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

Posts tagged “LA

Home is Michigan

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Again Michigan is covered in a blanket of white snow. I know that many of you are from various parts of the world. Welcome readers from S. Korea and Burma. How wonderful that all these artistic people have found our little corner of the internet. My hazelnut coffee is going down easy and I’ve got a list of updates on several of the projects. This morning I did take a stroll through the Facebook which has kind of replaced the newspaper sadly. I usually find science articles to read and enjoy certain animal posts that highlight how intelligent and soulful animals truly are. Where to begin?

I commented on a fellow filmmaker’s vent this morning. In short – a disdain for people who have more resources or who falsely claim experience. It’s a problem but one that usually works itself out. We use to lovingly refer to it as The Oregon Trail. For us older people it was a TSR-80 game. But in real history it was a rugged journey that resulted in many dying and being buried along the Oregon Trail. We use that saying to describe the many in our business who perished along the trail.

Many people have long-wondered what the “trick” is at CDI to producing their content. First, there is no trick. It is a logical checklist of work that must be done in a particular order. You can refine that over time but this takes an effort. Good management of people is something that you cannot buy for yourself. There is no piece of equipment you can purchase that will motivate good work flow. Some of the secrets, if you wanna call it that  are…

  1. Hire artists firsts not friends – you can become friends (True definition not Facebook’s) through shared art, dependability, accountability and positive collaboration. But to assign/hire someone unqualified for a crew or cast role out of friendship hurts the collective endeavor and often the friendship. Don’t set people up to fail. Don’t let preventable failure lower the quality of your projects or worse yet – kill it. I think for young filmmakers that is where these 48 hour film challenge things help. With a youthful generation of highly creative, technology-adept youths INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION is a learned skill. It is easy to be disrespectful, behind a computer. But these comments in the real world to a real person, can get you kung fu’d, fired or create a poison in an otherwise productive creative atmosphere.
  2. Chiefs. I’m talking to company owners. I’m talking to producers, director and keys. You all set the tone for the environment. Define the roles ahead of time. Don’t figure it out as you go. Producers have months or years of development work before any camera roll – use it. Creative MUST respect the Business machine and the business must respect the artistic contributions that will elevate it above being a mere formula genre film. Only strong leadership can walk this balance between the two and enforce this kind of collaboration. NEED vs WANT…KNOW the DIFFERENCE.
  3. Follow Through – this means the same in micro as in macro – for anyone in the chain of execution. You NEED people with follow through or they’re simply a negative – excuses not withstanding. It does not matter what the creative potential of an individual is if they’re not able to follow through.  This should always disqualify/limit a person from leadership. Now you can put creative slackers under a disciplined key so they can be exposed and maybe learn from leadership. Ego will sometimes make them reject the chain of command if they feel they are a superior artist. The best artist in our world has follow through and a “best effort” positive attitude.  Again, the best artist is not always JUST the best artist but the best artist with follow through. If a creative caterer made half a crew lunch = fail. Someone at go time had collected only half the props = fail. Wrong instructions as to where to park support vehicles = fail. Hundreds of things a day can cause strife on a film set if your team is not properly prepared. Be prepared.
  4. Help is not weakness – many people have not learned the many important lessons from managing projects of various sizes and budgets. People need to know when to say NO or to seek out and hire the proper experience. But either greed or fear of loss of power, causes many to sell themselves onto projects that they are truly unqualified for. F- YOU DJ! YOU GOTTA START SOMEWHERE! Okay. Settle down, I hear you:) Now in the beginning, I might have been one of those people. But, I did qualify as a doer of many other things.  Some of these things small and some large in other areas of my life. I have always been someone who has a natural drive to GET IT DONE if I’m behind something. Investors saw that eye of the tiger in me. Investor interest seldom comes from a fancy fluff package or a regurgitation of business buzz words – more often that investor see’s or feels something in you that was/is akin to his own inner fire.

OK. I need to save a little wisdom:) But I try to keep a pulse on this Michigan film community.  I see positives and negatives. Michigan has always fought the ‘backwoods’ mentality given to us by Hollywood. Funny thing is much of the Hollywood elite is midwestern. But I will say that I see improvements. Tax incentives gone – my opinion – it never should have been about drawing work to Michigan but development of work from within Michigan. But it did help legitimize filmmaking as an acceptable title here in Michigan. Ask old-timers and MI filmmakers from the 80’s and 90’s, about being called a filmmaker. It was like telling your family you want to be an astronaut. It was usually met with a sideways stare and a loss of words.

Now people don’t sideways stare at me they simply want to know when the next film releases. They tell me they have young children interested in filmmaking. It’s great to see the parent support of these young dreamers. I burned out on festivals a decade ago but I respect all the great festivals our state has to showcase, network and nurture our creatives. I watch the yearly migration to the west coast where people learn that the increase in opportunities is usually matched by the increase in applicants. But many have to experience it. I will be out there for a week on some business this month. I’m looking forward to seeing some friends and associates. Oh, and the sun. But after a few I must return home.  Home is Michigan.

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Shane Hagedorn’s big shoulders to carry his first feature

WILD FAITH

We master the film off this week and I’ve got some meetings coming up over home video/foreign. The TV series is something that I’ve been aggressively chasing. I think it would be great for Michigan. I know a few other TV series working to get traction. How great would it be to have a string of TV shows happening. We’ve also been hard at work on securing theaters. We’ll be announcing soon as several deals are almost done. I do truly love the genre and I think it would be great to see weekly as a show. Once you watch the movie let me know.

WICKED SPRING

If you cannot wait and need a fix of 1800’s action/drama our Civil War film “Wicked Spring” is getting a re-release 16 years later. 18 years from when cameras first rolled. We shot the pre-war and war stuff in two separate shoots and areas. I’m waiting for the streaming link to go live on amazon. 2/5/18 is supposed to be digital release date. DVD’s on 3/5/18. Here is the new cover that the distributor settled on. It has one of my favorite pics from the shoot and it is of Anthony Hornus, who played the Union commander. Also that’s Michigan’s Brad Egan front and center marching forth.

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Look for this cover that has the remastered film. Also the DVD includes a 45 min Making of that is a wonderful look back at producing 18 years ago. Please do take a watch.

Cool look at the TOP Civil War Films

https://www.ranker.com/…/all-civil-w…/all-genre-movies-lists

We’ll be posting places you can buy/rent as they go live on

Wicked Spring Facebook 

https://www.facebook.com/CivilWarMovies/

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Are you ready for another look at Part 3 of…

THE QUEST TRILOGY 

Forty Nights and Chasing the Star are working into more platforms and networks. The push will start for Easter sales. I’m excited that the poster and movie trailer for The Christ Slayer part 3 is almost done. As if the excitement of “Wild Faith” wasn’t enough this first full trailer will allow BMG to start promotions. It is amazing the scope of it all and it brings the greater story of the trilogy together and answers many questions.

SIDE NOTE: Forty Nights is part one and if you don’t know I play Jesus. I’m over due on a few character reels but this one was hard. When you’re in about 70 min of a 88 min film or so and you are looking for 2-3 min sizzle it can prove to be…difficult. My actor/filmmaker buddy Shane Hagedorn knew I’ve been very busy the last few years working on the whole. He surprised me with a character reel of Jesus. I will be sharing that with you all in the coming days. I always ask that one good role just gets me one more. This will come in handy as I’ve got a few things in the works hence the LA trip.

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ACTING

Many have asked me what’s next for me on-screen. As we’re always working on delay – this year you can watch me as mountain man Ben Lily in “Wild Faith” and reprising my role as Jesus in “The Christ Slayer” film. I’ve got some good film role options that I’m not at liberty to discuss. It might be the year that several development collaborations pop. I can say that the main focus for me is MBF. (Man’s Best Friend) We’ve accepted  collaboration with a military non-profit http://www.theredwhiteandblueproject.org/ that has done some great things in the past for our soldiers. They want to off-set some of our military cast/crew costs and create an educational aspect. That aside we’re trying to complete financing on this project and we’re getting close. I am excited about this project and I think so will you once you find out more about it. Here is our social media site.

MBF: facebook 

https://www.facebook.com/MBFthemovie/

I could go on and one but I have some snow to shovel and I’m prepping to do personal tax prep tomorrow.  Coffee cup is low.

Be good to one another!

DJ

 

 

 

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Patience as Productivity Rolls Forward

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Shane Hagedorn and DJ Perry in ‘Wild Faith’

We had a few days of semi-warmth that included some wood cutting, yard cleaning and even some Viking dart playing. It was a week of good meetings and discussions. I was reminded again this week of how you must work as a pulse not a ray. The latter will drain you and will bring about the “watched pot never boils” mentality. Once you put something in action allow it to work. Shift your mind to the next thing on your list. I’ve got another week or so here working on our “Wild Faith” release plan with our team. I’ve also been putting a few things in order for a trip to LA in Feb. to visit and take a few meetings. It will be nice to visit a few days with friends there.

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One of the projects in development is ‘Hastings’ the TV series to follow the further adventures of “Wild Faith” feature.

Another is MBF (Man’s Best Friend) which will bring more paperwork and funds into the account this week. I’m excited to get this locked up. If I can do it before the Feb trip I might be sitting down to discuss casting with a few people there. I appreciate the growing interest and this will be a powerful tale to tell.

One of my family stories/scripts is in development to be CDI’s second associated animated film. I will share more on this as we get closer to setting the course. It has been concept art up until this point. It is going to be a fun project.

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“Wicked Spring” artwork is complete and the DVD’s will be in the warehouses in Feb or an early March release in the USA. A PR release will accompany a new trailer release. The film is being released worldwide via CDI Distribution who made the deal and BMG who’s done a wonderful job with our biblical trilogy.

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A still of actress Christine Marie in the upcoming “The Christ Slayer”

As for THE QUEST TRILOGY – The Christmas season was strong and I look forward to the 1st quarter 2018 reports that will have our holiday sales. “Chasing the Star” and “Forty Nights” continue to grow an audience. Part 3 “The Christ Slayer” poster and trailer are coming. The film itself starts music/sound work at month’s end so we’re CLOSE to starting that. Some dialog clean up is already underway. Easter will be another month to target with the films. I’m excited to watch these films grow in the marketplace. Our new readers here from Norway might be from FAMILY 7 – they’re playing the films.

I’ve been back to writing weekly focusing on ‘Hastings’ TV shows and doing research for the next biblical trilogy. I’ve also been working on my first Sci-Fi script and just brought on a consultant who is also a longtime friend of mine. It is exciting to see a story on the page what could be on the screen in the coming years.

I’ve got some work to get to in prep of the coming week. I’m going to let you all get back to your Sunday. I do appreciate each and every one of you stopping by. Have a productive week and be good to one another.

DJ

 

 

 


Wrapping the Circus

Today’s time has been filled looking for the return truck to carry gear that came from LA. Several departments have been securing props and wardrobe for transport. Key Set PA is looking everywhere for walkie’s that did not get returned during the excitement of wrap. These are all elements to breaking down the circus. By circus, I mean -film circus. We’ve just completed another amazing task of telling a feature-length biblical-era movie told largely in the wild deserts of Yuma, AZ. I’ve been living out of a motel for weeks, working hard with a very talented group of artists. After reviewing footage, I can say that once again we captured some movie magic. It’s all about a group of artists who care about the product. It’s not just a job, it’s a calling. Or maybe a disease:)

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We pick ambitious goals and we strive hard to try and achieve them. That’s the great pride I get from visitors to set who talk about our professionalism. The distributors who know we work hard to bring art with the solid business. Our last director here on “The Christ Slayer,” Nathaniel Nose suggested the slogan “The CDI difference” – which is actually quite catchy:) Hey, we don’t always do everything right here but we’ll get caught trying to do it right every time. Best Effort’s is our motto and when challenged we sometimes discover where our best effort stride actually IS. These films keep getting stronger because the people involved are giving their best efforts. Yes, they tire and slow like us all, but they take pride in their work.  They put the gloves and boots back on and attack each new day. It’s a huge collective effort and it always reminds me of the truth that lies at the heart of our company name – Collective Development Inc.

I will say a few words about the role of Jesus. He’s my 1st character I’ve played in a film twice. What an interesting and complex role to become twice. I’ve had several fine moments of pondering WWJD in different moments. I guess that’s what led to these stories in part. Well, Jesus has left the building and ascended to higher grounds. It’s mighty refreshing to let some of that heaviness go and to knock down some of that giant Jesus beard.

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I’m going to return home this week and need to go finish breaking down the circus. But ahead of us lies music and sound design for “Wild Faith” – a new domestic release for “Forty Nights” on 4/4/17, a Michigan premiere and theatrical release of “Chasing the Star” and “The Christ Slayer” is officially in editing.

I’m looking forward to seeing family (Happy Bday baby) and friends, soccer games and working in the garden and yard. Almost time to turn that soil and fire up the grill. I will say that I feel accomplished now having finished The Quest Trilogy.

Keep following- much more more to come. “Forty Nights” releases April 4th!

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Theatrical News & Talking CDI Updates

As I sit here sipping a bit more hazelnut coffee I ponder all the things we could touch upon this week. I also want to take a moment and thank all my readers from different countries. We are all cut from the same cloth just different mountains, trees and grasses. I just returned from running around this morning that included a stop at SEARS. I was stopped by someone I didn’t know smiling and pointing before asking my name. ASHES OF EDEN bringing in new fans and I love it. I know many friends, family and fans who went to (some are there now) in the theaters watching the film. It has been fun having one of the films play in our hometown/state. Let’s talk about that a touch…

In 2002 we shot AN ORDINARY KILLER and the only HD digital projectors were in California and traveling with the National auto show. We encoded for it and rented one of those traveling projectors for just under a week. We had the best theatrical run with 3,400 people in 5 days with 12 sold out showings and one still over 200 seats sold. We took those numbers to LA and at that time it would be a transfer to film and creating film prints. Shipping on those things was big $ and so P&A money would have to be spent. The thing is that we beat Harry Potter in that theater run but the cost of a theatrical was beyond us.

In 2006 we shot our smokey mountain western “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” and we ran it an entire summer in conjunction with a theme park. We sold steady but in a limited area but for many, many weeks. I would have loved to play more theaters but we refused to go back to DVD/BlueRay projection. The HD projectors by this time 2007/8 were only between 500-1000 in the USA and that was reserved for studio films billing the new Digital as they would IMAX or THX – bottom line too expensive still. 

Now it is 2014 and I’m happy to report most all modern theaters are digital and we now have an in-demand film. This run is a partnership run not a four wall (rent out) and we are able to supply content. The cost is more in line and now theatrical could be part of our revenue stream. We will be opening CDI Theatrical and looking back into the CDI library to do some special screenings.

I will be going with some friends tonight to watch what could be one of the last showings at Celebration Cinema. Remark that I said at Celebration Cinemas:) Also we will be playing the film in the Detroit area and beyond but you have to wait for the official word on all that. We also had yet another distribution deal step forward that includes some possible foreign. I’m just happy that we are at a level where we can bring high quality content in the same format as the studios. Stay tuned for much more CDI action to grace the big screen!

“Bestseller” pick ups are about all set. By the end of this next week we will be locked up. Now my one pet peeve of the week. Insurance which we’ve always carried from film 1 at CDI. First you need to acquire high end gear not the small cameras and so these vendors require this. Next – we carry protection for our cast/crews because this is the right thing to do. Now again because we try to do everything right, note I said TRY, it costs. I was taken back because a one day pick up quote was near the same rate as our 18 day shoot prior. Because a new policy has to be started versus reactivating one. Anyway, we will do what we must but again I would bet a slew of filmmakers out there are running without insurance. It’s all good until something happens and it will, eventually. So stepping up is just part of playing as a professional I say but to the many who want to call themselves professional – actions speak louder. 

“Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” was suppose to start streaming on Indieflix.com yesterday. I would love to hear from anyone who subscribes and watches the 1st three shows.  www.indieflix.com 

I had some good development talks this week and a few more investors interested in this project or that. So once I get past this final pick up on “Bestseller” I’ll be ready to look at some new projects. I’ve been picking berries for an upcoming wine batch. We shared some good homebrew and wine with my mother and friends at her belated Bday gathering. We smoked a pair of pork shoulders for 8 hours and that turned out great. Okay. Now I’m hungry. 

Have a great week ahead!

DJphoto-8

 


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