Final Premiere Packing & LCC Interview
A chilly Sunday morning filling up on the hazelnut coffee and trying to balance all the final things I need to do before my promotional/premiere trip to the Philippines for “Darkest Night”. I’m going to try to do some final yard work today and work to get final packing done. The whole idea that I’ll get to see more of my surroundings versus the few hours between long shoot days on set is appealing. I’m excited to see the results of our hard work. It will be good to see everyone and the hospitality they show is second to none. I’m not sure of my set schedule while there but I know it will be enjoyable work.
“Renovation” http://www.renovationthemovie.com is again hitting the fanzine pages with the announcement that the film has signed up all worldwide rights. It will start selling foreign rights this year and next year will see a limited theatrical with all following DVD, VOD, and additional releases to the domestic marketplace. Again a big congrats to all the hardworking cast and crew.
I was told the Grand Rapids, MI premiere of “7 Stones” will be Dec. 16th so it will be nice to return home to yet another premiere of another great film. I’m still not sure of any premiere dates on “Benjamin” which is complete and “Locked in a Room” is still tweaking sound. So I’m excited to showcase these films before they come to all of you watchers.
I’m also excited about all the new projects getting ready to pop into production. I’ve had many more phone conferences this week over our projects in development. Horror, Westerns, Family/Faith we’ve got movement around the board and I’m excited to enjoy the holidays and be ready for a busy 2012!
I’ll keep this update short and my next update will be from Manila.
Here is an interview story I did for Lansing Community College magazine THE LOOK OUT. Page 12
I as usually wrote way too much for my interview so I thought I would post it here in full. Here is the full interview with editor Nathan Watson.
INTERVIEW WITH LCC ALUMNI DJ PERRY, TV/Film Actor, Writer & Producerwww.imdb.com/name/nm0675036/
Thank you Nathan. I appreciate this opportunity to “pay it forward” to the students at LCC. My name is DJ Perry and I’m the co-owner of Collective Development Inc. (www.cdiproductions.com) a motion picture company in Lansing, Michigan. I like to describe myself as a minor league player in the film acting, writing and producing world. I’ve starred in 30 to 40 films that can be seen playing on TV and in your Netflix and home video and distributed to countries around the world. Our company has been in charge of several millions of dollars in producing films in all genres. From the DOVE APPROVED family faith films “Figure in the Forest” and “Book of Ruth, Journey of Faith” currently playing on Trinity Broadcast Network to the Lionsgate western “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” the Michigan company has done it all. It is now moving into international production with its involvement in “OUTSIDE THE WIRE, The Forgotten Children of Afghanistan” doc film and the demonic horror film “Darkest Night” shot in the Philippines…OK! I better slow my roll…
>Ok, no problem! Here are my questions.>How did LCC help you to be successful in your career?
LCC played a very vital role in my career and I’m going to tell it to you straight. I come from a family that always pushed education and thankfully reading was something I’ve always loved. Prior to the digital age almost all information was bestowed to an individual either by reading or often bad classroom film strips. I’ve always excelled and been good at what I truly enjoy. But if a subject failed to interest me I did very middle of the road. I want to be very REAL with this interview because I think many of the students out there can relate to where I was. I was unsure of what I wanted to do as a career. Now several years later I can I say I’ve discovered a few nuggets of wisdom that I can share. I will try to give those nuggets out to the…I was just asking myself if LCC has a mascot? If they do I don’t know what it is. So I’ll just say the student body.
How did you first get into filming and acting?
My fate chases its own tail here in our story. I will try to explain. There use to be this thing called an analog tape recorder:) Also another device called a record player:) The over 30 crowd can laugh but recently at a MSU freshmen welcome event they failed to know who George Lucas was. DOH! Back to our story…So in elementary school (Northwestern) into middle school (Otto Middle) my friends and I would make these story tapes much like the old radio dramas. Okay use Google if you don’t know what a radio drama is. It is like a book on tape. You don’t know what a…forget it:) Anyway, when the home camcorders came out early in high school (Sexton Big Reds) my friends and I started doing these “MTV” style and “Saturday Night Live” type shows for family and friends. These were done one take, shot in order with the music on set coming from a boom box. (Look up Boom Box:) This led us to being allowed to do videos versus book reports or final exams. Skits of “War of the Worlds,” “The Hunt for Bigfoot,” “The Revolting Vomits” and they even allowed us to view at lunch hours in the library. We had great FUN making these videos and suddenly we had FANS.
I spent many hours of my high school days writing scripts, planning shoot dates and gathering help. So I graduated from Sexton High School in Lansing a C+/B- student. The plan was to follow in my father’s footsteps and go to Michigan State University. My grades put my on a waiting list at MSU and my only interest seemed to be soccer and fooling with the video camera. Now I had played soccer overseas on a traveling team and had I been able to continue onto MSU’s soccer team maybe my career path would have been different. I was lucky in that we had one of if not the best community colleges right here in Lansing.
I enrolled and started talking basic classes at LLC. Beyond the required I took a soccer class (We won our end of the class tournament) and some film classes with Bill Blanchard. It was a blessing to have some classes that actually interested me. I do recall enjoying some English classes that helped nurture my writing which does turn me the occasional script writing fee. More than that LCC offered me the next steps to explore something that I was sincerely passionate about. LCC gave me the 1st basic tools I could use to turn my passion into a career. I am business/artist and I think that Business of Art is a class that should be taught. You can find art classes but why not require classes in how to build a career. I think this is a time in history where people should seek employment in their passions. If you cannot find that employment you must CREATE IT. Small business can be a haven for the artists. I know various artists who’ve started their own recording careers and record labels. They’ve created haunted house attractions and magic shows. They stage western gunfights at State Fairs across the country. Just like a college education – it may take you longer on a passion path – but working towards something you love feeds you with a feeling of satisfaction. It will seem less like work and more like a calling if you love what you do. You don’t want to end up in 10 years making decent money but watching a clock like you’re in detention every day.
What is your favorite part about being involved in the film industry?
Easy answer – the artists I get to work with. Movies are created by a small army of artists. They all love their craft and when they are brought together in this controlled chaos a film is born. I love that I’ve traveled and worked with film groups in the Mountains of India (Karma: Crime, Passion, Reincarnation), a mango estate outside Manila, Philippines, (Darkest Night) racetracks in Cornwall, Canada (Off Track), beaches in Costa Rica (Supermodel Showdown Costa Rica) and resort town Rosarita, Mexico (Tangy Guacamole). If the audiences takes to a film or not doesn’t change the good feelings of united hard work these artists took to bring a film into being. As you do more projects it gets to be like a reunion with old friends. I also love getting to work with people that I’ve watched and admired since childhood. Every Friday night was “The Life & Times of Grizzly Adams” and everyday after school was “Kung Fu”. Having worked and gotten to know people like Dan Haggerty and David Carradine are priceless experiences. More recently, I’m a fan of the new “Battlestar Galatica” TV series and so drinking and hanging with Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) was a very cool experience. The people I get to work with and the places I’ve been are my favorite parts of the film industry.
Could you tell me about the process of putting Darkest Night together?
I read an interesting breakdown on www.mandy.com (Actors pay attention) of a horror film shooting overseas. They were looking for an American leading man. I contacted them and the main writer/producer Russ Williams was a fan of my work on a gruesome horror film I starred in called “The 8th Plague”. (I recommend the Special Edition:) From there it just all came together. My company CDI came in to help with the domestic distribution and we’re now actually committed to a slate of three films together. Production with Gothic Pictures International has expanded the scope of our work as we build an East/West bridge for film release. I leave Nov. 1st back to Manila, Philippines for a news conference and press junket. It seems that I was the 1st American to shoot on a Philippine film production. I’m not sure if I actually am but their National media says I am so we’ll roll with that. We’re doing the premiere and promotions around the Cinemanila Film Festival before it releases to the SM Theater’s across the country. Check out www.darkestnightmovie.com for more on this groundbreaking project.
When will Darkest Night be in American theaters?
Next year 2012 is when the film will head to the United States for release. I’ve had some limited theatricals here in the US and I’m working hard to finalize what will be my first wide theatrical US films. Overseas I co-starred in the dark thriller “Karma, Crime, Passion, Reincarnation” that played across India in 2009. It played festivals around the world but distribution talks here fell apart three different times over money. I was sad that the film didn’t come to the USA save the MIAAC Film Festival in New York City. I’m 100% certain that “Darkest Night” will find its way here. I think it will likely go to CHILLER TV where a couple of my horror films (GPS & SAVAGE) have gone. Home video and foreign sales are certain as we’ve got great contacts here in the US and we actually just signed a worldwide rights deal on a co-production we did in Yuma, AZ called “Renovation” (www.renovationthemovie.com). Theatrical release can be costly so we’ll have to see what domestic distributors here think but I can say the film is truly frightening. It is about an American brought to his soon-to-be- wife’s home at Christmas to meet her traditional family. You want to talk about a real Nightmare before Christmas. This is a groundbreaking mix of East meets West filmmaking and I think audiences will dig it.
Nathan I want to thank you so much for this opportunity to share a few stories. I’ve been a key note speaker at several creative arts forums and was convinced a few years back to start a blog for the struggling artist. It is called “Clawing My Way To The Middle” www.djperryblog.comand just addresses the highs and lows of being an artist businessman. Luckily and fortunately it has been more up’s than down’s but that is due to hard work, sacrifice and having a wonderful institution like Lansing Community College to give a somewhat lost artist a sense of direction. Thank you LCC!
Our documentary film “Outside the Wire: The Forgotten Children of Afghanistan” will screen in the Local Filmmakers Showcase program at the 14th annual East Lansing Film Festival on Sat., Nov. 12, at 1 p.m. at Wells Hall’s Hitchcock Theatre on Red Cedar Road, near Spartan Stadium on campus. LLC teacher Dennis Therrian and director Anthony Hornus will attend!