to return and capture these last few pieces. It will included a little bit of in-water work but at least I won’t be bumping my head on ice:)

An exciting drop that I will give you here first is that “Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” will look to launch on Indieflix’s AFTERDARK programming this forthcoming Friday. It is funny with a little sexy mixed into it all. The 1st three shows will be available on there and I think audiences will enjoy this adventure.

We are also about to start shopping “DONORS” which is another thriller starring Niki Saletta best known for “7th Heaven” and also co-stars in our upcoming “The Terrorist”. She does a wonderful job in both films and we are happy to have her artistry.

My parents both had birthdays this past week and we are have a party for my dad today and likely hosting a dinner with my mom first of the week. We’ve been using the smoker and grilling a lot and soon fresh garden veggies will be in abundance. Besides yard work that I need to get done this weekend we are going to put a cleaning on a new purchase. It is an old late 1800′s hutch that Doc Holiday would have been right at home with. It needs a little work but will be a great piece in the office.

My only advice this week for filmmakers or anyone working in art as business – don’t allow yourself to be dragged into peoples drama. Don’t associate with people that will tarnish your good name and work. Let those people isolate themselves and they will burn themselves out. It is funny how when I hear of projects that are disorganized cluster%##@@’s – I’m never surprised to discover that one of those handful of known screw ups is somehow involved. VET people out! If you are going to invest (I didn’t say donate like these social hand out sites) invest – talk to people. I would be happy if anyone were to talk with our past E.P’s because you would hear that we stayed on schedule, budget and handled ourselves professionally. Now, I’m not the only one that runs a tight ship in this area but there are only a few. There are many BS’ers out there trying to tell you what they think you want to hear and others still that will laugh and tell you how disorganized they are as if that is truly funny. No. Funny is when your work reflects your effort.

I need another coffee before going to see how we are going to clean up this old timey hutch.

Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll talk with you all next week. If you go see “Ashes of Eden” feel free to send me your comments here.

Be safe.

DJ

 

 


Post 4th Preview of the Week to Come

A morning of fresh coffee and the surrounding love that comes with peaceful Saturdays. Yesterday was a nice relaxing day whereas we smoked ribs for 7 hours and had a nice dinner. I did some mild puttering around the yard, workshop and office but nothing too taxing. Our neighborhood was relatively peaceful with just a few random BOOMS. The dogs all stayed pretty calm and it has been fun to watch Luke (Our dog that had surgery) enjoy the yard, the bed and other places he had previously been restricted from. Today I’m going to try and put in a screen door on the double french doors to my office. May the TOOL TIME spirits smile upon me. Today burgers and more relaxing seem to be the call of order. I had several business things that had built up on me at the week’s end so this morning I knocked those out. It included another distributor who wanted to see ASHES OF EDEN, acting reels sent around and some additional PR work. Now that is done and I can focus on all of you. Let’s jump into some film updates starting with the exciting theatrical info on ASHES OF EDEN.

ASHES OF EDEN Theatrical Updates

Please do check out our facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/ashesofedenmovie
If you haven’t heard we will be screening our film at Celebration! Cinema in both S. Lansing and Grand Rapids Woodland mall locations.

The Lansing screenings are July 11-20. The times are various with some days up to 3 shows a day. In Grand Rapids, we have been selected as one of just a few independant movies to screen as part of an Indie film series. Those screenings run July 14-Aug 28. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

https://celebrationcinema.com/movie/Ashes+Of+Eden/7-15-2014

It is very important to get as many tickets sold to these screenings to give a strong impression to potential distributors whom are waiting to see if our film has the legs to run. Please email, text, or bring a friend. We encourage you to spreed the message to your friends and family and thank you in advance.

We will have mechandise at the Lansing screenings for sale. DVD’s, T shirts and Posters. Look for these items to be for sale at the Lansing screenings and online soon.

For Detroit area, we are currently in the beginnings of talks with Emagine Theatres to screen our film there. If you have a theater chain in your area that would be open to a screening run please do pass their info along.

On “BESTSELLER” we now have our dates for our pick up and a few crew members will get an invite this week. I wish we could bring everyone back but we only need a few for this final shoot. At the end of this month the dates are set with us being up north the 28-31 with some prep, our shoot, wrap out and meetings as we prepare to lock a first cut of the film. We will do a test audience screening of the work in progress and if all good – off to music and sound.

In other good news – we released the PR on “Supermodel Showdown” TV series and the run of the 1st three shows. See here – http://www.prlog.org/12344397-supermodel-showdown-costa-rican-adventure-arrives-at-indieflix.html

More to come on this exciting news.

I also got word that the music work on “The Terrorist” is moving right along and also CDI Sales Group will start doing some submissions on the thriller “Donors” that has just rolled out of post.

I’ve had a few people ask me about upcoming acting roles. I went back and forth over a couple of local films but a deal just could not be made. It has to meet certain qualifications in quality, story and yes, pay. Right now I’m just excited about doing my final return on “Bestseller” and beyond that is anyones guess. I’ve got many people interested in me as they move their projects along but until ink is dry it is still open season. I do know how much work a film well received can bring but I always just look for the one for one. If one film performance brings one new film you will always keep working. I’ve got 6 films and a TV series rolling out this year to audiences and I’m happy with them all. I’m just not one to let the artists “itch” overcome me and cause me to jump on a project just to do it. I will save that enthusiasm up and as anyone who has worked with me knows, I’m serious about my work and I will bring 200% to a film role. So for now I’m just focused on Mark Franklin (Bestseller) and I will refocus after that on what is new/next. I’m also thrilled that family, friends and fans will be able to go see ASHES OF EDEN in the theaters. I’m proud of this film and so I’m asking you to check it out.

Well, I’m going to get another cup of coffee and go look over the garden and pond. I hope you all have a great weekend and be safe.

DJ

 

 

 


Release Updates & Helpful Tips

Hello and good morning from a balmy, yes I said balmy, Michigan. Yesterday was a good day getting the yard in order for a small gathering today. It was nice to do some straightening and decorating with our patio lights and such. The garden now has hops growing in it thanks to my brother and our veggies are sprouting nicely. We also gathered a couple of pounds of mulberries which will be for the next wine mixture. Maybe a raspberry/mulberry or just straight mulberry. The yard took a beating with the building of my home office/fort but is now looking very good. We have a wonderful yard full of wildlife. The addition of the pond creates yet another thing to comfort while pondering the next moves in our business. We added a few more fish and I think they like their new home. So let’s see, only two snaffoo’s (SP?)

1) After I grilled up some BBQ chicken yesterday, I was cooking up some steak bites left from a fondue a few days earlier. I forgot about them on the grill.

2) I also was going to set out some ham steaks for our ham/pineapple kabobs today. Forgot that too.

Let’s just say after working in the yard all day and food shopping until 1:00 am my mind wasn’t working at 100% – it’s showing its age:) I needed my legal pads:)

BREAKING NEWS – the theatrical showings are starting for “Ashes of Eden” and you can join others here in showing your support.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1511865399032653/

We are still waiting for corrected billing, trailer and poster on the theater site but ticket sales will be here.

https://celebrationcinema.com/movie/Ashes+Of+Eden/7-11-2014

I will likely be going to the Saturday 2nd day showing but I know that many of the film principals will be going for the Friday night kick off. I will be at a dear friend’s wedding dinner that night but may catch up for the afterglow. I know that plans are underway to also sell posters, DVD’s and I’ve even heard T-Shirts. It should be DONNIE on the shirt saying “I always have a plan” – that would be cool.

Also you will get the PR drop here 1st.  Our “Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventures” TV series is getting a featured run on Indieflix’s AFTER DARK channel. We will be testing the first three shows and if the response is good we will release the final five. It is a fun, informative show with a nice dash of sexy. It is the lone project that I’ve actually directed and I think it is unique in that I had no idea that most reality shows were not reality based. This show really showcases what went into making the show as well as the show itself. It came out feeling like something maybe the SPINAL TAP folks would make. That is good with me:)

You can join here in anticipation and prepare to laugh and enjoy yourself.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Supermodel-Showdown-Costa-Rican-Adventure/296725553788917

Our “Bestseller” pick up date is being locked for our shoot. We’re starting to get what we need around to do this. The one nighttime water scene should be much warmer to shoot as I’m told the ice melted last week. I’m joking…am I?

I also had meetings with our partners on the “Donors” film and our CDI sales team will be pitching/selling that on the foreign market. “The Terrorist” also has a composer on board and will be moving towards that final picture.

Let’s see – aside from that if I was going to share any advice points from the week -

1) IF you contact a business contact of mine and try to sell our business relationship as something more than what it really is know that you will likely be made to look foolish when that contact calls me direct to get the real scoop.

2) If you are asked to give solid feedback on a proposal/script and the day you provide that feedback you’re also endorsing a project of obvious sub par quality – NOTE: That can directly affect how people view the quality of your opinions/viewpoints.

3) Hard work will get my attention while asking for handouts will not.

Okay, I may have missed a few things but I have some stuff still to do today so I’m going to leave you with these words. A few good updates and a few informative pointers. I also have another soccer match tomorrow which will be HOT but fun. I also hope our USA team keeps moving forward in their cup quest.

Have a great Saturday!

DJ

 

 


My Birthday Plans & Drops on Upcoming Distribution

After a few days of rain and storms we have a beautiful day upon us. I was out and about this morning and found a few great items for the office. Yes, maybe they would be more suited for the Knights of the Round Table, but so be it. Monday is my actual birthday and I’m looking forward to one of our only morning soccer matches Sunday. That night I’ll ring in my Birthday with some of my old school mates. The following Saturday I will have a small gathering to celebrate more properly since my birthday falls on a Monday this year. I’m looking forward to a relaxing day with some good food and family. Now let’s get onto a few entertainment updates…

A reality TV show that I directed a few years ago is finally getting a featured trial run next month. The first three shows will be shown and if the audiences responds well they want the full series. This company will also represent the series to 3rd parties worldwide. There will be a press release on this mid-week once everything is completed. I’m excited to just have this journey shown as it truly was fun and entertaining and I think others will also enjoy it.

Also a PR release will roll out VERY shortly on “Ashes of Eden” that was recently offered a Michigan theatrical deal. That is now in play and the film will start in two cities (Lansing & G.R.) and may expand from there. The showings will start the 2nd week in July – so stay tuned! Meanwhile, we’ve been getting more interest and offers in the worldwide distribution rights of the film. It’s a lot of back and forth but I think we’re making some real progress. I’m excited to see where the film ends up but without a doubt it will end up where you audiences can take a watch. We had a BIG movie producer give high marks on the production value and performances. That in itself could lead to another offer.

The dates on the pick up shoot for “Bestseller” are firming up and we’ve had a few solid meetings to get this ball rolling. It’s only a few small puzzle pieces we need to shoot but they are important in the overall. The first trailer has really sparked some new interest in the film. I’m excited to finish this one up because I think people will really enjoy it.

I also just watched the full screener on the thriller “DONORS” that is about to start making the rounds to distributors. I have some meetings over this completed property next week as well. SPOOKY FILM:)

“The Terrorist” locked picture looks money and I’m excited that the final music and sound design process is now beginning. The director is very happy and wants me to participate in his next feature and TV series. I would be honored to work with him again, BINGO:)

Things have been quiet on “Dead Quiet” front but I’m in hopes that a trailer will be released soon. The movie should be very scary and I know I have several fans out there who appreciate those films.

In regards to acting – I’ve got some really big things developing with my management company. It will be fun to see how that all unfolds but some TV guest spots and appearances in studio motion pictures could soon be at hand. I’ll be ready to look at new acting projects once this “pick up” shoot  on “Bestseller” is over at the end of July. Some good developments with my writing projects that could lead to producing/acting work. I’ve got more paperwork to review but I’ve been impressed by the business efforts of a company that wants to do an association with CDI. I like that they are willing to put in the hard work versus just trying to kickstart some free handouts. That usually leads to trying to make a film on a few thousand dollars and mostly ends up looking that way.

So with all this said –  I’m off to work in the yard, the office and to do some grilling. I’m close to completing another trip around the sun and I’m okay with that. Life is good with great  friends, family and being blessed to do what I truly love doing.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

DJ


Filmmaker Pitfalls + Distribution & Development

It’s a chill morning in Michigan and I’ve got my trusty coffee by my side and I’m ready to share a few moments with all of you out there. It has been a good week of business and personal so let’s get into a few topics that were floated by me this week. Let’s start with a question that comes up often. I’ve been asked about my thoughts on “Social Fundraising” or social handouts as I like to call it. I’m mostly against these Kickstarter and other “fundme” campaigns for several reasons. Let me explain myself before everyone questions my answer. Now I am going to relate this to what I know, that being filmmaking.  So this may not apply to other justifiable causes such as raising money for illness, funeral expenses, transplants and other real NEEDS. I’m not talking NEED but people and their WANTS…Big difference.

Did you ever know that kid who was always spoiled, bothersome? Like I recall kids begging their parents for quarters to feed into video game machines back in the day. Yes. They use to cost a quarter:) Someone would give the kid a dollar or a few quarters just so the adults could be left in peace to talk alone and socialize. It is that, “At least they are staying out of trouble” mentality. So that kid goes off and likely after a short while is back with his hand out again and again… People will again give a few dollars to him so that he goes away. But I can assure you, if that kid was borrowing that money or had earned those quarters from hard work, he would not be as loose – keeping that flood of coins dropping into those machines. When it’s your money or money that is borrowed with expected results – the appreciation and use of those funds is much more focused.

Someone else I know called it “Mercy Giving” because it is easier to give a little versus hurting feelings. Maybe this is seen as positive or is it? If something ventured is obviously lacking in quality but people give to it anyway it does make one question why? Why?  As a parent, would you encourage your child to take up “corner standing” with a cup and sign that says, TOO HONEST TO STEAL, TOO UGLY TO PROSTITUTE?  Would you throw money at someone building a house that is nowhere near being up to code and will likely with end up overgrown and forgotten because it is red tagged?

I don’t overly think on these things as people will quit giving when the results are always the same. My world view is different, maybe a tad more realistic. Despite what people think, we don’t live in a world where everyone who plays wins. I think people who are actually in SHOW BIZ – (Let me break that down because not all who play are in the business) SHOWBIZ  - That is where quality art meets business in a blend that results in something that can be sold in the marketplace. More novices are into the SHOW but not truly SHOWBIZ. They want to focus on the art because that is fun – the interviews, the mixers -all fun. Fun – Even if the process is only creating content nobody really wants. And so they ask, ask, ask for others to give, give, give – so they can create nearly unwatchable, unsellable material. Now if this is a hobby, which for many at this level that is what it is – and that is exactly how your filmmakers learn and grow. But after once or twice of allowing filmmakers to play why continue to support? Maybe this is acceptable?

I mean golf is an art of sorts but I don’t see people kickstarting so they can get a new set of top-of-the-line clubs and a years worth of greens fees. (I’m sure someone has tried:) But unless this person was playing golf at a level whereas true PRO development was required/justified this just sounds silly and many sane people don’t do it.

I think handouts dull the sword.

How you say? There is no accountability to be had if everything is just given because this is again that kid with quarters. He is never grilled after on how well he spent the quarters. “Did you get a high score?”  “Did you get an extra ball or get a match?” (Pinball reference people) No. You were just given money so to be “out-of-the-way” for a while occupying your time. That is until they want the next handout. These are all things you would do with a child but I see it happening everyday with adult artists. But if artists are truly striving to excel both at business and art those will be the survivors. Nobody would drop coins in the hat of an awful sounding corner/subway playing guitarist, unless it was for them to stop.  So I guess I’m just saying support the arts responsibly. Look for those that truly have developing qualities. Look for those that are looking to eventually stand on their own two feet not just be blindly supported. Give your money to the hungry or homeless instead.  If you are over 25 and still taking handouts to produce sub par product – and I use that term loosely because someone would actually have to want to purchase this film for it to truly be a product. By purchase I also mean beyond your 100 family or friends that are expected to support you otherwise your glares will make them uncomfortable at every holiday or local gathering:)

So in summary, I guess if the person only comes begging at the table once in a while and consistently is given a few coins to go distract himself – maybe that is acceptable to some. But I just can’t endorse that sort of action. I won’t support or LIKE something just for a half ass effort. In our business we face acceptance and rejection daily and that is part of the business. Success and failure hardens the steel and makes you refine your process. I just ask those out there who seem to be like a needle skipping on a record (Another reference – look it up) – What do you want to be? How do you want to be seen? Is your art evolving in quality? Are you ready to earn true success with increasing quality and business refinement or do you want to continuously beg for handouts only to create material that is never challenged and would not survive in the worldwide marketplace. Begging for financial handouts is not a business plan. “We hope to get into a high-profile film festival” is NOT a marketing plan. As many of our artists seek the easiest way the Chinese, Indians, the Europeans…the world over are all pushing their creative artists to survive and thrive in a business environment. Meanwhile we reinforce mediocrity and endorse begging as a business plan. It is sad but true as we are losing ground to others willing to put in the hard work. OK. Ask me how I really feel about all that:) Embrace the hardships you face because it with sharpen your sword and make your steel strong.

Enough sword and steel babel…onto film news:)

On the distribution TIP – we now have a few distribution offers on “Ashes of Eden” and the film screeners continue to be requested. More interested parties are coming to the table every few days. It is getting exciting and we will be announcing our Summer Michigan theatrical VERY soon!

Our thriller “Bestseller” is about to schedule its one  day of pick ups. That film is really looking great and after the release of the 1st trailer last week we have several distributors waiting to see the final film.

On development updates we’ve got several new funders looking at projects of their liking. I think we will soon be moving into some pre-production on  some of these new films.

A couple of big budget film projects are back in motion again with new funders. We will wait to see if these projects move forward but things get complicated when talking tens of millions of dollars. When you really see how big the game is that is when you get down on someone who can’t even conduct fundamental business. I am learning leaps and bounds every day but you must challenge yourself.

Additionally, I did some wild lines for the dark thriller “The Terrorist” this past week. I’m very happy that the picture is about locked and is looking powerful. We’re going to polish up the audio and we will see this film released at year’s end.

On the acting front, I was in talks on an indie project that just didn’t add up at the end of the day. Again if you’re not a hobbyist and you’re doing this as a career you have to look at the complete picture. I do have one other local indie I’m still having talks over – no telling if that will work out or not. Don’t be afraid to say, NO.

As I vet out projects I’m very content finishing up the post projects on my plate. My new acting management is really trying to get that right 1st big studio film under me. Several talks are underway with casting directors, producer and directors. I have opened myself up to consideration on a few TV projects also. There is a big trend towards TV mini series and such so I will keep myself open to these opportunities. I like the idea of guest spots more but if the right series came along I might consider something on-going.

Enough business for the day:) I pointed out what I did in regards to social funding because if new filmmakers never learn the art of business they will be replaced by those who do. There are always exceptions one can argue but on the whole I would say many are just too lazy to learn the valuable business lessons required to play at the highest levels of our film industry. OK. I’m going to do some work in the yard and relax from my long week. We got the new floor in the office/fort last week and so more tinkering may be the order of the day. Tomorrow is Father’s day and so I will be spending some time with Pa Perry and family before heading off to the soccer field. It has been a good season and as always the workout is second to none. I’ve also been enjoying the WORLD CUP matches and look forward to the USA playing on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

DJ

 


Show Me & I’ll Show You – Plus Distribution Updates

I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and the sounds of geese and morning birds are singing. Yesterday I got the back yard all mowed up and today we are working on the flooring of the office/fort. The pond, the garden (which has its first bean sprouts) – all these natural wonders that I try to surround myself with as I go through my day-to-day. Yesterday also included a meeting over ASHES OF EDEN distribution on a patio with sushi. I’m happy to say we have our first distribution offers on national domestic on the table. Now comes a process of looking at pros and cons and looking at our entire battle plan.  We also have some foreign interest that could turn into solid offers very soon. One of the things I felt really good about was the comments that they gave on the production value that they stated was extremely high. They deal with a 100 films a week in submissions and it was a great nod to all our artists. You have to find folks with the talent and inspire them to give their absolute best. Every time I hear ACTION! I give nothing but my very best. It doesn’t matter if I’m being paid $1,000 or $10,000 you still give it all. When a group of artists all do the same thing the results can be well…

“BESTSELLER” is a great example of REPEAT! Not a crime drama but a dark thriller but same breed of passionate artists who again are inspired to turn out quality. The 1st trailer has gotten lots of exposure and the 1st distribution interest. We now have our shot list of pick ups and that will be budgeted and we will schedule this one day pick up. I’ve been getting myself back into my previous role and I’m excited to play Mr. Franklin one more time. It will be nice to be up North and see friends again while completing our art. Our music and sound design deal is in place and we are ready to bring this one home by years end. Look for a fall premiere!

Advice taken from my dealings – If you’ve made a deal on something in writing don’t try to re-visit in the 11th hour. Also live by what the final deal is. Example – I knew a writer/director/filmmaker who was submitting around a business summary. In it was a bio whereas the filmmaker had himself credited as a Co-Producer on some large projects. So I had people vetting (background check) this person and nowhere could these credits be found. As I sincerely liked this person I confronted them about this. His response was about ghost writing and a verbal on a co-producer credit…blah, blah… I told him that nobody knows all that drama and if that was the deal it should have been put in writing and done deal. When someone cross checks and they don’t see a credit on a film, movie/poster billing block they just see a liar. Don’t be that person. Many won’t care about you enough to even bring it up but if you are trying to get someone involved and they find false info – look to be rejected. This also applies to name dropping. If I had a dollar for every time someone name dropped and I know the person – I mean can call them – I would have a nice handful of cash. Just be real. I’ve read websites whereas they encourage people to try underhanded tactics. Actor wants footage – get to know the editor. HINT: An editor that releases footage without production permission is open to being fired, sued and black-balled. Nice advice website – and the actor could get the same treatment. I’ve never worked with an editor that foolish but I guess they exist. Actors desperate enough to try it – ah many…but don’t. Patience. You are not part of a hobby 48 hour film short contest. These are business ventures with marketing and distribution plans and lots of money on the line. You want your footage while the film is still being edited go do a student film. That is what they are for but I’m just saying actors – be wise.

I had a nice talk with a director over a comedy film. We talked schedule and such and it may work out. But you want to sincerely connect. Initially I was talked to about two roles. The script was sent after I did a sketch read – meaning a few choice lines NOT 14 pages. They will not invest giving me a script until they like my reels or a sketch read. If they like that I ask for a full script. Why? Because if I don’t like the full script or think it will turn out poorly  I would rather work in the garden instead. Ask to see a directors reel – they want to see yours. It’s a two-way street. Now if you like the script make sure you connect with a character. Back to that example – after reading the script one role didn’t feel right to me. The other I really felt I could bring something to the role. I’ve often chosen a supporting role after being offered the lead because it fit better. So I’m not sure if it was a surprise but when I said I would not play the one lead role even if offered I think it strengthened my given interest in the second role. It wasn’t a game I was dead serious. I want them to make a good film. I want to perform a great role. It all has to fit together. Some people will take anything just to belong and I’m just not about that. When I sign on I bring all my energy with it. I don’t take that lightly.

These are all elements I try to use in my own productions I supervise and I think that is what helps direct these projects towards quality. Throwing a name actor in a wrong role makes others stand up and notice the mess of a film you created. Make a strong film and use that name actor wisely where they are proud of the work and they will always be there for you.

OK. Refill on my coffee and I’m going to get ready for food and fort/office work. We have a soccer match tomorrow and the sun will be shining. Have a great weekend with family and friends.

DJ

 


BESTSELLER Trailer, ASHES of EDEN theatrical and more…

Okay! I made it. It was an early morning of activity that ended with us getting everything we need for the garden. The seeds, the plants and everything to get that underway. The pond that we finished now has fish in it and I love the little solar fountain that creates such a relaxing sound. The backyard is really coming together which is nice because that is where many of the recent film meetings have been happening. It was interesting that I recently read an interview with music producer Rick Rubin and much of what he had to say were lessons I apply to my life. The best meetings don’t happen around a boardroom table and controlling your environment allows your energy to flow positive. I think that is something many people find attractive. I had several meetings with a director on a soon-to-be-released feature that I’m a producer on and also co-star in. I was watching the edit and giving notes and suggestions. We really came up with a few good ideas to add layers to the film. He commented on how he enjoyed our talks because they always left him feeling positive and full of inspired ideas. That is what we as artists should do and in the best collaborations that is what happens. Not ego-wars and bullshit drama but solid strides and passing of creative ideas. This particular director is excited to work together again on his next feature and a TV show that he has in the works. Life is too short for bad working relationships and so if you are in one – finish your obligations and part ways with sincere well-wishes.

I’m sure many out there are not tuning into my blog to listen to my rambling on gardening:) Let’s get to some film updates…

“BESTSELLER” – The 1st trailer for this thriller based upon Christopher Knight’s book of the same name is DONE. Tomorrow we will be releasing a PR release with the link to the trailer. So watch the BESTSELLER FB page and such for this official release. I’m very proud once again of the cast and crew made up mostly on Michigan folks doing work at the international level. https://www.facebook.com/BESTSELLERTHEMOVIE

We have had early interest from distributors and so I’m excited to give them the look they have all been waiting on. Oh! And you too – the audience:)

“ASHES OF EDEN” continues to move forward with distributors. This week we had a few respond with their interest. We have some meetings being set that will be our first rounds of negotiations to see who can provide the best home. We also have some exciting news coming this week about the 1st Michigan theatrical releases. We have a deal on the table and pen and paper should meet this week. Once that is done a press release with full details will be forthcoming. Multiple theaters, multiple screens, multiple weeks, multiple showings – very exciting stuff for all involved.

Lots of development work is underway with many investor talks, script reviews and such. As we get these post production films into their final stages it will be exciting to get into production with a new slate of film work.

Enjoy your weekend. I’m off to sow some seeds to reap at a later date. That is what you should do in your creative life also. Sow the seeds of good honest collaboration. Sow seeds of mutual respect and hard work. Sow seeds of always giving someone more than what they paid for. Sow seeds of not cutting corners, holding yourself up to higher standards and taking pride in your work. Do this and your personal garden will be filled with bountiful rewards later down the path.

DJ


Losing Training Wheels, Donors 1st Showing, Making a Classic

It is truly the journey not the destination in the grand adventure of life. A friend of mine who I called to catch up with had news that set me back. His father had unexpectedly passed away. This was the year of starting a retirement and of course he thought he had many more years of enjoying and learning from his father. That was not to be. As I like to say, losing parents seems like losing training wheels. Prior to this I was having my daily issues usually with patience at some timeline that was off or a communication I was waiting upon. I tell people that many folks could not lead the artist’s life whereas you don’t always know where that next paycheck is coming from. Now it is exciting when you get a nice lump sum or you hob nob with some other famous folks but there is a balance to it all. The following day my father and I were to have lunch and he insisted on picking me up. He rolled up on his Harley and we went on a couple hour ride in the country looking at all the places he grew up. Truthfully, it was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. As a young child I use to wait for him to come home from work so we could go for a ride on his motorcycle. It was one of those full circle moments and also a deep appreciation for what I still had in a mentor and a sorrow for what my friend was now missing. So I guess my point is for all you driven artists inflicted with that ego driven urge to create art that will be seen and possibly appreciated – don’t forget what is in front of you. I know my father would likely be happier if I had a normal JOB but he also is proud of the character of his son who can thrive in my environment. I deeply cherish my friends and family and most of them haven’t seen half my films. I’m alright with that because I have my support for that in my fans. I appreciate the personal support that comes in laughter, insight on life and remembering the past. This fills my cup.

TODAY is the premiere of “DONORS” the thriller that I play a shadowy role in:) IF you are in Yuma, AZ area and want to see a cool indie thriller – please do. All info is right here https://www.facebook.com/events/649394905132609/

I want to give a BIG congrats to Niki Saletta who carries that film almost single-handedly.

We are getting close to announcing active development on a new associated film. It will shoot somewhere down South and has some development to finish but script work is coming along. I want to speak to some distributors in the coming weeks about it and also BESTSELLER that fits the demographic.

BESTSELLER is gearing up for planning on our pick up day. We will gather our clips and get this film moving onto the next phase. I’m waiting on the shot list from our director and editor. I’m excited about this because I’ve seen the footage and know what we have and seeing beautiful Northern Michigan even for a day or so will be great.

I had a wonderful email sent to me from an 8th grade history teacher Wade who uses “Wicked Spring” as a teaching aid in his 8th grade students. I think that is one of the best compliments as a filmmaker. That film has played network TV, played in the UK and sold hundreds of thousands of dvd’s and that was made over a decade ago. Now with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War I’m happy that we have made a “classic”. I’ve had a handful of emails from around the country about the performances and the picture of life in that time that we painted. Kevin Hershberger, Curtis Hall, Anthony Hornus – the entire cast and crew can be proud of the storytelling job. It was my grandmother’s favorite film and in a career lifetime you hope to have a handful of these. I recently also had that happen with “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” which could be on its way to a similar status. Strive for this and it may happen – only the audiences can make it so. I know that “Heaven’s Neighbors” has been used in classroom settings to illustrate mental illness. It is a grand ability to entertain and educate. So for crews working hard when the going is rough – if you are working on a project with heart, the right dose of business – you might be part of cinema history. Cast – there is no throw away roles – you should live, love and be the role you take on. This fan mail that included how many young minds were being taught via our storytelling was one of my weeks high points.

My script review continues on a few projects presenting acting offers. All of them are period pieces which is pretty cool in my book. Development continues on a few projects including gathering investors and setting up locations. Our sales team is in talks to bring the CDI library to many new foreign territories. “Ashes of Eden” distribution talks continue. All in all a very productive Spring whereas I’ve been holding court on the patio in the sunshine. I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable long weekend. I think I’m going to smoke or grill my first full duck (Thank you Shane Hagedorn). The garden got tilled (Thank you Stacy Hagedorn for the Mantis use) and I worked on the pond which we will fill today and add some water plants. Spend some time with your love ones and we’ll get back at it next week!

Keep clawing your way to the middle:)

DJ

 


New Projects & Licensing Deals

Hazelnut coffee is flowing on a chilly May morning. I’m going to blog out these couple thoughts and updates before going out and about this morning. It’s been a good week of business with the weather limiting yard work.  We’ve had our fair share of rain this week and that is helping our grass seed to grow nicely. I actually was in talks this week on a many new film projects and I will focus in on a few here soon.

I have before me multiple scripts –  WW2, an ancient period piece, a comedy, a western all circling me. I do need to pick one day to do some major reading. I announced last week that I have new management and already I’m working with her on approaching a few studio projects. These projects are directed by some big talents and it would be a true honor. A few of the scripts come from my independent brothers and sisters and so this week I will review, discuss and we’ll see what projects fit me best. I do have a one day pick up on “Bestseller” so soon I’ll be revisiting Mark Franklin for a day. We will start some initial planning on that next week. * TEASE: The trailer is getting close to release and I’m thinking June 1st:) You heard it here first.

There is a big meeting this Tuesday over a project I’ve optioned off. From the talks last week it is looking like it is going to happen and they were asking about me joining their producer team. They did their research and saw some of my acting/producing work. We will see this week how that all shakes out.

I do need to do more of an “open house” and see what gear and such is here locally. We do have a few short form projects on deck. By short form I mean music video and promotional videos. I’m looking for shooters with their own gear and so I will start to look at what a small local team would look like.

Yesterday we had an offer on one of the films come via a 3rd party distributor for China, which is one of the BIG emerging territories. I’ve known this distributor for a long time and they pay out but why their licenses are so darn low I’ll never know. I licensed the same film for much more to another territory. We will see what happens but China is also an option for us in the near future. Most recently “ASHES OF EDEN” was discussed as a possible.

Speaking of…”ASHES OF EDEN” is out to many distributors and we are still sending to more while we decide what the next moves are. We have some PR reviewers that are reviewing now. We  may show at a  few festivals, but licensing is my main focus. I had to preach some patience as it takes a while to seek and make the right deal. Many cannot even get a distribution deal but getting a deal that yields money is another task all together.

We are in talks with several territories and I’m excited to keep licensing, licensing, licensing!

OK. I need to hit the coffee well again and prepare for a nice day out and about.

I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday!

DJ

 


Management, Michigan and Mark Franklin

We’ve had a few beautiful days here in Michigan and I’ve made sure to do most of my work outdoors on the patio. I’ve had some great business calls and meetings this week. We’ve broken into my STAN REED’S SUMMER BREW at these meetings to a good response. It is just great seeing all the green and spring flowers blooming. Today I might be racking the coconut/banana wine to the secondary fermentation – from the activity I’ve seen I think it is going to be STRONG! I’m looking forward to spending some time with momma tomorrow and showing her my appreciation. Let’s take a look at the week and see what film entertainment topics we can discuss.

DONORS – Upcoming first showing in Yuma, AZ on May 24th – so if you are in the area and want to attend

SCREENING LINK : https://www.facebook.com/events/649394905132609/

ASHES OF EDEN – This film is out to those who showed first interest which is about 2 dozen companies. It will take 2-3 weeks to get a full evaluation. Fast response is usually the PASSES and the companies that take a bit longer – that tends to be good sign – usually meaning that they are passing a film about to their team. The decision is take on a film is usually a group decision so a little added time is often a good thing. We’re exploring the various theatrical options currently as that will be the next phase. We will shop for a while to find the right fit for this film. Patience:)

BESTSELLER – The trailer that will give the first look on this film is almost done. I’m excited to let people have a 1st peek. The film cut is almost done also. It has been decided that we will do a 1 day pick up day with a skeleton crew to get a few extra pieces that will enhance the film. After that I think we will do a TEST SCREENING for an audience. After that, the agreements are all in place to start music and sound design. Once we insert those new pieces and lock up the visual we will polish it all up! From everything I’ve seen I think we are about to have a very exciting film.

The first phase of business with our German, Austria, Switzerland distributor is done and we are now in talks on getting a new slate of CDI projects released there. We are also close with Brazil and the UK and perhaps even Australia. It is fun to roll this films out to our international fans. We are also continuing to present to a few TV networks and so perhaps some of the films will be heading to a TV station in your location.

I am happy to announce that I have new management for my acting. Myra MacKay is a 30 year vet working with several of Hollywood power movers and A-List artists. She is set to oversee my transition into TV and Studio films. This model is not shotgun random but targeting projects that I feel will be a strong fit. I’ve been happy working the independents and will continue but this team that includes former power manager to the stars Jerry Cohn, believe that I just need a major platform to introduce my performance to the  larger domestic audience. I’ve already got a couple of major projects that I’m being positioned to participate in. I figure between now and age 50 I might do another 20 films and why not make a few of those studio? I’m ready to mix it up on that level. I just have never liked all the BS in the casting system but now I’ve got some people who seem capable of handling this transition. Some of it is that, WHO YOU KNOW – BUT you have to be ready to present what you have when you have their attention. I think my body of work does that and so let’s do this. If you want to inquire about my schedule, availability contact Myra MacKay at mymack@charter.net  and she will be happy to discuss. Please make sure your project is funded before coming to her with offers. I want to respect her time.

So the next role for me is a one day return to Mark Franklin from BESTSELLER. I had to push back another project a bit because I need to get this done so post work can stay moving forward. We are in talks on a new CDI associated film that I’m starting to get excited about. The film I had to push is still gathering funds and things are coming together there. I’m just taking care of business that is in front of me. A handful of films to roll out to audiences and more coming together. I truly do feel blessed making a living doing what I love – writing, producing and acting.

Follow your dreams and keep CLAWING YOUR WAY TO THE MIDDLE:)

DJ

 


ASHES, AWARDS and ARIZONA HEAT

So I hope some of you had the morning to catch up on my previous week blog. I’ve been taking some family time and hitting a few estate sales that last few weeks. It started with us searching for some antique items for the house and has turned into a fun weekly outing. This week we found a brass lantern light, a cottage rocking chair, brass/wood hour-glass and the list goes on. Some stuff for the office and other stuff for the house or the home bar. This week I’ve also enjoyed the first of the 3rd batch of home-brew shared with Shane Hagedorn during a marketing meeting. Also my banana/coconut wine is fermenting nicely and will make for an interesting wine for sure. I’ve been splitting some time between the computer film work and also doing stuff in the yard as we get ready for summer fun. Tomorrow will be another soccer match and I’m looking forward to that. Last night we had dinner with my brother and his wife and I even held the new niece. It was a nice visit and always nice to see what projects he has going on around there. Okay let’s look at some of the business unfolding in the film world.

First, I’ve left my old LA agency and taken up new management with Myra MacKay. She is a seasoned professional with many good tie in’s to many producers/directors. She also is a fan of my screen work and so we are going to do a trial run this year and see what she can bring to the table.  There is already some exciting stuff developing and so I’m ready to see how that all goes.

“Ashes of Eden” is out to a few dozen distributors and in the next few weeks we hope to start engaging in some serious discussions over the next wave of distribution.

The “Bestseller” trailer is about done visually and so music and sound polishing will start this coming week. What that means is distributors and fans will get to see the first looks at this exciting thriller. The feature will have one day of pick ups before we lock up the picture to start music and sound design.

Next week we start the next round of discussions over the next films to be released into Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I’m looking forward to that. I’ve also got talks ongoing with the UK and Brazil and our sales team is also closing in on Australia.

I’ve got a feature script to read this week from a director I’ve worked with once already. It is a WW2 script and I’m looking forward to the read.

It also looks like we will have a music video and a few promo videos shooting over the summer. We are growing close to announcing more on a feature film script. The question is what side of summer will it shoot on – the start or end because the location is HOT in the summer. That is not good for cast, crew or cameras so we will see how that all plays out.

Also the first talks on a new CDI associated film are beginning. It is a good script and I think it will be another great project that will continue the great tradition of telling stories for a worldwide audience. More as this develops…

IF you are in the AZ area on may 24th I encourage you to attend the DONORS premiere in Yuma, AZ. I’m excited to see this finished film myself.

I had intentions of discussing a few other things that I’ve observed around me but I’m not really wanting to wade into some of that right now. To address it in a zen like way is to say – “If a man wins a race whereas he was the only one running was it truly a race at all?”  Another point to ponder would be to say “An award granted is sincere when it is earned and unexpected but what is the nature of an award when it’s purchased for oneself by oneself?” Just a few things for folks to ponder out there.

I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful weekend. Relax and prepare yourself to have a productive week ahead.

DJ


Dogs, Deals & Distribution

It is a sunny yet still quite cool Michigan day here in April. It was a crazy week for sure with me being sick for the good part of a week. I’m very happy to have that behind me and not living hour by hour with chills, fever and aches. I still have a slight cough and the sickness really put a dent in my ready training for our first soccer match tomorrow. I’m just happy that I will be able to play. I really enjoy the season that runs from now into October.

This week was spent pulling some things together on “Bestseller” in post and closing in on a final cut. It looks like we will do one day of pick ups for that film. The trailer is locked and so next week we will start sound design work. I’ve got paperwork in line for the feature music/sound design and so we are prepping to begin all that. So as “Ashes of Eden” is finishing the 5.1 mix this film preps to go in. We will also be doing color correction on “Bestseller” over the next week or two so more work getting knocked down.

PR on “Donors” was released that announced the Yuma, AZ premiere in May on the 24th. I need to see where we are at with “The Terrorist” film out of NYC but that has to also be getting close.

I read a funny comedy and gave a letter of interest on that film that could shoot at the end of summer. I’ve got a possible associated CDI script to read this week. Some very good progress is being made on a film we are looking to shoot in a few months. We are pulling on backers now and have distribution offers already on it. If you are looking to get involved in a film with a low start-up reach out to me. We have a policy of going to previous backers first and some are on board but after we run down those lists we will open it up to others.

I had good talks this past week on management and that is happening. I do have a new manager we just have to complete the details of the deal. This will help both in having a 3rd person deal in some situations but also their relationships to some A list director/producers will give me a good front and center on a few upcoming films.

“Ashes of Eden” is out to the first wave of about a dozen distributors and we are going to prepare the second wave list incase the deal we are looking for doesn’t present itself in the first round. Again the feedback on the film has been wonderful and I think it will find a good home.

Also CDI Distribution is having some great talks with a handful of companies over our library.

Lastly, for those who follow – both our dogs that had surgery are doing good. Both had their staples/stitches out and that means no more CONES! It was like having a couple of bulls in the house banging into everything.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend and stay HEALTHY!

DJ


Bananas, Bestseller and Being Sick

As a kid being sick meant no school, watching cartoons and reading books. This week I fought the good battle not to be sick because I always have stuff to do. I have a few days of working in the morning and trying to fight off chills and such in the afternoon. Well I am sick 100% now. I tried to pretend (act) like I wasn’t but I guess I’m not that good of an actor. Low grade fever, chills, achy and sore throat and sinus pressure. I think my triple concern over my brother having a healthy baby, a good “Ashes of Eden” showing and successful surgery for our two dogs knocked my immune system down. Add in the many, many people I came into contact with at these events…whatever the cause I’m now on the couch sipping hot tea and watching Scooby Doo. Some things never change but I’m bummed because we were going to have a get together at my fathers today and I can’t go. I can’t put my germ self anywhere near the new-born. Luckily because of the two recovering dogs we have a light Sunday planned. I may keep this brief but let’s look at a few high points.

“Ashes of Eden” showing was a huge event. To see the place sold out at capacity was awesome. The mayor commented we should have had a second concessions line and overall I think we made our hometown proud. At the climax of the film there was a roar of cheers that you just can’t plan. A double standing ovation later told us we had done our jobs as storytellers. We are now in the process of approaching some of the distributors who have waited for the film to be done.

Only one post issue whereas one actor feels the need to have his minute of footage prior to signing our distribution deal. That person was told that nobody is getting footage yet because any exposure that isn’t official can be bad. So our CDI policy has always been to wait for the deal to be done. This person feels that their want outweigh all the other artists and investors/point holders who are wanting the best deal. I don’t know this person all that well but I can tell you that not respecting the wishes of the business is a good way to not get hired again in the future. There are too many good actors who are about good business versus selfish wants. It likely is not truly harmful but when you’re trying to be fair to all and one person wants to cut in line…I was taught that at a very young age – it’s wrong. I’m not going to go on and on because I really don’t know this person like I stated and I really don’t care to. My advice to those actors out there – don’t be that person. Production is not trying to hold you back they are just looking out for everyone. Maybe this person needs to go watch the Star Trek movie where Spock is trying to save the entire crew – the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Or want in this case. More silliness in the world of film that I make a point to usually avoid.

So DVD and screening links have started to go out on “Ashes of Eden” and I’m happy that another major studio has rejoined the list of interested. Our goal is to set up a theatrical and run the entire list of platform releases. I will be on more distributors Monday making the rounds. Also on Monday…

The fine tune of the “Bestseller” trailer and film starts this Monday. This week we worked with graphic templates and such. This movie is also looking great. We will lock this picture and move down the post line. Chad Ice has done a great job getting the cut where it is. I’m excited about the first looks coming to audiences and distributors soon.

I’ve got PR on “Donors” going out next week that includes  the announcement of the Yuma, AZ premiere. We also are getting closer to announcing a new film that will be rolling into pre-production if we can get our final financial support. We’ve got distribution offers attached already and a powerful script. More on this very soon:)

I’m anxious for soccer to be starting next week and also I’ve got the 6 gal of banana/coconut wine started. I think I just need to try to take it easy this weekend. It’s hard with lots going on but I’ve gotta rest and take it easy. I want to thank each and every person who came out and supported us at the Capital City Film Festival. They did a nice job hosting us and I think they were happy with our record-setting attendance. Enjoy your time with family and friends on this beautiful Easter weekend.

DJ

 

 


Ashes of Eden, Announcements and Becoming an Uncle

So I think first and foremost in breaking news is that I became an Uncle for the first time. Yes, my baby brother and his wife had a beautiful baby girl. Also the fact that springtime is here is noteworthy. I bottled some beer this week and I have banana/coconut wine on deck to be made. We’ve been doing some great yard work and we also grilled out. We will likely do a bit more of both prior to the start of this weekend activities.

Tonight we have a VIP party for “Ashes of Eden” followed by tomorrows Pre-Party, Sold Out screening and post party. I’m out of practice on the multiple party front so who knows a nap could come into play. See for filmmakers, a large showing consists of more focus and hopeful wishing that the technology side of things runs smoothly. Tomorrows showing is mainly for cast and crew and the festival sold about 500 tickets to the public plus fest pass holders – this could result in 800 or so people at the screening tomorrow. I’m happy to show family, friends and fans but I’m really just happy to be completed with the film. I’m ready to engage in the business dealings with the dozen or so companies that have been following our film. We do need to spend a few days on our 5.1 mix but we have a complete film. This film is one of 4 still in post and one of two I’m directly helping to supervise.

DONORS is complete and will have a May 24th 1st showing in Yuma, AZ. I may or may not be there it depends on a few other factors. I’m excited to see this film all polished up.

BESTSELLER is moving nicely down the post production line. I have a new set of notes to go over to editing next week. Also the trailer is moving along and should be ready at the end of the month.

THE TERRORIST is also entering final music and sound design and should be rolling out at year’s end.

To be honest I’m a tad tired. I do have some very exciting stuff brewing with new management and upcoming film roles. I had my work evaluated by the upcoming director of a studio film that will have a major release. The work was really liked and it seems I will be playing a good part in this upcoming film which I cannot speak of. But it is based on a world-famous author’s work and it’s being done on the highest level of quality. I’m honored to be participating.

Another project that I’m not yet ready to announce has several distribution offers and is gaining great momentum. I just worry about time lines and schedules between projects. I just tell myself one step at a time and I’ll deal with it as it happens. We have product out to a few networks and new buyers from the UK, Australia and I might be announcing some films releasing to Brazil/S. America very soon.

So I’m going to try just relax and enjoy this weekend. We have some good associates/friends in town for the ASHES OF EDEN screening and so again I will try to check the producer into rest mode and just enjoy the experience for a day or two. Yes. I do co-star in ASHES OF EDEN and I think my fans will not be disappointed in the role. The test audience really liked the character and he really helps the story move along. I just wanted to address some of the questions I had emailed to me asking if I was acting – thank you for asking:) Sometimes after the film wraps and we go into post – the actor part of me has to take backseat to the producer. I do enjoy both but I do truly produce stuff that I love acting in. It is not the other way around. I will seldom produce something that the actor in me hasn’t been drawn to.

Have a great weekend and again congrats to my brother and his wife.

BELIEVE! (Tribute to U.W.)

DJ

 

 


Making Beer & Wine/Films Releasing in the Springtime

What a great week it was both personal and professional. I have to say that seeing plants start to grow and the warmth slowly creep over the land has been a positive and uplifting thing. I do love winter but this one was pretty intense. I had a chance to do some yard clean up. We’ve got plans to get the patio rocking this year also getting the pond going. Taxes both company and personal are submitted so that is off the plate. This week should have me becoming an Uncle which is an exciting thing. I have 6 gal. of beer brewing which I’ve called STAN REED’S SUMMER BREW. It is named after my character in the spring break movie TANGY GUACAMOLE. I’ve also got everything for my Banana/Coconut wine and that will be put into play very soon. So I’ve about drained the hazelnut coffee and I’m ready to throw you all a few new updates.

ASHES OF EDEN – This week has been watch-overs on the final version looking for tweaks here and there to be made before it all gets mastered out. We have one final watch/listen again on Tuesday of the stereo mix version. We spotted 5 or 6 improvements and those are being made as I type. The excitement by the masses is growing with record-setting ticket sales topping 500+ in only a few days. We could have close to a 1,000 people ready to watch the local showing. I hear that we will have several of our out-of-state stars coming in as well. If you are in the Michigan area and you want to be part of this showing go to the Capital City Film Festival site. Tickets are only $5 through the festival. I’m looking forward to telling this story to the masses. From there we will start talks with the interested distributors.

BESTSELLER should be close to a locked edit by month’s end. We should also be releasing the 1st trailer about that time. I’m excited by the preview because it really did capture the essence of the original story.

DONORS, the thriller we helped produced out of Yuma, AZ will have its first local showing on May 24th. There is a good chance that we may be in the area shooting on another feature. That is a HINT and if things go as planned I would look for an announcement around Easter.

REALIZISM a great short film that I acted in for Mitch Nyberg will play also on April 13th at the Grand Rapids Film Festival. Check out their site for times.

Several of the CDI films are in talks for additional Network and foreign licensing and I’m confident that we will have several releases to inform you of very soon. I’m going to keep it short but let me see if I can give any insights pulled from this week of business.

My advice would be to invest of yourself and your time wisely. If a project is going to be sub-quality or never be seen by any audiences beyond a few fest crowds why do it. If you need to build a resume and hone your skills – sure. But if you are established, which can be hard to do, do not kill your worth by taking on projects that are not worthy.  Value yourself.

Have a great weekend.

DJ


ASHES, BESTSELLER, REALIZISM and MORE – Updates Galore!

The hazelnut coffee is flowing and I wanted to get this blog update complete before we head up North for some R&R. I will get right to some film updates since we have a few important ones.

ASHES OF EDEN has its cast & crew showing with public in attendance sponsored by the Capitol City Film Festival – tickets can be purchased here http://capitalcityfilmfest.com/event/ashes-of-eden

BESTSELLER is working to prepare the 1st trailer and I can tell you it is looking good! It will be released mid to late April and the film edit is being fine tuned.

THE TERRORIST that we did in NYC is also in a fine tune edit and I hope to see it release at year’s end. NEW poster art has been released.

DONORS the thriller we shot in Yuma, AZ is completed and is setting for a premiere in late May. There is a chance I may be in attendance for that showing if this other project in Yuma, AZ area launches.

A CDI association deal as well as my participating as an actor on a follow-up picture with At Risk Entertainment is underway. The talk is that cameras would roll in July. They have been doing camera tests and so things are coming together on that front.

REALIZISM a great short film is playing at the Grand Rapids Film Festival also on April 13th (Yes same day as ASHES OF EDEN) at http://www.grfilmfestival.com/schedule/short-narrative-block/  I will be unable to attend that due to commits on the other screening.

DARKEST NIGHT released into Germany, Austria and Switzerland joining THE 8TH PLAGUE, WICKED SPRING and LOCKED IN A ROOM. Thank you to all the new fans from over there.

Again BOOK OF RUTH will be playing in the 2 week block of films on the UP NETWORK for Easter so check your TV listings.

I think that will about wrap things up. I want to thank CANDLEBERRY CANDLE COMPANY who has been a sponsor for some time now for sending me their entire Jim Beam collection. The smell of those candles and coffee is just – heavenly!

Be good to one another and enjoy your weekend.

DJ

 

 

 

 

 


Spring Updates, Spartans & Showcases

Usually I’m posting my blog first thing in the morning but I had a full morning of other activities and so now here we are together. I apologize for my tardiness:) I will give a few updates before my alumni school Michigan State University starts their tourney basketball game in a short while. My thoughts have been on spring and so many things are happening that I feel very optimistic about. I will pick a topic that ties into a few events of our own.

FESTIVALS

I love that film lovers can be exposed to product that is not direct mainstream and is often a showing ground for developing filmmakers. What I’ve learned in almost two decades of filmmaking is that they are great networking opportunities. Many ongoing relationships between writers, directors, producers, DP’s, actors and so on – start at festival events. I met fellow filmmakers at a NYC festival years ago and we ended up making a film in Mexico together. So when creative minds meet good endeavors can come about. Now on the other end – overspending on many, many, many festivals in the name of marketing versus going directly to distribution/licensing to start capital investment recoupment can be a mistake. IF a distributor does not like a product it does not matter how many small festivals you won – it won’t help you. There are only a handful of festivals that attracts buyers and even inclusion into those festivals does not assure anyone distribution. As a matter of fact only a very small % at those major festivals get a deal. Now I’m not saying don’t do any festivals because playing to a home crowd who often assisted in the making of the film is good. Targeting a few horror festivals for your horror film is not a bad thing. BUT a grand tour of festival partying that might see tens of thousands of dollars being spent vs returning on the investment is…well you do the math. We’ve seen a surge in festivals in the past few years and so the wreaths or laurels or whatever they call the “award logo” has lost a lot of value to distributors and even to audiences. SUNDANCE and a few others such as TORONTO has kept their value. Others will perhaps grow to become major festivals – I’ve watched that evolution first hand in my own home town with a pair of festivals. I’m proud that our ASHES OF EDEN movie will play first to the local Lansing audience. We used cast and crew from around the state of Michigan but it’s especially  nice that 3 Lansing area companies created this moving film. Often a lot of talk is centered on Detroit or the West side of the state but I think people will start to realize that right here in the heart of Michigan (LANSING) – talented artists exist. With ASHES OF EDEN, we’ve been given the great honor of closing the festival. You can follow here http://capitalcityfilmfest.com/info for updates. I know that we are working a deal for cast and crew and our sponsors to be given tickets but many family, friends and fans will want to know how/where they can buy tickets. That info will be coming to that festival site soon I would guess.

On the same day (April 13th) REALIZISM will play in the afternoon.

http://www.grfilmfestival.com/schedule/short-narrative-block/

REALIZISM, a cool short will a big message!  I truly LOVE my role in this film. It has me playing a touch comedic which is something I really enjoy. Mitch Nyberg directed the film and it is truly worth a watch if you are in Grand Rapids. If you want the double dose you can get in your car and drive to Lansing!

The interest in licensing films from the CDI library and our new arrivals is in full swing. I’ve had great talks last week with a few major TV networks. I can see the doors opening and that is good news for several of our products. You all will be getting many new announcements about our films playing in different territories, TV networks on various platforms. We just got word that the Afghanistan doc “Outside the Wire” is fully delivered for VOD and I will be announcing  where you can watch this powerful piece once I know.

Here is a current example from PR Newswire

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ups-two-week-celebration-of-easter-presents-the-greatest-stories-of-the-bible-251413651.html

BOOK OF RUTH, JOURNEY OF FAITH our hit biblical film is part of a BEST OF two-week showing of faith films with this Atlanta-based network. We might have some other exciting news forthcoming on the biblical film front. Look for some PR from us around Easter.

Also 180 degrees from this news – our Philippine based horror film “Darkest Night” releasing into Germany, Austria and Switzerland on March 28th, next week!

Our sales team is also working on some theatrical showcases that we will be announcing soon. This will basically be a once a week theatrical showcase that will go on for several months. We also have new reps in India and possibly the UK to help facilitate dealmaking in those territories.

“BESTSELLER” is about to start PHASE 2 of editing. This will be an intense polish with our director. I’m looking forward to getting you all a 1st look at a teaser here soon. I’ve got distributors begging for a 1st look on this film as well. I’m extremely happy with the 1st cut and so it is only going to get stronger.

“DONORS” the feature thriller starring Niki Saletta, Russ Clark and myself will have a premiere in May in Yuma, AZ. I will have more details on this in the coming weeks.

Aside from that – I’ve been putting the new desk to work on script writing. I just completed a film I was hired to write and what a joy that was. Another property of mine that’s been optioned by a studio – just paid their next tier option. (This is when a company pays increasing amounts of money for the exclusive rights to a property) They also reported pre-production is close at hand. You know this to be true when the option checks keep coming. Once in pre-production, a full purchase deal is executed, the film is assigned over and they move into production.

Following some of this success, I’m actually looking over the 20 or so scripts I’ve held back. I’m looking to see what films I can sell off. Basically, If I don’t see the script as an acting vehicle  I might as well sell it off to someone. So far this revisiting of script properties is turning into another good business venture. I’m in talks to pen another script as we speak. I’ll keep developing this avenue because I really do love writing.  My coffee, my imagination and I’m good to go. So if you are looking for a certain type of script or need something written or adapted – bring your check book and let’s talk.

OK. It’s about time for me to relax with a RED EYE (Look it up) and get ready to watch MSU! WE ARE SPARTANS! This is the part where I scream and kick someone in the face right into the pit of DOOM!

Have a great end to your weekend!

DJ


Social Media Pros & Cons, Policy and Premieres

Another week down and the first signs of spring are showing despite the 2 days snowstorm that we had. I’m sipping my coffee and reflecting back on the week which was highlighted by the fact that I got an oak roll top desk for the house. I’ve got my office in full swing but I still wanted a place to work from in the house. I found one I liked and was offered a deal I could not turn down especially because it included drop off delivery. Let’s see what advice I can try to give before getting into updates.

SOCIAL MEDIA FUNDRAISING

We call this “tin can” shaking for handouts. We at CDI keep a policy of not supporting these campaigns in part because I know so many aspiring filmmakers that if I supported one we would be expected to support them all. Second, I don’t think this really helps develop business skills in filmmakers. Some of these campaigns allow people to keep money even if the full amount is not raised. I think this is the worst violator because I see people who every two months they have a new campaign for a new project. They set an unreasonable goal and when movie X doesn’t fund they cash out that account and move onto movie Y and movie Z and none of them ever get done but people give and people take. It reminds me of people on the corner with a sign and cup. Best situation would have been to budget properly, manage budget correctly and do it all on the business level. Now others might use it as an addition to a budget raised sometimes for post funds and sometimes for “marketing”. That to me is where it gets tricky. If marketing is giving money so a group can travel, party and try to get a pat or two on the back, I can’t support that. Now perhaps if it was a reasonable amount to create screeners and postage to send to distributors maybe but even that perhaps should have been planned on ahead of time. I just know a few people who were put in uncomfortable positions because of these campaigns. I think this would not sit well with investors either because if you can raise a set amount of money you can start to repay capital investment. I always say, a LIKE doesn’t = a BUY and when the family and friends finish giving money – the well dries up and usually only 10%-25% has been raised but that money will get used anyway. Note the project isn’t any closer to getting into the marketplace. Also if you promise perks and that is dependent upon raising ALL the money what happens when only a small % is raised? It all can lead to disappointed campaign backers, investors and potentially hurt the reputation of those who supported and/or endorsed it. You just have to be careful who or what you endorse and so the policy of not doing this works well for us. Bring a business plan and you never know. But if I’m giving away money it will be to the homeless vet with a disability versus a party fund for filmmakers.

Now onto some updates -

- As a recent PR release pointed out “Darkest Night” will release into Germany, Austria and Switzerland on March 28th. This is the 3rd release to those territories and we are currently working on getting more of our titles into this territory and many others.

- We are working on getting the CDI library organized with everything digitized for future delivery.

- The “Donors” film is completed and we are looking at a premiere in Yuma, AZ before going to our distributors.

- We’re also looking at doing another film that would be based in AZ again. We are getting very close to releasing some info on this project. Right now talks with distributors are underway and a few are already on board. Some early casting on IMDB has begun and I’ve been looking at a LOT of reels. Sorry but NO reel NO consideration. Young children can be an exception once in a while but experience gets 1st looks.

- First draft of a script that I’ve hired to write is complete and I’ve been doing a second pass and polish. CDI will also be producing it and so I’ve been having some great talks about distribution on it already. Stay tuned!

- These distributor talks have extended over to ASHES OF EDEN which is VERY close to being done and we will have some possible news on the premiere next week. BESTSELLER’s 1st CUT is being reviewed and notes gathered for the second pass at month’s end. Both of these films have distributors excited to review and they will without question find a home. I’m excited for audiences to enjoy the storytelling. Also THE TERRORIST is moving into sound design and music after a final edit polish.

- A theatrical showcase of CDI and CDI associated films is happening in the Detroit area. We are finalizing the deal and looking at a line up that will include weekly showings. If you ever wanted to watch the entire CDI library on a big screen this could be your opportunity. This type of program is also in talks to happen in the near future in the Lansing area. We will have a good template to follow once this Detroit deal is complete. Look for PR on this soon!

- CDI TV is making some small steps but those could turn into major strides mid year. Again stay tuned!

- Some incredible talks this past week with a studio that we’re in talks of doing ongoing business with. I’m starting to send packages for evaluation this week. I’m also being talked to about participating as an actor in a few of their films. So I will be transitioning into some studio level films for acting but I am doing via the producer path instead of the actor/agent…path. I see big things on the horizon and I’m honored that they want to bridge a deal. This is also a nod to all the artists who I work with who know how to follow through and collaborate as professionals. Those cast and crew that work with CDI know our sights are set high and we work hard to achieve it. I have patience and will do this right. I refuse to cut corners or step on people to get where I need to go. I hear the horror stories weekly and I say it again, be cautious in who you choose to work with. Two weeks due diligence can save two years litigation. If it sounds too good to be true it usually is. Be smart.

I’m sure I’ve missed a few things but I’m ready to get on with my day so thank you again for your support in following my blog. I was recently made aware of how many followers I have from all over the world. I’m humbled and hope some of these reflections can help you on your own path. Dream but also be prepared to work hard to make those dreams happen.

DJ

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Casting, Collaborations and Coming of Spring

I think I actually felt spring in the air if you can imagine that. Once the snow goes we have some tree cleaning to finish, fence fix and our gazebo took a hit under the snow and ice. I’m excited to do a few cosmetic things to the new office this year, which is looking great.  It is truly the dream office and a great place to oversee the creation and on-going enterprises here at http://www.cdiproductions.com which has been kicking it strong since 1996. If you haven’t poked around the website do so as we’ve put several new updates on there. I also want to thank all our new blog fan adds from Australia. We are even now in talks to get more of our films released there and elsewhere. I’ve been asked to keep adding little tidbits of advice for aspiring filmmakers, actors and writers etc… I think people like the advice because it is brutally honest. No agendas here I just call it like I see it.

Let me see, filmmaker advice – best told by a story.

FILMMAKER CONFIDENCE – I had a good talk this week with a very talented artists on both sides of the camera. He was/is frustrated because of lack of progress and lack of control on moving a project forward. I like something he said – “I have confidence in the project but I lack confidence in myself.” That is a truthful statement but comes from a lack of experience. Imagine yourself a youngin’ standing on the edge of a swimming pool looking at the other side. Now we are talking width of the pool but you’ve never swam from one side to the other. Maybe you have your water wings on or maybe you don’t but you stare at that other side and you muster all the confidence you can. If you stand your ground and never dive in you will not reach your short-term goals. So finally with the right amount of encouragement  - you DIVE in!

You swim, swim, swim and behold you make it to the other side. You turn around and you do it again. And again. Pretty soon you are looking at the length of the pool believing that you just might be able to swim the length.

You have to BUILD that confidence with small realistic goals. You build it by DOING.  I will find out this coming week if this person jumped into the pool or is still standing on the edge. The point is that even in failure with an earnest attempt – that is success. So you took on some water and maybe you had to swim to the side before you reached the end goal- maybe next time. And next time you will have more confidence.

ACTORS – IF you are at that point where you want to be accepted as a professional – DON’T WORK FOR FREE! Let’s say that all together now. DON’T WORK FOR FREE! Work at a discount if you believe in developing these people but just say no. I see in our own state all these actors working the student films and free projects. That is where new upcoming actors get their experience and build their resume. So if you have experience and a resume that can compete professionally – GET OUT! Now if you are a hobbyist – sure do your community filmmaking deal, but don’t be surprised when professionals don’t take you serious. If you are in demand and you hold out – you force filmmakers to grow. It’s the whole, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Every time a professional actor does a free project – GO TO JAIL (Loss of name value) DO NOT PASS GO, DO  NOT COLLECT $200. An experienced actor beating out a bunch of newbie’s trying to get their first projects under their belt impresses absolutely nobody. Dive into that larger pool.

Now onto some updates! You know I like to give Blog readers advanced updates. So here we go!

DONORS, the thriller I did with Niki Saletta (7th Heaven) is complete. They will screen the film for investors this Sunday and plans will be made to get this ready for presentation to distributors. It is a cool little film that has some serious tension to it.

BESTSELLER released a new teaser poster this week and the rough cut is under review. Our director is making notes for a second round of editing as we speak. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some great performances caught by a hard-working crew. We’ve got early interest on the film by distributors and I’m relatively happy with our work flow. The overall film will likely be done in August and premiere in Sept or Oct.

ASHES OF EDEN will also be releasing some new poster art. I’ve been bouncing some ideas with our director on a new opening of the film. We should be done with everything this month save maybe the final mix. It’s exciting because even as strong and enthusiastic as the test audiences were – the final product is so much better. We’re planning a premiere for cast/crew followed by a theatrical test run and that may lead to a wider release via one of our several distributors bidding for a first look. This will be one of the films to watch and it will help put Michigan once again on the map with international releasing.

And speaking of international releases – following last month’s release of the Michigan-Made “Locked in a Room” to Germany, Austria and Switzerland those same territories will be getting the Philippine darkness unleashed upon them. Yes. On March 28th, “Darkest Night” will release there. That makes three new films released in those territories in the last six months. So congrats to the CDI Sales Team for that. More territories are in the works and we will announce as it happens.

The CDI Associated doc film “Outside the Wire, Forgotten Children of Afghanistan” is also getting a VOD release soon thanks again to CDI Distribution. This is a powerful film by Anthony Hornus. It was filmed while embedded with the US military in Afghanistan. I encourage everyone to check out this powerful film when it releases.

MISC. NEWS

Other random news of events still developing include – a new casting for a CDI film on IMDB which you can search out under “40 Nights”. We will be doing a full PR release on this film in the weeks ahead. It’s a very exciting pet project and I’m happy to see this developing so fast. Actually we have development work underway on a handful of projects including an “Anthony Hornus” feature “Race to Judgment,” the “Soul Eater” film,  and a possible new association with Detroit’s AT RISK ENTERTAINMENT. There also might be a theatrical showcase of CDI films coming to the Detroit area so stay tuned for big updates in the weeks ahead. Additional studio talks, new rep from India joining CDI and the list goes on. Enough of all this – get out there and enjoy your weekend!

DJ


Set the Pace & Win the Race

Another snowy day here in the Michigan with -11 temps so staying inside and focusing on work has been easy. I’m tempted to discuss a few issues I’ve observed as of late – but I don’t want to dwell on other’s negatives when we have so many positives unfolding. Since this blog is to help others grow it would not be interesting to just talk about the roses. My opinions are based upon my years of experience and you all are free to explore my filmography if you wish. I think some of you are here because of that and if so – I thank you. I will let my past work speak for my expertise in certain areas.

Now often observations are not always appreciated especially if they put something in a shaded light. Many about would rather the subject(s) stay hidden in the dark. I say, if they don’t affect my endeavors I guess they are fine residing there. I know that human nature when focused upon accumulation of material things or accolades  has a very USE, USE, TAKE, TAKE mentality. I’m often hesitant to spend precious time on people or endeavors that drain and take but do not return the same energy. I’ve had a few people successfully drain like this for a short period until they are just cut off. I’ve had people literally say, “We’ve gotten all we are going to get out of myself and/or CDI”.  Oh, had these people been sincere so much more could have been available. Why try to steal crumbs from the floor when if you had been sincere I would have invited you to the table to eat and drink your fill?

Additionally, I’ve also spent precious time giving council and encouragement to some only to have that kindness forgotten when one cannot face the shame for their own poor actions. It’s as if you don’t invite someone to a party if they know the dirt that was swept under the rug. Actually I don’t mind missing most social events these days but it is the thought that counts. A common statement but a true one that really defines the character of people. I wish all people well but I know certain actions and character traits will not lead to real success just temporary appeasement of the self-delusion. I will end this with one of my favorite sayings that almost always holds true, you reap what you sow.

Now let’s see what is growing in the garden from the seeds we’ve sown.

- I’ve recently completed the script on a powerful little film that has already gotten distributors making offers. It is a passion project and smaller in scope but I have no doubt the impact it will have. It will shoot in AZ and we will soon be doing some casting calls. I wanted to let people know we will be using the new IMDB Casting as we are now associated with them. Among the castings I will say that I will be looking for powerful pre-teen actors – one that could pass for a young version of myself. If you fit this description feel free to email your reel to me directly. (perrydj@aol.com) A formal press release on this project will be forthcoming.

Speaking of press releases you all should be on the look out for new releases updating on the progress of “ASHES OF EDEN,” “BESTSELLER,” “DONORS” and more…

Marketing and poster work is underway to give the distributors something to chew on. The 1st rough cut of “Bestseller” is done and so far the footage is looking great. I’ve previewed the first hour and the smile on my face is because we’ve got a very engaging film. “Ashes of Eden” is near the end of post and that film WILL move you with the emotional performances. Shane Hagedorn and I have been having lots of discussions on all aspects of this film. Stay tuned for many bouts of good news about this film including possible foreign theatrical releases.

There are many new talks with distributors over licensing and development. I think this month we will be announcing new distribution territories. Last month saw the release of “Locked in a Room” to Germany, Austria and Switzerland and on March 28th “Darkest Night” will release to the same market. With a half-dozen of our films in these territories our fanbase over there is growing quickly. There will be more to come so thank you so much to those foreign audiences for allowing us to entertain you.

Domestic sales continue on several of the CDI associated films like “Deadly Renovations,” “Darkest Night,” “Locked in a Room,” “7 Stones” and more – so if the snow has you inside please consider taking a watch.

This week has more meetings over our TV series “Supermodel Showdown,” a new CDI film association underway and multiple licensing talks on many of the films in the CDI library. I’ve also been recently hired to write a new film script set for production in the near future. We’re not ready to discuss this property yet but it has been an extremely FUN script to write and will be an even more FUN film to shoot:)  It’s an exciting time at CDI so once again thank you for the blog read. Every Saturday I will post another so if you think someone else can take something from these writings pass the blog on.  Now get to work:) Remember, the fastest runners never look over their shoulder. Just keep your eye on the finish line and MOVE AHEAD!

DJ


PR, POLITICS and PREMIERE TALK

It looks like here in Lansing, MI we avoided most of the crazy weather. We had a little wind and snow but overall the sun gave us some melting.  It has been a busy couple weeks and I’ve just got to keep my patience and zen as many deals move about on the chessboard. I’ve had a few projects move a touch slower than I wanted but I will be happy for what did get done versus what did not. Let’s look at some of the positive steps taken in this past week. Before we get into that I will vent off on a small issue. IF you are a university who is making your money off film students in a film program. IF you make a solid film that really showcases good production value, performances and direction. The university SHOULD invest in promoting its own program. PROMOTION = ENROLLMENT = $ for the UNIVERSITY. I’m not going to waste too much time on this topic but I’m never surprised by people’s shortsightedness.

Also I’m surprised (No I’m not) that when local media is trying to promote a city/area to inspire others how only the hobbyist get recognized. What happened to real journalism whereas you seek out the real story. In our area it use to be our local media was only interested in local community theatre and now they are focused on local hobby filmmakers. Now you can give recognition to these aspects but they do not represent the professionals. POLITICS. To be direct it is why I like the business side of things. IF your art is good it will find an audience and sell. I feel as if these organizations and projects that put equal importance on SHOW & BIZ should be highlighted. Now for a long time now I’ve been content making my home here and that is good enough for me. Michigan artists are undervalued often on the world market and much of it is because many are seen as “Community Theatre/Hobbyist filmmakers”.  When the films and filmmakers that are making real business endeavors are overlooked for some social media panhandling a $500-$2,500 film that won dozens of remote festivals that never will get major distribution – it brands us. Now I consider myself MINOR LEAGUE so let’s get that straight. BUT we work hard to recreate a growing business like what Motown, Two Men & A Truck and many other business pioneers worked so hard to do. The worried parents of these starry-eyed filmmakers would be emboldened and given hope when they read of other business filmmakers making a solid go of it.  I’m content living below the radar most of the time because it saves me from the constant “I’ve got a great idea for a movie” talk that follows me. So let’s get onto some business updates!

A few months ago we saw our Civil War film “Wicked Spring” release into the German, Austria and Switzerland market. Now following that we just enjoyed a Feb 21st release of “Locked in a Room” to that same market. And next month March 28th will see the release of our 1st international collaboration “Darkest Night”. Also “Darkest Night” released recently to HULU PLUS and so that will help reach hundreds of thousands of new viewers.

Our CDI sales team is working hard engaging in talks with many new foreign territories. Also many great new deals are being negotiated on new upcoming product. “Ashes of Eden” has several buyers interested and once we have our finished film we will start that process. New poster feedback is being gathered from readers who can vote on http://www.ashesofedenmovie.com . Also our premiere is being discussed and we should announce on that soon. So look for a cast and crew premiere that will happen followed by a public premiere and theatre run. We’ve got excited interest from several distributor/studios in this film and our most recent ‘Bestseller”.

“Bestseller” is about done with the rough cut. I will be calling our editor today to get an update and soon we will screen the rough edit. I’m excited about this project and I think it will be a high intensity film. Patience:)

“7 Stones” is out on the market both streaming VOD and DVD so check out this powerful little drama.

While overseeing post work and sales I’ve been engaging in some major screenwriting action. I don’t promote this aspect much but I’ve been paid multiple times to pen original scripts and adaptations from books. I’ve had projects optioned ($ against a sale price) –  and I’ve had projects purchased and produced. I just finished a pet project script that I’m developing with an old school friend. Let’s just say that fans of “Book of Ruth” will be very happy. I’ve also got another script on deck to write after after that. The contracts are approved just need to be signed this coming week. I may also be taking on yet another project to write in the wake of an option/purchase agreement made with a studio in Florida. Some close to me know my furry boy Luke had knee surgery and so it has been good to hunker down from the cold and enjoy writing.

Also I’ve been doing some major internal CDI structuring with our accountant, lawyers and a film archive supervisor. All the CDI projects need to be put to digital to make it easier for delivery on all these new sales. This is again the BIZ side that has nothing to do with the artsy-fartsy aspects but it is what separates the professionals from the hobbyists. I love what I do but I don’t do it for just fun – I do it as a career. Therefore bad communicators, slackers, excuse makers will not find a home at CDI. Nothing like having your hard work and efforts wasted as something sits in limbo for years OR a film that lacks business structure leaving you with a well done home video to show family and friends. I’m happy that we have some new hardworking blood rolling with the CDI tribe. It’s quite an eye opener when they discover there is another way to do things. There is a better use of time and energy. Do we fall short and make errors? – Of course we do. But how many are really STRIVING! WANTING is NOT STRIVING. I mean really giving that extra effort at every turn that gets recognized. I’m talking about taking that pride in your work. Trust me, I know the difference by looking someone in the eyes. If it is just a JOB to you – find another industry because there is easier money to be earned elsewhere.  REMEMBER actions always speak louder than words.

ACT LOUDLY!

DJ


Post/Premiere Updates on “Ashes of Eden”/”Bestseller”

This new sunny day comes on the heels of a beautiful full moon and while cold something stirs. I think spring dares to creep into my mind – cook outs and cocktails. New showings will be forthcoming this year with I believe seven new films rolling out. I’ve grown to enjoy the marketing aspect. Working with the CDI sales team I really enjoy being involved with bringing this art to different countries and different people. While we have had some distributors that work we also have had our share of those that do not. I’ve had the pleasure of talking about our library of CDI films with distributors in many territories. For fans of my blog not in our TV/Film industry the domestic market consists of US/Canada. The rest of the world is divided up into forty some territories. Sometimes you sell a country or an area/region. So there is distribution 101 in TV/film. I’m looking to increase the number of allied buyers this year and we look to be in line to fulfill that goal.

We have been blitzing some PR on “Darkest Night” to align with its move to Hulu Plus. The recent success in Berlin of “found footage” style movies has directed some good heat to our film. So IF you like that type of film check it out. I’ll admit here and now NOT my favorite style of filmmaking BUT it was a good experience. Will I ever do another one? It would have to be the right project. I will be working with Russ Williams the writer/producer again but I think this next film will be more traditional.

Some exciting news is that our sales team will be handling “Judges” to the foreign market. I think Australia was the only foreign country that had an earlier release of the film. We plan to change that in the coming year so prepare for BUDDY COLT and the JUDGES to invade a country near you. I had great talks with director Stephen Walker and I will say that discussions about a JUDGES 2 are happening. A script that had “Father Kane” played by the late great Russ Stine, had been written. His passing away took the wind out of the sequel sails for a while but the winds are changing. We both agreed that after we do this foreign blitz with “Judges” we should prep for a sequel.  So to all the “Judges” fans out there – things are happening.

I will be announcing a small pet project soon – actually 2014 could be the year of pet projects. If “Soul Eater” finds its legs along with a few others such as the “An Ordinary Killer” follow-up “Race to Judgment” – it could bring back some old faces. Old character faces, well my face maybe older – not really, grey…ok next topic.

“Ashes of Eden” is getting to the end of post production and our first premiere talks have started. We have had some wonderful interest in this film and I think it will have people talking. We have decided to walk at the end vs run so we make no mistakes and allow maximum creativity. This film is gonna play some theaters and is looking like we will have an international audience. If you have not seen these two trailers/previews go to http://www.ashesofedenmovie.com/trailer.html

As if that wasn’t enough – “Bestseller” is about a week from our rough edit. The goal is 120 minutes of heart pounding tension. The flight footage was just shipped in and we will all be excited to watch the 1st cut and start making notes. I’ve been happy with editor Chad Ice’s passion and excitement while working on this edit. I know that after the 1st cut we will assemble the first teaser trailer. Also things were put in motion to have the behind the scenes materials assembled. David Gries is going to edit some great footage captured by Seth Steele. Also look out for some upcoming poster art!

Distribution talks include too many films to break it all down here and now but trust me when I say that more of our international fans will get to see more of the films. My films are in more than twenty countries and I want to thank all the fans that reach out on the social media. I create these stories as do all the artists involved to entertain and share with you. So thank you.

OK. I have some work to do in the office and planning for the week ahead.

Stay warm!

DJ


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