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

Posts tagged “festival

Production Ramble and Film Updates

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It is a chilly and wet morning here in Lansing, Michigan. It’s been a crazy balance of film and life as we move out of summer. I’ve had a string of fix-it projects with our roof, car brakes, wisdom teeth removal and my computer. Note: I did none of those things directly. The computer hard drive failed and had to be replaced. I was starting to reload files from external drives when luckily the company was able to retrieve the old data. I do have to reload my script writing software which was due for an upgrade. Add on the fact that we’re re-doing a bathroom and that adds up to a good deal of domestic work. We also added a pair of oak book shelves last week that up-ended everything in the house for two days but now looks wonderful.

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We’re working on a small narrative book video next week and that will be fun. We stepped out this week and supported Shane Hagedorn in another acting role in the Detroit area. It’s nice to see filmmakers developing and growing in their art. We met some nice people and had an enjoyable time.

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Speaking of premiere showings we have one coming on the 14th of Sept in Owosso, MI for MAN’S BEST FRIEND. Tickets go up for sale the 4th or 5th on the NCG Owosso website. Keep up with the MBF facebook page as we’ll be updating there. It is open to the public and we’ll be having my co-stars Don Most, Garry Nation, Tim Abell and David Reardon in attendance. So if you want to see a powerful film about our wounded vets and adoption dogs – come join us.

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WILD FAITH is finding an audience out there. This past week I had several people come up and tell me how much they enjoyed Wild Faith with a few having watched the movie multiple times. Next up a group of us will be traveling to AZ to attend the Wild Bunch film festival. Once we are booked we are going to invite our Yuma, AZ family and see if any want to come visit.

My dentist this past week was all smiles after he and his daughter enjoyed watching part 3 of The Quest Trilogy – The Christ Slayer. He shared some of the insights she took from the film. She GOT IT! Because she watched all three films. The movies can be watched as a stand alone but they are meant to be watched all together. So one of our goals this holiday season will be to let people know that the films are all part of a trilogy. I’ve also decided that I will be writing another biblical era film. I have one on deck now but the cost has put it a step beyond my means. But that could change as we expand our circles.

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PRODUCTION THOUGHTS

We don’t USE people – We DEVELOP people. I go into every media relationship wanting the same long time relationship I share with several of our #TRIBECDI – Composer and sound designer Dennis Therrian is a good example, he and I go back to about 1997.  In media now I hear about how ‘fluid’ people are and hardly keep a job beyond three years. Many are people who cannot deal with any conflict and need to be right all the time. Add to this that our industry is naturally fluid – in it’s flow…(Planning) few folks – (Shooting) army – (Post Work) few folks.

A freelancer has to make more good choices vs bad choices in a year or they will fail. This industry is based 100% on referrals if you’re amongst the wise. We as Indies have a small margin of error due to budget constraints. If you as cast or crew are doing what you love and YOU see the effort by production to give cast and crew a good ride while working to make a quality story. You should be supportive and loyal to the nth degree because it’s rare. For you under 25 folks you will realize. Many of you from your ‘Office Space’ cubical. Yeah… Don’t let your ego sink you. Before I sling arrows let me admit my biggest WEAKNESS. It has always been that I care about people. I truly do. I recognize that dreamer fire burning in some people. And I’ve seen people who’s willpower cannot match their dreams – let me translate LAZY.

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I can see people’s success and fail potential. I see those battles of willpower when the dream becomes hard. Almost impossible until – it happens. I’ve bet on people that they could escape their self sabotage and live their better self. I’ve won more than I’ve lost but I’ve surely lost. The TRIBE works in a very tribal way thanks likely to my CDI partner Jeff Kennedy’s anthropology courses. If you aren’t pulling your weight your peers know. They see the lack of focus. They see the attitude and that person will find themselves pushed to the outer rim. I also will state that CDI is a tribe of artists that live on the alpha end of the spectrum. They are savage in their hunger for success as an artist.

I can tell you as an older lion that surviving in this industry long term is a badge to itself. That said, I love to develop appreciate, hungry and extremely talented artists. When you take away the environment for drama and BS, which is a trap for all groups of humans gathering, these artists potential shines even more. Making great art inside a shit-storm is a hard go. You have to control your artistic studio, workshop, world, set. Do this and watch your project get even stronger. The energy when a crew believes…when they see the world, is amazing.

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I offered a script to one of our crew guys on ‘Lost Heart’…NOTE: I like my crew to know the story they are creating. Cast or crew I just would have to know what I’m selling hours of my life to. Okay…but he said he was enjoying piecing it together each day. This ‘interest’ in the art from the crew is what helps to elevates the final story.

If you prove yourself to be untrustworthy, undependable, unfocused, unprepared – you get my point. The crew will often work around you rather than with you. If your drama overly seeps into the set, they might ignore but they remember. See again as a martial artists, I see the hot set as a dojo. I mentally bow when I enter and I bow to my fellow cast and crew. We all stop our own time from ACTION to CUT and live those moments together that is the STORY. That is some intimate shit. And some artsy sounding shit at that. But it’s true.

Back to the topic, I’ve been doing this walk a good long time. I want this to keep creating and so I’m not looking for friends or social peeps, BFF’s or any of that. I’m looking for select artists whereas the Tribe see’s them as a good asset. I can say that of the cards that people have brought to the CDI table over the years to play, the best card was always loyalty. You work to create an inspiring place for artists to develop projects void of time-wasting, energy-stealing drama. That is the goal. How successful were we? We’ll let the projects tell that story as I believe the end product has a lot to do with that production energy. It absorbs into the story just like seasons when you shoot. An October movie always has a strong haunting and introspective vibe. Again that saying,  Making great art within a shit-storm is a hard go.

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I’ve been working hard to develop people because I think I knew where we were heading. I see the on-going slate of films peppered with a few TV series. That takes talent, dedication and organization. Again, praise to all the good stuff happening in our state. Back in the day there was Lynn Drzick (West Side) and Mike Kallio (East Side) and a shot gun smattering of filmmakers in Michigan. Working to TV stations at nights trying to complete films shot on FILM. Okay. I see movies on Vikings, Detroit Hustle, Firefighters, Sex Trafficking, Body Swappers…all in our state of Michigan. Very cool!

I’m going to slide out of here and get with my day. Be good to one another. Thank you for letting me ramble over coffee. I hope to see some of you Sept 14th in Owosso, MI at the MAN’S BEST FRIEND premiere showings. I’ve heard good things about the theater tests but I’m waiting to be surprised myself. Coffee cheers!

Have a great Labor Day weekend.

DJ

 

 


Day 5 and some Wild Faith Updates

NOTE: Due to storms and internet this is being posted on Monday

Good morning from LOST HEART:) Actually I’m writing in the late night here so I can post before bed. We at have a very full day tomorrow plus we producers are moving into the production rooms after a nice stay during pre-production in the suites. Our crew is enjoying their condos and the area has a serene nature to it. This is the grounds where the infamous ELECTRIC FOREST festival takes place. We were offered passes to this but we had work to do. Plus the older I get the idea of tens of thousands of people does not appeal to me. But it appeals to many people in the 50-70k range. We’ve knocked down our first four days of shooting and after a day of rest we are back at it. We had our biggest day yesterday with lots of extras at a beautiful location in Whitehall. It is a Bed & Breakfast owned by the mayor of the town and her husband. It is called The Lewis House. I got to make some great moments with Don Most, Victoria Jackson and Melissa Anschutz. Old friends and new are being made on this shoot. These two talented actors from Michigan will be joining LOST HEART. I’ve enjoyed all the positive on the story and script and it is a pleasure to see how invested each actor is in their role. Also the artists behind the camera have worked very hard to capture our moments. The heat was very hot but we had good holding areas and won our day.

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WILD FAITH just keeps getting recognized. We did not enter this festival so it has been a surprise and an honor to first be recognized with a JUSTICE AWARD and now they announced recognition for set design. IF you have not watched this film and you like what we’re creating please do take a watch.

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I posted some PR earlier. Almost immediately I saw that some young living historian we had in the film negatively commented that the film wasn’t worth watching he heard because they were only seen for like 5 secs. First I told him, watch it. The flashbacks to war are much longer than 5 seconds. He also was going off someone else so I told him to watch it. Also people are subjective in what they like and don’t like but make up YOUR mind. Also if you love to present your impression of a Civil War soldier to an audience our film probably will give you once of the biggest showcases of your career. Millions of eyes foreign and domestic but for this fella if he did not get enough screen time the project wasn’t worth it. I can say that in twenty years when an older man looks back at a film that immortalized a younger him in a great story, it will be worth it. It isn’t always about you. Sometimes were are part of something bigger together. I sincerely hope this person finds some peace in his life. I can’t always figure people out. I was nice. He was nice back. He wants to still watch the film. Watch it and make your own opinion. Don’t be a sheep.

IMG_7269.JPG Kudos to Jen Raine and Austin Two-Feathers and let’s not forget our director Mr. Low seen in the background. He cares about these films like we do and LOST HEART will make his third with CDI in the directing chair. Congrats to all the cast and crew.

MBF: Man’s Best Friend – We have a lot of upcoming announcements concerning this film but I am going to make you wait. It is past my bedtime and I have our second biggest day shooting on LOST HEART. So I will withhold a little until next week. I’m also trying to confirm a few things.

Have a great Sunday!

DJ

 


Finishing vs Starting – Biz Wrap Up

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The hazelnut coffee sits beside me bringing my computer in my head online with each sip. I’ve been returning to action since returning from Burbank. So I’ve been trying to plan out my fall. I’ve been considering all options before us while moving ahead. We’ll be announcing a few exciting developments including a production deal.

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Right now my focus is on finishing the distribution deal on WILD FAITH, which includes a developing TV series. As many of you know and we’ll expand upon in a PR release – we won ‘Best Faith Film’ at Burbank International Film Festival.

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My next priority is the finishing and releasing of part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY entitled “The Christ Slayer”. This film is the final chapter in our biblical adventure series. I again play Jesus and this film has the most VFX to date. Bridgestone Multimedia Group has it marked as their flagship for Easter 2019. I’m very excited for audiences to experience this film. Director Nathaniel Nose has done a wonderful job with it and Dennis Therrian is composing an incredible score and doing sound design.

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MBF: Man’s Best Friend is also in editing and will move into post music and sound design as The Christ Slayer exits post. We’ve been releasing official stills and a teaser will be released before Christmas.

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I’ve also been writing a new script LOST HEART that I had intended to shoot this fall. But with the post schedule and my writing moving a tad slower because of the wrist (cast off now a splint for 30 days) – I think it may push to 2019. I want to do it right and that requires prep. But the script is still being worked and will likely be done this month. I just need to look at the entire slate and how we want to roll things out. Lots of moving pieces to consider. I think we might start doing a few table reads on possible scripts also.

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Acting-wise I’m starting to feel the urge again to be in front of the camera. As always it has to be the right story. Outside the biz I’ve been enjoying the approaching fall. I’ve harvested hops and wild grapes for one of my new wines. We’ve got a few squash that will be a good addition to the dinner table. With no soccer today for me I’m going to try to put a one-handed mow on the yard. The wood stove might get a working tonight and so fire wood gathering and cutting will be more important in the coming weeks.

Enjoy the harvests in your life.

DJ

 


Scripts, Star Wars and Updates

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I want to welcome our new readers from Malta and Trinidad – I love as we add more artistic folks to this little circle. I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and reflecting back upon my week. This week has been full of updates as we move forward. Let’s do a TOP TEN updates.

  1. First I was pleased to see the final product on a Voice Over job I did for a commercial video directed by Tomaki Boaz. He also directed the music video I participated in not to long ago.  https://youtu.be/Y6gqlE8BKJ8
  2. The PR announcing the official theatrical trailer to part 3 of The Quest Trilogy has been well received. Here is the trailer for THE CHRIST SLAYER. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqmOL80agh0
  3. Sound design and music on THE CHRIST SLAYER is in full swing with Dennis Therrian at our sound studio.
  4. This week I’m also proud to announce that the home video deal for THE CHRIST SLAYER with BMG was signed. Just waiting on the countersigned paperwork and we’ll have official release dates soon after. We do know that the Christmas season will be our theatrical roll out and Easter season will be our home video.

Devil and Gab w: logo5.  Ongoing work on the WILD FAITH home video deal and beyond deal. But I’m also hearing that we got invited to play at a cool Hollywood-based film festival in the fall. More info soon.

A plot forms6. MBF is officially in post-production and file organization is underway. Also discussions for a first teaser trailer. I’m going to be talking with a few people about BTS promo videos this week. First look stills – soon:)

34481819_2058849274388409_2256370234413809664_n7. I took a story concept from an old script – adding a few great elements and I’m writing a new script. Mainly changing the shooting location while tailoring some of the roles. I’m excited about this story that will likely be our fall film for CDI.  Follow http://www.cdiproductions.com for casting updates.

8. This week we’ll be finishing up the first wave of “visual synopsis” videos for the selling of books for a large publisher. This is one of the CDI accounts we have and so again we will do select commercial endeavors but feature film and TV content is our priority.

9. I had a nice meeting this week with Michigan’s own Taylor Nichols. He’s a quality talent originally from our area but has been calling L.A. home. We finally had a chance to sit down informally and talk movies and possibilities.

10. This weekend I was taken as a belated birthday present to the Detroit Art Museum to see an exhibit that is all on the wardrobe and costumes of STAR WARS. It was a great peek inside the process that surprisingly is very close to what we’ve had to do with all our period films. It is cool to hear the inspiration and stories behind the iconic outfits.

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It was a great week that also included putting some zen to the yard. Some berry collecting for wine – we have wine to bottle now. Some office organization and just putting order to things. Today is July 1st and we’ve had a heat wave but most of that was spent at the art museum in Detroit. No soccer for the day because of the 4th of July holiday. I’m looking forward to a week of business and some enjoyment. I hope you all are spending sometime with your loved ones. Those following our furry son Luke’s radiation journey – he’s healing from the burns but it does look like the tumor and swelling is growing smaller. He’s attitude and health has stayed strong so we are grateful for that.

Enjoy your day and have a great weekend.

DJ


Countdown 2016 & 2017 Preview

Sipping some dark coffee with that hazelnut goodness added as the outside looks like giant snow globe. Yesterday was spent on several shopping trips, a nice meal out and stocking up on food items. Today will be a belated bday gathering for my step bro so at least one trip out. I’m gonna fire up the wood stove at the office and do some organizing. Most of my time lately has been prepping for end-of-the-year and new year business. Let’s look at some updates.

The Quest Trilogy –

A Journey Begins

One of the teaser posters for CDI’s “40 Nights”

“40 Nights” new deal is complete on our end, signed and awaiting countersigned paperwork. What this will mean is a new push into the market in 2017. A possible return to theaters plus we’ll target a new 2nd quarter Easter 2017 national rollout. A possible festival or two as the film was invited to showcase.

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“Chasing the Star” deal is being done as we speak. We’ll be doing premieres including a Yuma, AZ showing when we’re there to film the 3rd movie. A theatrical run plus event showing will follow the premiere(s). The talk is the national release will be in September 2017 on the run up to Christmas 2017.

When “Chasing the Star” is releasing nationally the third film will be finishing post. I think the idea is for 1st of the year 2018 theatrical and event showings on “The Christ Slayer” with a national release targeting either Easter or Christmas 2018.

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On “The Christ Slayer” – I’ve been in talks with a handful of directors and I might be close to a decision. Also get those dramatic reels updated especially if you are on the west coast as that is where we will be filming. We announced some of the returning cast and more exciting announcements lie ahead!

This has been an exciting run on this trilogy of films. I hope audiences can enjoy these films for many years to come.

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Wild Faith – The feature is in post and will likely be done next Summer (2017) and we’ll plan a fall release. The film is designed to be the pilot feature for a TV series so we’ll see how that plays out. I am doing some prep work on this endeavor which would be quite the undertaking. I’m thinking we might show the 1st teaser trailer on NEW YEARS DAY. This 1800’s tale is going to be powerful and I’m proud to have it counted amongst our product.

I’ve continued to get updates on projects like Sunn Classics “C.U.J.O.” and have a few films I acted in that still have not released “Dead Quiet,” and “Division 19” but that is often the way.

I’m going to cut it here as I have a string of things to get done before the Lions play and we have our family gathering. We might have to hook the dogs up to a sleigh. Have a great day and be safe on those roads.

DJ

 

 


Bananas, Bestseller and Being Sick

As a kid being sick meant no school, watching cartoons and reading books. This week I fought the good battle not to be sick because I always have stuff to do. I have a few days of working in the morning and trying to fight off chills and such in the afternoon. Well I am sick 100% now. I tried to pretend (act) like I wasn’t but I guess I’m not that good of an actor. Low grade fever, chills, achy and sore throat and sinus pressure. I think my triple concern over my brother having a healthy baby, a good “Ashes of Eden” showing and successful surgery for our two dogs knocked my immune system down. Add in the many, many people I came into contact with at these events…whatever the cause I’m now on the couch sipping hot tea and watching Scooby Doo. Some things never change but I’m bummed because we were going to have a get together at my fathers today and I can’t go. I can’t put my germ self anywhere near the new-born. Luckily because of the two recovering dogs we have a light Sunday planned. I may keep this brief but let’s look at a few high points.

“Ashes of Eden” showing was a huge event. To see the place sold out at capacity was awesome. The mayor commented we should have had a second concessions line and overall I think we made our hometown proud. At the climax of the film there was a roar of cheers that you just can’t plan. A double standing ovation later told us we had done our jobs as storytellers. We are now in the process of approaching some of the distributors who have waited for the film to be done.

Only one post issue whereas one actor feels the need to have his minute of footage prior to signing our distribution deal. That person was told that nobody is getting footage yet because any exposure that isn’t official can be bad. So our CDI policy has always been to wait for the deal to be done. This person feels that their want outweigh all the other artists and investors/point holders who are wanting the best deal. I don’t know this person all that well but I can tell you that not respecting the wishes of the business is a good way to not get hired again in the future. There are too many good actors who are about good business versus selfish wants. It likely is not truly harmful but when you’re trying to be fair to all and one person wants to cut in line…I was taught that at a very young age – it’s wrong. I’m not going to go on and on because I really don’t know this person like I stated and I really don’t care to. My advice to those actors out there – don’t be that person. Production is not trying to hold you back they are just looking out for everyone. Maybe this person needs to go watch the Star Trek movie where Spock is trying to save the entire crew – the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Or want in this case. More silliness in the world of film that I make a point to usually avoid.

So DVD and screening links have started to go out on “Ashes of Eden” and I’m happy that another major studio has rejoined the list of interested. Our goal is to set up a theatrical and run the entire list of platform releases. I will be on more distributors Monday making the rounds. Also on Monday…

The fine tune of the “Bestseller” trailer and film starts this Monday. This week we worked with graphic templates and such. This movie is also looking great. We will lock this picture and move down the post line. Chad Ice has done a great job getting the cut where it is. I’m excited about the first looks coming to audiences and distributors soon.

I’ve got PR on “Donors” going out next week that includes  the announcement of the Yuma, AZ premiere. We also are getting closer to announcing a new film that will be rolling into pre-production if we can get our final financial support. We’ve got distribution offers attached already and a powerful script. More on this very soon:)

I’m anxious for soccer to be starting next week and also I’ve got the 6 gal of banana/coconut wine started. I think I just need to try to take it easy this weekend. It’s hard with lots going on but I’ve gotta rest and take it easy. I want to thank each and every person who came out and supported us at the Capital City Film Festival. They did a nice job hosting us and I think they were happy with our record-setting attendance. Enjoy your time with family and friends on this beautiful Easter weekend.

DJ

 

 


Ashes of Eden, Announcements and Becoming an Uncle

So I think first and foremost in breaking news is that I became an Uncle for the first time. Yes, my baby brother and his wife had a beautiful baby girl. Also the fact that springtime is here is noteworthy. I bottled some beer this week and I have banana/coconut wine on deck to be made. We’ve been doing some great yard work and we also grilled out. We will likely do a bit more of both prior to the start of this weekend activities.

Tonight we have a VIP party for “Ashes of Eden” followed by tomorrows Pre-Party, Sold Out screening and post party. I’m out of practice on the multiple party front so who knows a nap could come into play. See for filmmakers, a large showing consists of more focus and hopeful wishing that the technology side of things runs smoothly. Tomorrows showing is mainly for cast and crew and the festival sold about 500 tickets to the public plus fest pass holders – this could result in 800 or so people at the screening tomorrow. I’m happy to show family, friends and fans but I’m really just happy to be completed with the film. I’m ready to engage in the business dealings with the dozen or so companies that have been following our film. We do need to spend a few days on our 5.1 mix but we have a complete film. This film is one of 4 still in post and one of two I’m directly helping to supervise.

DONORS is complete and will have a May 24th 1st showing in Yuma, AZ. I may or may not be there it depends on a few other factors. I’m excited to see this film all polished up.

BESTSELLER is moving nicely down the post production line. I have a new set of notes to go over to editing next week. Also the trailer is moving along and should be ready at the end of the month.

THE TERRORIST is also entering final music and sound design and should be rolling out at year’s end.

To be honest I’m a tad tired. I do have some very exciting stuff brewing with new management and upcoming film roles. I had my work evaluated by the upcoming director of a studio film that will have a major release. The work was really liked and it seems I will be playing a good part in this upcoming film which I cannot speak of. But it is based on a world-famous author’s work and it’s being done on the highest level of quality. I’m honored to be participating.

Another project that I’m not yet ready to announce has several distribution offers and is gaining great momentum. I just worry about time lines and schedules between projects. I just tell myself one step at a time and I’ll deal with it as it happens. We have product out to a few networks and new buyers from the UK, Australia and I might be announcing some films releasing to Brazil/S. America very soon.

So I’m going to try just relax and enjoy this weekend. We have some good associates/friends in town for the ASHES OF EDEN screening and so again I will try to check the producer into rest mode and just enjoy the experience for a day or two. Yes. I do co-star in ASHES OF EDEN and I think my fans will not be disappointed in the role. The test audience really liked the character and he really helps the story move along. I just wanted to address some of the questions I had emailed to me asking if I was acting – thank you for asking:) Sometimes after the film wraps and we go into post – the actor part of me has to take backseat to the producer. I do enjoy both but I do truly produce stuff that I love acting in. It is not the other way around. I will seldom produce something that the actor in me hasn’t been drawn to.

Have a great weekend and again congrats to my brother and his wife.

BELIEVE! (Tribute to U.W.)

DJ