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

Posts tagged “fear

Home is Michigan

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Again Michigan is covered in a blanket of white snow. I know that many of you are from various parts of the world. Welcome readers from S. Korea and Burma. How wonderful that all these artistic people have found our little corner of the internet. My hazelnut coffee is going down easy and I’ve got a list of updates on several of the projects. This morning I did take a stroll through the Facebook which has kind of replaced the newspaper sadly. I usually find science articles to read and enjoy certain animal posts that highlight how intelligent and soulful animals truly are. Where to begin?

I commented on a fellow filmmaker’s vent this morning. In short – a disdain for people who have more resources or who falsely claim experience. It’s a problem but one that usually works itself out. We use to lovingly refer to it as The Oregon Trail. For us older people it was a TSR-80 game. But in real history it was a rugged journey that resulted in many dying and being buried along the Oregon Trail. We use that saying to describe the many in our business who perished along the trail.

Many people have long-wondered what the “trick” is at CDI to producing their content. First, there is no trick. It is a logical checklist of work that must be done in a particular order. You can refine that over time but this takes an effort. Good management of people is something that you cannot buy for yourself. There is no piece of equipment you can purchase that will motivate good work flow. Some of the secrets, if you wanna call it that  are…

  1. Hire artists firsts not friends – you can become friends (True definition not Facebook’s) through shared art, dependability, accountability and positive collaboration. But to assign/hire someone unqualified for a crew or cast role out of friendship hurts the collective endeavor and often the friendship. Don’t set people up to fail. Don’t let preventable failure lower the quality of your projects or worse yet – kill it. I think for young filmmakers that is where these 48 hour film challenge things help. With a youthful generation of highly creative, technology-adept youths INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION is a learned skill. It is easy to be disrespectful, behind a computer. But these comments in the real world to a real person, can get you kung fu’d, fired or create a poison in an otherwise productive creative atmosphere.
  2. Chiefs. I’m talking to company owners. I’m talking to producers, director and keys. You all set the tone for the environment. Define the roles ahead of time. Don’t figure it out as you go. Producers have months or years of development work before any camera roll – use it. Creative MUST respect the Business machine and the business must respect the artistic contributions that will elevate it above being a mere formula genre film. Only strong leadership can walk this balance between the two and enforce this kind of collaboration. NEED vs WANT…KNOW the DIFFERENCE.
  3. Follow Through – this means the same in micro as in macro – for anyone in the chain of execution. You NEED people with follow through or they’re simply a negative – excuses not withstanding. It does not matter what the creative potential of an individual is if they’re not able to follow through.  This should always disqualify/limit a person from leadership. Now you can put creative slackers under a disciplined key so they can be exposed and maybe learn from leadership. Ego will sometimes make them reject the chain of command if they feel they are a superior artist. The best artist in our world has follow through and a “best effort” positive attitude.  Again, the best artist is not always JUST the best artist but the best artist with follow through. If a creative caterer made half a crew lunch = fail. Someone at go time had collected only half the props = fail. Wrong instructions as to where to park support vehicles = fail. Hundreds of things a day can cause strife on a film set if your team is not properly prepared. Be prepared.
  4. Help is not weakness – many people have not learned the many important lessons from managing projects of various sizes and budgets. People need to know when to say NO or to seek out and hire the proper experience. But either greed or fear of loss of power, causes many to sell themselves onto projects that they are truly unqualified for. F- YOU DJ! YOU GOTTA START SOMEWHERE! Okay. Settle down, I hear you:) Now in the beginning, I might have been one of those people. But, I did qualify as a doer of many other things.  Some of these things small and some large in other areas of my life. I have always been someone who has a natural drive to GET IT DONE if I’m behind something. Investors saw that eye of the tiger in me. Investor interest seldom comes from a fancy fluff package or a regurgitation of business buzz words – more often that investor see’s or feels something in you that was/is akin to his own inner fire.

OK. I need to save a little wisdom:) But I try to keep a pulse on this Michigan film community.  I see positives and negatives. Michigan has always fought the ‘backwoods’ mentality given to us by Hollywood. Funny thing is much of the Hollywood elite is midwestern. But I will say that I see improvements. Tax incentives gone – my opinion – it never should have been about drawing work to Michigan but development of work from within Michigan. But it did help legitimize filmmaking as an acceptable title here in Michigan. Ask old-timers and MI filmmakers from the 80’s and 90’s, about being called a filmmaker. It was like telling your family you want to be an astronaut. It was usually met with a sideways stare and a loss of words.

Now people don’t sideways stare at me they simply want to know when the next film releases. They tell me they have young children interested in filmmaking. It’s great to see the parent support of these young dreamers. I burned out on festivals a decade ago but I respect all the great festivals our state has to showcase, network and nurture our creatives. I watch the yearly migration to the west coast where people learn that the increase in opportunities is usually matched by the increase in applicants. But many have to experience it. I will be out there for a week on some business this month. I’m looking forward to seeing some friends and associates. Oh, and the sun. But after a few I must return home.  Home is Michigan.

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Shane Hagedorn’s big shoulders to carry his first feature

WILD FAITH

We master the film off this week and I’ve got some meetings coming up over home video/foreign. The TV series is something that I’ve been aggressively chasing. I think it would be great for Michigan. I know a few other TV series working to get traction. How great would it be to have a string of TV shows happening. We’ve also been hard at work on securing theaters. We’ll be announcing soon as several deals are almost done. I do truly love the genre and I think it would be great to see weekly as a show. Once you watch the movie let me know.

WICKED SPRING

If you cannot wait and need a fix of 1800’s action/drama our Civil War film “Wicked Spring” is getting a re-release 16 years later. 18 years from when cameras first rolled. We shot the pre-war and war stuff in two separate shoots and areas. I’m waiting for the streaming link to go live on amazon. 2/5/18 is supposed to be digital release date. DVD’s on 3/5/18. Here is the new cover that the distributor settled on. It has one of my favorite pics from the shoot and it is of Anthony Hornus, who played the Union commander. Also that’s Michigan’s Brad Egan front and center marching forth.

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Look for this cover that has the remastered film. Also the DVD includes a 45 min Making of that is a wonderful look back at producing 18 years ago. Please do take a watch.

Cool look at the TOP Civil War Films

https://www.ranker.com/…/all-civil-w…/all-genre-movies-lists

We’ll be posting places you can buy/rent as they go live on

Wicked Spring Facebook 

https://www.facebook.com/CivilWarMovies/

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Are you ready for another look at Part 3 of…

THE QUEST TRILOGY 

Forty Nights and Chasing the Star are working into more platforms and networks. The push will start for Easter sales. I’m excited that the poster and movie trailer for The Christ Slayer part 3 is almost done. As if the excitement of “Wild Faith” wasn’t enough this first full trailer will allow BMG to start promotions. It is amazing the scope of it all and it brings the greater story of the trilogy together and answers many questions.

SIDE NOTE: Forty Nights is part one and if you don’t know I play Jesus. I’m over due on a few character reels but this one was hard. When you’re in about 70 min of a 88 min film or so and you are looking for 2-3 min sizzle it can prove to be…difficult. My actor/filmmaker buddy Shane Hagedorn knew I’ve been very busy the last few years working on the whole. He surprised me with a character reel of Jesus. I will be sharing that with you all in the coming days. I always ask that one good role just gets me one more. This will come in handy as I’ve got a few things in the works hence the LA trip.

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ACTING

Many have asked me what’s next for me on-screen. As we’re always working on delay – this year you can watch me as mountain man Ben Lily in “Wild Faith” and reprising my role as Jesus in “The Christ Slayer” film. I’ve got some good film role options that I’m not at liberty to discuss. It might be the year that several development collaborations pop. I can say that the main focus for me is MBF. (Man’s Best Friend) We’ve accepted  collaboration with a military non-profit http://www.theredwhiteandblueproject.org/ that has done some great things in the past for our soldiers. They want to off-set some of our military cast/crew costs and create an educational aspect. That aside we’re trying to complete financing on this project and we’re getting close. I am excited about this project and I think so will you once you find out more about it. Here is our social media site.

MBF: facebook 

https://www.facebook.com/MBFthemovie/

I could go on and one but I have some snow to shovel and I’m prepping to do personal tax prep tomorrow.  Coffee cup is low.

Be good to one another!

DJ

 

 

 

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Creating Sanctuary in the Chaos

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(A sip of coffee) What a week. I have to say weather-wise it was very cold but quite mild compared to other states. Lots of great developments including getting all the business taxes submitted to our movie accountants. Only my personal taxes are left to tackle. I’m really staying focused on the films because I think unity is something we all really need right now. I’ve almost eliminated any social media viewing for pleasure save STAR WARS updates. There is so much hate, anger and fear – and Yoda taught us those things lead to the dark side:) But seriously, we all have different priorities pending our lot in life, but I’m saddened by the chaotic state of our nation. I think the health of our planet and the future we leave the children of tomorrow should be the priority.

I mostly enjoy people and that is never based on the clothes they wear, the car they drive or the house they live in. It’s based on their attitude, humor, compassion and how they treat their fellow human beings. I think we’re back to a dark place in America like pre-9-11. As tragic as all that was at least we saw the best in people rise from the ashes of those towers. The intangible tower of UNITY. Now if anyone values or dares looks at things differently, they’re considered STUPID right-wing, IDIOT liberals, ignorant ASS HATS. There is no real communication just shouting and babble.

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Beautiful – by artist Jeff Butler

I’ve seen the left think Bush was the root of everything wrong. After that it was Obama who became the target. What people fail to understand is that all that negativity is poison spewed is also poison to the self. The crazed look of hate and non-rational ranting heard from both sides has damaged people badly. We’re a country of change complete with checks and balances. Trust in that and don’t be swept up in the chaos of it all. Seek clarity. The best actions are made when they come from a place of clarity.

Sanctuary of Storytelling

I want to be part of sanctuary that grants clarity. When people are no longer are able to cope with wild emotions that have pulled them so far from their normal orbit – they will crave peace. Once the TV NEWS gets turned off and they immerse themselves in a darkroom -the lights dim as the wind, music and beautiful visuals appear- messages of hope. FILM truly can be a sanctuary. We’ll be here tending that sanctuary ready to give peace of mind to all who enter. Maybe we can send calmer, cooler heads back out into the world. In America we must seek compromise – same side of the table negotiations versus hate and gridlock. It cannot be an all or nothing mentality where certain policy is only good for some. We’ll face many more challenges in the future and we’ll all need those moments of sanctuary. Allow yourself to go there. Let the venom be purged and your mind become calm.

Now to the films…

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FORTY NIGHTS

We’re excited that “Forty Nights” is getting an expanded 2017 release. The change in name from “40 Nights” to “Forty Nights” will allow people who ASK for the film to find it easier. Many first run retailers who were asked in person likely typed “FORTY” and – Nope. Nothing in our system. So this expanded release will correct that issue. It will also have (in my opinion) stronger art work. The previous cover was a rush job by Wal-Mart. The cover was not our Jesus, and it was…poor quality in my opinion. The film is now being digitally re-mastered and may include a few extras goodies. I hope to reveal some new artwork in the coming weeks.

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CHASING THE STAR

We met last week over the second film which is now in final VFX and color correction. This week we start to work on the end credits and we’re going to be setting up theatrical play dates soon after “Forty Nights” 4/4/17 home video release date. On Friday I had the first draft of our home video deal with BMG. We’ve got a bit of back and forth but should have an exact release date soon. This film lives up to what we started with “Forty Nights” and I’m so excited to see audiences take this second journey –  Chasing the star!

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The Christ Slayer

Once again, I’m in a race against the harsh desert of AZ trying to get all our investors and business in line. It has not been an IF but WHEN on these films and often these folks don’t realize what we face time-wise. We’re often the small investment and the urgency is not always understood until they feel the desert heat. That said, we’re moving strongly forward with the worst case situation being us having to shoot on the other side of the AZ summer. (124 degrees is too hot) With all the pieces falling into place I would rather shoot in March, so I’m going to push hard. Last week we announced our director Nathaniel Nose. Before that we announced our returning cast. Soon here we’ll be announcing our new leads in the film. We’ve found two of the four and we’re also casting a few new antagonists. I’ve had a few reels start to come in to me after requesting Middle East or Italian actors send their materials. Thank you. The crew is also shaping up nicely and we’ll be once again bringing some Michigan keys out to work with our AZ team. I really would enjoy storytelling in AZ when Michigan is buried under snow.

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WILD FAITH

The first STILL photos are starting to roll out and soon I hope to have a teaser poster and trailer. I’ve seen some amazing footage from the film and I think audiences will really enjoy what we have.

FUTURE ENDEAVORS

We’re looking at future projects and where we want to go with our film slate. We have many options to consider. Keep putting one foot in front of the next one and before long you’ll surprise yourself on how far you’ve traveled.

Until next week…

DJ