(Happy Memorial Day – Veteran Paul Landings and Brown Boy)
I want to welcome the new readers from Spain, Egypt and other territories around the world. The mornings have still been chilly and so the hot hazelnut coffee is a welcome treat. Again it was just an amazing week but a few things have sat on my mind. Poisoning wells is a term we use in our producing and it means an individual or company that doesn’t take care in their action and business and it can ruin it for everyone. It happens with locations, investors and business relationships. I’ve been accused of keeping my cards close and that is because many do not treat those relationships as they should. Many people are mindful only of their immediate wants and don’t look long-term. CDI has been built upon many years of trial and error and filtering out the toxic and/or lazy. I really do care about our people and seek to develop them. At CDI fertile grounds exist for tribal loyal to undertake project development but many like to make their own go at things. No experienced overhead and management often results in zero funding even if the creative talents exist. People ask me what “tribal loyal” means and it is quite simple. If you are lucky enough to hunt up a strong opportunity do you bring it to the tribe? The tribe has the success record and gives confidence to investors and new partners. But many would still horde the contact and try to make the best of it, often resulting in failure. In simple terms if you hunted up a deer for food, would you bring it back to feed the tribe or hide out by oneself to horde the kill? We’re fortunate to have developed a solid core of people at CDI that know that a contact/opportunity will be properly used for the good of the tribe. We have some that are “in orbit,” that circle the tribe, enjoying many of the benefits but maintain their…looking for something better to come along. Which of course is a perception and often isn’t better- “the grass appears greener…” you get it.
I had one situation whereas an established, well groomed relationship was approached covertly by one of these “in orbit” tribal members to further a personal agenda versus the tribal agenda that I serve daily. This go-around communication was brought to my attention out of respect for our mutual business by this long-term business associate. I’ve gotten these calls from LA with people using my name as a ‘friend’ because of Facebook but that is another thing. The big table is for those with funding and accountable for the money. This person circumventing was just like thousands of others seeking funds. But they were politely given the same answer I’ve always given. I’m not tech savvy, I’m people savvy (sincere) and so that is what I focus on. Collaboration and deal-making. When I’m successful many artists get put to work. But the process in which this particular individual went about getting their own answers reflected poorly upon them. They made light of it when it was addressed and in the same communication was asking for more from the tribe. So the hard truth is that previous to CDI funding, there wasn’t any funding confidence in this person. This person’s personal agenda pursuit yielded the same answers. Now that their perceived “better” agenda doesn’t look plausible they return back asking for more. But should the “more” be held back and gifted to the loyal and those enthusiastic and appreciative to grow and develop with our tribe of artists? I recall a conversation years ago that “We got all we’re going to get out of DJ Perry, no need to communicate with him anymore.” Harsh but a realism in my world.
A TV series and a continuous slate of films with an increase in size and scope is what lies in store for Collective Development Inc. It is not a boast, a challenge or anything of the sort – it is just a truth if I’m drawing breath.
Within CDI, I do expect a certain behavior from our tribal members and it matches what I expected at summer camp, the martial arts dojo and in soccer practices/games. I try to use the resources we have wisely to do the big 3 – stay on schedule, stay on budget, give high artistic quality. Team formation and management is what I excel at and it starts by recognizing and respected each cast and crew as an artist. And my power to make definitive decisions lies in my accountability no more. Currently we don’t have enough projects active to have every artists working their ideal role via acting or director, DP, etc…but we will. And those hungry for more could undertake in-house development. Done from within it carries the weight of the company and the field of successful endeavors. Outside the tribe, that project stands alone and the same hinderance exists.
I personally could have left the tribe and been a lone wolf as the offers were there. But I realized immediately that separated from the tribe one doesn’t carry the same power. I represent honorably our tribe’s storytelling ability. And it is a TRIBE. Every person involved plays a great role in the success. Know that these examples of missteps are not one person but a few scattered over a span of several years. Some recent and some not. But I will grant you this nugget of wisdom. I see many artists pass up opportunities that they feel are not in line with their own direct dreams. I’ve learned a secret. Often the keys to our own dreams lie in helping someone else achieve their own dream. I’ve watched people selfishly step on and do whatever, compromise whatever, all seeking that elusive key. But what if the key appears only as a reward for helping others? We are all interconnected. The other thing is we cannot always help everyone save by good example. I love as we grow we keep bringing more artists together. In my life when I’ve had external issues I looked internally. Tend the inner fire. Also the path forward is seldom a straight line. That line might go all over the board and that is the journey of life. Live it well and worry less about the final destination. Keep moving in the right direction.
And I want to be clear – the above examples are NOT some passive aggressive lament on personalities of a few. As the counselor, sensei, coach and CEO of Collective Development, I take my accountability. But my decisions won’t and don’t always line up with everyone’s opinions. But even when some feel I got it wrong I think everyone would agree that I’m asserting fairness as I see it. My passion for the stories being told is also unquestionably legit. I tell stories I truly care about. So you have two sides to a coin. Have I failed to open some minds to the collective strength of a tribe of artists? Have they failed to recognize and appreciate the opportunity and benefits of an artistic tribe? Bottom line is we are growing at CDI and I am looking to give opportunities to those tired of the selfish agendas and wanting something more inclusive. We have had some very good crews over the last several years. Our last film really flowed well and all during the break in the Covid surges. We are just getting back to crewing on our next WW2 drama -shall we take a look?
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
A few of the departments include discussions with the keys so we’re going to be focusing on crewing in June. Also our German casting is almost complete so we’ll be announcing them. Sponsorship and brand alignment is launched and I might have our first to announce very soon! Our Facebook site is growing and adding more everyday.
LOST HEART & BIGFOOT, UFOS AND JESUS
The General Market (GM) release of ‘Lost Heart’ has begin and it will start appearing on platforms as early as next week. This movie started in the family/faith market which can turn some viewers off. But this film truly is much more and deserves to be seen by a wide international audience. The GM title will also do better overseas where these three words in the title are more easily understood versus ‘Lost Heart’ but by any name the film is a true joy and we hope you and your family will love it.
Under the title ‘Lost Heart’ the film will be up in June for ‘Best Film of the Year’ at the Crown Awards. Here is a recent review of the film which I really enjoyed.
BEST YEARS GONE – So the film is racing around the post production track. Dialog, sound design and music are underway. We had two of our celebrity judges sound off on their top 3 songs. These videos are on our Facebook page so seek us out. We will be announcing the winner very soon and a music video will be done. We had a meeting on that and we’re quite excited. The actual first official trailer is done visually and is now in post-audio and we are all excited to share it. The trailer and screen captures will travel to our distributor to begin poster work. We have two premiere events in the work. Both in September with one being a theatrical premiere in Owosso, MI and a race/bigscreen event with the Springport Racetrack. We had a great meeting and scout on Friday and it will be another unique CDI experience and we’ll be looking to film it.
Recently FORTY NIGHTS broke the 1 mil viewers on Encourage TV and with TV play around the world this trilogy (Part 2 CHASING THE STAR and Part 3 THE CHRIST SLAYER) is being seen by 10’s of millions. I really enjoy the great fantail from those who keep discovering and enjoying these films.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – The trailer teaser for this documentary will roll out July 4th! We are really excited to be bringing this look and eventually entire documentary on the nearly forgotten art of catch-can be brought back to life by some of the greatest grapplers on the planet.
SMOKE & MIRRORS – I’m looking forward to seeing this project come together and as noted this project was created from a feature script. I think the success of this short showcases what an incredible story could be told as a feature.
MAN’S BEST FRIEND is a title that ties into Memorial Day weekend giving viewers a look at the sacrifice many of the survivors of war made. If you haven’t seen the film please do take a watch. If you have seen it, enjoy another watch.
So yesterday it was yard mowing, trimming, planting and such as we put in our veggies and herbs. Today maybe a bit more of the same plus I might do a version roast in the smoker. I always think about maybe deleting the opening ponderings and stick to just updates but those lessons discussed are what will truly help you succeed. I could just talk about the success we’ve had in our updates but if you’re having issues getting traction with your own endeavors maybe those words will bring you insight. I hope you all have an enjoyable couple of days. Happy Memorial Day! Remember those US troops who dies to give us all the freedoms we have.
Until next week!
Another chilly morning rescued by hot coffee as I write down my collection of thoughts for the week. I’ve had a few projects that I’ve been forced to be the voice of reason on and others that suffer simply from lack of communication. That said, the work pushes forward. It is a very busy time with six films making their way to market. Collaboration comes from talented mutually respectful individuals who focus their efforts to create something that may not have happened if not for the collaboration. I’ve spoken with two directors that are sharing this communication issue with partners. Some people really just want to be a celebrity even if it is fleeting. The 15 minutes of fame and then they are gone. Others have a real calling and will continue to share their artistic journey with their fans and audiences. Fame follows the work and that is just that – WORK. The final result transcends the hardships but many lose interest when they realize how hard you actually work in our industry. That is often without the security of the 9 to 5.
Some of these same people are seldom to communicate unless they need something – often when I call someone it is because I’ve turned over a stone and found an opportunity that could benefit a person or project. I’ve been told this is rare and I can recall only a handful of situations whereas someone called offering opportunity. More often it is a favor asked. If I called someone and said, “I’ve got this role” RING! A callback within the hour or by days end. If I say I’ve got a few questions or whatnot the days/weeks can click by. Funny thing is that they only hurt themselves with their actions because as I stated often I am calling to offer something not ask. Also I evaluate working relationships by actions. I know that every one of these film projects are a large undertaking whereas communication is vital. If the venture lacks this it will be short-lived and not reach its full potential. Now not everyone is cut out for the hard producer work that goes into these ventures. It is not just a vanity credit. Just like some folks are not wired to handle the stress of such projects. I just happen to be a person who thrives on the energy of teamwork and organization to complete goals. So be it in your business or personal know that communication is the key.
Also people have to control their own feelings of inferiority, insecurity or any other negative feelings and not let it control them or their actions. I’ve chosen to be loyal and work for the benefit of a tribe of artists versus the “just me” approach to our industry. I think that baffles some people who for decades keep waiting for that time when I’m just going to give someone a screw job. It has never happen and never will. Errors and mistakes have been made but never with ill-will or intention in my heart. I love when good fortune smiles upon people. But I see selfishness around me all the time both inside and outside our business. Sometimes someone’s overreaction to situations gives great insight to that person’s internal struggles with themselves. Anger often hides guilt or self-blame and is a sign of deeper issues. I’ve realized over the years I can only lead by example and I maintain a baseline of expected respect. Good communication as noted above is an action that says, I respect you. You can see how these things go hand in hand.
This is my B-Day month and it always puts me in a reflective place. I’m proud of all the stories I’ve helped tell and the many more that will be told. I’ve watched as some move a little farther away from the tribal fire to explore their own path. I also have seen the new warriors drawn to the fire, coming to join the battle. With a tribe of artists it has to be ALL IN or NOT. Sounds Yoda-like but there is truth in all that. There are many fence sitters out there that want to benefit from a group or organization. They are just waiting to see what boat to jump into. They often take actions to benefit the self over the benefit of the many because it serves them. How I journey is just as important as the final destination and I will not step on others to get where I’m going. The grass often appears greener elsewhere but upon close inspection it is just the sunlight playing tricks.
Communicate Well, Be Loyal, Give Respect and Be Giving…
OK. Enough of the trials and tribulations of working within group dynamics. It’s a huge balance of egos, artistic vision and materials but when it all comes together it is a major achievement to be proud of. I’ve got much to be proud of.
June 13th is a big day with a distribution screening on one coast (Darkest Night) and another event screening that night. (7 Stones) I’m also in talks on licensing additional rights on several of the new film products and also with the existing library films. I’ve heard a festival showing is coming soon for “Benjamin” and also hear new artwork for “Deadly Renovations” is coming for the forthcoming domestic release. I’m also hearing another theatrical for “Locked in a Room” could be around the corner. I believe in Bay City but I will know more soon. “Outside the Wire” doc screenings are planned and in planning – so needless to say I have been BUSY!
I might be announcing a couple of new acting projects very soon. I was sent a few scripts/roles to review and now I’m in talks on the business. One could have me filming in my state of Michigan and one far away in France. Crazy business that we work in but I have to say I love it.
A few new projects are moving into development, others continue moving down that development trek. So the future is in planning as we speak. I encourage you to take control of your future. To take control of your self and actions. If you give you will receive so be the creative artist you were meant to be. Go seed your garden, nurture it and prepare to reap what you have sown.
Have a great weekend!