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

Posts tagged “Las Vegas

Flow Like Water – The ‘TOP TEN’ Collective Development Inc. Updates!

A chilly Sunday in Michigan with a dusting of snow. I’m so ready to get on with spring and start to get things cleaned up from winter. But the arctic air is still flowing down and so it will be wood stove at the office again this week. I want to welcome our new readers from Mexico, China, Ireland and more. I am sipping the hazelnut coffee that is chasing some of the chill away. I’m looking forward to more gatherings around the fire pit or chilling on the office porch or patio. The grill is ready to get a good work out this year. I was working on cutting down some of the old hops vines to prepare for the new sprouts that will grow along the deck soon. I want to have a new deck built and so I’ve been looking at different styles. I also want to put in a new privacy fence but all takes planning, time and money. I’ve been enjoying indoor soccer on Tuesdays which is getting the rust off my touch and getting my running endurance back into shape. I’m exciting about some of the new training I’ve been doing and I’m enjoying the challenge. Just a slew of activities to participate in this new year while working on our film projects. Let’s look at some of the CDI film updates shall we?

TOP UPDATES FROM LAST WEEK

  1. No fooling! The ‘DEEPFALL‘ music video “Revolution” is completed and will release April 1st and I encourage you to take a watch/listen. Here is the link where it will launch. https://youtu.be/xtlc7GQvr70 Produced by Collective Development Inc. it was posted by Weyant Alliance with Carl Weyant directing and editing. We will be looking to produce more music videos moving forward. If you have a band and a budget please do reach out and let us help take your exposure to the next level.
  2. BEST YEARS GONE – There is talk of moving the DVD/streaming purchase date to July 5th the day after the 4th of July celebrations versus June 5th. A miscommunication over a surround sound mix issue caused a slight hold up and now marketing might play better capturing the fireworks of the week. The film also announced that it has been nominated for ‘Best Comedy‘ at the BareBones International Music and Film Festival. Between this and the London-based Maverick Film Fest which we won, it tells me UK and Oklahoma both have great taste in humor. (Just kidding) We hope people all over the world enjoy this fun thought-provoking and yes, funny story. I am a tad disappointed in the push but only because I’m excited for people around the globe to laugh along. But if you need your dose of CDI sooner we have a few other releases.
  3. The thriller BESTSELLER, is an adaptation of the book by Chris Knight. CDI was brought in to access and reboot a failed start by another producer group. Again, when you get an investor to say YES, a slight toast to the hard work to that point is fine, but the real hard work lies ahead. The execution and completion of the film is no easy task and therein lies the fact despite what I may think creatively of a film I watch by my peers – you are in a new club of doers just by finishing. For the rough start that this film had, the reboot was really a good experience. We re-shot everything and kept maybe 5% of the original cast and crew moving forward. I did not what to get the reputation of being “the fixer” as that is still reactionary versus a properly prepped endeavor. So we re-shot the entire film and I really love the vibe that we absorbed into this footage. BESTSELLER is our closet nod to date to a ‘Hitchcock’ film. Melissa Anschutz (CDI producer/actress) gives intensity acting lessons, taking viewers all over the emotional spectrum showcasing once again her leading lady status. This film is a contender for INTENSITY for myself, in good company with films like DEADLY RENOVATION, THE 8th PLAGUE, MBF or WICKED SPRING. What do you think? Have you seen all these films? Let me know and prepare to enjoy BESTSELLER releasing in May!
  4. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH has signed its distribution deal with DESKPOP ENTERTAINMENT and will start the delivery of assets so we can get home video release dates assigned. We are also in talks with several parties about setting up the premiere in Las Vegas. More on that soon!
  5. Our efforts on the tv series spin-off of WILD FAITH, Wild Faith: Hastings continues on with a few new submissions and discussions. This project has tens of millions that have enjoyed the feature and we’re working hard to give audiences the on-going adventures. We have eight scripts locked and loaded and folks are really enjoying them. Your favorite characters will continue to tell their stories with plenty of new characters to enjoy as well. Follow along as we push to get these added stories told at https://www.facebook.com/WildFaithHastingstvseries
  6. Help us keep creating a holiday tradition by starting a yearly watch of THE QUEST TRILOGY. Our three interlinking stories (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) explore some deep seated questions with a unique perspective that also takes into account the angelic community. Please do consider taking a watch with your loved ones. With the inspiration behind the “look” of the trilogy being the original three Star Wars films, it is a unique take to be experienced. Between the three films also lies some of our composer Dennis Therrian’s best work. Let me know your thoughts on these films.
  7. KNIGHT CHILLS – CDI’s maiden picture about a dungeons and dragons like game gone wrong has stayed in the pop culture since the 90’s. The film will be getting a streaming release and a new BluRay deal is in the works. Also I’ve seen the first version of “Sir Kallio” being developed for the Knight Chills video game. The sequel has been in serious talks for several year. Part of it is finding the right team for what was CDI’s first. This new team has to have the same passion we all did on the first one. Good things lie ahead including merchandise for this oldie but goodie.
  8. I’ve been getting some kind notes from folks having watched MAN’S BEST FRIEND and LOST HEART, thank you. These two films are both real thought provokers. MBF is a bit heavier in tone where Lost Heart has moments of straight up comedy woven throughout it. Have you seen either of them? Which is your cup of tea? Let me know.
  9. SMOKE & MIRRORS – Love this short that we held over for a year during Covid. We’re looking for a few horror events to showcase our turn of the century (steam punk) proof of concept culled from my feature script. David Gries and Melissa Anschutz are awesome as the film’s leads. I had a blast acting in this one and I do see the full feature getting made in good time.
  10. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – This film was many years in the making. But I’ve found that stories almost have a life of their own. They sometimes happen when they are needed to happen. We had no way of knowing the coming of this new war but our story is so relevant. It has some themes and topics that will really ring true with people. We are working hard to get a locked picture allowing music and sound design to begin. Aside from the main work flow (currently editing) we are editing a teaser trailer. This will be a first look at the story we all worked hard to tell. A chance to see some of the characters come to life for the first time on screen. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. But I also see so many of you excited as well. Follow us along at https://www.facebook.com/SNIAmovie for all the latest updates!

We ended the week with a recap and toast. We faced a Covid crisis and now we face all the fall out from unrest in the world. But we at CDI are committed to keeping something constant – the storytelling. I’m so appreciative to all our backers who choose to assist in creating versus hating or getting swallowed by the daily negativity. I believe our stories speak right to the hearts, minds and souls of audiences. In a world where effective communication is at an all time low – we need the stories. CDI is a tribe of amazing doers and we will keep doing our thing. We will keep building the new HOT ROD LOVE and our other developmental properties, while toasting and pushing our successes now coming to market. CDI is still not operating at its most efficient as a production company since we could be producing every quarter of the year but right now funding slows things. I had to check myself recently because I’m normally very good at keeping 10-100 steps back from an endeavor allowing me to keep the proper perspective. It allows me to see what others cannot, gaining patience by faith. The faith that all the prioritized “day to day” tasks completed will add up to greater overall things. I got close to another big deal that’s still evolving and developing alongside a few equally exciting opportunities, but I started to allow my desired timeline to conflict with the flow of the river. Wade out into a river and try to stop the flow. Your frustration will arise and your patience can easily erode but…step out onto the river’s band. You can see the flow. Drop in a few rocks and you can change the flow. Flow like water – ah Bruce Lee. Patience is restored – flow and get there when you get there. If you are working hard it will happen in its time. Okay. I’m going to get a few Sunday things done here and I want to thank you all for stopping by and taking a read. Subscribe and feel free to drop me any feedback. Have a great week and be good to one another.

DJ


‘Condemn Versus Kindness’ and SEVERAL CDI Updates!

Hazelnut coffee cheers! It’s a wet and slightly chilly morning here in Michigan but the birds are chirping and the neighborhood rooster is crowing. I want to welcome all our new artists from France, China, Pakistan and more. Subscribe, and invite a friend to join in and share a few moments with us. I’m so happy Spring is right around the corner. It has been fun to work around the homestead getting ready for the year ahead. At a few of the meetings this week we’ve enjoyed a few of the wines I’ve made in the past. The lilac wine “Royal Lilac” was sampled, as only a few bottles remain. It tasted like Spring in a bottle. I’ve only made one batch of this wine since the plucking of 15 lbs of pedals was labor intensive and my significant other did not like coming home to all the lilacs cut down, but it did come out heavenly. Before I get into film updates I will speak into something that we can all work on.

Understanding and kindness- Like all of you my Facebook news feed randomly brings up all kinds of posts. I saw one where a performing artist was playing at a festival and some young fella likely running late as many people are, stepped in to get a microphone or some piece of audio equipment. It must have been a momentary distraction like a person getting in an actors eye line. This moment had been filmed and the artist posted it with a “look at how rude this person is” type of commentary. What followed is a slew of negativity and insults with at least one person offering to do physical harm to this person. Knowing festivals like I do – this person was surely a volunteer. Obviously not a professional stage hand or band “roadie” but a young person, likely socially awkward, who was just trying to do his job. We’ve all been that guy. I’m that guy every holiday when I stay in the kitchen too long, in the way and messing stuff up. This kid could have just been plugged into his computer with a headset, hidden away in a room playing some video game. But instead, he was likely trying to help and learn from a new experience. To just rip someone apart is just lazy. Take this young man aside one on one after the set and explain to him the right way to do it. Young people need mentors, teachers and people to help guide them. Not highlight their mistakes to embarrass and shame them publicly to draw some sort of sympathy for oneself from the masses.

I work on our films with teenagers and those well into their 70’s and beyond. It works great to combine the old and the young. They learn from each other and learn to respect one another. That is what I really dislike about cancel culture mentality. It either destroys a person vs developing them or it entrenches them deeper into the behavior pattern that is not constructive. Again, that is why we work with all types of people from all walks. Diversity isn’t just about race. It’s about of various backgrounds, customs, traditions and more. Working side by side on positive endeavors having positive experiences creates a new mindset. And if you need to course correct someone the best way is by direct message or behind closed doors. Anything else seems like grandstanding for attention. It’s negative attacks like that which causes people to quit or worse. Yes. Suicide is real and when someone feels the world is against them because someone with a fan base attacks them… You get my point. Many see an opportunity to create a “woe is me” moment versus seeing a chance to help someone grow. I was moved to comment publicly which I seldom do. That kind of group negativity doesn’t usually deserve my attention and energy but I saw a chance for a lesson.

In the same week, I saw a post whereas someone had a personal disagreement with someone privately and in person, yet they presented this to their circle of social media followers along with the persons profile and encouraged “trolls” to go get them. A “Social Media Mob” with torches and pitch forks. But it’s funny how if you just turn it off, it doesn’t matter. Clucking hens, and I already got those here. Which speaking of hens, they’re back up to 4 eggs a day. We have 4 chickens for those that have just recently joined us. It just takes me back to ole Spiderman “Uncle Ben” telling “Peter Parker” that with great power comes great responsibility. If you do carry some influence over the flow of people, use it wisely. Use it to help people grow not tear them down. I just feel for the meek who might be trying something new and not doing a stellar job getting attacked and shamed. No. Shame on you for being part of the problem versus being part of the solution.

Let’s move on to some amazing endeavors where people do work together to do something positive. Let’s do a TOP TEN updates shall we?

TOP TEN UPDATES FROM LAST WEEK

  1. I’m being told that BEST YEARS GONE is an official selection of the 2022 BareBones International Film & Music Festival nominated for BEST COMEDY. This is in Oklahoma I believe and so again nice to see the story and humor translate to so many folks.
  2. The DVD wrap art for BEST YEARS GONE is underway and I think the pre-orders on Amazon and other places will start soon for a June release.
  3. Also preparing for release in May is BESTSELLER, an intense thriller releasing with Deskpop Entertainment. Again pre-order on the DVD will be appearing soon.
  4. The paperwork on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH doc is awaiting counter signature and we’ll start delivering the film. Once all materials are in and approved they will set a release schedule. We are in talks about the premiere showings. We might be doing it in Las Vegas which would be fun.
  5. This week I have to finish review of a few distribution agreements. My printer is not working properly and I like to review paper vs digital so I’m behind. But a KNIGHT CHILLS blu-ray deal is under review as is a full wide distribution deal for DARKEST NIGHT, the CDI associated “found footage” movie shot in the Philippines.
  6. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – We are eagerly awaiting the first cut of the film but I might have gotten a peek of a couple of scenes. I can see why our editor has been so excited. The teaser trailer is being worked on as we speak so that will be rolling out likely at the end of the month.
  7. We’ve been starting to meet with potential backers and sponsors for the next CDI film, HOT RODE LOVE. An ‘American Graffiti’ comedy with drag racing at the heart of it. We have the first few stones in the foundation and will be working to put more in place. The fact that this film is in 1975 will give a good challenge to the tribe CDI team but having just tackled 1944 they are ready. Do you have a business that might want to align with this film. Reach out and join many great product partnerships like Hilton, Hersheys, Smithfield Foods, Hormel and more.
  8. I’ve just finished reading a great book that is being looked at as my next scriptwriting project. This would go into production maybe this year or in 2023. If I can get that darn printer working I will send over the paperwork. I really do love the screenplay writing and love to see it come to life on the screen. Do you have a favorite?
  9. CDI is finishing the final touches on a music video we did with the rock band DEEPFALL. The single “Revolution” drops on April 1st, no fooling:) on Spotify and iTunes. They are also about to go on tour with Sevendust. Much like our friends at VERTICAL BRIDGE this venturing into the music video realm is fun. The video was directed and edited by Carl Weyant. He also filmed along with our good friend Travis Hayward.
  10. I need to meet again on merchandise. I really would love to see a BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS tee-shirt. Lunch boxes and even action figures and/or bobbleheads. You can find various CDI merchandise on the http://www.cdiproductions.com page – subscribe and stay up with the CDI tribe. If you have any ideas for CDI merchandise feel free to drop me a communication.

WRAP UP: I’m about to go into the third week playing indoor soccer. This is great training for touch and endurance before outdoor starts in April. Last game I was lucky enough to score the winning goal in the final seconds of the game. It has been fun to run and play with my brother and friends. Speaking of my brother, on our way to Menards to pick up brinks to build a chicken coop foundation, he notified of an abundance of unused bricks. They worked perfect and I got an amazing shoulder work out. We’re also putting a brick foundation down for the new fire pit.

We had a great Friday CDI wrap up meeting to celebrate a few of the wins and to plan the next moves on several of the projects. I’m also getting a new water dispenser in the fort/office greenroom. Soon will be some tree trimming and wood cutting to get the wood boxes full for next year. I hope to make many improvements this year. We are also still working our new adopted Luna Mae into our family pack. What a good dog and she is learning Finn (our other dog) and all his quirks. We’ve had a few muddy dogs that required major wipe downs or a bath. Especially Finn as he’s low to the ground without any mud flaps. I’m going to add a few pictures to this and go have a few eggs for breakfast. I hope MSU, my alumni does well today in their play offs. To bring our talk full circle- look around for opportunities to help others grow with sincere feedback versus angry condemnation or shaming. Be part of the solution not problem and know that at one time you too were likely a knucklehead frustrating someone. Ask my dad:)

Be good to one another and I’ll chat with you next week.

DJ


The Loss of a Lansing, MI Artist plus Updates on “Silent Night in Algona” and all the CDI Projects.

This morning as I awoke and looked out the window I half expected to see a witch flying on her bike or a flying cow. Okay those are old references to the Wizard of Oz and Twister. I heard Iowa got a few bad tornadoes. The world watches on the Ukraine invasion by Russia. Battle on the soccer grid, at the Olympics or even the boardrooms of business, but why an invasion? This feels like more of Putin’s war versus a Russian war. But I do think that Putin did unite most of the world against him. It is nice to see our government born from a similar desire to have and maintain freedom, be reminded. You want to think our leader(s) would be in the trenches fighting any US invaders but would they? Or would they jet to one of the isolated US territories? I sincerely wish this conflict to be resolved quickly but I don’t know. But if a friendly country asked for help in protecting their airspace after a country has already declared themselves at war due to the sanctions, sounds reasonable. As for the rattling of sabres over nuclear weapons, not reasonable. Radioactivity goes into air, water, food and few creatures can survive in that toxic environment. I’m going to hope that the internal government in Russia finally has enough of Putin trying to capture some last glory and ends it. Let’s all hope peace comes soon.

FILM UPDATES:

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA

Our WW2 Christmas drama is in post-production with a first cut of the film due this month. From there our director and editor will work to chisel out the best performances and scenes. In Canada model building is underway and soon we’ll have our story. But instead of just giving you an update I’m going to give it to you right from the – editor’s mouth. Nathaniel Nose had this to say about the footage being cut together.

The raw footage always tells the story of not just the script, but also what happened on set. This set had a group of passionate people. Both the performers and the crew clearly cared a great deal about the film they were making. The most enjoyable projects to edit are the ones where passion, decency and goodness went into the production. It is evident in the footage that the people who made this film embraced those virtues.” – N. Nose

Many of you watched the BTS video and now we’re starting work on the first official teaser trailer. Still photos continue to roll out and showcasing the beautiful work but our camera, grip and electric team.

BEST YEARS GONE – Our next to market film is being presented this month to licensing platforms around the world. We’re awaiting word on a few festivals selected to possible showcase our fun film. I’m excited to see the film start appearing in advance marketing. June is when the DVD and digital purchase happens. Sept 1 will be digital streaming and broadcast TV. I hope that folks really enjoy this film we labored to make during the Covid crisis between the two Michigan lockdowns.

Melissa Anschutz and DJ Perry on set BESTSELLER

BESTSELLER – Some may recall that CDI stepped in to reboot/reshoot the thriller based on the book of the same name by Michigan author Christopher Knight. I’m happy that now the film is getting a full worldwide release with Deskpop Entertainment. This film will also do a digital release Sept 1st along with Best Years Gone.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, our feature length doc on the history of grappling is completing distribution paperwork and we’ll start delivery of it this week to Deskpop Entertainment, releasing it worldwide. We’re also exploring a Las Vegas World Premiere likely in July/August timeframe.

Staying with the topic of Deskpop Entertainment we’re looking at deals to release AN ORDINARY KILLER, a former Vietnam vet turned detective works to solver a small town murder. This film is based on the true story which was one of the longest cold case files solved by DNA. This film’s management is being transferred to the Red, White & Blue Project Inc. so that more veteran needs can be met. This amazing non-profit previously documented the plight of the Afghanistan children in OUTSIDE THE WIRE: The Forgotten Children of Afghanistan. We plan to remaster the doc and re-release it. Also it looks like KNIGHT CHILLS, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and GHOST TOWN will get converted to HD for re-release. We’ll take the steps one at a time. All of this takes work and it is very satisfying to see these titles get a second or in some cases third life.

For the Easter season I would ask all the fans to watch our three biblical adventures, Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer. Help make these three films part of your traditional family watch. I received word one of our fine actors passed away.

Also new promotion on WILD FAITH as we make a push to launch the 8 show season one of WILD FAITH: Hastings. LOST HEART and MAN’S BEST FRIEND are building their worldwide audiences and I am thankful for all the nice notes from fans.

WRAP UP:

I want to thank everyone for all the kind words on the passing of Daphne, our 14 year old doggie. Finn our little boy has always had his sister. He also has dealt with anxiety and fear issues (big trucks, fireworks) but has gotten steadily better. He was not doing great alone and was taking a few steps back. Well, we have a new loving member to our family pack Luna Mae. This beautiful girl had a few bad hands dealt in her life but now is settling in nicely. She had to learn some of Finn’s quirks but is helping to balance him out. She is very easy going and loves her new house and yard. She also loves hanging at the office with her new daddy.

We spent all yesterday putting outdoor Christmas stuff away and cleaning up the yard. We have a good ways to go with all that but we got a nice start on it. Last week we had some great meetings with several of the CDI Tribe. Much discussion in on our newly announced film HOT ROD LOVE. We’ve started investor and sponsor talks and are excited to pull this all together. This film will be 70’s summertime fun and already we’re getting some great attachments to the project. Reach out if you want to be involved on the business front. We’ve started to reach out to a few agencies on our Native American casting needs. A great piece of Michigan history plays into our story.

I also want to take a moment to recognize a very special father and son filmmaker team (Michael & William “Pops” McCallum, from my home town of Lansing, Michigan. Sadly, Michael lost his father. I’m not close with Michael, but I do admire his drive, tenacity and his past relationship with his dad. In our one sit-down years ago I stated that the films he made with his father will always be special. I think many of us artists who have locked horns with our parents admire/envy this relationship they had. So to my fellow Lansing artist Michael – my thoughts are with you. RIP to your Pops. And Michael, keep on being you with all your fire and passion. Your dad is surely very proud of you. From reading your story, your Pops had a heavenly reunion or two in the making with some very special people. He left you with all the tools you need to be the best you. With that I’m going to go make some eggs, bacon and refill the ye ole’ coffee cup. Have a great week ahead 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

 

 

 

 

 


RESPECT, ORGANIZATION and RESPONSIBILITY

I’m once again sipping the hazelnut coffee and feeling good about the week’s accomplishments. It has been a hard week in some ways simply because for me it is A) Keep business as usual moving, which is on many fronts with our library of films B) Promote the most recent releases C) Prep the new projects about to launch

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1st teaser poster for “Chasing the Star”

It has been trying in some ways because I’m dealing with the pre-hiring practice of discussing deal points. Here is that point where after explaining the business model of three nearly identical films in a series – people want to try and go outside that model. You have to have people who really believe in a project and want to put forth their very best. Some people got the call to see if they wanted to return and work on the second film. Some are returning and others are being replaced. In this industry people wait for that opportunity to step UP because someone else stepped DOWN. That is often the way. Are you going UP or DOWN?

After this Quest Trilogy is complete we will be adjusting our slate to larger budgets. I had a few people say, maybe when you have more funds in the future, contact me again. I was just honest, No. I will likely be working with the team we develop during this “team building” phase. They must trust in our path and be willing to grow with us. I’m not asking for volunteers, free help or paid with credit – this is offered work. I’ve been doing this a long time and I firmly believe what is to be, will be. Casts in development may change but once a film is done you could never imagine anyone else in that role. Crews create the “perfect storm” with their collaboration and determination. They win those daily battles that give them the holy grail of movie puzzle pieces. Those battles are the tales of old men many days from now. I’ve looked back on battles fought 15-20 years ago. I’m damn proud of most of the artists I’ve ever worked with. We share history, life and collective art. Once done – you can’t take that away.

We had a great compliment while in a meeting this week. Someone in our circle had recently worked a larger million plus dollar film and it was hectic and chaotic. They said, they didn’t fully appreciate the experience of working with CDI until they worked on that film. I’ve heard that story from several people and I’m proud of that. We work to TRY and achieve that but you must go that extra mile. It shows that money will not buy RESPECT, ORGANIZATION or RESPONSIBILITY. How much money was thrown at problems that were emergency reactionary because proper planning was not done? Probably enough to make a movie:)

I’m also trying to develop the next group of artists who want to make a living at this. It isn’t about the short game I can tell you that. A recent conversation – on public relations. Early in my career I tried to promote our film endeavors more within the state (Thank you Michigan Vue – miss you) but back in the day, the feature filmmakers were few. Newspapers and magazine wanted to follow more theater and any number of silly trends but seldom gave filmmakers a serious spotlight. As our success grew elsewhere with newspapers, magazine, fanzines and such taking interest in our work (I have storage crates full of paper PR from around the world)- It also gave rise to some local Michigan dreamers unwilling to invest in the hard work. For many years, anywhere I would go for a drink or to socialize, everyone had a great idea for a movie. You got a script? No. Money? No. The story repeats itself.

These “ideas” came from all places including some family/friend connections. Filmmakers are seldom at a lack of “ideas” it is money they lack. My Uncle Bob was in the film business but due to trying to hide his actual age from some in-laws, he gave me the arms length treatment. I wasn’t asking for handouts, I was ready to work. Even some REAL advice would have been helpful. But years later the tables had turned – Any chance of hiring him? I guess, I didn’t really give it much thought.

Locally, I grew up in Lansing, Michigan. I went from Northwestern Elementary school to Michigan State University. I have friends from first grade on up and still play in a Men’s soccer league. Years ago when news would hit our local state media, my closest friends or associates would sometimes seem off around me. Maybe having your face in the video stores, posters or on TV makes some uncomfortable. I understand that.

AOKpremierejpg

Outside the Owosso theater before our premiere of “An Ordinary Killer” – NOTE the “yellow brick” my deal making cell phone. I was well known in Hollywood for that construction phone. I was always building.

But, actors are just people. But it was odd and annoying for some of those friends/family I’m sure. I was the guy with a beeper and agents calling. Talking about places, people and things my closest didn’t understand. You can explain co-starring in a film in India but unless you lived it…very hard to convey. Now, I enjoy my quiet in Lansing, Michigan. I would say I get much more done than most because of living here. In my many Hollywood business travels, they were always amazed because I was’t just talking, I was coming to them having done. I have many relationships in Hollywood and some still not mined.  You want to come at a deal the right way. Many beg, plead, dance, ass kiss and such for an opportunity. My opportunities come on equal ground and where a mutual positive potential is present. The funny thing is for the appeasers in Hollywood and elsewhere, most of their hoop jumping doesn’t even promise results. It’s not a “this for that” deal. It’s “do this and this and this and this and maybe…maybe we can see if anything can be done” lure. Don’t take the bait. Don’t watch the flashy hook being pulled through the water.

And when these people get trampled and burned in our industry they became jaded and hateful. Sad people who live in sight of their dreams but never touch it. They have straight up actor ghettos in Hollywood. Bars that are filled with the failed and broken. Go off the strip of Las Vegas to see another example of this. I’ve seen these circles exist in the smaller markets like Michigan. Social ghettos where struggling artist meet to try and establish some pecking order amongst themselves. Many followers of the fake it to you make it clubs. A mutual life boat of hope that loves to dissect and critique art despite the fact that styles vary and change. People still jump on bandwagons. There was a slew of wanna be PULP FICTION like films after that released. Funny thing is many of the critics, sitting around the craft beer watering holes, were shoving crayons up their noses when we were making films. I have found some very talented young filmmakers and I ask for patience in my dealings with them. What were they doing seven years ago? You can see what we were doing – being #1 western rental. Actually that remained for 7 weeks and stayed in the top ten for 17 weeks.

Rentrak week 1

RENTRAK REPORT of #1 spot for Collective Development Inc’s “Ghost Town”

If someone is going to boast something to me it better be real or based on some actual knowledge, experience or facts. If not, I will call you every time. I’m offended by idiot statements and I’m allergic to stupid. So most of the time I don’t travel in places where I may be forced to be brutally truthful or where the BS is just too unpleasant. In our production circle you are expected to keep the drama on the screen. Only a handful of days to act like a professional on set- after that you can go all Charlie Sheen on your own time.

To bring it back around – I don’t promote as heavily in my own home state. It’s my shelter. It’s where after weeks in the Philippines, I want to come HOME to. I like to be treated as a non celebrity most of the time. I do enjoy some great sponsorships in leather goods, hot sauce, candles and more. I’m still waiting on coffee:) Call me. So I do enjoy a few perks here and there. Our CDI projects we’ve produced are in broadcast around the world, streaming, DVD’s and more. I still get consistent fan mail (emails these days) from people who appreciate our collective works. This blog was started so I could talk about films and my industry, maybe giving the guidance I lacked early on. If you wanna know what is going on with me – you can stop by weekly. If you don’t – I won’t be filling your ears in person with my boasts. I don’t need to – I like this saying. I’m not quoting here. It went – when a person drives a BMW, which is a good car but not a great car, they race around, trying to show people how fast they are. They are revin’ their engines trying to draw attention and tell people they are fast. BUT…When you drive a Lamborghini, you just cruise about. You don’t rev your engine, don’t need to boast and race about trying to show you’re fast. Because you know you’re fast. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that. I’ve always liked that approach and I do feel that confidence. We live quiet but we are capable of great things.

Many years ago, I saw a greater picture. I didn’t just want to be known for our art in the USA – I wanted to cross lines, build bridges. This work started many, many years ago. Now, this blog reaches 80+ countries and we keep widening our film sales deeper and deeper into the world market. I am not making films for the little pond of Michigan but for the expansive ocean of audiences worldwide. That said, I love and appreciate you all who follow our art. For the peers striving – draw strength from yourself and once you find your audience – their appreciation will feed you. Be smart. Speak less and do more.

Release poster

International cast of “Karma, Crime, Passion, Reincarnation” released in theaters across India in 2009.

I’m not going to go on and on with individual updates on films. We have many films coming out in March, April and May so it will be a busy next couple of months. Read earlier posts if you need updates on releases. We’re about to start signing cast and crew onto the next film “Chasing the Star” which is getting very close to being ready – a few more weeks.

Keep at it people and don’t worry about twitter followers, Star Meters or seeking validation from insecure people. Make your art respecting the business.  Seek to entertain and educate your audience. The audiences will allow and inspire you to grow. The source of your strength should not be peers that often are unhappy with themselves and seek to unseat you with words. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER always!

Be a doer not a talker. Okay, I’ve got to get doing so enough talking(writing):)

Happy Saturday!

DJ

 

 

 


Happy Holidays – Returning Home & Ready to Relax

Happy Holidays 2014!

Happy Holidays 2014 – Keep Clawing Your Way to the Middle!

Ah………I feel like a traveler just returned from a foreign and distant planet. First, Christmas time in Las Vegas isn’t the same as in Michigan. My hotel room absolutely lacked the Christmas spirit that I’m once again dwelling in. Don’t get me wrong – I had a great experience shooting “Wasteland Tales of the Desert Part 1” in the Valley of Fire. The place was once the location of a prehistoric sea now long gone and leaving the rugged terrain of the Valley behind. The ground was hard and rocky covered with petrified wood, brush and various sedimentary rocks – many with fossils and hints of the once watery condition. We had a tight crew that everyday woke at 5:30 am and got about, shared breakfast and departed for the Valley. We shot everyday until about 4:30 when the magic hour struck the majestic location. We returned banged, bruised, worn and happy. Everyday we got great footage! Everyday had powerful performances. At days end it was back to the hotel for bath/showers. Now I haven’t taken a bath versus a shower in a long time but with my sore bones it became a daily ritual. All day included walking, climbing and laying on anything but flat surfaces. Once clean it was off to dinner with our cast and crew. Ribs, blackened Mahi Mahi, super burgers – let’s just say that food is not lacking in Las Vegas. After eating my night was spent either running lines for the next day save one day where I went to bed at 9:30.  That early in Las Vegas is from beat up tired. 200% always!  But by the next day I was rested, recharged and ready to rock and roll. The footage, the stills -amazing –  the film is gonna be really cool. We had so much fun shooting it and that fun seeps into the footage. An official website will be going up and more pics will soon fill the Facebook albums.  The first teaser will begin immediately and the film should be assembled by Feb. 2015. I think once people see this film we’ll have many people interested in being involved in the others “Tales from the Desert” – so we’ll see who the desert beckons next. This is just a great CDI association and I’m proud to be part of it. Our team was awesome and we really got what we needed. My fellow cast members Nicholas X Parsons, David Gries and Damian Maffei were all a pleasure to work with. They take their craft serious and they brought their passion to the show every day. I also want to thank my former co-star Jaime Lynch for giving our cast and crew the VIP treatment at her new show she stars in at the Luxor called FANTASY. If you are over 18 and want to see a great show this is one not to miss. She has an amazing voice!

On other fronts –

THE TERRORIST – I talked with director Jon Osman over our progress on the film. The graphics and color grading are looking great! He is continuing to work the sound design getting the film ready for a final mix.

BESTSELLER – I think we are in the final steps of FX and sound and music are moving along as well. We are driving towards the finish line.

ASHES OF EDEN and DONORS are prepping for their initial national release in early 2015.

IN THE WOODS and WICKED SPRING are prepping for new national re-releases.

I’m anxious to regroup, recharge and get ready for the new year ahead. I’ve got a few script projects to return to writing on and a few other projects that we may be announcing details on very soon. I’m fresh out of the desert and the facial scruff is gone for the moment. I’m happy to be back home with family and friends and I once again feel blessed. Blessed that I got to go off to another state – to a great location – with some great artists – and do some great storytelling.  And now I’m happy that I see stockings hung with care. A Christmas tree lighting up the room and my pack of pups sleeping peacefully. I smell ham cooking and classic Christmas music plays softly. So with that I’m going to say goodnight. I think it’s time for a late night snack OR dinner if I were still in Las Vegas.

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Be good to one another and enjoy the season.

I appreciate you all taking the time to stop by.

DJ


Spaceship is on the Launchpad & Select Updates

I know I should have a coffee sponsor out there for as much as I talk about it. Many know my love of hazelnut but I’ve also been adding cinnamon on the top for some time. It’s supposed to be good for digestion but also is just GOOD tasting. It has been a busy week of prepping for this role in Nevada playing a space pirate in what I can describe best as a Sci Fi western. WASTELAND Tales From the Desert Part 1. I’m looking forward to a return trip to Las Vegas which as far as cities go I do enjoy. I’m looking forward to seeing a few movie friends inside my hectic film schedule. I’m looking forward to trekking about the location of our filming which will be the Valley of Fire State Park. I’ve noted before that I’ve gone there as a child but I can’t really recall much. I know from what I’ve seen that the place will look great on camera.

I’ve been working on two scripts that are looking to shoot in 2015 – one is a long-awaited sequel to our original 1st CDI feature “Knight Chills”” and it’s fun and exciting to be creating here. We were very green when we did that 1st film and despite the great exposure here in the US/Canada and in several countries it was a major chore to complete. Now with all that we know and the better equipment for filmmakers this movie will be great and a smooth ride. It has a few appearances from original cast but will star two newcomers in the soon-to-be franchise. It will feature our famous villain and I look forward to having him on the big screen.  A novel based on the 1st film script is in the works and will join a new re-release of that film to prep audiences for the sequel. Also we are looking at TV and other foreign sales for the old/new films. I’m excited by this and it will be fun.

I’ve also been working a powerful drama that has strong military and animal rights themes. It has been fun to bounce between these two scripts based on my mood for the day. I do enjoy writing and take great enjoyment in the process. I might have yet another script job after these two and again just a great pleasure to change gears from business and just swim in the imagination and create.

I’ve been working with graphic artists and distributors in getting new marketing materials around on “In the Woods,” “Donors,” “Ashes of Eden,” and “Wicked Spring” all coming out 1st half of 2015. On the re-releases it’s fun to go back into these great projects. On the new projects releasing – even more fun as you prepare the 1st looks for audiences out there. 2015 will be a busy year with releases and I will keep my promises to my foreign friends to get these films out there further so they can be enjoyed in your countries.

BESTSELLER – WOW! The FX work I’ve been seeing out of DNA Design has been wonderful. Soon we will be laying the FX plates into our time line along with the music beds being composed by Dennis Therrian. This film will be great to see all together. Those who have seen the early clips are raving about the suspense and intense nature of this film.

We have also been working development as noted by some of the script work. Additionally we have more than half the funds committed on another soon-to-be announced feature. Actually come Jan. we should be fully funded and we will make some announcements. It is a powerful script and role and we are working out our deal with distribution now. I plan to perhaps announce this film on or around Christmas.

Outside of all this I’ve been in talks with management on over a dozen projects where some TV series I’m looking at guest starring and some perhaps a regular role. We are targeting some of the casting on these studio films and at least one I’m already slated to be part of the cast. These are tens of millions of dollars and so they move at their own pace so I get to keep on doing my thing until they role into pre-production.

I got most of my Christmas shopping done and everything is wrapped and under the tree. I am not a “wait to the last minute” person – must be the producer in me. This weekend I will enjoy the family life here before I go do my movie thing for a week. I will come home to be thankful for the past year. Thankful for all of you who make this journey worthy. Thankful for family and friends who give love and support without care of what role I’m playing. I’m happy to be doing what that teenage boy was doing with his friends and camcorder so many years ago. It’s times like this that I just feel incredibly grateful.

I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend and productive week ahead preparing for the holidays. My next blog will come probably late on Saturday once I return home from Las Vegas.

Happy Holidays!

DJ