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

Posts tagged “producer

Moving Forward on Many Fronts – CDI Updates!

IMG_8807

I want to once again welcome our new readers from S. Africa, Canada and the world over. For new readers this is a place to update our fans but also discuss the ups and downs of the artistic journey. I’ve got my hazelnut coffee beside me and I’m reflecting back on our week. First off lots of yard work including a new privacy screen that runs alongside one of the property lines. Today I need to harvest some more rhubarb and we’re about to have a burst of strawberries and black raspberries.

As I stated I’ve been working hard on the yard. We were looking at a new patio but instead decided to wait. I power washed, painted and sealed the deck. I love to work out there and take calls. Each week I pick some new tasks to tackle in the yard. Also I’ve got everything I need to start a batch of dark beer and a wine batch. Since I’ve had my first few in-person meetings I’ve got to have a few toasts. Let’s jump into a few updates.

image2

LOST HEART – This week we start the mixing of the film. It is where we balance the mix between dialog, sound design and music. Speaking of music aside from the wonderful score by Dennis Therrian we’ll have contributions by a few country bands. We’ll be doing a PR spot light on those artists very soon. We are starting to look at theatrical options and a premiere. I think the main home release to DVD and streaming will be in October. I will know more on that soon. This film was so fun to make and I think audiences will find it so fun to watch.

IMG_8804

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – we were up for a handful of nominations at a recent festival and we did not bring home any gold. It was a virtual festival and quite a different experience. I’m proud of our team and we submitted to a few new festivals and we’ll see if we will play. The film is already out there and showcasing some important themes. This is an unusual run for this film because of the virus running amuck but audiences at home are finding it. I think it will continue to widen in the distribution market. And the fan mail from it has just been touching. As to those who have asked if I will be showcasing my martial arts skills in future films, maybe:)

Masterw:RLfix

FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER – I had some great fan mail over Forty Nights wanting to know if I was the actor playing Jesus and expressing how much they loved the film. They were happy and surprised that it was part 1 of 3 in the trilogy. Again a great motivator to prep a kicking trilogy trailer. People should be aware that Forty Nights is the first of three. The story of the Devil and Angels extends through all three films. As the next holiday window approaches (Thanksgiving – Easter) we plan to be ready. I’ve had many ask if CDI will do more biblical adventures and I do plan to but right now the field is pretty full. Look for these three films to start playing S. Korea as they keep marching around the world.

IMG_2517

As WILD FAITH keeps introducing people to the Murphy family and people fall in love with the simpler time the ground because fertile for the ‘Hastings’ TV series. I had several discussions over the series and it makes a lot of sense. We know the world, the characters and we are set to tell more stories. We plan to have famous TV stars guest star weekly. If you license for a territory or TV network please do reach out. It is all coming together. Giddy up if you have not seen this film yet.

DEVELOPMENT 

IMG_5519

BEST YEARS GONE – This next project on the CDI slate just underwent 2 weeks of scene and dialog work with myself and director Shane Hagedorn. We will get these changes added to the master script. We’re starting to add some great sponsors to the film. We’ve also been working on the safety and health procedures to put in play when we shoot. Filtering through all these changing guidelines can be exhausting. A set is never a 100% safe place but we want to protect our folks best we can while filming.

We’re still working on one of our star castings but have many great announcements lining up. One of these announcements will be my leading lady. I’m excited to say it will be my first time working/playing with this actress. I’m also proud to say that she lives in Michigan. We’ll also be spotlighting some more crew members that will be joining us. We’ve been monitoring the situation in the world while steadily putting things together. We are 100% fully funded but want to move forward with 100% confidence. Therefore this week we’ll announce that we’re going to our September dates. This film can be shot in Sept, Oct or Nov and the added time just helps us prepare. We might start shooting B-Roll and a VFX sequence ahead of time. I can say as talent I’m ‘JONESING’ to film. The producer is working to do what is best for the project not my immediate itch.

Once we get our new target dates set Mr. Hagedorn will communicate this to our cast and crew. I don’t have the luxury of just being willy nilly over shooting. We need to win the day and that requires planning. I’m aware that we have several needed paychecks waiting – I’m excited about this project but decisions are not made by excitement. When this movie goes full ahead I promise a fun shoot. One that every person will be proud to be associated with. I appreciate you all and we have your well-being at heart.

DONORS!

Distribution news coming!

ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

Three of the CDI Associated films will be starting a new distribution phase with a new distributor. We’ll be doing a PR announce on that in the coming weeks. The films currently in this deal consist of DEADLY RENOVATIONS, DONORS and DARKEST NIGHT.

CDI is about to enter another association on a documentary film that we’ll also announce via a PR release.

Our WW2 film shooting 2021 is having some of the investment and sponsorship docs completed this week. Over half of it has been financed prior to even doing an official offer. This is a beautiful script that I wrote with Rance Howard (Ron’s father) as my script consultant. Once we get “Best Years Gone” into post this film will get a lot more attention.

from_HEAVENS_NEIGHBORS

as “John” in HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS

The CDI merchandise site is under construction but one of the really great additions which we have not officially announced is the roll out of the CDI “Classic Collection’ which is the early CDI work. The first 4 movies are like our do-it-yourself film school. Michigan did not have the film infrastructure then that is does now. The first four films were KNIGHT CHILLS, directed by Katie Hicks followed by FROM VENUS directed by Jeff Kennedy. We will be doing a Double Feature of these two films in the near future. But CDI films three and four-  HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS and FIGURE IN THE FOREST are available together for the first time. You can order it here-

https://www.ebay.com/itm/363016656566

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and week ahead. I know for many things are tough. Just keep moving forward and before you know it the problems and issues will be in the rearview mirror.

Stay healthy and be kind to one another!

DJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What to Look For in a Film as Talent and More…

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 12.41.49 PM

The snow is falling in the Michigan and it’s beautiful to watch. I’ve got the coffee going and my little side-kick Finn is sleeping beside me. It has been an exciting first month of 2020 thus far. I’ve been doing writing on what will most likely be the next CDI (www.cdiproductions.com) film.  The title I’m working with is ‘BEST YEARS GONE‘ and I think represents a universal fear/worry that many have that their best years are gone. I just enjoy my personal journey as it unfolds. Maybe your best years are your ‘now’ years.    The NOW years has you navigating with the most experienced YOU making the calls. The script is close to having a first draft and we’ll be moving forward once we have our ‘blueprint’ ready.

My name is Paul Landings

If you haven’t had a chance to watch MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND it is playing on Amazon Prime and several new DVD outlets keep emerging. Here is a “Character Reel” of me playing Paul, my wounded Marine. It has mild spoilers but I’m putting these together for my actors trek in 2020. Take a watch here –

With my new management ahead I’ve been trying to update materials but honestly it is hard. EVERYONE has a different favorite scene. Too funny. Too serious. So I will keep working on those materials. I still need a character reel for ole Jesus in THE CHRIST SLAYER and Ben Lily in WILD FAITH. Here is my cut of the current 2020 sizzle reel. Let me know your thoughts.

 

Several of my non CDI acting will be targeted at guest starring on network TV and co-starring in some foreign films. I’m open to any work but I usually have a few things I look for in a production and maybe it will help you.

  1. SCRIPT is KING – you need a great story to start with. I almost always ask to sign a NDA (Non disclosure agreement) so I can read the script.
  2. CHARACTER – you want a role that speaks to you
  3. COMPENSATION – This is not a hobby it is a career
  4. CAST – who else is cast? Paying me but not others can be a bad sign because you want quality across the board.
  5. CREW – DIRECTOR/DP/Prod Designer – The creative team is so important to the final product
  6. COMPANY – Do they finish? Do they get product to market? Organized?

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 5.09.23 PM

Now if you’re just starting out you might choose to participate in something missing these points because you have no other choice. The experience of being on set – good, bad or ugly might be enough. My thoughts are on all the striving, thriving filmmakers out there because I hope to possibly participate one day but be smart and save yourself.

THE QUEST TRILOGY – I want to have a trailer cut together that presents the three movies FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER together as one.

CDILogo3

WILD FAITH – Fans keep growing and we’re working to bring audiences back into the world of late 1800’s in Michigan. We have some exciting opportunities developing.

82561280_3298086986884837_8843547428666736640_n

LOST HEART – We’re about to lock up the picture and start sound design and music.  This film has elements of WALK THE LINE and also lighter more comedic moments. We deliver the film in June to BMG and it will roll out to audiences soon after. Poster/DVD art will be coming and as soon as we lock the film a trailer is up next.

Okay my friends. I’m ready to also do some additional screenwriting this morning so I’m going to bring this to a close. For those under the snow storm effect I hope you stay warm. I got motivated and cut up a bunch of wood for the office stove so I’ll have to stoke that up in a few hours.

Have a great Sunday!

DJ

 

 

 


Purpose and Persistence – Movie Updates

My name is Paul Landings

I’m told it is national coffee day, so my hazelnut coffee is to be recognized, cheers! The past week and the days leading up to it have been jam-packed with activity. On a personal level I’ve had a fill of loved ones facing health struggles including a dear Uncle of mine. Last weekend we got to visit and share a few laughs as he was always that family storyteller I looked up to. Sitting in his chair or around a fire up in Harrison we were always treated to mysterious and exciting stories. His tales of Bigfoot and strange lights in the sky can be seen as an influence in my writing like ‘Lost Heart’ which sadly he will not see. He is nearing the end of this journey and soon to start a new one.

IMG_3523

Others who have not lived the same full life are facing challenges that make us ponder our purpose and value while living our relatively short time. I’m proud that I outlasted all the slings, arrows, naysayer and doubters to do what I love to do. If my time here were to end early, I’m happy and doing what I always dreamt of doing. I work with some amazing people and I think in our own way we are helping.

40 N

The Movies

I’m not a person who puts high value to trophies and awards knowing that some are just vanity. But the awards that recognize the team work are the awards that matter most. The ‘Inspirational’ and certain individual awards to others like Josh Perry, stepping outside the limited views of society to be nominated for “Best Supporting Actor” makes my heart sing. Filmmaking is NOT an individual thing but a collective thing, hence Collective Development. Being that we’re not submitting to these festivals our distributor is, we have surprises every handful of days. Lets look at a bullet point of some of the updates.

FILM UPDATES

  • Hollywoodivine International Film Festival will happen next weekend and we have (3) films MAN’S BEST FRIEND, WILD FAITH and THE CHRIST SLAYER nominated for ‘Best Film’ – two of those for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Most Inspirational’ – All three of our film’s leading men were nominated being yours truly, Shane Hagedorn and Carl Weyant – just incredible. Lauren LaStrada again for “Haddie” in ‘Wild Faith’ – Josh Perry as mentioned above ‘Best Supporting’ – All three films nominated for ‘Best Cinematography’ – two nominations for Jesse Aragon and one for Patrick Dowdle. Lastly the amazing score of ‘Wild Faith’ by Dennis Therrian.
  • Wild Bunch Film Festival will be happening on the same weekend. Ben Lily, Hester Thickett and Emmett will all be in attendance with Darby Hinton, who is my ‘Best Supporting Actor’ competition from another western film. I LOVE the genre and I’m looking forward to representing the film that garnished 13 nominations including again Dennis Therrian’s score. Other nominations include Best (Film, Faith Film, Produced Film, Best Lead Actors (Shane and Lauren), Best Supporting Actors (Melissa Anschutz and I), Best Narrator Trace Adkins, Best Children Actors for both Joe and Xylia and Best Director. If we win anything or nothing it will be a good moment representing the CDI TRIBE!
  • In Randolph, VT the 1st Green Mountain Christian Film Festival will take place Oct 18-19. I think all three films MBF, Wild Faith and The Christ Slayer will play. Among the nominations announced thus far I was granted a ‘Best Supporting Actor’ Nomination for ole Ben Lily in ‘Wild Faith’ – along side Burt Young from ROCKY fame who is an Oscar Nom and whom I met a handful of years ago at Norby Walter’s Night of 100 Stars. ‘The Christ Slayer’ is nominated for a ‘Most Inspirational’ with more nominations to come this week.
  •  LOST HEART editing is underway and we should be climbing to the 30 min mark and we’ve had some PR from Creative Motion and a few other publications. Look for PR to really hit hard 1st of the new year.
  • I’ve had such powerful and heartfelt responses from those watching ‘MAN’S BEST FRIEND‘ and I cannot express how much that fills me with joy. I took a moment this week to read some of the wonderful reviews on our IMDB and Amazon page. I know that you can’t please everyone but overall I think the film is finding its audience. Thank you.  The DVD is suppose to arrive this week on Amazon and once it does we’ll be sharing that with all of you.
  • The book THE HORSE OF MY DREAMS by Revall/Baker Publishing is now out and you can read two of my stories in there. You can get online or at your favorite bookstore. It will make a great Christmas present. Mom no need to get one Santa might have you hooked up this year:) I might do some book store readings or some other PR we will see. I have more books coming that will feature a few of my stories.
  • BUY HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Horse-My-Dreams-Stories-Horses/dp/0800727185
  • We are almost done with a second abridged version of a ‘book video promo’ we did for a publisher. It has been a lot of coordination but in the end it will be worth it.
  • Development talks continue as we prepare for 2020 and what CDI will produce in the years ahead. We have some collaborative meetings in the weeks ahead and we will be charting a course soon.

img_28581

I’m going to wrap it up here. Again if you haven’t seen the films in our library please do take a watch. You can also look at more of the film details on http://www.cdiproductions.com

Have a great end to your weekend and a wonderful week ahead.

DJ

 

 


Thoughts On Casting and December Updates.

e2mbxPnhJ_EiH2qgoYKeew_r

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

A050_C008_0318MH

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

KNIGHT CHILLS

The symbol of the KNIGHT CHILLS franchise.

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

ITW

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

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

Cropped

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

Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 9.47.14 AM

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

IMG_6476

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

IMG_5656

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

picture-1

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

MV5BMTgzNzIyODI2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDA3Mzk0Mg@@._V1_SX640_SY720_

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

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

DJ


Video Update 2: New Film Updates

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

https://youtu.be/o36INp-e1e0

DJ


“Wild Faith” Rides Into 4 New Cities – Several Development Updates

IMG_9190

I’m sipping the hot hazelnut (coffee) on this frozen Sunday watching the squirrels eat the left over squash and strawberries from last night. I want to welcome our readers from Chile. We’re glad to have you with us as we recap another strong week of updates.

Let’s start with the music video I participated in as camera talent. I was approached about acting in ‘My Ghosts‘ a music video.  I was taken by the story/concept script for the music video. The artist (Trey Connor) was strong in his genre and style and the director (Tomaki Boaz‘s) previous work showed he’s a strong developing storyteller.

I was trying to match their premiere date with one of our “Wild Faith” showings to give them a nice plug. The dates did not work out and they released the music video yesterday. I’m proud when I see young people not just interested in ‘playing‘ with the camera but developing their business. One wrong variable can decrease overall production value if not addressed properly. I enjoyed seeing the happiness these young filmmakers had in presenting their final work yesterday. The producer was proud of producing her first music video, as she should be. Of course friends and family first rush to give their congrats. And I see one individual whose response was something like “Umm do you want my honest response?” – First by logic alone, anyone who references an honest response is ultimately saying that usually they are not honest in their responses. But this “bait” was an obvious setup for someone to go against the grain just for attention.  This producer wasn’t commenting on the video but the process of taking something from concept to final product. It’s a skill sorely lacking in many circles – you know who you are. So you’ve got this guy wanting to throw stones at young people not playing filmmaker but actually doing business as filmmakers. I usually stay out of such things but I had to call him on his withheld opinion. What enlightening words is he about to drop with his honest opinion? EVERYONE has or should have an opinion on everything – that’s called thinking. It doesn’t make anyones opinion any more special.  Many have been brought up in the age of “say anything behind a computer” where class, politeness and sincerity is often overlooked. If this person had something truly caring and constructive to offer they would offer it in a private discussion versus a public tease of offering judgmental, opinionated honesty. ** NOTE: This individual clarified their post and brings up good points on “bandwagon liking” everything out there. I’m glad to be wrong here but know the rock throwers will emerge. That too is a skill artists must learn – to suffer the slings and arrows of critics. I say don’t ride the rollercoaster of up’s and down’s – steady as she goes is the best policy.

I can tell just by the words people manifest if they lead a positive life that opens new opportunities or a negative life whereas the world is always keeping them down. I’m not sure what this guy will respond with but if I was looking to hire someone – I know which individual will likely be presented with new opportunities. It’s pretty easy to identify the people who will continue to fill themselves with venom and spread it. Social media actually makes it quite easy for employers to get a psychological profile on people. Negativity is a poison that nobody wants in their work environment. If Trey’s music is a far cry from your daily dose of death metal like SLAYER – cool. There are many who don’t get the art of those bands who growl and slam about in mosh pits either but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable for those others who embrace it. I’m just saying, having an opinion does not always require giving an opinion. Sometimes best to say less or nothing if you’ve got nothing nice to say. Honesty can be used to help or hurt, the intention is what I look at. When done to showboat publicly it’s mostly used to hurt. When done personally and privately it’s usually done to help. NOTE IT. Enjoy this music video created by some hardworking young people making their way into our industry. What I love is I don’t have to make any apologies for the work. It’s solid.

Music Video for Trey Connor’s ‘My Ghosts” 

Speaking of young people in our industry – I went to the local Lansing, Michigan CCFF mixer Thursday night to support this event. It is exciting to see so many passionate about our industry. Congrats to all those who work so hard  to provide that experience. It was good seeing a few old friends down there. The coconut shrimp and other eats were wonderful. I hope they have a very successful 2018 fest.

As “Forty Nights” contines to play strong on Amazon Prime and other platforms along with “Chasing the Star” – the 3rd installent is under construction. “The Christ Slayer” trailer is finished save conforming and color correction which will start next week. Soon audiences will get a peek at Part 3 which will be in theaters on the run up to Christmas and home video for Easter 2019. It looks amazing and that is because of all the talented artists led by our director Nathaniel Nose.

Masterw:RLfix

We’ve just completed our Novi, Michigan theatrical run with “Wild Faith” and now we’re about to open in four new Michigan cities. HASTINGS! JACKSON! KALAMAZOO! BATTLE CREEK! These special event showings are happening because of you demanding it. Contact your theaters and get contact info for their management to pass along. We’re working on a dozen new showing locations and we’ll try to get close to you. We’ll keep moving and playing the film on the big screen all Summer until our Fall home video release. But do yourself a favor and go see it on the big screen. I may attend the first Hastings screening on Monday. So far we’ve had a great time touring with our (mid) western and I’m appreciative of our audience’s responses.

IMG_4410

Next month “Wild Faith” will join “Chasing the Star” in Florida for the International Christian Film Festival. Both are up for numerous awards but I’m just excited about more people being able to experience these films on the big screen. Rebecca Lawlor our main EP on all three films in The Quest Trilogy will be there to represent Collective Development Inc. – also attending will be Shane Hagedorn, Lauren LaStrada and Jesse Low – all three who were nominated for “Wild Faith” and I wouldn’t be surprised if Garry Nation attends for his nomination of Best Actor in “Chasing the Star“.

CTS_laurels3

MBF (Man’s Best Friend) – We’ve just received the last of our paperwork/funds and once I deposit the final check on Monday the new ship will be seaworthy. We’ll have our shooting script and shoot schedule set next week. Casting and crewing paperwork will be underway in the next two weeks. The process of “finding” the character has been interesting. I’m playing the title role in the film and love the challenges it presents. I’m excited about all the great talent we have gathering on both sides of the camera. This will be another great CDI story to tell. We launch the ship (roll cameras) in May and will finish in early June. Among the exciting developments is a visit from a major cable network to our film set. Let’s just say it has to do with ANIMALS🙂

I’ve also been in heavy writing and development mode – and I’m very excited about that. CDI is in talks on content creation for a few emerging studios. This could mean some very exciting on-going things for the tribe at CDI. We’ll also be announcing a new on-going commercial deal that CDI has with another major corporation. TV series and new feature films are all on deck. I’ve got a few really big meetings coming up this month. I’m actually more concerned with the travel arrangements versus the actual meetings. Talking business and films doesn’t stress me at all but travel and technology has done that on occasion.

I’m going to jump off here to seek some food and also do some creative writing. I hope some of you will make it to the “Wild Faith” showings. I have more meetings this week. I’ll also be prepping for my short upcoming business trip. I wish we had that teleportation technology in action. Enjoy the week ahead and be good to one another.

DJ


First Showings, Winter Snowing’s and What’s to Come!

 

Travis in Action

Ah! Nothing like a good steaming cup of coffee on a snowy Saturday. I think I’ve been good at trailblazing ahead in filmmaking and not sweating the nay sayers. I DO care about our audiences and I DO care about the artists I work with. I want them to be proud to be part of a Collective Development project. The films have always been made with passion from the very beginning. So last night on the big screen, we did our first showing for our Michigan-based cast and crew of “40 Nights” that traveled to Yuma. A few significant other and special guests attended but I wanted to keep it intimate and low key. The theatrical version will be a more powerful 7.1 mix but even stereo, the film played powerful. What it will mean to each of you – that is what peaks my curiosity.

I wanted to share that screening with some good people – and we did. Thank you so much to the Lansing Media Center for hosting our cast and crew showing last night. It was great to see it on the big screen. Yuma, AZ-area cast and crew get ready. I’m very excited to show everyone there VERY soon.

Also we’re entering another phase in the filmmaking journey. I compare finishing a feature film to dropping a kid off at the bus stop, ready for their first day of school. At home, you can feed the child all the encouragement, love and preparation before the harsh world has contact. Our child is now on the bus. Creatively, what is – IS. Now the debates can rage – love it, hate it – why didn’t someone fund my film versus this…like I said in a post, “stepping out of the darkness where the masses wait with rocks or roses”-

40 Nights

“40 Nights” – the 1st film in the QUEST trilogy.

Audiences will decide. I shift to business mode arranging things that will assist exposure of this film. My biggest regret on “40 Nights” after watching in studio was that it lacked P&A to show in theaters around the world. I thought it would play epic – last night at our first private viewing – it did. Much is credited to the capture of beautiful locations and the skilled hard work of our production team. A special credit to the vision of our director who translated the story from page to screen.

Feel free to sign up your local theater, church or venue for a screening opportunity. The page is on the http://www.40nightsthemovie.com website.

Water to Wine

BTS of “40 Nights” – the camp of John the Baptist

My upcoming director and editor on the second film got to attend the showing. I wanted to show them for weeks the cut of “40 Nights” as we prepped for part 2 “Chasing the Star” BUT I wanted them to see it EPIC. I wanted them to get to experience the world and I think they did just that. This second adventure will also be one for the books. Getting ready to chase the star:) Building the team.

Team –

I’ve talked about this before. I’m blessed with having played team sports from a young age. My father was big into sports and so that was part of my life. You rise and fall together and you participate in witnessing what can be done with proper COMMUNICATION and COLLABORATION. Coordination is that synergy between it all and the lines run on professional respect. That is, respect for the story, that will all bear their names. As stated, my goal is to have my cast and crews be proud of the participating. These teams can develop over time but I’ve realized, some don’t really know what a team truly is. I am going to give an example and perhaps it will help someone, somewhere.

CTS_Poster_v3.2

1st official teaser poster from the 2nd film in the QUEST Trilogy

Three films with fixed budgets are contracted. A team is hired for project one. Project done. Proposed hirings again for project two from project one – A few want more compensation. (Who doesn’t) But the trilogy was outlined – it is a business plan. Now the end game goal, is to take the three completed films to sell NEW development at a studio or TV network. Or just raise budgets to reflect ROI from the trilogy films and move forward with a new slate. Budget increase will equal pay increase. Okay, everyone should be with me.

As a producer,I HIRE, yet as a writer or actor I’m often, THE HIRED. If you made an offer for a short time commit at lower rates (I did not say FREE nor for IMDB credit). These are rates with transportation, lodging, food and such. Now as an actor, would working under your assumed rate, on a short term project, by a company that hires repeatedly or on a regular basis. That sounds good.

To me, the quality has to be at a certain level for acting consideration, but I think when possible that quality should also be looked at by crews. I know many do pick and choose very carefully where to put their artistic heart. I understand schedule conflicts – why work always wants to land on one another versus nose to tail? It just does. But doing a project, that I believe in for a smaller rate. I’ve done it. And it won’t kill my yearly income by working a few days under rate. I have often nurtured relationships that would grow and expand in scope and budget over the years. The movie BOTTLE ROCKET shot immediately to mind. Several creative individuals that collaborated and still collaborate.

Back to the job offers, I watch people work on a series of free projects and turn around to tell me a rate offered is too low. Do I carry the burden that this person chose to play versus work? Other client(s) that did not pay? Whatever the case, now someone behind in bills, pushes to get more $$. Now, I’ve been successful as an actor because I respect the long game. A career of building respectful relationships that when the large paycheck opportunity comes along that person is happy to give it, because you gave so much when they had so little.  Respect is real power. I give people a clean slate to make their own respect. Together I invite people to travel on a journey of storytelling. I’ve dedicated my life to following this path.  I will be direct and people understand, I’m looking at the end game. A finished film. A story made by a  team of artists. One that I can only hope everyone is proud to have worked on. Enough of this ramble.

I’m going to cut this short as I have some work to attend to and I want to finish a polish on a script. I’m almost there. That script is the 3rd film in the QUEST TRILOGY, “The Christ Slayer”…

TheChristSlayer_lightening_rough.jpg

Have a great Saturday! Keep clawing!

DJ

 

 

 


Film Updates, Family & Free Wasteland Watch

Hello my friends out there. I’m writing this on Friday night to release around midnight because tomorrow is busy. We’re having the 2nd of basically three Thanksgivings or family gatherings. I’m not a huge fan of the history of the day  but that is neither here nor there – the day has become one to gather with loved ones and be thankful. I can get behind that and so I’ve been enjoying some family time. I’ve been sneaking business in on these off days. Let’s see what we’ve been up to…

Wastelandw:credits copy

WASTELAND – Gray Day Films and CDI

The producers decided to make Part 1 of the story FREE. Wrap your face to protect from the harsh sands and enter the WASTELAND!

Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/146707702)

Let’s see…

“Knight Chills” deal was signed and so book cover/film artwork will begin. I also got some time to write on the sequel. We’ve had some cool talks with a few keys involved in this sequel.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 10.15.16 PM

Original KNIGHT CHILLS poster – “Scream” style.

Once we get this going we will look at “From Venus” to see what can be done there. We just have so much more technology at ours hands now. Some of these earlier films did not have all the bells and whistles we wanted. It will be fun to revisit some of these worlds.

The national release dates we are hearing –

DONORS!

Distribution news coming!

“Donors” – Feb 2nd, 2016

Bestseller Premiere Poster

“Bestseller” – May 3rd, 2016

donnie-smirk.png

“Ashes of Eden” has a new street date pushed in light of a TV deal. That announcement I’m told will release from distributor on Tuesday.

Water to Wine

BTS of “40 Nights” – the camp of John the Baptist

A few development talks on our next project with Jesse Low. We’ll be announcing something on that maybe around Christmas. It will shoot in 2016.

CTS_Poster_v3.2

1st teaser poster for “Chasing the Star”

The foundation of the “house” (film) “Chasing the Star” is about to be set. I had to get some paperwork around this past week. It is much easier to focus on paperwork when it is cold and wet outside. Coffee (David Hayes) and I just TCB’d. That is an Elvis saying that I take to heart. Taking Care of Business. I try.

Had good negotiations on a script that’s being re-optioned. I got half way through one script I was reading. I started the book I was sent to look over for a film role. Aside from reading others work I’m closing in fast on a first draft of “I can’t tell you yet” but the 3rd script in the QUEST trilogy.

40 Nights

“40 Nights” – the 1st film in the QUEST trilogy.

The 1st film “40 Nights” is about to be all pulled together. The intro, VFX, sound, music – all the elements. The last two steps will be color correct and final mix to 5.1 surround. We released a teaser about a week ago. This was a small test snippet after already releasing the official trailer. Check it out on the “40 Nights” Facebook site and JOIN US:) Everyone is excited to see this film as a finished project.

AN ORDINARY KILLER

Dan Haggerty in “An Ordinary Killer”

We’ve also been digitizing the CDI library. Many of the films were stored on tapes of various types. One had to have some fixing. Thank you Scott! We have offers extended on more TV play so we’ll be presenting for 2016. Some of the films are getting a great repackaging – VOD did not exist when some of these films released. Also some have not had a BluRay release yet. So lots of fun stuff with the earlier films. We still have lots of people watching “Darkest Night,” “7 Stones” and many others. Thank you for reaching out.

7 Stones Master

“Bestseller” is getting ready to release early December in Grayling, Michigan. I’m working on Kalamazoo and Detroit area still. We’ll keep playing it leading up to the national release. The film plays great on the big screen. I also can say that “Bestseller” was the film that cemented the upcoming “C.U.J.O.” role. Is that a hint? I don’t think so. Maybe?

BESTSELLER

Melissa Anschutz and DJ Perry in BESTSELLER

Lastly, in 2016 we’re going to try and launch an online store, theater and such. CDI will keep evolving and working on collective developments:)

Have a great weekend. I hope my alumni school MSU has another good week on the grid. Our Lions made us proud on Thanksgiving – great job!

Be good to one another out there.

DJ

 

 


HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Balance, Bestseller and Being Busy

Momma and me

Happy Halloween! This day reminds me of early days plodding around in our neighborhood usually in the damp drizzle bravely approaching dimly lit houses. We transformed with our costumes, one that my mom or grandma (If major sewing was required) helped construct. Mom made sure we had our share of classroom Halloween treats and Halloween parties at the house. Later years brought howling at the moon and we were drawn more to the attractive outfits of the ladies versus the haul of candy. Yes. Priorities had shifted. I love Oct. 31st because it’s the portal into those longer, darker, self-introspective days of winter. The harvest has mostly been collected (we still have beets in the ground) and our dwelling and self are both being prepped for the much colder days ahead. Often in my later years the movie sets have taken me away at this time. The beautiful change of season is highly sought after by filmmakers. I’ve been in the Smoky Mountains, India, and various locations on this day  This year our timeline is full with multiple screenings and the final month of post-production on our film “40 Nights”. These films we’re doing have distributors and retailers waiting and so this timeline is VERY important. I had a good couple of weeks of the actor-self feeling like a beast in a cage. Add in the time off from soccer (my body thanks me) whereas I’m not getting my weekly BATTLE lust and well…it left me seeking my balance. This day is one of great re-balancing. It prepares one for the months ahead. We have much to do!

DJ Perry as Jesus in the biblical drama

DJ Perry as Jesus in the biblical drama “40 Nights”

One thing we’ve been seriously doing in preparation of our next feature, “Chasing the Star” is seeking the right director. This is an important task just like casting and crewing. Every artist is an important part of the whole. This is also an interesting process because this is #2 of a trilogy. The right person has to align with the script and also be producer friendly. Business does trump in the non-hobby filmmaking world and so you need someone who understands that. In no way does that mean that business is a hindering factor – just is a factor. Often it never even becomes an issue. Just when it does you want a director who is on board PRE-filming. Each director is looked at for their experience and connection to story. Lastly, they must possess qualities that are of a respectful, grateful and appreciative nature. One film can change everyone’s life path.

Many first time filmmakers never make that second one because it is truly a task not for the weak. Those that continue to grow are the ones that learn collaboration and compromise within a business structure. I’m happy to say we’ve found our director on “Chasing the Star” and will be announcing in the days ahead. Congrats! The CDI tribe welcomes you.

From the motion picture

From the motion picture “BESTSELLER”

“Bestseller” is having a Nov. 1st showing in Owosso, MI and I will be attending. It is at the Wrought Iron Grill and shows at 6:00 pm – I hope to see some of you there!

The detectives and their snitch confront some dealers in the park about the death.

The detectives and their snitch confront some dealers in the park about the death.

Our next CDI art mixer at Sanctuary Spirits with Red, White and Blue Project is Nov. 19th in Grand Ledge, MI. The film will be “An Ordinary Killer” filmed entirely in Michigan.

This concludes a great week of meetings that included book and comic book deals, soundtrack/VOD talks, touring discussions and several other interesting developments happening with our CDI library.

I’m waiting on a new “C.U.J.O.” draft along with an action script that the studio wants me to look at. I had a great talk with a producer who is doing westerns and we’re looking at collaborating. Also had a surprise phone call from a NYC area director who is sending me his book/script for a film they are prepping to shoot in 2016. So not sure which and when yet but I will be back in front of the camera at some point here soon. So with that I’m enjoying being home in the fall.

I’m sure I missed a few updates but I’m updated out:)

Be safe on whatever path you’re on tonight.

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 – 

get-attachment-1.aspx

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


Always Take the High Road…

This will likely be my last, okay as my wording jumps around, it WILL be my last post on this computer. It has served me well since just after GHOST TOWN in 2006 or so. I now have a new MacBook Pro and my main task is moving my software over. This last week was full of updates but I want to discuss something that can really benefit all of you working in film or any business. I will frame the situation without using names.

I have been doing business with a studio. They have a script of  mine under option. They have been ultra professional  and cross T’s and dot I’s on contracts. Even better, their checks come and clear. Now they’ve talked to me about acting, producing and distribution. I know their roll out plan on a pair of their previous films. No smoke blowing in my discussions with them as what they’ve discussed matches/aligns with talks I’ve had with another BIG STUDIO. So far all good marks on this relationship. On another front –  a partner/biz associate had been dealing with a key member on one of these films owed by the studio paying me an option. In casual discussion I was presented with news that directly conflicted with what I had been told by this said studio regarding distribution of their property. I looked at some public information posted on social media sites that confirmed this conflicting information. Essentially someone without the executive power to sell a film was doing just that. I had seen previous postings advertising this film selling but sometimes a small run for family, friends of the film is permitted. It is not usually sold or advertised widely as it can label a film as being “previously distributed” and devalue it. I simply took a few screenshots and asked the studio if they were aware of this and was it authorized. What tipped me off to something being “Rotten in Denmark” was this unofficial version being sold by an unofficial party was said to have been offered a distribution deal. That at least speaks good of the film:) Now my associate confronted this unauthorized party before and was met with side stepping answers. This unauthorized version was being sold and not by pirates in Asia or Russia, but a key(s) on the film. I assume legal stepped in and it was immediately halted. Now my associate was confronted by this guilty party. They were upset that public information was gathered and presented to the studio. Initially they denied selling the film even though the proof was all over the internet including reviews of the illegal version and my associate had a copy of the DVD in question is his hands. This guilty party was seemingly mad that the studio wasn’t going to ever work with them again. He wanted to know what producer/writer had brought this info front and center so he could be sure never to work with them. After this person denied selling the film he retracted his statement the next day admitting to selling a few DVD’s “Only X amount was sold and only because they needed Christmas money”. Yes. That is what I was told.  Okay. Let’s recap again.

1) My associate is considering work with this person.

2) Information posted and presented is in direct conflict with other information known.

3) One party is by-the-book, contract heavy and follows through with said agreements including payment.

4) Second party avoids direct answers to presented questions. It is discovered he used rights without authorization and lied about it until they knew they were caught red-handed.

5) Guilty party is now mad at being caught and gives said excuses.

Okay. Now this party is mad at myself and this associate of mine for vetting out information that did not make sense. The guilty party wanted to know who presented the info but he knew. So, after admitting he DID sell the film, he said they would never work on anything with me involved. God. I hope so! That means anyone working with me is at least protected from that circle of deceit. Life throws you a finance curveball and this person gives in to lying and stealing…I feel pity for them. I don’t know this person. I never worked with this person. They are likely a fine artist but business is not just a game to play when it suits you. SHOWBIZ! I’ve had film rights stuck with a distributor that I wasn’t happy with. Hell, I was mad at them. But I can’t just go against agreements and do anything I want. Projects have managers who run the show NOT the investors. I’ve had to fight with my legal to get rights back on projects. Otherwise you are illegally re-assigning rights to a new distributor and creating an issue for them just by trusting you. Hence why you use a chain of titles. Your name and reputation is so important and this is an ultra small business community. A friend/associate of this guilty party also called me a jerk and wanted to know what my deal was. I had no deal other than seeking out some truth. I heard something that didn’t add up. I gathered some info and asked for clarification. Now, I’m a jerk. Someone else who makes positive message films but cheats, steals and lies and they are somehow a victim? Okay. So I’m done with all that but luckily this associate of mine won’t be doing business with this person. Let me tell you something. If they stole 30 units they would steal 300, 3000, 30,000 or 3,000,000 units. If they lie about something small in business they will surely lie about something big. I just implore you all out there to protect your business integrity and character. If you need help financially and can’t help yourself (swallow your pride and get another JOB) just don’t tank your future by dishonest business. This person could be the next big thing but if you sell out your trustworthiness, your career will die. I’m not mad at this person or those around who are justifying the actions. I just want some of you out there to reconsider when tempted to do something wrong. Even if you’re mad, frustrated or the other party is a jerk. If you’re a professional and you don’t have the right to do something – don’t! It could get you in big legal trouble. Ruin the domestic run on a film for a few hundred-dollars and you could get sued for millions in lost revenue. Good people can do desperate things when put in a bad situation. A man will steal food to feed his starving family. But selling yourself out to buy an XBox or some holiday gifts is not worth it. A gift-light holiday that still has love and honesty is better that the other option. You also are setting an example with your choices and behavior to people who look up to you. So I’m fine with the outcome but wonder what kind of world it is where the guilty plays the victim and the innocent becomes the scapegoat.

Onto the next updates:)

– Good meeting over film education program  in Michigan

– Good meetings over upcoming CDI theatrical showings

– More TV deals underway with CDI films

– BESTSELLER FX about done and sound design is an hour + completed

– ASHES OF EDEN going national on April 7th

– Multiple foreign licensing underway with UK, Australia, Germany and more…

– Development on several CDI films moving along with one about to enter pre-production in Feb.

– Post-Edit work underway on “WASTELAND” film.

– Stay tuned this coming week for PR announcing release dates nationally on “Donors” and re-release of “Wicked Spring”

Keep moving forward and even though the road may be longer, steeper and rougher – remain on the highroad. There are no shortcuts and when they do present themselves they often come with compromises that will have long-lasting effects. Have a great weekend and a good week ahead!

DJ


Advance, Enhance & Take the Chance – 2015

 

Well folks I hope your 2015 is off to a good start. I’ve jumped right into it with a bang and I’m excited for the possibilities of what lies ahead. I’m really happy at how enjoyable the holidays were and I do realize how blessed I am to do what I love for a living. A week before Christmas I was in a majestic place (The Valley of Fire) shooting what I would call R-Rated STAR WARS with our “Wasteland” film. It’s just funny because that film is what sparked my imagination and pushed me towards the path. Yesterday the editing on that 1st part of the film began in Florida. The website is now open at http://www.wastelandtalesmovie.com/.  A teaser will soon be released and I will start putting new talent in front of our director and we will be doing casting calls via the website so stay tuned if you want to enter the Wasteland.

I will be doing some producing on that film now that my filming as an actor is complete. I’ve been prepping for my next role that I’ll be announcing soon. It will be most challenging but I’m ready and willing to accept that challenge. It’s a period piece that will film some in Michigan perhaps and the balance/bulk of it in Arizona. Location scouting and some select casting work has been underway for a while now. Let’s talk about some of the other exciting news that I can be somewhat less mysterious about – maybe. 🙂

We have release dates for our films releasing with the WINTERS FILM GROUP. I must allow the honor of announcing the “Ashes of Eden” street date to come from Shane Hagedorn. He’s very excited for the national release. Also we have a couple large foreign releases in talks now. I was talking with Parables TV about this film on Friday. They love it. It’s on the cutting edge being a crime drama infused with a healthy dose of faith but also not cramming the religious aspect down your throat. We’re greatly looking forward to audiences of all walks of life watching and enjoying this film. It gives a very humanizing look at the life police/law enforcement officers have to deal with. It looks at the challenges that face both parents and children in this day and age. It’s funny because I told Shane before the film was ever completed that he must also prepare himself for “haters” – (I believe that is the term) Basically, if you start to find success some insecure artists who have not yet been given that opportunity to succeed will resent you. Why his script? Why his film? Why? Why? The answer is usually better quality product, better business or both. I had truly hoped that Shane would not have to experience any of that but I knew better. Before the film was released someone trolled the voting on a data base in hopes it would hinder the film. It did not.  Because distributors actually watch and evaluate based on their expertise and sales projections. Now as of late the film has also been given to a cross selection of  film reviewers and once again the response has been very good. I expect sales to also be quite good.  You can’t let those things even slow you down. When your audience becomes hundreds of thousands to millions vs a few hundred friends you learn to just let it roll off you. A few will always hate and that itself will keep them trapped in a cycle of failure.  I would always rather just smile and create. If you’re still fighting for your respect and your success don’t hate. Try to examine what makes these other artists  successful. I would say don’t imitate their art but imitate their business practice or principles. Don’t EVER fake it to make it. Build from mild success to modest success to great success. Keep it real and keep building and one day your success will start to multiply because it is REAL!

Let’s talk some REAL UPDATES:)

“Wicked Spring” will also be re-releasing soon. While an official PR release is forthcoming I’ll give my loyal readers a hint. It would make a nice gift to put in an Easter basket:) Now “Donors” will also be announcing their release date soon. Audiences will have a great opportunity to enjoy these films releasing the first half of the year. I hope you add them to your collection or viewing experiences.

Finishing up early this year will also be the horror film “Dead Quiet” – I hear they will be targeting fall for their big push. “Bestseller” is now in post sound/music and I’ve been seeing the FX/graphic work in progress. I’m VERY excited to see this film completed and premiere. “The Terrorist” feature was getting close to done in late December so I expect to hear some good news from our director soon.

I was in talks on a few more CDI films heading to TV. One will likely be our doc film “Outside the Wire” done with our friends at the RED, WHITE and BLUE PROJECT.

“Heavens Neighbors” and “Figure in the Forest” are looking at a new release in 2015. “Knight Chills” will be re-releasing with the novel to help promote and prep folks for the sequel that is coming. “In the Woods” re-release – trying to get that commentary done. We had one date reschedule because of snow and we’ll see if we can make it tomorrow. They had a 90 car pile up yesterday right where I have to drive through. So if it’s bad I’m not chancing it. I had the cold zap my battery one day last week and once I got it jumped and was off to my teeth cleaning I narrowly avoided a fender bender right in front of me. I had to BUDDY COLT*  the car to keep from a crash but I did. (See * JUDGES movie)

This week ahead will be more development and prepping for delivery on these films heading out for distribution. Also a studio tour, theatrical talks on a few films and finalizing some artwork. It’s great weather for getting these things done. No nice sun and yard/garden work to tempt you just bitter winds and snow that would make a polar bear cold. So I’m going to focus on my film work and also write on the two scripts I’ve been working on. It all keeps the machine moving forward and I’m happy to stay busy. At CDI we are accepting some commercial work. We’ve got a cool project for a client lined up this spring. We’ve done some high-end commercial work in the past and we’re going to occasionally start taking on select projects here and there. So if you have a commercial project that you want considered – feel free to ask. If we don’t take it on I can always recommend someone whose work I approve.

I think that is all I have right now. I’m sure I’ve missed a few things but once again, thank you for stopping by. I hope you all have a great week and keep clawing your way to the middle! Accept that most things don’t come easy and enjoy the work. While others refrain, complain, abstain you advance, enhance and take the chance to move forward. Don’t be afraid to fail but you must be as prepared as possible and fight fiercely to succeed.

Welcome to 2015! Go get it.

DJ

 

 


My Birthday Plans & Drops on Upcoming Distribution

After a few days of rain and storms we have a beautiful day upon us. I was out and about this morning and found a few great items for the office. Yes, maybe they would be more suited for the Knights of the Round Table, but so be it. Monday is my actual birthday and I’m looking forward to one of our only morning soccer matches Sunday. That night I’ll ring in my Birthday with some of my old school mates. The following Saturday I will have a small gathering to celebrate more properly since my birthday falls on a Monday this year. I’m looking forward to a relaxing day with some good food and family. Now let’s get onto a few entertainment updates…

A reality TV show that I directed a few years ago is finally getting a featured trial run next month. The first three shows will be shown and if the audiences responds well they want the full series. This company will also represent the series to 3rd parties worldwide. There will be a press release on this mid-week once everything is completed. I’m excited to just have this journey shown as it truly was fun and entertaining and I think others will also enjoy it.

Also a PR release will roll out VERY shortly on “Ashes of Eden” that was recently offered a Michigan theatrical deal. That is now in play and the film will start in two cities (Lansing & G.R.) and may expand from there. The showings will start the 2nd week in July – so stay tuned! Meanwhile, we’ve been getting more interest and offers in the worldwide distribution rights of the film. It’s a lot of back and forth but I think we’re making some real progress. I’m excited to see where the film ends up but without a doubt it will end up where you audiences can take a watch. We had a BIG movie producer give high marks on the production value and performances. That in itself could lead to another offer.

The dates on the pick up shoot for “Bestseller” are firming up and we’ve had a few solid meetings to get this ball rolling. It’s only a few small puzzle pieces we need to shoot but they are important in the overall. The first trailer has really sparked some new interest in the film. I’m excited to finish this one up because I think people will really enjoy it.

I also just watched the full screener on the thriller “DONORS” that is about to start making the rounds to distributors. I have some meetings over this completed property next week as well. SPOOKY FILM:)

“The Terrorist” locked picture looks money and I’m excited that the final music and sound design process is now beginning. The director is very happy and wants me to participate in his next feature and TV series. I would be honored to work with him again, BINGO:)

Things have been quiet on “Dead Quiet” front but I’m in hopes that a trailer will be released soon. The movie should be very scary and I know I have several fans out there who appreciate those films.

In regards to acting – I’ve got some really big things developing with my management company. It will be fun to see how that all unfolds but some TV guest spots and appearances in studio motion pictures could soon be at hand. I’ll be ready to look at new acting projects once this “pick up” shoot  on “Bestseller” is over at the end of July. Some good developments with my writing projects that could lead to producing/acting work. I’ve got more paperwork to review but I’ve been impressed by the business efforts of a company that wants to do an association with CDI. I like that they are willing to put in the hard work versus just trying to kickstart some free handouts. That usually leads to trying to make a film on a few thousand dollars and mostly ends up looking that way.

So with all this said –  I’m off to work in the yard, the office and to do some grilling. I’m close to completing another trip around the sun and I’m okay with that. Life is good with great  friends, family and being blessed to do what I truly love doing.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

DJ


BESTSELLER Trailer, ASHES of EDEN theatrical and more…

Okay! I made it. It was an early morning of activity that ended with us getting everything we need for the garden. The seeds, the plants and everything to get that underway. The pond that we finished now has fish in it and I love the little solar fountain that creates such a relaxing sound. The backyard is really coming together which is nice because that is where many of the recent film meetings have been happening. It was interesting that I recently read an interview with music producer Rick Rubin and much of what he had to say were lessons I apply to my life. The best meetings don’t happen around a boardroom table and controlling your environment allows your energy to flow positive. I think that is something many people find attractive. I had several meetings with a director on a soon-to-be-released feature that I’m a producer on and also co-star in. I was watching the edit and giving notes and suggestions. We really came up with a few good ideas to add layers to the film. He commented on how he enjoyed our talks because they always left him feeling positive and full of inspired ideas. That is what we as artists should do and in the best collaborations that is what happens. Not ego-wars and bullshit drama but solid strides and passing of creative ideas. This particular director is excited to work together again on his next feature and a TV show that he has in the works. Life is too short for bad working relationships and so if you are in one – finish your obligations and part ways with sincere well-wishes.

I’m sure many out there are not tuning into my blog to listen to my rambling on gardening:) Let’s get to some film updates…

“BESTSELLER” – The 1st trailer for this thriller based upon Christopher Knight’s book of the same name is DONE. Tomorrow we will be releasing a PR release with the link to the trailer. So watch the BESTSELLER FB page and such for this official release. I’m very proud once again of the cast and crew made up mostly on Michigan folks doing work at the international level. https://www.facebook.com/BESTSELLERTHEMOVIE

We have had early interest from distributors and so I’m excited to give them the look they have all been waiting on. Oh! And you too – the audience:)

“ASHES OF EDEN” continues to move forward with distributors. This week we had a few respond with their interest. We have some meetings being set that will be our first rounds of negotiations to see who can provide the best home. We also have some exciting news coming this week about the 1st Michigan theatrical releases. We have a deal on the table and pen and paper should meet this week. Once that is done a press release with full details will be forthcoming. Multiple theaters, multiple screens, multiple weeks, multiple showings – very exciting stuff for all involved.

Lots of development work is underway with many investor talks, script reviews and such. As we get these post production films into their final stages it will be exciting to get into production with a new slate of film work.

Enjoy your weekend. I’m off to sow some seeds to reap at a later date. That is what you should do in your creative life also. Sow the seeds of good honest collaboration. Sow seeds of mutual respect and hard work. Sow seeds of always giving someone more than what they paid for. Sow seeds of not cutting corners, holding yourself up to higher standards and taking pride in your work. Do this and your personal garden will be filled with bountiful rewards later down the path.

DJ


ASHES, AWARDS and ARIZONA HEAT

So I hope some of you had the morning to catch up on my previous week blog. I’ve been taking some family time and hitting a few estate sales that last few weeks. It started with us searching for some antique items for the house and has turned into a fun weekly outing. This week we found a brass lantern light, a cottage rocking chair, brass/wood hour-glass and the list goes on. Some stuff for the office and other stuff for the house or the home bar. This week I’ve also enjoyed the first of the 3rd batch of home-brew shared with Shane Hagedorn during a marketing meeting. Also my banana/coconut wine is fermenting nicely and will make for an interesting wine for sure. I’ve been splitting some time between the computer film work and also doing stuff in the yard as we get ready for summer fun. Tomorrow will be another soccer match and I’m looking forward to that. Last night we had dinner with my brother and his wife and I even held the new niece. It was a nice visit and always nice to see what projects he has going on around there. Okay let’s look at some of the business unfolding in the film world.

First, I’ve left my old LA agency and taken up new management with Myra MacKay. She is a seasoned professional with many good tie in’s to many producers/directors. She also is a fan of my screen work and so we are going to do a trial run this year and see what she can bring to the table.  There is already some exciting stuff developing and so I’m ready to see how that all goes.

“Ashes of Eden” is out to a few dozen distributors and in the next few weeks we hope to start engaging in some serious discussions over the next wave of distribution.

The “Bestseller” trailer is about done visually and so music and sound polishing will start this coming week. What that means is distributors and fans will get to see the first looks at this exciting thriller. The feature will have one day of pick ups before we lock up the picture to start music and sound design.

Next week we start the next round of discussions over the next films to be released into Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I’m looking forward to that. I’ve also got talks ongoing with the UK and Brazil and our sales team is also closing in on Australia.

I’ve got a feature script to read this week from a director I’ve worked with once already. It is a WW2 script and I’m looking forward to the read.

It also looks like we will have a music video and a few promo videos shooting over the summer. We are growing close to announcing more on a feature film script. The question is what side of summer will it shoot on – the start or end because the location is HOT in the summer. That is not good for cast, crew or cameras so we will see how that all plays out.

Also the first talks on a new CDI associated film are beginning. It is a good script and I think it will be another great project that will continue the great tradition of telling stories for a worldwide audience. More as this develops…

IF you are in the AZ area on may 24th I encourage you to attend the DONORS premiere in Yuma, AZ. I’m excited to see this finished film myself.

I had intentions of discussing a few other things that I’ve observed around me but I’m not really wanting to wade into some of that right now. To address it in a zen like way is to say – “If a man wins a race whereas he was the only one running was it truly a race at all?”  Another point to ponder would be to say “An award granted is sincere when it is earned and unexpected but what is the nature of an award when it’s purchased for oneself by oneself?” Just a few things for folks to ponder out there.

I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful weekend. Relax and prepare yourself to have a productive week ahead.

DJ


Ashes of Eden, Announcements and Becoming an Uncle

So I think first and foremost in breaking news is that I became an Uncle for the first time. Yes, my baby brother and his wife had a beautiful baby girl. Also the fact that springtime is here is noteworthy. I bottled some beer this week and I have banana/coconut wine on deck to be made. We’ve been doing some great yard work and we also grilled out. We will likely do a bit more of both prior to the start of this weekend activities.

Tonight we have a VIP party for “Ashes of Eden” followed by tomorrows Pre-Party, Sold Out screening and post party. I’m out of practice on the multiple party front so who knows a nap could come into play. See for filmmakers, a large showing consists of more focus and hopeful wishing that the technology side of things runs smoothly. Tomorrows showing is mainly for cast and crew and the festival sold about 500 tickets to the public plus fest pass holders – this could result in 800 or so people at the screening tomorrow. I’m happy to show family, friends and fans but I’m really just happy to be completed with the film. I’m ready to engage in the business dealings with the dozen or so companies that have been following our film. We do need to spend a few days on our 5.1 mix but we have a complete film. This film is one of 4 still in post and one of two I’m directly helping to supervise.

DONORS is complete and will have a May 24th 1st showing in Yuma, AZ. I may or may not be there it depends on a few other factors. I’m excited to see this film all polished up.

BESTSELLER is moving nicely down the post production line. I have a new set of notes to go over to editing next week. Also the trailer is moving along and should be ready at the end of the month.

THE TERRORIST is also entering final music and sound design and should be rolling out at year’s end.

To be honest I’m a tad tired. I do have some very exciting stuff brewing with new management and upcoming film roles. I had my work evaluated by the upcoming director of a studio film that will have a major release. The work was really liked and it seems I will be playing a good part in this upcoming film which I cannot speak of. But it is based on a world-famous author’s work and it’s being done on the highest level of quality. I’m honored to be participating.

Another project that I’m not yet ready to announce has several distribution offers and is gaining great momentum. I just worry about time lines and schedules between projects. I just tell myself one step at a time and I’ll deal with it as it happens. We have product out to a few networks and new buyers from the UK, Australia and I might be announcing some films releasing to Brazil/S. America very soon.

So I’m going to try just relax and enjoy this weekend. We have some good associates/friends in town for the ASHES OF EDEN screening and so again I will try to check the producer into rest mode and just enjoy the experience for a day or two. Yes. I do co-star in ASHES OF EDEN and I think my fans will not be disappointed in the role. The test audience really liked the character and he really helps the story move along. I just wanted to address some of the questions I had emailed to me asking if I was acting – thank you for asking:) Sometimes after the film wraps and we go into post – the actor part of me has to take backseat to the producer. I do enjoy both but I do truly produce stuff that I love acting in. It is not the other way around. I will seldom produce something that the actor in me hasn’t been drawn to.

Have a great weekend and again congrats to my brother and his wife.

BELIEVE! (Tribute to U.W.)

DJ

 

 


Post/Premiere Updates on “Ashes of Eden”/”Bestseller”

This new sunny day comes on the heels of a beautiful full moon and while cold something stirs. I think spring dares to creep into my mind – cook outs and cocktails. New showings will be forthcoming this year with I believe seven new films rolling out. I’ve grown to enjoy the marketing aspect. Working with the CDI sales team I really enjoy being involved with bringing this art to different countries and different people. While we have had some distributors that work we also have had our share of those that do not. I’ve had the pleasure of talking about our library of CDI films with distributors in many territories. For fans of my blog not in our TV/Film industry the domestic market consists of US/Canada. The rest of the world is divided up into forty some territories. Sometimes you sell a country or an area/region. So there is distribution 101 in TV/film. I’m looking to increase the number of allied buyers this year and we look to be in line to fulfill that goal.

We have been blitzing some PR on “Darkest Night” to align with its move to Hulu Plus. The recent success in Berlin of “found footage” style movies has directed some good heat to our film. So IF you like that type of film check it out. I’ll admit here and now NOT my favorite style of filmmaking BUT it was a good experience. Will I ever do another one? It would have to be the right project. I will be working with Russ Williams the writer/producer again but I think this next film will be more traditional.

Some exciting news is that our sales team will be handling “Judges” to the foreign market. I think Australia was the only foreign country that had an earlier release of the film. We plan to change that in the coming year so prepare for BUDDY COLT and the JUDGES to invade a country near you. I had great talks with director Stephen Walker and I will say that discussions about a JUDGES 2 are happening. A script that had “Father Kane” played by the late great Russ Stine, had been written. His passing away took the wind out of the sequel sails for a while but the winds are changing. We both agreed that after we do this foreign blitz with “Judges” we should prep for a sequel.  So to all the “Judges” fans out there – things are happening.

I will be announcing a small pet project soon – actually 2014 could be the year of pet projects. If “Soul Eater” finds its legs along with a few others such as the “An Ordinary Killer” follow-up “Race to Judgment” – it could bring back some old faces. Old character faces, well my face maybe older – not really, grey…ok next topic.

“Ashes of Eden” is getting to the end of post production and our first premiere talks have started. We have had some wonderful interest in this film and I think it will have people talking. We have decided to walk at the end vs run so we make no mistakes and allow maximum creativity. This film is gonna play some theaters and is looking like we will have an international audience. If you have not seen these two trailers/previews go to http://www.ashesofedenmovie.com/trailer.html

As if that wasn’t enough – “Bestseller” is about a week from our rough edit. The goal is 120 minutes of heart pounding tension. The flight footage was just shipped in and we will all be excited to watch the 1st cut and start making notes. I’ve been happy with editor Chad Ice’s passion and excitement while working on this edit. I know that after the 1st cut we will assemble the first teaser trailer. Also things were put in motion to have the behind the scenes materials assembled. David Gries is going to edit some great footage captured by Seth Steele. Also look out for some upcoming poster art!

Distribution talks include too many films to break it all down here and now but trust me when I say that more of our international fans will get to see more of the films. My films are in more than twenty countries and I want to thank all the fans that reach out on the social media. I create these stories as do all the artists involved to entertain and share with you. So thank you.

OK. I have some work to do in the office and planning for the week ahead.

Stay warm!

DJ


The Artists Path & Looking Ahead

It is the Holiday season and it really came on fast this year. I think with “Bestseller” being such a focus and picking up “Dead Quiet” at the year’s end time just moved. Luckily I am a prepared person (that producer in me) and so I stayed on top of shopping and wrapping and I’m right on schedule and budget. Does that surprise anyone? It was brought to my attention recently whereas someone wanted to know why I do my blog. It serves a few causes –

1st – Most artists are very self-absorbed into their own world and don’t realize that not everyone say outside the film business knows about or cares about what actually goes on. As I’ve said before many think it takes just a few days/weeks to do something. As a younger man I was able to take three steps back and realize that in part due to people’s interest I was always talking about what I was doing. Also, by choice I live in Michigan. When I was more actively going to industry events in Hollywood and even now I do meet/hang with stars, sports professionals and so on. To an outsider it can quickly sound like name dropping. I would get tired of repeating the same stories again and again to people. So it was first a journal of sorts on a fan site ran by an enthusiastic fan Pepper. From there I moved to the WordPress format. It is beautiful because family, friends or fans can read about my doings. At that point if people want to ask me pointed questions – cool. Otherwise I’m free to just relax and talk about life and other people and what THEY have going on. I do enjoy my trips to California or being on a film set or the office pow wow’s to talk business but my relationship with my non-industry friends has greatly improved. I also try to insert bits of advice and hard gained knowledge within the words. I try to be brutally honest and encouraging for those who MUST follow an artists path.

The week has been an interesting one in regards to many business deals closing and some moving closer to finalizing. I’ve had to oversee legal stuff on a few films. Communications with some foreign territories prepping for new 2014 licensing. “7 Stones” now on amazon DVD and soon VOD. “Darkest Night” PR as it gets ready to go to Hulu. Looking at finding a series home for ‘Supermodel Showdown” in 2014. Editing about to begin on “Bestseller” just as “Ashes of Eden” is about to be complete. “Donors” and “The Terrorist” are close to being done. A deal closing on a script/option to purchase which I will announce once the ink is dry. Updates on the HBO series development and new western project I’ve given my LOI on to star in. Additional films on a slate behind ‘Book of Ruth” look to be moving strongly forward. Some direct talks with a studio and also a few studio project discussions with my CA based agent. Overall I just have to say that I’ve got many things moving and after the holiday rest I will be ready to go full speed into 2014.

I’ll close this down with my last few thoughts on Christmas. My parents divorced many years ago and that alone has made scheduling Christmas hard. Now with my own house/family it has added another layer of scheduling difficulty and this year I’m breaking some tradition – which is very hard for me. But I’m making it a bit easier and enjoyable for myself. I’m a person who in my personal life really tries to make people happy. I like to keep an aura of good positive energy flowing around me. For years this time of year has been more rush, rush versus relax, relax but maybe this year will be more enjoyable. I had always made the sacrifice at home to help keep traditional things in place but now with my brother going to be a daddy in the spring that will be changing anyways. We are still having all our get together with the family I’m just making adjustments that give me a bit more peace.

On that note I will wish everyone peace and happiness during the holiday season.

DJ


Project Updates and Possible New Year Direction

I’m sipping down the hazelnut coffee and getting ready to go out and about to a few estate sales. We went last weekend and got a few cool things for the house/office. So we are going to do that today since we are supposed to have more cold and snow. It was a full week between all the movie business and yard work that consisted mainly of the raking many, many  leaves. I’ve had a chance to enjoy with my amigos a few of the Autumn Amber beers I brewed up. I’m going to do some wine over the winter I’m just not sure what as of yet.

This week while sipping that Amber beer with Shane Hagedorn and Dennis Therrien we watched/listened to the sound design on “Ashes of Eden”. The tweaks were being made last week and this week music kicks into high gear. We had some deep discussions on character themes and direction on the music. We should have a finished film by Jan. 1st and we will look at plans to showcase it at that point.

“Donors” is on the last % of sound design and the music there (Also composed by Dennis Therrien) is done. I’m thinking this film will be completed at about the same time as “Ashes of Eden”. They are two very different films in scope and subject matter.

“Bestseller” – The accounting is full updated and I’m happy to say we are right on budget. We have some great plans for this film marketing wise and E.P. Christopher Knight and I have been discussing that. The film will truly stun people with the intensity. I’m very proud of the work put forth by all the artists on this film and they will be proud to be part of this film.

I’ve noticed that on other sets – people walking about as if that is the last place they want to be. I’ve seen the looks on their faces that people get when they are at a JOB. Yes. It is a job but when you are passionate about what you are doing it FEELS less like work and more like an OPERATION. OPERATION STORYTELLER – I want to always try to hire passionate people. If you are in it only for the money – get out. There is easier ways to make a paycheck. If you are in it for 15 minutes of fame – get out. Go do a reality show or be involved in a police chase down a major national highway with news choppers flying overhead. Our work is hard but so rewarding because as the movie rolls out we will always remember what we went through to capture that footage.

OK. I told myself that “Bestseller” was my last film for the year but I was wrong. I came home and had four different opportunities present themselves. I wasn’t looking to tackle anything large as I value my holidays and my family time. I did agree to appear in a film shooting in-state because a friend of mine is playing one of the leads and the filmmakers have a track record of good work.  I will talk more on this once I get my paperwork signed. So more to come…

I’ve been trying to have a few more international talks with distributors. We just had our Civil War film release last week into Germany, Austria and Switzerland and it will be followed by two more with that company. I’m ready to really hit this hard in 2014 and have some great contacts opening up. Also pushing to see what the deal will be on our TV Reality show “Supermodel Showdown – Costa Rica” that has the first 3 shows complete. Say it with me, more to come…

One of the most interesting things that happened this week I can only partially speak on because of good NDA type business. NDA for those scratching your head is “Non-Disclosure Agreement” but I can give a rough idea. A former major studio was recently acquired by the founder of another major studio. One of their people reached out to me after following my career since 2005. I was told that it is their job to monitor the young blood and that people there are impressed by what we’ve done.  They said, “I” and I corrected them to say “we” because everything has been done by many artists) I will take credit for a leadership role but that has been the way since we first got our neighborhood/school friends around with a video camera to make little skit movies. So I had a 3 hour conversation that had insightful stories and answered many questions I’ve had over the years on studio development. I have to say my head was spinning but I think they felt the same way. I’ve discovered that I’ve been doing things very similar to some other very successful people but on a smaller scale. Also in a world that is becoming more and more compartmentalized – broad range thinkers are growing scarce. If nothing happened from this point I would feel as if I’ve already been gifted great insight that will carry me further. That said, I’m now suppose to communicate with the big honcho next week. He’s pretty direct, brutally honest and no bullshit. I was told that I was somewhat hand selected because I might be a good fit for working with this studio. I will put no expectations on the meetings because either something works out and we do business or I’ve gained a new mentor – maybe both. It was funny to hear a clinical review of me as an actor – “Not strikingly attractive but very pleasant on the eyes and all your characters draw audiences in.” I had to laugh but it was a cool example of how the business/creative minds look at things. It was discussed that I produce stuff I want to act in and that I’m not just a producer-for-hire…wait how much $? Just kidding. We did discuss what we had going over here – informal pitching. We talked about my potential willingness to produce their material in the future and just participating as talent. So again we will just wait and see but it could be a new avenue.

OK. I’m off to travel into this beautiful snow fall and do a little shopping. Ho! Ho! Ho! Wait! Thanksgiving first:)

DJ


Summer Saturday Rundown

It is another Summer Saturday in the Michigan and I’m sipping the morning java and writing you a few of my thoughts of the past week. I will try to bring something forth that might help some of you others walking this path. I do have a few story’s from the week and I will perhaps pick one of them to try to teach a lesson.

The Oversell – I know in films about filmmaking you always see the slick Willie producer trying to tell everyone what they want to hear and keep their stories straight. This may be funny in the movies but those people aren’t real and once you burn bridges it rarely ends up happy ever after. Be honest and let it roll from there. I know various projects that worked in half-truths at best and I can’t stress enough that once you lose that credibility you are really in trouble. So don’t paint castles in thin air saying you have so and so on board if you don’t. I had a few situations where things were being said to try to appease someone and after a simple communication the jig was up. FALSE INFO. So someone comes across as either A) A liar or B) Clueless to the Truth. I don’t think either of these things play well into the perceptions of how someone runs their business. So if packaging something be honest and don’t oversell. Because that person may be able to pick up a phone and directly confirm your story and if it doesn’t vet out, you lose.

I also had a situation this week where someone claimed that my schedule was in conflict with a project that wanted me to work on it. Right now I speak for myself. I know my schedule and what conflicts or does not. To have someone put words in your mouth screams agenda. I’ve seen people in casting positions (not experienced ones) try to push one talent over another. In this case someone had someone in mind for a lead because they thought somehow it would better their standing. So other options to that same role were buried. It is just a sad disservice to whomever hired that individual but that was all exposed and now this individual has that little check next to their name. Checks against someone don’t erase easy because someone rarely changes who they are or how they operate. I honestly don’t put too much energy into such matters because if someone placed these unqualified people in power that usually means a series of bad choices will be made. Too many bad choices equals a bad movie. If I’m asked for materials and I take the time to send them all I expect is for them to be seen by the right people. I don’t mind being turned down if something was truly evaluated. I lost another role a while back because I just won’t pass for a gaunt lab assistant. Not without a large paycheck to just focus on that and I shudder to think of what it would do to my soccer game:) You might look like another character or be the wrong age or  race, all acceptable. But I book off my reels all the time and to hear someone say, “they don’t want to see reels.”  WRONG. I’ve produced many films and reels are the best sell. Like if you were looking at hiring a PRO player on a team. Try outs are great but game footage is golden! Agents with a stable of actors without reels shy away from sending reels.

OK. Onto the more positive. Serbia media was blowing up on inventor TESLA’s birthday and the film I’m attached to officially changed the name of the film from THE MAD SCIENTIST to TESLA. I think it was a great move and I’m excited to be part of the movie telling the story of my favorite inventor.

We saw the PR release this week on the German, Austria, Switzerland deal going down with WICKED SPRING, DARKEST NIGHT and LOCKED IN A ROOM.

DARKEST NIGHT is now on VOD (Amazon Instant) and releases on DVD on the 16th of July here. You can see a sneak peek and so take a watch and leave a review of your experience.

http://www.fangoria.com/new/exclusive-clip-darkest-night/

This month we also have WICKED SPRING and FIGURE IN THE FOREST playing on Parables TV!

ASHES OF EDEN marketing is firing up and in the weeks to come we will have new posters, trailer and other exciting updates. The film is in post and is just way beyond my expectations.

SUPERMODEL SHOWDOWN series has been in editing and is truly a fun watch. We are starting to look at marketing for this project as well. I think lovers of reality TV will enjoy this show.

Other than that it has been doing yard improvements – and  attending the 4H auction, picking berry’s and working the new driveway. I’m also happy to report the garden is producing the 1st beans and tomatoes will soon follow. I’m greatly enjoying my summer as I finish these projects up and develop new ones. I know I will be back in front of the camera again when the time is right. But until that time I will keep on with the business work and enjoying my day-to-day. We also start the second half of the soccer season on Sunday and I’m excited for that. I get to put my new gear into action! I wish you all a great weekend!

DJ


Pre-Birthday Reflections, Being Reclusive and New Films

So today is the cusp of the BIG MOON, the closest full moon of the year. I’m sipping the hot coffee and looking forward to the day hanging with my brother and his girl. Upon finishing this post I’m getting the smoker going and going to have a relaxing day. It was a crazy busy week as many have been lately and I’ve just continued to sail the ship forward. “Donors” http://www.donorsthemovie.com film has moved to Yuma for final sound mixing. “Supermodel Showdown” is looking great as we are chunking in footage on the 3rd show and I’m extremely happy with what I see. “Ashes of Eden” is having the sound/music review meeting next week and also starts color correction. I also might have a few upcoming announcements on projects the start of July. Final approval on German distribution contracts for three of the films underway. “Darkest Night” PR is in full swing next week as we head towards our VOD and DVD/TV releases in July. I want to discuss a few attributes that apply to activity this week. It also ties in to what we discussed last week.

KNOW YOUR ROLE

I’m in a stage of possibly signing onto a couple of films as CDI associated producer and talent. In these situations you must first stand your ground and use your experience. IF someone wants to work with you it is because they are buying your experience. The things you’ve done right and wrong. To avoid pitfalls and follow well-traveled paths whereas they will maximize your chances of repeat success. What I look for always in a partnership is LISTENING. I can tell if the cup is already full of ideas and thoughts often based not on experience but opinions. Opinions are like assh%#%!  everyone has one and… You know the saying. I try to base my decisions on reason, common sense and some gut feeling. I always try to fully explain the reasoning. If someone isn’t listening and you can tell – that relationship will be a painful one that will mostly bring frustration and regret. I avoid these situations because if you want to make mistakes or non calculated risk decisions, I would rather not be along for that ride. I’ve been there, seen that and got the T-shirt:)

Now for a film crew to work effectively or any group dynamic – each person must know their role and respect one another. This is even more important with your above the line executive team. I have one project that is close to a go and I’m set to be the ship captain (producer) but before we set sail the ship needs to be ready. First and foremost is for WRITER, DIRECTOR and PRODUCER(s) to know their role, their scope of power and how decisions will be made. I’m very good at this and that is why I do the business I do. I respect and enforce these divisions otherwise chaos will grow. Chain of command is very important and especially where writer and director are concerned. Once the script is handed off the new creative leader IS the director. Business decisions from a producer can trump but only if they are legit and not subjective opinions. I’ve written screenplays and for me it is easy to let go. I think it is because the actor in me surrenders to a creative director and I just focus on my role. As a producer I watch the ship and make sure that the overall vessel stays the course. But as a writer I’m flattered and inspired when someone adapts a story of mine from the page to the screen. A writer too close to the material can become a nightmare and slow a project, killing schedule and budget over subjective topics. I always tell my producers when they get caught line stepping that it appears they are heading for the directors chair BUT this is not your ship. So I address these issues right up front while the ship is in port. I don’t wait until 2 weeks in when so much frustration has built and the tensions are high. I will risk someone saying this doesn’t look like it will work, I will readily agree with them. I’m not getting on a ship that is going to become a floating emergency out at sea. As I stated before too many people will bite their tongue and say nothing because they need the work that bad. I would rather stay and work the garden, brew some beer and sell some films in our library versus going on a nightmare cruise to shit island.

This week I also met some artists with one of my friends filmmaker Nathan Quinn. I’ve actually met quite a few of the artists growing in Michigan after several years of being semi-reclusive. I’ve just been away from the film social scene because honestly I can’t take the fake sincerity and one-up attitudes I often observe. Do you art and be unique. Do so with the least amount of drama save what you put on-screen. Always give more than what you were paid for. Don’t compromise your best and be willing to let a project go knowing the universe will bring to you what is meant to be. Find your faith and hold on to it. Don’t EVER grab for the dangling carrot and become someone’s puppet. Many have wondered why I won’t work with them. If you bullshit you will lose my attention almost immediately and seldom do I revisit these folks. Many act on their best behavior when they want something but it is only a matter of time before their true nature returns. Take a deep look at yourself and see if these traits exist and if they do – sincerely, spiritually purge them from your self and live as the best you that you can be.

I wish you all a great weekend!

DJ


Mad Scientists, Holiday Miracles and Management

This week was wonderful with our first hints of spring and the sun bringing us our 1st 80 degree day. We got lots of yard work done getting the garden ready and such. We lost our 1st soccer match to the ex champs last Sunday but we played well and it was great to be out running full field. That was until Tuesday when the sore caught up to me but by Weds I was ready to go again. As the 80 degree heat was hitting I was lamenting the fact that my hair was heavy and long almost midway down my back. I was excited by a few upcoming projects because I would be trading the long hair for a short period haircut such as on the “The Mad Scientist” film about inventor N. Teslsa. That shoots in the early fall and so I was thinking I might be stuck for a bit looking like the missing member of ALABAMA. But maybe not…:) Read on.

Tuesday I had a great meeting with some other Michigan filmmakers at the new office. We shared a few bottles of home wine and had good discussions on the biz and I gave encouragement as these fine folks travel rocky roads I’ve been on before.  It’s hard to be a working artist especially at the start. It is where many die along the road way like a filmmakers own Trail of Tears or Oregon Trail. Anyway, when I came in for the night after our meeting I saw that another filmmaking buddy from Michigan had reached out about a role in a film he was directing. It  was a smaller role but upon reading it I liked the character and thought I could bring something special to it. It also would provide a first opportunity to come work with him versus just our informal meetings over hard cider. The best part – a haircut:) So tonight and Tuesday I will be participating in the storytelling of Holiday Miracle. I’m playing one of the child lead’s father. I almost did a role like this on the film, THE IRISHMAN playing the father who leaves the boy at the orphan’s home. The difference was some new casting director was trying to place a bunch of hoops for me to deliver just a handful of powerful lines. All I ask is for someone to look at my work and respect it. If you know I can do something just present the offer and if I connect with a character I may do it. But I will not be jerked around by casting folk on a power trip. Needless to say, The Irishman was a pass for me. That said, this opportunity reminded me of that but the director/producer friend knows my work and presented an opportunity professionally. No BS. No hoops. Just an offer. I’ve carried films as the star and I’ve also been a supporting spoke in a hub of artists working together to tell a story. As a producer I can tell you all roles are important. One bad casting can ruin a scene. A few bad scenes can ruin a movie.  So everyone is important right down to groups of extras. So I want to thank Joel Paul Reisig whom I’ve known for several years now for professionally offering an opportunity to work together. He is another one of the DOERS in our industry and for that he has my respect. Let’s tell a story. I’m looking forward to meeting his team.

On Other Fronts-

The national PR on “Darkest Night” is really heating up and will as we approach the July release. It is now for PRE-ORDER on amazon.com and other outlets.

We are doing some FX planning work on one upcoming western-era film. Also progress on “Soul Eater” the prequel to “The 8th Plague” as we are now gathering our foreign partners. I talked this week to actor amigo Terry Jernigan who plays Buck and I can officially say  he is on board. I also talked with Eric Williford who produced the original and is now directing his own material. It is great to re-circle the wagons and talk about future collaborations.

“Ashes of Eden” is closing in on the rough cut edit and again I’m amazed at the scenes. This film will surprise many in the range of the powerful performances. Great job Shane Hagedorn on the edit work.

“Supermodel Showdown” TV show and “Donors” are in post being assembled and scored under my supervisor Dennis Therrian.

I’ve also been in beginning discussions with a personal management company in Hollywood. My entertainment attorney is out there  and I’ve had agents out there and it looks like I may once again dive into that realm. Why? Basically many Hollywood’ers think I’m ready for prime time and keep wanting to know why I’m not working the larger studio films. I guess with my tolerance for bullshit being low that has kept me content with the independent scene  vs mainstream Hollywood. But with this powerhouse firm handling the BS I could start doing a big picture or two a year. The nice part is I don’t NEED the work. That keeps coming and as I’ve focused more on foreign productions the offers are just growing. But with 3 new Star Wars films and several great comic book films still to be made into blockbusters I just might have to throw my hat in the ring on a few of these. Is Hollywood’s studio system ready for DJ Perry? Maybe, I guess we will see.

Other Roles –

I will be filming with Larry Simmons on his follow-up film to our “Locked in a Room” that has been a steady best seller on Google Play via Echo Bridge Entertainment since the release. More on “Panic in 703” as we get closer into production.

Okay friends,  I’ve got a day full of stuff today to do before I go play on set with some fellow Michigan artists. Tomorrow I look forward to another battle on the soccer field and I’m feeling lean and mean. So once again I say, let’s get it on:)

Enjoy the day and thank you for stopping in for a read.

DJ