“Making movies requires faith in yourself, your team and something higher”
I’m sipping Michigan Cherry coffee this morning and trying to wrangle cats over here. Anyone who says producing is easy is lying. We might make it look easy at CDI but it isn’t. Well the raising of funds isn’t. We have a good deal of funds committed to our next film endeavor LOST HEART but we have a little to go. It is hard because you cannot just advertise that you are looking for investors in violation of SEC laws which most filmmakers are unaware of. Also getting investors to understand the timelines and how you’re trying to make windows work. In Yuma, AZ it was the desert and the fact that past a certain point it was 100-120 degrees. In Michigan shooting especially up North its dancing around Memorial weekend and the 4th of July weekend. The schedule of stars and key elements required. I am eager for the studio production deal. I have a few that are in talks and that would essentially have us producing with studio money whereas they own the copyright. I’m game for that if it means not having to slog through the funding process every time.
“The payoff for all those painful, stressful times can be immense”
EVERY independent filmmaker knows this issue. 99% of the contact with filmmakers is that have an idea, maybe a script but not the funds. They film on spec, they attend a slew of festivals in hopes of enticing that distribution deal. I use to do all that and it is hard. The festival trail is the Oregon Trail of indie film and the trail is littered with the bones and buried bodies of artists who had big dreams. I’ve made it to the middle of the pack whereas no more festivals required to lure the distribution deals. But the next step is even more exciting and we are getting close. But that said, it is still hard.
“Development can be draining but it is the foundation to every film story told”
I’ve learned to look at a story in a deeper spiritual way – that it will be what it was meant to be. The artists that were meant to be involved will be. If someone steps out of the flow that creates an amazing opportunity for new artists. I’ve been the replacement actor before. I like to keep teams of artists growing and evolving but again it is hard to launch a project. We do it often but every one of them has been a task, painful at times. I have joked on the last few projects at the hardest times, that I should just tend bar at the Moose Lodge down the road. I have some great stories that I could share for years with the patrons playing KENO and sipping suds.
“The beauty of Michigan will be on full display in LOST HEART”
LOST HEART will either shoot in May or July and I will know Tuesday by how the chips fall. The key is once you have enough fuel/funds that you also have enough prep time. We’ve done a lot of ground work but you are limited until you can make hard offers. I will be opening the bank account as now we have all our paperwork around. Our committed funds will start flowing in this week and the ship is getting prepped to travel. BMG will once again be distributing so no shopping of the film required. We have a small handful of roles to finalize but cast and crew will be approached once our film dates are set. I’ve talked to some of you and I look forward to creating with you. The point is lots of work go into the launch so appreciate that next time you are sailing along making a film. OK. I will hold off on retiring to the Moose Lodge to bartend:)
“Wild Faith is worth a trip into town, don’t forget to water your horse”
WILD FAITH – Thank you Grand Rapids and Biloxi, Mississippi for the cinema run. I’m told West VA might be the next place that our western can be seen on myCinema’s roll out. That film will start to appear for pre-order DVD on various sites. Here are just a few
Moving towards Easter we have a few films to talk about but this was a neat discovery. The film I helped produce and costarred in years ago BOOK OF RUTH, Journey of Faith is in one of my favorite midwest chains – Meijer. A good time to pick up a copy for your DJ Perry collection:) I saw it right over on Lake Lansing yesterday when picking up some ink.
“Dan Haggerty and I on Book of Ruth, RIP my ole friend”
BOOK OF RUTH Journey of Faith
Our Easter film THE CHRIST SLAYER is heading to select theaters with myCinema on April 19th. If the big screen is not your thing or getting out and about is hard, you can rent/buy on digital streaming or DVD now on various sites.
It looks like Biloxi, Mississippi will also be playing THE CHRIST SLAYER on the big screen starting April 15th. I’m sure tickets will start selling soon. (See Below)
We hope the film is made available to many more of you. Contact your theater and have them book via MyCinema!
If you are going to Easter treat yourself and your family by watching The Christ Slayer you might as well watch FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR also. Again a great review of THE QUEST TRILOGY which includes all three films.
The Quest Trilogy Review
MBF – dialog clean up is underway with the audio master Tricky T:) I’m really excited about this film because of the topics and messages within. VFX and color correction will be up next for the visual team. Follow us at –
I’m going to close here. it was a great week of business and getting things cleaned up about the yard. I’m ready for the snow to say its final goodbye. Today my college MSU has a big game so I’ll likely be watching that. Good green! Keep chipping away at your goals and dreams. If it was easy everyone would do it. Talk at you next week.
New readers from Samoa and China joined us last week. I know that the filmmaking experience (resources, distribution, audiences) changes slightly from culture to culture. But at the heart of it we are passionate beings who love engaging in the storytelling experience either as listener/watcher or teller. I love being a creator and being an audience member. So yesterday basically two years to the day we finished the final elements to THE CHRIST SLAYER. Our director Nathaniel Nose came in and we polished the final mix/design with our incredible Dennis Therrian. His musical score is absolutely one of his best. The complexities and grandiose arrangements take you back to the classic days of Hollywood. We worked with Mr. Sundberg on our color correction, conforming and final composition. Last night at the office we shared a few beers and looked at the wide-screen, color corrected final master. A few of the final VFX shots have to be rendered into the timeline but I was blown away. Jesse Aragon, our DP did a wonderful job. This was the final film in The Quest Trilogy and is likely the largest scale production to date. CHASING THE STAR had more animals but the VFX in THE CHRIST SLAYER makes it the largest scope to date. Both the director and I liked the epic inspiration of Lawrence of Arabia and that soundtrack was with me in Yuma, AZ when we filmed.
The previous day we tweaked a few Mother Mary lines. This film has some powerful female characters in it. Especially the roles played by Melissa Anschutz and Christine Marie, who appear as they’ll be co-starring in a CDI film this spring. Brittney Risner and Carl Weyant give a classic Hollywood love relationship. And Josh Perry, will simply steal hearts. Amazing supporting performances across the board by Dean Teaster, David Gries, Bob Shepherd and more. Taymour Ghazi, Shane Hagedorn and my departed mentor Rance Howard brought the power one last time. Rance’s performance might be his last feature film role he ever performed. The final scene we share together in the film was our swan song to working together. I’m very proud of it. We talked for hours about that final scene. He made notes and adjustments – just two costars working out our motivations. I recall being so proud of Rance and feeling how special it was, never guessing it would be our last story together. Now all the elements will start to be pulled together for an upcoming delivery to our distributor. We’ll soon get to see how audiences enjoy this film as it travels to theaters and to home video. Stay tuned for CDI’s most epic adventure yet this Easter season.
I’m excited for everyone to get back to the office in 2019. I will be ready for a slight rest from the intensity of final post. You work end credits so hard knowing that by Murphy’s Law some misspelling or missed ‘thank you’ or name will take place. If your ever on the receiving end of that – know the filmmakers likely did not intend that. I had one situation that was suspect only because the misspelling came after working on a project whereas one producer on that project was NOT brought back on a film CDI was hired to reshoot. Either way, it showed a disregard for my brand ability to draw my audience to that film. No business reason why, so perhaps it was a true mistake or maybe it was personal. I don’t hold a grudge, but it makes me less likely to work with that company again. I passed the second time I was invited but it was partially timing, pay rate and the role also.
When in post this week, I was sent a news story that a Detroit-based – I struggle for the right word. I will use filmmaker, because he has made films. But in a promotional news story for FOX he claimed to be a producer on our CDI Ghost Town movie, our 2006 Lionsgate film. SMALL ISSUE – he wasn’t. He did not exist in pre, prod, or post production and was caught trying to do some head shaking actions in conjunction with this film. I didn’t really like, nor trust this person from day 1 and tolerated him out of respect for one of my producers until that head-shaking point. After that, I was done with him. Easy enough. These people burn themselves out as their true nature is revealed. But I would never go on a TV interview and openly lie and use it to promote myself. I was questioned if I should have legal bring it down. I might. But the justice in all this is I get calls on people about their character, integrity and true place in the film community as I see it. Yes. My opinions and sometimes my direct knowledge of someone’s actions. I’m always honest. I warn or endorse people simply by saying if I would work with this person or not. I’ve been contacted often. It’s a small film community and I do know many people who trust me to shoot them the straight skinny. And I have.
I recently had a great discussion about what another peer filmmaker is developing. All of it was heavily tainted in my mind all because one of his close partners. I’ve had first hand experience with that person and actually let them go. Not a bad person at all. I just would not risk any further capital on his efforts. Would you re-enter a situation with negative elements/variables? This fellow filmmaker lamented the often true statement of how every set he’s worked on has had the cancer of negativity. I’ve had a few “negative” situations like this over the years but those elements were isolated and corrected or dismissed.
Bottom line. This is not some vanity game for me but a noble tradition of storytelling. I’ve been blessed to have several great crews working with us but that all starts at the top. That means conducting good business, constantly streamlining your communication and having a solid battle plan. I believe in our artists and I’ve grown as an artist with many of them. We don’t participate in these popular film challenges, although they teach new crews excellent finishing skills. One friend, had his possible award-winning short disqualified because run time ran over by seconds. He could have either A) Organized a social media gripe that his team was treated unfairly for petty seconds of overrun or B) Accept responsibility that as team leader it was a costly mistake made by their team or him. In football they say it’s a game of inches. So start taking accountability as a new year’s resolution and watch the new growth happen.
I’m in hopes to discover a few good projects, properly funded to come act on this year. I also have to connect with the script/role as you always should. Aside from that, I plan to produce 2-3 features with CDI this year. I’ve had many new folks reach out about financial involvement and we’ll entertain those interested parties once I’ve addressed my current backers with opportunities. Beware of any investors that also bring too many strings attached. Sometimes those strings can be the downfall of a project. I’ve seen it happen.
We’re around the 1.3 hour mark on MBF and should have first cut in a few weeks. I would love to lock a cut by the end of Jan. we will see where we sit very soon. I think many of you enjoyed the behind the scenes MBF short we released on Christmas Eve.
WILD FAITH new art, theatrical dates and more should be announced soon. It’s heading back to big screens in March across the country. Home Video dates follow close behind. Those dates can be found on the FB, official Wild Faith or IMDB sites.
I’ve been in the trenches hard-working on these new films to bring them out of post. Once I get a few days rest here while our tech guru’s assemble and deliver – development will continue full ahead. I also plan to set my goals in writing for the new year and see how close I came to last year’s goals. Have a great wrap up to your year. Be safe and plan your 2019 approach. If you would be so kind you can take a watch on our past and forthcoming films. Handcrafted from our family to yours.
Have a great Sunday!
A light dusting of snow covers the ground and I’m sipping at the hazelnut coffee (not sponsored yet) and reflecting back on my busy week. I want to welcome our Romanian and Indian readers to the blog. On the Indian front we’re having some great conversations about getting some of the CDI films there and also about a few collaborations on scripts we have.
Speaking of sponsors – Maple Holistics approached me about possible endorsement. I have a select list of products that I’ve got deals with. These often are passed down to our cast and crew in the form of gifts such as our awesome product from The Candleberry Company. I used the tea tree shampoo for this past week and I have to say I like it. I liked the texture, the tingle and it left my hair feeling very clean. You too can try for yourself and they’ve provided me a link below. Enjoy. Tell them DJ Perry sent you:)
It took me a while to sign in to my blog here. There are so many media communication sites. I get communications coming from all sides. Email is still the best way to contact me but even that is getting more complex. This morning we had a great breakfast in what use to be a train station in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. The chill today is perfect for all the football on deck. MSU, my alumni school plays in a few short hours. Lions on Sunday plus last regular season soccer match before play offs. It was another grinding week but extremely productive. Let’s look at a few of the wins this week.
I’m working the last few pages on “Chasing the Star” our follow-up biblical drama. I was so happy about how the “40 Nights” script evolved and how it translated to the screen. This follow-up has distribution and it appears all our funding commits are in place. So we are looking to return to AZ and film our second film for Lightworx Entertainment.
“40 Nights” has been exciting because we are now seeing dialogue cleaned up/balanced and environmental sound design. I got the signed paperwork on our licensing deal for management of merchandising. This movie should be complete end of November.
Now we have a partially funded western also being distributed worldwide by Lightworx. Not only will it be a feature film but used as a pilot for a TV series that we hope to shoot in Michigan. We have been in talks with several actresses over a lead role. Also some great Hollywood celebs may come out to participate. Funding talks continue and we have a real strong shot at doing this film before the holidays hit.
Development talks for films beyond April 2016 are underway but I also have a few projects to act in that I’m watching to see when their schedule lands. The C.U.J.O. movie has been talked about prior and also my management is targeting a strongly anticipated TV series. Not sure if we’re looking at a guest starring or being a regular but I would be happy with either one.
WASTELAND poster is being sent and the director has been trying to target festivals that focus on Science Fiction. I also want to get updates on THE TERRORIST (Release dates) and DEAD QUIET (Premiere dates).
“BESTSELLER” is having an event showing at the Wrought Iron Grill in Owosso, Michigan on November 1st. An EVENT PAGE coming soon! “BESTSELLER” is also being delivered to our distributor as is “Donors” so when I have release dates I will let everyone know.
In Lansing, MI we are kicking off a monthly CDI film screening starting in Oct. 15th at Sanctuary Spirits in Grand Ledge. I think it is $5.00 cover at door and the opening film is “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” – a smoky mountain western. It pits the two mountain men from DELIVERANCE – Bill McKinney & Herbert Cowboy Coward against one another.
I think Sanctuary Spirits will have some great whiskey specials. They have an apple and maple whiskey that is really good. I love their gin also. Not only can you have drinks there but you can buy bottles to take home. EVENT PAGE COMING SOON!
“Ashes of Eden” is gearing up for a release in less than a month. Here is a pre-sale link for BEST BUY
We will provide more ways for you to see this fine film in the weeks ahead.
In summary…working hard to finish up and deliver our current slate. We have some of the next slate funded and working on the ones after that. We are at a good place – working with distributors and making films to release directly into the marketplace. I’m really enjoying this new work flow. We will finish up this slate of films and look at moving to a few larger films. Patience is a virtue.
Have a great weekend and spend some time with friends and family.
GO MSU! Go LIONS!