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

Posts tagged “house

The Forty Seventh Trip – the final week UPDATES

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The last week of the 47th trip around the SUN:)

A whirlwind week leading up to the bday weekend. Forty seven trips around this star we call the sun. We had a busy week leading up to the weekend whereas we had a small gathering of folks for my bday and the CDI gathering. I had a busy week because of the dropped elm tree causing a lot of chaos to the yard. All the small stuff got burnt up and the logs stacked and/or organized. The garden is getting a lot more sun with the dead tree down. We smoked a pair of pork shoulders and a large turkey to have sandwiches at the gathering. So the latter part of the week I got to conduct business to the wonderful smells coming from the smoker. The house, office and yard all got a good grooming which is always nice. The spring cleaning is over and time to enjoy summer. My brother made me a wrought iron arch that you install logs onto and also the upper siding will be put on the office this week. (Happy Bday to myself) – After several years I now have a new grill – so grill N chill can power on.

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The garden is growing like crazy and I’ve been getting bowls of mulberries everyday for my wine endeavors. Last night at our little gathering we had some of the “Top of the Day” Irish Stout and I think it passed the test. We had some great punch with a punch thanks to my friend Mr. Glarner and Sanctuary Spirits. The RUM was flowing like a pirate fest. Many activities every weekend in the Summer for people so I’m just always appreciative to whomever makes the stop by. I think a good time was had by all and it was a good day to reflect on all the good that has happened in the last year. Lots of excitement and talk about the next 12 months ahead. I will do a short recap of things but I believe I might need a nap before tonight’s soccer match. The temps should be much better as long as we don’t get rained out.

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Okay. A few movie updates.

WILD FAITH – ADR work has been underway in the studio as well as spicing up the sound design on the battle scenes. VFX foundation work underway and I’ll be meeting with director Jesse Low to discuss more on this project. I will say some nice BTS, a new trailer and poster are just some of the cool new promo pieces coming soon.

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The Quest Trilogy

The website for the trilogy will house the sites for all three films in the future and so we’ve been developing that. Also a new CDI website will be going up this Summer. Forty Nights is expanding into the General market as Sony keeps pushing the digital. We had a few nice reviews coming out on “Forty Nights” and so we’ll be encouraging people to watch the 1st film in the trilogy. We’re still exploring more theatrical on “Chasing the Star” but the film is delivered and will soon be mastered by BMG. “The Christ Slayer” is polishing the edit and VFX work has started. We shared a short model video on the FB site for “The Christ Slayer” and more will follow.

The Friday of my Bday I completed Version 1 of a new screenplay. That put a smile on my face. Scripts are the blueprints that a team works from. I’m happy to be in development mode. The back half of the year will be interesting. We’ll have films releasing as we start the creation of new content. Thank you to everyone who sent their well wishes. I had a few people I know pass away this year that won’t be going on this new journey around the sun. So that said, I’m appreciative that I can keep clawing my way to the middle:)

DJ


Freezing Temps and Finish Lines

This morning was chilly here in Michigan with temps at 9 degrees and falling. But the blowing snow is even more crazy. I know that our friends on the far east coast are getting it much worse. This morning after a coffee warm up we went out and about. We like to go visit estate sales looking for antiques or collectibles for the house or my office. We’ve truly found some wonderful treasures and it also usually includes breakfast which is a nice bonus. We braved some crazy snow and found some great items. One thing for the office is a like-new professional rotating DVD holder. I will use that to store copies of some of my CDI films kept in the office. Also found a few antiques for the office porch. Add a few other items which begged to follow me home and the trip was an overall success.

Books are one of the things that I enjoy collecting at these sales. I enjoy the feeling and smell of the paper. Even as I work with my new script, I NEED the paper. I’ve had many people in our organization who want to go all digital with paperwork. It’s fine for moving data quickly but at the end of the day paper is tangible. If a drive crashes you could lose important docs unless you have many back ups. So yes, I’m old school in my love of paper. I am a fan of wood also which is what I tend to collect. Some of you might have seen the wooden hammer pic I posted last week. It’s indeed a prop of mine for our upcoming film.

Let’s discuss the new film…

I’m encouraged by legal – not to fully disclose on this film for about another week. I can say the LLC is formed. The bank account is now open. The documents are all in process and things are all coming together smoothly. We also have some interesting things happening with distribution. This film will have distribution signed before we shoot. We have had more than one company show interest in this new film. The deals being offered are getting more interesting and next week will reveal even more. So a bit more patience here please and in time all will be revealed.

POST WORK

WASTELAND, our associated CDI, Sci-Fi film is 80% done with editing on Part 1. A small teaser is about to release. First poster art is being completed. All exciting stuff!

BESTSELLER – We went into the studio and did a few small dialogue tweaks to enhance the quality of a line here or there. The visual is about locked now and following will be the color correction. Music is our next layer and as we move steadily towards the finish line lots of exciting updates will be coming.

THE TERRORIST may be fully finished next week. I have a call scheduled with our director but I think we are just about there.

DVD art on WICKED SPRING, ASHES OF EDEN and DONORS is moving towards being completed.

Theatrical, TV  and foreign sales talks have been very steady. We’ve got a little commercial work in development. The work overall has been steady and I think following some upcoming meetings – we may have features launching back to back.

I also had some good talks with my management on upcoming acting projects. They’re happy for my next lead role and I’ve purposely kept my schedule open past March. They have several developing projects that they want me to participate in.

Aside from all that. Let me see. I caught up this week with a few filmmakers I’ve known for quite a while. Some collaboration was discussed but it was not the right fit for either of us. I told this particular individual that the great part is – “you don’t need us and we don’t need you.” So basically, when/if it does happen it’s because the project was the right fit.

On another front – I got a report that again someone (A filmmaker) was unhappy because CDI won’t support social crowd funding as it applies to filmmaking. We’ve got a polite policy in place on all that. If others are offended by that and offer negativity back – we will ignore them. Our beliefs on doing business obviously don’t match up. earlier I spoke of a talk whereas the business did not align. It was professional and this person left me with a “God Bless”.  Now this other individual seemed like he came off rude and unprofessional.

My simple advice to him.

If you’ve got your own company you’re entitled to do as you see fit. If you want to beg for donations – great. Our investors, partners, distributors and such see social-funding actions as last-ditch efforts to get funding by a hobby filmmaker or someone pushing a project that nobody wants to invest in. NOW. Before those of you out there doing social funding get your knickers in knots – I’m not saying you have to agree with them, with me or our company policy. Do your own thing. Follow your own path. Good luck. May the force be with you. NEXT.

I’ve had a lot of communications recently about KNIGHT CHILLS 2. The script is moving along and I think fans of the first will get a healthy dose of what they so enjoyed the first time around. The film itself will be much stronger in regards to the production due to all the experience and advances in technology since 1997.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Work steadily at whatever you’re building. Things happen less by chance and more as a result of hard work. If you want to get ahead you must move when others rest. Work when others play. When you work, work smart. Know your goals. Plan. Execute. Follow through. Keep trimming away those variables around you that are not sincere, supportive or loyal.

Keep Clawing and Make IT HAPPEN!

DJ


Filmmaker Pitfalls + Distribution & Development

It’s a chill morning in Michigan and I’ve got my trusty coffee by my side and I’m ready to share a few moments with all of you out there. It has been a good week of business and personal so let’s get into a few topics that were floated by me this week. Let’s start with a question that comes up often. I’ve been asked about my thoughts on “Social Fundraising” or social handouts as I like to call it. I’m mostly against these Kickstarter and other “fundme” campaigns for several reasons. Let me explain myself before everyone questions my answer. Now I am going to relate this to what I know, that being filmmaking.  So this may not apply to other justifiable causes such as raising money for illness, funeral expenses, transplants and other real NEEDS. I’m not talking NEED but people and their WANTS…Big difference.

Did you ever know that kid who was always spoiled, bothersome? Like I recall kids begging their parents for quarters to feed into video game machines back in the day. Yes. They use to cost a quarter:) Someone would give the kid a dollar or a few quarters just so the adults could be left in peace to talk alone and socialize. It is that, “At least they are staying out of trouble” mentality. So that kid goes off and likely after a short while is back with his hand out again and again… People will again give a few dollars to him so that he goes away. But I can assure you, if that kid was borrowing that money or had earned those quarters from hard work, he would not be as loose – keeping that flood of coins dropping into those machines. When it’s your money or money that is borrowed with expected results – the appreciation and use of those funds is much more focused.

Someone else I know called it “Mercy Giving” because it is easier to give a little versus hurting feelings. Maybe this is seen as positive or is it? If something ventured is obviously lacking in quality but people give to it anyway it does make one question why? Why?  As a parent, would you encourage your child to take up “corner standing” with a cup and sign that says, TOO HONEST TO STEAL, TOO UGLY TO PROSTITUTE?  Would you throw money at someone building a house that is nowhere near being up to code and will likely with end up overgrown and forgotten because it is red tagged?

I don’t overly think on these things as people will quit giving when the results are always the same. My world view is different, maybe a tad more realistic. Despite what people think, we don’t live in a world where everyone who plays wins. I think people who are actually in SHOW BIZ – (Let me break that down because not all who play are in the business) SHOWBIZ  – That is where quality art meets business in a blend that results in something that can be sold in the marketplace. More novices are into the SHOW but not truly SHOWBIZ. They want to focus on the art because that is fun – the interviews, the mixers -all fun. Fun – Even if the process is only creating content nobody really wants. And so they ask, ask, ask for others to give, give, give – so they can create nearly unwatchable, unsellable material. Now if this is a hobby, which for many at this level that is what it is – and that is exactly how your filmmakers learn and grow. But after once or twice of allowing filmmakers to play why continue to support? Maybe this is acceptable?

I mean golf is an art of sorts but I don’t see people kickstarting so they can get a new set of top-of-the-line clubs and a years worth of greens fees. (I’m sure someone has tried:) But unless this person was playing golf at a level whereas true PRO development was required/justified this just sounds silly and many sane people don’t do it.

I think handouts dull the sword.

How you say? There is no accountability to be had if everything is just given because this is again that kid with quarters. He is never grilled after on how well he spent the quarters. “Did you get a high score?”  “Did you get an extra ball or get a match?” (Pinball reference people) No. You were just given money so to be “out-of-the-way” for a while occupying your time. That is until they want the next handout. These are all things you would do with a child but I see it happening everyday with adult artists. But if artists are truly striving to excel both at business and art those will be the survivors. Nobody would drop coins in the hat of an awful sounding corner/subway playing guitarist, unless it was for them to stop.  So I guess I’m just saying support the arts responsibly. Look for those that truly have developing qualities. Look for those that are looking to eventually stand on their own two feet not just be blindly supported. Give your money to the hungry or homeless instead.  If you are over 25 and still taking handouts to produce sub par product – and I use that term loosely because someone would actually have to want to purchase this film for it to truly be a product. By purchase I also mean beyond your 100 family or friends that are expected to support you otherwise your glares will make them uncomfortable at every holiday or local gathering:)

So in summary, I guess if the person only comes begging at the table once in a while and consistently is given a few coins to go distract himself – maybe that is acceptable to some. But I just can’t endorse that sort of action. I won’t support or LIKE something just for a half ass effort. In our business we face acceptance and rejection daily and that is part of the business. Success and failure hardens the steel and makes you refine your process. I just ask those out there who seem to be like a needle skipping on a record (Another reference – look it up) – What do you want to be? How do you want to be seen? Is your art evolving in quality? Are you ready to earn true success with increasing quality and business refinement or do you want to continuously beg for handouts only to create material that is never challenged and would not survive in the worldwide marketplace. Begging for financial handouts is not a business plan. “We hope to get into a high-profile film festival” is NOT a marketing plan. As many of our artists seek the easiest way the Chinese, Indians, the Europeans…the world over are all pushing their creative artists to survive and thrive in a business environment. Meanwhile we reinforce mediocrity and endorse begging as a business plan. It is sad but true as we are losing ground to others willing to put in the hard work. OK. Ask me how I really feel about all that:) Embrace the hardships you face because it with sharpen your sword and make your steel strong.

Enough sword and steel babel…onto film news:)

On the distribution TIP – we now have a few distribution offers on “Ashes of Eden” and the film screeners continue to be requested. More interested parties are coming to the table every few days. It is getting exciting and we will be announcing our Summer Michigan theatrical VERY soon!

Our thriller “Bestseller” is about to schedule its one  day of pick ups. That film is really looking great and after the release of the 1st trailer last week we have several distributors waiting to see the final film.

On development updates we’ve got several new funders looking at projects of their liking. I think we will soon be moving into some pre-production on  some of these new films.

A couple of big budget film projects are back in motion again with new funders. We will wait to see if these projects move forward but things get complicated when talking tens of millions of dollars. When you really see how big the game is that is when you get down on someone who can’t even conduct fundamental business. I am learning leaps and bounds every day but you must challenge yourself.

Additionally, I did some wild lines for the dark thriller “The Terrorist” this past week. I’m very happy that the picture is about locked and is looking powerful. We’re going to polish up the audio and we will see this film released at year’s end.

On the acting front, I was in talks on an indie project that just didn’t add up at the end of the day. Again if you’re not a hobbyist and you’re doing this as a career you have to look at the complete picture. I do have one other local indie I’m still having talks over – no telling if that will work out or not. Don’t be afraid to say, NO.

As I vet out projects I’m very content finishing up the post projects on my plate. My new acting management is really trying to get that right 1st big studio film under me. Several talks are underway with casting directors, producer and directors. I have opened myself up to consideration on a few TV projects also. There is a big trend towards TV mini series and such so I will keep myself open to these opportunities. I like the idea of guest spots more but if the right series came along I might consider something on-going.

Enough business for the day:) I pointed out what I did in regards to social funding because if new filmmakers never learn the art of business they will be replaced by those who do. There are always exceptions one can argue but on the whole I would say many are just too lazy to learn the valuable business lessons required to play at the highest levels of our film industry. OK. I’m going to do some work in the yard and relax from my long week. We got the new floor in the office/fort last week and so more tinkering may be the order of the day. Tomorrow is Father’s day and so I will be spending some time with Pa Perry and family before heading off to the soccer field. It has been a good season and as always the workout is second to none. I’ve also been enjoying the WORLD CUP matches and look forward to the USA playing on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

DJ

 


ASHES, AWARDS and ARIZONA HEAT

So I hope some of you had the morning to catch up on my previous week blog. I’ve been taking some family time and hitting a few estate sales that last few weeks. It started with us searching for some antique items for the house and has turned into a fun weekly outing. This week we found a brass lantern light, a cottage rocking chair, brass/wood hour-glass and the list goes on. Some stuff for the office and other stuff for the house or the home bar. This week I’ve also enjoyed the first of the 3rd batch of home-brew shared with Shane Hagedorn during a marketing meeting. Also my banana/coconut wine is fermenting nicely and will make for an interesting wine for sure. I’ve been splitting some time between the computer film work and also doing stuff in the yard as we get ready for summer fun. Tomorrow will be another soccer match and I’m looking forward to that. Last night we had dinner with my brother and his wife and I even held the new niece. It was a nice visit and always nice to see what projects he has going on around there. Okay let’s look at some of the business unfolding in the film world.

First, I’ve left my old LA agency and taken up new management with Myra MacKay. She is a seasoned professional with many good tie in’s to many producers/directors. She also is a fan of my screen work and so we are going to do a trial run this year and see what she can bring to the table.  There is already some exciting stuff developing and so I’m ready to see how that all goes.

“Ashes of Eden” is out to a few dozen distributors and in the next few weeks we hope to start engaging in some serious discussions over the next wave of distribution.

The “Bestseller” trailer is about done visually and so music and sound polishing will start this coming week. What that means is distributors and fans will get to see the first looks at this exciting thriller. The feature will have one day of pick ups before we lock up the picture to start music and sound design.

Next week we start the next round of discussions over the next films to be released into Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I’m looking forward to that. I’ve also got talks ongoing with the UK and Brazil and our sales team is also closing in on Australia.

I’ve got a feature script to read this week from a director I’ve worked with once already. It is a WW2 script and I’m looking forward to the read.

It also looks like we will have a music video and a few promo videos shooting over the summer. We are growing close to announcing more on a feature film script. The question is what side of summer will it shoot on – the start or end because the location is HOT in the summer. That is not good for cast, crew or cameras so we will see how that all plays out.

Also the first talks on a new CDI associated film are beginning. It is a good script and I think it will be another great project that will continue the great tradition of telling stories for a worldwide audience. More as this develops…

IF you are in the AZ area on may 24th I encourage you to attend the DONORS premiere in Yuma, AZ. I’m excited to see this finished film myself.

I had intentions of discussing a few other things that I’ve observed around me but I’m not really wanting to wade into some of that right now. To address it in a zen like way is to say – “If a man wins a race whereas he was the only one running was it truly a race at all?”  Another point to ponder would be to say “An award granted is sincere when it is earned and unexpected but what is the nature of an award when it’s purchased for oneself by oneself?” Just a few things for folks to ponder out there.

I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful weekend. Relax and prepare yourself to have a productive week ahead.

DJ