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

Posts tagged “parents

The SECRET OF COLLECTIVE DEVELOPMENT INC. plus OSCAR NIGHT!

A012_C012_030809.0000721Thinking of this fine man on this snowy Michigan morning – Mr. Rance Howard. I’m sipping at the hazelnut coffee and reflecting upon the past week and what lies ahead. I’m also very excited about the present day which is starting with spending time with all of you. I want to thank you all for joining us all. We have several new readers from all over the world. Okay I know what I can speak on that maybe some of you can apply.

from_HEAVENS_NEIGHBORS

DJ Perry as “John” in HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS with Mr. Dean Teaster 

For fear of sounding like the old man talking of walking to school with no shoes, read me there was not a known “industry” in Michigan when I started out. There was a handful of crazy artists scrapping together money for “short end” film stock. Pulling favors to allow one to edit or make analog transfers at TV stations in the dead of night. In 1989 to tell your parents you wanted to be a filmmaker you might as well been telling them you wanted to walk on the moon. Tax incentives come in and business media announce Michigan’s best incentive and suddenly people saw a new word – filmmaker.

IMG_1732

Many people look for short cuts but I would suggest rather than short cuts (which only short cut your education) * THROW BACK LESSON – Senior year in high school I learned the REPEAT function in typing class. Using the free time to work on scripts and storyboards, I got away with it until just before final exams. I think my grades in that class were like A, A, A, C. Enter my life where I type all the time on contracts, scripts, proposals, pitches and so on. I would have more time to put elsewhere if I had been a faster typer. So don’t look to get around certain hardships. Change the way you look at it. A teachable moments for yourself. An opportunity to learn.

Wes in waiting...

DJ Perry as Wes in “Wasteland Tales of the Desert Part 1”

OK. So seek to waste less time and/or spend time wiser, not seeking short cuts. It’s that smarter versus harder approach. So where is this smarter attitude leading us you might ask?  Smarter might be faster but faster is not always better. It’s the toxic variable or strings attached that come with certain choices.  I had another week of developing opportunities and options. Some are for the company and some were on a personal business level. They are intertwined like quantum pairing:) But I have to remind myself and honestly it is not hard at this point in my life – to walk not run. If an opportunity is not a fluke it will not be there and gone. It strengthens and grows with each steady step.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 12.41.49 PM

I’m working out an agreement with a management company. I’ve desired for a long time someone who appreciated the art individually (me) and collectively (Tribe CDI) and works to the best interest of these endeavors. I’ve had many agents from a collection of smaller agents to one from a big 3 agency in Hollywood. It’s HARD to find representation that fits. Many have a hard time finding a rep at all but the right fit is RARE. I have many celebrity friends with long careers and they are still seeking that right fit. But, I think I’ve found a company/people I like and could be a good fit. Now, even without this new opportunity things are progressing strong in an upward direction. What is offered in part by this proposed arrangement is SPEED and SIZE.

SPEED: I recall a Hollywood lunch meeting with an arrogant agent from a major agency years ago. Without rehashing the whole story – maybe this person landed in a blessed place where they could with a phone call do what might take me months to do. But their power came from an appointment of position not an earned stake in creating motion picture.  They were selling speed but at what price?

SIZE: I have been asked in a few high end meetings about my business goals? I answered, to do exactly what I’m doing now but for myself and my people to be better compensated for it.  Can this new opportunity perhaps put our showcased projects even higher? I know that if we had strong P&A many of the CDI films would have soared to some decent box office receipts. But our films were built on a limited theatrical- home video model. Even that money was work to gather. That is the key for all filmmakers. The ONLY thing that makes it easier is your REPUTATION.

Master copy

People have tried to figure out THE SECRET OF CDI. The answer is reputation. I/We’ve become known for 3 things. 1) On budget. 2) On schedule 3) Ability to assemble the right team behind a project * The last thing I have been doing since high school when I had tricked that old type writer to ‘repeat’ while I assembled the after school cast and crew for our silly videos.

IMG_3885

Become known for these things and an abundance of opportunities may follow. That is why accountability is so very important and many artists avoid that. Talking accountability I recently had a non-film discussion with a young family friend. I asked him a question about how he had left a job. He prepared to give me a lie? An excuse? Justification? Instead he just took accountability for it because I think he knew he couldn’t get one by me.

* I think that is why many don’t engage me at functions or meetings…if you’re selling BS I will likely call you on that – maybe privately, maybe not. 

My point was, I saw the relief in his eyes. I saw the power that washed over  him by taking accountability. He had just up and quit this job by not showing up. He had later apologized and expressed a desire to return to work. His former employer was not prepared to forgive but he will remember the apology and who knows. And by taking accountability this young man took on a new strength and insight that he could possibly use in the future. This accountability leads to wisdom.

IMG_1703 2

I think this conversation leads in nicely to the crew and cast talks we’ve been having on the new CDI film. A dramatic comedy with strong messages of hope, entitled BEST YEARS GONE. It’s an adaptation from a book that will be released in advance of the film. When I was approached with this opportunity I was prepared to say no if it wasn’t up to snuff. I can promise that even with money attached if a project is too outside my interest or the branding of CDI, a pass might happen. But CDI is a big garden that can accommodate many ventures of various genres. We’ve had several meetings to debrief and discuss cast and crew from previous projects. We’re always seeking the most artistically gifted with a positive “can do” attitude to develop.

IMG_3109 2

Some of the past CDI directors…

* Side Note – I had a wonderful catch up conversation with an old school friend who has gone on to many great things including several government endeavors. We talked about people management. He spoke about the one person on a team often highly gifted but with a bad attitude. I said, I would not rehire the #1 guy and focus on the gifted #2 and #3 with good attitudes. Easier to inspire the best out of them. versus changing negative hard wiring.  So now I work for the government. Just kidding. Wait! Do I? Like Elvis working with the CIA:) Hmmm…

My point – it’s about the journey not just the destination. As a former coach, sensei and camp counselor – I take even the few shortcomings personal. I’m about developing people where many are about using people. I see the potential to fail or succeed in a person. You try to inspire them to be the best version of themselves. A chaotic, disorganized environment would bring out the worst in some. We’re just about to build the new team and so you again you take accountability of past sets and look at all the variables. Also because of our budgets and just the scope of the story we can’t always work with everyone on every endeavor. That said, I’m excited to be working again soon with many of the ole TRIBE CDI this April/May. We’ll start making some announcements this week on BEST YEARS GONE.

image2

LOST HEART  – I’m looking forward to a sit-down with composer/sound designer Dennis Therrian this week. I’m excited to add all the audio layers to this charming and touching story of dreams. I’ll be following up to see what is also going on with our Nashville recordings. Poster art and trailer are being worked on and I hope to have something to share soon.

Lies

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – HELLO TEXAS!

MBF: Man’s Best Friend will also be playing Bedias, Texas Feb 9 at the Christian Film Festival. I’m excited for a new audience to experience our story. We’ll keep expanding the showings at events and platforms. If you enjoyed this film and think someone else will also – please do share it.

Tomb_MattePaintingw:logo

THE QUEST TRILOGY 

This Easter help me make a tradition of watching the three films in the trilogy. FORTY NIGHTS focuses on the little known time Jesus spent in the wilderness. CHASING THE STAR presents a ‘what if’ you got to know the wise men magi. THE CHRIST SLAYER follows the Roman centurion who put the spear to Jesus on the cross. I can promise you that these films are unlike any other you have watched. We also see from the perspective of the angels both the fallen and faithful. They are a unique thread through all three films. RIP to Kirk Douglas who like Chuck Heston was an inspiration to me with their epic historic dramas.  Please take a watch or re-watch and encourage some friends and/or family to watch. I watched them around Christmas and I’m very proud of what we created, collectively:)

Screen Shot 2020-02-02 at 10.12.49 AM

WILD FAITH – Soon we’ll be entering into discussions over financing and distribution of a TV series spin off of WILD FAITH. If the time table works out I would love to roll cameras first part of 2021. Phase 1 – make our deal. Phase 2 – lock scripts/hires Phase 3 – shoot! If you have not seen this film treat you and your family to a watch. I’m happy to say just like several of the films I get weekly fan mail on this film. I’m passing on your howdy doo’s to Ben Lily. I am looking forward to having Ben and Hester return to the world of Wild Faith.

BEN screenshot

To wrap this up – I’ve got many people that I care and look out for as we journey. I’m excited about the prospect of SPEED and SIZE of the deals increasing to meet our needs better. But I also cannot tie my entire operations up. Blanket deals with no performance or exit clauses are often issue prone. I have meetings with my legal next week but I think slow and steady is better. I also think a trial period is helpful for both parties. My solution might just be to allow representation on a writer/actor level and production by a -la-carte not an overall. Also I always try same side of the table negotiations always. But sometimes when you receive harsh one-sided agreements it is from the scars of previous burns. We all have them. The secret is not to carry that over into your new relationships. If something or nothing happens on this front stuff is moving forward. The new screenplay I wrote will be produced this May and I’ve got a new character to become.

OSCAR NIGHT

63628_10150102251715306_3104557_n

CDI in the Hollywood

Enjoy the day and the week that lies ahead. My congrats to all the Oscar nominations. I use to attend a yearly Oscar event “Norby Walters Night of 100 Stars” and might return at some point. I think we’ll be out in Hollywood next to show MBF.

69721_10150102251350306_2465381_n

Chatting it up with the vets of our industry like Martin Landau.

I’ve have had an opportunity to watch many of the films this year. What a great line up! They are all winners in my book. I could post my reviews but I have things to do today. Maybe next week we’ll compare my thoughts versus the actual outcome.

151066_10150100443340306_5079149_n

Oscar Night – going to Norby Walters ‘Night of a 100 Stars”

Keep dreaming!

DJ

 

 


FINAL Countdown to Location Pre-Production and MORE…

IMG_1012

Good morning everyone. I first want to start my wishing my mother a Happy Birthday! She has always been supportive of the journey I’m on with storytelling via film. She is spending time with her significant other and we’ll have a nice dinner when I return from filming LOST HEART. My brother and wife are overseas on a wonderful vacation to Ireland. Tomorrow is my father’s Birthday and we just had a nice dinner with him. I gifted him a 1 gal beer making set. I do beer and wine 5 gal at a time and often share it with family, friends and film amigos. He can get the experience of what I do but on a small scale. I’m lucky to still have both my parents with me on this life journey. A few close friends have lost their loved ones recently and my thoughts are with them.

dad,John and I.jpg

My dad to my right and Johnny Demarco on my left

So I’ve been pre-packing all week so that I can travel north for a month producing and performing in LOST HEART, our next CDI film. We’ve been announcing new talent coming on board and still have a few to announce. Here is the amazingly talented singer/actress Taylor Dupuis and I guess I can say the same about Victoria Jackson. Many will remember her from her Saturday Night Live run and the slew of TV/films that followed. They both play wonderful parts in this comedy drama.

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 9.02.17 AM.png

Once this is completed I will have a week of rest and to set post in motion before a week-long vacation up in the UP of Michigan. We will be taking the dogs so they can have a few adventures also. My young furry boy Finn has been my shadow, especially during the fireworks. I know he will do well as the little man of the house.

IMG_6282.PNG

WILD FAITH is now out on all formats digital and DVD. I’m told that in the fall it looks like it will do an exclusive run on one of the Subscription VOD platforms. If you do watch the film and enjoy it please do leave a review at the site be it Amazon, Wal-Mart, BestBuy or wherever you purchased plus on http://www.imdb.com – All this is in hopes that we’ll be doing a sequel script or on-going TV series. Thank you to all of you that have reached out to tell me how much you enjoyed the story. Keep the word of mouth going as I think the film message is needed in this day and age.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 12.40.51 PM

THE QUEST TRILOGY – Ahead of us in the first season whereas all three films are released and can be seen together. It is meant to be watched as FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. I’ve noted that some people who watched only part 2 where slightly confused because they had not seen part 1. It is a trilogy whereas the angels and devil create a story thread throughout the three films. Many films do not examine what the events do/did to the angelic folk. They are great adventure stories that can be enjoyed anytime of year. Treat yourself to the watch. I know Amazon has all three but can be found on many platforms.

CDI_20181113_mansbestfriendposter_11x17_final

MBF: Man’s Best Friend – This powerful film will start rolling out into select theaters with myCinema in August. Home video in the fall. I know we’ve been very focused on the other CDI films but I think this movie might surprise and grab audiences. Wounded military vets and adoption dogs are the main themes. I will say that this role scared me at first. That doesn’t happen very often but when it does that is a good sign. I play a wounded Marine Paul Landings. While I’ve played other soldiers in films, many of them are from past wars like the Civil War. I know this film was made with a lot of help from military vets and I wanted to represent them well. I think I did and I’m so proud of the work all the artists did on this film. We will be planning a premiere in the town where we filmed. It will most likely be in late August or early September when we host the premiere. I should also start to have theater dates from around the country.

NEXT Sunday my blog update will be from up North as we prepare to capture the LOST HEART story. Thank you all for following along and I will be sharing some great pics in the coming weeks. You can follow the LOST HEART facebook page or http://www.cdiproductions.com landing page for LOST HEART.

Have a great week ahead and be good to one another.

DJ

 


Theatrical Kick off and Award Nominations – Updates

Good morning. I want to do a welcome sip of coffee to our new readers hailing from Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. WELCOME. This past week was a whirlwind of organizing theatrical roll-out, development work and more. We also have some announcing of nominations on a couple of our films.

Multiple radio shows, podcast and more the last week to promote the start of our theatrical season with “Wild Faith” our (mid) western. Here is a link to one of them-

Showbiz Weekly 

https://player.fm/series/michigan-business-network/all-star-team-creates-wild-faith-show-biz-weekly

More promotions can be seen at the social media site and/or the website 

https://www.facebook.com/WildFaithMovie/

http://www.wildfaiththemovie.com

Our first theatre dates are March 16th-22nd at Celebration Cinema in Lansing and Grand Rapids, MI (Woodland).

IMG_4410

International Christian Film Festival – This is the Oscar’s of the family/faith genre. Last year we had “Forty Nights” our 1st installment in THE QUEST TRILOGY nominated for Best Film, Best Lead Actor (Rance Howard), Best Score and Most Inspirational (which we won). Watch on Amazon Prime and other platforms.

CTS_laurels3

This year the second installment “Chasing the Star” about the journey of the magi was nominated for Best Film, Best Score, Best Screenplay, Best Lead Actor (Garry Nation) and Most Inspirational (again) and so we’ll see.

But…like having two children on competing teams – “Wild Faith” our western was also entered this year. It is nominated for Best Film, Best Lead Actor (Shane Hagedorn), Best Actress (Lauren Lastrada) and Best Director (Jesse Low).

There is strong competition not just amongst our two films but from amazing talent like Ray Liotta, Judge Reinhold  and Ashley Judd. I’m honored to be amongst the nominated films and to have two “children” gathering such attention is humbling. So Collective Development Inc. has 9 nominations and that’s something to be proud of.

You can watch “Chasing the Star” right now on Amazon Prime and several other participating platforms. “Wild Faith” will play theatrical events all Spring/Summer (I want to play a drive in) and will release to home video in the Fall on the run up to Christmas. If craving a good tale from the 1800’s please take a watch on our “Wicked Spring” also playing Amazon Prime and participating platforms.

IMG_4201

The 3rd installment in THE QUEST TRILOGY – “The Christ Slayer” will be complete in August and play theaters on the run up to Christmas. Our distributor has the home video release set to target Easter 2019.

A busy season of releasing. But that also means we need NEW product. We’re a touch behind my ideal timeline for our next film “Man’s Best Friend” (MBF) but the account is open and money flowing in. We need the last few units committed before we move forward because once we start we finish.

In additional to that we have several developing projects. I had meetings right up to end-of-the-day Friday which will without a doubt bring new endeavors to the CDI tribe.

Other developments

I’ve never acted in a music video. I was there when it all started MTV that is – and I like to see that the art of storytelling against a song is still going strong. Maybe not like in the heyday of music TV but still alive and kicking. I was approached about being hired to participate in a music video. They provided their earlier work, the work of the artist and a professionally written script. The subject matter holds some meaning to me and it felt – right. So I gave my interest and this coming week I’ll participate in my first music video front of camera. I’ll talk more about it once they are ready. Not my song or production so I’m letting them PR as they will. I’m sincerely excited about the project. I had just said a few weeks ago, if interested in me for something come with a professional proposal. It also worked amazingly with my schedule. It’s only a one day obligation so it really was a perfect storm. I’m looking forward to it.

The writing and deal making will continue this week. I’m excited that first cast and crew will get to see their combined work watching “Wild Faith” on the big screen. My family, friends and fans can also enjoy the film starting this week. (Friday) It’s always good to see one of our movies of with my parents. I think it helps justify all the worry they had in me as a dreamer building those “castles in thin air” teen/young man. It shows that I’m truly happy and doing what I was most passionate about in life. And for that I feel like the luckiest man alive on some days.

I’m going to continue to enjoy this day and rest my mind for the crazy week ahead. I’m not a person that needs all the hoopla of camera and red carpets but I will participate on these few occasions to collectively toast our finished story. I see it like a graduation party whereas we’re sending our “movie child” out into the world hoping it will do what it can to make our world a better place.

Thank you for all the support and I do hope you’ll give us a chance to entertain you.

Happy Sunday!

DJ

 

 

 


Top Ten Updates from Last Week

Still01Good morning out there everyone. I’ve got the hazelnut coffee fueling me this morning. What a week on all fronts. I went to a memorial yesterday for a high school buddy’s dad. I call it losing training wheels (losing a parent) and it’s happening a little more often now.  It was a great reflection on life and again a reminder to us all to enjoy your relationships and to work hard to achieve what’s important to you. The family were surprised and so happy to see myself and another old-school friend.

Just like the many times we all shared laughing and partying around the campfire this gathering also included many toasts. That’s why the hazelnut coffee is my friend this morning. I’ve not had a hangover since New Year’s Day (Thank you Garrett) and this was a mild one, but thankfully it has now passed. I think since the old processor brain is moving slow I’ll just do a random list of updates.

TOP TEN UPDATES FROM LAST WEEK

  1. We had another digital trading card release last week and a new one will be releasing again this week. I think five from each film. I also know that “Character Cards” and a poster will be coming for the 3rd film in the trilogy “The Christ Slayer” – stay tuned.
  2. WILD FAITH music score will likely be finishing up this week. Our composer had 8 minutes to go when we spoke last week. We’ll be sitting down with our director Jesse Low this week to discuss the finishing of the film. I can’t wait to do a new watch with the music beds set in.
  3. Forty Nights” will be playing Texas in Nov. followed by “Chasing the Star” in Dec.  – Iowa will also be showing “Chasing the Star” as part of a Christmas program in December. We’ve just been approached by another church wanting to license. I’m happy that these church’s are going through the proper channels for licensing and not just going pirate on showing the films publicly.
  4. Upcoming film MBF (Man’s Best Friend) brought on more financial commits and we’ve got sponsorships developing nicely. This week we’ll be announcing more cast members. We met last week and we’ve got our target dates set with cameras to roll in March.
  5. The book deal on WILD MICHIGAN is close to being done. It was based on the original screenplay before it was restructured for budget as Wild Faith. It will allow readers to experience the original story. It was adapted to book format by author Dee Freeman. It will be available for Christmas!
  6. The KNIGHT CHILLS book is for sale now on Amazon and will be releasing to retailers nationally. David Hayes was the author who adapted the screenplay/film to a book.
  7. The “Chasing the Star” investors will be getting another ROI check this week. I truly do LOVE writing checks. It keeps the machine moving.
  8. Development work continues on several other collaborations. A western, a biopic, a few horror films and a biblical drama. I do love working with other artists and bringing projects from the page to the screen.
  9. The announcement that one of the library films would be getting new distribution with BMG was made last week. The ink is dry and I’m happy to report “Wicked Spring” our Civil War drama will be releasing early in 2018. The film has never had a digital release due to the initial release was on VHS. This beautifully shot 35mm film will find a new audience. A great “making of” will be included on the DVD. We are also looking at a special Blu Ray release also. PR on this will be forthcoming.
  10. I enjoyed several meetings this week at the office with a fire burning in the wood stove. I’m going to be doing many more sit downs in the coming weeks. I have sat down with many filmmakers in a meet-n-greet style and will be looking to do many more. Even if we don’t have immediate business I do like to get to know the minds behind some of these other projects.

In addition to the on-going film work I’ve been harvesting and storing everything from tomatoes to kale (A Melissa Anschutz fav at meetings) to mushrooms. My small patch of ink tip shrooms are nothing compared to the giant puff balls I got Friday at my friend’s place. We will be cooking some of those up tonight. I’m sure that I’ve missed a few updates but please do seek out and find your favorite film page on Facebook and follow the updates there.

Have a great week ahead and enjoy your Sunday.

DJ


Believe and Be Merry!

The house is looking a lot like Christmas! I was wrapping, sorting, cleaning and such until the wee hours last, I mean this morning:) We had so many boxes that at 2:30 am I was burning boxes in the firepit last night. With the soft snow and fire the world seemed to slow and I felt the peace. It has been quite a year and while I can go on about the year to come in my next post I wanted to reflect for a moment.

I recall so many great Christmas times growing up. I was fortunate that way.  My parents always worked hard to make it special for my brother and I. It is those traditions that have been left to me. Like the little chime/candles that burn and spin these little angels. DING. DING. DING. Makes me think of my Grandma Emerson. I recall fondly how much my Grandmas Swope loved Poinsettias. I miss not having any grandparents with us anymore. I also regret that after thirty some years my parents like so many divorced. Christmas is a bit more scattered with a get-together here and than there but overall it still brings back memories of past joy. Now new joy is achieved built upon old traditions.

You have to forgive me if my writing is a bit off. I woke with a small sinus headache (I think from wood smoke at 3am) but the coffee is chasing that away. I remember many Christmas Eve’s waking with a headache but it use to have beer or booze attached to it. I think I’m getting older:) We have a big dinner and family today and it continues to tomorrow. I also have one of my dearest friends flying into town. His parents live here and we’ve been friends since 1st grade. We usually do a dinner with several friends we grew up with but his trip is short this year. I will enjoy seeing him even for the short time.

Movies – As I watched all the Christmas films on TV while working about the house that is a goal. To make one really good Christmas classic. I think I have the script in “Holly, Jingles and Clyde” which I’ve been so close to getting off the ground on many occasions. If it has elves with axes slicing naughty kids up I could probably get it made faster but so far no dice. So for now I have to settle with Chevy Chase and family, Will the Elf and the Rankin/Bass classics.

I did a marathon of script reading last week. I had a slew of offers and scripts come in and I so appreciate when others invite me to participate is their storytelling adventures. Now I will take a couple days to chill with family and friends and give the work a rest. It is hard for me to do that because I really love what I do. I know that it all happens from hard work and taking the steps.

I will close here by thanking all of you who have faithfully read my blog this year. If you want to give myself and others a gift do so by introducing them to “Clawing My Way to the Middle”. I’ve gotten great response from artists who say the words have really helped them in their own journey. So bring someone new into the fold and perhaps they can also find some inspiration. I refused to believe those who said I could not. The trolls who would rather see others fail for they never tried. The unhappy who sold their dreams away. I’m here to say if you believe in yourself you can find success. It may take a while and will come at various degrees but things will happen. I appreciate each and every one of you so from the bottom of my heart I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Believe!

DJ