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

Posts tagged “Bruce Lee

Making Yourself A ‘Must Re-Hire’ and other CDI Updates

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I’m sitting here sipping some hazelnut coffee from my Double JJ coffee mug. (See above) As of yesterday I’ve just about got all my gear from my last film adventure settled back in. Like I said before, when I go off I’m packing for myself personal, business and the character I played. I had almost as much stuff for ole “Niles Cass’ the role I played in LOST HEART.

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I’ve been playing clean up on the project. A bit high on expendable costs and damages. It is funny how people think that everything is tied to a faceless corporation when it is not. It is a small group of hardworking actor/producers working to tell a story. We will be installing a policy ‘CDI welcome book’ for future projects. We had a few damages that were not reported as they should. So you get to the end thinking everything was smooth and you find a damaged walkie talkie here and a broken clamp there. That responsibility, accountability is what makes a true KEY in filmmaking. You can know the gear and how to set it up and break it down but attitude (A #1 CDI requirement) and pride in your work (A CDI goal) are so important.

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Hard working CDI team in the desert of Yuma, AZ

I see the difference between someone who works with their own gear and someone working with rental gear unless they are a complete professional. By that, I mean treating others gear as yours and making sure that great care is taken because it is your name as accountable. Now I’m now talking about billing people for damages which would only be mildly satisfying. I really care about people and their development.  At least in our area there are only so many professional outfits creating content under the proper insurance and conducting proper business. If you are lucky enough to get these opportunities you should always work to leave the best impression. I know that rule as talent. So few regional companies are paying for narrative feature film and if you get that opportunity you want to shine. That means repeat work and if you think that we don’t ask for and get recommendations, it happens all the time.

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I was recently disappointed in a friend who does some work for us and must have misrepresented themselves. I got a call about his producer work on a certain project. The problem is that he wasn’t on the producer team. So when I got the call I was just honest but you could hear what the words did. It shot holes all in the credibility of this person and his words. What did it do to my opinion of this person?

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CDI Crew working on set of WILD FAITH

So someone who comes up short might just need more development under a more experienced KEY. But poor communication and lack of taking accountability can end the possibility of something long term. It can also add the dreaded “but…” along with your name. Such as “He’s got all kinds of talent but…(insert the short coming here). I’ve also had to deal with gear with pre-existing damage that the responsibility is put upon production. It is why honest and long-sighted vendors are a must. Overall we had an amazing crew and some are on their 3rd or 4th+ films with CDI. Having a handful of those great relationships will assist cast or crew in maintaining a good career. These lessons go for cast too. If you get known for being late, bad attitude or being unprepared – your future is in jeopardy. So always give your best. Take accountability for mistakes. And always strive to increase communications.

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LOST HEART is ‘in the can’ and editing is about to begin. You can read back on the previous posts to get all the gushing. It will be a heart touching and funny movie full of fun. I again thank all our cast, crew, investors, sponsors and supporters for making this story happen.

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WILD FAITH is rolling out hard to Wal-Mart and other retailers. We had many people reaching out having gotten their copy of the film. It will play Sunday Oct 6th at the WILD BUNCH western festival in AZ. 3:15 is the start time and so if you are in the area you can see our film and many others in the genre. It is also being recognized at the upcoming CONTENT 19 festival for its themes and set design. If you have not watched this film yet – rent it. Buy it. Enjoy it.

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Anthony Hornus our director of MBF: Man’s Best Friend is busy working to try and set up the premiere screening in Sept in his home town of Owosso/Corunna. Our tech teams are working to polish the film even further before the theatrical and home video release. The film is really powerful and if you have a soft place for our wounded heroes and/or dogs, this film will be for you.

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The Quest Trilogy: Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer. I like to say most people get more holy around the holidays but these films are adventures. You can enjoy them at any time. The reports and checks from the distributor tell me that you all are enjoying the films. I am looking forward to having all three in the marketplace for the upcoming holidays. More people are discovering these hidden gems. Go ahead and take a watch and see if they are something to share with your family during the holiday season.

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DEVELOPMENT: We are looking at various projects and discussing the best way to bring them to life. I’m about to take a nice 5 day break from the movies and clear my head. When you are filming you are going 100 miles an hour. Once in post things start to slow quickly to a nice steady pace. When I return we’ll have our in-depth debrief where we discuss all aspects of production. What worked well. What did not. What can be improved upon. Much of this crew building is for future projects including a TV series. We are looking for the right people to move forward with. Money does not buy the qualities and traits we are looking for – those come from within. Production doesn’t really decide if a crew member is a rehire or not. Their own attitude and actions does decide that. If someone is so positive and hardworking and cares about what they are doing you always want that person on board. We just look at what they gave us and make decisions based on that. We know who are the crew people working to be directors. We keep an eye on their development and one day…you might land in a directing chair.

Well, my lawn is finally back under control and things are running smooth. While doing some banking yesterday I stopped at a small garage sale on my way home and left with a couple Blu-Ray copies of ENTER THE DRAGON, KING KONG and the MATRIX trilogy for $2.00 – nice.

“It is like a finger pointing a way to the moon…Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.” – Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon)

Have a great week and as long as I don’t get eaten by a bear on my retreat we’ll chat next week. Be good to one another.

DJ

 

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Premieres, Parties and the Power of Positivity

It is a beautiful Saturday in Michigan and today is a good rest after a busy, busy week. I’m excited that I’ve been able to enjoy grilling and chilling outside. We had venison burgers and mushrooms last night. It’s been a couple of weeks driving hard towards our final goals while not being distracted by other distracting variables. I was witness to a few examples of drama this past week but avoided any participation. Drama, except when on the screen is something I try to avoid. It’s one of those distractions that often derails or delays people from their goals. I’ve gotten good at not falling into these traps. I will illustrate a few examples to perhaps help some of you out there. IF you think I’m talking about you – I’m likely not but you might be one of these people just for thinking that:)

The Power of Positivity

Some people just have broken, clouded, paranoid, delusional filters around them. You could say just about anything to them and they will pull an insult, attack or some negative slant from the communication. These poor souls will have a hard go of it in life/business until they reach some self realization. I’ve had previous business/personal relationships terminated because of these same issues. Insecurity, self-doubt and other self-defeating attributes can only be healed by the individual. They need to somehow learn to stop feeding their own negativity. I only allow those types X amount of time to figure themselves out or they are dismissed. I have more patience in personal vs professional. They often have to learn on their own where they cannot influence others with their drama. Unfortunately, this dismissal often creates even more negativity as these people seldom can accept blame. It’s ALWAYS someone else:) The world is against them. A self made pattern that these people are amazingly blind to.

Emails, text and written communication is worse. These individuals cannot tell directness from sarcasm and so forth. They project their own insecurities on the words. I’ve seen people refuse to compromise because they see that as weakness. What could have been fruitful on-going business relationships becomes one and done. Often these people are stricken with mis-directed anger that comes forth as spite and hate. Nasty venom from forked tongues that once spewed you cannot take back.

Others swallow their own poison – never venting on others but compounding their failure. If you’re downtrodden and negative because nobody will invest in your dream project it only makes it worse. People invest in positive people. If you carry negativity within yourself you will not inspire others to believe in your dreams. I call these people CHARLIE BROWNS. If you’re constantly complaining POOR ME and HO HUM on social media walls – you paint a picture of someone nobody would or should invest in. I see so much pitiful self bashing as much as I see hatred towards others. I see artists who don’t realize that some choices are just different versus better. I’ve seen people with no qualifications judge others. Those people who stand alone in their own glass house and foolishly throw rocks at others. It’s only a matter of time before they find themselves cut and broken in their own ruins of a shattered glass house. I’m happy to say in these situations I witnessed-  I stayed in silence and focused upon the important work at hand. But I see these toxic behaviors around me and it doesn’t surprise me when these people implode. Be happy, positive and productive. I truly would love to see these people change but only they control themselves.

The HUMBLE FIGHTER

All this leads also to the topic of tonight’s “fight of fights” GET READY TO RUMBLE!  I was a fan of boxer Manny PacMan prior to filming in the Philippines.  But after seeing how he has helped his nation with his success and how they honor him – my respect for him grew. He is a humble, spiritual warrior who gives his all each and every time. He has a depth of spirit that reminds me of Bruce Lee, another childhood hero of mine. Now, Mister Floyd can fight for sure but he really seems to have an ugly demeanor and messed up priorities.  I hope he gets taught a lesson that money can’t save him from. This example can apply to successful people in our film business. Wear success like a humble hat. People will respect that much more.

Onto film updates!

ASHES OF EDEN Oct. 6th is the new wide release. We are closer to announcing some west coast theatrical play dates. Stay tuned!

BESTSELLER – It is being final mastered!

Bestseller Premiere Poster

LIVE IN MICHIGAN? Do you want to see the 1st public showing of BESTSELLER in a cool historic theater? I will be there as well as many of the cast and crew. Info on how to get your tickets below.

MOVIE PREMIERE
“BESTSELLER”
BASED ON A NOVEL WRITTEN BY
CHRISTOPHER KNIGHT
MAY 23, 2015
7:00pm
$10.00 per person for viewing only
$20.00 per person for viewing and a DVD copy of the show
$30.00 per person for viewing, DVD and Backstage Meet & Greet
TICKETS
https://www.theoperahouse.org/tickets.php
“BESTSELLER” IS INTENDED FOR A MATURE AUDIENCE.

“40 Nights” – Post work is underway and this week we released our 1st Official Teaser poster.

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NEW interview link below that gives some great insight into the filming of “40 Nights” – Interview by David W. King. Thank you my friend.

http://www.gardenoftheking.com/InterviewDJPerry40Nights.htm

THE TERRORIST – is also DONE. I need to watch my producers link of the final film. It will start playing for distributors in the weeks ahead.

WASTELAND Tales of the Desert Part 1 – We will have an official poster soon and I will let you all know where you can see this film play.

To bring this full circle – “Don’t HATE, CREATE! The secret is to keep moving forward and not being distracted by all the silliness that some individuals can create. Pull them like weeds from your garden and watch what grows.

I had one reader ask me about the film “IT FOLLOWS” – It was shot in Michigan and my brother watched it and liked it. I don’t think they reinvented the wheel with it but it IS a positive step for distributors to seek independent product. Radius, the distributor –  is owned by the Weinsteins who build their company on a handful of indie directors. I would love to see more companies with P&A $ take a limited chance on some strong indie films. So, I think this was a good thing and big congrats to that cast and crew.

I’m going to go work in the yard some so have a great weekend.

DJ


Reflections as New Projects Emerge

It has been a whirlwind of business this morning. Just like on a film set I see the prep work in action. Slowly you start to relax as your tried and true start to do what they do. Movie making was always a thing of passion. I use to spend much of my days thinking on stories often from my reading on mythology and such. I would find myself slowly translating thoughts to ideas on paper. My lists on legal pads still show this ancient method of prepping. A day when card catalogs held the mighty information and Star Wars was the shit. The storytelling BUG started as organized play amongst children. We had heroes. Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Bruce Lee…the A-TEAM.

This organized play use to be that we were going to “play” the bar cantina scene from Star Wars. Everyone brought their own props. Ray gun toys wouldn’t get you shot 35 years ago. I think I ended up playing Greedo vs my hero Han because I could fall best out of the chair. This evolved to radio drama. Scripts. Walt Disney sound FX record. A tape player. We amazing told some stories using acting and sound FX. We further enhanced our ability to do voices by our limitless amount of prank calls. Radio stations loved and/or hated us I’m sure. Dad and the camcorder. To bring the play full circle – to being that kid again. Get a script. Bring props. Got camera. Act. Shoot. Shoot in order, 1 take with sound on set. (Boom box) Yeah boy. I was high-tech. It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. I knew that things would change. My mind held onto my children love of storytelling. I struggled to find a way to adapt it to the grown-up world. It took some time. I still learn every day. I’m humbled every day by what I don’t know. But I feed my hunger to learn something new every day. My last three weeks have been heavy with business. It was this desire to always give something a solid platform. By that I mean business. I reflected upon the simple days of Monster Theater, The Revolting Vomits and the Hippy Zombies, It is the journey started by sincere, real interest that put me where I am. I’ve met others that have followed this path from an early age.  I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last. I just now realize what hard work they put into these films that created my heroes. I’m proud to be part of a revolving cycle.

This film played to my inner child. Sci-Fi in nature with some Road Warrior grit. I had a great time shooting this first segment. Take a look at   WASTELAND updates and 1st teaser trailer

From our friend at Alien Bee

http://alienbee.net/watch-the-first-teaser-trailer-for-wasteland-tales-from-the-desert-part-1/

The poster work is also underway and so we should have some additional updates in the coming weeks.

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I know that Jon Osman and his team have been working hard on finishing THE TERRORIST. It is said to be finishing this week. I’m happy that his storytelling is releasing. Lots of talented folks in the NYC area no questioning that.

BESTSELLER – The work flow continues and we are getting close to announcing our first screening date of BESTSELLER. I can say that it will be a “Media Invite” – followed in a few weeks with the official premiere.

ASHES OF EDEN – I saw 1st draft of the DVD artwork. Looking good. Shane our director will finalize all that. Soon we will get to see what the wider USA thinks of this film. Shane is a storyteller. Beyond that he is a sensible business person. That right there – the combo – will get your career started. We are in development on a few projects. Once we get ASHES OF EDEN out to all of you we can focus more on what’s next.

WICKED SPRING artwork is about done. David Gries was our artists working with myself and the distributor. I also think a special treat for Michigan fans of the film or genre – big screen. We are talking about May showings at the theater. The film only played theaters in NY, LA and VA. I think it plays great on the big screen. The battle footage is pretty descent when a theater is generous with the sound levels. Cannons booming and such is awesome on the big screen. Again DVD and Blu-Ray release June 2nd.

DONORS – PR just announced our July 2nd release of this film. Dr. Savior is ready:)

We have much in the way of distribution and development underway but honestly, it is lunch time. So on this snowy day I’m going to go eat and get back at some more prep work.

WAIT A MINUTE! On What?

We are about to film…

OK. Off to eat.

Have a great Saturday!

DJ


Casting & Commonly Asked Questions on Working With CDI

What a wonderful Holiday season! The end of the year is always a great time to relax, reflect and redefine the plan of action. We worried that we might get stuck with some green Christmas but the day before we had BIG fluffy snow that created a winter wonderland:) Good meals with family and friends catching up with one another and buying gifts that someone else might not get for themselves. Flannel lined-Cargo pants are one of my favorite gifts and if you’ve never worn them – I endorse. Some nice gifts for the new office and two great pair of slippers. The most unexpected gift was from my buddy since 1st grade who gave me a BRUCE LEE “Game of Death” bathrobe.

The season has been filled with quality chats with various film associates. “Donors” trailer released and we’ve hinted at the next collaboration between CDI and P-Productions in Yuma. It is an Elvis theme road trip film. A major casting call for the co-lead is gearing up. If you can go Clark Kent water-treatment salesman to hip swinging Elvis on stage – you might be our lead. Details will be coming shortly into the new year. The deal on “Deadly Renovations” selling into a new territory is done and we will be announcing also in January. Hint: I may have traveled there in my previous travels:)

“Ashes of Eden” is now editing. We also should get our 1st look in the form of a teaser very soon. We are also in development on a slate of new projects to produce with Shane Hagedorn. The association was very successful and let’s discuss a few reasons why.

HUMBLE – I’m humbled everyday by learning something new that I was not aware of. This quality is valuable and sincere and is a good foundation to build upon.

BUDGET MINDED DIRECTOR – You cannot work with a director who just wants what he wants and hell be damned what it does to a budget.

KNOW THE GAME – Biz trumps Show this means the few choices that are made for business success are respected. We don’t make films just for friends or family. We don’t make films for the 1,900 social media friends we may have. Example: “BOOK OF RUTH” DVD exposure views alone are 500,000 range. GHOST TOWN over a million. I respect the social media and use it BUT we make films for the masses beyond Facebook friends anyone might have. We make films for fans in the many foreign territories not for festival awards. We will use good festivals to introduce a film to audiences but our goal is to take them to market. Our teams realize that fully. So business decisions are very important and usually trump.

KNOW YOUR PLACE – Now the reverse of above. IF your idea/suggestion is NOT business related. It is a suggestion that may be different but not really better. Creative choices need to stay in the directors chair as much as possible. A good relationship will allow discussion whereas some input is taken and used. BUT if you start to feel as a producer that you want to make other creative decisions you might be in the wrong chair. Subjective ideas are just that and if mutual respect exists many of a producers ideas may be used. That said, a good producer will let a subjective idea go when it is just that – a different idea.

COMMON QUESTIONS

How can my script get involved with CDI?

The best answer is to bring it with as much money attached. We have many in-house screenwriters and I turn down many everyday. If it is a form letter I delete. A personal email I try to answer them. A script that is funded will be looked at. If the venture is vetted and is worth the collaboration a deal might be made to produce and distribute. Inside money will be spent on in-house productions by tried and true cast and crew. It makes no sense to go outside to unknown variables and factors.

Can CDI Distribute my Films/Project?  The best situation is where you bring a funded project to the table BEFORE spending dime one. BEFORE shooting anything. Distribution is a business and there is production and development aspects that play into distribution. Casting and quality level being the top issues. I know of a few friends that didn’t ask me any questions, advice or proposed involvement UNTIL they can’t sell their project. Than I get this dropped in my lap and asked basically “Can you fix this?” NO. So if you have a project funded and you want to work with us – come to us at the start.

How can I act in a CDI project?

I write in this blog in advance of PR releases and such. Also http://www.cdiproductions.com often will put crewing and casting info up. It is no secret that when we cast we use REELS 1st before doing any on-camera reads. We used this on ASHES OF EDEN and we had an amazing cast.  So get your materials updated and get your footage.

Crew of CDI Projects

Location often does play into things but also going to battle with tested warriors is always good. If you keep the drama on the screen and do your job to your best effort – you will likely work with us on multiple projects. If you are someone who creates problems just to solve them or feeds on/off drama – not likely a good fit with us. We usually hire on accountability. By this I mean a 1st that hires a 2nd. A key that recommends a best boy – if we hire someone “untested” it has to be off the word of someone who accepts accountability. If you are someone who can’t go drama free for a few short weeks or can’t take the pressured work – another career for you.

Well I hope some of these answers to commonly asked questions helps. 2012 was a great year and 2013 will be even better. I look forward to seeing some of you again, meeting others of you for the first time and making some art for the fans. Even when you get past the middle keep clawing as if.

Happy New Year Ahead! 2013!

DJ