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

Posts tagged “axe

‘ROCKY’ Could Have Been A Faith Film and Other Coffee Ramblings…by DJ Perry

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The chilly fall has settled into Michigan making sipping coffee or hot cider even more enjoyable. Now is when I have to start thinking of the winter ahead. The stuff that will have to be put away and stored. The firewood for the coming snow. Even the change of clothes to heavier layers, is a normal process in Michigan. I think last week we discussed something which was the delay in shooting our next feature by a quarter. The funds are there and so many would want to rush to production, the fun part. But, we’re putting the icing on the cake for a wonderful distribution deal on WILD FAITH. It has been a touch slower since I’ve had the joy of working with the Hollywood agent system. But, in the end it will be worth it and will directly have an effect on the TV series. Upcoming 2019 will see the major organizing of the release and push on the series. We are planning to shoot in Michigan. Likely a series of shows shot in a tight production block. It’s new waters for me so I’m learning something new every day.

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Tomorrow we’ll announce via PR our recent Crown Award and the Burbank International Film Fest win for ‘Best Faith Film’ and while I would have loved to have it gone against all the films – they work by genres. But WILD FAITH is just an accurate look at 1870’s life. As the screenwriter I did not add any overdue FAITH. People we’re just more living in tune with their faith during that time period. Life was more wooly and I think people had more life and death encounters be it disease, drought, famine, bear attacks – you get the point. I love the faith and inspirational themes. ROCKY being one of my favorite illustrations of that. On his way to the fight – the father priest throws down and few blessings. Yes. ROCKY could be a faith film and it would have surely won ‘Best Inspirational’ as I’ve seen it inspire masses and I’ve been inspired by that film. My point is, I’ve never set out to make a ‘Faith Film’ and I’ve never set out to not make a ‘Faith Film” – I’ve told a story. Characters in almost all stories are confronted by a situation that tests their faith thus the relatable conflict.

Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ must find her faith. Indiana Jones fights to keep his faith versus his scientific reasoning, Men vs shark in JAWS, puts faith out there to be chewed upon as a topic. I think every film made about mankind has faith woven into it. So, is it that the content must have X amount ‘faith’ in it? Judges in chairs that spin around and hit a button if your film has the required ‘faith’? I appreciate it mostly, the acceptance to our films. But because the story, characters, situations, lessons were all something that were touched upon. That shed a bit of light on our faults projected onto a screen, so we can better understand ourselves. Deep. I know. Occasionally, I feel quite grand with my profession, pride like a good woodworker,  or any other artist. Mostly, I still feel like that kid, make believing with my neighborhood friends living out our own  STRANGER THINGS life.

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I’ve changed some in my screenwriting, I’ve noted. My earlier self was darker, heavier and nihilistic. My mom often questioning, why I kept dying in my films. Now, I’ve always had a funny, lighter side to my personality, ask anyone who really knows me. But, most of my writing came in my moments of solitary. Also writers in Michigan benefit from our long winters but the end result is often PSYCHO or THE SHINING writing in nature. Those previously mentioned films are two of my favorite for the season. Another side note: I do want to do another horror film but it has to be good. By good I mean story. Creating horror films in the handful of story formulas is like a rite of passage. The lovers of that genre cannibalize the artists with dastardly reviews. But meet them in person and they’ve always been very nice. Maybe because they saw you on camera foaming at the mouth and swinging an axe. Anyway, I was saying that I enjoy the laughter and smiles. I recall many showings of WICKED SPRING whereas people wept in the theater. We did that with our story. But I see so much negativity and anxiety with people not coping to our new world. A world where we’re more communication-connected than ever before BUT we’re not. FRIENDS have a new definition thanks to FACEBOOK but my definition stays the same. I want to be part of making people think, smile, laugh and still occasionally cry, if that comes with an enlightenment.

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The ‘Faith Film’ anti-goodhousekeeping seal of quality is being shattered as more storytellers (without labels) are returning to tell stories that their grandmother, mothers and fathers would enjoy. Ben Hur (The Original) and Ten Commandments (The Classics) were always on TV when we had our family Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter gatherings.  There are great organizations that are rising to recognize and award this kind of content. I always worry about censorship, we can choose to watch what we want. But if a demand is there, look at the rise in METV, Heroes & Icons, and the rise of the faith market. People are casting their votes with their rentals and purchases. I feel most honored by the online communications from viewers having powerful emotions invoked from our stories. It is a dream to have holidays where the films play and families bond over a watch. My goal is to make a few classics. All of them might not make it but we’ll give our ‘best effort’ every time.

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I was reminded yesterday when inquiring about a director whom a close associate had worked with – their last film isn’t done. It hasn’t been completed in a matter of several years. As an actor, I’ve got two films shot in recent years, one a co-starring role, not finished. I’ve got a call, meeting, catch up with a director friend who’s trying to finish one of two projects we did together in the very distant past. It bothers me occasionally talking someone’s new project(s) when those people have loose strings to tie up. There are many films about that don’t interest me as a viewer, but I always tip my hat to finishing. Finishing is a skill needed in this industry, without it, suffering. But it sounds like my old friend is trying to finish, so that’s a good thing.

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This week I finished my first solid draft on our next script with BMG entitled LOST HEART. In meetings with our distributor, they really liked a concept made easier that I had written something in the same vein. But I wanted to apply some of the growth I had made mentioned above. Same log line but different script. I had a wonderful time creating this story and it became so alive with characters and a world, other’s will long to visit. Jeff Kennedy and I, my partner in CDI, semi-retired – always had that as a goal. To create a world and invite people inside it. The CDI first five – really helped hone this craft. You have to BELIEVE in the world. Another 2019 goal is to get Jeff Kennedy back into a director’s chair. I have a few good ideas but they will require a good pow wow or two.

MBF has been in editing. They shot a few pick up establishing shots and transitions this week. Always good to do this once you get into the edit and really see what could be added. This film I’m so proud of. It showcases and pleads for better treatment of our war vets and dogs, that can heal us. We continue to release official stills from this film. For now the spotlight is given to…

THE CHRIST SLAYER!

Find our social media site on Facebook – lots of updates.

https://www.facebook.com/thechristslayer/

Part 3 has a bold name. But the title has a meaning that audiences will discover, maybe not what they thought. I’m excited to say that Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy is coming all together. I watched a recent 5k work flow version with 98% VFX. Color Correction and conforming still lie ahead. ADR, music and sound design are steadily under construction. I’ve been working with the distributor and their marketing team as we prepare for release in early 2019. I was really happy with the story, smiling throughout. I love watching artists friends give moving performances. That’s what we want deep down. To captivate and transfer that emotion via story. This will be an exciting watch and so again, catch up – parts 1 (FORTY NIGHTS) & 2 (CHASING THE STAR) on Pureflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Christian Cinema, Parables TV….and so on. To our cast and crew, it will be worth the wait.

Okay, time for a pumpkin spice english muffin and another coffee.

Have a great Sunday!

DJ

 

 

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April Updates – Springing into Action

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The hazelnut coffee is flowing and the sun shines- but the chill remains outside. We chopped up some more wood to feed to wood stove in the office this week. I’m pretty good with the ole axe which is not only a great work out but helps develop your focus. I have several items we can chat about. This week I’ve had good meetings, location scouts and several business insights. Let’s start with…

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“Wild Faith” – after our string of sold out shows in Lansing and strong sales at Grand Rapids (which was just picking up speed) -we’ve now started our run at Emagine Theaters in Novi, MI and will play until the 12th. We might extend our week run if our weekend sales are strong enough. We did also just complete a ‘closed caption’ file which our distributor usually handles but having this pre-home video file will now allow our hearing impaired to also enjoy it in theaters. It will be added to our showings.

It will be playing in Florida at the ICFF next month and we’re working with several of you individually to try to get the film showing in your area. Hastings, MI where we filmed – please know we’re trying to set up at the theater. We might have to do weekday runs vs weekend as the main theater is under construction and they have studio obligations. So if you’re in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area and want to see this film get over to Novi where it will play until the 12th of April. Four shows daily should provide several opportunities. If you want it to play around you we need contact info for the theater/manager/owner and for all of you to reach out and ask for the film. Thank you for all of you who have come out to enjoy this film.

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While we’ve been pushing this film out we’ve been working post-production on part 3 of The Quest Trilogy – The Christ Slayer. We’ve had a surge of “Forty Nights” watchers because of the Easter season. And if watching that on Amazon Prime you might as well watch part 2 “Chasing the Star” – enjoy. Part 3 trailer is being color corrected and music composed. It will release in the coming weeks to start building hype for the pre-Christmas theatrical release and the wide home video release Easter 2019.

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Joining these biblical adventure films on Amazon Prime is our Civil War classic “Wicked Spring” and now “Ashes of Eden” joins it. The latter was directed by Shane Hagedorn and is a cool cautionary tale. I play an ex-military guy who tried to walk the straight and narrow but life did not quite allow that. It has many of the CDI tribe playing great dramatic characters. Check it out!

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“Ashes of Eden”

MBF (Man’s Best Friend) is now in pre-production with dates to start filming in late May into June. We’ve been targeting our crew for the next film and locking locations. We had a tech scout last week. I ended up getting more emotionally affected by both the prisoners at the jail and even more so at the animal shelter. After touring the shelter and having my heart poked by several of the stares begging to be taken and given a loving home – I fought to keep composed. The idea is to use shelter dogs and we plan to do an adoption event for our picture dogs. Once the film is ready to play theaters I also want to do adoption events in every city we play to. When I was pitching our plan to the shelter workers I almost lost it. I was there as a producer but my emotions surged. I was embarrassed that I had to fight to keep it all together. I had initial worries about getting to the right emotional places with my character. Now I worry about too much emotion and audiences not being able to understand me. I really did a doozy to myself writing something that is so wide open with vulnerable emotion and plays to my weakness. But it all felt truthful and honest and so I know that will only help the performance. All this is before even factoring in fully the heartache of the military vets. But I saw lines drawn between vets, prisoners, adoption dogs – broken souls wanting to be whole. The film also has a cautionary tale woven within. I think most of my scripts do. I’m very excited to tell another story with our wonderful CDI artists. I just found myself missing the carefree, humorous nature of ole Ben Lily in our past “Wild Faith” tale.

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Aside from all this I’ve been writing daily and getting some of the future content in line. I’ve been researching for the next biblical trilogy and working on some other exciting scripts. The new CDI website at http://www.cdiproductions.com is almost complete with phase one. Next phases include merchandise and streaming which is on deck. Please check out the website. This is where many of our castings and updates will be posted. The battle plans for the next couple years are underway.

I’m going to bring this to an end. I’ve enjoyed you all stopping by – next Saturday (April 14th) will also be the release of the music video I participated in. Trey Connor is the artist and the song is called “My Ghosts” – soon.

Be good to one another. Get out to Novi Imagine and travel back to 1875 with “Wild Faith” on the big screen. If you want to see more of our storytelling get onto Amazon Prime and take a watch.

DJ

 

 


Welcome to December full of updates!

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Always building…

It has been a week of just beautiful days in Michigan. I was able to enclose my wood shed in with logs from the recently fallen tree. I also took the axe to the older logs and so the stockpile for the office wood stove is growing. I want to welcome our new readers from Ireland and Japan. That is what I love about this blog. Artists, perhaps filmmakers but united here by passion. Invite someone you know to share with us.

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Now last week was an unexpected loss of a mentor (Rance Howard) and to all those who reached out – thank you. I’m at a loss of exact words but we met over storytelling on Miracle at Sage Creek and that relationship took us through many stories. I will miss sitting on the patio in Yuma, AZ having a nice Mexican food lunch and just talking.

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On set “Forty Nights” with Judy & Rance Howard and T (Tony Hornus)

With my experience I find myself being a mentor more often and losing my own mentors. What a man Rance was working right up until his passing. Bill McKinney (Deliverance) was the same way having filmed 2 weeks before he passed away. I don’t think you retire from being an artist. I am sad that I won’t be able to get Rance’s feedback on The Christ Slayer film. He was so excited about the final chapter of our trilogy. It was a major accomplishment and he loved playing the Devil. He also loved that we took an honest look at the ‘being’ and relationship he shared with others, Jesus in particular. But he will be looking down and I hope he is proud.

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The Howard boys several years ago –

I do look forward to working with Clint one day and perhaps Ron and sharing some of the great conversations I had over the years with Rance about his family. I will be sending a nice note to both of them with the trilogy once Part 3 is done and released.

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The Christ Slayer is locking up the VFX and edit and preparing to move into post music and sound design with the amazing Dennis Therrian who will once again compose the heart and soul into the story. The first official director’s poster is about to be completed. Also once we hit the new year the PR on TCS will pick up. Right now it’s all Forty Nights and Chasing the Star. They have been doing great over at Amazon and our other fine rental/retailers. Family 7 TV network in the Netherlands will be showing Chasing the Star and soon after I expect Forty Nights. Also I saw some promotional give aways for Chasing the Star to celebrate the release into the United Kingdom. Forty Nights should also be joining our friends in the UK. This time next year all three will be released! Also Chasing the Star will be playing on the big screen in Bedias, Texas at Miller’s Theatre I believe on Dec 7th. I’m very happy about all the developments on these films.

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These two knuckleheads from ‘Wild Faith’

Wild Faith – the end credits are almost done. The VFX work is all in and the audio is being tweaked around it while color correction takes place. We did paperwork on all this at week’s end and so if a short time we’ll have all that complete. We will have a finished film VERY SOON. Before the end of the year – Merry Christmas to all of us.

This month we also did some work on other properties to boost them back into the marketplace. ASHES OF EDEN has a few options/offers to rejoin the market. We’ll be making a decision on that this week. A child’s animated feature THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ will be releasing back into the marketplace and FIGURE IN THE FOREST is making a few moves. Our bridge into India is also underway and soon I should have news to report there. In 2018 we will have that bridge open. Many more deals will be put into play.

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Where ideas are born…

This week will be several meetings as we bring 2017 to an end. I’m going to cut this short as we’re taking the mom’s to a beautiful turn of the century house for a Christmas event this afternoon. I hope you all get to spend some quality time with your loved ones. Our development work on MBF continues and we plan to move into full preproduction at the end of January 2018.

Be good to one another!

DJ