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

Posts tagged “food

Week Wrap Up – Trailers, Festivals and Future Films

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The hazelnut coffee is flowing and I’m ready to sit down with all of you for a few fine moments. On our way back last night from visiting our furry brown buddy at the MSU Animal Hospital, a LUGNUT baseball game was happening. The downtown was filled with people of all colors and nationalities. I remember noting how proud of the diversity of Lansing, Michigan. We’ve got our issues like everyone else with crime stemming from poverty and bad choices. But those differences are again what makes our lives so interesting. Just like various foods, clothes and customs – all add to the spectrum of our daily lives. From Northwestern Elementary school to Otto Middle to Sexton High to LCC and MSU – diversity. Embrace it.

FILM UPDATES

One of the weekly highlights was the release of the 1st teaser trailer for “The Christ Slayer,” the third film in THE QUEST TRILOGY.  Read about it here and included within is the new trailer.

https://www.prlog.org/12656819-first-look-teaser-for-the-christ-slayer-brings-cdis-the-quest-trilogy-full-circle.html

Chasing the Star just played Lanett City Film Festival and I hope the people there enjoyed the showing. We’ve got a few more big screen showings in the works. More on that once we get the deals done. The film releases to DVD on September 5th with Bridgestone Multimedia Group.

PRE-ORDER DVD – https://www.christianbook.com/chasing-the-star/9781945788239/pd/889043

Forty Nights continues to give audiences a look at the first film in the trilogy. I cannot wait until all three of the films can be watched together.

On the development note I have been working on the next three films in THE CONQUEST TRILOGY.

WILD FAITH – Our post Civil War western has lots of themes that I think need to be examined. The film is having VFX work done and music. We’ll likely finish the film at the end of the year and perhaps play for cast and crew before a 2018 theatrical followed by home video. I hope to release a behind the scenes sizzle and a poster soon. Here is the trailer in case you have missed it.

If you’ve an old school fan of CDI you really need to get the book written by David Hayes on CDI’s first film “Knight Chills” which is a cautionary tale on bullying.

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BUY IT HERE – and feel free to leave a review.

https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Chills-DJ-Perry/dp/1945940174/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502633577&sr=1-1&keywords=knight+chills

NEW BIZ

Our meetings on M.B.F. are very productive. We have been reviewing actors for certain roles while working other logistics. We’re working to gather our business partners to travel with us on this powerful story that centers on our military vets and shelter dogs. I’ve been enjoying the layers of exploration as I discover the new role to be played. After taking on the roles of Jesus and bearded Mountain Man Ben Lily, this clean-shaven look is taking a moment to get use to.

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I’m going to top off the coffee cup and do a few things around here. I did a major mow and trim on the yard which needed it. The garden is kicking out major tomatoes and beans but with Luke sick again the yard animals chewed into my one pumpkin. The HOPS are starting to come on and today I will cut the last of the rhubarb that will become wine with the mulberries. I also have another soccer battle today and we have everything crossed that our furry boy can come home from the hospital. We were on vacation the week before and to not have him home this week has been hard. We want the pack to be whole again.

Be good to one another. Until next week.

DJ

 

 


10 UPDATES/LESSONS OF THE WEEK

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I’m waiting for the coffee to finish as I start typing. I have a full day today and so I wanted to get a jump on it. As usual I want to welcome all our international readers from Poland, Argentina and more. Part of the balance of an artist is to navigate all the elements life presents. Since returning from filming ‘The Christ Slayer’ I’ve been working on getting the entire operation in order. That part as I’ve stated before is not the most fun part. While others seek their next role on camera I’m recording, tracking and remitting on other films. This week was important because as “Forty Nights” is fully entering the flow and thank you too all those of you who have watched the film. It is a business and that work must be done. Also ‘Chasing the Star’ will soon be heading into the national/international market so getting this “business flow” set up is the smart thing. Being that I’ve not yet had a sip of coffee my thoughts are still a little scattered so maybe we’ll have a shotgun news day with no exact order. I call this 10 UPDATES/LESSONS OF THE WEEK.

  1. “Forty Nights” had 4 nominations at the #ICFF and WON ‘Most Inspirational Movie’ and we’ve got an internal process of PR. I did notice that the film experienced a lil’ hate with the nomination nods and more when it won. I know this comes from the frustration of actors/filmmakers/screenwriters who despise seeing other projects move while their passion sits stagnant. (Coffee is ready – time out) (OK – game on) A few facts are that some of our projects have failed to launch. I’ve discovered that we often get stuck in a rut of trying to push something that is not ready. If you get better at reading momentum that helps your endeavors. Some people want to push with everything and not back down but if it is not meant to be, it will not come to pass. Patience is a bitch.
  2.  I had a meeting this week where it was pointed out that many in the local community don’t love the isolation attitude of our company. The truth is that I work hard on TO DO’s everyday. I turn it off everyday with things to do tomorrow. I could spend time at various industry mixers but it comes at the expense of something I need to do. I could spend $100 on food and drinks to discuss other people’s endeavors but it comes at the expense of writing 10 pages of script or not reviewing that international sales agreement. It was easier when I was a nomadic film warrior in my 20’s but I have domestic activities that I enjoy – yard work/tinkering is one of them. So it is not that I don’t care what others are doing industry-wise (I’m actually quite informed) but I just love what we’re doing more and know fully the hard work required to move those pieces ahead on the board. Talk to anyone who has participated in one of our endeavors and the response is usually very different versus the person who has not yet done business with us. Again I say, DON’T HATE, CREATE. That should go on tee-shirts.
  3. Again Cannes Film Festival is underway and I’ve done that Hollywood scene and it is a fun world to visit. But it will devour your time and financial resources and again you can visit trendy places with your resources or you can create art and content. Many of those parties cost thousands of dollars to attend. I also said that I will consider attending only accompanying a piece of art we’ve created. Maybe one day. I have no problem with those who love to attend those events – I’m just working steadily towards goals.
  4. Dennis Therrian our main composer, sound designer and post supervisor is prepping ‘Chasing the Star’ for delivery to our distributor for the national launch in September. He’s also just finishing sound design on “Wild faith” and will soon start the music. He recently was nominated for ‘Best Music Score’ at #ICFF with “Forty Nights” which also was mentioned as winning ‘Most Inspirational’ so if like several of us out there you like to write/work to music scores this is a great one to buy and listen to. – BUY HERE https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/40-nights-soundtrack/id1114858978  More of the scores are going to be releasing to sound track including “Chasing the Star” another beautiful collection of music.
  5. I touched on patience and reading momentum. I am subject to these laws myself. Some great production developments are moving a touch slow due to factors outside myself. They are great opportunities it just requires me to be accepting and have patience. A great opportunity for a TV series behind “Wild Faith” exists and development has begun. I would have LOVED to roll cameras in 2018 but the main national roll out for the feature will be in 2018 and so the series production will likely fall to 2019. Not what I had first wanted but that is the business of it all.
  6. A new biblical trilogy to follow THE QUEST TRILOGY is being developed and one of the scripts is done. The other two are in development. Right now the name of the trilogy is THE CONQUEST TRILOGY. Old Testament, No Jesus, No Angels/Fallen Angels and they do not tie into the first trilogy. That group of films is complete. The last film in THE QUEST TRILOGY entitled ‘The Christ Slayer’ is almost done with the first edit. So I’m not sure if the 1st film in this new trilogy will film in 2018 or not. I have a few other business pieces to put in place.
  7. Since I’ve accepted the flow of development for not what I want but what is – I’m finishing a script this month that just might go into production this fall in Michigan. It is a story that I’ve had my heart into for a year or two but just needed to finish the story. A first draft will be done at month’s end. #MBF
  8. The Michigan theatrical run is complete on “Chasing the Star” and this week we’ll be discussing new destinations for this film to play. This week our time on this project got devoured by delivery work. The final film will be sent off for final DVD mastering. We had a few bumps in flow because we changed a few things in the process on this film. Lesson – If it isn’t broken don’t fix it:) All is good just a small amount of additional time spent which could have been avoided with a bit stronger management. (I’m speaking to myself:)
  9. Some exciting things happening with the CDI website (www.cdiproductions.com) which has been in discussions for several years. The entire CDI library is digitized so that was a key element to what we’re doing. The site will be getting a major upgrade that will include the ability for people to purchase and stream past CDI films. Will we stop at CDI films? We will see – one step at a time. I also have had interest in doing some major merchandising so that is something we will explore.
  10. Speaking of spin off’s – BOOKS. E-Books to be more exact whereas several our films/scripts have been written into books. Those are about to come to market. That deal is underway and like everything else takes time to put the pieces together.

So in conclusion, every week is a busy week. I am open to discussion on new business but with how crazy everything is I’m not likely to get to another town to pub it and talk shop. If you truly think we have some good business reach out. We’ve done many associated films. I can promise that you will get truth from my perspective. I will not BS you and while I don’t always tell people what they want to hear I will tell it to you straight. I do consider acting in outside projects but all I ask is that its at the true pre-production stage and not dreamer stage. I had a phone meeting Friday whereas a NYC production had reached out wanting me to act. Sent me the script, the book it was based on etc…I read two chapters and knew in my gut that the film was nowhere close to shooting. That was two years ago. I’m glad those hours of reading were spent elsewhere. I’ve also participated and was paid (thank you) on a couple of projects that have never finished. Years have clicked by and still no finished film. The artist in me is what hurts on those projects. I was paid for my time, my art but we do it to share. If it was just about shells and beads ($$$) there is easier ways to make it.  I’m going to go fill the coffee cup and get on with a few morning activities. I have a soccer match to play today if we don’t get cancelled because of storms. Some relax time with friends and family and tomorrow we go after the TO DO list again. I hope you all have a great day and a productive week.

Be good to one another.

DJ


An Artist’s Hope and Other Updates

We had a nice day of sunshine yesterday and that allowed us to get outside and do a little bit of yard clean up. Today the weather is back to wet and overcast but tis the way in Michigan. In a few short weeks we’ll be back in Yuma, AZ to film our third installment in THE QUEST TRILOGY. Let’s examine those films and the journey that these projects take.

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The Christ Slayer

The bank account is open and the finalizing of people’s paperwork and getting their investment into the bank is always a task. People are busy but we work on tight timelines. We only have a few units to assign before we’re a fully functional battle station. Paperwork between crew started this week and next week some paperwork on talent will begin. Right now rooms, flights for the pre-prod team are the priority of the production office.

On cast we’re waiting for our schedule this week so we’ll know how many days talent will be required. Casting has been mostly a joy but you always get to those few hard choices. This past week we came to a few casting decisions after some healthy back and forth. We finalized casting on one of our last co-stars, a supporting role and a few featured roles from the AZ area. Each artist brings their unique talents to the screen. I’m so excited about the casting choices that were made.

I’m also happy that because of distribution being in place we don’t need to drop any ‘lure castings’ as I call them. That’s less than ideal casting but it’s done  with the possibility that it may help grab the attention of a distributor. I understand why this is done but it can have a backlash. Distributors we’ve spoken with will tell you that certain names are known but they’ve become known for less than inspired product. They spoke of the flood of films that basically takes (Insert animal) and (Insert Holiday) add (Insert lure casting) and repeat. Now, I respect the fact that it’s a business model but I need more to invest myself in. I need a story that means something to me deeply.

On schedule, on budget and our projects bring high artistic value.” That’s how we’re described by distributors and why we’ve been developing our ongoing business. I’ve said it before, you need to streamline your operation so that you can work with marketing teams whose job is to put the film into the marketplace. No excuses.

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T Rex and DJ Perry (Moses & Jesus) “innocent role” 

As I’ve done before I’ll give you a hint to the upcoming casting along with a story. First one of the roles WAS hard to find because it possesses a quality you can’t easily manufacture. In this case it was the “innocent role” which in “Forty Nights” was our T-Rex/Moses and in the upcoming “Chasing the Star” was filled by the amazing actor Logan Kishi. Thinking outside the box led me to looking at a certain spectrum of talent. From there I saw an actor who shared by last name. I looked at his materials along with dozens of others actors but kept coming back to the one with the famous last name:) His humor was right on point with the writing and he had that IT factor people talk about. In moving down the road in the casting process we discovered this talent had a sibling who also is an established actor. Another read for another role and BAM it has become a family affair. I’m excited that these two siblings will get to share in this journey together. People may assume I’m casting from family but I’ve never met these two brothers with the cool last name:) If we are related it’s buried up in the in the limbs of the ole family tree.

Two local actors who’ve participated with us before in Yuma, AZ have landed featured extra parts that while small are very important. (As all roles are) I’m sure they’re excited to be participating and we’re excited to have them.

In summary – We’re moving forward strong. I’ve been spending time with the story and it’s a joy to be able to imagine the talent in the roles on the page I’m reading. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. I am also looking forward to a little sunshine and Mexican food!

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A few of the co-stars of the upcoming “Chasing the Star”

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I’ve been assembling information for our end credits. This week we’ll also start moving over photo elements to the distributor. We should get our street date set in the coming weeks. I’m excited for audiences to get their first peek at the film. I’m trying to make it possible for our friends at Champion Church to see the film before we roll cameras on “The Christ Slayer”. They’ve helped us in so many ways as part of our Yuma team and I like to give them a special treat as a thank you.

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DJ Perry as Jesus in “Forty Nights” 4/4/2017

Forty Nights

The Easter stuff is slowly making its way out and that brings us closer to the 4/4/17 release date. The nice part about this release is that we’ll create a nice flow between the releases of the three films.

Once “The Christ Slayer” releases around Easter 2018 my hope is to see the three films play together or over three nights on television. I’m anxiously awaiting the new artwork which I hope to see this week. Fingers crossed.

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Lisa Lauren Smith drives the drama as Haddie in #WildFaith

Wild Faith

We’ve had many people reaching out about this film. I sincerely think we’ve got some gold with this film. The energy while making it was just powerful and cast and crew alike brought their A game. This week we’ll be seeing the first full cut of the story. I would say I’m excited but that would be an understatement. Keep following us and I’ll keep you updated after the first watch.

I’m not going to wax on about development at this time. Truth is I have much to turn my attention to and so I will cut this short. All of us artists appreciate your time and attention and in a few short weeks and months ahead we hope to entertain, educate and inspire you with your stories. That is an artist’s hope.

Be good to one another.

DJ

 

 


Rolling Forward with Films

It has been bitter cold this weekend and I’ve been trying to keep a small cold at bay. At least we’ve had a few days of sun which is a good change from the dark clouds over Michigan. This past week was our first week of official pre-production on “The Christ Slayer” so.. busy, busy – let’s take a look back at our week. (Coffee sip)

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Teaser poster for “The Christ Slayer”

The Christ Slayer

We’re moving forward with shooting our third and final installment of The Quest Trilogy – entitled The Christ Slayer. I’ve been ignoring lots of the angry noise flying about around us in the news and just focusing on the load of work before me. That in itself has been quite consuming and refreshing. Friday we opened our new bank account and we’ve started to fuel up the ship. It was a two-hour bank trip dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s but now that’s set. Casting and crewing is about 80% complete since we’ve had the pleasure of team building over several films now. We’ve got many returning faces and a few new ones and in a few weeks we’ll again be in Yuma, AZ filming.

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Casting – I’m very excited about several of our new casting choices. Christine Solomon and Carl Weyant will be wonderful to work with. This week we’re announcing a few new supporting actors via PR but I will let you faithful readers know in advance. Ms. Lana Wood and Mr. David Gries will be joining our cast. I’ve worked with both of them and I’m excited to have them onboard. We’ve also been reviewing reels and reads and feel very close to making a few additional casting decisions.

Crewing – we’re still in talks on a few crew positions but those cards are falling quickly into place. I’m excited to have our chef Eddie back on board. Great food goes a long way with people working away from home.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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Chasing the Star – we’re getting to the last VFX shots and the mixing of the final film. We’re also about to go over end credits which is painful because almost always you end up with a misspelled name or worse yet, miss someone completely. I’m excited that we’re so close to being done. I am going to try to set up a screening of the film for our Yuma folks prior to filming the third. We’ll also be doing a premiere in Michigan before moving into certain theatre chains. Our deal with Bridgestone Multimedia is complete and we’ll be getting the home video street dates very soon.

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DJ Perry and Jesse Low (Director) on set of “Forty Nights” – the camp of John the Baptist

Forty Nights

We should have some new artwork to review in the coming weeks. The release date for the remastered “Forty Nights: film will be 4/4/17 and we’re also exploring some in-store signings. This film was beautiful before but we had such a tight release schedule last year with Wal-Mart that the film wasn’t as polished as we wanted. That said, people enjoyed the beauty previously but now we’ve got a film that’s a bit closer to our director’s vision. I’m also excited about foreign sales to start rolling on this first film.

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Wild Faith 

As of Friday our director/editor was working the last scene of the film. After that we’ll review, polish and lock it up. From there we’ll move it into post sound/music as “Chasing the Star” is moving out. I’m going to start looking at trailer and teaser poster work on the film. We’ve had LOTS of interest in this movie and so I do want to explore the possibility of the tv series.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT 

As mentioned above, the tv series could put our teams to work for several months. We’ve also got a few feature films in development. I also had an update on C.U.J.O. which is moving a bit slower but larger budget studio films tend to follow that pattern. The dog trainer may come visit us while in AZ. Aside from those developments I’m focused on the role at hand. I’ll have a clear head on what I want to pursue once “The Christ Slayer” is behind me.

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

 

 


International Audiences, Updates, Advice

Welcome December! I’ve got the hazelnut coffee brewed and I’m ready to have a little chat with the “Clawing My Way to the Middle” readers. First I want to say it is an honor to have each and every one of you take the time to read my journey. I try to present lessons that can help others on their own journey. I wanted to let you all know where many of our readers are from. Of course the USA, Brazil, Mozambique, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Norway, Thailand, Australia and Netherlands. How great is it that we all reside within our boarders of our country but we are all on this planetary journey together. Storytelling as been helping to shape society and artistic expressions while various all share common traits. I’ve always been drawn to culture that is different. I think that is what is uniquely special in all of us. That is why I could never get the concept of unifying. No one art is better – it is uniquely different. My mind even goes to food and drink when I look at that list of countries. I know all the unique traditions that surround great meals prepared in all those lands. USA is the hodgepodge for sure and that is our thing. But I’m deeply appreciate of food, song, culture, religion (as an expression) and storytelling. I’ve been honored to have worked with a handful of international filmmakers and I plan to work with more. I think my interest in ancient history, martial arts and even the culture of futbol/soccer has driven me to explore and enjoy the diversity we have on this planet. I want to thank all of you readers for your precious moments. I also will make it a goal to get more and more of our films into your territories. Some of them already are but with distribution growing as they say at Disney world “It’s a small world after all.” True words:)

I’ve had a great week both personal and professional. The Thanksgiving family time is past us and now the Christmas tree is up. While not yet decorated it has been a welcome sight each day. The tree will become the fuel of the transformation fire (Fire pit) that will help burn up the winter clutter once spring arrives. I’ve been gathering gifts for family since I will be gone the week before Christmas week. I’ll be in Nevada playing space cowboy in the Valley of Fire. I was informed that as a young child I went there and even saw a few old photos yesterday. I look forward to gathering with these artists and performing with a few actors I admire and have not yet worked directly with. I’m ready save my packing so soon it will be time to shoot in the WASTELAND.

2015 Distribution Updates

CDI projects

ASHES OF EDEN – Feel free to read a great review of the film. More of these will be releasing leading up to the 2015 national release. I have a goof vocabulary but I had to look up the word they associated with my name. I thought it might mean “Loud and Opinionated” Ha! But I was happy to see that it meant “marked by outstanding strength and vigor of body, mind or spirit.” So please do take a read on the review and we will be getting the film on the market and out to you very soon.

REVIEW LINK

http://cinemaheadcheese.blogspot.com/2014/12/movie-review-ashes-of-eden-2014.html?m=1

DONORS – Also will be releasing nationally in 2015 – more on this in the weeks to come

WICKED SPRING – produced under Lionheart Filmworks when that was our southern sister company. The companies split ways a handful of years ago and now “Wicked Spring” is under the CDI banner and is getting a 2015 spring special edition release. Also on BluRay!

We will see a 2015 re-release of KNIGHT CHILLS with a novelization release. Likely fall 2015. Also work on a sequel script has begun.

HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS and FIGURE IN THE FOREST rights are back at home here at CDI and a domestic release set up will also happen. “Figure in the Forest” can be seen on TBN and Parables TV.

BESTSELLER – Early look at FX work is very exciting! I know music work is in full swing. We are looking at a 1st test showing of this film early in 2015. We are getting some early interest from distributors. It is going to be another film that proudly showcases Michigan filmmaking at its finest.

 

NON-CDI RELEASE INFO

I have a few co-starring/supporting roles in THE TERRORIST & DEAD QUIET and make appearances in DIVISION 19  and SMALL TOWN SANTA (Released now).

Several VERY exciting projects are in development some with partial funding. We’re hard at work with some script work and prep that will lead to more production in 2015!

My last advice pulled from recent events. ALWAYS, ALWAYS give more by way of effort than what you are paid for. NEVER be one of the people who does just the absolute minimum. Maybe at some boring desk job but in an industry that moves on passion you never want to be seen as just a functional piece. Your passion is what makes you an artistic contributor. It is what will get you re-hired. A great example  taken from BESTSELLER film shoot. I like to ninja about and just observe people at work. I came up to the grip truck one day to find our key grip Paul Burt busy organizing. Most people were just trying to stay warm and get the shots as this was a wet, cold day on a remote dirt road. I watched him move and arrange. Wipe down and clean C stands and such. When I revealed myself to his surprise – I was met with a smile and asked if I needed anything. My response – “I need an entire crew with an attitude like yours.”  I said, hot coffee was ready and he explained that he would go up in a few minutes. This was HIS responsibility. HIS grip truck for this shoot and HE wanted to make sure it was clean and orderly because it was a reflection on him. WOW! I want people like that on our team. That is a reflection of us as a company. That is a reflection of us as an industry. Character is what you are when you think nobody is looking. Pride starts with yourself and extends outward like a pebble thrown in water.   Paul Burt’s phone will ring again. Will yours? With only so many people making narrative features and with the way producers get referrals on performance. How many times can someone give just the bare minimum before one of your peers with passion takes that hire away from you? Let me answer that for you – not many. This goes for actors. This goes for vendors. I’ve had companies mad because I continued to get my gear over the years from LOWING LIGHT & GRIP. I even had a trash talking vendor from Detroit once ask how she could steal my business. Her choice of words alone made me say, NEVER. David (Lowing) was there when I first stepped up to fight monsters in IN THE WOODS. He has always been there for me. Like I said about cast/crew, he always gave more goods or service than the dollar amount on the check. That intangible is where loyalty lives. The actor who gives every ounce of themselves – I immediately think of Melissa Anschultz freezing in a warehouse under rain machines while filming “7 Stones”. I already spoke about Paul Bert and David Lowing as examples of crew and vendors. If you desire loyalty from people you better give them a reason. I know people out there get mad (of course at someone else) if they get passed over.  We know sometimes it’s just a casting thing or a key crew position that was already in play – but look at yourselves. Are you respectful to those above and below you?  Do you give your best effort, always?  Do you spread positive energy in your wake? Would you be an example for others to follow? If you can’t answer YES to all of these your time could be limited or your advancement may stall. Stand accountable and watch your career and life experience amazing growth.

Happy Full Moon!

DJ

 


Attitude, Actor Tips & Appreciation

DonnySS1Another beautiful fall day awaits us all here in the Michigan. If you are not treated to the harvest of plants, the change of leaves and the tastes of cider – you are missing something. I’ve spent a good part of the week taking meetings while burning brush/leaves and getting things prepared for the coming winter. I’ve had a lot of time to think upon many things happening in my career, in our state and in the overall career field. I often bite my tongue on many subjects and it is one of the reasons I don’t attend too many film functions. Here are a few of my thoughts that I’ve had over the week.

APPRECIATION

Much of my retrospective thoughts are because this Friday in Kalamazoo, MI they are having a big screen showing of IN THE WOODS, the 1st feature I starred in. 15 years ago this year it was released in the US/Canada, Germany, France and the UK. At that time in MI only a few people were making movies. There were no “film schools” here. U of M and MSU had some screenwriting classes. There was the occasional audio/video class around but what you had was very passionate artists who wanted to tell story. The editing was expensive and hard and not to mention analog so you could lose quality with every generation dupe you had to do. Cameras were expensive and film was expensive to process. How many of you have worked in FILM? 8mm, 16mm, super16, 35mm, super 35? Not many of you youngin’s. Everyone did not own an HD camera & edit software on their phone.  Now I went to college and graduated from MSU and cobbled together a degree that I thought could assist my efforts. The real learning was the daily grind to make progress in a field that wasn’t everywhere. Here is what I often see in Michigan – and if you fall in this description maybe it will make you rethink something.

Academic arrogance exists in higher learning. I had a wonderful business program for colleges that I worked to set up at MSU but by the time in filtered to the professors it all fell apart. There is much honor in teaching and passing info to the next generation but it is not the same as being on the front lines. It could have been a collaboration but egos don’t always work that way. I may attempt to set that up at some college as it is one of the best programs I’ve seen or heard of. I just haven’t been motivated after having it fail at my own university. President – on board. Provost – on board. Professors -bicker. NEXT.

So students are graduating and expect that they are entitled to just GET A JOB. I read where in NYC interns didn’t want to work free to learn any craft/profession. The cool part now days is you don’t have to guess what is on people’s mind because they whine and broadcast it on their social billboards. WHINE – No work. WHINE – at work. WHINE – back to no work. I’ve worked with self-taught and film school grads and while both bring pros and cons the attitude (one of THE most important traits) of the self-taught is usually more appreciative. Film students who got to sign out cameras, sign out lights, sign out edit time…tuition pays – they get out in the world and find out it is a new world. You are no longer playing with monopoly money. I see social clicks that are just an extension of the high school drama. I see popularity contests over trying to get exposure for 15 minutes of fame. I see lazy people who would rather be given fish than taught to fish. (Social funding) The danger lies in lack of any accountability. You give a guy with a food sign on an expressway exit $5 and you have no guaranty that he won’t go to the liquor store and buy booze. How are you going to fulfill the perks of some of these “awards” for giving a donation? No movie = no signed DVD. No VIP seat at premiere. It is protected fraud because it is a donation. The media in our state supports that also. I see 4-5 page spreads in media and people who donate time to kick off parties trying to raise $ for a film. Recently I saw a boatload of hype eating up my news space over a Grand Rapids Christmas movie that after a quick scan you knew (if you have film biz background) that film was never going to launch. Not the way they had it set up and not the money they were trying to raise. So instead of giving a completed film in the area the attention of a media spread they wasted space and people’s time (both reading and working events) instead. Now I’m 100% certain these folks all had the best intentions. I’m just saying as someone who has worked with film crews in many others states and countries that many here in Michigan need to readjust their thinking. I’ve produced several films here in Michigan and I will surely do more but I’ve seen many film communities with equal skill sets and much better ATTITUDES. There is that word again. Positive attitudes translates into good story telling. So this means that producers need to try to be organized and give the best “ride” on a film set as possible. Now it is making a movie – meaning I’ve been on Willie Nelson’s tour bus and while it is nice it is still a bus. It isn’t his ranch house but for on the road – it is nice. I’m saying while a film set will often lack comforts of home we try to make it easier. AND people will still complain. Those people need to get out and go work 9-5 at a tv station or post-house where they can keep their own routine. Money says they still bitch about something almost daily because it is about ATTITUDE. That is the #1 thing I look for in cast/crew/friend and associates. I pay for problem solvers not people who bitch and can point out the obvious. So adjust your attitudes, learn to communicate effectively and be that problem solver. That was my reflection for the week on our state. Now they do have degrees of this elsewhere but I guess I speak up because I do care. I think it is so very cool to see young people have opportunities here. I want you to succeed. Many are afraid to speak the truth because they are afraid their phone will stop ringing. I don’t wait for phones to ring and often I make them ring – offering this or that. So even if a handful of you read this and it changes your ATTITUDE slightly for the better – kudos.

Now the PR hit this week on the next CDI Associated project – WASTELAND. A distant toxic desert world will be our setting and I’m extremely excited. I’ve been a Sci-Fi fan since Star Wars in 1977 and I’m ready to do this. Contracts signed, flights and hotels booked and prop construction is underway in Florida. We will be shooting in Nevada at the Valley of Fire State Park. It was a great thing for Michigan when a 2nd lead was cast from our very own state. Yes. When I see strong acting reels from talent I trust to be professional (yes producers talk) and have that right ATTITUDE (there is that word again) – I can put people right under the directors nose. I did that with David Gries without him ever even knowing it. If you haven’t had someone call you out of the blue because they respect your art – it is a great feeling. No cattle calls. No casting agent favorites. No wasting your time driving all over. More or less it is “You’ve done great work and we want you to once again do that.” So if you ever desire to work on a CDI associated project get your reels together. I use them as #1 because I want to see GAME FOOTAGE at GO time. I don’t want to waste your time because I respect your time. It is easy for someone to say come on in because it doesn’t hamper them. You are a number at a certain time slot. Not with us – you are an artists. Let’s see what makes you unique. I guess I follow that TREAT OTHERS HOW YOU WOULD WANT TO BE TREATED. So congrats to fellow statesman David Gries. I’ll be seeing you in the desert and you better come packing:)

BESTSELLER – Music work underway

ASHES OF EDEN – Coming back to Lansing after being invited to East Lansing Film Festival

THE TERRORIST – Final sound work/color correction in NYC

This Friday as noted earlier Kalamazoo is having a big screen showing of IN THE WOODS the creature feature, at the Alamo Draft House. I think we are doing a TV show Friday morning. Several of the cast will be there for this reunion of sorts and we might have some fun news about where this film can be seen following the screening at the Q&A.

Lastly, I want to again thank my manager for her work as of late. You’ve got me in front of some A projects and I’m proud of how you present me as the unique artist. It only took me 15 years to find that right representation. I appreciate you.

I’m off to enjoy the day and I hope you all do as well.

DJ