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

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Sprouting Seeds and Getting Rid Of Weeds (Although some weeds are very useful) – Film Updates

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Doing some spring clean up with my buddy Finn

Good morning from Michigan, USA! While this past week has been a good introduction into spring with lots of yard clean up and arrangement, today we have icy rain and snow. It will disappear fast but I’m just getting use to the coffee and phone calls on the patio deck listening to the birds and watching the squirrels retrieve their winter stash of acorns. I’ve been doing a lot of wood cutting and it looks like the office wood stove will get a work out today. I was going to attend a first flea market of the season but with the snow I might have to pass. I’m sip my Michigan Cherry coffee and type with all of you.

My brother had a birthday and we got to spend time with family yesterday and a few days before that my niece’s birthday. My nephew Wes has the same bday month as myself. He is the 21st and I’m the 23rd so we’ll have that ahead. Aside from the family gatherings and the homestead clean up I’ve had lots of entertainment business abound. Let’s discuss a few.

I made my yearly visit down to the opening of the Capital City Film Festival happening now in Lansing, MI. In my early years I spent a good amount of time and energy working with the East Lansing Film Festival centering on the Michigan’s Own portion of the festival. It awarded films with awards and cash prizes. It took hours of watching films, meeting with judges and other planning so I know what goes into it. These days my schedule allows me to buy a ticket to spend a few hours supporting upcoming filmmakers in our area. The opening night was at Impression 5 museum which has been a favorite since I was knee-high to a grasshopper:) I had a lilac drink that intrigued me because we made lilac wine once. It was great but very labor intensive. I also enjoyed a local hard cider. I got to see a few friends I only see yearly at this event. I attended with fellow filmmaker Shane Hagedorn and had a good time. We did at least one red carpet photo but I did not see it so once of us broke the camera with our mug. He we are with a young actor/filmmaker who just happens to be the son of Mr. Craig Jones whom I’ve known since high school. How cool that they get to do film work as father and son.

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Throwing some support at the Capital City Film Festival

Aside from supporting the local fest we’ve been very hard at work here at Collective Development and on a personal level. I started looking at literary representation mid last year talking with various agents and management companies. You want to get the right relationship as they will be dealing with people who value your art. I’ve had an agent at one of the largest agencies in Hollywood and it wasn’t a great experience. A few big deals were lost and while the agency inclusion did help with a few doors, the cons started to outweigh the pros. I’ve been riding with legal at my side making my own deals. Legal is good at dotting I’s and crossing T’s but they are not seeking new opportunities. But I finally had a conversation with an international agent that I find promising. They discovered my work via another studio executive and reached out. They are doing some additional reviewing of my work but I think I’ll be having a go at working with a new literary and talent agent. I’ll be putting a large focus on foreign projects as well as domestic USA films. Many of you know I’ve done films in other countries and that is always a great experience.

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I’m excited to see what films we do over the next 10 years

I’m also in development talks on several projects with a few new collaborators. We have some great projects developing both in the family/faith market and outside that target market. It is an exciting time but don’t get me wrong, it is still HARD WORK. When people occasionally look at what we’ve accomplished or are accomplishing it occasionally sets off feelings of envy. You/they might be a better artist even though that is subjective but overall I just outwork people. Part of that is learning where not to waste your energy. Look for red flags and know when to say NO THANK YOU. Many do not realize that and spends lots of energy where their only reward is frustration.

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Beautiful Northern Michigan 

LOST HEART – This is what is front and center in development and fighting to move into pre-production. We have enough to make the journey but we are fighting to be able to add a few days of shooting ultimately creating a better product. We only have a few more pieces of this investment puzzle to remedy and move forward. A lot of development work is getting done now and so I believe strongly we will be rolling cameras in July!

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Hester and Ben in ‘Wild Faith’ 

WILD FAITH – We just finished runs in Grand Rapids, MI and Biloxi, Mississippi and I’m trying to confirm West Virginia and other venues. The DVD will be rolling out next month and so all of you wanting to see this fine adventure tale will soon be able to. I will be checking on Amazon pre-booking which should start soon.

I will note that the TV series is one of the things being discussed in some of my development talks. I would love to play Ben Lily again and bring a series of stories to all of you.

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Just in time for Easter 

THE CHRIST SLAYER

The Christ Slayer just announced its first theatrical dates in Amarillo, Texas. We hope that myCinema will continue to book to the big screen. Those who want to watch in the privacy of their own home can watch it streaming or on DVD on Amazon Prime or other fine platforms. Thank you for all the fine fan(e)mail I’ve gotten. It warms my heart to see so many enjoying our stories. I know myCinema is working hard to get it in AZ but is having issue at Harkins because of Studio Commitments but call the theater and let them know. Yuma, AZ deserves to see it on the big screen.

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HELLO Texas!

The film really goes perfect with the Easter season but perhaps you might enjoy watching the entire trilogy of Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer. The ending of part 2 makes more sense if you know about part 3. I think that is going to be a PR release on the lead up to Easter.  Also I might discuss more about the trilogy as a whole.

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CDI OG Mister Dean Teaster 

MBF: Man’s Best Friend 

In my post meeting last week it was noted that sound quality was really good and the dialog clean up was not as extensive as in the past. To be fair the locations were much more controlled versus being out in the desert like with our trilogy. Sound Design is happening at the same time and so once we get all this laid in MUSIC TIME. I will also be touching base with the visual team about VFX, Color Correction and a new trailer. Exciting times.

The Week Ahead…

This next week will be working towards disbursement of funds back at investors. Seeking a few new partners so we can move into official pre-production on LOST HEART. We are close and we could do the film with what we have now but I want to have the extra breathing room. It is easier on the cast and crew and ultimately might yield a better final product. Businesses wanting to talk sponsorship or product placement please do reach out.

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Treat yourself to the book and movie

I’m going to go refill the coffee cup and organize for my forthcoming week. I have a friend coming in from Texas for a few days on family business so it will be nice to catch up with him. He was involved with the original KNIGHT CHILLS, CDI’s 1st feature film. KNIGHT CHILLS 2? You never know:)

Have a great Sunday and week ahead!

DJ

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How you Walk the Path Says Everything About You

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A week ago we were recovering from a snowstorm. Today it was in the 80’s and beautiful. Again – this is Michigan. I’m enjoying moving the blog writing to Sundays. I see many new readers from a few new countries and so welcome. I’ve enjoyed the April 5th release of “Ashes of Eden” and of course “40 Nights” films. It has been fun to hear from someone around the country every couple of hours on their viewing of the films. I’m thankful and appreciative of those who are taking the time to watch the films. I was conservative in my joy that came from almost every viewer of one film gushing with praise. I do think it is one of our best to date and love that the film is touching people’s emotions. I told others that I will enjoy it but the rocks are coming. Once the film or any film is finished I toast the art and strap on the business armor. You will never make everyone happy. A spectrum of tastes and ideas and additionally we as artists often operate in a poison environment of peers. By that I mean many artists “hate” because of doors or opportunities mostly EARNED by others yet desired greatly by those denied. This results in masked hate. I find these people fascinating and I feel a deep sorrow for these people. If I don’t agree I usually just don’t participate and redirect my efforts elsewhere. To expend energy to try and hinder someone else is energy someone did not use for themselves. Why spend twenty minutes to spill hate about say a script when you could spend twenty minutes working towards your own successful script. The one film I was speaking of is well made because of the many talented artists. On a scale of 1-10 is in a 5? 7? 10? Perhaps. It will run a spectrum of evaluation but is it deserving of a 1? Speaking for the artists involved I know this film is not a 1:) But someone, one person threw that out there and with that small act of hate his or her world got a little darker. Their worst traits eclipsed a bit more of their better traits. A decade and a half ago I might have felt insulted but it is all part of the game. Going against the grain is a last-ditch effort to be recognized. But how are you seen by others? You choose your actions that define you. You get to decide which attributes you showcase and you’ll become known for these actions. Be positive. Work with positive people. You’ll find positive things manifest in your life.

DONORS!

On DVD NOW!!! “DONORS”

“Donors” a thriller that we helped our friend Charles Pisaeno produce is now in DVD release and in May the much-anticipated “Bestseller” will release nationally. Stay tuned for updates on these two films.

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“Chasing the Star”

This week included a handful of great meetings over “Chasing the Star” and we’re now officially in editing. The footage is with our editor and director and the story is going to start being cut together. I’m excited as the footage looks great!

I’m finishing writing on the third script in the QUEST TRILOGY that I chose to do another pass on after shooting the second “CTS” film. I’m also bringing on my business front and center on our fall project. Stay tuned there also for some exciting news!

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I’m off soon to go kick the soccer ball around to get some practice in before next weeks first game. We did a bunch of yard work and spent time with the furry babies. The hops have been moved. The pond is being cleaned up. The wood piles are organized now that we have the office wood stove in action. I found an old antique ash bucket which was perfect. I greatly enjoyed the zen peace of preparing the garden/yard for the summer ahead. I do a lot of business by phone walking the grounds so I enjoy getting things ready. My thoughts are with those dealing with the deadly quakes.

Be good to one another.

DJ

 

 

 


Dog Cuddling, Coffee Chugging and Making Stuff Happen!

Happy March & hello weekend! Dog snuggling, coffee chugging and a reflection of the week past. We had some falling snow and some cold chill but that just encouraged indoor work. It was a week of many good advances in this crazy career of mine. To answer one person talking blogs – yes. I would start with a free blog and build from there.

It is a process of moving forward. It is about getting pushed back, fallen tree’s across the road and indecision about path and direction. Sometimes a project is financially getting by and sometimes getting ahead. Doors always open with new advances.

This week saw us looking at the 1st resume reels coming in for a film we plan to shoot Spring/Early Summer. A few submissions did not quite fit the breakdown but close. We are starting with children casting first and will move from there. We do have very high standards on our projects and I think we will find our gold in time. More updates will come to you all on this “Yet to be announced” film.

I got to see the opening credit sequence for “Donors” with temp music. It looked great and after meeting with composer Dennis Therrian last night I know we will have a very intense thriller that plays with your head:)

“Ashes of Eden” is about at the 1/2 way mark on editing. Very excited about this project as Shane and I bat notes around on the cut. Look for some more promo this month.

I think I made mention of a TV division that CDI is soon to announce fully. We have some exciting developments going on here. So stay tuned! One project was shelved and is finding new life.

“7 Stones” is going out to more of our TV contacts. It was devised as an hour TV drama. I’m excited to find our partners on this film but it looks like it will find its way onto more MI TV also.

“Outside the Wire” doc is having a big Owosso, MI event happening in April. I will give more info on this as we get closer.

I had a lot of wrap up business this week with our two films “Wicked Spring” and “Figure in the Forest” that our CDI Distribution licensed to Parables Network.

This week on the 7th is the OFFICIAL RELEASE of “Locked in a Room” so if you want a late night scare make this film part of your programming.

This week it was announced that we will hold off until July to release “Darkest Night” the Philippine nightmare! I’m excited to get this out there and “The Beast” that will be the follow-up.

I’ve been having some agent talks as of late and getting ready to go film “Somnium” that shoots later this month. It is a very good script and I’m looking forward to working with all these artists to tell this story. I’ve had a few others reach out on acting roles so we will see. Our development of properties continues.

Be safe!

DJ