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

Author Archive

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


Premieres, Professionalism & New Projects

Hello friends,

It has been a great week filled with few distractions save one of my furry children had surgery on his knee but he has been so very good. Luckily resting peacefully when it is cold and winter-like is a strong suit of his. So the nice part is I don’t have any real comments from the week other than I still am waiting for communication from one or two people on some business. I guess I’m already looking past those people because if they drop the ball on something small why would you entrust them with anymore greater. It is sad but that is business. I’m not a hobbyist and so I have to keep some clear lines. Other people are really impressing me and you will see how that affects them. Those people will grow as they adapt a new way of conducting themselves. PROFESSIONAL.

Okay let’s get onto some good updates.

Business with Germany is coming full circle now as “Wicked Spring” released and “Darkest Night” will be next in April followed by “Locked in a Room”. We are in talks on additional films now.

Also we are in talks with companies in Brazil, UK, Australia, India, Asia and soon I’m confident I’ll be announcing new deals.  Also many development talks underway with a handful of companies foreign and domestic. The fruits of many years work is starting to ripen.

“7 Stones” is now on the market and “Darkest Night” just released to Hulu Plus which is exciting. They have a lot of movement through there and we are excited to be reaching so many. And with the recent announcement of the resurgence of “found footage” at Berlin I see many sales ahead!

I’ve got a project that looks like it will shoot in May and so PR on that project will be released in the coming weeks. I’m excited about the genre and the role itself. Some casting will be done on this project – stay tuned for announcements.

“Soul Eater” is also making some real strides and this does look to be the year that we find out what led to “The 8th Plague”. (Great watch if you like horror/gore)

In additional to all this business/creative work I am happy to say I have another writing project on deck. The paperwork should be done end of next week and PR will also go out on that. I’m feeling blessed by all the good progress being made on many fronts. All these calls, emails and writing are perfect snow day activities so I’m just staying warm and knocking stuff down. We’ve also started serious discussions on the premiere set up for “Ashes of Eden” that will be done end of the month. Lastly, “Bestseller” rough cut is getting close and we will also be putting together some behind the scenes and the first look teaser trailer. So I’m extremely excited by all this and can’t wait for audiences/fans/you to see the work.

Enjoy your Saturday!

DJ


Updates & Hints on New Projects

Hazelnut coffee is flowing as another bout of snow gently falls. I’m happy to be here with all of you recounting the events of the week. The traction on deal making is really picking up. I will take a moment to give some heart-felt advice that they don’t teach these kids in their film studies. PROFESSIONALISM IN COMMUNICATION – By this I mean if you are contacted by someone (especially if they have paid you prior) you need to respond in a timely fashion. I would bet that not one of these individuals I’m speaking about has the work load I do. Even if I am extremely busy I will respond back to say I’m extremely busy. From there a mutual good time to communicate can be set up. I’ve been disappointed because a few people who I saw as developing a foothold in our organization may not be. If I’m offering work I’m always amazed at how quickly some people respond and that same person can procrastinate over other call backs. This is a sure sign that this person will have a limited time in our industry and likely not a good investment of time. I want to develop people who really want to be in our industry because it is hard. opportunities are hard to come by and someone given one needs to make the best of it.

Okay onto updates!

“7 Stones” is getting some heat with its entry into VOD/DVD market. The doc film “Outside the Wire” is following behind that release with one of our new release partners.

More talks with companies on our “Supermodel Showdown” TV series. More companies are reviewing our 3 shows that are put together. This is a new area for me so things are a tad slower.

Great distribution and development talks this week with a few companies. We had an offer on our Civil War film but I think we may have to pass. I have some larger deals brewing and I think it will benefit better from one of those deals.

We are still waiting to see what product some new foreign film buyers like. I’m looking forward to expanding our alliance of companies to distribute with.

I had good sit downs with one of our new attorney’s and we will be doing some PR on this new team member. He is dealing with a small handful of issues that is pretty common in our business.

“Ashes of Eden” is closing in on the final scoring and after that a mix and we are done. “Bestseller” is in full editing now with our editor Chad Ice. Marketing will start to ramp up on these projects and we’ve started discussing premiere showings on “AOE”. It is great to note that both films have a lot of interest from distributors and we will find them a great home.

I’ve also been in talks on a few acting projects and I’ve got a secret project I’ve been writing on. It would shoot out-of-state in the spring because the story calls for it. I’ve had some talks on this project and will announce more later. It is a great role that I’m ready to sink my teeth into. I’m also putting some work into gathering investors on “Soul Eater” the prequel to “The 8th Plague”. I would love to film that this winter in Michigan so let’s see how that unfolds.

So my friends, stay warm and be productive. This time is great for buckling down and making stuff happen!

Happy Saturday.

DJ


CDI Film News from Cold Michigan

Beautiful snow ?- Yes it is. But the cold is biting like a winter wolf and I think even the Yeti’s are huddling up for warmth. I had a strong week of business whereas I still have to continue to have patience. I did a lot of gathering of information for 2013 taxes for CDI. I still have to dive into my own but that has become more of a system. I had many great meetings last week with different key people in our organization. Development is happening all over the board and I’m curious to see what project will come out on top. Some are small films and some are studio/network projects – and all are important.

CDI Distribution has some new talks underway with networks, studios and foreign companies and I’m confident that we will be making some new deals here shortly. I had good meetings with old partners and potential new partners.

I’m very pleased to announce that “Bestseller” has moved firmly into editing and we are well into the rough edit with Chad Ice, our editor. PR on that went out this week.

There will be new updates coming on “Ashes of Eden” that is in final scoring as we speak. After that it will be a watch through and mix on the entire film.

We have had more interest from distributors in both of these films. We will see who presents the best offer but I’m excited to bring these to audiences.

On the acting front I just took a read on a project in Miami that would have me playing a cop. I will have to wait and see how negotiations roll on this film but I liked what I read of the book. It’s a very gritty story in a TRAINING DAY sort of vibe.

I think we are getting closer to SOUL EATER and perhaps another biblical story where I’m slated to play a Roman military man. Also development continues on the western which may or may not transition to a TV series for a network.  I also had a comment on “Race to Judgment” the follow-up to “An Ordinary Killer” – I can say that work is being done on it.  I will hold any other comments until something becomes more solid.

I’ve got a full week ahead as we conclude Jan. and so I wish each and every one of you a productive week. Stay safe if you are on the snowy roads and keep warm.

Keep Clawing Your Way To The Middle!

DJ


End of Year Wrap-Ups and New Film Updates

The year is underway and many business endeavors are moving. It has been a good week of organizing and prepping for new business. I’ve also been getting some good training in for the new year. That is mostly for the soccer field but doesn’t hurt for camera work either. I know many of you are putting your new year resolutions into play. Let’s look at some of the new actions in motion.

1) We are about to PR “7 Stones” now available on VOD.

2) Discussions are underway on a few new biblical films after it was reported that we have the highest grossing biblical film with our distributor. We had some good talks over this property.

3) Our director Shane Hagedorn is in studio doing a music check today on “Ashes of Eden” and we are excited as this film nears the finish line. Early distribution talks have started and many are just waiting to see our full story.

4) “Bestseller” is now officially in editing and we should have a rough cut in about a month. We are all excited to see this film moving to the next phase. I’ve had several good talks about what will follow “Bestseller” and soon we may have a sure direction. I am getting distributor input on all these ideas.

5) I’ve been having some literary agent talks after a recent option/purchase agreement on one of my script properties. I think that scripts that I do not see as an acting vehicle I may consider selling. There will be more PR on this as it develops.

6) We’ve had some interest in possible financing on “Soul Eater” my prequel to “The 8th Plague” so that was submitted last week and now we wait.

7) New foreign territory and TV Network talks started this week. We will see what develops from all of that.

8) I need to get new updates on “Donors” and “The Terrorist” but I know both are very close and will be coming to market this year.

Aside from all this I have been prepping some of the end of the year business work for taxes and such. It is the less exciting aspects of filmmaking but so very important.  I hope you all are staying focused and enjoying your first month of 2014. It was a week of steady business and that always leads to something exciting.

Happy Saturday!

DJ


First Steps Into 2014

So before I get into my weekly chat I will note how nice it is to have temps climbing back into the “above zero” range. One of our furry babies has some knee issues and the cold has been really hard on his joints. Many of us can likely relate to all that. I spent last night down on the couch with my buddy who is having the issue. The vet had said he might need surgery at some point. I’m just afraid it might be sooner versus later. We’ve been through all that with one of our other dogs and it is a real process. I’m happy to say our dog who did have the procedure is doing just great. So my buddy’s knee(s) was hurting him bad last few days and the stairs were not going to work last night for him. He cried being left alone downstairs and so I came to him to bring the snuggles. They are going to up his meds some to help control some of the pain for now but that is just a band-aid. Something more will need to be done here soon. So with that said, back to work in 2014! Surgery is not cheap for people or animals.

I had some good enjoyable meetings this week. I had a sit down with legal over sushi, late night production meetings over a home-brew  and many phone meetings. I’m working to house clean CDI biz and simplify things within the company. I need to stay on top of things as our CDI sales team gets into more direct business. We’re now in talks with buyers in a few more territories around the globe.  So we should see more of the CDI films rolling out to international audiences. I submitted several to them and now we wait as they evaluate.

One small setback with “The Beast” which is on hold until GPI can fully move here to the USA.  Our first collaboration with GPI was “Darkest Night” and is supposed to be opening on Hulu soon. I haven’t seen it up on Hulu yet but I also have not checked in on Hulu for a while. Post work on “Ashes of Eden” draws to a close and next week editing is to start on “Bestseller” – so that is exciting news on both fronts.

There is a slew of small moves about the board with other projects. I guess my mind is drifting to that place of advice giving. I had a situation recently whereas I had a different view on career moves with my West Coast agent. I’m not one to allow myself to be molded into the norm, the status quo. I’ve had good success by standing on my unique qualities and attributes. Also I’m not desperate for work as I turn down my fair share for one reason or another. But it is just hard to get others to represent you properly the way you represent yourself.  It is hard to get people to sell you a certain way. I would love to move some of that negotiation work over to an agent for their +10% but I still land the best work directly. I will see how the year unfolds as we go agent-wise but I do have several new options opening. Next week many of the industry people will be back in full swing so I look forward to moving some business along. As you work with representation remember it is about working WITH them not FOR them.

Peace be with you on your travels down the path of 2014.

DJ


Welcome 2014 – Looking Ahead

Welcome one and all to “Clawing My Way to the Middle” first blog of 2014. It was a wild Christmas holiday with the ice storm and even now we prepare for another Arctic storm to come. I had a good friend come and help me cut up the fallen elm tree which I stacked up. I will say that once it has dried I will have a good amount of firewood.  I had to do a little make shift fix to the fence until we can really address it. There was a lot of business that finished at the end of 2013 and some that was just on hold. Let us look at the year ahead so top off that coffee cup and let’s take a look.

In December I was filming later than usual in the year with my acting on “Dead Quiet”. It was a cool okay COLD chance to film with some dedicated folks. I’m curious to see what we created although the first look at dailies brought good feedback. I’m also curious to see the Christmas film I did locally renamed “Small Town Santa” which ties into my next announcement. I had almost sold/produced a Christmas script of my own several years ago. It banged around with some majors and would have easily been the largest script sale I’ve made. I had Hollywood try to do a commercial tween rewrite. I was willing to sell but truly hated that version. When that deal did not go through I put that version in a dark vault never to see light of day again. I kept my version inspired by THE WALTON’S versus the AfterSchool special mess. I held onto it in hopes that either I could do it right or that someone else could. I finally had a studio read MY version and loved it. The option/purchase agreement was made and it is very likely that it will launch this year. A press release is being put together so I will hold on details. I’m starting to look at a few scripts that are not acting vehicles for myself and I might consider a sell. Many like the visual style of the writing and so 2014 will see me put some effort in this area. My agent wants me to look at scripts to sell via them also so I guess I will consider. So if you are in need of a script in a certain genre reach out. You better bring your checkbook though.

I’m starting to continue distribution and studio talks that started at the year’s end. I’ve got some legal meetings this coming week over properties. I’ve got a few scripts to read – one being the proposed follow-up to “Ashes of Eden” with director friend Shane Hagedorn. Post work on ‘Ashes of Eden” is almost complete and “Bestseller” is about to dive into editing. This year will see “Donors,” “The Terrorist” making 1st distribution pushes along with the two films above. CDI will look at more associations and continue the tradition of storytelling. The chances are good that I will be doing a follow-up project “The Beast” with Russ Williams (Darkest Night) and the western “Rifle” with Carl Barbee (Resurrection).

As for acting – the hair got a sizable trim and I’m ready to tackle some new roles. I love the family of folks in front of and behind the camera. In 2014 we will create more stories.

Cheers!


Happy Holidays 2013

I’m so happy to be relaxing with a cup of streaming coffee from the new coffee maker that we now call “The Cylon” because it is chrome with cool blue lights. The office also got a new coffee maker. The Holiday season and year is coming to a close. I feel blessed that all we had to deal with is the big downed tree that will be cut up this week. I know many friends/family had to deal with the results of the ice storm. Many were without heat, water, power and many suffered more damage. I did have a large branch bounce off my ride but it was protected by the 1/2 inch of ice that covered it. I did have a relative pass on Christmas eve and I know many people deal with that as it is just part of life. I really enjoyed 2013 for many reasons both professionally and personally. Several things that happened will surely be springboards to another busy 2014. Not a ton of new developments since last week as people had to deal with the storms and/or holidays. The next blog will be in 2014 so I’m waiting to give any major updates until that one. I’m also still finalizing a few deals that got help up. I imagine those will close this week so we can start the new year with some new business!

Happy Holidays!

DJ


The Artists Path & Looking Ahead

It is the Holiday season and it really came on fast this year. I think with “Bestseller” being such a focus and picking up “Dead Quiet” at the year’s end time just moved. Luckily I am a prepared person (that producer in me) and so I stayed on top of shopping and wrapping and I’m right on schedule and budget. Does that surprise anyone? It was brought to my attention recently whereas someone wanted to know why I do my blog. It serves a few causes -

1st – Most artists are very self-absorbed into their own world and don’t realize that not everyone say outside the film business knows about or cares about what actually goes on. As I’ve said before many think it takes just a few days/weeks to do something. As a younger man I was able to take three steps back and realize that in part due to people’s interest I was always talking about what I was doing. Also, by choice I live in Michigan. When I was more actively going to industry events in Hollywood and even now I do meet/hang with stars, sports professionals and so on. To an outsider it can quickly sound like name dropping. I would get tired of repeating the same stories again and again to people. So it was first a journal of sorts on a fan site ran by an enthusiastic fan Pepper. From there I moved to the WordPress format. It is beautiful because family, friends or fans can read about my doings. At that point if people want to ask me pointed questions – cool. Otherwise I’m free to just relax and talk about life and other people and what THEY have going on. I do enjoy my trips to California or being on a film set or the office pow wow’s to talk business but my relationship with my non-industry friends has greatly improved. I also try to insert bits of advice and hard gained knowledge within the words. I try to be brutally honest and encouraging for those who MUST follow an artists path.

The week has been an interesting one in regards to many business deals closing and some moving closer to finalizing. I’ve had to oversee legal stuff on a few films. Communications with some foreign territories prepping for new 2014 licensing. “7 Stones” now on amazon DVD and soon VOD. “Darkest Night” PR as it gets ready to go to Hulu. Looking at finding a series home for ‘Supermodel Showdown” in 2014. Editing about to begin on “Bestseller” just as “Ashes of Eden” is about to be complete. “Donors” and “The Terrorist” are close to being done. A deal closing on a script/option to purchase which I will announce once the ink is dry. Updates on the HBO series development and new western project I’ve given my LOI on to star in. Additional films on a slate behind ‘Book of Ruth” look to be moving strongly forward. Some direct talks with a studio and also a few studio project discussions with my CA based agent. Overall I just have to say that I’ve got many things moving and after the holiday rest I will be ready to go full speed into 2014.

I’ll close this down with my last few thoughts on Christmas. My parents divorced many years ago and that alone has made scheduling Christmas hard. Now with my own house/family it has added another layer of scheduling difficulty and this year I’m breaking some tradition – which is very hard for me. But I’m making it a bit easier and enjoyable for myself. I’m a person who in my personal life really tries to make people happy. I like to keep an aura of good positive energy flowing around me. For years this time of year has been more rush, rush versus relax, relax but maybe this year will be more enjoyable. I had always made the sacrifice at home to help keep traditional things in place but now with my brother going to be a daddy in the spring that will be changing anyways. We are still having all our get together with the family I’m just making adjustments that give me a bit more peace.

On that note I will wish everyone peace and happiness during the holiday season.

DJ


Tis the Season Wrap Up’s

I’m at home with my loved ones enjoying a snow day while sipping some hot hazelnut coffee and updating all of you. I was supposed to be in Pontiac finishing my last couple days filming on “Dead Quiet” but the snow storm caused a push. It has been a busy week between personal and business endeavors. Let me see if I can recap a few of these – personal and professional…

1) As some now I was passenger in a Thanksgiving day roll-over that resulted in our household getting a new vehicle. The shopping was almost everyday and we did get to test drive in bad snow so that was useful.

2) Some legal wrap ups underway which is an ongoing thing. Our industry is full of people who have to be put into check. I’m sure this is in many industries but our world of film is a web of agreements.

3) Follow up on some of the foreign licensing deals underway or developing

4) “7 Stones” DVD is now for sale  http://www.amazon.com/7-Stones-D-J-Perry/dp/B00GWT8LE0/ref=sr_1_9?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1387036126&sr=1-9&keywords=7+stones

AND VOD (Video on demand) sales to start next week. A great Christmas gift.

5) I had to disperse $ to some investors which is something I really enjoy doing. We also have domestic money flow starting on one of our other films that came to market a few months back so that is always good.

6) My studio talks are continuing hindered slightly by the approaching holidays and their end-of-year wrap up like everyone else. We are examining business to be done between us and I know 2014 will bring new business dealings.

7) I’m in the last stages of an option to purchase agreement on one of my scripts. In addition to developing some of my scripts for production I do plan to sell a few. I will do this direct and also my agency wants to shop a few. We will see if they can do as well as I do:)

8)  The “Faith film” front is looking good and so we hope to get the next project following “Book of Ruth” up and going in 2014. I think we are close but it is always close until money is there.

9) I had to mourn the destruction of my elementary school this week which was sad. A buddy of mine from 3rd grade and I toasted to its passing.

10) I’m giving some advice and speaking to someone who is looking to turn a book into a film. On that same develop level I am doing some reading on another project that could be coming to camera in 2014. More once the deal is signed.

11) I did sign my ‘LOI” on the western film “Rifle” that looks to be on track to film this Spring. It would be my latest star turn in a western since “Ghost Town” and I’m eager to get back in the saddle.

12) I’m looking forward to another childhood buddy coming home for the holidays. I enjoy the time with family and friends.

13) Footage prep on “Bestseller” almost done and editing goes full speed after Christmas.

14) “Ashes of Eden” has some ADR and final music but is on track to be complete this month.

I think my blog has been inspired by my Christmas lists that I’ve been working hard to check off. I’m an impulse shopper and I have limited patience for the process so I try to start in advance. I’ve done good keeping up with wrapping while on business calls. I’m going to sign off and get a few things done today. Stay warm out there and enjoy the spirit of the season. Be good to one another.

DJ


Keeping Focus and 2014 Teases

I’m enjoying sipping the coffee on this chilly morning. I slept sound last night after some long moments in the cold yesterday shooting on the film “Dead Quiet”. I got to have some extreme FX make up done with some latex which I’m still peeling off in little pieces. It was nice to see Gabrielle Stone and work again with her. It is hard to believe it was 4 years – oh, how time flies. I also met some real nice cast and crew and I think they will pull off a good film.

It has been a busy week of business as many opportunities that have been worked on for some time have been opening up. It appears that the western that I’ve signed on to star in is moving along and once they do a formal PR announcement I will discuss more. It appears that the faith films in the vein of “Book of Ruth” could be going into production in 2014. Looking at sales reports we should be doing more of these. There appears to be an option against purchase on one of my scripts looking promising. Production and distribution options via a studio could be looming as discussions continue on that front. I’m excited about that because while we are doing some good direct sales with CDI Distribution I would love to focus more on production and less on funding and distribution. Also with budgets climbing into multiple millions having some additional experience of a studio would be welcome.

On the post front, “The Terrorist,” “Ashes of Eden,” “Donors” and “Bestseller” will all be coming out in 2014 and we will find a home for the “Supermodel Showdown” TV show. With 3 shows completed and being shown I think we will narrow down and find a home soon. Also many of the CDI library will also be expanding their audience into the foreign market.

Overall I would say that my plate is full. I’ve had 3 other possible acting projects for 2014 start discussions with me and I’m excited by the possibility of those. I enjoy the occasional “just acting” as it provides a much more relaxed journey. As I’ve mentioned before I also am happy that the state of Michigan has had more feature film production happening. Some of the best advice that I’ve ever had or given was to just do your thing. Do it to the best of your ability. (this means producing especially) Don’t keep looking over your shoulder. By this I mean, don’t concern yourself with what everyone else is doing – focus on what you are doing. I’m so busy with running our business and when I’m not busy with that I’m enjoying family and friends – I don’t keep up with everything everyone else is doing. It is not an arrogance it is a management of time. I have only so much time. I can spend it doing my development, production and distribution duties as well as evaluate acting offers. I’ve got an obligation to give my best. It doesn’t mean that I don’t make errors or fall short – but that is happening with my focus. Imagine if I spent more time stalking people’s work to see what they are doing. I don’t wish for what others have I just build my own and keep moving. Plain and simple – I outwork people. I also try to always give my best. That said, so should you. And between those projects remember to live.


Thanksgiving Crash and Film Catch Up

It is a great Saturday after Thanksgiving and watching MSU play their final game of the season. We’ve also been putting up Christmas decorations outside and the tree may also happen today. Yesterday was a unique Thanksgiving as my girl Courtney and I went up North to a family dinner. Lansing was fine but as we drove North we entered into a good amount of snow. We had just turned onto the country road heading to our destination while listening to the Lions putting a final beat down when the car hit ice. I was the passenger and just stayed calm thinking – “Crap we might end up in the ditch”. The right side of the road was all tree’s including a down tree that had the broken back-end pointed at us like a lance. She calmly counter steered and we instead slid sideways to the left towards a ditch. The ditch ended up being a bigger drop off and next thing I know I’m rolling upside down. Glass breaking and food flying including 3 pies and two dishes of beets and cream spinach. We ended back upright and asked each other if we were okay. We were and realized that we had taken out a barbed wire fence and 3 or 4 wood posts. The engine was smoking some and we shut that down. Both driver doors crunched shut with her window gone. The roof and windshield all smashed in but still there. My door was against a small tree but opened. A few calls and we had tow truck, police and her family there. All good save one vehicle (likely totaled) and the food – so we consider ourselves lucky. More so because we usually take one of the dogs with us and did not and also we had no passengers on this day. So it was a first roll over for me and a Thanksgiving to remember for sure. It was the topper of an already interesting week.

So last week I did two radio shows to discuss our movie projects. One for Lansing Business and the other the Independent Corner. We’re now closing in on a finished “Ashes of Eden” and soon will begin actual editing on “Bestseller”. These films along with “Donors” (another thriller coming out of post) has made recent distribution talks interesting. Actually I’ve been discussing some studio production deals with CDI and I’ve had some additional interest in a few other scripts for possible production.

The drama “7 Stones” just released on Amazon last week on DVD and I think VOD also. “Wicked Spring” released last week in Germany and several of the CDI films will be moving out to these territories in 2014. New contacts are opening daily. Right now it is really making the time to vet out the people and explore the deals.  From there it is seeing which projects fit and see how to proceed next.

I’m in negotiations to maybe do one more film this year only as an actor. I will let you all know if I sign onto the role. I’m waiting on dates to see if they work with my holiday commitments. I also signed a LOI to star in a western next year which I hope will have a full green light by Jan. 2014. I’ve had a few good opportunities present themselves but I will just take them as they come. It will be a productive 2014 both with releases and new projects. “The Terrorist” that I shot in NYC will also be an exciting release. I have much to feel thankful about on the career front.

This is always a time of planning, accessing and getting ready for the new year ahead. I also love the time spent with family, friends and close associates. I urge you all to do the same. Have a great day and for those braving the shopping chaos be kind and safe. I’m off to do a bit more decorating and prep some venison stew for my visiting brother and amigos tomorrow.

Stay warm!

DJ


Project Updates and Possible New Year Direction

I’m sipping down the hazelnut coffee and getting ready to go out and about to a few estate sales. We went last weekend and got a few cool things for the house/office. So we are going to do that today since we are supposed to have more cold and snow. It was a full week between all the movie business and yard work that consisted mainly of the raking many, many  leaves. I’ve had a chance to enjoy with my amigos a few of the Autumn Amber beers I brewed up. I’m going to do some wine over the winter I’m just not sure what as of yet.

This week while sipping that Amber beer with Shane Hagedorn and Dennis Therrien we watched/listened to the sound design on “Ashes of Eden”. The tweaks were being made last week and this week music kicks into high gear. We had some deep discussions on character themes and direction on the music. We should have a finished film by Jan. 1st and we will look at plans to showcase it at that point.

“Donors” is on the last % of sound design and the music there (Also composed by Dennis Therrien) is done. I’m thinking this film will be completed at about the same time as “Ashes of Eden”. They are two very different films in scope and subject matter.

“Bestseller” – The accounting is full updated and I’m happy to say we are right on budget. We have some great plans for this film marketing wise and E.P. Christopher Knight and I have been discussing that. The film will truly stun people with the intensity. I’m very proud of the work put forth by all the artists on this film and they will be proud to be part of this film.

I’ve noticed that on other sets – people walking about as if that is the last place they want to be. I’ve seen the looks on their faces that people get when they are at a JOB. Yes. It is a job but when you are passionate about what you are doing it FEELS less like work and more like an OPERATION. OPERATION STORYTELLER – I want to always try to hire passionate people. If you are in it only for the money – get out. There is easier ways to make a paycheck. If you are in it for 15 minutes of fame – get out. Go do a reality show or be involved in a police chase down a major national highway with news choppers flying overhead. Our work is hard but so rewarding because as the movie rolls out we will always remember what we went through to capture that footage.

OK. I told myself that “Bestseller” was my last film for the year but I was wrong. I came home and had four different opportunities present themselves. I wasn’t looking to tackle anything large as I value my holidays and my family time. I did agree to appear in a film shooting in-state because a friend of mine is playing one of the leads and the filmmakers have a track record of good work.  I will talk more on this once I get my paperwork signed. So more to come…

I’ve been trying to have a few more international talks with distributors. We just had our Civil War film release last week into Germany, Austria and Switzerland and it will be followed by two more with that company. I’m ready to really hit this hard in 2014 and have some great contacts opening up. Also pushing to see what the deal will be on our TV Reality show “Supermodel Showdown – Costa Rica” that has the first 3 shows complete. Say it with me, more to come…

One of the most interesting things that happened this week I can only partially speak on because of good NDA type business. NDA for those scratching your head is “Non-Disclosure Agreement” but I can give a rough idea. A former major studio was recently acquired by the founder of another major studio. One of their people reached out to me after following my career since 2005. I was told that it is their job to monitor the young blood and that people there are impressed by what we’ve done.  They said, “I” and I corrected them to say “we” because everything has been done by many artists) I will take credit for a leadership role but that has been the way since we first got our neighborhood/school friends around with a video camera to make little skit movies. So I had a 3 hour conversation that had insightful stories and answered many questions I’ve had over the years on studio development. I have to say my head was spinning but I think they felt the same way. I’ve discovered that I’ve been doing things very similar to some other very successful people but on a smaller scale. Also in a world that is becoming more and more compartmentalized – broad range thinkers are growing scarce. If nothing happened from this point I would feel as if I’ve already been gifted great insight that will carry me further. That said, I’m now suppose to communicate with the big honcho next week. He’s pretty direct, brutally honest and no bullshit. I was told that I was somewhat hand selected because I might be a good fit for working with this studio. I will put no expectations on the meetings because either something works out and we do business or I’ve gained a new mentor – maybe both. It was funny to hear a clinical review of me as an actor – “Not strikingly attractive but very pleasant on the eyes and all your characters draw audiences in.” I had to laugh but it was a cool example of how the business/creative minds look at things. It was discussed that I produce stuff I want to act in and that I’m not just a producer-for-hire…wait how much $? Just kidding. We did discuss what we had going over here – informal pitching. We talked about my potential willingness to produce their material in the future and just participating as talent. So again we will just wait and see but it could be a new avenue.

OK. I’m off to travel into this beautiful snow fall and do a little shopping. Ho! Ho! Ho! Wait! Thanksgiving first:)

DJ


Wicked Spring, Westerns and What’s Next

What a wonderful week. I’ve been working with our “Bestseller” team to polish up our accounting, get post work set up and promotions. Our female lead Melissa Anschutz has had some interviews come out and we’ve also released a new batch of pictures. Please check out http://www.Bestsellerthemovie.com and see photos, PR and more. It has been a busy but productive week as I’ve prepped for end of the year work with CDI http://www.cdiproductions.com and our films.

This week was also paying out to investors, getting modest residuals, 1st monies flowing on new projects and so banking and business was a good part of the week. I had to catch up on some producer work that needed my attention when I was away. I also balanced that with lunch dates with both my parents. The past weekend was a great one for me standing up with my brother in his marriage.

I got to see the beautiful color grading work that was being done on “Ashes of Eden”. We’re looking at music and sound design work on Tuesday and I’m really looking forward to that. I’ve very excited to finish that film. I’m told that both “The Terrorist” and “Donors” are also VERY close to being done. 2014 will have these features along with “Bestseller” come to audiences worldwide.

The first of the film’s we recently licensed to Germany, Austria and Switzerland rolls out this month. The Civil War film “Wicked Spring” is releasing as “Virginia 1864″ and I’m excited for this and the other CDI library to gain a greater international audience. “Locked in a Room” and “Darkest Night” will also both be releasing there.

I’ve also been working with my LA agent to prep my materials for presentation on a few studio projects. I’ve been in touch with a few casting agents this week and I’m looking at a few projects for acting. I can say after “Bestseller” that I’m warmed up! That film is some of the best action and intensity I’ve put to screen. I was ready for a break upon wrap but already the body is healed and the heart is starting to wonder…”what next?”

We’ve got a few projects being presented here and there for possible financing. I had good talks over the western I’m looking to star in today and I know that will be a great story to tell. Above and beyond all the film work past, present and future I’ve been building a wind break for our little Red Wood tree “Red” and dealing with some leaves. Today we went to a few estate sales and got a few great pieces for the house and office. Well, I didn’t forget about all of you out there. I was a little late posting because I had to watch MSU play while getting  a few other things done. Thank you so much for tuning into what is happening over here as I keep clawing my way to the middle:)

Have a safe Saturday. A peaceful Sunday and productive week.

DJ


Back Home & Happy to Be Doing New Biz

I’m sipping hot coffee looking at the beautiful sunshine coming in the window and I have a large dog snuggled close to my leg. I had to spend a few days getting my sleep schedule straight after my return from the “Bestseller” shoot. Also we now have our back up’s complete and we are now starting to marry audio/visual together before the editing starts. I’m also carefully watching the typhoon in the Philippines where I filmed “Darkest Night”. Such great people and I feel horrible that they had to deal with that massive storm. Very sad. My thoughts are with them there today.

I also had the wonderful job of going into the studio with Shane Hagedorn and see the new color correction on “Ashes of Eden”. The film looks beautiful and I’m excited to have this rolling out soon to audiences. We also had some good time to discuss what is next in our collaborations. On sound design – we are about 85% complete there and also some music has been dropped into the film. I will be watching/listening to some of that this coming week.

Upcoming 2014 is going to bring some great developments by way of releases and sales/licensing to other territories with our films. Give me a few weeks and my mind might drift to what the next film is but right now just getting a handle back on these two films that are in post.

I know that a small Christmas film I had a role in “Holiday Miracle” is going to be showing at a few festivals – it should come to DVD soon after. I’m still looking forward to “The Terrorist” to get its big release. I’m going to reach out and see where we are with that.

Other than these updates I have to give congrats to my brother Adam and his new wife Abby. That was a great event to come home to and a nice change from the day-to-day of being off for over a month with “Bestseller”. If you have not found the Facebook site to see pics from the shoot feel free to explore http://www.bestsellerthemovie.com

Have a great fall day!

DJ


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