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

Posts tagged “laughter

First Looks at ‘Best Years Gone’ – Development Updates! Feel the Music & Laughter

Good morning everyone! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee watching the snow fall. Michigan is at its coldest point with overnight going into the negatives. I want to welcome the new readers from Vietnam, United Arab Emirates and more from around the world. We so enjoy the ever-growing circle of artists who stop by to take a read. This week was very productive on many fronts and so let us look at a few updates.

BEST YEARS GONE – This week we have had many updates on our film now in post-production. Below is a link to Nathan K. Robertson, our 1st AD and Associate producer put this fun video together on MASKS and safe protocol while shooting end of 2020. Please do take a watch – if you grew up with 80’s Sat morning cartoons you will enjoy this. Thank you again Nate.

This is followed by a story and ‘behind the scenes’ look about our company CDI (http://www.cdiproductions.com) and our mission statement. The cool video was done by Daniel G. Chipman who has worked with CDI on and off since 2002. The music was by the incredible Dennis Therrian. The next cut of the film will be done this week and our director will make any tweaks from there. We’re also looking at the VFX shots and soon the locked picture will move to music and sound design. We had great talks this week on upcoming merchandise items. Also the ‘Battle of the Bands‘ details are getting worked out and the distributor is excited. We are talking about a unique premiere at a racetrack with bands, the film and a race! How cool would that be? Have you followed our IMDB.com or Facebook pages? Seek them out:)

LINK BELOW TO THE STORY AND BTS VIDEO! (I’m very happy with how the story came out)

https://www.prlog.org/12857968-passing-through-the-storms-of-covid-unified-in-telling-story.html

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS talks and development continue. The 8 shows are being polished up for presentation and we’re working with our distributor to develop this TV series spin off. We’ve got the script to a few of the proposed directors and we’ve started to look at who would return and who would not for the series. I stated how thrilled I was by the Darby Hinton endorsement of the season 1 scripts. Our distributor is helping pull together marketing “impressions” for us to use in our development business. They reported 15 million impressions for 2020 which if you multiple that X 8 shows that is a lot of zeros. Talks with several networks will continue. With THE QUEST TRILOGY playing as a series on Sony/Pureflix platform under a new Easter campaign maybe Sony/Pureflix will be a good partner. We will see where the journey takes us but we’re pulling everything together. But to the millions of fans – thank you!

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – This week we made some great steps towards pre-production. We had more financial commits to this Christmas WW2 film. We’ve also have had some great actor reads from around the country. I’m happy to say that we’ve settled on casting for a handful of roles. I’m really impressed by some of the talent especially the reads that came from the outside. We usually have to go through hundreds or thousands of casting choices but it is beyond cool when you find someone you love in the first couple reads. We are discussing a teaser poster, PR title font and other things before we start announcing. I like to wait until we are moving into pre-production for casting PR but we are so close. Only a few more pieces to align and we’ll also be bringing on several sponsors via product placement. We know from WILD FAITH that 15 million + impressions are what sponsors can expect. So this week we might see our first cast announcement and I’m really excited. It is fun to see the script come to life by artists. This is a based on a true event and is a powerful story with themes that will ring true today. It is cool to note that Rance Howard was my WW2/farm script consultant. I got to hear stories for hours. I wish Rance could be playing with us on this one.

If you go to the http://www.cdiproductions.com website you can read lots of updates. The merchandise is slowly getting its feet underneath and the streaming links to ENCOURAGE TV are active whereas you can watch our films free with ads. Watch. And leave us your thoughts/vote on sites like Amazon.com and or IMDB.com if you would. LOST HEART is now starting to hit high in the BMG charts on sites like TUBI, joining WILD FAITH and MBF also growing a fine audience. MBF will be getting a new campaign push as the film was forced out during the transition when Covid first hit. We’re working on the 1st UPREZ and conforming of older film titles to HD/widescreen. My plan is to also do a run of CDI’s first two films in another CDI CLASSIC COLLECTION – Double Feature. KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS will join FIGURE IN THE FOREST and HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS available now on the CDI Merchandise page. We are proud of our humble beginnings and happy to be bringing these titles forth for the hardcore CDI collectors. I love physical media and so will you if any companies go out of business in the near future. VHS, VHS, VHS – just kidding. Although I do collect my favorites classic VHS as art.

I did get some tinkering work done this past week at the office. Keeping a fire hot to fight off the cold was a constant battle. I can tell the swinging of axes will have to happen this week. We’ll work this week on finding our last few ‘Algona’ partners so we can move to the next phase. Our first cast announcement will be this week and no I’m not the announcement. I am going to participating in this film in a good solid supporting role. I have lots of duties on this next endeavor and so it will be good to not be so deep in a role that I’m shooting every day. I shot everyday on the last film as the star and it takes endurance. Not all artists are cut out for that and that’s perfectly okay. Many memorable characters have been made with relatively small screen time. I just need to be connected to the role. I’m really loving this new role. The characters attributes not far from my own but the character exists in a world that is a vastly different time and place. That is the exciting part to try and get inside their perspective. What news did they hear daily? What did they talk about daily? Fears? Dreams? Technology? Music? I really do love period pieces.

I’m going to wrap this up maybe make a few biz calls. Sushi is on deck for tonight. Do support your favorite local restaurants or they might disappear. I think with our Covid numbers getting better, vaccines rolling and politics fading from center stage we can all get back to our passions. How many hours have been stolen? Glued to the TV News, emotional mudslinging and just anxiety of the future. You’ll get there. After touching base with news that delivers with your garnish of choice – turn it off. I recommend pulling out those old albums. Blue Oyster Cult, Public Enemy, Bowie, Rolling Stones, KISS, Led Zeppelin, Tom Jones, Grand Funk Railroad, Heart, Beastie Boys, Moody Blues, Bob Marley…MUSIC! And create…

Also make sure 1-2 of your calls daily, yes calls, not texts. This last year I hated the lockdowns but I caught up with and spoke to all kinds of old friends. I’m still working my way down mental lists. Laughter is the key and I have great laughs daily. Sometimes hearing funny new stories and other times talking of past funny situations. But make those calls and laugh. I see so many people angry about what they cannot, and in some cases, should not, try to control. MUSIC + FRIENDS+ LAUGHTER = BALANCE. Try it! You’ll be happy that you did. Until we speak again next week be good to one another.

DJ


The ‘Sacred Set’ of Unity and Non-Judgment – ART for the Save!

Another Michigan Sunday and another day of beautiful blowing snow. I think we’ll only get the fringes of this new storm. I had planned to jump right into the movie updates but I’ll discuss a few things here that I see as important. Not only to our endeavor but to all endeavors. I’ve noted that on our productions we have cast and crew from all parts of the spectrum. But this spectrum can be in ethnicity, religion, political or even the disabled. In the off time these artists go off to their own circles of living. Some feel the need to shout their stance about everything, lobbying their point to the masses on their social media walls. These opinions are often in opposition to one another which leads to child-like spats.

My sight of this banter is brief as I scroll to post our PR on various film projects. PR is really the only use I have for social media along with keeping up on a few cousin’s day-to-day lives. I’m disheartened by what I see which is a slew of people communicating beyond poorly. WHEN CONDEMNING HATE MAKE SURE YOU DON’T GO TO THE SAME PLACE. Social Media often misused becomes a poison. By reading lots of angry statements I see the poisoned people. People all sipping from the same cup of poison. As I work hard daily to develop, launch and fund projects, stories and parables whose goal is to cast positive light upon all people, others are busy ripping each other down.

I had some great meditations this week on politics since our country is still working to find its balance. I’m a moderate when it comes to governing. I don’t want total supremacy of any extreme stance. I don’t want to have everything my way. I will try to explain a bit better but it’s more about sharing my curiosity on the subject. If I have a group of priorities that is important to me, I’m happy to have some of my ‘wants’ met and to concede some priorities to others. If you have school children your priorities could be very different than a childless couple. But you know even while some of the priorities while not yours, helps others – and so you should be happy to give. Extreme people seem eager to win everything and after a while, at any cost.

In business, we call it same side of the table negotiation. So everyone walks away feeling like they got something they wanted or needed it is a WIN-WIN. If one party has everything and the other party has nothing, it’s not good for the balanced whole. But many people still so want it all. For you to have all others have nothing. Who does conflict serve? I cannot control the world or how individuals treat one another. A world where people are forever pointing out the perceived wrongs by the other party. People trying to remake the world into a place where two wrongs make a right. The one place I can control balance and unity is on a film set. I can say that the stories we tell are built onto the ancient chassis of tragedy and comedy.

I believe, again I say ‘believe’ in the restrictive age of dangerous opinions – that communication via storytelling is one of the few remaining ways of collectively, effectively communicating amongst people. And so by us leading by example – by putting stories of laughter and tears forth and pushing lessons to try and make everyone a little more kind and understanding. Our stories show us where we’re alike and illustrates the often toxic results of leaning too heavily into our differences. So we will continue to tell our stories with a vast array of artists without boxes. I did recently have someone say they might not want to participate in something if the people involved don’t align with their views. No such nonsense will prevail here. I’m accountable for good size chucks of money. I hire the best artists available to us. I work to unify and bring out the best in each artist and it manifests on the screen.

While shooting on ‘Best Years Gone‘ (Now we’re talking movies!) we had talented artists that come at things differently in their personal lives. That was all moved to the background as we told our story of imperfect love, loyalty and dream chasing. All this happened during heavy political and Covid times and yet our artists remained focused. In 10 to 20 years these stories will still be influencing while the politics of today become a notational blip in history. Be skilled. Give the Tribe your best efforts. Be respectful on set at all times to everyone. These are the things I care about. So our storytelling will never have strings attached or walls restricting people save maybe laziness, dishonesty and negativity. A CDI film is a manifested place of creativity, imagination and ingenuity. The outside world with all its A or B is not something I participate in. I choose to try and understand and develop people versus cancelling them and not listening. Participate in that game and nobody wins and eventually it will turn on you.

All the crazy seems to be over one person’s right to check a voting box. Their box checked is based on their own opinions but unsure people often feel the need to over-explain or justify why they check this box or that. You don’t need to explain your view or tear down the opposing view. Just check your box and move on. Why the need to justify with insults to people not listening? PEOPLE don’t listen if they don’t RESPECT. Start with that- I can’t heal people of their insecurity, or need to gather support for their opinions and viewpoints. But I will not get into the judge game as so many do. As I stated before, I don’t want nor need to have everything my way. I’m willing to concede some to create a better balance for the whole. When you walk up the plank boarding a TribeCDI ship you’ve willing come on board for a greater adventure. To tell a meaningful story that will enlighten for decades to come or maybe more. Black, white, brown or green – Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Pagan or Spaghetti Monster- Gay, Disabled, Conservative, Liberal, Moderate will all become ONE TRIBE of STORYTELLERS. This is the way:)

Forty Nights (The Quest Trilogy Part 1)

CHASING THE STAR (The Quest Trilogy Part 2)

The Christ Slayer (The Quest Trilogy Part 3)

THE QUEST TRILOGY above is getting ready to play as a series on PUREFLIX (SONY) on the run up to Easter. I think these films are 100% unique in that they were made with no agenda except exploring, distilling and speculating with a certain teaching at the heart of it. In these films we also chose to tell the story in a style akin to the Original ‘Star Wars‘ films. Please do take a watch on the three films in their proper order. Even if religion is not your thing or even Christianity, take a watch. The films are for everyone and again explore many of the questions that people have pondered for thousands of years.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND is getting a new 2021 campaign with BMG. WILD FAITH and LOST HEART are continuing their trek out to worldwide audiences. With home video up 40% we’re getting tens of thousands of new fans per week. If you keep an eye on the parent http://www.cdiproductions.com site you will see many updates coming including streaming and merchandise.

DEVELOPMENT

The Hastings TV series is being packaged to sponsors and potential financiers. The show scripts are being reviewed by possible directors and returning talent. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has been incorporated and we’re working to put the last financial pieces in place but it is so very close. We’re started the hard -casting in earnest and we’re starting to lock in some of the talent. Once we move from development into pre-production we’ll start rolling talent PR announcements out. We’ve been doing a national casting on our young lead 8-11 that plays young. Blond hair preferred. I’m always amazed at the young talent making it happen. I can say I’ll be playing a supporting role on this one. It will allow me to go clean cut for a role.

BEST YEARS GONE is now being worked on by the editor and director to get us a locked picture. This coming week we’ll be helping to set up the new post studio. It’s in a beautiful pine forest and I’m looking forward to our upcoming film work there for years to come. I’m going to start to wrap this up. I’ve been getting a new story synopsis out of my head and onto paper. I have a few business proposals I might try to get a jump on for the week ahead. Be kind to one another. Erase those hateful thoughts. Spit out that poison and do something constructive, productive and meaningful. I see so much wasted time. If you’re in the arts and failing look at your allocation of time. If you waste thousands of words and hours throwing stuff back and forth arguing with no real goal or possibility of change, don’t complain as others pass you by in productivity.

I have said it before, I don’t consider myself special. I’m not anymore special than anyone else. I just focus and hone my craft and basically outwork others. End of the week I had a nice development talk with a younger filmmaker that I had not spoken with in a few years. He has traveled the country in the various film communities and encountered the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY of our biz. You can’t move away from it. It exists. You can learn to recognize and avoid these pitfalls and quagmires. He was pitching me on an idea I had pitched 15 years ago but I think the environment is now better suited. This filmmaker was on the right track with a mindset adjusted by the world situation. To dream with realistic short goals that can lead to greater rewards. Wait! Was this individual a conservative? Liberal? What religion? Was he gay? Straight? Does he like McDonalds or Burger King? I have no idea. We didn’t talk about such things and they were not important to our discussion. We were two artists with experiences talking about how to move ahead and keep telling stories. Different groups of people doing vastly different things with their time. Which team do you want to be on?

With that, I’m doing to bid you ‘good day’ and get to some other domestic Sunday business. I do have some wine that could be bottled. Maybe a bit more office work. I got a lot of caulking done this week. Thankfully the wood piles are full from a few ‘Viking Days’ at the fort. Keep that fire burning!

Have a great week!

DJ


COLLECTIVE JOY – Merry Christmas and Cheers to a Better 2021!

Good morning. Coffee cheers. Well, today would have been one of the first holiday family get-togethers but alas we are not due to the lock down in Michigan. I have a good amount on my mind this week plus several good film updates on several of the projects.

I’m beyond happy that the stories we tell are being seen by millions and I’m receiving such uplifting fan mail that tells me what we do has a positive purpose. What WE do. That is an important word WE. We’ll address that more soon. The new CDI release is LOST HEART which is truly a ray of light filled with laughter and tenderness gifted to whomever takes a watch. I believe that the lessons inside our stories can be taken to heart for ALL people. From the negativity I’ve seen fly, EVERYONE can use a little story to remind us of the goodness in us all.

Lost Heart has 3 leads in it. Melissa Anschutz, to know her is to respect her dedication and love to the character’s she becomes. This film is a crown gem in her growing list of roles and stories. It is also deeply personal because of losing her husband to cancer and her own personal struggle with the disease, all while putting this movie together. Victoria Jackson who is a true comedic genius and is a tad outspoken in her political lean has drawn some praise and fire. Now add Don Most, who recently was heavily criticized by some and applauded by others for attending a ‘Happy Days‘ fundraiser for Biden. FOX took a PR piece on Lost Heart and really played the political slant almost like a TMZ piece. While it has added thousands of views it has angered some and so the days after the FOX story posted anger responses erupted from a few and the VOTE score on the film 1-10 dropped from mid 8’s to 3-4 over politics.

Political or not, it happens to all the children (movies) and while I wanted this child to be safe from bullies/trolls – people will vent their frustrations before taking accountability or accepting differences. Conservative MAGA or Cancel Culture Liberals – EVERYONE can use a good story with lessons about being good to one another and the value of kindness. I’ve been around long enough to know the drill. Friends, family, peers drive the score UP and the haters arrive and it goes down and fans start to bring the score back up and it will settle into a final score in a few years. Older audiences, myself included are not as savvy with computer reviewing so that is often not reflected. CDI works with respectful artists period from across the spectrum. I personally don’t ride the rollercoaster of hi’s and low’s. I try to live each film as a “drop the mic” moment and enjoy each day.

BEST YEARS GONE – The edit is coming along great with over 40 scenes cut. We’ll have a first edit in a couple weeks and the goal is to lock picture end of Jan. 2021. Let’s talk about that film in light of what we just discussed above.

Our motion picture has been adapted from a self-published book entitle “Hope from Heaven” by author and small-town barber Karl Manke, who by challenging state law during the Covid lock down earned himself the moniker of ‘America’s Barber’ whatever good or bad that name might bring. One man’s personal actions put him in line with the theme or agenda of others and against state law, an outlaw or patriot was born unto the media depending on the opinion piece. But I can say that Karl did not ask for the media circus and was not trying to be a flag bearer for anyone.

(One of several projects I was honored to work on with Dan Haggerty)

Enter our CDI (www.cdiproductions.com) a Michigan-based motion picture company since 1996 that has produced various films over the years and has found a niche of positive, well-told stories that often include a few life lessons woven within. CEO DJ Perry, often the screenwriter these days, gives credit to the early TV shows like The Waltons, The Life & Times of Grizzly Adams and Little House on the Prairie. These were shows strong in character development and story. Often with a treasure of a lesson buried at the heart of the story for the audience to dig up, leaving them with something to ponder beyond the screen. 

We believe that our stories speak to the entire spectrum of audiences – it doesn’t matter where you stand politically, our stories are for everyone.” – DJ Perry 

The story seems simple enough, a young woman raising twin teen daughters as a single parent falls in love with a less than perfect man and conflict ensues. Also said, less than perfect man is an ex-race car driver who had a team and a dream with his cousin. This relationship ends due to the poor decisions whereas the thin threads of family are broken. These characters while extreme, are still relatable to most either in shared qualities or as the worst versions of ourselves in some alternate universe.

This political year combined with the Covid situation made filming plans even worse. CDI had originally planned to begin filming in April 2020 on ‘Best Years Gone’ the adapted film name. The well-written book was full of colorful characters and a nice blend of realism and mystery. The book and script both speak to imperfect relationships and the importance of forgiveness to the self. In the public arguments the means by which many communicate shows no desire to really be heard, understood or to find common ground. Most remarks are inflammatory and meant to injure the other party by slandering things they hold dear and sometimes sacred. This story had greater messages that can be applied to anyone.

CDI has a strong reputation for staying on schedule, on budget and creating exceptional quality stories within business guidelines. This quality is by gathering talented artists and uniting them behind a story. UNIFIED BY A STORY! So is the way of the TRIBECDI. What is the tribe you say? The creation of a sacred artist space whereas the art of storytelling can be told unhindered by differences and distractions.  A philosophy that demands respect towards one another as artists and only asks for your best efforts to be put forth without any added drama. 

CDI has diverse, artistic individuals from all over the spectrum of beliefs and affiliations. In some those beliefs can be polar opposite and in other examples just differing priorities on taxation, spending or any of the various topics debated around dinner tables. The issue is that in a growing culture that becomes more inclined to try and gather to only like-minded groups finding that singular group at the larger level of inclusion is near impossible – you WILL end up working with diverse people and that is a good thing. At CDI we don’t endorse or support any one life path save the path of telling a good story.  I think that many could learn from the environment we work to nurture and grow. We continue to refine and grow ourselves and the key is to keep the story in sight. While others flounder due to poor communication we are still able to speak to the audience as a whole. We create great little stories with powerful topics- often softened slightly by humor. The story a gentle reminder not to take life too serious as we only go around once and life is too short a ride to do it mad or with a chip on your shoulder.      

Okay now my Top UPDATES

  1. According to our distributor Wild Faith is still growing an audience with the film ranking in BMG’s Top 5 on most platforms. We had HASTINGS talks and progress is being made.
  2. I’ve started doing the writer/director polishing passes on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We are close to a full green light. We just have a few units to still assign in the project. Once we do expect some big PR announcements.
  3. I’ve been doing some writing on the new updated draft of the SMOKE & MIRRORS featured script. CODE NAME: ASH – I’ve had a wonderful time researching and writing and the short film will be done and released in 2021.
  4. The Quest Trilogy is being licensed for the season and I’ll notify as I find network and such featuring it. If any of you see it playing let me know.
  5. MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIENDIf you enjoyed this film the dog who played Brown Boy is named Big Papa and he needs surgery. It is the same kind that a few of our own furry family had to have. If you enjoyed the film and want to help out a great guy Robert Ash, is needing help with the costs so if able think of donating at the link provided. https://www.gofundme.com/f/big-papas-surgery?fbclid=IwAR1g6JR1Kz8lDcM7laYtwgXU_Oz5N4EAAyhDlJQtJxGlhuMnQQWIXFrc7VA
  6. The doc “For the Love of Catch” will start rolling cameras again start of the new year!
  7. NEW merchandise is coming so that is quite exciting to me.

SPOILERS SO IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FINAL ‘THE MANDALORIAN” SEASON 2 FINALE STOP READING

(My bro and I are intergalactic bounty hunters in our spare time)

The POWER of storytelling. I’ve been a lifelong Star Wars fan and give much credit to A NEW HOPE for me wanting to be an actor/storyteller. I was and still am a big Han Solo fan. Luke was always somewhat secondary for me. But in this time of hardship, stress and frustration for many Luke Skywalker is just what the world needed. The odds look to be just too much. The battle appears to be a losing one when “one X wing” how is that going to…wait a minute. Was that R2D2? Is that? Glove? Green lightsaber! I like millions had imagined scenes like what we saw unfold in our childhood imaginations. I loved seeing the JOY that overcame so many watching this unfold. I cried and I’m not even sure why. The need to through back to another time. To truly escape back to a Far, Far Away Galaxy. To have Luke Skywalker come and save the day – to save 2020. It again showed me the power that can come from storytelling. Now to bring it all full circle the haters will come for this show also. Maybe Mark Hamill will say something that offends someone or just going against the grain is what some need to do to get noticed. But for me it was collective joy. Seek a Collective Joy in 2021 and by our individual actions lets make 2021 the year we all want. Appreciate people as you get to spend time in 2021 even if they have different priorities versus yourself. Communicate respectfully and as if that person were in the room with you. If you want a better 2021 you need to do your part – actions. We will circle back and talk next Sunday for the last time before 2021. Be good to one another and have a Merry Christmas!

Last Note: These films are made with collective love by diverse artists who share the sincere hope each of our stories will bring you some amount of joy. A person drowning in negative filters will not ever see joy in anything and will actually want to destroy the experience of joy others may experience. But those icy haters should know we don’t EVER give up on you. We create and await that one day that our one story made you crack a smile, laugh aloud or shed a tear. We immerse ourselves in a made-up world and tell a story. All while giving up precious time with families and friends. As artists, we’re called to reach out with a story and try to melt the icy negativity that stretches across the hearts and minds of so many. To give them a chance to find some joy. To feel a story of Collective Joy. Here’s wishing JOY to you.

DJ


Delayed Update – Cast & Crew ‘Lost Heart’ Premiere and more…

As I sit down by the fire with hazelnut coffee in hand I want to thank our new readers from Iceland, Austria and all around the world. This is one of those few times that I had to push a blog release to Monday. I do have a series of Sunday shoot days so I might have to post a few Monday’s but I will try to keep it as consistent as possible. I was just so tired after our weekend up in New Era with our cast and crew premiere for ‘Lost Heart’ the movie.

First I’m excited about the edited event show that will play around the Nov 7th and 21st Encourage TV showings. I will get a time for the event this week but I’m guessing a 7 pm start with event and film coming in at 3 hours. The film is roughly 2 hours and we had a great time with Nathaniel Nose (The Christ Slayer) directing and shooting the event. Many of the CDI tribe had extensive interviews. This week we’ll have our few call in interviews sent in for editing. It was all very exciting.

We producers were on the ground trying to gauge the weather. we went with a smaller screen than the outside drive-in inflatable giant because we would have had a Macy Day balloon which could have been cool but-no. We had music performed from Roanoke and Greg Hillebrand on sax, interviews, food and drink. The dance hall had giant barn doors and allowed us to keep air moving through there without being in the wind gusts.

The actual showing was great. Even speaking with director Jesse Low after the film we were surprised at the amount of crying, laughing and clapping during the climax of the film. Now we’re all extremely excited to bring this film into your homes for you to share. We have many more interviews and national media for this story. I think the film is really connecting with people with themes on family, love, small-town with big dreams and more. It was great to see so many of the other artists and I was even gifted an owl coffee mug from Josh Perry. Thank you my friend. And thank you to the CDI team that worked hard to put this event in play.

On a quick note before I move on to other updates but the 1st AD Sebastian Nanya on a project I did in NYC called THE ACTOR (Amazon Prime) unexpectedly died over the weekend from a heart attack I heard. He spent many years trying to get a film called BUDZ made and wanted me to play this character named ‘Cowboy’ 🙂 My point is that you need to keep at your dreams. He was in his 40’s and much too young to leave. It is all a lesson not to put off your passions until tomorrow. Engage your passion now.

Back to the films. I had a chance to meet with some fans of MBF: Man’s Best Friend and Wild Faith. One former vet was so appreciative of the film for bringing light to the plight of the wounded soldiers. THAT is why I love doing these films. Not the awards and accolades which are nice but the way these stories touch and help people. That is such an award in itself. Many audience members love the impact of MBF but several wish for a different outcome at the end. To know what I’m talking about tune in and see what I’m talking about. Encourage TV, Tubi, Amazon, Google, Pluto TV and more…

WILD FAITH TV spin-off HASTINGS talks are in high gear. I have a call tomorrow and I have info to send off to interested parties this week – what this all means I hope is that ‘Hastings’ could go early next year into production. It would mean putting the buckskins back on and giddy up.

SMOKE & MIRRORS is the short that we did with Nathaniel Nose and WOW! What a cool world and this short version is a great proof of concept. We watched with all the color correction, music and sound design and it is quirky and wonderful. Some CGI work is being done. I will finish the feature script this winter as we develop the full feature. This will be another great story for CDI to tell.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – This doc needs a string of interviews still but it is moving along. We have a new poster design and we’ll continue our hunt to find enthusiast of the grappling arts.

THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) – This powerful three part story is getting a big marketing push this holiday season including a quest trilogy trailer. As a life-long fan of the original Star Wars films we used them as a template for look – so if something seems akin in the look of the films, now you know where that comes from.

I’m sure I might have missed a few things. I need to get back on prep work for our next film BEST YEARS GONE filming soon. We gotta prep the future stories to share with the world. I hope you all tune in on Nov 7 and/or 21st for LOST HEART. I think you will truly enjoy it. Have a great week and be good to one another!

DJ


Better Than George Lucas? Build Your Own Brand and Prove IT!

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(The Fort – Tribe CDI – 2019)

Welcome new readers from Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, India and beyond. We’re in the final days of 2019 and so far it has just been a great season. This past week I’ve had a few meetings at the fort with the fire burning bright with ideas and friendship. We have some great updates to share with everyone but before that lets looks at someone else’s art.

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Star Wars – (NO SPOILERS)  – I went to see Star Wars at 7 years old and it was the seed planted in me to become a storyteller. Last week I got to see the final film in a series of interconnecting stories started by George Lucas. My issue with many films these days is just trying to do too much. Instead of one star ship in pursuit there has to be 100. Tension is created in moments. Those can feel stolen when trying to do too much. Character development is still king in my world of viewing hence by love of shows like BLACK SAILS. Bringing together all the ‘Star Wars’ loose threads was surely difficult but overall I really did enjoy the final film. That said, I feel truly like the torch has been passed. I feel like I do a good job of creating characters on the script page with depth. I feel we have stories to tell and we will. The goal is to create a few classics in this lifetime. In 2020 will see more writing, producing and continue to try and captures hearts and minds with our stories.

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(WILD FAITH brand – Hastings TV series in development at CDI)

I see a lot of talented artists who spend a lot of time creating in someone else’s world. But the bottom line is you don’t own the brand. There are several filmmakers that do a great job creating fan films from video games or Star Wars and The Mask. That said, all that hard work is building someone else’s brand. I’m a fan of brands also but I let it influence my work but I don’t work with someone else’s brand unless hired to do so.

All three biblical adventures in THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) are all on Amazon. I was given an opportunity to produced these adventures with a ‘Star Wars’ feel. The cinematography and often the music was influenced by the Star Wars style. Star Wars was influenced from earlier works like THE SEVEN SAMURAI. A good reason for your own brand is that you don’t have to ask permission to create your own world. And if you succeed those people are becoming fans of your work. Again instead of the hardships of growing an audience around your brand, if you pick a strong brand with dedicated followers you can get a jump on exposure but…. I mean if you create a great Star Wars fan film you might get millions of hits. But try adding a price tag, although you cannot sell someone else’s brand, and it becomes like buying a knock off cologne. If a non-official derivative of someones brand  is offered free you may get a lot of eyes but unless the creators take notice and hire you, you’re just building someone else’s brand. Beware of legal also with others brands. Just my two cents.

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So again just like role playing, cos-play or any fun group activities, fan art has a place but film work is really hard  work for someone else’s brand. My advice is do your own thing or work WITH an emerging artists to create a shared brand. Again I’m not a “my way is the only way” person at all. But I’m not into fan films or hobby films or anything that isn’t building our brand. Now you can build your skill set (acting, directing, writing) with the previous two mentioned types of films so there is value. I do appreciate anyone who uses their imagination to create. We just have long term goals and so those need to remain in focus for us. It is a hard industry to survive in. Take that from a survivor.

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Please do enjoy the holidays with a watch on the trilogy and watch all three in order. Poor ‘Chasing the Star’ sometimes takes a few rocks because someone did not realize they were watching part 2 of 3 films. In time audiences will understand they are a trilogy and a bigger picture will emerge upon watching in order.

I also see a few people who thought the Magi story had nothing to do about Christmas. Maybe I should have added Heat and Cold Miser and a reindeer or two:) But for the few audience members who don’t get it, many DO get it. We don’t dumb down our stories but challenge and encourage people to talk and discuss often hard topics. So ENJOY a watch and discussion.  At one of my distribution content meetings we had discussion about more biblical adventures. I might have my next three films and one of them is written. So we will see said the wise man.

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MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Due to the season where many are enjoying family and friends and watching films, I’ve gotten a spike in fan mail. This film has been generating a good buzz and we have some exciting events and showings coming up in 2020. But you don’t have to wait. You can watch on Amazon today! If dogs and/or support of our military touches you, please do take a watch.

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LOST HEART – The fine cut is getting close. After a wonderful first cut by editor Scott Magie, welcome to the CDI Tribe, a second final cut is near. This week we had a post meeting with Dennis Therrian (music/sound), Jesse Low (Director) along with Melissa Anschutz, Shane Hagedorn and even John Mashni made a stop by. Come mid 2020 we will have a most excellent story to share with you all.

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In the meantime – please watch the CDI Film collection and share your thoughts.

DEVELOPMENT 

HOPE for HEAVEN – is the script I’ve been working on. It’s been developing in a wonderful fashion starting with some great characters. We’re working development on several properties that could go full green light in 2020/2021.  A sequel to KNIGHT CHILLS, perhaps? We’ve had a few screen and camera tests. WW2 drama – coming together. Kids adventure film – might happen:) WILD FAITH TV series:) With some of the new meetings and opportunities before CDI, I promise we will continue to create. Thank you to all of you for your continued support.

WRAP UP…

Ok. We had a wonderful first Christmas gathering yesterday. Friends tonight and several gatherings in the week ahead, including two more family Christmas gatherings. I am down to just a little bit of shopping. I give thanks to those who sent a card or gave little love gifts, much appreciated. But the most important thing you can give anyone is a bit of your time, laughter and joy.

I’ve been questioned about my verbal non-involvement in politics. It’s because much like the ‘golden rule’ I believe in focusing on what we all could benefit from. When people are drained from endless debates, divided by priority differences and angered by the never-ending shortcomings of each another – I say relax. Sit back and watch a story with universal messages woven within. My friendships with people are more important than trying to convince someone I’m right about an obvious self-opinion. So set aside your differences and focus on what brings us all together. Fellow human beings trying to live a meaningful life with health and joy. Even if it is for a few days, try it and you might find it a better way to live, to cope, to exist, to grow, and to be the better you.

Fear leads to anger, anger to hate and hate to suffering – MERRY CHRISTMAS!

DJ


October Coming to a Close – Updates

Hello,

I hope everyone is having a good week. It was a long week filled with sadness, laughter, success and set back. But with my trusty hazelnut coffee I get to sit here and reflect back on some of it with all of you. First, our household has been much quieter with our reduced pack. Two sisters Lulu and Daphne are spending lots of time together. We will be getting another dog for Daphne to help train. She did such a wonderful job with our Luke. We really want to have a new guardian by the time LOST HEART shoots this coming spring. It might happen on the lead up to Thanksgiving since we will both have lots off time to make a new pack member feel welcome and loved.

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Speaking on loved ones, cherish them because our shared time is finite. One of our neighbors from our childhood passed away unexpectedly after a brief illness. We got to catch up with childhood friends but unfortunately it came at a visitation. New childhood memories were made with the nice and nephew one night with pizza, pumpkin carving and seed roasting. This coming weekend we’ll have another reunion with my Uncle and cousins but also at a cost. My Aunt lost her short battle with cancer. She was the sun which everything went around and so they’re rightfully having issues adjusting. I am looking forward too sharing stories and laughter with my cousins.

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This week I spent a good amount of time communicating with our film distributor as they prepare for AFM. For those not in the knowing it’s the American Film Market. A version of our MBF teaser is going to travel to AFM. The DVD/poster art for THE CHRIST SLAYER is being prepared. WILD FAITH deal is also in the works and I need to find out the details of the theatrical deals.

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Part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY – The Christ Slayer is in post sound and music. Also we engaged our colorist for the film’s color correction. That is now underway. We had both Carl Weyant (Longinus) and Melissa Anschutz (Mother Mary) into the studio. A few lines had to be fixed and that process went smooth. We also were treated to some opening music that shows carpenters building wood crosses on the hilltop as Mary watches. With the opening music it is so POWERFUL. I’m excited to have audiences go on this final adventure. Again if you have not watched part 1 or 2 (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star) buy the DVD or stream it from Amazon. Also many other great platforms are carrying them.

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WILD FAITH is also heading back into the theaters as the strength and power of this film is being noticed. Our celebrity narrator is looking at availability and paperwork has been sent across. We’ve had various outlets contact us directly over wanting this film. All those communications are being forwarded and soon the entire distribution flow will be announced. Once everything is in their hands we’ll turn our attention back to the TV series.

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Also with MBF our military vet/adoption dogs film, I’ve seen about 30 min of the rough film and I’m rather happy with it even in the rough state. It’s a powerful and moving film and something else to look forward to next year. We keep adding more official stills to our Facebook page. Please do stop by to see pics and get updates.

LOST HEART has gotten its first feedback from one of our proposed stars and it was everything I had wished for. We will start moving it out to others to read. I really do love the story and again it is filled with powerful themes.

Speaking of scripts – this past week I wrote a PSA (Public Service Announcement) script and the client loved it. Now I have to prepare a budget because we also might produce it with CDI. Again, we do some commercial work at CDI but it’s selective. I’ve also returned to doing some writing on my first SciFi script, which is beyond fun. I’ve also started to look at a few possible literary agents to help sell a few scripts that I don’t plan to produce.

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I also was encouraged to submit to a film shooting in fall 2019 as the bad guy. I sent my materials and if I am what they’re looking at I will read their script and do a short read. I am ready to get back in front of the camera again but it has to be the right project. This year audiences can see me as Jesus again, mountain man Ben Lily and injured marine Paul Landings. I thought maybe the DEAD QUIET film might release this year but it doesn’t seem like it will. This year I did do a commercial gig for “Our Daily Bread” and a music video for musician Trey Conner. I’m about trying something outside my box if the business is good and the project professional. What else will 2019 bring?

One thing I like to do at the end of each year is do a self-evaluation. Look at projects and project your goals for the new year. Look at what goals from the previous year were met and which ones were not. Writing this down so you can actually review next year is a very useful tool. From seed to harvest. Goals, destinations and such are all good but remember to enjoy the journey.

Have a great week and a safe Halloween.

Boo!

 

 


Wild Faith-Mania and Another Film Preps To Shoot at CDI

So it’s quiet here on Saturday night and I’ll be releasing this in the wee hours of Sunday. We had a nice family gathering to celebrate several birthdays and we’ve got two more days of more such celebrations. Before we get in too deep – welcome readers from Uganda. It has been a whirlwind of business both development, promotion and post-production.

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Grand Rapids, MI appearance with Shane Hagedorn and Melissa Anschutz

It’s been wonderful to first see all the cast and crew from “Wild Faith” and following that – to have audiences enter this world we’ve recreated on-screen. We had a solid run in both Grand Rapids and Lansing. Lansing, Lansing, Lansing… I’ve always been proud of being from Lansing and still call it home to this day. I’ve always felt somewhat that the saying you can’t be a prophet in your own town, applied to me. I understand it. I think it applies to many artists.

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But, the power of a story is proving me wrong. We’ve been selling out “Wild Faith” all weekend and so tomorrow Celebration Cinema jumped us from one showing to four. This after several fine folks were unable to attend after the shows sold out in advance online. I went to run errands this morning and heard people talking about the film. Often we as the filmmakers can grow tired of the story after the long post production phase. But I’ve enjoyed the handful of theatrical showings I’ve attended. I’ve enjoyed the laughter most of all. To hear a full theater laugh together at certain moments is priceless.

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I think with the last several films I’ve played emotionally heavy characters. It was a pure joy to be Ben Lily. A tribute to a character with more bravery than brains. With my trusty half-native sidekick, or am I the sidekick? Either way, creating with these two characters was special for me because of the humor intertwined in the performance.  I also know that my old friend Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty would have approved with a hearty laugh. I do wish old friend Rance Howard could have seen the final film. He loved the trailers and truly loved the genre. The film will continue to move and play. If you want the film call/email your local theater and request the film to play. We’re in talks with several new venues and may announce new screens as early as this week. But if you can – treat yourself tomorrow. 1875 Michigan.

SUNDAY ‘WILD FAITH” SHOWTIMES AT CELEBRATION CINEMA  (LANSING) 

10:45, 1:05, 6:00, 8:05

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In other news, Collective Development Inc.‘s next film MBF/Man’s Best Friend has been given the green light. All funds are committed and being pulled in as we prep the ship to sail. We’re working on setting our schedule and I’m also proud to have ‘Paul’ front and center again. This script is another story I’m extremely proud of. I’m challenged greatly by this next role and I find that exciting. If we’ve spoken to you as cast and crew just be patient as we move down the TO DO lists. We’re working hard to create that environment to create within. I’m excited to share this film next year with audiences. In the meantime…

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The Christ Slayer is now in color correction and audio with Nathaniel Nose, director and Dennis Therrian, composer. I like to use that example of kids who get together after school to play. They have ideas, they get excited and they play. Inside the imagination play is what drives the process forward. This film will be a gift to audiences at the Christmas season. Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy will pull it all together.

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Working backwards – Chasing the Star is playing the big screen at the International Christian Film Festival up for five awards. It was nice to catch up with director Bret Miller at a “Wild Faith” screening in Grand Rapids. We got to toast a beer to the adventure in the desert we called “Chasing the Star” CTS. This film is moving into more foreign territories and platforms.

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Forty Nights” is being promoted heavily going into the Easter season by our distributor. It is such an inspiring story I can see why it was recently chosen to kick off their Easter promotions. I will admit here, of all the ICFF awards “Chasing the Star” is up for I hope we see another ‘2018 Most Inspirational‘ take home to honor our amazing cast and crew.

I can say I’ve been enjoying experiencing the reaction to this films. I’m appreciative that these stories are giving some entertainment and comfort to audiences. I’ve been writing weekly and plan to get even more focused. Wheels are in motion.Master copy Several scripts that have been waiting for their time just might find it. Some exciting developments underway that will lead to many more years of stories been told at CDI. The tribe is on the move to create and we appreciate all your support. We cannot thank you enough.

Be good to one another.

DJ