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

Posts tagged “movies

Spooky Shooting and NEW CDI Development

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Friends,

So it’s a rainy, overcast Michigan day with rain showers. Yesterday we had a beautiful day for a shoot we did. I use to love Halloween as a child making costumes with my mom and grandma’s. I use to try and make my candy last from Halloween to Easter by rationing. My brother would eat all his immediately and want some brotherly handouts. Lastly dad took his candy tax. Anything he liked, could be filled with razor blades or needles and so he would need to test a few. I recall childhood Halloween parties – one of my favorite at my buddy John Luginisland’s house. We made haunted attractions for all the neighborhood kids to attend. Later came costumes parties with spirits and “spirits” – drinks. I have not hit any Halloween themed parties in many years. Maybe because I play other characters in the movies I don’t have that itch like many do. Anyway…this is the reason I’m late with my blogging, doing it on a Monday. CDI was hired to produce “movie content” for a software company. We worked with director Nathaniel Nose (* The Christ Slayer)  and DP Jesse Aragon (* Lost Heart most recently) and many of the CDI usuals. It was a turn of the century spooky short taken from a feature script of mine entitled, “SMOKE & MIRRORS”. We had a cool Model A car out and shot at the Dodge Turner House in Lansing. Watch out Downton Abbey:) It is about a magician-escape artist debunker attending a seance…let’s just say, it was awesome fun to shoot. The crew rocked and the performances were on point. I think I will polish up that script because I might have found the next project to develop with Nathaniel Nose in mind.

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MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND

I’ve continued to have great fan communications on this film. We have had charity events invites, film festival invites with waivers and just a slew of general audiences emails expressing their appreciation of the story. I could not be happier. We are looking for written reviews in magazines that would appeal to the target audience. That audience being military and dog themes. The film is a powerful story and I hope it keeps growing an audience.

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WILD FAITH – We just played the Happy Trails: Virginia Style Film event and I need to reach out to Darby Hinton and see how people enjoyed it. I’m starting to look at putting the pieces in play for the TV series. I think people would like to see these characters return. Take a watch this week and let me know your thoughts.

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THE QUEST TRILOGY – We’ll start PR’ing these once we get past Halloween. All three are now in release and it will be great for people to see them all together. I’ve always said there is a greater story when you watch them all together.  Take a watch on FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER.

Development is also underway with several other films to fill the 2020/2021 filming schedule. I hope to have a very productive writing schedule. I’m about to really start working a few scripts every day. We’re about to move into PR and development stages while enjoying our time with our families over the holidays. Thank you for stopping by and we’ll chat again on Sunday.

DJ

 


Thoughts On Casting and December Updates.

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So with the weather change in Michigan from bitter cold to wet and warm, my sinuses were bugging me this morning. I also had to play ref for doggie wrestle-mania. Also with the snow melting I had to do some puppy proofing in the yard. Little Finn is starting to explore, dig, patrol and eat sticks, bark, mud. I had to harvest up the remaining wild grapes because grapes can cause kidney failure. He started some puppy classes and Daphne, our older dog has been teaching him good and bad. Before Luke got sick Daphne and he use to play fight every day. She is a touch out of shape but Finn is making her exercise daily. They are quickly becoming good siblings. Our only regret is that Luke did not get to take on a parenting role with a new little one.

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In between playing referee and doing work we’ve had TCM playing and I’ve enjoyed watching the many classic films. It is funny now how we can watch the credits and so many names are lost to me. I’m a lover of film and I still don’t recognize certain names that I’m sure were common household names at one time. But that is why we seek to make a few classic films that stand the test of time. To create those few roles that people will talk about for decades to come. I feel like I’m just coming into my prime as a storyteller both as an actor and producer. I also feel like my writing is finally being acknowledged and that’s a gift. But all the recent success is built upon many years of hard work.

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The symbol of the KNIGHT CHILLS franchise.

I think 2019 is finally the year to do the EARLY YEARS OF COLLECTIVE DEVELOPMENT which will be part film education. I would like to include the four first CDI films and the BTS and maybe a few retrospective interviews which might go on the social media. But before Michigan had a film boom it was truly a barren landscape with just a few filmmakers making a go at it. But KNIGHT CHILLS, FROM VENUS, HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS and FIGURE IN THE FOREST were our learning years and we paid close attention to the business. I would like to package them up into a definitive collection.

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Signing for fans at the 15th anniversary showing of IN THE WOODS

Another area that I want to focus on is merchandise with our films. It’s something that I truly enjoyed throughout my life and I would like to be part of that tradition. I’ve had big ideas but like most filmmakers I’ve always been under financed. That is changing and I would love to put some of those plans in action. So feel free to drop a note here about any ideas for merchandise that you would like to see.

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This week many projects were taken to the next level. In 2019 we’re going to see three CDI films move out strongly into the marketplace. We’re now on the front lines of a new theatrical partnership our distributor has put together. I’m awaiting the home video dates on WILD FAITH that has been delivered to the distributor. Tomorrow the re-mastered theatrical version of WILD FAITH will go to the theatrical partners. I’m in hopes to have a much more detailed announcement next week. We are still putting the final touches on a few deal points. But it will be all worth the wait.

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MBF has had a good showing at the first film markets. The feedback I received was commenting on the professional quality and strength of the story. Our first trailer was put together somewhat in haste due to a sudden demand for a first look after Mipcom. It was decided to spruce up the AFM teaser and release it as a first trailer. I’ve had many people reach out who support our military and/or dogs to comment on the story. This will be a wonderful film with a strong message and we look forward to bringing it to everyone. There is an initial interest in a limited theatrical release – more to be discussed once we get the film further done the line.

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THE CHRIST SLAYER – If you’ve watched FORTY NIGHTS and traveled into King Herod’s lands in CHASING THE STAR, the next journey is coming. The Quest Trilogy will be complete with part 3. We’ve been working hard in the studio and the film is now sounding great! The picture is just epic and now the music is matching. Sound design is so much fun adding wind, animals, crowds, creaks, sails, swords and the list goes on. We’re adjusting dialog where it’s needed to create great from good. Post is a serious process that really seperates the professional from the amateur. It takes time to get there and those watching our films would notice a steady progression. Now when we sit in the IMAX watching it on the big screen I’m always taken back to those early days. Keep moving forward.

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LOST HEART is the film that is slated to be on deck for Spring 2019. A funny heart-warming drama that also deals with a few serious topics. Add a large dose of Michigan charm and I think we’ll have another great film. It will again be distributed under our deal with BMG. I’m also looking at Summer and Fall films and I know it will be a productive year ahead. I think we’ve found a few of our actors and some are returning favorites. We’ll be posting on this film as we enter the new year.

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I’m going to also use the winter to finish a few of my other scripts including my Sci-Fi script. I’ve had a few people talk to me about commercial and non-commercial projects in the new year. Again if your script is good. You’re financed and compensating your talent, and you think I fit something, run it by me. I know, I’ve offended a few people with passes on projects in the past, but it was done politely.  We are defined by what we say NO too. When I say YES, I put my all into it. I’ve got a few projects that I put a lot of myself into and they never got finished. A couple were well compensated projects but still the art is buried. So I look for quality and people who can finish.

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Speaking on this. I recently saw a project that looked interesting but before someone rearranges their day or even does a read, especially as a co-star or major role, I think signing a non-disclosure to read a script is in order.  If I have not worked with the group before, I do ask that the project be funded. Because reading, really reading can take 1-2 hours and if that time is spent, it should be worth it. There are exceptions, but I’m talking cold auditions for unknown parties. The response of “compensation is pending role and will be discussed if role offered” or “script provided only if cast”…whoa! What if the talent dislikes the script. Hours driving, memorizing, reading only to drop out after a read because of a poor script/blueprint. I don’t like my time wasted or to waste other’s time but will often do a quick “sketch” off sides if the story interests me. If they like the sketch the next step is to read the entire script if the film is funded. Nothing like those inexperienced filmmakers trying to raise 3.2 mil to do their first film. That’s like me and a few buddies building a spaceship out of lumber and junk to fly to Mars. Not likely. So, I’m going to remain open to working with some new folks but if you approach please do have your ducks in a row. I’m happy to see that happening with some of the Michigan groups. I’m beyond happy to see the success both in business and storytelling.

And with that…I’m going to make some lunch and do a few things around the house ands get ready for another great week. It has been a great mix of business and catching up with family and friends. I hope you also enjoy your day and have a great week ahead.

DJ


Video Update 2: New Film Updates

Thank you new readers/watchers – I appreciate you all. The wrist is still healing so video update again. Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/o36INp-e1e0

DJ


A Loss of a Friend

While most of my blogs are directed towards my career and I occasionally make personal notes pertaining to certain things – I don’t often get too in-depth but today I will share a little. My imagination and love to play stemmed from a great childhood that I shared with a group of children in our own small secluded neighborhood on the edge of Lansing in Michigan. I moved there when I was five when my parents built a house. Our neighborhood was surrounded by woods that would become our Sherwood Forest, Ninja training camps and battleground for numerous BB gun wars. Forts of all sizes were built underground, in trees and everywhere else, usually consuming every piece of lumber we could pirate from our dad’s workshops. The one neighbor across the street Alan, was the 1st to come introduce himself to the “new kid” – me. He had been held back in school which to some gave him a negative moniker. But to us he was the mad scientist and Scottie from Star Trek rolled up into one. He was handy with all manner of tools. He had a good basic understanding of electronics and mechanics although some of his handy work was a genuine fire hazard. He was the guy who brought so much to our adventures and was anything but disadvantaged as some in the school district would have had you believe. In the earliest “movies” we would play with my dad’s camcorder and create our stories. Alan was always good for a little special effects especially if it included fire. I could fill a book with the adventures we all had but I will not write them all here. The thing is he passed away today after an illness that took on several complications. I had followed his progress for several weeks and recently thought that perhaps, just maybe he was on the mend. It was not meant to be so. So as of today he no longer has to struggle with the day to day issues of living in this world. I know he will be greatly missed. His sense of humor and his gentle demeanor will be remembered. But most of all I’m so happy that he came and knocked upon our front door to introduce himself all those years ago. I recall that day as if it was yesterday. I thank him for the friendship we shared during our adventuresome youth. My life would not have been the same without Alan’s friendship in those early years.

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One of my early birthday parties with my brother standing behind us, Darrel to my right and Alan to my left. RIP my old friend. I’m in AZ finishing the final week of shooting here but my heart will be with his family putting him to final rest.

Lesson: Follow your dreams and be good to one another. Appreciate those around you for you never know when their time here amongst us all might end.

DJ

 

 



New “40 Nights” Website and more…

For the first time in many moons I have missed my Saturday blog. We are filming “40 Nights” a biblical era drama in Yuma, AZ. It has been a wonderful shoot but also a taxing one to my body. Shooting up in the mountains on uneven ground wearing sandals. Temps that peak around 90 degrees mid day and lots of dialogue to put forth in character. I’ve been behind on PR releases that are prepared and ready to roll out. I’ve had day after day of great scenes working with friends old and new. Here is the new .com website for the film

http://www.40nightsthemovie.com

We will be announcing the distribution for this film very soon. We had multi companies wanting this movie and we settled on the deal we wanted. We’re excited about everything surrounding the project. The movie is slated for a 2015 release.

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The post on BESTSELLER is finishing up for its May premiere. It looks as if we’re going to have additional ASHES OF EDEN theatrical showings in AZ before the national home video release in May.

Lots of new developments on releases and upcoming projects but I have to wait for the PR releases to fully announce. So I’m going to hop off here and jump onto those releases. One more week to go on this project with lots of talented artists participating.

Keep clawing your way to the middle:)

DJ


Haters, Hazelnut and Hollywood Kick Off’s

SMSDRelease PartyIt has been a nice week in Michigan with most of the humidity taking a break and beautiful, cool days to enjoy. Yes, the hazelnut is beside me as I type these words to all of you. I want to welcome even more readers from as far away as Italy and Australia – welcome. We are an international family.

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This moment in our film industry is really quite unique as the theaters are down in attendance this summer. I think people can get their fill of flying metal and action that is hard to follow. These movies have their place just like visual rides like you might find at Disney World but people like to FEEL. This requires characters that you actually care about. Some of you might know our “Ashes of Eden” film is playing in select theaters in Michigan now and will be expanding. Our hometown run (Hard to be a prophet in your own home town) has been surprisingly good and was extended to the end of the month. We will see if they move us to other locations. Aside from Celebration Cinema where we are playing we have four other chains showing interest and with one chain we are locking down dates. I almost get tired of the daily promotions which I feel you can overdue but this film is worth a watch. We just got a 4 Star review from a Canadian film reviewer that reviews family/faith content and this follows a Michigan 5 Star review. I think the acting and the pacing of the film allows you to invest in the story. There’s also a wide age of interest in the film because everyone can relate to something/someone in the film. So as the film plays or expands into Detroit-area and other cities do take a chance and see why this film is grabbing attention. I’m also happy to say, should it be impossible to make it out to theaters it will be coming to TV and DVD, BlueRay and video on demand. Our best estimate factoring in our theater runs would be shortly after Christmas. That could change but we shall see what happens. But do try to see on the big screen as it is a great experience.

I spent yesterday packing and such for another trip North to complete the small pick ups on the “Bestseller” feature. (Which is looking great) It’s exciting to have so many wonderful stories/films rolling out one behind the other. This film is INTENSE and I think fans of dark thrillers will be on the edge of their seats. This film will also be doing theatrical runs once we get past post and our premiere(s). I think the premieres will happen in November/December.

“Donors” is looking to make a few appearances at a couple horror festivals this fall before releasing nationally. It’s time for some people to meet Dr. Savior:)

I could list more of the in “post production” films but you can see yourself on my IMDB.com (DJ Perry) – which brings me to that data base. I’m a beta tester for their casting sites and I love the direction that they are moving in. They are also cleaning up some of the Star Meter corruption that runs wild on there. Back in the day it was funny that we had issues with unreleased movies being attacked with ratings of 1’s and 2’s before a film had even released. The sad part for those folks lies in the fact that the final proof is in the pudding. Despite a few hateful remarks these films mostly got the release they deserved. A few bad comments thrown at “Book of Ruth” didn’t stop over 250,000 DVD’s from selling. Some rocks thrown didn’t stop “Ghost Town” from renting 85,000 times in the first week of release. On an international level this hatred is like throwing pebbles in a river trying to stop the water flow. Back in the day we traced IP’s and all this nonsense and it almost always went back to someone who we either didn’t hire or a filmmaker/screenwriter upset that someone else did the business and got their film made and seen. It has happen with almost every successful film. I can almost note which films are going to be successful based on how much hate comes at it.

“Ashes of Eden” has suffered a bit of this “Hate” as someone has added (usually via multiple accounts)… a series of 2’s when voting on IMDB. Now unbiased with test audiences and such we know what we have and anyone who actually watched the film I think would agree that they would never rate it below a 5 (on a scale of 10) unless they had other issues. I tried to explain it in a recent production meeting like this… People are quick to support if they feel they are doing a mercy favor such as buying girl scout cookies or going to see some hobby film to support an unlikely dream. But when that given support becomes real business and adds to the commercial power of an individual or group – some of that support dries up. The truth is that many artists don’t like to see others get ahead. I saw it in the actor slums of Hollywood my 1st trip out west. I had people saying to me, “You’ve done more in two weeks than I’ve done in two years.”  Really? NEWSFLASH – Group hangouts whereas you bitch why you can’t get ahead or why you didn’t get cast in this or that WILL NOT get you ahead in our industry. Same goes with whatever industrious hater is spending time doing the data entry (I know I’ve done my share of data entry) trying to knock someone else’s business and/or art. IF that person spent the same amount of time refining their own craft or looking at more effectively marketing their own craft – those people would be much further ahead. The HATE effort might make a few people go see PLANET OF THE APES versus our film but on the overall stage we’ll just grow further ahead because you can’t beat good word of mouth. If that person(s) is using our success as hate fuel – it will only get worse.

I honestly, sincerely do appreciate true success from other deserving people. When the art is good, the process to get that art is done fair and it’s executed in a business way so that it can benefit the entire group of artists – I say GOOD JOB! BUT – Throwing together something subpar and wanting me to love it, like it or anything else just brings my fathers words to mind on half assin’ things. I do credit doers and motivated self-starters-  I just think some of that needs to be refined or they will not evolve and thrive in the professional realm. So IF you are a person who looks over their shoulder constantly or is trying to move forward but spending more time being concerned with others art/success you will likely fail. This causes only more blame and resentment and the circle continues.

I’ve been rightly criticized because honestly I don’t pay much attention to other projects unless I really like it. I’m extremely busy with our slew of projects and when not doing my business I’m enjoying people, nature and learning new interesting things about our vast world. If I can inspire a few haters to redirect their energy towards positive growth – all good. Watch the films and if that hate is what your heart speaks by all means write it. It might make you feel better about yourself by not taking accountability for your own lack of progress. Blame others if you need to but know you can’t stop real success. If you can’t control your own destiny you sure can’t control others. Why? Good example below put into soccer terms.

In soccer terms – if you are pulling a jersey you are likely mismatched against someone better and you are about to be owned.

“SUPERMODEL SHOWDOWN Costa Rican Adventure” launched on http://www.indieflix.com See AFTERDARK Channel and TONIGHT in Hollywood our host Nadia Dawn will be front and center at a party celebrating the release. The first three shows are running on Indieflix and the others will roll out once an audience starts to grow. Pop over to the party and the Indieflix site to check it out!

We have had more investors approach on some upcoming films and so once I get past this pick up we will start looking at a couple of new film projects. I look forward to seeing where the path will lead and what new artists we will work with in the days ahead.

Have a wonderful weekend and be good to one another.

“Don’t hate – create!”

Nadia Dawn will host a "Supermodel Showdown Costa Rican Adventure" in Hollywood TONIGHT

Nadia Dawn will host a “Supermodel Showdown Costa Rican Adventure” in Hollywood TONIGHT

DJ