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

Posts tagged “France

Mother’s Day and More Updates

Welcome Poland, France and Australia. They’ve been following the blog and even readers are now hailing from China. I’m excited that so many artistic individuals are finding a community around ‘Clawing my way to the Middle’ blog. I’ve just gotten back in from running around including visiting my mom which has been fighting a cold. Actually many around me have been sick from my sister-in-law, niece, nephew and the list goes on. A party for my step-sister who just became a doctor MD was shortened due to illness. I just try to keep moving past it all and so far (knock on wood) only slight sniffle or cough first thing in the morning and fine after that. No soccer today because of Mother’s Day. I’m going to get to see an old friend of mine who flew in today but only because his mom is sick. So I’m going to finish this up and I think go till the garden. This week we worked on finishing the flashing and chimney cap on the office/fort plus some wood trim in the bath. It has been somewhat cold and wet the last few weeks but sunshine is on the way this week. I hope those of you able to- shared a few moments with your mothers or took time out to think about them. Let’s look at some of the week updates.

Forty Nights

40N_FB

The big news on this front was the winning of ‘Most Inspirational’ at the ICFF in Orlando, FL. This is a great nod to all the cast and crew and as storytellers we could not ask for more. If you’ve seen the film and it did indeed inspire you in some way please do go to http://www.imdb.com (40 Nights/Forty Nights) Vote and leave your own story. I do know that foreign sales lie ahead.

PR Link 

https://www.prlog.org/12639291-cdis-forty-nights-wins-most-inspirational-at-worlds-largest-christian-film-festival.html

Chasing the Star

Arzu

This film has just concluded the last run in Michigan (For now) at the Celebration Cinema in Grand Rapids, MI so thank you very much! We’ll be discussing taking the film out of state prior to the Sept 5th national release on DVD/streaming/VOD with Bridgestone. We’ll be announcing the new DVD artwork soon that BMG developed.

The Christ Slayer 

A036_C004_0316KA

Editing continues as we close in on a rough cut. As I’ve noted before we’ll be working on the poster and first trailer.

Wild Faith

Circus Boss

The sound design and dialog clean up continues. I hope to meet this week over the poster art.

Development – I’ve been writing and working hard on setting the slate for the upcoming CDI projects. I’ve also been pondering what acting role I might enjoy next. I’m also in talks on a few possible work-for-hire writing endeavors. I’m always open to discussions on writing, acting and such.  Just please make sure you’re funded:) I feel like I had a topic I wanted to discuss but for some reason I can’t recall it. I’m remember it half way through tilling the garden up.

Be good to one another and have a great day and week ahead!

DJ

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Peace, Purpose and Progress!

Getting Along

It is a peaceful Saturday and I’ve finally gotten a chance to sit down and spend a few moments with all of you. This last week was extremely full of meetings, handing off of materials, in-studio work and many other matters of business. But let’s take a moment to discuss the topic everyone is speaking on.

I think that most of the headlines are currently focused on the terrible happenings in France. We can watch the misery and yet it still feels distant until it hits home. I remember how I felt when one of my best friends from the neighborhood growing up – got caught in that Boston bombing. He suffered some wounds but nothing too severe. I would guess the thoughts of that day would be the worst. But I imagine my pain had he died or lost limbs like so many. We watch on TV these masses of people fleeing savage behavior in their homeland, but imagine it was yours. I wonder where or when we all failed? Where tribes of people with differing beliefs exalted themselves above one another using their religion as justification. I believe if people truly anticipated a final judgement of sorts that was based upon how they lived their lives and treated people –  the world could be a better place. So much violence being inflicted over something as simple as differing opinions on paths of faith.

Alien Hunters

As the possibility of life on other planets becomes more real versus just science fiction – perhaps that will change things. Now some scientists realistically fear attracting higher life forms, like alien hunters. Maybe if another life form started seeing all mankind as something to be harvested, removed or eliminated – maybe our little differences between us would lessen. Religion should be about tradition and something intimate between a person and who/what gives them their peace and purpose. I don’t like to talk judgmental politics or religion – my place is as a storyteller. But violence against innocent people is once again just a horrible example of the worst that mankind has to offer. It’s been happening for a long time to many tribes all over the world. This recent tragedy is just a current reminder of how horrible we can be to one another. If a religion pits people versus people it was likely created by people to serve people – not divinity. If your organized religion endorses this  lack of tolerance – question the source.

Enough of that topic. Let’s look at some of the movie updates from the week.

On Set ASHES OF EDEN

“Ashes of Eden” – Some wonderful PR rolling out this week. That is the extent I’m allowed to talk about it for now.

DJ Perry as author Mark Franklin

DJ Perry as author Mark Franklin

“Bestseller” – Artwork with the distributor has started and I believe our national street date will be March 2016. Meanwhile we’re traveling to Grayling, MI next. That might be followed by Kalamazoo and the Detroit area.

“Donors” is releasing Feb. 2nd, 2016. EXCITING!

Jesus is the upcoming

Jesus (DJ Perry) in the upcoming “40 Nights”

“40 Nights” the distributor and marketing teams have started work on marketing materials. I do believe Wal-Mart is assisting with the marketing art so we know they’re one of the participating retailers. Tomorrow we’ll release the 1st of a series of short teasers. Meanwhile we have music and sound design still full speed ahead. VFX work is finishing up so we can lay it all in and color correct. The next couple weeks we PUSH hard!

The “Chasing the Star” script was the center of meetings this week. We also have been doing a good amount of west coast casting since we’re shooting in AZ. We’ve been excited by some of the reads we’ve seen and we’ll be announcing some new casting choices this week. The business paperwork will be signed this month and we’ll start putting paper under people next month. In time for a Merry Christmas with this Christmas themed film.

I’ve got final paperwork for the distribution of the “Knight Chills” book and film. A comic book/graphic novel could also go into play. The sequel script is being worked on and may get some attention once I finish this. “From Venus” might also get this treatment.

AN ORDINARY KILLER

“An Ordinary Killer” is getting remastered to prepare for a re-release. It will be the film showing Nov. 19th at our Sanctuary Spirits mixer. That is in Grand Ledge, MI and there is an event page on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/events/187821044889028/

If you want to come meet some other actors, filmmakers and enjoy great distilled spirits come join us.

Lastly, I’ve got an NDA to sign and return. I’ve got a company sending me a book and script for an upcoming 2016 project. We will see:) I’m excited about the 2016 CDI western we’re doing with “40 Nights” director Jesse Low. Overall,  I’m trying to have a productive end to 2015 and get ready for a great 2016!

Have a great weekend and be good to one another.

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

 


Partnerships, PR & Primates

What a week! It was a bit crazy but now as I sit quietly sipping my hazelnut coffee and listening to the birds outside sing – all is good. The crazy really wasn’t all that bad just some things left up in the air while other people continue some predictable patterns. By that I mean like in any venture you will have partnerships that click and others that just do not. For some people it’s an ignorance issue whereas they don’t know better and they act foolish. Others  know or should know better and yet they still act foolish, that is stupidity. Now foolish is one thing but sneaky and self-serving is another and trust me we have a lot of those folks in our business. I had to deal with both the ignorant and the foolish and while I think the first can be corrected through education and patience – the latter is pretty much a lost cause. I don’t regret either of these ventures (I’m going to remind myself I said that) as both are learning experiences. The bottom line is I’ve worked with some talented people but sometimes they become their own worst setback . Furthermore it affects others and at the end of the day it is not worth it. I’ve gotten where I pass on many project.. I’m beyond the magic of seeing myself or a character on the screen and so it has to be interesting and fun. By fun I mean I’m not afraid of hard work but if you are having fun the work seems less a burden and more a challenge to get to the next step. I’ve been around so long in this business that I can often spot the BS in moments. It is a fine tuned meter and I use it well. I’ve been fooled before but that just helps to fine tune.

Funny last week we talked about people boosting IMDB Star Meter’s, faking where they live, faking what they are doing or who they know – the whole “fake it to you make it” mentality found almongst the sea of wanna be’s. I saw a great documentary film on primates and male alphas. It is a natural way that non-alpha’s try to compete by faking their importance. It is funny how many of these traits I’ve seen in people around me. I think I’ve always walked my own walk. I’ve always been the organizer, the peacemaker and draw my self-importance by being true to myself not by working to get others approval. I guess for a few people they earned a bit more patience out of me while I realized they were really just non-alpha primates trying to gain peer acceptance. It doesn’t help their cause and still puts them in a weak light. But I guess they can somewhat hide behind their own weakness. A slave to genes.

Our CDI Sales Team has started talks with many countries over licensing. We’ve got offers which we have counter offered on. I think once Canne ends around the 26th we will finalize many of these deals. It is work but quite exciting to be in more direct control of the product.

Lot of good PR going for the July release of “Darkest Night”. “Deadly Renovations” and “Locked in a Room” still selling. I’m looking forward to “Benjamin” having a mainstream release later this year. I’ve entertained a few acting offers this week. I’ve read at least one script that I really liked so we will see where that develops.

I’m hearing “Figure in the Forest” and “Wicked Spring” will release on Parables TV in June. That will be nice for the old B-day month.

The week also had us doing some great clean up to the yard. I’ve been working on the garden fencing and today might be some mulching and such. I had invites to a film showing and a party around the Motorcity Comic Con and pending the energy levels after a day of yard work we will see. Both are an hour away in opposite directions. Tomorrow it is back to battle on the soccer field and I’m ready to rumble. I hope you all have a great weekend.

DJ


Goofy University Politics & Freedom 35!

The news is full of the tragedy caused by one individual. I guess you can conversely look at the good each of us could do if we set our mind to it. I think that is why I like telling these stories so that you can first entertain and then educate. You can sometimes illustrate such important life lessons in a way that really touches folks. It is one of the reasons I so enjoy what I do. I’ve spent some time on the last few blogs discussing some of the issues facing folks working in the entertainment field in the smaller markets. As you all know I’m acting in a project for Grand Valley University that puts seasoned vets with students. Their project’s working title was “Realizism” which was totally  confusing and really missed the mark. As someone who often deals with distributors and marketing folks I can tell you it was just a bad title. Well, a better title was agreed upon and that was “Strippers” a bit of a tease to the dirty minded. Actually the script has NOTHING to do with pole swinging ladies. It is about a Robin Hood like gang who strips foreclosed houses of valuable resale items. Some university person is giving the director a hard time over the title which has already gone out in PR releases and such. WHY? That would be like someone saying they need to change the name of the toy cowboy “Woody” in TOY STORY because it makes people think of hard penis’. So I think the college needs to police their own to make sure no locker room buggery if being covered up and not worry about a film title that could have a “naughty” meaning if taken out of context. Maybe they should stop RUSHING because that could also mean a sniffing drug or illegal running in the school halls. Or how about TA (Teaching assistant) because that could mean tits and ass. Or School Spirit could be about occult, dark magic and ghosts, better lose that. HIGH SCHOOL – a place of getting buzzed or high…I think whomever is complaining has an issue of sitting around waiting for any trigger to distract them from their work and flood them with images of “NEXT UP ON STAGE, IT’S CANDY!” (Cue Motley Crews “Girls, Girls, Girls”) So whomever it is I would call them out in a heartbeat in front of the largest college body I could. This is college and the arts – so please. Just get your dollars and go contribute to some dancing girl college funds you misguided fool.

OK. Freedom 35! Anyone who knows me well knows that “The Trailer Park Boys” is one of my absolute favorite comedy shows. It is from Canada and not for minors. The long short is I’ve taken DVD’s of them to many film sets and converted many into fans of this little show that became the #1 comedy in Canada. I communicated with the director and got permission for my character to wear a logo sweatshirt in the “STRIPPERS” film. It was a very cool gesture on Mike’s (Director) part and I thank him sincerely. To me the TPB are the 3 Stooges of our era. Check them out and prepare to laugh!

Many other deals still underway which could have several projects filming over the next few months. I’ve been in talks on a few other acting gigs including the one in France. I heard yesterday they are attaching me so if the business can come together I could be Paris bound. I also have a meeting coming up where CDI with their GPI partners will produce a pilot for a TV series in the Philippines that is in the vein of “American Horror Story”. The pilot has been greenlit and they want me to play the antagonist shooting a couple of days when I’m there at year’s end to promote “Darkest Night” into Philippine theaters. I’m waiting on the script but it sounds great. They would shoot 13 shows back to back in Feb. 2013 or so for broadcast.

We have been gearing up hard for “Deadly Renovations” heading to Netflix (save it now) and other retailers in late August. Some get the film on the 21st and others the 27th. I’ve been told VOD will be in September. We also might have a forthcoming announcement on the 1st foreign sale.

I think I will leave you all with this info to chew on. I report to location tomorrow and I have packing to still do. I’m ready to have a great time filming “STRIPPERS!” I said it! “STRIPPERS!” Some people just need to pull their head out of their backside just enough so they can see where they are going. I think I owe Dave Borowicz’s dad a royalty dollar for using his line:)

Have a great weekend.

DJ