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

Posts tagged “down syndrome

Deceleration Into Life From Set Life –

Some of the amazing extras who helped tell our story “Silent Night in Algona”

I’m sitting in MY chair with a hot cup of hazelnut coffee. Outside is my first Michigan snow. For me if it’s going to be cloudy and overcast, give me snow. It’s pretty and brightens everything a tad. Now I know I have friends here from VERY warm places that don’t get snow. Now snow is quite magical and that first one always brings thoughts of those days as a kid and will various pets that made that so special. Catching snowflakes, snowball fights, snow angel and sledding. I have a few stories of drunken skiing with my cousin Jerry including one epic fence-destroying trip to one of the small ski mountains. The key to snow is being prepared. This means layers and layers and mind the gaps. -By that I mean where pant legs and boots meet. Where coat sleeves and gloves meet. Where neck might be exposed and of course a solid winter hat. We learn that as a young child from bus stop stays. This continued to elementary school recess that was always an outdoor adventure of ‘king of the mountain,’ snowball wars and snowy football games. In our secluded ‘Lord of the Flies’ neighborhood even more snow games were abound. Sledding was legendary that included a few ramps/jumps that would make Evel Knievel smiles with pride. The afterglow of our cold adventure was a round of hot chocolate, marshmallows optional. At night the even more fun and dangerous snow mobile pull of the sled around the plowed fields nearby. Kind of like being pulled on a tube behind a boat but the bumps and trees made for quite the challenge. I recall at least one time staying too long in the frigid and having to run my hands under warm water, the ache returning with feeling. I hope for my friends living in the no-snow zones I painted a little picture of living with frozen water.

One of the wonderful farms we filmed on – note the sky.

In Algona while filming “Silent Night in Algona” #SNIAthemovie we saw our actual first snowfall. Iowa and Michigan are alike in many ways but have their differences. We seem to have more variation in our landscapes where Iowa has lots of corn. To their credit I did see some hilly places and the sky there was just amazing. Maybe it is the less pollution or any number of factors but our location photos and our film itself captured these many awesome skies.

This project was ambitious as most of the #tribecdi projects are. I believe you have to reach to grow and so we often pick projects with various elements not easily obtained in independent films. Or with independent budgets might be a better term. Any project that takes us from our home state is more expensive. We found basic logistics to be a challenge and in hindsight a better battle plan can always be seen. The script could have been a touch shorter and we did tighten in a few places. The script was the final version that I had consulted heavily with my friend/co-star and mentor Rance Howard. He was a stickler on the farming techniques and perspective of 1940’s citizens. We went in with a battle plan and a tribe of artists. We spent months casting the “right” actors from around the country. This is a big part of directing and our producers work hard with our director and it showed in this production. But we had a large cast and with flying and lodging this is a major cost also. But the actors that signed on were there for the story. As a screenwriter I’ve never been more proud of all the feedback on the script. It was from 14 years earlier and is not perfect (is any?) and even in my own scene study I found a few ‘subtextual’ issues that I corrected. But we had the pleasure of knowing what was coming from the auditions. Now put those same amazing actors in proper wardrobe, locations and – MAGIC! MOVIE MAGIC!~

The actors were all on point and we captured some incredible cinematic magic. By capturing I mean our amazing crew. At CDI we work hard. Movies are hard. Bad movies are hard to make which is why I always give points for even bad films. Finishing deserves credit. Finishing with quality that passes worldwide QC (quality control) is worthy of kudos. But creating something handcrafted that has the story power to last decades is – a reward that you receive only after audiences have celebrated a story for many years. I think this film will be one of those. We at CDI are shooting for nothing short of a holiday classic. We made our go at that with THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) three biblical stories told together from a unique perspective. These films have been growing an audience for many years and are on their way to becoming a classic. You can watch the three films streaming on many platforms and in many countries.

One of our films that we produced with our former sister company Lionheart was WICKED SPRING. That film now managed by CDI is 20+ years old and is still entertaining audiences. It’s also getting a new release on HD/streaming and is a good example of a film that is a true classic. Unique in its perspective with roses and rocks thrown at it but a story that has kept audiences coming back from the earliest days on VHS and network TV. (I still have a VHS copy from TV with commercials)

WILD FAITH is another film on the way to classic status. We can cement that with the production of the WILD FAITH: Hastings tv series. We are adding the film to the title to help assure our tens of millions in fans can find the upcoming series. I’m looking at back half of the year to produce the 8 shows that make up season one. I will be getting on that business asap once I can get caught up on my SNIA (Silent Night in Algona) business. A few discussions were had but again the #1 thing is that the story is told proper. This project has suffered from bad studio/network notes in the past and has moved past those to become a film loved by many. So we will stay true to our story and find the right partners. If it isn’t broke don’t let others try and fix it. We will get this made and audiences will see some of their favorite 1800’s characters back in action. Giddy up!

LOST HEART versus BIGFOOT, UFO’S & JESUS – this film under both titles is doing really well with audiences. The film is such a charm that it has so many levels and layers of story that really should appeal to most audiences. It was kind of an experiment but so far I think it has been good one. It is another great holiday season watch. It also has some great music in the film from Roanoke and The Cash Collective (John Carter, Ann and their family). Worthy of a watch if you are trying to catch up with some of the CDI films. Melissa Anschutz shines as the lead and Josh Perry shows his dramatic and comedic mastery.

RETURN TO ALGONA-

Melissa Anschutz and Josh Perry are both back in SNIA. They both bring such fascinating characters that will once again inspire. Josh Perry left people in tears with his performance which isn’t a surprise at all. Josh doesn’t wave a “Down syndrome” flag ever but I’m just so damn proud of him. On two occasions I’ve observed individuals with Down syndrome observe Josh and you could see boundaries in their minds fall. Josh ‘The Ponceman’ Perry is a movie star make no mistake about that and these young people saw what they could achieve. Josh is an inspiration by his actions not his activism. Maybe there is a lesson in that.

I had a chance to meet more fans of MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND and I’m so pleased that the film sits so well with veterans. I hope that all of you will take a chance to watch this CDI story told by ‘SNIA‘ director Anthony Hornus. One of the hard drives is being sent to our editor Nathaniel Nose who is also supervising the VFX. Our director is upgrading his computer to allow better footage review. Our DP Dan Chipman is doing some rough assembly to seek out and identify some of the pieces of the story caught on the fly. Also the first batch of photo stills is being drawn out and color corrected to help become a color template for the films final look. We have been rolling out BTS stills captured by many of our cast and crew but the real GOLD is coming.

Also this week I’ll be taking a hard look at the feature projects in development. We plan to shoot a CDI feature this Spring before we roll into pre-production on the WILD FAITH TV series. I started to have some first talks about the next CDI feature which could become plural, features pending a few discussions. I have a few development meetings that will nudge things one way or another. But with both SNIA moving into post as BEST YEARS GONE continues its theatrical (last day today in Lansing at Celebration Cinema) before prepping for home video. Also FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is in final post mixing before we start a release schedule on this documentary. We will have a meeting over this property this coming week. We should be doing a final watch through in a few weeks. From there a premiere will also be discussed. But…not until it is done. And we just might be doing another documentary in 2022. As this year closes a new one lies right over the horizon. This week will be tying up more loose ends on SNIA, planning 2022 schedule, end of year dispersement and tax prep and writing. I love to write when it is cold and snowy and I know I have some days ahead of me. I have several properties/scripts I’ve been working on and a few possible work-for-hires so we’ll see with all of that. We have the Christmas tree up after I donned winter warrior Michigan gear and saw. Today we might add lights and another night the bells and whistles. I might go light a fire in the stove at the fort to finish settling back in. I have totes everywhere as I prepare to stow the gear until our next film adventure. Stay warm and be good to one another!

DJ


First ‘Lost Heart’ Impressions and Christmas Season Updates

Welcome new readers from Vietnam and France! We are in the Christmas swing here in Michigan. The house is very festive with the tree and wreaths up, a few outside lights and our holiday candles lit! (Thank you Candleberry Co) We’ve taken a few shopping trips out and about but also spent just some good family time including watching some of our favorite holiday shows. Rudolph, Raphie and his BB-gun and just a slew of good spirited content. Speaking of…

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So go to Amazon or any of your favorite platforms or purchase a DVD and take a family watch. I would love to answer any questions you the fans might have. Let’s look at a TOP 10 from the past week developments.

  1. I had another great talk with the author of the book I’m translating into script format. A deep, insightful person and the script is now underway. I’m enjoying the story I cannot think of a better way to spend time while forced inside by the cold.
  2. Another film project that is looking to shoot in 2021 with lots of prep in 2020 is moving along. I’m excited about this project but until we are 100% green lit I’m going to just sit on those updates. I will say that it is another period piece:)
  3. I had meetings over another film that is developing nicely. It is tied into one of our past CDI projects. Some of the business is coming together and even some camera tests this weekend.
  4. Yet another film perhaps in development – a western perhaps. We did a script read this past week and it gave us a look on where the story needs to be tightened.
  5. I concluded some accounting/payout on a recent commercial project that we did and this week we’ll be dispersing $ to the investors on two of the CDI films. Also more revenue rolled in so we’ll just keep the train moving into the new year.
  6. I did some recording for an audio book by another author friend. It was the sections of the story that surrounded the Civil War. So fans of that time period might enjoy this when it is completed.
  7. I’ve been working on putting some promo materials together for a new management relationship I’ll be entering for 2020. It will cover acting, writing and some producing. I’m excited to be working with this new company.
  8. MBF just played in Kentucky and is part of the awards show tonight. Thank you to the Equus Film & Art Festival. Watch for a few more events in the new year!
  9. I’ve been doing some planning on a new biblical adventure trilogy and that is coming along strong.
  10. Also Wild Faith TV series ‘Hastings’ will be one of the projects being pitched around for 2020. How many out there would like to see a sequel or TV series?

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LOST HEART – So I got to watch the first rough cut on the film. As the writer, I was again moved at hearing the words that started in the imagination. To meet the characters on-screen that were dreamt up and have them make you laugh or cry.  The story WORKS! It more than works, it is truly worthy to be another step on the Tribe CDI climb. The actors are not just good, many are great. Our cast is just outstanding led by Melissa Anschutz. If you know her you know she takes no prisoners on-camera. This is her most powerful role and that says a lot. Victoria Jackson…all I can say is after this movie you better still take my calls:) Your phone is going to be ringing. Right story. Right words. Right actors. Between now and the end of the year Jesse our director is taking in our notes and will do the last fine tuning cut. This allows him to input his style into the transitions and to fit everything better with the envisioned soundtrack.  I cannot say enough about Taylor, our young lead. She already is a star if you’ve heard her sing. I met her as an actress on ASHES OF EDEN (Take a watch on Amazon) first and saw her potential ability. Learning of her musical gift and knowing our story needs, her casting and this story met in a perfect place. You will see. And Ponceman…an awesome talent with an awesome last name – Perry. He has Down syndrome but is not defined by it. He allows himself to be an example and inspiration to others. I’ve seen first hand a child with Down Syndrome in Yuma, AZ amazed and satisfied that we were making a movie and someone like HIM, was the co-star. THE CHRIST SLAYER, part 3 of our trilogy. Part 1 Forty Nights, Part 2 Chasing the Star take a watch. If you haven’t watched you need to so you can see what I’m talking about. Anyway – (call with Jesse Low) Yes. Exciting times. So I’m trying to give a small snippet that reflects tone of our story to our distributor’s marketing team. We are in talks on a music video and we’ll be looking at a trailer for the new year.

I’m going to call it here. We might do something in the holiday spirit again today. Tomorrow will start a busy week with lots to do. I’m ready and excited to get after it all. Writing, distributing, developing and renewing friendships by the office fire over coffee, wine, whiskey or water. I’m grateful for all my family and friends and so reach out and add to your own. In the words of Lost Heart’s Hannah Sweet “Success doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have anyone to share it with.” What wise man wrote that;) Work hard but not to the demise of your foundation, your strength, your roots.

Note: I see lots of cool projects developing in Michigan and that is something. I’ve been Michigan since day 1 and I know the production wasteland from whence we came. I was just reminded that my first starring film IN THE WOODS is 20 years old. That classic put me on the world map and gave me a creative rope to climb. I don’t work ‘no pay’ these days but for those that need to showcase themselves, no pay’s serve a purpose. It surely will weed out the lazy. Knowing your own worth and being lazy could be two sides of the same coin/argument. If people are not biting and you need to be seen – a serious attitude and some dedication can open doors. Or you can spend that on Actors Access send outs. Just kidding AA.

My point is WOW, we have some great storytellers developing out there.

I’m looking forward to Tom Norton’s new film. That MASK project, Lance and team are doing, the hard work shows. Dan Falicki’s DWARFHAMMER film (I’ve loved his painted film style since the ‘cave dancers’ in another piece.  NECROLAND had an epic amount of actors, action and extras. I see banter both ways about NO PAY projects and know YOUR WORTH. The fact is I could have held out for “my (perceived) worth on IN THE WOODS and might still to this day be waiting on that starring role. But what he offered was a showcase. As the star, I slept on the couch and catering coming into the apartment was my wake up call. Ultimately the charming film took more rocks than roses initially from critics. We showcased moments of potential excellence in a look, an effect, a mood – we grew by doing. Consistency comes with practice and honing the craft (usually hitting marks, finding lights, know the camera like an old college drinking buddy). If I was starting out as an actor in this Michigan climate, I would be very happy. Invest your time in four or five of these ‘no pay’ (which they do pay with opportunity) showing diverse sides of you. After perhaps consider a move into the competitive ‘Paid Only’ film circles.

So if the ‘No Pay’ part puts you off, triggers you – just walk away. It’s potentially someone else’s chance to shine. Sometimes a more casual, less stressful environment allows talent to gain confidence. That reminds me of  another great example. A good buddy Johnny D has played smaller supporting roles in several CDI films. He recently got to star in CONFIDENCE OF A TALL MAN by Lansing filmmaker Michael McCallum. Johnny D was allowed to showcase a deeper range of emotion in a story that he connected with deeply and his confidence grew.

Additionally, some people are just NOT good at auditions and are so angry because their nerves get them disqualified from the bigger roles. Now on the other side – filmmaking is making your day and pressure is part of that, so you need players. I mean the basketball term of someone who will make the buzzer shot in pressure but not airball under stress. Be the ball Danny…nananan…

OK. I carried on a few but maybe a few nuggets of insight exist. Keep creating and growing.

DJ


Films, Books, Posters and Other CDI Updates!

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Good morning! Yesterday we awoke to a beautiful dusting of snow upon the ground in Michigan. The word is that the south is getting much more now and poor CA is just getting torched by wild fires. We had the first of our family Christmas gatherings yesterday and it was a true joy. Last week all our meetings were touched with the holiday spirit. My main push has been trying to communicate with all our potential investors and lock up the last units on MBF (Man’s Best Friend). The money aspect is never easy. I do see more people out there working to give confidence to investors and stand accountable vs asking for handouts. We’ve been through all that so I’m not going to beat that dead horse. What an awful saying, wonder what that originated from? Anyway…

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Let me make a go at trying to share some of the great happenings this week –

A great promotional campaign by Christian Cinema features the entire trilogy. Forty Nights, Chasing the Star are both part of their 12 days of Christmas. The Christ Slayer even gets a plug all with the first trailer of Joaquin Phoenix‘s new biblical adventure. He is one of my favorite actors and also plays Jesus. It would be fun to have a beer with him and talk about our experiences in doing so.

Our distributor BMG also has a campaign with Amazon and they cut a trailer to promote CHASING THE STAR. As of today it has been seen by 213,000 folks. ANYTHING can be picked apart and because of some people’s “need to be right” or need to “appear in the knowing” – many often miss the greater lessons. All three films have great messages placed within them. Just like denominations you can debate the fine details but many spend so much time doing this that again they miss the greater message. Empty your cup and just enjoy the journey.

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Here is an example – we ran a PR release on one of our co-stars in next year’s The Christ Slayer.

https://www.prlog.org/12680541-down-syndrome-actor-josh-ponceman-perrys-star-turn-in-the-christ-slayer-will-bring-inspiration.html

A beautiful casting choice that should inspire people to open their minds of acceptance as Jesus likely would have. This was posted all over social media and yet one person, a loudly proclaiming member of the organized religion of Christianity, made me shake my head. I did note they do some filming of sorts, but rather than see the beauty of the story, they chose to voice negativity in a passive aggressive way. Because they claim that at the time of Christ,  down syndrome may or may not have existed. Surely being with a handicap or dealing with disabilities DID exist and that IS what is being represented. I feel DEEP pity for the shallow nature and deep pits of despair that some people chose to exist in. As I stated, all features are fiction even if they represent non-fiction events or happenings. I myself have noted blatant things in films that are not likely true to history, but I always know I’m watching a story.  I try to think before I speak so even when I too fall victim to a negative thought or reaction, I’m not ruled by it. I overcome it. I will not be a person living in a glass house throwing stones at others. To those rock throwers- I’m also ready to watch your filmed story so I can be shown how it’s really done. Most of those asked to present their art would stand alone in their negativity surrounded by the shattered glass of their own actions and deeds. Don’t be one of those people. But also if you ask for feedback you do have to accept feedback although, many could learn to communicate their ideas much better. So in actuality I just feel pity for these folks. I have no room in my life for these people and they surely don’t deserve counter-hate. Hate is a powerful emotion on par with love – so instead in 2018 these people will get my pity, no more. 2018 is the year of “Mister T” philosophy. In ROCKY III – When asked if he hated Rocky, he replied, “I don’t hate Balboa, I pity the fool.” – Lesson: Don’t be a fool.

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Chasing the Star is now in the UK and Netherlands and I hope to bring more updates soon.

UK Celebrates the Release of ‘Chasing the Star

https://www.thechristianfilmreview.com/win-chasing-star-dvd/

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Also happy to announce that our children’s animated feature “The Patchwork Girl of Oz” will get a 2018 release. Follow the social media site here for news and updates.

https://www.facebook.com/The-Patchwork-Girl-of-Oz-123271044354343/

Confrontation

You know I like to give my blog family the first news – as many of you know WILD FAITH our western is almost done. We were watching and making notes on the new theatrical trailer and WOW! This film originated in concept in another script I wrote many years ago entitled WILD MICHIGAN. It was wrought with hardships from the writer’s strike, dishonest Hollywood companies and even an investor who was killed. To see a beautiful story at the heart of so much pain and discouragement it was shelved. I was ready to leave it there. But fast forward many years and a new streamlined version of the script was created. It was shot for about 1/10 the original budget. It was shot because of passion for the story and themes which remained true to the original. That previous script/film never got made. In truth, it was one of the few real ‘failures’ in my career. So when the opportunity came to release the book written by author Dee Freeman off my original first draft script – I decided to honor that film. To do this we did not change the book to match the new script/film. It stands on its own as a tribute to a different attempt at a film. A different story whereas even several of the characters have different names. But some themes remain and if you want to read this earlier version here is the sales link. I will be doing some PR in the coming weeks. I hope you will take a read on the film that almost was. Following that, in a few short months you can watch the film that IS. Either way, this amazing film had important messages and themes and wasn’t meant to die on a shelf. I’m thankful for that.

Other books will follow…CDI Publishing is born:)

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KNIGHT CHILLS book

https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Chills-DJ-Perry/dp/1945940174/ref=sr_1_13?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512927326&sr=1-13&keywords=DJ+Perry

Other Updates

The PR on the new 2018 release of “Wicked Spring” will be forthcoming.

The NEW Collective Development Inc. website will launch Jan. 15th, 2018.

The Official first poster and second trailer for THE CHRIST SLAYER is getting close. They will be released early in 2018!  Makes sure to watch Part 1 & 2.

Several development projects in the works and I even agreed to participate in a non-profit project shooting one day this month. It will be nice getting back in front of my old friend – the camera.

I hope you all enjoy the season and make that extra effort to be kind to strangers and family alike. Put down the stones and your hate and see how that feels. Note that the energy flows both ways.

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Speaking of energy I’ve been using Maple Holistic‘s Eucalyptus essential oil for my sinus flow. I again would recommend the brand for those who use oils. Thank you Maple Holistic’s for allowing me to share with my circle. For a free sample –  ( https://www.mapleholistics.com/free-sample/ )-

Be good to one another!

DJ