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

Posts tagged “red carpet

Getting to Know the CDI System and Project Updates

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Good morning! I’m writing you from the deck of my patio that has hop vines wrapping around all it. (The pic above from the spring) The squirrels are busy picking the last of the ripe mulberries and birds are singing while playing in the bird baths. Without question the coffee sits beside me flooding me with the wonderful taste of hazelnut. If I cannot find a coffee sponsor in the next few years I just going to open a coffee business. I have to try harder with some of the local Michigan roasters.

The office fridge might have seen its last days. It’s almost fully defrosted and we’ll see once we plug it back in if it lives. If it’s dead I’ll be getting a more fuel-efficient replacement. The one now was from my buddies basement where we would skip class at MSU, drink beer, play pool and listen to jams. It’s been a worthy chiller of beverages so we will see.

This week was a hot, humid wave that’s not really to my liking. It was followed by just a few extremely beautiful days consisting of warm air and cool winds. During the heat wave I got a lot of writing and paperwork done while watching the various nations go at it on the World Cup soccer field. Let’s look at a few of the movie updates.

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I’m happy to say that the domestic home-video deal on the 3rd film in The Quest TrilogyTHE CHRIST SLAYER is signed. It will join parts 1 & 2 at Bridgestone Multimedia Group. The Christmas theatrical will be followed by an Easter home video release. I’m excited to have all three out there together which will reveal more about the overall storyline. Interweaving of the story arc goes through all three stories/movies. IF you have seen part 1 (Forty Nights) or part 2 (Chasing the Star) please do leave a review on amazon or IMDB and leave what you took away from it. I think people unaware that it was a trilogy felt part 2 kind of left them hanging – well it was meant to. The next few months will see things heating up PR-wise on part 3 with more BTS and still photos releasing. It really is an epic way to end the trilogy. I know Dennis Therrian will do another incredible score. The VFX work coming in is just incredible, not surprising as their previous work included BLACK SAILS (One of my favorite series) and ROGUE ONE just to name a few. They built models and created digital matte paintings just for this film. This film was a really cool step for us as a company allowing us to use as many VFX shots as we did. I have director Nathaniel Nose to thank for all that.

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I will use that example in discussing development work at CDI. I’m trying to make more time to sit down with people in our field. Directors, actors and those trying to produce content. From the earliest days of CDI it was about bringing cards to the table. CDI is an actor/producers company looking to tell powerful stories. Currently we have momentum behind my scripts – distributors like the content and final product. Talent loves the style and depth of the characters and situations. We also have some talented writers within our ranks. ADVICE – IF you’re bringing a script to the table the best thing is to also bring the money.

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BUT THIS IS THE HARDEST PART! Yes. I know this. After many years in this industry – a truth is – every NEW variable could lead to new advancements OR disaster. The wrong crew or cast can be devastating to the overall quality of the final product. I’ve been scrutinized because I would rather pay a broader crew base a modest wage versus overpay a name talent, at the expense of the crew. It’s a difference of opinion in business models and a happy medium does exist. I feel a larger name can move more initial units but a bad movie with a larger name will also die off quickly. I had to turn off a multimillion dollar film lately. It was long, plodding (nice camerawork) but after an hour plus we still had 45 min plus minutes to go. We didn’t care about any of the characters. That’s the result of either a poor script or just bad chemistry as you know they had a huge crew base. I’m saying that I would rather have a modest, long-term success with a good movie vs a flash hit with a bad film. How long before it gets lost in the shuffle of bad films? What do you have to show for all that hard work years later?

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OK. I went slightly off topic. But anyone new is a wild variable, and therefore a risk. Skill is only part of the equation whereas personality/character is the other big factor. Do they play well with others? Positive? Respectful? I’ve had others say “so and so” is a great artists but grumpy or aloof and that’s just how they are. Well, they can go be that somewhere else. I have reduced all this down to a simple saying – Always be a sail and never an anchor.

So with these sit downs – I’ll be getting to know people and informally evaluating to see if they would ever work well into our system. The CDI system. What does that mean? Well…these films were not the result of some money thrown together to rush together a film – perhaps with no accountability. I shudder when I hear of all the films being done with no script or the script is just an afterthought. I recall one time an actor friend telling me they were on set and the director was having them write the script on the spot. He called it interesting and I called it incompetence. I guess it was both. But here we’re taking on investment capital and we must give best efforts. This company was founded on best efforts and striving to always be better. CDI today is built upon its earliest endeavors. Future CDI endeavors will be built on current endeavors. This is a tradition not a hobby. Not a film challenge but an evolution. This is a business that works in deep creative waters. My expectations of myself and the producers/directors are high. My expectations of the cast and crews are high. If you are not serious about the process and the end result – off the deck. No point in trying to sign up here.

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On set of the thriller “Bestseller”

Now some people just don’t know any different but once shown a better way they are willing to adapt and thrive in a more structured endeavor. Others can try to drag negativity or bad habits from previous experiences but I’ve been doing this a long time. If you start to feel like that anchor, stating obvious problems versus presenting viable solutions, being a sail – I’m going to drop you at the next island. Lose your professionalism and respect and the immediate gangplank walk could be your fate. I don’t fire often but I’m more than willing to do what needs to be done. That said, every firing has been a failing on my part. A failure to properly evaluate someone before a hiring or just failure to lead that person to a better way of co-existing on a film set. Management is something I enjoy because I’ve had the opportunity to create the environment that I want to work in. The environment that allows the best creative juices to flow.

I guess in summary – you could be involved in a CDI association or collaboration IF you have your own funds and seek a machine (production unit) that runs like a CDI film. Now $ still rules so if you bring a majority of the production funds, unless decided differently in contract, we consult or bring options to arising issues. That controlling entity makes the final decisions. Those decisions need to be made with wisdom and balance or trouble can quickly develop. I think I make fair decisions and I’ll say, I’ve made unpopular decisions. But I think it’s about working to be able to see the big picture. Not being drawn in by the ego into trying to force something to fit that does not. Don’t say yes to things that should be told no.

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I had productive talks this past week with an experienced director talking about possible CDI collaboration. Our management at Collective Development Inc. was recommended to him. We shared mutual Hollywood horror stories usually stemming from fast-talking, car salesmen-like distributors and wanna be producers, mucking things up. Much of this proposed collaboration will just depend on pros, cons and schedules. I have another past producer collaborator getting close to having his next financing. He wants my involvement again. Evaluate: Content, Script, Schedule… All these variables when kept in-house tend to run very smooth. Adding these outside variables are where most issues lie. Most of the rough waters are in the associated projects but that is also where collaboration exists. But make sure they are a good fit. So I have more phone calls and meetings this week to network and get to know a few folks working hard telling their stories.

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WILD FAITH – Lots of exciting happenings here. The home video deal is being worked on while we discuss the option of also launching a TV series. I am really pushing hards on this as I love the character I play. I love the world we built. I love the talent (both sides of camera) and know we would incorporate lots of Michigan talent into the various shows. We’ve been working to set up some additional theatrical showings and we wanted to look at showings in LA and/or NYC. The costs involved were steep and for me I’m watching the bottom line versus the red carpet strut.  But I’m happy to say we’ll be screening at the AMC in Burbank as part of the invited line up at the Burbank International Film Festival. I think I’m going to make the trip and my LA-area amigos can finally see one of our films on the big screen. It plays great theatrically and I will enjoy the conversation with film friends after. You too can join us on Sept 8th in Burbank. Read about it here-

https://www.prlog.org/12716952-west-coast-premiere-of-wild-faith.html

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Our last film Man’s Best Friend is having the post materials organized as editing is about to begin in full. The opening credit sequence was heavily discussed and that is being worked on. We will also start having more solid talks about the 1st teaser trailer. Also trying to get the right color correction on the first stills before we start releasing those. The story is in puzzle form and soon we’ll start to assemble the film.

I’ve really been enjoying the writing as of late. I’ve taken a few good script concepts and I’m infusing/weaving that into what will likely be our fall film. It’s been refreshing to be back into the imagination and putting it to page. Some location scouting and ground work is also being done. I will say that the initial script concept was to be shot in another state. I was so happy with our last crew that I am revamping the script to Michigan. I’m sincerely thinking we can convince a few of the MBF crew to return:)

Well, it’s a beautiful day and I might spend a little time engaging in some writing. We will also likely go walk a flea market. I love what you can find at those things. I often find props or things that a story might hinge around. No soccer today as we have a BYE week before starting the second half of the season. Next weekend I have a class reunion which will be interesting. I did actually see a Michigan-based, non-CDI project casting that caught my eye. I asked a few questions and we’ll see if any chemistry exists. If not, I’m happy to wait until fall. I do have a script to finish.

Be good to one another!

DJ

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Theatrical Kick off and Award Nominations – Updates

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

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

Showbiz Weekly 

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

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

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

http://www.wildfaiththemovie.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other developments

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

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

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

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

Happy Sunday!

DJ