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

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‘ROCKY’ Could Have Been A Faith Film and Other Coffee Ramblings…by DJ Perry

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The chilly fall has settled into Michigan making sipping coffee or hot cider even more enjoyable. Now is when I have to start thinking of the winter ahead. The stuff that will have to be put away and stored. The firewood for the coming snow. Even the change of clothes to heavier layers, is a normal process in Michigan. I think last week we discussed something which was the delay in shooting our next feature by a quarter. The funds are there and so many would want to rush to production, the fun part. But, we’re putting the icing on the cake for a wonderful distribution deal on WILD FAITH. It has been a touch slower since I’ve had the joy of working with the Hollywood agent system. But, in the end it will be worth it and will directly have an effect on the TV series. Upcoming 2019 will see the major organizing of the release and push on the series. We are planning to shoot in Michigan. Likely a series of shows shot in a tight production block. It’s new waters for me so I’m learning something new every day.

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Tomorrow we’ll announce via PR our recent Crown Award and the Burbank International Film Fest win for ‘Best Faith Film’ and while I would have loved to have it gone against all the films – they work by genres. But WILD FAITH is just an accurate look at 1870’s life. As the screenwriter I did not add any overdue FAITH. People we’re just more living in tune with their faith during that time period. Life was more wooly and I think people had more life and death encounters be it disease, drought, famine, bear attacks – you get the point. I love the faith and inspirational themes. ROCKY being one of my favorite illustrations of that. On his way to the fight – the father priest throws down and few blessings. Yes. ROCKY could be a faith film and it would have surely won ‘Best Inspirational’ as I’ve seen it inspire masses and I’ve been inspired by that film. My point is, I’ve never set out to make a ‘Faith Film’ and I’ve never set out to not make a ‘Faith Film” – I’ve told a story. Characters in almost all stories are confronted by a situation that tests their faith thus the relatable conflict.

Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ must find her faith. Indiana Jones fights to keep his faith versus his scientific reasoning, Men vs shark in JAWS, puts faith out there to be chewed upon as a topic. I think every film made about mankind has faith woven into it. So, is it that the content must have X amount ‘faith’ in it? Judges in chairs that spin around and hit a button if your film has the required ‘faith’? I appreciate it mostly, the acceptance to our films. But because the story, characters, situations, lessons were all something that were touched upon. That shed a bit of light on our faults projected onto a screen, so we can better understand ourselves. Deep. I know. Occasionally, I feel quite grand with my profession, pride like a good woodworker,  or any other artist. Mostly, I still feel like that kid, make believing with my neighborhood friends living out our own  STRANGER THINGS life.

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I’ve changed some in my screenwriting, I’ve noted. My earlier self was darker, heavier and nihilistic. My mom often questioning, why I kept dying in my films. Now, I’ve always had a funny, lighter side to my personality, ask anyone who really knows me. But, most of my writing came in my moments of solitary. Also writers in Michigan benefit from our long winters but the end result is often PSYCHO or THE SHINING writing in nature. Those previously mentioned films are two of my favorite for the season. Another side note: I do want to do another horror film but it has to be good. By good I mean story. Creating horror films in the handful of story formulas is like a rite of passage. The lovers of that genre cannibalize the artists with dastardly reviews. But meet them in person and they’ve always been very nice. Maybe because they saw you on camera foaming at the mouth and swinging an axe. Anyway, I was saying that I enjoy the laughter and smiles. I recall many showings of WICKED SPRING whereas people wept in the theater. We did that with our story. But I see so much negativity and anxiety with people not coping to our new world. A world where we’re more communication-connected than ever before BUT we’re not. FRIENDS have a new definition thanks to FACEBOOK but my definition stays the same. I want to be part of making people think, smile, laugh and still occasionally cry, if that comes with an enlightenment.

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The ‘Faith Film’ anti-goodhousekeeping seal of quality is being shattered as more storytellers (without labels) are returning to tell stories that their grandmother, mothers and fathers would enjoy. Ben Hur (The Original) and Ten Commandments (The Classics) were always on TV when we had our family Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter gatherings.  There are great organizations that are rising to recognize and award this kind of content. I always worry about censorship, we can choose to watch what we want. But if a demand is there, look at the rise in METV, Heroes & Icons, and the rise of the faith market. People are casting their votes with their rentals and purchases. I feel most honored by the online communications from viewers having powerful emotions invoked from our stories. It is a dream to have holidays where the films play and families bond over a watch. My goal is to make a few classics. All of them might not make it but we’ll give our ‘best effort’ every time.

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I was reminded yesterday when inquiring about a director whom a close associate had worked with – their last film isn’t done. It hasn’t been completed in a matter of several years. As an actor, I’ve got two films shot in recent years, one a co-starring role, not finished. I’ve got a call, meeting, catch up with a director friend who’s trying to finish one of two projects we did together in the very distant past. It bothers me occasionally talking someone’s new project(s) when those people have loose strings to tie up. There are many films about that don’t interest me as a viewer, but I always tip my hat to finishing. Finishing is a skill needed in this industry, without it, suffering. But it sounds like my old friend is trying to finish, so that’s a good thing.

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This week I finished my first solid draft on our next script with BMG entitled LOST HEART. In meetings with our distributor, they really liked a concept made easier that I had written something in the same vein. But I wanted to apply some of the growth I had made mentioned above. Same log line but different script. I had a wonderful time creating this story and it became so alive with characters and a world, other’s will long to visit. Jeff Kennedy and I, my partner in CDI, semi-retired – always had that as a goal. To create a world and invite people inside it. The CDI first five – really helped hone this craft. You have to BELIEVE in the world. Another 2019 goal is to get Jeff Kennedy back into a director’s chair. I have a few good ideas but they will require a good pow wow or two.

MBF has been in editing. They shot a few pick up establishing shots and transitions this week. Always good to do this once you get into the edit and really see what could be added. This film I’m so proud of. It showcases and pleads for better treatment of our war vets and dogs, that can heal us. We continue to release official stills from this film. For now the spotlight is given to…

THE CHRIST SLAYER!

Find our social media site on Facebook – lots of updates.

https://www.facebook.com/thechristslayer/

Part 3 has a bold name. But the title has a meaning that audiences will discover, maybe not what they thought. I’m excited to say that Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy is coming all together. I watched a recent 5k work flow version with 98% VFX. Color Correction and conforming still lie ahead. ADR, music and sound design are steadily under construction. I’ve been working with the distributor and their marketing team as we prepare for release in early 2019. I was really happy with the story, smiling throughout. I love watching artists friends give moving performances. That’s what we want deep down. To captivate and transfer that emotion via story. This will be an exciting watch and so again, catch up – parts 1 (FORTY NIGHTS) & 2 (CHASING THE STAR) on Pureflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Christian Cinema, Parables TV….and so on. To our cast and crew, it will be worth the wait.

Okay, time for a pumpkin spice english muffin and another coffee.

Have a great Sunday!

DJ

 

 

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August Updates – Wins and Losses

Good morning to everyone this fine day from balmy Michigan. I’m sipping my coffee and looking at my past blog. I’m not sure if something went wonky last week or not with my post. Either way it has been an eventful week and I’ll give you a few updates.

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The Quest Trilogy – Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer 

This collection of biblical adventures is making its way into the marketplace – I did some updating to our investors including sending a few checks about. Our Amazon rentals were North of 75k last quarter so thank you to all the fans watching out there. The third film is being worked on with music and sound design. I’m going out to the studio on Monday to look at a few scenes shot at the Historic Prison in Yuma, AZ. They were shot in a room near the highway and so at rush hour we collected more noise than we desired. We might have to ADR a few lines and so we’re exploring that. For those not in the knowing ADR is a re-recording of a line clean. I’m hearing amazing things about the music – our composer Dennis Therrian was working on some powerful scenes with Mother Mary (Melissa Anschutz). If you have not watched the first two films please do. They are on Amazon Prime but also many other platforms from Pureflix, Christian Cinema, Google Play and more.

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Wild Faith

We’ve got a group, including myself, that will be attending the screening at the Burbank AMC on Sept 8th at 1:30 with the Burbank International Film Festival. I invite all my west coast friends to come with us back to 1875 and say hello. We’ve also been working on a final piece for our home video release. We’re going to be adding narration to the beginning and end – the front helps frame the story and educate those not up to speed on the Civil War. The ending primes audiences for what will likely be a follow-up feature film or TV series. The narration will be our young lead all grown up and will likely be portrayed by a Country Music Superstar. I’m excited to be bringing this film to audiences worldwide.

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MBF: Man’s Best Friend

The film is on the computers and ready for editing. Some initial work is being done on the intro and once our director returns from his European adventure editing will be full-speed ahead. In the meantime we’ve been releasing our young lead David Reardon’s VLOG and official still photos. We also will start releasing official BTS in the coming weeks. Also a BTS video is being worked on and we’ll have that ready to release in the fall with a first official teaser trailer.

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I’ve been also putting in the hours working on the new script which right now is working title LOST HEART. I’m really happy with the first 40 pages and this week I’ll keep working it. The script is the blue print and I’m taking my time – that isn’t 100% true. Some know we’ve been dealing with our furry boy Luke who is recovering from cancer treatment. Additionally our eldest cat Jameson has been getting more weak and frail. He passed away this week after days with his cat brother standing/laying with him. We buried him and it was sad to see the animals distraught at his loss. He was the kindest of our cats and use to be so shy that people thought he would never leave the house. In the years that followed he made his way to the patio. After that the garden beds and short excursions with his brother. They were sometimes gone for two days before dragging back in for food and days of rest. A good life was had and I’m so happy to have known him all these years. Doing all my business work was one foot in front of the other but creative suffered a few times. Having sick loved ones can be very distracting to the mind and heart.

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This week we also bottled up the FRANKENWINE. In October of last year we had venison coming to the freezer. I had filled the freezer with collected black berries and mulberries from the yard along with the green tomatoes used in “The Green Goblin” wines from our garden. I used all the fruit in a mix calling it…Frankenwine after the classic monster creator. It is strong but also has a tart that quickly gives way to smooth. It was bottled with a few blueberries in each bottle. It already has been in use and will make a nice sipping wine leading into fall. I had to move the process along because I have a garden full of grapes that are soon to ripen. They are already changing to a beautiful purple color. They should be harvested in Sept and I’ll be making my first wine in a while that is made from actual grapes.

I’m ready for the humid heat to break. It will be over 90 today and we have yet another soccer match. We played the number one team last week having only one sub and missing our keeper but played to a 7-2 loss. It felt great doing battle against such a good team. It should have been more like a 4-3 but we missed a few opportunities and their team can shoot. Our sub-keeper was not able to stop those well-targeted shots. But again, a great battle. That kind of work out is what keeps the hands of time moving slow.

I’m going to close things up. Yesterday my significant other found the oak table and buffet she had been looking for. But that meant moving my grandma’s table and buffet to the office/fort in prep of todays move. It was a lot of cleaning, moving and rearranging that I was not quite prepared for. But it was done and today we’ll have a beautiful dining set. I look forward to a many nice meals around the new table.

Cheers! Have a great week and be good to one another.

DJ


The Summer Update: STEPS!

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A beautiful picture by artist Jeff Butler

It is Sunday and I’m fighting sleepy eyes – I went to bed at a good time knowing how much I had to do today. It’s been a long week and I’m often not 100% happy with what I accomplished for the week but I have faith it all adds up. Things keep moving along and additionally I had a few things this week that once again puts life into perspective.

A jolly, friendly man, David Bees, that I knew from a Las Vegas film I acted in and whom I sat with and socialized at the “Deadly Renovations” premiere passed away. He was not too old and again he announced he had cancer and that they gave him a year to live. Two days later he’s gone. I also just discovered that decorated musician Robbin Thompson, who provided a few songs on a soundtrack and who worked with us on our post work for “Wicked Spring” died last year. We had not spoken in a few years and I was sad to hear of his passing.

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DJ Perry at waters edge while shooting “40 Nights”

I’m content to have the weekly set backs and challenges because one day I won’t have those. I look at what I’ve done and it all has come from steps. Many, many, many steps that all add up. Let’s look at some of those steps –

“Bestseller,” “40 Nights” and “Ashes of Eden” continue to roll out to digital on-demand formats. (iTunes, Google play, Amazon) and two (Bestseller, 40 Nights) were just added to DIRECTV. If you get an opportunity please do take a watch.

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Editing on #Chasingthestar

“Chasing the Star” is now 75 minutes into the edit and I’ll be reviewing this week. First pictures, teaser and more will be releasing in the coming weeks.

The metadata sheets and such for the “Bestseller” soundtrack is about complete and I’m excited to have that available for audiences.

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On set of “The Terrorist”

I spoke to someone else who watched the “Dead Quiet” cut and said it’s really good so I’ll be excited to see that. I’ve still don’t have any updates on “Division 19” which I had a small role in. “The Terrorist” still needs a release and so a few more still to roll out. Since these are all closing up it is time to create some more product. Development is moving forward and more announcements will follow. I will say that if I didn’t have the fall and spring movies lined up someone (me) would have a haircut.

The last couple days have been around 90 degrees which I know my AZ friends are like,  mild, but in Michigan that is HOT:) I had another soccer match today and so I hope we have a good number of subs. We’ve won all but one game and lost by one. I was absent from that game but I’m happy that we’ve been pulling together as a team.

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I’m trying to update some personal marketing materials and keep everything else moving ahead. STEPS. Keep making them and know they add up. I use to say that if I did one thing a day to move the career forward by the end of the year – many steps taken. I have a Bday this week and I look forward to the next ride around the sun. I might have our CDI/belated Bday in July. This month we’ve had tree trimming and work on the office underway so things did not gel for a gathering this week. The full moon and the summer solstice are also this week. I had great Bday parties growing up usually packaged with my neighbor and friend Darrel whose Bday was yesterday. Those were good days. These are also good days – enjoy. Happy Father’s Day to my father who was always there for us. He taught me many valuable skills and characteristics. My children are all furry, they gave their daddy the Star Wars The Force Awakens Blu-Ray:)

Spend some time with your father or sit back and remember them. Enjoy the summer, family and friends. Keep making steps and you will be surprised how far it will take you.

DJ

 

 

 

 

 


Mentors, Marketing and Making Ready

Our day of intense heat gave way to the nice cool day we now enjoy. I will get to talking more on biz here soon but I thought I would get some of the other random thoughts out of my head. I also want to Welcome new readers from Poland and Brazil. I love all the international friends that follow the blog. It is a small world after all:)

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On set of the thriller “Bestseller”

To me, the imagination is the great first teacher of the acting craft. Many of us were making space ships from couch cushions and pretended to be tracking monsters on our forest walks. All this just carries over naturally. I think we get hindered by sheer magnitude of trying to make it as artists in a world of shells and beads. (Money) After being in an acting class at the Community College years ago I left after about an hour. Much like “drama club” in high school it was not my thing. I was getting together with friends and making short films. I didn’t like the silliness in those classes. I took another stab at an acting class at MSU with a teacher named Joyce Ramsey. You could tell that silliness was NOT what she was about. She was brutally honest and no nonsense. She gave a public shake down of each of us after our day one. Funny, she gave about the same assessment that I’ve been given by at least one movie studio. She said I could play leading man to the featured gas station attendant. But she declared, “you will be a stronger actor when you leave my class.”

I was NOT in the theater program. I was NOT in the cliche of students in the college “drama” circles, but she invested in me. She would catch me if I came out of character. She empowered me with confidence to trust my own choices. I think she really understood how deep my well of imagination ran. I think, I was one of her favorites – at least in that class. She knew movies were my interest not the stage. Even so, she encouraged me to audition for play THE DOLL HOUSE, going up at the college, even if just for the audition challenge. To honor her request, I did and was offered the male lead. With a smile, I turned it down but left with a confidence that I could survive and thrive amongst these stage actors. I’ve thought of her several times over the years with the success I’ve had. She was older when she taught and I was not sure what happened to her. I looked her up a few months ago and became friends on social media. I had intended to reach out and let her know how her words had helped me to climb where I am now. I heard she passed away yesterday at 89 years old. Now she knows all – I hope she has a good rest and I’m sure she helped many like myself. Thank you Joyce.

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The strength to look at the harsh trials of our industry and believe I could make it.

FILM BIZ UPDATES

NEW “BESTSELLER”

Many of our films are rolling out this month to various ON DEMAND platforms. Joining “40 Nights” on Google Play is now “BESTSELLER” –

https://play.google.com/store/movies/details/BestSeller?id=L4iC3L2ILbQ

SOUNDTRACK coming soon!

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NEW “40 NIGHTS”

“40 Nights” has released on VUDU and AMAZON.

http://www.vudu.com/movies/#!content/769068/40-Nights

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GIY2CBQ/ref=atv_feed_catalog?ie=UTF8&redirect=true

We have more teaser clips rolling out to promote the ON DEMAND roll outs.

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“Chasing the Star” the second film in the QUEST TRILOGY following “40 Nights” is in post with editing passing the sixty minute mark. We should have a locked picture at month’s end and move into music and sound design.

We have NEW development talks underway with Shane Hagedorn, Jesse Low and BlackJacket Films over scripts.

Travis in Action

Additionally I’ve been having a few talks over script sales. I’ve recently had discussions with a director in Hollywood over acting in a film for a week or two this summer. Additionally the garden is in and the yard is looking very zen. I love all the wildlife. I have a busy week ahead and I feel ready to sail forward. We have another soccer match today and I’m looking forward to that.

I hope you all have a great end to your weekend and a productive week ahead.

DJ