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

2021 Hiring Advice – Casting Updates, Film Progress – Development

I’ve awaken to the foggy chill rolling over a Michigan morning but have the hazelnut hot coffee to combat the cold. I see that many more circles of people are suffering losses from the Covid. Again the toll that it’s taking on all fronts will cement this year into the minds of many. I hope the that year ahead brings comfort and better fortune to many who suffered. But the losses of family and friends gone will be more apparent. Businesses that collapsed will have to be re-tooled and for many that means starting over. I hope we can get politics to disappear into the rear-view mirror as the energy between parties and people has been downright shameful. But for the many times whereas I turned off any news and turned on music = JOY. I’ve rediscovered or introduced myself to lots of new music. I’ve pulled myself away from the world of digital text/email communication and enjoyed phone calls again. That has effected my personal and professional relationships in a very positive way. I hope that what we all bring forward is a deeper appreciation for one another. Kinder communication is needed and will enhance all endeavors.

One form of communication that has become popular is grandstanding and lobbying. If a person gets an answer they don’t like or that goes against their desired result they are in essence a poor loser. Now I know the example that leaps into many people’s mind. Accepting that our efforts or the acceptance of our ideas has fallen short is hard for many to take. Often these people might seek to vent their issues to others to gain sympathy and in some cases empathy. I use to marvel in Hollywood at the number of artists flocked together in the cheapest drink joint to loudly complain about all the external forces keeping them from their dreams. Seldom did I hear about sub-par materials, motivational issues and the blame always seemed to fall on someone else. To someone not in this ‘trap’ it feels like you’re standing on the banks of a river watching people swirl hapless and pinball down the river. Who walked into the river? Why? Did someone say it was a shortcut? Get out. Dry yourself off. Get your direction straight and set off towards your goals.

I wanted to think of other examples to help folks. I recently read a huge rant from a crew person in our industry. It proclaimed their willingness to work without pay with people or projects they found fun because of friendship. They also ridiculed someone who had offered them a low paying gig. And it was grandstanding at its finest and it worked to grab attention. Did it get the desired result? The friends of this person who had this person often work free were in agreement. But they did not see themselves as part of the problem. The venter also did not see the issue. A person has so many days a year they can earn. Giving up an unhealthy amount of those days can create a financial strain. This frustration stems from giving too much to an unpaid source (friends?) and creates a desperation when bills come. Now said associate(s) come with a paid offer that doesn’t meet the expectations of individual because of their poor time managing. AND so they are basically saying they cannot manage their work to recreational time. And they like to blame others. And they’ll loudly vent their self made frustrations to anyone who will listen. Usually the only ones who will comfort these people are the non-paying friends. And those with resources to pay realize they don’t want to buy that person at any price. They don’t take accountability and they poorly manage their lives – is that what you want to bring onto a project? But people truly think they are doing something positive by claiming justice and righteousness but really they are saying DO NOT HIRE ME. Don’t be one of those people. I’ve seen so many just take themselves out of the game. Maybe that is what they wanted all the time. They believe they need an excuse to bow out making it someone else’s fault. The reasoning is someone gathering funds to pay cast and crew, standing accountable to investors, is gonna evolve and grow faster than a bunch of friends playing. That has always seemed obvious to me but the logic utilized by many people is very strange.

We live in a melting pot of beautiful people in this world. All biologically more or less the same but wrapped with different customs, food, dress, culture, beliefs and music. With most projects or artistic endeavors – the artists involved are from all ends of the spectrum and therefore cannot be rendered into one group. They can be inspired to focus on one story but still all have various backgrounds to be respected. One of the best respectful practices one can give is to listen. Real listening allows real dialog. This becomes healthy communication. In all walks of life and in all endeavors I hope that in 2021 healthy communication becomes a practice. Good storytelling is not condescending, preachy or judgmental and when done proper is one of the most powerful forms of communication. I will continue to practice this form of communication because I believe it most effective and leading by example is best in my opinion. Maybe a year of less talk more action will influence others and the world can shift. Shift to a place of beautifully differences but none-the-less all the same.

Much of this stems from the masses of people wanting 2021 to be very different. Some things are outside your control but are you doing your best with what you can control? I certainly would get an A for effort. Now by the nature of who I am and what I do I’m a self starter. Others are learning this as they are forced to work from home. Work when you decide to work and relax when you decide to relax. Know thyself. Learn to shift gears cleaning. At rest be at rest do not let the mind spin with regret of the past or anxiety of the future – relax. In the present get the recharge and rebalance you need and with a new day adventure forth. You cannot stop age and death but you can control what you do on your journey. Appreciate yourself, others and this life adventure. I try to remain modest in the light of success and view loss and setback as a learning experience. I know of some fighting battles to stay on this journey of life – do not take it lightly. Think through your stresses and remove their hold on you and watch certain binds disappear with a thought. We can imprison or set ourselves free. We have that ability. 2021 set yourself free and be the best you.

OK – enough of the deep ramble… I’ve refilled the coffee cup and the smell of bacon fills the house so let’s get on with this. Onto the movies and other endeavors-

Let’s talk about THE QUEST TRILOGY. The three stories are unique because of the glimpse into how these important and overlooked events in films 1-3 effected or were effected by angels fallen and faithful. Because they are the thread between all three stories and time, space and dimension are powerful aspects of existence slowly being revealed to us, the stories go from PRESENT (Forty Nights) to the PAST (Chasing the Star) and land in the FUTURE (The Christ Slayer). As the new campaign rolls out for the holidays I had to enlighten parties to the fact that the lack on linear was intentional and part of the greater story. So many little nuisances to discover. I had a fan last week talk about with each viewing they discover a new gem. Something they missed prior and so I’m thankful that some are studying the trilogy. If you have not seen these three films please do in the proper order and leave a review for THE QUEST TRILOGY as a whole. I look forward to seeing those reviews so peel the onion and enjoy.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND

Available on many platforms – on ENCOURAGE TV we’ve topped 700k viewers with millions overall watching. Now you can watch FREE with ads.

WILD FAITH – As this film makes its way around the world it’s always interesting to see how other countries view a story. Humor is different from place to place as is the general acceptance or sex or violence and just “grasping” the story as a whole. It is interesting because the ‘Civil War’ was the American Civil War although several countries were involved. Here is a pretty good review from the UK that I enjoyed.

Also funding and distribution talks on HASTINGS the spin-off TV show is underway. Season one is written and the budgeting and production flow is being examined. The first round of proposed directors are looking at the scripts for assignment. I have several more talks to have but this next endeavor is coming together and what a win it would be for Michigan. I think we’ll be starting a Hastings FB development site. Also I think my clean face is going away as I let Ben Lily slowly start to creep forward.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA The end of 2021 will include the filming of CDI’s 1st WW2 era film. We are gathering our commits before forming the business entity in early 2021. We have almost all our funders in line. We had additional funders jump on board last week and the final few should be on board by year’s end. In the new year we’ll also be talking with various sponsors to travel with us on the film. Right now we’re looking at German or German-speaking actors as several of the leads are German POW’s. If you fit the bill feel free to reach out with a reel on the http://www.cdiproductions.com website (Subscribe to the Tribe) or right here.

SMOKE & MIRRORS – the final VFX work is underway and we’re taking our time and we’ll hit some festivals and a special showing at the Dodge Turner once this virus passes. The full feature is in development with me revisiting the feature script. This is a great turn of the century based story that will star David Gries from the CDI tribe.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – this project has completed some early filming but is now preparing to go full steam ahead into 2021 with a series of interviews. We will premiere this later in 2021 another great thing to look forward to.

LOST HEART – This film is like a lighthouse casting its positive light out into the darkness giving laughter and hope to many out there. This is a feel good, thought-proving film and audiences are responding in kind. I’ve been just elated by some of the wonderful pieces of fan mail. What makes its even more exciting is when it comes from peers I’ve never met. I had a nice note from an actress who has watched it twice after it was referred to them by a friend who illustrates for the Jim Henson company. I’ve said it before, I think this is the closest to a feel good Spielberg movie that CDI has done. I’ve gotten lots of compliments on the script but I want to say that without the great performances the writing would not be enough. If you are in need of a smile, laugh and uplift please do watch the film. It is available on most platforms!

I might have missed something but I think it’s time I get on with my day. I have a week of investor dispersement ahead and more development work. Plus each day playing elf wrapping up some love presents. I will end with this tidbit from Nathaniel Nose who is editing BEST YEARS GONE. He reached out one day after reviewing all the footage and complimented me and the cast on performances. He was excited to see me doing comedy (Mike Deeney:) and he thought this was the best performance of my career. Okay that is subjective but it still made me feel good. I left it all on the table as Gil Gilles and I’ve brought some wonderful characters to life (Jesus, Ben Lily, Paul Landings, Stan Reed, Buddy Colt, Lynn Kendall…) so I’ll just take it for what it is – it tells me that if you’ve enjoyed my other roles you might enjoy this one. He also gave very high marks to my co-star Erika Hoveland and that is part of the key. Having great artists to co-exist with and create so thank you Erika/Sylvia.

Have a great week. Lead by example. Seek accountability. Control what you can. Be good to others.

DJ

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