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

Posts tagged “professional

October Coming to a Close – Updates

Hello,

I hope everyone is having a good week. It was a long week filled with sadness, laughter, success and set back. But with my trusty hazelnut coffee I get to sit here and reflect back on some of it with all of you. First, our household has been much quieter with our reduced pack. Two sisters Lulu and Daphne are spending lots of time together. We will be getting another dog for Daphne to help train. She did such a wonderful job with our Luke. We really want to have a new guardian by the time LOST HEART shoots this coming spring. It might happen on the lead up to Thanksgiving since we will both have lots off time to make a new pack member feel welcome and loved.

IMG_5755 2

Speaking on loved ones, cherish them because our shared time is finite. One of our neighbors from our childhood passed away unexpectedly after a brief illness. We got to catch up with childhood friends but unfortunately it came at a visitation. New childhood memories were made with the nice and nephew one night with pizza, pumpkin carving and seed roasting. This coming weekend we’ll have another reunion with my Uncle and cousins but also at a cost. My Aunt lost her short battle with cancer. She was the sun which everything went around and so they’re rightfully having issues adjusting. I am looking forward too sharing stories and laughter with my cousins.

IMG_5744 2

This week I spent a good amount of time communicating with our film distributor as they prepare for AFM. For those not in the knowing it’s the American Film Market. A version of our MBF teaser is going to travel to AFM. The DVD/poster art for THE CHRIST SLAYER is being prepared. WILD FAITH deal is also in the works and I need to find out the details of the theatrical deals.

IMG_5771 2.PNG

Part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY – The Christ Slayer is in post sound and music. Also we engaged our colorist for the film’s color correction. That is now underway. We had both Carl Weyant (Longinus) and Melissa Anschutz (Mother Mary) into the studio. A few lines had to be fixed and that process went smooth. We also were treated to some opening music that shows carpenters building wood crosses on the hilltop as Mary watches. With the opening music it is so POWERFUL. I’m excited to have audiences go on this final adventure. Again if you have not watched part 1 or 2 (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star) buy the DVD or stream it from Amazon. Also many other great platforms are carrying them.

IMG_2839

WILD FAITH is also heading back into the theaters as the strength and power of this film is being noticed. Our celebrity narrator is looking at availability and paperwork has been sent across. We’ve had various outlets contact us directly over wanting this film. All those communications are being forwarded and soon the entire distribution flow will be announced. Once everything is in their hands we’ll turn our attention back to the TV series.

My name is Paul Landings.JPG

Also with MBF our military vet/adoption dogs film, I’ve seen about 30 min of the rough film and I’m rather happy with it even in the rough state. It’s a powerful and moving film and something else to look forward to next year. We keep adding more official stills to our Facebook page. Please do stop by to see pics and get updates.

LOST HEART has gotten its first feedback from one of our proposed stars and it was everything I had wished for. We will start moving it out to others to read. I really do love the story and again it is filled with powerful themes.

Speaking of scripts – this past week I wrote a PSA (Public Service Announcement) script and the client loved it. Now I have to prepare a budget because we also might produce it with CDI. Again, we do some commercial work at CDI but it’s selective. I’ve also returned to doing some writing on my first SciFi script, which is beyond fun. I’ve also started to look at a few possible literary agents to help sell a few scripts that I don’t plan to produce.

Masterw:RLfix

I also was encouraged to submit to a film shooting in fall 2019 as the bad guy. I sent my materials and if I am what they’re looking at I will read their script and do a short read. I am ready to get back in front of the camera again but it has to be the right project. This year audiences can see me as Jesus again, mountain man Ben Lily and injured marine Paul Landings. I thought maybe the DEAD QUIET film might release this year but it doesn’t seem like it will. This year I did do a commercial gig for “Our Daily Bread” and a music video for musician Trey Conner. I’m about trying something outside my box if the business is good and the project professional. What else will 2019 bring?

One thing I like to do at the end of each year is do a self-evaluation. Look at projects and project your goals for the new year. Look at what goals from the previous year were met and which ones were not. Writing this down so you can actually review next year is a very useful tool. From seed to harvest. Goals, destinations and such are all good but remember to enjoy the journey.

Have a great week and a safe Halloween.

Boo!

 

 

Advertisements

Making Beer & Wine/Films Releasing in the Springtime

What a great week it was both personal and professional. I have to say that seeing plants start to grow and the warmth slowly creep over the land has been a positive and uplifting thing. I do love winter but this one was pretty intense. I had a chance to do some yard clean up. We’ve got plans to get the patio rocking this year also getting the pond going. Taxes both company and personal are submitted so that is off the plate. This week should have me becoming an Uncle which is an exciting thing. I have 6 gal. of beer brewing which I’ve called STAN REED’S SUMMER BREW. It is named after my character in the spring break movie TANGY GUACAMOLE. I’ve also got everything for my Banana/Coconut wine and that will be put into play very soon. So I’ve about drained the hazelnut coffee and I’m ready to throw you all a few new updates.

ASHES OF EDEN – This week has been watch-overs on the final version looking for tweaks here and there to be made before it all gets mastered out. We have one final watch/listen again on Tuesday of the stereo mix version. We spotted 5 or 6 improvements and those are being made as I type. The excitement by the masses is growing with record-setting ticket sales topping 500+ in only a few days. We could have close to a 1,000 people ready to watch the local showing. I hear that we will have several of our out-of-state stars coming in as well. If you are in the Michigan area and you want to be part of this showing go to the Capital City Film Festival site. Tickets are only $5 through the festival. I’m looking forward to telling this story to the masses. From there we will start talks with the interested distributors.

BESTSELLER should be close to a locked edit by month’s end. We should also be releasing the 1st trailer about that time. I’m excited by the preview because it really did capture the essence of the original story.

DONORS, the thriller we helped produced out of Yuma, AZ will have its first local showing on May 24th. There is a good chance that we may be in the area shooting on another feature. That is a HINT and if things go as planned I would look for an announcement around Easter.

REALIZISM a great short film that I acted in for Mitch Nyberg will play also on April 13th at the Grand Rapids Film Festival. Check out their site for times.

Several of the CDI films are in talks for additional Network and foreign licensing and I’m confident that we will have several releases to inform you of very soon. I’m going to keep it short but let me see if I can give any insights pulled from this week of business.

My advice would be to invest of yourself and your time wisely. If a project is going to be sub-quality or never be seen by any audiences beyond a few fest crowds why do it. If you need to build a resume and hone your skills – sure. But if you are established, which can be hard to do, do not kill your worth by taking on projects that are not worthy.  Value yourself.

Have a great weekend.

DJ


Premieres, Professionalism & New Projects

Hello friends,

It has been a great week filled with few distractions save one of my furry children had surgery on his knee but he has been so very good. Luckily resting peacefully when it is cold and winter-like is a strong suit of his. So the nice part is I don’t have any real comments from the week other than I still am waiting for communication from one or two people on some business. I guess I’m already looking past those people because if they drop the ball on something small why would you entrust them with anymore greater. It is sad but that is business. I’m not a hobbyist and so I have to keep some clear lines. Other people are really impressing me and you will see how that affects them. Those people will grow as they adapt a new way of conducting themselves. PROFESSIONAL.

Okay let’s get onto some good updates.

Business with Germany is coming full circle now as “Wicked Spring” released and “Darkest Night” will be next in April followed by “Locked in a Room”. We are in talks on additional films now.

Also we are in talks with companies in Brazil, UK, Australia, India, Asia and soon I’m confident I’ll be announcing new deals.  Also many development talks underway with a handful of companies foreign and domestic. The fruits of many years work is starting to ripen.

“7 Stones” is now on the market and “Darkest Night” just released to Hulu Plus which is exciting. They have a lot of movement through there and we are excited to be reaching so many. And with the recent announcement of the resurgence of “found footage” at Berlin I see many sales ahead!

I’ve got a project that looks like it will shoot in May and so PR on that project will be released in the coming weeks. I’m excited about the genre and the role itself. Some casting will be done on this project – stay tuned for announcements.

“Soul Eater” is also making some real strides and this does look to be the year that we find out what led to “The 8th Plague”. (Great watch if you like horror/gore)

In additional to all this business/creative work I am happy to say I have another writing project on deck. The paperwork should be done end of next week and PR will also go out on that. I’m feeling blessed by all the good progress being made on many fronts. All these calls, emails and writing are perfect snow day activities so I’m just staying warm and knocking stuff down. We’ve also started serious discussions on the premiere set up for “Ashes of Eden” that will be done end of the month. Lastly, “Bestseller” rough cut is getting close and we will also be putting together some behind the scenes and the first look teaser trailer. So I’m extremely excited by all this and can’t wait for audiences/fans/you to see the work.

Enjoy your Saturday!

DJ


Polite, Professional & Film Proud

I’m up early and drinking the hazelnut flavored coffee. What a busy but exciting week. My birthday celebrations have been dragged out due to various schedule issues but they will conclude on Sunday at my father’s with a cook out. A few new items for the office, new soccer gear and many well wishes and wonderful food. I do feel sincerely blessed by all the great people I have it my orbit. I thought orbit would go with my trip around the sun analogy. Let me see what events from last week might allow some of you to gleam a bit of wisdom? Ah yes.

I had a couple of offers that the business of it just didn’t quite add up. When this happens you still want to give total professionalism and grace when you bow out. I also started at square one and I never forget that. My 1st starring role in “In the Woods” was no pay up front. I slept on the directors couch and it was a great first dive into the world of filmmaking. That said, my aged bones enjoy a bed and a quiet place to work lines. And I also need to only consider paid work as my bills don’t take deferred pay or revenue from producer net points:) I know that some of these filmmakers will do their film, grow and move to bigger projects. I encourage them and let them know I look forward to meeting up with them further down the path. It is a small world this business of ours and you should always been polite and professional.

This week we put “Ashes of Eden” in motion on sound, music and color correction. “Supermodel Showdown” is moving along nicely. CDI Distribution that handles CDI and CDI associated properties closed 3 licensing deals on films for release in Germany, Austria, Switzerland. Congrats to “Locked in a Room,” “Darkest Night,” and “Wicked Spring”.  We also now have release dates for Parables TV in July for “Figure in the Forest” and “Wicked Spring” so look up the schedule on http://parables.tv/ . This July is also the US/Canada DVD/VOD/TV/Internet release of “Darkest Night”. I’m very proud of all the Philippine artists that will have their talents exposed to US, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and soon many more territories. I’m also proud of our Civil War drama “Wicked Spring” that is finding yet a second life during the 150th anniversary of this horrible war. It truly has moved into the realm of “classic” within the genre. I hope that “Figure in the Forest” will also move to that status in the years to come. I think that is the best compliment any piece of art can get. Reports of spiking sales on “Book of Ruth” are abound and we’re working hard to do more films of this nature.

As the 4th of July weekend comes upon us be sure to use caution. I use to be a fireworks fiend but these days not so much. I made it through my crazy teens and 20’s with all my fingers intact and both eyes so I will call it good. It was brought to my attention that sparklers burn so hot they can melt gold. Who and when did this become the ideal things to give young children. I never liked them because they sparked and burnt your arms. I just find it funny that parents give children these. They do create that cool outline in the air so I will give them that. OK. Well that is all I have for today. It has been a crazy week and I may have some forthcoming news on upcoming projects but nothing ready to share yet.

Have a great weekend!

DJ


In the Jungle the Tribe Marches

I’m back at home sipping the hazelnut coffee and watching some soccer on TV. I have to say the past week of shooting was exhausting. It was a combination of many factors which I’ll get into a little bit to share some of my insights with you all. This will be especially helpful if you are just starting out in the film business but I think  it will have some good insights for all. First I will tell you a bit more about the project. It is a program ran by Grand Valley University whereas they do a film with students intermixed with professionals. I was approached by the director Mitch Nyberg on set of “7 Stones” about participating. I liked the purpose of the program and myself tried to spearhead a program at my alumni university – Michigan State. I ran into politics not at the top but at the bottom. The professors from different colleges who just could not get along or agree. Film covers a vast spectrum and doesn’t fit neatly into one college or department. Egos are large in that arena and ultimately a program that I feel was superior to all I’ve seen was mucked down in politic mire. Not the first time we have heard of that.

Producing a film can be fun but it is not a game. It is a complex weaving of business agreements that align artists towards a single goal of telling a story and having the proper releases to make it a business entity. IF you are in one of those management positions you have to take it extremely serious. If these roles are not filled by highly motivated and organized individuals the project will fail or at best be like a horse drag over broken glass. On this projects the cracks of disorganization were there from the get go. Like I told the program and film director – this is not an everybody wins community recreational project. This is a program to attempt to prepare students for a chance to make it in the professional film world. 90+ % of these students will end up at TV stations or other smaller media positions that are a far cry from their initial dreams of working in our industry. There are no grades in the real world of filmmaking. No B, C, D – just pass or fail. I had inside info from the director on the state of things and secondly I know. I mean after producing 40+ projects in all formats, sizes and genres – I know. You can’t BS me and if you try I will call you out. If I had a dollar for every time on set I heard “I assumed” I would have doubled my pay. Every student should have been given or required to have a clip board, pen and legal pad. Pre-production meetings were obviously lacking as departments were not always on the same page. Furthermore producers are not hired shoppers. I saw problems that were only solved by spending and then trying to cut corners elsewhere. When you are attached to a learning experience the community participating via sponsorship or gifted use of vehicles, locations, services or products should come easy. You have to get off your ass and make contacts, shake hands, give out biz cards and make the deals. I didn’t see that – I saw them trying to go back to pre-made deals and try to squeeze talent costs. I hate to say it but that doesn’t usually work in the real world. You can’t make a deal for say Martin Landau and then go try to nix his pay because you can’t go get craft service sponsorship. Also contracts are real legal agreements and in the real world there are consequences and they are often costly ones. The hit to your reputation can be worse than the damages from legal actions – as I write now the Grand Valley Film Program is in breach of contract and working on a speedy remedy. They are in breach because of lack of organization. I truly love these kids but see that I had a passion for this industry that some of these kids lack.  When I was struggling there was not any film programs like this one available to me. We had to produce up everything. When I see lazy or lack of self motivation it really strikes a chord. I’m a nice person but many in our industry are not very forgiving. Honest mistakes happen via unforeseen events and the best of the best ANTICIPATE these events. Others create issues by “assuming” which as the old statement goes, will make an ass of you and me. Don’t assume! Know! Define! Eliminate gray areas and anticipate!

Technically the folks all worked very hard. They were 20-25% slower than a seasoned crew but that is just a learning curve. I think we captured some great magic on camera and I’m very happy about that. How many will take their errors, setbacks and failures and use them to propel them forward? I don’t know. I saw some fixation on things that created an issue versus just rolling with things. Filmmaking is a TEAM effort. A well oiled production machine is like army ants on a march.

I discussed some of the silly university politics around film titles and such in an earlier blog. The attempts at censorship really runs against the grain of artistic expression. I saw where a little bit of the University BS tries to tie the hands of the production. If the goal is to try to create a real world work situation than the sanitized, overly cautious  attitudes of the few need to go away. Marketing and promotion are real aspects of filmmaking and even though this project is more for festival and limited release – practice as if you are working towards worldwide distribution. You ultimately play how you practice so the program really needs to look at this as a model to professional production/distribution and not a summer camp. Now I always said, I always counted on folks being slack ass so that I could outwork them – And I did.   In summary – I appreciate the opportunity and knowing the reputation that we’re given here in Michigan (this holds true for entire Midwest) as being assbackwards. I’ve realized as a MI resident who works mainly outside the state or in other countries that in some ways, okay many ways – WE ARE! I don’t want that reputation and those who have worked on a CDI produced project where we were the parent company in control – know we work hard to not make that our reputation. Sure. We’ve made mistakes but it has to be about wanting to be better. The willingness to work harder to make things better vs the easiest path. The doing just enough or more often not enough. When that happens it is like the human body. If you fall into reactive mode it is like a virus or disease running wild through the body of the production. PREVENTATIVE is always the way to go. It is an Eastern vs Western medicine approach and I think my martial arts background helped me blend ideals. A surgeon knows the task ahead. He has anticipating several possible negative things that could pop up. He has equipment on standby should this or that happen.

Also accountability. IF you are in a position of monitoring for and addressing issues immediately – you must monitor all departments for accountability. I see a lot of friendly friendships that doesn’t allow direct brutal immediate corrective decisions. I’ve become friends with people who started as associates. First came respect for someone who worked hard and took accountability. From that friendships grew because we were interdependent with one another and these were FILM WARRIORS! They worked tireless to make sure the ship was SHIP SHAPE! So when you raised a drink at wrap with ship safely in port – friendships form. But I’ve gotten serious and firm with everyone I’ve worked with at some point and I would say that 98% of them know it is because I care about the ship and all of us on it. Usually if someone is messing up they know where that is happening and accept responsibility and correct it asap. Why? Because it is a TRIBE. One department affects the whole! Each department should strive to be the best they can be. That in turn inspires other departments. An AD will know exactly where a lag is and try to define the issue slowing things up. A UPM works tirelessly to prep for the days ahead. I saw a UPM on this last project who worked hard but was acting like a Key Set PA. They were swallowed in the NOW so how can they prepare (preventative) ahead? The answer is an external office apart from the chaos and getting stuff done. The producer if not needed on set should be taking care of things forthcoming and making sure with the UPM that everything done is business sound.

I think that many will grow from this experience. If you get offended by this blog you are one of those who will likely be working public access TV or not in this field at all. If you take it for what it is – advice from someone who has been there done that on various continents in various genres with various artists who are awesome – you will grow! I collect the daily resumes. I deal with the vendors, the distributors, the marketing departments and  as a younger man I didn’t 100% grasp that paying your dues statement. I do know now. I’m excited for the select people out of that student crew that will make the cut and join our ranks. We are the business artists. This is our tribe. Not everyone is welcome. If you don’t pull your weight or take pride in your work and work for the collective whole – move on. That is the heart of motion picture or TV storytelling industry. I always get slightly offended by outsiders who always think they could easily be an actor or crew member. That is like saying anyone could jump on a boat with a few folks and win the AMERICAN’S CUP (Boat race). So if you want to make it. I mean really make it. You have to give it your all. I’m here to tell you if you can be happy doing something else – do it. I’m speaking to those artists that have no choice. This is their calling.

DO IT!

IN OTHER FILM NEWS

I was just informed that http://www.darkestnightmovie.com will get a wide release in S. Korea.

http://www.deadlyrenovations.com releases nationally on Aug. 21st, VOD in Sept and is for pre-sale now!

“Locked in a Room” has an offer on the table that we like and so some back and forth will be happening with the N. American rights. More once a deal is done.

“Benjamin” had a great NYC showing and distribution will follow shortly I’m sure. The interest is already there it is finding the deal that feels right.

“7 Stones” stuck in post audio BUT it needed it. The film is too good to have poor sound so I say take your time and do it right.

Several new film projects about to finalize either in acting, producing or both. Internationally I’m still in talks on films in France, Mexico and Morocco. We will see. Also a few home state Michigan projects brewing so again students could be finding their way to PA positions if they have the right attitudes. Some guys may find their way on to grip electric teams because they impress the right people. HINT: David Lowing helps me crew up most of those departments and I trust David. He knows who hustles and who constantly disappears and is never to be found. So I’m excited about http://www.cdiproductions.com as we expand into more international work. I’m also excited by opportunities to film right here in Michigan.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. And if some of the G.V folks are reading this – hustle on my learning amigos. You could be our tomorrow storytellers and I’m here to tell you the road is hard. Only those with the deepest wells of passion will survive.

I hope to see you in the jungle. The Tribe marches!

DJ