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

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‘ROCKY’ Could Have Been A Faith Film and Other Coffee Ramblings…by DJ Perry

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The chilly fall has settled into Michigan making sipping coffee or hot cider even more enjoyable. Now is when I have to start thinking of the winter ahead. The stuff that will have to be put away and stored. The firewood for the coming snow. Even the change of clothes to heavier layers, is a normal process in Michigan. I think last week we discussed something which was the delay in shooting our next feature by a quarter. The funds are there and so many would want to rush to production, the fun part. But, we’re putting the icing on the cake for a wonderful distribution deal on WILD FAITH. It has been a touch slower since I’ve had the joy of working with the Hollywood agent system. But, in the end it will be worth it and will directly have an effect on the TV series. Upcoming 2019 will see the major organizing of the release and push on the series. We are planning to shoot in Michigan. Likely a series of shows shot in a tight production block. It’s new waters for me so I’m learning something new every day.

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Tomorrow we’ll announce via PR our recent Crown Award and the Burbank International Film Fest win for ‘Best Faith Film’ and while I would have loved to have it gone against all the films – they work by genres. But WILD FAITH is just an accurate look at 1870’s life. As the screenwriter I did not add any overdue FAITH. People we’re just more living in tune with their faith during that time period. Life was more wooly and I think people had more life and death encounters be it disease, drought, famine, bear attacks – you get the point. I love the faith and inspirational themes. ROCKY being one of my favorite illustrations of that. On his way to the fight – the father priest throws down and few blessings. Yes. ROCKY could be a faith film and it would have surely won ‘Best Inspirational’ as I’ve seen it inspire masses and I’ve been inspired by that film. My point is, I’ve never set out to make a ‘Faith Film’ and I’ve never set out to not make a ‘Faith Film” – I’ve told a story. Characters in almost all stories are confronted by a situation that tests their faith thus the relatable conflict.

Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ must find her faith. Indiana Jones fights to keep his faith versus his scientific reasoning, Men vs shark in JAWS, puts faith out there to be chewed upon as a topic. I think every film made about mankind has faith woven into it. So, is it that the content must have X amount ‘faith’ in it? Judges in chairs that spin around and hit a button if your film has the required ‘faith’? I appreciate it mostly, the acceptance to our films. But because the story, characters, situations, lessons were all something that were touched upon. That shed a bit of light on our faults projected onto a screen, so we can better understand ourselves. Deep. I know. Occasionally, I feel quite grand with my profession, pride like a good woodworker,  or any other artist. Mostly, I still feel like that kid, make believing with my neighborhood friends living out our own  STRANGER THINGS life.

Wicked Spring WRAP

I’ve changed some in my screenwriting, I’ve noted. My earlier self was darker, heavier and nihilistic. My mom often questioning, why I kept dying in my films. Now, I’ve always had a funny, lighter side to my personality, ask anyone who really knows me. But, most of my writing came in my moments of solitary. Also writers in Michigan benefit from our long winters but the end result is often PSYCHO or THE SHINING writing in nature. Those previously mentioned films are two of my favorite for the season. Another side note: I do want to do another horror film but it has to be good. By good I mean story. Creating horror films in the handful of story formulas is like a rite of passage. The lovers of that genre cannibalize the artists with dastardly reviews. But meet them in person and they’ve always been very nice. Maybe because they saw you on camera foaming at the mouth and swinging an axe. Anyway, I was saying that I enjoy the laughter and smiles. I recall many showings of WICKED SPRING whereas people wept in the theater. We did that with our story. But I see so much negativity and anxiety with people not coping to our new world. A world where we’re more communication-connected than ever before BUT we’re not. FRIENDS have a new definition thanks to FACEBOOK but my definition stays the same. I want to be part of making people think, smile, laugh and still occasionally cry, if that comes with an enlightenment.

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The ‘Faith Film’ anti-goodhousekeeping seal of quality is being shattered as more storytellers (without labels) are returning to tell stories that their grandmother, mothers and fathers would enjoy. Ben Hur (The Original) and Ten Commandments (The Classics) were always on TV when we had our family Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter gatherings.  There are great organizations that are rising to recognize and award this kind of content. I always worry about censorship, we can choose to watch what we want. But if a demand is there, look at the rise in METV, Heroes & Icons, and the rise of the faith market. People are casting their votes with their rentals and purchases. I feel most honored by the online communications from viewers having powerful emotions invoked from our stories. It is a dream to have holidays where the films play and families bond over a watch. My goal is to make a few classics. All of them might not make it but we’ll give our ‘best effort’ every time.

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I was reminded yesterday when inquiring about a director whom a close associate had worked with – their last film isn’t done. It hasn’t been completed in a matter of several years. As an actor, I’ve got two films shot in recent years, one a co-starring role, not finished. I’ve got a call, meeting, catch up with a director friend who’s trying to finish one of two projects we did together in the very distant past. It bothers me occasionally talking someone’s new project(s) when those people have loose strings to tie up. There are many films about that don’t interest me as a viewer, but I always tip my hat to finishing. Finishing is a skill needed in this industry, without it, suffering. But it sounds like my old friend is trying to finish, so that’s a good thing.

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This week I finished my first solid draft on our next script with BMG entitled LOST HEART. In meetings with our distributor, they really liked a concept made easier that I had written something in the same vein. But I wanted to apply some of the growth I had made mentioned above. Same log line but different script. I had a wonderful time creating this story and it became so alive with characters and a world, other’s will long to visit. Jeff Kennedy and I, my partner in CDI, semi-retired – always had that as a goal. To create a world and invite people inside it. The CDI first five – really helped hone this craft. You have to BELIEVE in the world. Another 2019 goal is to get Jeff Kennedy back into a director’s chair. I have a few good ideas but they will require a good pow wow or two.

MBF has been in editing. They shot a few pick up establishing shots and transitions this week. Always good to do this once you get into the edit and really see what could be added. This film I’m so proud of. It showcases and pleads for better treatment of our war vets and dogs, that can heal us. We continue to release official stills from this film. For now the spotlight is given to…

THE CHRIST SLAYER!

Find our social media site on Facebook – lots of updates.

https://www.facebook.com/thechristslayer/

Part 3 has a bold name. But the title has a meaning that audiences will discover, maybe not what they thought. I’m excited to say that Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy is coming all together. I watched a recent 5k work flow version with 98% VFX. Color Correction and conforming still lie ahead. ADR, music and sound design are steadily under construction. I’ve been working with the distributor and their marketing team as we prepare for release in early 2019. I was really happy with the story, smiling throughout. I love watching artists friends give moving performances. That’s what we want deep down. To captivate and transfer that emotion via story. This will be an exciting watch and so again, catch up – parts 1 (FORTY NIGHTS) & 2 (CHASING THE STAR) on Pureflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Christian Cinema, Parables TV….and so on. To our cast and crew, it will be worth the wait.

Okay, time for a pumpkin spice english muffin and another coffee.

Have a great Sunday!

DJ

 

 

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The Climb – No Promises of Tomorrow

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The climb often feels like walking uphill in sand but keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Welcome everybody to my blog where I can download my journey which is a balance act of life and artistic career. Last week I took a first real vacation in a long time. I travel a lot thanks to my film career but I always have lots of responsibilities. These can range from cast/crew safety to schedules to being prepared with my lines. I was and still am excited to tell you all of my journey to the rugged U.P. of Michigan. Lessons in life can be gathered from the simple things we participate in and try to prepare us for the storms that come and go. We came home from missing our own bed and our loving pack. We lost our eldest dog Joplin several months ago and our baby Luke dealt with a hard year of treatment dealing with an auto-immune issue. His greeting of us was kind but lacked his normal energy. The next morning he was hesitant to eat which is not like him. So we took him in for a check and he again seems to have an issue. What does that mean to me/us? Schedules of meds that must be kept ands kills much social interaction. Watching my strong buddy waste under some strong meds that makes him look like those poor starving dogs on TV. And the cost…I can say that a good portion of my pay on the last few films did not purchase anything materialistic. I’m a simple person for those who really know me and thankfully I require very little. I enjoy the short emails from strangers who say how our stories helped them or made them feel. I enjoy the simple things that grow in our yard from morels to mulberries. But when facing the raging greed and egos of our business I find solace in my animals. So my boy Luke is at MSU Animal Hospital again overnight. We had just gotten home and so he did not want to stay. He is likely getting a blood transfusion or two and if all goes well he’ll be released to start 6 months of treatment. With the irony of it all – my next film we’re working to launch M.B.F. centers on our military vets and dogs. My boy in the hospital was a major inspiration to my writing. I’m motivated now more than ever to launch that film because my humble takings will once again start being directed towards – love.

IMG_3408 Shipwreck on Lake Superior

I love to use ship talk when speaking on filmmaking. So many issues can leave a film/ship just as you see it here. SHIPWRECKED. Work very hard with every opportunity to make something worthy. That starts by finishing. That requires good planning and execution. It’s hard work but so deserving.

The Quest Trilogy 

I’m so proud of our team(s) for shooting all three of these feature films. “Forty Nights” is selling and I want to really push it again with the September release of “Chasing the Star” part two. Pre-Sale sites are starting to pop up and I’m told retailers are really liking the subject matter. Part three “The Christ Slayer” is in post-production and the plan is to release the PR and 1st teaser on Monday. I sincerely hope you all enjoy it. It is a beautiful wrap up to the trilogy.

Wild Faith 

The “behind the scenes” sizzle will be releasing soon after our “The Christ Slayer” teaser release next week. I know I’ve been promising a poster and one is coming. I’m excited to get back at my talks on the TV series. The post work continues and we’ll likely have a premiere this year followed by the theatrical play. Music is starting to be composed and that will make this tale even more powerful.

Knight Chills 

The book based on the film authored by David Hayes is now available. If suspense thrillers and/or role-playing games like ole Dungeons and Dragons is your bag take a read and leave us a review.

https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Chills-DJ-Perry/dp/1945940174/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502029522&sr=1-1&keywords=knight+chills

A great Christmas gift for that lover of sword and sorcery.

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I truly did intend on much more insightful writings about our trip up North. We interacted and fed bears and saw beautiful landscapes surrounding the Great Lakes. A nice bed and breakfast one day and saw an old naked man walking his dog on the beach. Ravens, chipmunks, cranes and more but we failed to see any moose or Bigfoot. I think we’re going to get around and go visit our buddy in the hospital. If you have furry family of your own you know the hold they have over our heart. Send a few good thoughts our way for Mr. Brown – such a good boy and unfortunate that we’re having issues with him again. This ordeal was not the way we wanted to end of little vacation but that is life. LIVE and LOVE because there is no promises of tomorrow.

DJ