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

Posts tagged “October

September Updates: Premiere, Shoots, Chickens…

I’m dealing with new format changes with my WordPress but with my hazelnut coffee beside me I’ll get through it. Those who read my last post have an idea of the swirling issues we’ve been facing. One of our fellow actor/producers had their significant other pass. This event fell right as we were gearing up for the national PR on LOST HEART. After a beautiful life tribute and send off on a high school football field our attention is falling back on LOST HEART. Essentially we pushed everything by two weeks after discussing with the distributor and parties involved.

If you did not read the previous announcement I will lay out the rough details. First we’ll be doing a private ‘welcome party/media night’ on Friday 16th of October and the private cast/crew screening on Sat 17th of October. This event will be shot by director Nathaniel Nose to be ended and delivered to our distributor by Oct 30th. We have a call Weds with our distributor to discuss the ONE NIGHT ONLY EVENT DATE in November. You can subscribe in advance to ENCOURAGE TV, it is free and easy.

Encourage TV

Following that the distributor will choose our exclusive partner for a TV release and home video will follow. A new and exciting roll out in this new and exciting age. I will have more info next week and we’ll be throwing out the PR this week!

SMOKE & MIRRORS

Speaking of director Nathaniel Nose (The Christ Slayer) – we’ve been putting the music and sound design to our short concept film SMOKE & MIRRORS starring David Gries & Melissa Anschutz. The poster art is almost complete and you can follow along at our developing FB page –

https://www.facebook.com/Smoke-Mirrors-105528581284615/

We discussed ENCOURAGE TV previously but it truly has become a great place to watch films. Our other films are skyrocketing on the site. WILD FAITH has been gaining 300k+ views per week and MBF has been growing at about 100k/week. THE QUEST TRILOGY is on there and we’re preparing for the big HOLIDAY push for FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. I spoke with someone yesterday who saw the middle film not knowing it was a trilogy. That is my goal for this holiday season is to get the awareness that there are three films. The few notes of confusion by some viewers on CHASING THE STAR stem from the fact they did NOT know it was a series of films. It greatly helps the overall story if you watch all three together. So that is my goal – and to have it seen by millions more than last year!

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH‘ – Our documentary film on the sport/art history of Catch-Can Wrestling is underway. We’re taking donations and planning the next phase of this shoot that shows the passionate individuals bringing back this art. We will be starting a FB page to follow in the near future.

BEST YEARS GONE – This fine story has been putting pieces in play as we adjust to everything going on. We will be staging parts of the film more mid-Michigan to control certain aspects of filming. Also we are exploring breaking the shoot up into a few smaller shooting chunks. We’ve been doing some character work between us and I’m happy to say the characters are coming right along. Almost screen ready! Are you ready? Good!

I almost lost my blog update once because of this new format but I recovered it. I’m gonna call it good enough and wrap this up. I will say that I got the AUTUMN ALE bottled and the ROTHGA (Return of the Hoppy Grape Ape) will be next. We took down the old garden fence and replaced it with a brand new one surrounding the chicken coop. The three ‘golden girls’ are adjusting nicely and even Finn (our young dog) is getting use to these strange birds in our yard. We now have a large quantity of wood to cut up for the wood stove so a few viking days of chopping lie ahead. I hope you all have a great holiday weekend. Be safe and be kind to one another.

DJ


Father’s Day and Cusp of a Birthday – Updates!

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Good morning my friends. Welcome new readers from Serbia, Israel and coffee cheers to you all. I want to also take this moment to thank all of you Father’s out there. Thanks to all the men who take on father roles and give guidance. I’m so grateful to have my father who was kind, strict, generous and taught us much by his actions. I still am amazed by everything he ‘balanced’ while dealing with marriage at a young age and raising two boys. His dream and his goal was to have a family. My goals have included the building of a film family. I also have been so lucky to have the family life I’ve had. I’ve loved my furry family as much as I would have any human child. I value all life and nurture where I can. I’m also on the cusp of a milestone birthday. This week I’ll add another mark on the number of times I’ve gone around the sun. So I have much to be thankful for. I’ve also watched my brother follow in my dad’s footsteps and become a wonderful dad. So to all of you out there – Happy Father’s Day.

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Let me see – we had a producers ‘meeting of the minds’ this past week over our next CDI film BEST YEARS GONE.  So much great pre-production has been underway including the announcement of Erika Hoveland who will be playing opposite me in the film. Our tribe of talent gets a little wider with each film. Our restrictions due to the virus are getting slightly better as small productions start to creep out for commercial day shoots and such. Any of these shoots where you see them just ‘going for it’ with no precautions is a good example of again hobby shooting. If you have no accountability to investors, cast/crew safety, state/union/insurance guidelines we are not playing the same game. It’s a lot to balance but we have a great game plan forming up by great people.

Having filmed for so many years where many of our families deal with our strange storytelling habit I have always made a point to try and be wrapped for the year by Thanksgiving. I don’t like to be filming between Thanksgiving and New Year save a few exceptions. That said, we’ve chosen the furthest shoot window possible. So our onset pre-production week will be end of Oct into early November. And the shoot will be 15 days in November wrapping out a handful of days before Thanksgiving. We’ll make the few needed story adjustments and the hope is we will be further down the road from these virus restrictions. We’ll also start some B-roll, beauty and VFX shots in advance. I’m so very excited to get shooting but you want to be smart when you do it.

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LOST HEART is being mixed together. The musical score, sound design and dialog. We have started as a group to discuss how we will premiere the movie. We might have an outside big screen premiere much akin to a premiere we did for DEADLY RENOVATIONS in AZ. A band, food and the ability to have people spread out some. Following that a run in theaters and drive in’s would be the ideal situation. This funny and heart warming movie will be just the needed thing for many out there.

Asking Forgiveness

MAN’S BEST FRIEND might play a few more festivals this year but the audience keeps building. Thank you to all the fans of the movie who have reached out. I can say the same for WILD FAITH and the development work on the TV series continues. I also had some people reach out to express their joy in finding The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) I think it is helping that people are realizing that there is three films that have interconnecting pieces. I had People ask if CDI will be doing more biblical adventures. I would like to when the timing is right.

Renovation Movie Clips

I’m excited to announce that a new deal has been made with ITN Distribution to get three of the CDI associated films back out into the marketplace. The previously mentioned Deadly Renovations, Donors and Darkest Night. More as that develops and they have new art and new release destinations.

I’ve been two weeks without my Movie Magic software because of my computer update to Catalina but it has now been fixed. So I can continue my weekly writing and I’m very happy about that. The yard has never looked better and we just added flowers and got more plants for the garden. I seeded a few lawn spots due to tree-cutting and behold it is filling in. Daily entertainment from all the birds and critters which we’ve been feeding has kept smiles upon our faces. I hope you all have a productive week and I look forward to speaking with you all next week. Keep your chin up if you’re facing hardship and just keep moving forward.

Be good to one another.

DJ

 

 

 


Exciting Updates. New Joy. A Few Nuggets of Wisdom

So I’m balancing my laptop as I sip my coffee and try to type. Lulu our cat has taken an interest in our new little furry boy Finn. Daphne our other dog is taking her time to warm up. It took her 3-4 days with Luke before he was totally accepted and it was a lifelong love affair from there. Little Finn has all the same courageous and brave attributes. He was his puppy pack leader. He’s slept great for two nights now and has had zero accidents. He had the outside potty down from his two visits. Play, sleep, explore and eat. Repeat as needed. It was an emotional tear to put this bundle of joy over the pain of losing Luke too soon. I joked that Luke’s ‘force ghost’ is coming to Finn and teaching him all the fun stuff as we sleep. He is his own little man but he will definitely be the new cuddle king and will grow into the protector. Even last night on the back porch Daphne was barking at the top of the stairs at whatever critter was wandering the yard to collect food. Finn ran up beside her to give his support. They shared a sniff as if to say, “I got this” and Finn bounced down the stairs first. No lack of bravery. After a hard month of loss in October the month of November is shaping up to be a thankful one.

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This past couple weeks has been extremely busy with the movie business. I remember being in the midst of the storm, working five projects with different artists. Finishing sound design, listening to musical score, VO and title credits approvals, new trailer, new posters, finalizing deals, development but before frustration could ever sit in, I felt blessed.

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I get to work with all these fellow artists creating beautiful stories. I get to watch such talented actor friends become these roles. I know the hard work that our crews gave each day so that we could assemble the pieces.  I was moved by the music that just injected the scenes with hair-raising emotion. What are these developments? A few early spoilers before the PR releases.

A plot forms

  1. The Wild Faith phase one deal is done. An actual purchase of the property will take place before a TV series moves forward. But that has to wait because as the kick off film in a new partnership/division WILD FAITH will be going into theaters in March 2019. This will be a wider release vs our limited showcase that did very well. We’ve added a new narrator that will start and end our story. He will be well-known to almost everyone and our own Melissa Anschutz got to be in-studio with him in Nashville. There is your hint:) We started delivering elements to the distributor and we’ll deliver the film later next week. The theatrical screens could be tens, hundreds or even a thousand plus as that is what is in their network. They LOVE the film and we know that this film is very timely so I hope many get to see it on the big screen. But any number of screens over our 10 or so we did on our own will be viewed as a success.DJ Perry as Jesus in THE CHRIST SLAYER
  2.  THE CHRIST SLAYER is looking and sounding so powerful. It had a great response at mipcom and AFM markets. The new poster art is beautiful. We’ll be announcing that with our release dates that will include 2/4/19 broadcast/digital, 3/4/19 DVD and national “special event” Easter theatrical showings in April. This is all being done through BMG with their theatrical partnership. I’m so EXCITED to see this film on the big screen. Model building, digital matte paintings and more make this one of the largest scale movies we’ve produced.BMG Master
  3.  We have a batch of new teasers inviting families to watch FORTY NIGHTS and already CHASING THE STAR is being add to many Christmas line ups. I encourage you to take a watch or purchase for your collection. If you enjoyed the experience leave your thoughts on IMDB.com or Amazon. Both are on Amazon Prime along with many other great platforms and networks. Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 9.47.14 AM
  4. MBF also made an early appearance at the film markets. We’ve had major interest including in the theatrical. A rough trailer made an appearance at AFM and we’ve polished it up and will announce Tuesday when and where audiences can see it. Also the first official poster will be released. Here is the bottom half of it above. MBF was one of my, if not my most vulnerable roles emotionally. After seeing the trailer and about 30 minutes of the rough cut I think I’ve succeeded in honoring the most important people, our vets. Dog lovers will also enjoy this story because it rings of truth. So much that ANIMAL PLANET is making it one of their featured shows on “Amanda to the Rescue” on Sunday nights. I’m told it’s one of the later shows. Teaserpostcard2
  5. Development. LOST HEART. Often when I write I sometimes have someone in mind. I know literally thousands of actors and that gives good imaginative fuel  to me as a writer. That doesn’t mean that the casting always falls that way, sometimes my imagination gives the better read. But often it works out and that leaves only a few castings to find. We’ve started to get in a few requested reads. The response to the script has been very good. I had good talks about it with our distributor. I’m excited about the upcoming slate of movies that CDI will produce. The theatrical aspect will be incorporated into this new production deal. Yes. PR will be coming out on this as we enter into the new year. 2019 will be exciting. IMG_3164

My last point that can be applied to your own situations. First, vet people, companies and projects. Valuable time can be wasted from your personal or business time on unrealistic or unattainable goals. I’m an optimist for sure but no matter how high I train to jump the peak of Everest will still remain out of my reach. But a path. Many, many steps. Good prep and planning and the goal of reaching the top is possible. Others profit from your time or efforts if you make it or not. These are dangerous people and performance is key. Actions vs words. I see many more projects getting launched and finished. At my various meetings I still hear the horror stories and they often include the same names over and over. So do yourself a favor and be careful  where you put your trust and energy. This weekend while concluding some business with an executive I received this added note which I have to say made my day.

BTW – thank you for the business partnership and friendship. It’s relationships like ours that I can point to as the reason why I love what I do.

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Generations of Collective Development Inc. directors

People have often looked for an agenda in me because of my kindness. It’s real. I can be tough when required and the trick is not to be tough on a new contact because of scars from old business wounds. I am proud of what I’ve done with others in this lifetime. I hope I have many more stories to tell before someone adds a RIP next to my name. The truth is we don’t really know. So how I get to my goals is more important to me versus just getting them at all cost.  My goals will not be obtained by stepping on people or screwing people over. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not perfect. I’ve made unpopular decisions. I’ve miscommunicated before. I’ve unintentionally hurt feelings. But my actions on this path tell people I’m sincere. This is my path. Like me. Dislike me. Nobody can question my dedication to the hard path.

Furthermore, If several projects that your associated with keep having issues, is it bad luck that you keep stepping into? Or are you part of the issue as a common denominator? Passing blame is weak and poor leadership. Accountability is power, take it. We’ve had various small bumps while working on all these projects associated with several films. Any bad communication is always my bad. I spend a good amount of effort trying to keep the communication lines strong and proper. Some days it can be difficult managing but once a good flow is established things really do flourish.

Enjoy the harvest of November. Be grateful for what came to be. Reflect and take accountability for what did not. How can you make a positive change and increase the harvest next year? Do the kind of business you wish to receive.

Have a great week ahead. Watch for those PR releases.

DJ


Schedules – Finishing – Starting Productions – Hello Autumn!

First I want to welcome the new readers from Hong Kong and Singapore. It is a wonderful Sunday and I’m sipping coffee on this chilly morning. Yesterday I did a one-armed mow for the second time. The wrist in a splint and getting stronger each day. The flexibility will take a bit to return but happy it is healing well.

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This week I’ll be watching a new visual work link of THE CHRIST SLAYER with most of the VFX inside. Sound design passes are done and we’ll keep refining plus ADR were required. We’ve been releasing new promo as we head into fall here getting prepared for a premiere, theatrical and home video release. Broadcast and digital will be 2/4/18 and DVD 3/4/18. Who is excited to see part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY? See part 1 FORTY NIGHTS and part 2 CHASING THE STAR to catch up.

FORTY NIGHTS

https://www.amazon.com/Forty-Nights-DJ-Perry/dp/B07555FR6R/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537709132&sr=8-1&keywords=forty+nights

CHASING THE STAR

https://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Star-Yancy-Butler/dp/B074PWBBYP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537709274&sr=8-1&keywords=chasing+the+star

Each one is a stand alone adventure but they also have parts that tie into an overall story.  It will be fun to see who gets the stories that unfold throughout the three films.

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WILD FAITH

This week had a good conversation with a prod/distribution studio over the series and we might be putting a few of the older titles down a new distribution channel. We’re working to put a narrator on the front and end of the film that would tie into the tv series. We’ve been working this hard so we can close this home video deal. But just like everywhere communication (or lack of) can slow things. But we’re close to wrapping this up and that will allow us to move forward. It will also move us as a company onto bigger and better things.

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MBF: Man’s Best Friend

We’re still rolling out some official stills and this coming week our director and DP will be adding some pick up shots. The opening intro has been recorded and they’re working on that. We should have a first cut (edit) end of October and a locked picture in November. I’m excited that our film will be showcased on a new ANIMAL PLANET show called ‘Amanda to the Rescue’ this fall. Here is a story in PEOPLE magazine.

https://people.com/pets/animal-planet-show-amanda-to-the-rescue-amanda-giese/

We hope to have the first teaser for you before Christmas:) Ho! Ho! Ho!

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NEW DEVELOPMENT

Development work is underway. If WILD FAITH had been all wrapped up with our narrator and to the distributor that would give some peace of mind. This deal is more complex because it sets the table for the TV series and more. I’ve been slowed in my personal life slightly with my wrist now out of the cast and in a splint for 3 more weeks. It is slowly getting stronger. Also our furry boy Luke has been undergoing cancer treatment since we were in pre-production on MBF.  But I did use the time to prep one of the new scripts working with our distributor BMG. I finished the first draft and have been doing a fine polish. For me this is making it all flow – painting a picture in the mind of the readers. This helps when it comes to translating from page to screen. I’m still looking at a few other writing projects and talking with possible lit agents for a good fit.

I’ve been reading a few in-house scripts and looking at the options. If I can close up the WILD FAITH deal in good time I might look at a winter project but more likely will be spring project. LOST HEART – the script I’ve been polishing is looking like a fall 2019 project. I don’t want to rush it into production we know what happens when that happens. But with THE CHRIST SLAYER premiere and release and end-of-the-year business taxes, I will be busy. I like to take Thanksgiving through Jan. 1st for family activities. My goal is to have TCS ready to premiere by Thanksgiving.

Today I have family over for a cook out and a close friends Bday so I’m going to go get after a few things. I hope you all have a great finish to your weekend and a wonderful week ahead!

DJ

 

 

 


August Updates – Wins and Losses

Good morning to everyone this fine day from balmy Michigan. I’m sipping my coffee and looking at my past blog. I’m not sure if something went wonky last week or not with my post. Either way it has been an eventful week and I’ll give you a few updates.

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The Quest Trilogy – Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer 

This collection of biblical adventures is making its way into the marketplace – I did some updating to our investors including sending a few checks about. Our Amazon rentals were North of 75k last quarter so thank you to all the fans watching out there. The third film is being worked on with music and sound design. I’m going out to the studio on Monday to look at a few scenes shot at the Historic Prison in Yuma, AZ. They were shot in a room near the highway and so at rush hour we collected more noise than we desired. We might have to ADR a few lines and so we’re exploring that. For those not in the knowing ADR is a re-recording of a line clean. I’m hearing amazing things about the music – our composer Dennis Therrian was working on some powerful scenes with Mother Mary (Melissa Anschutz). If you have not watched the first two films please do. They are on Amazon Prime but also many other platforms from Pureflix, Christian Cinema, Google Play and more.

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Wild Faith

We’ve got a group, including myself, that will be attending the screening at the Burbank AMC on Sept 8th at 1:30 with the Burbank International Film Festival. I invite all my west coast friends to come with us back to 1875 and say hello. We’ve also been working on a final piece for our home video release. We’re going to be adding narration to the beginning and end – the front helps frame the story and educate those not up to speed on the Civil War. The ending primes audiences for what will likely be a follow-up feature film or TV series. The narration will be our young lead all grown up and will likely be portrayed by a Country Music Superstar. I’m excited to be bringing this film to audiences worldwide.

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MBF: Man’s Best Friend

The film is on the computers and ready for editing. Some initial work is being done on the intro and once our director returns from his European adventure editing will be full-speed ahead. In the meantime we’ve been releasing our young lead David Reardon’s VLOG and official still photos. We also will start releasing official BTS in the coming weeks. Also a BTS video is being worked on and we’ll have that ready to release in the fall with a first official teaser trailer.

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I’ve been also putting in the hours working on the new script which right now is working title LOST HEART. I’m really happy with the first 40 pages and this week I’ll keep working it. The script is the blue print and I’m taking my time – that isn’t 100% true. Some know we’ve been dealing with our furry boy Luke who is recovering from cancer treatment. Additionally our eldest cat Jameson has been getting more weak and frail. He passed away this week after days with his cat brother standing/laying with him. We buried him and it was sad to see the animals distraught at his loss. He was the kindest of our cats and use to be so shy that people thought he would never leave the house. In the years that followed he made his way to the patio. After that the garden beds and short excursions with his brother. They were sometimes gone for two days before dragging back in for food and days of rest. A good life was had and I’m so happy to have known him all these years. Doing all my business work was one foot in front of the other but creative suffered a few times. Having sick loved ones can be very distracting to the mind and heart.

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This week we also bottled up the FRANKENWINE. In October of last year we had venison coming to the freezer. I had filled the freezer with collected black berries and mulberries from the yard along with the green tomatoes used in “The Green Goblin” wines from our garden. I used all the fruit in a mix calling it…Frankenwine after the classic monster creator. It is strong but also has a tart that quickly gives way to smooth. It was bottled with a few blueberries in each bottle. It already has been in use and will make a nice sipping wine leading into fall. I had to move the process along because I have a garden full of grapes that are soon to ripen. They are already changing to a beautiful purple color. They should be harvested in Sept and I’ll be making my first wine in a while that is made from actual grapes.

I’m ready for the humid heat to break. It will be over 90 today and we have yet another soccer match. We played the number one team last week having only one sub and missing our keeper but played to a 7-2 loss. It felt great doing battle against such a good team. It should have been more like a 4-3 but we missed a few opportunities and their team can shoot. Our sub-keeper was not able to stop those well-targeted shots. But again, a great battle. That kind of work out is what keeps the hands of time moving slow.

I’m going to close things up. Yesterday my significant other found the oak table and buffet she had been looking for. But that meant moving my grandma’s table and buffet to the office/fort in prep of todays move. It was a lot of cleaning, moving and rearranging that I was not quite prepared for. But it was done and today we’ll have a beautiful dining set. I look forward to a many nice meals around the new table.

Cheers! Have a great week and be good to one another.

DJ


Secrets to Casting & Crewing at CDI

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The morning chill made it perfect to sip the hot coffee and talk about my past week. The week was busy with every source of communication jammed with “checking in,” “catching up,” and other “forget me not’s” that have become the pattern when we’re casting and crew a new film. Let’s talk on these two things – CASTING and CREWING.

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Casting – One thing I never understood when I did in-state castings. It was people always saying “They don’t want to see a reel(s)” to which I was always thinking WHAT? In football terms – what coach thinking of recruiting to his team would not want to see game footage? Performance when it is game time. Look at that production value and often an entire production trusting on this individuals performance. I said it before, so few people have their materials around and so agents don’t use them because it makes all the non-reel people look bad. So let’s ignore the most experienced talent because all these others don’t have a reel. We watch, identify and try to keep the hoop jumping to a minimum. I hate cattle calls like everyone else and luckily have not attended one in many years. But we try to focus on what we really need so not to waste anyones time. Make the most of every opportunity.

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Crewing – like acting – if you accept a job at that point the pay becomes non-important. If I’m paid $100 or $10,000 I will still give everything once I’ve committed. Don’t be one who notices problems but be one if offers solutions. Every crew member is a paid PROBLEM SOLVER. We pay for SOLUTIONS. Never QUIT. Quitting is a character flaw and that flaw will hinder you for a lifetime if you don’t outgrow it. All we ever ask is professional from call to wrap. If you’re being housed – professionalism is further required. I will note that because we try to do things right on our projects – it is much harder on staff. It’s harder to do things right. Understand and sympathize with your fellow crew and cast. Because at the end you’re working together on something that will stay with you for a lifetime. The friendships, the hardships and the final story. The best way for crew to find their way to a CDI project is to be introduced by an existing crew member who will vouch for your work. By work I mean not just what ends up on the screen but how that happened. Stressful, unorganized, behind schedule, attitude – you will not remain part of the crew long-term even if the work was acceptable on-screen. The journey is as important as the destination for the people on the journey.

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Casting is almost complete and we’ve already starting talking to targeted crew. Soon we ride!

OTHER DEVELOPMENT & POST

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Knight Chills 20th Anniversary

“Knight Chills 2” this project has some good business forming up behind it. We plan to do some camera rolling this winter. Also look for the 2017 release of the book and original film.

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“The Christ Slayer”

I’ve recently sat down with several key individuals that could help bring this trilogy to a conclusion. We’re about to start location scouting in AZ with our ground team. I’m very excited to be returning to this world one more time. I think this will be a great end piece to “Chasing the Star” now in post.

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My body has about repaired from a brutal soccer season. Now I’m enjoying watching the Lions and MSU Spartans beat themselves up for the victory. I’ve been doing my company and production work and getting prepared to bring a new character to life on-screen this October. Many of those that have been cast I’m proud to call friends. I also look forward to adding new friends to my circle. Today is more end of summer yard work getting all that ship-shape before I go playing cowboys with my friends. Spend some time with family and friends and enjoy the long weekend. Our staff continues to pass reels, reads and resumes between our team.

Keep clawing!

DJ

 

 

 


Development Updates – July!

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Welcome readers from Ireland and Italy – how cool. I do appreciate the worldwide readership that just reminds us we are all one. Creative people trying to journey through life. There is much unrest in the world and I do hope that we can evolve to a better understanding of one another. I’m tired as I type this from a long week and a full weekend. This weekend saw some tree trimming and garden work. The garden is growing nicely and I do think we’ll have a good harvest. Following a handful of hot days we’ve been treated to a pair of cool days that reminds us that Fall will be coming soon.

Film Updates

I was in talks about a possible dramatic movie role shooting next month but I’m not sure it will work out. My look is locked in somewhat due to my October filming that requires me to have a rugged look. But it was nice to communicate with some upcoming filmmakers and perhaps in the future we can collaborate.

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“Ashes of Eden”

“40 Nights” and “Ashes of Eden” have been licensed to Pureflix On Demand and we should have a release date soon. We’re prepping some web art for them now.

BESTSELLER

Melissa Anschutz and DJ Perry in BESTSELLER

Xfinity now joins Directv and several other new platforms – carrying  both “Bestseller” and “40 Nights” On Demand.  Here’s a list of some of the On-Demand platforms – http://www.moviefone.com/movie/40-nights/20079437/where-to-watch/

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40 Nights in the Lansing State Journal

40 Nights DVD – There are many places like Walmart to get the DVD but the demand seems to be out there. The film went from backorder on Amazon to “in stock” on the 13th of July, and again is on backorder. All in just 5 days. Thank you everyone.

Here’s a nice interview I did about “40 Nights” and The Quest Trilogy so take a read if you are interested in this film series.

http://biblefilms.blogspot.com/2016/05/interview-with-40-nights-s-dj-perry.html

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Editing on #Chasingthestar

This week we also watched the 1st edit of “Chasing the Star,” the second film in our Quest Trilogy. I have to say I was extremely pleased to see the story all together. The music is now underway while we fine tune the edit. The VFX and intro work will also be starting this month. It’s a powerful story unlike what we’ve seen before. It should be done prior to Christmas. Very exciting.

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What will become of mankind? The Devil & Jesus debate the fate of mankind.

Development

Development work has been on the fast track. We’re close to announcing the new film project with Jesse Low (Our director from “40 Nights”) Also development work is being done on “The Christ Slayer,” the final film in the trilogy.

KNIGHT CHILLS

The symbol of the KNIGHT CHILLS franchise.

A while back we hinted at the sequel to “Knight Chills” and I’m happy to report many great developments. We’ve attached our director and most of our principal cast. We’ll be re-releasing a 20th anniversary DVD of the original film with a teaser showcasing the sequel. Right now we’re in talks with a few foreign territories over the films. This will be a fun project! The meetings have been full of laughter.

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The soundtracks have been rolling out and I would love to hear what songs people enjoyed from the “40 Nights,” and “Bestseller” soundtracks. – Next up – “Ashes of Eden” soundtrack, so stay tuned.

I’m going to do a few things around the house before I get ready for another soccer battle. I hope you all have a productive week ahead.

Keep clawing! Keep dreaming!

DJ

 


Back To Post-Production and New Development

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Chilling at the Office

Two days ago I was thinking about turning soil in the garden and also doing some training for soccer season. We had a flurry of snow the other night and that continues today. So the office wood stove has been getting a work out and I love the smell and vibe it puts out. I have a few more things to do to the office/fort this year but I was really happy to get the stove in.

When shooting “Chasing the Star” in Corunna, MI I was surprised to find a brew store at this little gas station sized store. I ended up getting some green foil tops for my upcoming bottling of “THE RETURN OF THE GREEN GOBLIN” an October wine. I will let it age until the fall – this summer will be some “Tropic Thunder” (Banana/Coconut) sipping.

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Speaking of CTS (Chasing the Star) we’ve been wrapping up paperwork and books while the master audio and visuals are being married. Editing should start this upcoming week and also work on a first teaser will begin. Several key meetings happening this week and really just making that full shift into post-production.

Cuter

T Rex and DJ Perry (Moses & Jesus) on set “40 Nights”

“40 Nights” has been a fun project to watch roll out into the marketplace including Walmart. I really feel that film will speak to people – not just church going folk but many people. It is a beautiful piece of art thanks to the stunning landscapes provided by Yuma, AZ. A lot of people worked hard on that film and I’m happy to see audiences get a watch. The feedback thus far has been very strong and I’m happy people are connecting with it.

WHAT’S NEXT

Promotion – “Donors” DVD snuck into the marketplace in Feb. and we’re prepping for the April digital release. “Bestseller” will be releasing on DVD in May and so we will start promotions on that film soon.

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“Ashes of Eden” and “40 Nights” promotion will continue with possibly some foreign and other event showings.

“Dead Quiet,” “District 19,” and “The Terrorist” are still out there and I’m sure will announce distribution developments.

Location scouting and director talks on the 3rd film in the QUEST TRILOGY have begun. A final polish on the script this week.

Our CDI/Jesse Low project for the fall will start having meetings. I look forward to producing this Michigan based 1800’s story. There is talk of this being an on-going TV series.

I will be looking for a project perhaps just to act in this summer. I have a few films in talks but that always depends on their ducks lining up properly.

I have decided that I’m going to start pushing my writing aka selling scripts. I’ve been paid to turn a few books into scripts. I’ve had books written from my scripts. I’ve sold a few scripts and had a few produced here at CDI. I also have a few scripts that I could just sell. Those scripts are ones that I have no immediate plans to produce. I do also enjoy seeing others interpret my words be it by an actor, director or company. I will explore this path more.

I’m off to get some things done. Enjoy your day and may your week ahead be productive!

DJ

 

 


Events, Upcoming Films and Fall Updates!

It took me a while to sign in to my blog here. There are so many media communication sites. I get communications coming from all sides. Email is still the best way to contact me but even that is getting more complex. This morning we had a great breakfast in what use to be a train station in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. The chill today is perfect for all the football on deck. MSU, my alumni school plays in a few short hours. Lions on Sunday plus last regular season soccer match before play offs. It was another grinding week but extremely productive. Let’s look at a few of the wins this week.

I’m working the last few pages on “Chasing the Star” our follow-up biblical drama. I was so happy about how the “40 Nights” script evolved and how it translated to the screen. This follow-up has distribution and it appears all our funding commits are in place. So we are looking to return to AZ and film our second film for Lightworx Entertainment.

“40 Nights” has been exciting because we are now seeing dialogue cleaned up/balanced and environmental sound design. I got the signed paperwork on our licensing deal for management of merchandising. This movie should be complete end of November.

Now we have a partially funded western also being distributed worldwide by Lightworx. Not only will it be a feature film but used as a pilot for a TV series that we hope to shoot in Michigan. We have been in talks with several actresses over a lead role. Also some great Hollywood celebs may come out to participate. Funding talks continue and we have a real strong shot at doing this film before the holidays hit.

Development talks for films beyond April 2016 are underway but I also have a few projects to act in that I’m watching to see when their schedule lands. The C.U.J.O. movie has been talked about prior and also my management is targeting a strongly anticipated TV series. Not sure if we’re looking at a guest starring or being a regular but I would be happy with either one.

NEW Poster art for

NEW Poster art for “Wasteland Tales of the Desert Part 1”

WASTELAND poster is being sent and the director has been trying to target festivals that focus on Science Fiction.  I also want to get updates on THE TERRORIST (Release dates) and DEAD QUIET (Premiere dates).

From the motion picture

From the motion picture “BESTSELLER”

“BESTSELLER” is having an event showing at the Wrought Iron Grill in Owosso, Michigan on November 1st. An EVENT PAGE coming soon! “BESTSELLER” is also being delivered to our distributor as is “Donors” so when I have release dates I will let everyone know.

In Lansing, MI we are kicking off a monthly CDI film screening starting in Oct. 15th at Sanctuary Spirits in Grand Ledge. I think it is $5.00 cover at door and the opening film is “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” – a smoky mountain western. It pits the two mountain men from DELIVERANCE – Bill McKinney & Herbert Cowboy Coward against one another.

CDI's Smoky Mountain Western released domestically by Lionsgate

CDI’s Smoky Mountain Western released domestically by Lionsgate

I think Sanctuary Spirits will have some great whiskey specials. They have an apple and maple whiskey that is really good. I love their gin also. Not only can you have drinks there but you can buy bottles to take home. EVENT PAGE COMING SOON!

DJ Perry as Donnie in ASHES OF EDEN

DJ Perry as Donnie in ASHES OF EDEN

“Ashes of Eden” is gearing up for a release in less than a month. Here is a pre-sale link for BEST BUY

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/ashes-of-eden-dvd/27981334.p?id=3374781&skuId=27981334

We will provide more ways for you to see this fine film in the weeks ahead.

In summary…working hard to finish up and deliver our current slate. We have some of the next slate funded and working on the ones after that. We are at a good place – working with distributors and making films to release directly into the marketplace. I’m really enjoying this new work flow. We will finish up this slate of films and look at moving to a few larger films. Patience is a virtue.

Have a great weekend and spend some time with friends and family.

GO MSU! Go LIONS!

DJ


The Development Storm Cometh

The storm cometh
I love this sandstorm picture. The last few weeks I’ve been working on the follow up film in our biblical series with Lightworx Entertainment. It will be announced in some official development PR soon. The script is called “Chasing the Star” (working title).

Casting has been on-going and I have to say I’ve seen some great talent from around the world. This film is gearing up for an early 2016 shoot.

Staying on the topic of development – it’s an exciting and challenging time. I know what follows the casting, financing, scheduling and development work – PRODUCTION. (Battle Drums) I really take these opportunities serious. A successful project brings continued prosperity for all those involved. It’s a team of people making their artistic mark within set business parameters. If you don’t agree our “tribe” is not for you.

Development…
We’ve had exploratory talks (J.M.) that yielded good financial news. This week we’ve had several productive talks with certain keys on some of our upcoming projects. These films have their worldwide distribution deals in place. It’s a new experience working with the distribution studios in advance but I like it. It means no shopping required after the fact which increases production flow. With a good deal that means less financing effort and with worldwide rights pre-assigned – it means moving into development on something new sooner.

Biz Topic…

REPRESENTION-

I’ve had representation of many types from small local agents to Hollywood big 3. I’ve had managers from many different walks – all with their own ideas of how to promote. Many wanted to mold or change you – following some trend. I think most artists fight to be understood and respected in our business. RULE #1 for someone representing – that is they have to believe in what they are selling. You NEED someone who really GETS YOU. Are you a character actor? A lead? Do they understand why you say YES or NO to a gig? Many agencies are shotgunning talent aiming for anything and everything. I recall years ago when starting out, I asked Bruce Campbell at a sit down with director buddy Mike Kallio, “Any advice on finding a GOOD agent?” to which he responded “Good agent? Good luck with that one kid.” I think he meant finding a good agent was like finding Bigfoot. At another dinner I asked actress Lana Wood the same question. “I’m still looking honey” was her response. I’m saying, if you find that person who believes in you treat that like gold. How many actors would be lured by the grass being greener seduced by bigger agents or opportunities? Be loyal if it’s working. Col. Parker, Peter Grant and others played a large part in the overall success. Art and Business.

My Manager
She recently had my work put before a well known director. I was presented exactly as I should be and without any BS spin. I think in our faced-paced world just getting someone to stop long enough to see your talent is half the battle.

Other Updates

I will be working to get the release dates on “Donors,” “Bestseller” and “The Terrorist” . “Ashes of Eden” is gearing up for the 13th of October US release. I think we might have a theatrical ASHES OF EDEN re-run just before the DVD/VOD release. Stay tuned.

“I didn’t hear no bell” – Rocky


40 Nights
“40 Nights” is now undergoing dialog polishing. VFX work is underway and sound design/music on deck.

CDI Films

I’m very proud of the last three CDI associated films cast and crew. The Michigan reputation has gotten better with west coast executives but the truth is we have been seen as backwoods. Hey, I love the outdoor association to backwoods. We have our pines, birches, oaks – Michigan is full of breathtaking nature. I’m told, We’re Southern Canadians in many ways. They believe that in Canada because it helps soften the blow when the Red Wings kick on them.

Back to the backwoods and how that relates to the former incentives – let’s be truthful, our cast and crew got fed mostly scraps. There exists exceptions and if you’re an exception – GREAT! Only love. But for most – the jobs offered were much below their true skill level.
The State of the State Now
I think we’ve got great talent in Michigan. We produce good players but often bad teams. I think the competitive in-state nature doesn’t always allow the best collaborations.

– To bring this full circle

Kudos to the crews from the previous three CDI features. But if I’m going to do that I can go all the way back to CDI film one. We’ve always taken filmmaking serious. I knew what Hollywood thought of us even then. We often get labeled as inferior but I know we’re NOT inferior. But to say that isn’t the best way. To show them now that’s the way. I’m pleased by what I’ve seen in the wake of the film incentive death. Some cried and left and others are finding their grit again. As the eye of TMZ moves away from Michigan, so does the vast amount of people wishing to be celebrities versus those working to have their art revealed.

In Summary…

I’ve been filled with compliments recently by “Hollywood” insiders on not only the final product but our dependability. That is something that is such a secret to success. If you cannot keep a timely/on-budget production or post a film within a timely turn around -you’ll likely NEVER make it in a studio system where production funds are granted. They are investing into dependability that a marketing team can work with in unison.

CDI – The Brand

We’ve built a BRAND (Collective Development) that represents diversity, quality and dependability. And we’ve been able to do that because we hire people who take great pride in their work. Hire people who are truly talented, accept accountability and maintains a professional respect amongst peers. I’m just very proud because all these films are built largely upon the Michigan talent pool.

DO IT. DO IT RIGHT.
REPRESENT MICHIGAN.
WE WILL ALL WEAR THE FAME OR SHAME OF OUR UNITED ACTIONS
BE THE CHANGE YOU DESIRE
DARE TO BE FAIR
SAY NO VERSUS GO IF THE SHIP AIN’T TIGHT
ONE STATE TO RULE THEM ALL (Sounds Lord of the Rings)
A STATE OF WINNING (Okay this fun exchange just went Charlie Sheen on me – I’m out-E)

Have a great weekend everyone. HOPS are almost ripe. Maybe time for a warm up cup of coffee.

DJ



NEW Opportunities, Development and Project Updates

My Saturdays have been a little crazy and this weekend looks to be the same. It’s the first hour of Saturday and I decided that I would recap the week. Where to even start this week…

40 Nights –

DJ Perry as JESUS in 40 Nights

DJ Perry as JESUS in 40 Nights

I’m excited because I’m about to review our 2nd draft of the complete film edit. I’m prepping the business of post sound/music and will put that in play next week. Plus we will be doing a polish and score on our 1st trailer. I have to say I’m very pleased with the trailer and it only touches upon the powerful moments in the full film. I had great talks this week with our distributor, our director and team members. I’m excited to bring a first look in July here. Are you ready?

BESTSELLER –

Bestseller Premiere Poster

Screenings are almost set for Lansing and Detroit area event showings. I’ve gotten a great amount of “fan mail” (Can you call in that with email?) from these theatrical screenings. It does play really well in the theater and so I want to provide that experience to as many people as we can. I also had even more promising talks with yet another distribution opportunity. This studio enjoyed the film, the performances and the production supervision very much. We discussed a few future acting opportunities and possible deals with the existing and future CDI library. Some breaking news on one of the projects will become known soon – that is once the studio signs off on the P.R. BESTSELLER – MADE IN MICHIGAN!

DONORS –

This is the 1st teaser poster on

This is the 1st teaser poster on “Donors”

This thriller recently had two different distribution offers. I had a nice conference over the direction of this film with director/producer Charles P. today. I think we know what direction we want to travel with this film to begin with. Jon Osman’s THE TERRORIST, a thriller out of NYC could find a home in the not-so-distant future.

ASHES OF EDEN – 

DJ Perry as Donnie in ASHES OF EDEN

DJ Perry as Donnie in ASHES OF EDEN

This film was back in the studio being prepped for final delivery to our distributor. Our October release date and new poster art is still forthcoming. I’m excited to see this film release worldwide. Congrats to all these artists. MADE IN MICHIGAN

New TV Dealings – 

Coming to Parables TV

Coming to Parables TV

You know I like to give you loyal readers the advance notice. CDI Distribution has brokered a deal with Parables TV for “Standing Post,” “Outside the Wire,” and “7 Stones” and official PR will release this coming week. Congrats to all those artists! MORE MADE IN MICHIGAN!

NEW AVENUES – 

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Actually new avenues are opening for all the films in the CDI library. We’re exploring many new sales deals and so far we’ve gotten good responses. I had some good talks about more international licensing. I love the foreign sales because that gets the films out to all of you. With 70+countries representing our international readers of this blog – my sincere wish is to keep expanding into more of your territories. I get asked weekly about getting more of our films to Brazil, Norway…(the list goes on)

READ & WRITE – 

I have a few scripts being sent over to me this week. Conversely, I’m finishing up some script work and I’m quite happy with the results.  I’m starting to finally look ahead to what’s next for me “in front” of the camera. I’m just looking to make that right connection.  I will say that I’ve had some VERY exciting talks as of late over new projects. I really do love creating these roles. I’ve got past directors developing material and so reunions could also be soon at hand. I have enjoyed the break from having those other characters developing inside me. But…the calling:) BUT…That voice will be ignored until the proper business is complete:) TCB first and after allow the artist to run WILD. Have FAITH the right project will develop.

Have a great week ahead. I appreciate you all stopping by.

DJ


Father’s Day – Future Showings, Castings and Distribution

Hazelnut coffee nourishes me from my morning haze. I had a few people over yesterday to celebrate the fact that on Tuesday June 23rd I will be one year older. I want to throw a  Happy Father’s Day out to all the fathers. My fatherly duties only extend to a pack of lovely animals. As I opened a few nice cards yesterday that spewed nice words on my character I thought of my dad. He taught and continues to teach me things all the time. I see more of him and that makes me smile. He has always been a fair, funny and stern man when required. He didn’t always understand the world of movies or the passion that drove me to follow that path. I think like many parents of artists – they worry and in many cases rightfully so. It’s a hard path where in days past you only got known usually after your death. Maybe this is more applicable to famous painters but it also applies to other artists I’m sure. I’m happy my father is still here to give wisdom, guidance and comfort. I see my parents as the training wheels and I’m happy both of mine are still attached to the bike. I got my father a little love gift that I will give him later but my gift will NOT be his favorite today. My brother and his wife Abby are going in today to have their second child. The Perry clan will add a new little life. We don’t know if it is a boy or girl but we’ll will be happy with either.  So dad is gonna be a grandpa again and that’s a pretty cool Father’s Day present. So the fathers or those that act in a father-like fashion congrats to you upon this day.

As I approach my actually B-day on Tuesday I have so much to be proud of as I reflect back on what has transpired on this journey thus far. It goes all the way back to “PLAYING” with the camcorder in high school and before that making “radio” dramas on tape with dialog and sound FX recorded on a tape player. Recently, I’ve again had the pleasure of watching hundreds enjoy our “PLAY” on the big screen. Let’s look at a few of these movie updates.

ASHES OF EDEN – WOW! What a full journey and starting in Oct it will really travel. We are releasing a clean(er) version of the movie. Our director Shane found himself in a place between SHOW & BIZ. He loves the raw version of his SHOW but the distributors main outlets require a slight adjustment. It is why we do more and more development/distribution work making films that will do well in the marketplace. Early on you can make films basically on spec within a business structure but many mistakes can be made. Does one scene or a handful of words kill a certain retailer and/or TV license? These are things that get looked at now when we are in development. I know Shane came from a hobby-esque film background whereas whatever struck the current fancy was created with little thought to distribution. Once you start partnering with investors (not social donations) you have a responsibility to them. Factoring in all these variables gets your story out to more. If you don’t take these variables under consideration it likely is a situation of showcasing your film to a couple hundred people and moving a few hundred DVD’s to family and friends. The path we’re on can be reflected in a recent sales report I received with over 285,000 DVD’s sold. That is what proper development can bring but sometimes compromise is required. I’m not saying the world won’t accept the thousands of filmmakers who do these films on the side as only art. I’m saying if you want to “PLAY” for a living you must factor the business in at all times. I’m so very proud of this film and I look forward to taking the next step with Shane. A great creative, hard-working mind who was a joy to collaborate with. Check out ASHES OF EDEN once it becomes available wide in October. This week we should see the new poster art surface.

BESTSELLER – This film has had quite the journey. I’ve got an interview that I did recently (Not released yet) – that asked some pointed questions on production and I gave some pointed answers. I’ve flowed with the Q&A at a few screenings about production and went with the spin. The film almost never was due to mismanagement before we came onboard but I’m so proud of all the current artists involved with the RE-shoot. Their work resulted in the fine film we now have. We’re about to announce our next theatrical show date in Lansing with a DVD release party afterwards. We are also working on Kalamazoo and a few in the Detroit area. I would also like to see an Owosso, Michigan screening. So, more showings of BESTSELLER will be forthcoming. We also just got our 1st national distribution offer on the film. We will continue to evaluate these offers.

40 NIGHTS – So this past week our director/editor sat in with our assistant editor, FX supervisor and one of our other producers. This is our second wave of viewers that will give vital feedback. It will be used to create our second pass on the film. From there we will bring the other producers back in to review. We will have a locked picture in July.  Also the 1st teaser trailer of the film is being worked on. I’m excited to show audiences a first look as we’ve had so many reach out about this film. We’ve just opened a new database whereas you can sign up on the 40 Nights website if your church or organizations wishes a showing. This is in response to the requests we have been getting. So check out http://www.40nightsthemovie.com and sign up. I’m excited to also get the licensing of product underway.

Distribution Updates –

CDI Distribution has recently made additional TV deals on three film projects. One is with our non-profit friends at Red, White & Blue who work with military themed film properties. This includes the CDI associated doc “Outside the Wire” and “Standing Post” both are heading to TV. Also “7 Stones” will be playing at this network. Delivery is happening this week and I’m once again proud of all the artists involved.

Also I have been in talks with a new distribution entity via an introduction by our family/faith distributor. We’re looking for the right partner on grittier properties like our thrillers. The 1st round of talks focused on – DONORS, THE TERRORIST and BESTSELLER. The result was they’re interested in all three films. That doesn’t mean they will all land there but they could. But that was my morning yesterday before our little B-day gathering.

The Future-

Script-wise I’ve been doing some good writing. I’ve retooled one of the past CDI script properties and we will look at moving that forward soon. We will likely do some Michigan casting in the weeks ahead. I have to get the new draft of the script polished and over to our distributor. “Knight Chills 2” and another power drama I’m working on are very close to being completed. I also have been preparing to write the next script in our biblical series with Lightworx Entertainment. I have had so much business going on that getting into the writing mindset was difficult for a moment because of that phone call or an immediate “TO DO” that always broke the mindset. But things are falling into a more even flow and the writing is once again going great.

Good Business –

Not to long ago I had a filmmaker in our state try to go behind my back to push his agenda with a contact. Bluntly – I don’t respect this filmmaker. By his own words and actions he is…a joke when it comes to management. His art is careless and his business disorganized. His personal character is… Let’s just say he is his own worst enemy. I normally would not even waste these words on this person but an opportunity to illustrate a good lesson is at hand because of another filmmaker associate out west. He actually asked permission to contact someone and asked if I would mind being used as a reference. This is how business is meant to be done. In the 1st example myself and at least one other person got a call to get the facts on this person. It was odd for this person to reference myself but not come through me. Why? This person knew I wouldn’t endorse him. The nice part of this story is that I wasn’t the only one who reported back with the same feedback. His actions defined him. Your actions will define you. Words lose value when they have no true integrity behind them. Be true-hearted in your words and deeds. The latter person in this story may do some solid business because he practiced good business. This other individual – buyer beware. Don’t buy into the BS that they are selling. Lots of these types are about trying to say what they think you want to hear – but there are also many sincere people. Trust your judgment.

I could go on about this or that but I really need to go get cleaned up. I’m about to become an uncle again today:) After I’ve got a soccer match to play. Our yard needs to also get cleaned up from the gathering yesterday.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

DJ


Film in Michigan, Financing and the SECRETS

What a great week. We had some good rain here at week’s end which has been great for the garden. We ended up with tomatoes, beans, peas and beets planted. I also had to fortify a wood tee-pee structure that has veggies planted within. I had to make sure our dogs could not get in and dig as they so love to do. I also have been doing some work on the two-tier pond. All these things play into the overall as it provides a great atmosphere to sit and take biz calls. This week I had some meaningful talks with my management, new filmmakers and also a few distributors. Let’s look at a few project updates…

BESTSELLER

We also just concluded our BESTSELLER theatrical run in Grand Rapids, MI to some great response. The film is about to move to additional cities and I’m glad that so many want to see it. I had several great communications from audience members and I’m happy that we as artists did our job. People are being thrilled by this Michigan based thriller and we are all…thrilled.

ASHES OF EDEN

The distributor has announced the official release date in October and showcasing the new DVD art. It’s starting to appear as a pre-order in select retailers now. We will promote these rental/retail sites as we get closer.

40 NIGHTS

This coming week we’re preparing to sit down with our FX supervisor and plan out the required shots. We will also tweak the final film edit as we plan to move into post sound in July. We’ve been pulling promotional stills and have started working the 1st trailer. I’m excited to watch this one move down the production line. Stay tuned!

DJ Perry as JESUS in 40 Nights

DJ Perry as JESUS in 40 Nights

FILM IN MICHIGAN (My Opinions)

There has been a lot of news and anger flying around about the state of the filmmaking in Michigan. Now dear vendor friends such as David Lowing, lumber yards, hotels and many more such suppliers will certainly suffer some loss with the incentives gone. I see many people seriously upset about the tax incentives getting nixed. My initial hope was that the incentives would focus on the development of FILMMAKERS.

Education?

Previously I had helped construct a program whereas the arts (filmmaking) could be put on par with sports at the university level. Our program was well received by everyone from president down until it got to professors. Too many wanna-be chiefs with too little actual experience. TRUTH.

Maybe Government could be the answer?

The hope with the ideal government program would have been to assist business-minded (Read that part again) filmmakers to get to the next level. Controlled grants or matching funds programs for film corporations operating in Michigan for 5-7 years. Again I have many ideas on how we could have developed our creative force here. But importing was the agenda set with our incentives. Some of our best people on both sides of the camera would only find use as back ground extras, van drivers and production assistants. Good if you have zero experience and want a peek within – but these people I’m speaking of are highly experienced and working in non-challenging studio positions.

Filmmaking Added to The Vocabulary

All that the film incentive did in my world was make the word filmmaker legit in our state. When I started out we only had a handful of narrative filmmakers. People who didn’t recognize the industry in Michigan now saw enough headlines to put the word FILMMAKER out there.

New Growth

I think every young person unclear about what they wanted to do with their life loved the idea of filmmaking. To play with technology and create stuff to impress other people is enticing. But the business of it is not nearly as fun for most and that kills most careers. They don’t teach the business like they should.

Advice

SUPPORT THOSE THAT LOVE THEIR STATE. These people will plant and nurture seeds.

SUPPORT THOSE WILLING TO SUFFER THE HARDSHIPS OF LEARNING THE BUSINESS OF FILMMAKING. (Sorry social funding/hand-outs don’t count) ACCOUNTABILITY IS SOMETHING THAT MUST BE LEARNED! Mentors from the business community please help these people.

Interconnected

EVERY failed film project in our state that wasn’t self funded (By the artist) HURTS the whole state industry. Those that have disposable income to invest (Note they made their $ not begged for it via fundraising) will recognize a solid business plan. They see some of themselves in this young upstart. NOTE TO MANY – They also can see through BS. Many failed artists think they were/are smarter (in biz) than everyone else – they are not. The person who is being invested in is just as important as what is being invested in.

Character, integrity and responsibility. (People invest in this)

Peer Accountability

Artists need to hold one another accountable. But unfortunately for many in the local scene the worst offenders are also some of the best networkers. (Kind of) This often creates a fear of being blacklisted by the local networkers. But in my experience these people are rarely associated with the best projects. Why? Experienced people explore before hiring. The projects that do end up with these people are often not something to be missed – chances are strong for a disaster. I like to call it dodging the bullet. I’ve almost signed onto a few projects that I would have regretted.

Investors

Now – when an arts supporter/investor takes a burn on a venture they will surely communicate that to a wide circle. It may be it on the 19th hole of a golf course or some charity function. Often an industry/community can get defined by some of the worst participating in it.  I have seen official statements made by individuals that I know – they don’t speak for me.

Respect earns Respect

When someone refuses to RESPECT and take the challenge of producing serious thus creating a mess – the insecure masses are still there to smile, hug and handshake at their next mixer. These fiascos mean that Michigan filmmaking has once again been defined and not in a good way. That’s why Michigan cast and crew are mostly not respected – I know that as truth as someone who does a fair amount of west coast business. I’ve fought the “Backwoods Michigan” view held by others my whole career. It was easier back than to defend the lack of work versus incompetence of work.

How can we improve this?

DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY – NO! If the biz doesn’t add up say – NO.

Too big of a script, too little $, too few days – SAY NO PRODUCERS! You can’t remake the laws of the universe. People accept impossible tasks and I have to think it is for the paycheck. It’s like if you knew the ship the Titanic was going to sink how much would someone have to pay you to go for a ride? How much to charge a live firing squad?

EXAMPLE:

I have one project I co-starred in and finished all my scenes several years ago. It’s stuck in that in-between HELL. The result of a fight between the management entities of the film project. It’s hard because of all the hard work that many artists put into that project/film. I feel bad for all the artists but even more for the investors. They are victims of bad business. As just talent I just have to let things be.  As a producer I wish they would have found me. If I had said, yes – they would have a film on schedule and on budget.

More Advice

If you can’t manage a group effectively – DON’T PRODUCE. I could not be a DIT on a film. So I don’t accept a job as one. Same with producers but it is a flashy title and so many are drawn to it – moth to flame.

If long set hours are not for you on a non-union crew job – SAY NO.

I’ve just allowed my thoughts to roll out but I think in summary I see the death of the film incentives and perhaps office as a new beginning. A new chapter could rise from the ashes. Let the fly-by-night people seek scraps from another table. Once the grumbling stops creative circles will start to look ahead.

CDI

With the exception of when a script requires a certain location – we always consider Michigan. FACT: Collective Development Inc. will be making films in Michigan and incentives and/or film office is not required for us to do so.

As you form your circle of filmmakers – dedicate the time to learning to do it right. I heard a story this week that a film group didn’t want to learn SAG union paperwork because it was too much red tape. I’m not a union cheerleader but what is “too much” to advance your career and learn? Learn the process!

HOLD your people accountable! Producers hold your cast and crew accountable. Cast & Crew hold your Producers accountable. We all make mistakes and set life is NOT a vacation or PERFECT but stand accountable.  A full cast and crew should not have to lodge in one room – Poor planning. Tents are not acceptable crew quarters – Poor planning. Late. Unprepared. Lack of pre-production – failure is worn by all. Failure is a step towards success ONLY if you don’t keep making the same mistakes.

The Secret

I hear people asking about my SECRETS – The SECRET is if the business doesn’t add up – pass.

Inexperience in key areas + unreasonable schedule/script = PASS

Someone with a track record of bad producing = PASS

Dodgy answers or avoidance of answering questions directly = PASS

No plan of action after film is done “Get into some high-profile film fest” = PASS

If nobody would say YES to a poorly planned project they would be forced to re-evaluate a project and make modifications. Respect. Accountability.

Wrap Up

The incentives can come – go – come again and I truly won’t miss a beat. I’m a filmmaker who works with talented artists. I always strive to make things better. We make mistakes and try to always correct and learn from them. I hold EVERYONE of our artists on a project accountable and hire problem solvers not complainers. Your time working with us can be one and done or decades pending what YOU do. (Or don’t do)  I may not be everyones friend but those artists that I work shoulder to shoulder with – who respect their contributions and take pride in their final work – we all share something greater than friendship. Craftsmenship. A tradition of storytelling. We share that film as our collective work at that point in our lives/careers.

I had a lot of words and I tried to put an order to them. We have a family event this afternoon so I’m going to bounce off here. These are but my OPINIONS for those that wish to read them. You can apply these principles despite what state or country you live in. Artists are an insecure lot and that gets exploited so often. But work hard and believe that your artistry will find the proper outlet. Just remember you are more often defined by what you say NO to versus what you say YES to.

Have a great weekend!

DJ


Dogs, Deals & Distribution

It is a sunny yet still quite cool Michigan day here in April. It was a crazy week for sure with me being sick for the good part of a week. I’m very happy to have that behind me and not living hour by hour with chills, fever and aches. I still have a slight cough and the sickness really put a dent in my ready training for our first soccer match tomorrow. I’m just happy that I will be able to play. I really enjoy the season that runs from now into October.

This week was spent pulling some things together on “Bestseller” in post and closing in on a final cut. It looks like we will do one day of pick ups for that film. The trailer is locked and so next week we will start sound design work. I’ve got paperwork in line for the feature music/sound design and so we are prepping to begin all that. So as “Ashes of Eden” is finishing the 5.1 mix this film preps to go in. We will also be doing color correction on “Bestseller” over the next week or two so more work getting knocked down.

PR on “Donors” was released that announced the Yuma, AZ premiere in May on the 24th. I need to see where we are at with “The Terrorist” film out of NYC but that has to also be getting close.

I read a funny comedy and gave a letter of interest on that film that could shoot at the end of summer. I’ve got a possible associated CDI script to read this week. Some very good progress is being made on a film we are looking to shoot in a few months. We are pulling on backers now and have distribution offers already on it. If you are looking to get involved in a film with a low start-up reach out to me. We have a policy of going to previous backers first and some are on board but after we run down those lists we will open it up to others.

I had good talks this past week on management and that is happening. I do have a new manager we just have to complete the details of the deal. This will help both in having a 3rd person deal in some situations but also their relationships to some A list director/producers will give me a good front and center on a few upcoming films.

“Ashes of Eden” is out to the first wave of about a dozen distributors and we are going to prepare the second wave list incase the deal we are looking for doesn’t present itself in the first round. Again the feedback on the film has been wonderful and I think it will find a good home.

Also CDI Distribution is having some great talks with a handful of companies over our library.

Lastly, for those who follow – both our dogs that had surgery are doing good. Both had their staples/stitches out and that means no more CONES! It was like having a couple of bulls in the house banging into everything.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend and stay HEALTHY!

DJ