Conquering Chaos & CDI Updates
Hazelnut hazelnut coffee of mine you warm my belly and make me feel fine:) I have to say it was a busy semi-chaotic week due to some of the elements floating about. The week had some great high points which include a screening of the rough cut of “Ashes of Eden” which was actually a very powerful watch. It is the performances that really make this film stand apart from 90% of the indie films. That was a comment by our DP and it is true. More times than not casting is not always giving the attention that it should. I also see trends in Michigan that will unfortunately keep our talent’s value low. It is the excitement of being offered a job at the lowest possibly fee and the talent and management way too eager to just say YES, YES, YES. What they need to realize is that those producers/directors want the best for their film knowing that talent is key. Why pay big money for a talent and surround them with the lowest fee taking/limited experienced talent? I had one film in Louisiana talk to me as a co-star but in response to a small counter offer they went with someone’s friend who volunteered. Now maybe that will turn out okay or maybe they will get just what they paid for.
I recently did a film at scale to help a friend/filmmaker out and that was because I liked the material, the lead talent I would be working with and it only took up 2 days. Now scale is about 1/10 of my normal rates and I’ve been paid considerably more. Why? All of you fans out there. That is right – after 40+ films playing on numerous networks in various countries and millions in units/sales – I have a beloved group of fans. I’m not talking about Facebook friends or twitters – I’m speaking of the people I don’t know that are reflected in the units moved, VOD watches and viewers on TV. I’m careful with choices I make these days because I’m thinking of them/you. I want to make good choices and help tell good stories. I do understand that different folks like different films and due to my work across genres not everyone might like all my films. My mother is not a fan of my horror films. 🙂 I’m not talking about these ego building “fake it” folks playing Hollywood. I’m talking about being true to yourself, your audience and in turn demanding true compensation for your art and followers.
Tuesday was a watch through on “Donors” with a full music score and it is always great to see how the images take on a completely different vibe once the haunted atmosphere is added. It is an artsy thriller and I found my attention captured and trapped right along with the films lead Niki Saletta. This film is getting closer to being complete.
Weds was a day of reworking the business summary for the “Supermodel Showdown” TV series in post. We have several interested parties in this series and I’m enjoying watching it all come together.
Chaos exists until the order within can be seen. So I wanted to express a few feelings on CHAOS. Recently an aspiring producer who I think bit off more than they can chew made a comment to an associate that “You know how chaotic production is…” as an excuse. If you worked on the recent CDI associated film “Ashes of Eden” or previous CDI films (especially the more recent) you will recall challenges but not chaos. I’ve been at this 17 years and I have achieved zen and peace in my personal life. Drama causing folks will be put outside the zen zone until they get their energy straight. I bring that calm onto a set because if you are in chaotic reactionary mode you’re always barely getting just what you can get. With strong pre-production and the right leadership – you get a peaceful fertile garden to grow new and exciting moments on-camera. IF you are existing in pure CHAOS something is very wrong and it starts at the very top. Even capable keys need that leadership glue – again there is no manual to teach some of these things. Either you have those qualities and possess the ability to align mutual respect in the most productive path for a given project or you don’t. One recent project I know of is operating in chaos. They are in total reaction mode and they have a serious cart before the horse issue. Also if you are producing always deal in truth. I know the reputation that some comically give producers as slimy car salesmen played by Steve Martin, telling everyone what they think people want to hear. I disagree – truth only. I vet everything out hard these days. When you discover things said to be untruthful it really destroys any confidence in a project. Producers-in-training in bad need of a paycheck should not accept or sell themselves on jobs they are not qualified. This has caused issue on our projects when I refuse a credit to a crew member. The last thing I want is someone to hire someone after seeing they possess a credit on a CDI project only to find this person NOT qualified once they hire them. This is how films go off schedule, off budget and poison investor wells because someone unqualified sold a skill set that doesn’t exist. Now I’ve had my set backs in this industry but it always has fallen on the integrity of 3rd parties. INTEGRITY once lost in this business is nearly impossible to get back. It is a very small world. Over the years I’ve seen many come and go – buried along the filmmakers “Trail of Tears”. Yesterday I had a phone call and a nice card from two investors on a previous film who had recently gotten checks. I love writing people checks. It makes me feel good. I know it is odd but I do. Be true.
Now I will get off my soapbox – We had 4 films in contract stage for Germany but one of them had to be taken off the slate after they realized it was a 44 min short. All the others are feature films but I was still disappointed. Not just the $$ loss but I was excited for German audiences to see the work of these artists. That film will find a home in various countries but I too get disappointed. But I had to look at the positive of the 3 films going to Germany. I’ve had some previous releases in Germany and due to “The 8th Plague” selling well over there we are doing a pre-deal on the “Soul Eater” prequel.
I’ve been communicating with various TV Networks and companies and I look forward to filming some of these other stories we have been developing. I’m going to have a nice breakfast here and relax into the weekend. I hope all of you enjoy your weekend and prepare for a good week ahead.
Live true, be you and let integrity be your compass in business and life.