It’s Christmas Eve! I want to welcome all the new readers from Indonesia, Turkey, and Israel. I also want to thank all of you for stopping by for a sip of coffee and some ramblings from ole DJ Perry. Artists all over the world have been responsible for reminding us what is best in us. With the new year fast approaching CHANGE is upon us. Now I’m a person who understands change is always in motion but I prefer a slow evolving change versus radical sudden change. It’s funny that I’ve read and studied many ancient and insightful writings. I like to read a little and meditate on the ideas presented. Lately I’ve been reading a few pages each night from ‘The Tao of Pooh‘ which takes deep meaningful thoughts and presents them in comical easy-to-digest bits. All of us will face, are facing change as of this moment. The holidays here have many of us taking that time out to ponder, praise what we did right and project an image of what we would like different moving ahead to 2018. Let’s look at a few sayings from Pooh that unique bear.
“When you know and respect your own inner nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don’t belong.”
“Where I belong” – to me is a known path not a final destination. I belong as a storyteller for ALL people. Religion, gender, race and political affiliation not withstanding. I want to help all people find themselves, their best selves. I don’t belong in the cut-throat game of what has become hateful game of red-rover. Just because you’re spewing hate for a good cause does not absolve you – you’re plugged into that cycle. All hate has feedback in the loop. Feel that feedback and know when to unplug and remove yourself. Feedback like fear is not a bad thing if you listen to it. Maybe discovering where you belong is to discover where you don’t belong.
“Things just happen in the right way, at the right time. At least when you let them, when you work with circumstances instead of saying, ‘This isn’t supposed to be happening this way,’ and trying harder to make it happen some other way.”
Fate has one floating down a river, sometimes sleepily and sometimes amongst rough waters – but you’re flowing to where you need to be. To worry about what has not happened. To worry how we’ll react to something that hasn’t happened. I have faith that I’ll know what course of action when I get there. Leadership even of the self is taking in all the feedback and deciding on a course of action. Sometimes if the circumstances say the river is jammed and impassable – you have to get out of the river and carry your canoe a short while. Up ahead is clear waters to navigate. You put your boat back in the water and continue your journey. Had you been in refusal to work with your circumstance as in “I’m not getting out of the river” – “I don’t want to walk a ways” – you might still be sitting stagnate looking helpless at the log jam. Faith is not always understanding but moving forward. Have some faith in yourself. Know that detours are just that – detours not roadblocks. Often they are the only answer to navigating around those things blocking our path.
“The surest way to become Tense, Awkward, and Confused is to develop a mind that tries too hard – one that thinks too much.”
Think less and feel more. Knowledge can be accumulated and wisdom is the application of it and learning from its results good or bad. Sometimes you have to not stare directly at the issue. Too much intense focus can give you blind spots. Keeping the RAY on full power obsessively trying to see a reason, pattern, purpose or direction before the time of actual action can just create confusion and feedback that will make a person’s inner balance seem out-of-phase and disrupted. Learn to control this 90% of the time and a great peace and power will be yours.
This has been a wonderful holiday season to look back on what a productive year it has been. Our distributor has heavily pushed FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR. The latter reached #2 on Amazon’s list for Faith and Family. Parables TV has been playing both films twice a day. I know we’ll see the day where once the third film, THE CHRIST SLAYER releases – all three will be playing together. Expansion into the UK, Netherlands (Family 7) and many other foreign territories continues into the new year. Part 3 goes into post music and sound in Jan 2018 and will be done around Easter 2018. We’ll also be releasing the first poster and theatrical trailer. soon into the new year.
But BEFORE that we’ll have the spot light on WILD FAITH. The end credits are about locked and the last tweaks of color correction will be applied next week. But aside from that and our ongoing mixing of sound levels – WILD FAITH is done. I will call it complete once those final changes are done. But we’ll be meeting to discuss the premiere showings and the theatricals here soon. The new exciting trailer for WILD FAITH will also be dropping soon. Perhaps between Christmas and New Year Eve or perhaps on New Year’s Day itself. I need to see exactly where we’re at.
Development – More development than you can shake a stick at. MBF (Man’s Best Friend) is the next one up. We collected and deposited more funds on this upcoming film. We still have a short ways to go but the holidays created a pause. I’m sure as we hit the new year many will be ready to move on new endeavors. This powerful film MBF will push many people’s dramatic ranges including myself. I’m up for the challenge as each of you should be. I’m excited for some of the new directions we’ll be taking as a company. Also we’ll work hard to keep doing more of what perhaps some of you are already enjoying from us at CDI. About the 15th of Jan. we should have the basic web platform up for the new Collective Development Inc. site.
Last story by King Christmas:)
FINAL WRAP UP & FUNNY STORY
So in year’s past I was never the right pick for commercial work. I was always ‘becoming’ someone and so my headshot never were up-to-date. The words were always too superficial. Maybe my voice had an adult tone that didn’t fit my youthful face? I don’t know the reasoning but commercials were never my thing. But friends of mine that had worked for a great non-profit heard that the company was having casting issues looking for the right actor for a company promotional video. They had not found that ‘right person’ and while I was a touch younger vs their breakdown – I was approached about a read. So the next morning I threw down a quick take and sent it off. I call it sketching – quick truth shoot with no over-thinking. If you hit part of the role and spark their interest, they will usually contact back. I don’t have time for 14 page auditions – except JJ send the new SW script and I’ll throw some reads down:) Okay. I know you have cooking and presents to wrap, I’ll hurry up. I will credit good writing for the piece where usually the depth is just not there. I felt the read. I gave the read. I was the read, I got the part. So I was a professor in the piece and they dressed me to suit the part. Some pants/cords fit me like they had made them for me. Add a blue shirt to bounce the baby-blues and a blazer and were all good. We nailed the shoot with a great little crew. I thanked everyone and went home. I was about to eat some sweet potato soup when I spread my napkin out across those cords. Oh my! “I stole these from a non-profit!” I originally wore my dockers to the shoot but after giving the shirt and blazer back, I felt like I was wearing my clothes and I was ready to roll. How many people watched me walking around saying, “DJ Perry is going to steal those pants.” I sent a message to the Production Manager. They were part of the directors stash of clothes. He said they looked great on me and Merry Christmas. Ha! But I really did enjoy myself. Who knows maybe 2018 will bring a few more surprises like that. I’m talking about the commercial not the pirated corduroy pants.
I want to wish Peace on Earth and a Very Merry Christmas to all of you.
Be good to one another.
Hello to everyone out there. I’m sipping away at my coffee on this beautiful day in Michigan. It has been a doozy of a week for most as more of our pop culture icons have passed away – Chyna, Prince. I think as we age and we see our actors, musicians and artists pass away if really reframes the world. It is why we as artists must also strive to step up and fill a purpose. A purpose to educate, entertain, comfort and encourage people in various ways.
The past weeks have been exciting with audiences purchasing/renting “Ashes of Eden” and “40 Nights” and now “Donors” has been released. I’ve had “fan mail” and communications every couple hours over the films. I think because of the main role in “40 Nights/Jesus” more of the feedback has been about that film but “Donnie/Ashes of Eden” and “Dr. Savior/Donors” are both worth meeting. The Walmart sales have been very strong in pockets but not across the board, so we have to just keep pushing the PR and redistribute stock internally to the stores that are moving more DVD’s. FishFlix, Amazon.com and others have been selling out online but restocking quickly. Ask your local retailers and that will help spread the distribution patterns. “Ashes of Eden” and “40 Nights” are now HD Digital On Demand so you can watch immediately.
ON DEMAND – Here are links…
ASHES OF EDEN
Feel free to leave reviews at any of these sites, IMDB.com, Amazon.com as these all help push the films.
You must build bridges. But only with good character people in like minded partnerships. There’s a company that was presented to me by a close associate. This company does various services in the commercial industry. For about 18 months they were presented to me and finally we met. A few guys trying to carve their artistic path out from a sea of creatives. So on a project this company ended up doing two services for us and it was done with quality. A first step in a new relationship. Now a second project follows with a new creative director and only one of the two services would be required. One of the services was being covered as a result of direct negotiations with the director before filming or even hiring. Another advantage is the second task has more time to allow this one service to be done. A second step in a new emerging creative relationship – WAIT! In my opinion, one partner there did the service we had no need for. Now this opportunity would allow whomever does the second service a real chance to shine. This is not high pay but t’s not free, and it surely gives more creative than a commercial project. I’m about people who want the opportunity to participate with our artists but I feel like some of my time was wasted during those 18 months where I was being told these guys were eager for an opportunity to grow with us. So it goes.
MORE ADVICE ON WORKING FOR CDI
Most all hirings come from recommendation and standing accountable. Finger pointing and blame shifting is the worse thing you can do at CDI. There is not much of that because we pull those weeds. Strength comes in admitting a situation got the best of you. By recognizing that it shows strength and wisdom. I’m also looking to put people into a long term working relationship. Some of our people have been with us 16-20 years and counting. Once we work with someone I’m looking at…
1) Attitude – this is priceless. Are they CAN DO positive people? Do they inspire others? This also means sincere talk over gossip/poison. Keep your vulgar jokes and such until wrap and you’re with your friends. If you have experience over someone see that as an opportunity to share/teach not gloat. Be that valuable person.
2) Artistic passion – this is a drive to do something outside the cogs and wheels of society. It’s both divine and humbling all at once. Powerful enlightening stories that can give ease and escape to others in high stress jobs. Humbling in the fact that if you create a poor scene nobody flatlines on a table. Passion is a MUST in all our hires. If you are not passionate about a certain position DON’T do it. If you do it poorly or by dragging your feet, those attributes will be applied to your overall character.
3) Dependability – I once had a talented director work within a crew (Not directing). He failed at his tasks by the worse way – quitting. I like this person just fine but by policy I cannot risk any money behind this person going forward. If they quit at something small they could quit at something big. Another recent example also had a key crew member quit before starting a project in a poor way. This character example again makes him not suitable for re-hire. I like this person greatly and friendship wasn’t taken off the table. But the communications became less (none) because he knew I had less to offer him. On a positive when this person had to be replaced on the fly one of our “tried and true” stepped up into a position they had not done and won. It was an example of stepping up and that is likely why he’s been with us almost two decades.
4) Leadership – The last line I typed above ties into this bullet point. Upon working with us on a film, people will be evaluated in a few ways. Did a KEY step up and problem solve within his department? Did they keep their department on budget? Did they keep their department organized? Did they use all their resources? Attitude? Sometimes we hire a key that in retrospect needs to be placed under a more experienced key on future films. This is usually someone who really tried just lacks the organization skills and leadership, but worked hard. In some non-keys, we realize the hard work and notice leadership attributes that may lead to a promotion on upcoming films. Some people after the fact are evaluated and deemed a no rehire.
NOW if you’ve worked for us on a film and a second call to action hasn’t come it’s often not anything personal. It’s sometimes about finances, such as how many people can be flown here or there. It can be keys that surround certain directors and are requested. I guess I wanted to put this out there because crew like cast are artists. Actors are usually quick to think that something they did or did not do is why they were not hired. Sometimes it is an AGE or a LOOK thing. Crew feels the same thing at times so I wanted to shed some light. Rates of course are another factor but if I like working with a company I try my best to maintain that relationship. When you get out of line someone hungry is there to take your place.
“Chasing the Star”
OK. “Chasing the Star” is in editing and we also plan to have a first teaser in the coming weeks. Here is our new font to put into our teaser poster.
We’ll be having lots more promotional stuff rolling out soon. I’ve just finished polishing the 1st draft of the third film in our QUEST TRILOGY. That has been sent to the first few people to look at. I had great talks with our distributor this week on THE QUEST TRILOGY and I’m excited moving forward. VERY EXCITED!
Keep moving forward my friends. Be the person they want to hire and hire and hire…
Have a great weekend. Our first soccer game is today so I’m ready to do battle again this season. Happy Spring!
Hazelnut coffee is fresh and hot and helping me awaken on this sunny yet chilly morning. As I sit here and take a few moments to ponder the past week I’m appreciative of everything going on in career and life. It’s a fine line of balance that is not easy to achieve and is harder yet to maintain. Relationships should always hold stronger than any possessions, the return is much greater. As of late, I’ve had to adjust back to the darker days and chilly climate of Michigan that is so very different than Arizona. It was nice to be back in my own bed with my local family and friends, but it’s exciting being elsewhere- working like mad to capture such great footage. Tomorrow we start the first of three prep days before we resume shooting on “Chasing the Star,” the 2nd film in our QUEST TRILOGY. The hardest part of the shoot with the desert, camels, goats, sheep, donkeys, extras, wind storms and such is now complete. Now we have just solid drama unfolding all shooting inside controlled sets. I’m excited to get these final pieces and put this story together for all of you.
I’ve recently heard word that “Division 19” and “Dead Quiet” are close to done. Also “The Terrorist” should release later this year. These films alone would make me very happy but…we still have “Donors” and “Bestseller” releasing this spring and on April 5th both “Ashes of Eden” and “40 Nights” release nationally.
BUY NOW! AND if you’ve seen either of these films please do leave a review.
Ashes of Eden:
Both can be found on IMDB.com to VOTE and leave a review also
Ashes of Eden/IMDB
In the spirit of the day where people celebrate the sacrifice of the man known as Jesus, I do hope you all enjoy some of these inspirational films. It was an honor, a challenge to try and better understand this unique man. I encourage you to take a watch and experience the stories.
Lastly, I’m excited to film the last days on “Chasing the Star” over the next couple days. We will be working with some talented Michigan folks associated with our director. Most of our keys were already in place but this shoot will allow me to evaluate some others in action. I look at attitude #1 meaning positive problem solving skills, manners and good cooperation with others. With keys it’s about accountability, leadership and strong communication. We’ve got at least two other feature films prepping to shoot in the months ahead so be someone people want to hire. I hope all of you make the most of every opportunity and enjoy the journey.
It is a wonderful Saturday and the dogs are watching some Scooby Doo as I’m doing some morning film work over coffee. This was a week full of announcements, many business calls and exciting updates. We will look at some of those updates and discuss a few situations surrounding them.
I think last week we talked a bit about the temptation for struggling artists to take on parts that aren’t right or tasks that they are not suited to do. It was announced this week that CDI http://www.cdiproductions.com will be the new management/production company on the Michigan-based feature “Bestseller”. Due to my association with the lead Melissa Anschutz I was in the knowing on the journey she was undertaking. I was privy to all the bumps, blunders and lack of organization. I was aware of who was solving problems and who was creating them. I let most of it roll off with a shake of the head because it was not my issue. Even so, it disappointed me greatly. Any hardworking filmmaker will tell you how hard it is to finance a film. That’s because of the large number of potential investors who have been burned or who associate with those investors who have been burned. By burned I also mean – unfinished films or films that have had such bad business done that they are not able to be taken to market. If someone truly puts their BEST EFFORT (That legal term from last week) into a project and it still fails that might be a different story. But when someone doesn’t put a best effort forward and they fail – where is the accountability? Many want to take accountability when things are looking good. When the PR releases are spewing hype or one is prancing about set playing “Hollywood” looking busy BUT when things go wrong they are the first of the finger-pointers. You MUST “own” both the good and the bad if you are in charge. If you are a chaotic mess that is the ripples that you will send forth from you. If you radiate a calm center that too spreads throughout a production.
Screaming is NOT communication and shows weakness and frustration by the party doing so. I know personally an associate in the insurance realm who had to also deal with this chaotic force. I heard the stories from multiple people about this communication. You tie that with the lack of pre-production work and the picture is perfectly clear. Now on a personal level – I’m offended by people paid to guide who use inexperience against others to try to disguise their own shortcomings. A film set is full of challenges but the only ones you should be facing are those things you could not control with good pre-production work. I’ve halted shoots and pushed start dates when I saw a ship was not yet ready. If I see a place where leadership is lacking in a department – be it in the director, AD staff, office, anyone – I will rearrange or replace someone. You don’t just watch a boat fill with water and do nothing. If you are a lead producer or that staff – It’s your JOB to fix things that are broken. It’s your JOB to anticipate what could/or may break down and try to prevent a breakdown. It’s your JOB to fix something quickly, quietly with the least amount of attention or distraction. That means that this is not a dramatic “LOOK AT ME FIX SOMETHING” moment. The best producer work is often never seen or heard. It is known by the experience the cast and crew had and the final product they captured.
Now this situation on “Bestseller” is not isolated and this issue of poor management seems to be a pattern. Sometimes one doesn’t hire enough artists to properly execute a job or make sure that money truly finds its way onto the screen. You also don’t start playing “Hollywood” George Jefferson because you are connected to a large bank account. You treat those funds like your own funds and stick to the budget. Overruns are poor planning. A producer team is responsible for the hard work of all those artists. You represent how people will look at our state’s artists. Are we seen as capable leaders or forever doomed to feed on the scraps of others coming into our state. Now I did not have anything to do with this situation. As a matter of fact I turned down earlier invites on acting and producing. That rejection was based upon the fact that fires were already burning in PRE-PRODUCTION crisis mode. I also knew that much misinformation was flying everywhere either implying deceit or disorganization – both bad. Bottom line – I don’t like fixing other’s messes. The problem seems to be that while I’m hard at work finishing projects (2 features (Donors, Ashes of Eden) and 1 TV series (Supermodel Showdown) – someone else is at the local film festival mixers smoozing up any starry-eyed potential investor or novice filmmaker with a budget – selling a skill set they do not possess.
Now potential investors – YOU have a responsibility to vet people out and not get stung by the BUYER BEWARE. This “Bestseller” ship was professionally parked and the responsible parties removed. After that my company was recommended again to come manage. With a clean slate I listened and the deal was made. The ship is now being refitted and we will make one heck of a movie I can promise you that. I can promise this crew and cast will have an enjoyable experience filled with hard work but will be rewarded with respect. Those that know me can vouch that I take my film jobs very serious. I turn down lots of work because it must feel right. In this matter I wanted the truth out there. The fact that I don’t wander in many social circles I thought this direct statement best. I will say this to anyone out there unqualified to produce or unwilling to make the Best Effort – Stick with what you are good at and don’t muddy the waters. The sooner that the proper artists align in Michigan and the BS artists are benched – great things will come from our State. As we have more stories of success vs screw ups investors will start to take our artists more serious. So I ask you all to please clean up your act. For those who don’t – I would gladly testify at any arbitration or legal proceedings on how a film set should be ran. Enough of people giving half (if that) efforts and poisoning the money wells here in Michigan. I’ve been personally part of 2 projects that went south because of false promises from people. It hurt our momentum as a company but luckily our productivity outshines those few dark moments. One bad deal can kill others momentum and ruin dreams all together. And just how truly sad is that? I’ve made many friends in this industry around the world because of respect that grew from doing what was expected. I’m not in this industry to make friends first – I’m here to tell stories with other hardworking, passionate artists. Friendship and respect is earned. Period.
Okay, I’m off my soap box now. Other updates –
– It looks like I finally got my German invoicing all complete. It has been a good learning experience doing these foreign sales.
– “Ashes of Eden” new trailer is a week or so out from release. The trailer looks great. The film is having the dialogue polished and is almost done. Music and sound design is on deck.
– “Supermodel Showdown” I was in search of a few B roll tapes that we feared missing but I think those have now been recovered. The show is coming together and is looking great. Not as fast as I would like but there is no script. This is truly a reality show.
– I have agreed to play a role in “Bestseller” now that we are officially “in association” because with myself starring in 3 thrillers in the last 10 months it really boosts distribution. With CDI’s involvement I can say to all the artists that the film will get a release in several countries.
There is a possibility of another film shooting prior to “Bestseller” going into production but next week will tell. We have a window because of schedules and so will the chips fall right? That is the question:)
I hope you all have a great weekend and keep Clawing your Way to the Middle:)