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

Posts tagged “city

Premiere Report and Fundraising Advice for Filmmakers

A beautiful and slightly chilly Sunday here in Michigan but I have the hot java to warm things up. Grandpa Jones playing the Bluegrass tune Mountain Dew on STING RAY music. It reminds me of some of the wonderful mornings at Robert’s Roost with my dear friends Robert and Ralphene in N. Carolina. Today I’m going to give the yard its first mow and rototiller the garden. Grilling is on-deck along with a little chilling later today.

Chasing the Star 

UICA showing

So as a young actor I use to dread the trek into Detroit traffic and bustle for any meetings or auditions but I always found the “town” of Grand Rapids to be a much easier destination. Well, that has changed as Grand Rapids proper is a CITY no doubt. Our director of “Chasing the Star” Bret Miller, calls GR home and so last night we had a premiere kick off of the film at the UICA last night. It was a beautiful showing that showed the incredible camera work and art on-screen and I’ve never seen Dennis Therrian, our post sound and music supervisor so happy. The 5.1 surround sound mix was amazing and put you front and center of the action. We did a little Q&A after the film before heading to a local haunt which was a small joint with several pinball machines. I am not a fan of crowds and small places and so it was a celebratory king can of PBR and headed back home. I was up later than I usually stay up save being on night shoots on set. We had all three directors of the trilogy at the showing which was a special thing.

IMG_3109 2Jesse Low, Nathaniel Nose, producer Anthony “Tony” Hornus, Bret Miller 

A lot of creative talent between these individuals. (Tony included:) CDI seeks out the wildly original and imaginative artists who also work within a no-nonsense business structure. I also got to share some advice with other upcoming filmmakers, which is always rewarding.

My advice when asked –

First, don’t say YES to that which you cannot do. Unfortunately, many say yes figuring we’ll just figure it out as we go.  NOT WISE. Also, make the best of every opportunity. The question was narrowed to “how to finance your film?”

IMG_3110

It’s hard, REALLY HARD to initially get business people behind you. You earn it by strong preparation, solid execution and staying on a timeline that other business entities (distributors) can rely on.  Also don’t BS just be honest in these pitch meetings. Many of these people have been there, done that and gotten that Tee Shirt so don’t be a used car salesman. Also my advice was work out all agreements amongst production in advance of seeking or spending any investment money.

Why?

Once money does come in people change. People all have other ideas on how to spend budgets. They recall deal discussions differently. Deals cannot exist by hand shakes alone. Maybe at first but paperwork spells it out clearly. How much pay, when you pay and what you expect for that pay. Like bands many good creative teams break up because of misunderstandings. Eliminate that possibility by TCB (Elvis “Taking Care of Business”) before seeking out money. Also be reasonable about what amount you’re seeking and ask yourself if you can you really manage a project of that size. If no seek experienced help. By help I mean – Not “find me money” but “I now have this money can you help me manage my project” help.

Realize Truth

Also don’t make heroes out of incompetent business folk in your circle. I was asked – Why is it so hard for us to raise $? I said, because you all have peers walking about that have poisoned the wells with their screw ups. Yet they are hailed as heroes of their own PR spin. That is not tolerated in many industries but they are allowed to survive and sometimes thrive in our industry. They leave a ruined path of projects and poisoned wells for those that come after. When the area is too poisoned they move on seeking new areas to exploit where their screw ups are not as widely known if at all. The issue is that it’s a small industry overall.

What I enjoyed about last night is once again, the important word is AGAIN, we showed that Collective Development Inc. pulls from a clear well where business artists can invest knowing their investment is getting an A+ effort.

Back to Chasing the Star… 

The film is now heading for Lansing, MI followed by Royal Oak, MI and it was announced last night that the film will return for a run in Grand Rapids, MI at Celebration Cinema.

Celebration C-Lansing

IMG_3102

We’ll announce the GR dates soon! The national release is Sept 5th but if you get a chance to experience this on the big screen treat yourself.

FORTY NIGHTS

3D BMG art

Released by BMG April 4th to home video and will keep expanding its distribution to other countries. Take a watch if you have not and get ready for the third film releasing next Spring.

THE CHRIST SLAYER

A050_C008_0318MHIt has officially moved into editing with our director Nathaniel Nose and we should have theatrical poster and teaser trailer coming soon.

WILD FAITH 

3-stooges

BTS photo (Hagedorn, Perry, Anschutz)

This amazing film was a main topic at a recent meeting with one of our distributors and the interest in the TV series is there. We just have to pull all the right elements together. The feature film now has a picture lock and has moved to music and sound design. Stay tuned for many great updates including the first official teaser poster now in the works.

MISC DEVELOPMENTS

We’re in discussion on several CDI past films re-releasing out into the market. I’ve been prepping development work on new projects and doing some script writing. But right now I have to get to some yard work. Time to refill the coffee cup.

Have a great Sunday and rest of your week. Perhaps I will see some of you at Celebration Cinema on Monday and/or Tuesday for the 7:30 shows in Lansing, MI.

Be good to one another.

DJ

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PR, POLITICS and PREMIERE TALK

It looks like here in Lansing, MI we avoided most of the crazy weather. We had a little wind and snow but overall the sun gave us some melting.  It has been a busy couple weeks and I’ve just got to keep my patience and zen as many deals move about on the chessboard. I’ve had a few projects move a touch slower than I wanted but I will be happy for what did get done versus what did not. Let’s look at some of the positive steps taken in this past week. Before we get into that I will vent off on a small issue. IF you are a university who is making your money off film students in a film program. IF you make a solid film that really showcases good production value, performances and direction. The university SHOULD invest in promoting its own program. PROMOTION = ENROLLMENT = $ for the UNIVERSITY. I’m not going to waste too much time on this topic but I’m never surprised by people’s shortsightedness.

Also I’m surprised (No I’m not) that when local media is trying to promote a city/area to inspire others how only the hobbyist get recognized. What happened to real journalism whereas you seek out the real story. In our area it use to be our local media was only interested in local community theatre and now they are focused on local hobby filmmakers. Now you can give recognition to these aspects but they do not represent the professionals. POLITICS. To be direct it is why I like the business side of things. IF your art is good it will find an audience and sell. I feel as if these organizations and projects that put equal importance on SHOW & BIZ should be highlighted. Now for a long time now I’ve been content making my home here and that is good enough for me. Michigan artists are undervalued often on the world market and much of it is because many are seen as “Community Theatre/Hobbyist filmmakers”.  When the films and filmmakers that are making real business endeavors are overlooked for some social media panhandling a $500-$2,500 film that won dozens of remote festivals that never will get major distribution – it brands us. Now I consider myself MINOR LEAGUE so let’s get that straight. BUT we work hard to recreate a growing business like what Motown, Two Men & A Truck and many other business pioneers worked so hard to do. The worried parents of these starry-eyed filmmakers would be emboldened and given hope when they read of other business filmmakers making a solid go of it.  I’m content living below the radar most of the time because it saves me from the constant “I’ve got a great idea for a movie” talk that follows me. So let’s get onto some business updates!

A few months ago we saw our Civil War film “Wicked Spring” release into the German, Austria and Switzerland market. Now following that we just enjoyed a Feb 21st release of “Locked in a Room” to that same market. And next month March 28th will see the release of our 1st international collaboration “Darkest Night”. Also “Darkest Night” released recently to HULU PLUS and so that will help reach hundreds of thousands of new viewers.

Our CDI sales team is working hard engaging in talks with many new foreign territories. Also many great new deals are being negotiated on new upcoming product. “Ashes of Eden” has several buyers interested and once we have our finished film we will start that process. New poster feedback is being gathered from readers who can vote on http://www.ashesofedenmovie.com . Also our premiere is being discussed and we should announce on that soon. So look for a cast and crew premiere that will happen followed by a public premiere and theatre run. We’ve got excited interest from several distributor/studios in this film and our most recent ‘Bestseller”.

“Bestseller” is about done with the rough cut. I will be calling our editor today to get an update and soon we will screen the rough edit. I’m excited about this project and I think it will be a high intensity film. Patience:)

“7 Stones” is out on the market both streaming VOD and DVD so check out this powerful little drama.

While overseeing post work and sales I’ve been engaging in some major screenwriting action. I don’t promote this aspect much but I’ve been paid multiple times to pen original scripts and adaptations from books. I’ve had projects optioned ($ against a sale price) –  and I’ve had projects purchased and produced. I just finished a pet project script that I’m developing with an old school friend. Let’s just say that fans of “Book of Ruth” will be very happy. I’ve also got another script on deck to write after after that. The contracts are approved just need to be signed this coming week. I may also be taking on yet another project to write in the wake of an option/purchase agreement made with a studio in Florida. Some close to me know my furry boy Luke had knee surgery and so it has been good to hunker down from the cold and enjoy writing.

Also I’ve been doing some major internal CDI structuring with our accountant, lawyers and a film archive supervisor. All the CDI projects need to be put to digital to make it easier for delivery on all these new sales. This is again the BIZ side that has nothing to do with the artsy-fartsy aspects but it is what separates the professionals from the hobbyists. I love what I do but I don’t do it for just fun – I do it as a career. Therefore bad communicators, slackers, excuse makers will not find a home at CDI. Nothing like having your hard work and efforts wasted as something sits in limbo for years OR a film that lacks business structure leaving you with a well done home video to show family and friends. I’m happy that we have some new hardworking blood rolling with the CDI tribe. It’s quite an eye opener when they discover there is another way to do things. There is a better use of time and energy. Do we fall short and make errors? – Of course we do. But how many are really STRIVING! WANTING is NOT STRIVING. I mean really giving that extra effort at every turn that gets recognized. I’m talking about taking that pride in your work. Trust me, I know the difference by looking someone in the eyes. If it is just a JOB to you – find another industry because there is easier money to be earned elsewhere.  REMEMBER actions always speak louder than words.

ACT LOUDLY!

DJ