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

Posts tagged “Santa Claus

Practicing Patience and Riding the Waves…

Hazelnut coffee cheers! I’m sipping here after an active morning of getting the dogs around and fed. We’ve had some passing storms that last two days including a tornado up North in Gaylord. The clover seed we put around the yard should take off like crazy this week. I’ve already mowed twice but I see that we are close to another. Trimming, cutting, raking and fence work to shape the yard. The hops are already to the top of the patio. Various shrooms including Dyrad’s Saddle that I let be. On occasion I will try wild eats but the animals enjoy them also. The new chiminea is assembled and this week we got the new garden hose and hanger assembled and put into action. The fountain is set up and working nicely. All these little things help break up my office work which has been quite a bit as of late.

This past week was the dispersement of $ back to the many investors on our films. We are looking to get some of them to join us on this next film endeavor HOT ROD LOVE. We had a great visit with owners of a track that would look just great on camera. It creates a “field of dreams” like destination for racers and spectators. Also had a few great meetings on work flow for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA and we’re staying on course. We’ve got almost all the deliverables in on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and also submitted to the Toronto Film Festival which would be a great premiere showcase for it. We are in hopes of hearing some feedback on a few festivals we entered SMOKE & MIRRORS into so that we could have a premiere visit which fans of the genre. BESTSELLER is prepping for a May 31st release and Amazon will be the main platform although we are waiting to see on Hoopla, Kanopy, Vudu, InDEmand and more. Come Sept 1st the Subscription video on demand and Ad based video on demand will kick in. BEST YEARS GONE will be coming July 5th and we’ll announce more of those platforms as we get closer.

On HOT ROD LOVE we are having things pull together a tad slower in this economy but we steadily getting there. My goal was to film two movies this year but with all the delays the obstructions, I’ll be happy to settle for one. We’ll likely roll cameras 6-8 weeks after full funding is committed. The Facebook site is a good way to stay connected and we’re also posting some great pics from the time period. We’re all excited about creating the 1970’s and several of us are already putting things in place. I’ve been forced to take my own advice and have patience. Things are unfolding and as they do we’ll keep rolling with that momentum.

ACTING– I’ve been growing the beard and hair out in anticipation of our 70’s film. Better to have something to work with in shaping the character look versus not enough. I don’t like to do fake hair and beards but will color when called for. I’ve had a film cameo presented that I’m considering and I’ll discuss this week. A close friend is associated with the film and asked me to look at it. I had another producer reach out asking if I would look at something in June so I told them to email it on over. I have to make sure the the cameo look jives with what I’m doing in the 70’s film. I can’t go way off course for a one day cameo but it might work out just fine. The other project I don’t have any details yet.

WRITING – This week I’ve had a lot of great progress on the new book I’ve been hired to turn into a screenplay/movie. I’ve been playing with several working titles that are perhaps more catchy for a film but have not landed on that one title. But I’m over a third of the way through the first draft and I’m loving the flow. I truly do love writing and creating these words full of interesting characters.

I was also approached by another author with a book, also interested in a screenplay/film, if I like the story. I said it might be a bit before I can circle around to it but I am appreciative that people are seeking me out. I always use to keep the writing in the background to my acting but I like the attention it has been getting. I look forward to doing some writing for others and letting them produce it from the page. There is a certain flattery to that process also. I will get back to some of my other passive writing endeavors soon.

WRAP UP AND WEEK AHEAD

This week will be more promotional pushing on BESTSELLER. We might reach out and have a few reviewers in the horror/thriller genre take a look. Some graphic postcards promoting the release will be sure to follow. I’m looking to bring some cool PR/BTS materials on the VFX and model work being done on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. The pick up footage has just arrived and tightening continues on the edit.

We are working closer towards a Knight Chills, video game teaser. I hope to hear some word on the converting of Knight Chills to HD. We had some discussions on the sequel which we are letting slowly develop. This HD release will be the start of the new franchise push to market.

NOTE: This week my goal is also to keep the windmill set up in chicken-land. Our ‘girls’ have been giving us 4 eggs a day and fresh eggs are awesome. Our clover we planted should come on strong this week. Clover is a good food for the chickens and wildlife but also because of the root system might stand up better to the dog traffic. Always something.

As our reps return from France I hope they had a productive and pleasing trip. It is always fun to hear of new audiences for the films. We again won our soccer match last week and we’ll see if we can repeat on Thursday. I had to use glue and the vice to repair a blown out cleat. Breaking in new shoes can be a bitch so I don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. So now I’m a cobbler, no, I don’t make pies…shoes.

I go to a lot of flea markets and estate sales seeking fun props and wardrobe. You can also find lots of useful items that you use around the house for pennies on the dollar. I went to a great outdoorsmen sale ran by the ladies who sold me the furs for WILD FAITH. They were sewn into Hester Thickett’s coat and a piece or two might have ended up on Ben Lily. But I have people like this on call to assist with props when needed. I’m into primitive archery and so was this individual and I left with four bows. Two recurves, one a Fred Bear, and two flat bows. Add a hand forged knife, viking bookends and a few dinkies and I helped support another small business.

The new bows will be fun to shoot. I enjoy archery and find it very ‘zen’ but gun ranges don’t do the same for me. Nothing against those who do find the range relaxing but archery to me is more like fishing, chill. I enjoy stalking tree stumps as much as anything else. I almost played Robin Hood in a film fighting Vampires, true story. Robin Hood. Santa Claus. I have a few classic roles I would still like to play in my life time. On that note, I’m off to refill the coffee cup. Have a great week and be good to one another!

DJ


Welcome 2021! Hazelnut Coffee Cheers

Happy 2021! Hazelnut coffee cheers.

Outside this morning is a winter wonderland. We had a cold front move through Michigan that first put ice on everything -followed with a heavy dash of snow. Now it looks like a beautiful Norman Rockwell picture outside. This has been perfect weather for all the indoor activities I’ve had to undertake. I’ve always worked to enter the new year more prepared than the previous. Just by the addition of the previous year’s experience I’m better prepared. But I also find Santa Claus most always want me to stay in step with the changes in technology. I’m still a PAPER person. The trees! I LOVE trees and would be fine with paper made from hemp. I hear a leather is being made from cactus. Even with my love of paper I still need to evolve. I just start to get the hang of something and they change it. But it really is quite amazing – we are living closer and closer to a Star Trek world.

I should be doing product reviews-

I was due since last year for a cell phone update and finally I did. My phone went from a model iPhone 7 to 12 PRO and so I had to migrate all my data over. I also had to learn the new this and that – the camera got more complicated but takes great pictures. Also I got two new audio devices. One is a JBL Echo 3 I believe which is a wireless speaker but this one has a microphone and can be used in group conference calls. You can set it in a room and talk from around the room and it sounds great. It also jams out in a most excellent way in between those biz calls, Lastly was pair of Apple ear buds and I pray I don’t lose them. Like sunglasses – if you buy expensive ones even if a fix it plan – you will lose them. But a cheap gas station pair and 30 years they will still be around. So my business tools are being updated and I’m thankful.

Our industry use to shut down for several weeks during the holidays and still does. But with social media mixing with our business does it ever really shut down. During these times are when I enjoy doing my writing. I have writing goals lined up for the year. I’m doing my official page by page this week on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA with our director Anthony Hornus. Our last writer/director collaboration resulted in MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND which is a powerful story. If you have not watched it hop over to Amazon, Tubi or any numerous platforms and take a watch. This next story is just wonderful. I wrote it a handful of years ago about actual events at a WW2 German PW camp in Iowa. Rance Howard was my consultant on matters of the WW2 era and farming doing that time. The scout trip had me speaking with all manner of people in the area who all had stories to tell. We are very close to a full GREEN LIGHT. That means funded and moving forward to those unaware. We are starting to look at locations, casting and more but again that moves to high gear once fully funded. But the timing between getting the script locked and getting green lit should be perfect. I’m very much looking forward to telling this story. I will be getting a traditional WW2 haircut on the run up to filming this one.

The other project playing front and center is the spin off TV series from WILD FAITH. As our audience grows by the millions, we’re looking to do something we have not yet done. We have interest from several sources and its just looking at all the possible combinations and options. I’ll have a few conversations about the TV show later today and into next week. Like above, if you haven’t seen WILD FAITH due yourself and favor and return to a simple time. It is quality watching for the whole family. John Hughes asked to read the script several years ago and left a message that the film has all the charming qualities of the old Disney films and TV. I think he was right on the money and that Wild Faith will turn into a memorable series. And yes that will have ole Ben Lily returning.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH will resume filming this year. That is the doc film we started end of last year. It is about the history of catch-Can wrestling and the passion of a handful of martial artists bringing it back.

SMOKE & MIRRORS will be completed this year. VFX and credits are all that need to be completed. The feature film script is something I’ve been working on. I had a nearly finished script before we did the short. Now I am doing a page 1 rewrite having gotten to know the characters even better. This is a great ‘Steam Punk’ early 1900’s world and the characters are amazing especially those played by David Gries and Melissa Anschutz but no surprise there.

(Finn visualizing – more walks, more treats, more…)

I hope that everyone is ready to visualize their goals and get after them. I’m going to enjoy doing some writing on this beautiful day. I plan to go stoke the wood stove in the office and make a few calls. After I want to sink into some script writing. I hope you all have a safe start to your new year – work hard and be kind to one another.

DJ


JUNE 23rd Bday Thoughts and Reflections

IMG_7029

So today is the 1st day of my last year in my 40’s. How is that even possible? Time marches on and I’m blessed to say that I’ve almost hit half a century with only modest setbacks. Thanks to my love of the outdoors, soccer and martial arts I’ve managed to stay healthy. A few creaks in the joints on occasion and recovery from soccer battles might take an extra day or so to heal. I try to eat healthy and keep active and so far, so good. It feels like being a senior in the class of 40’s and soon I will be the ‘freshman’ in the 50’s. I was going to have a CDI/bday gathering yesterday but we cancelled when they called for rain. Well, it ended up beautiful outside. We worked the yard with leisure and put up some new lights in the yard that Santa Claus had brought me. It was a good day and much more relaxed. We will do an October Harvest party with more to be thankful for.

IMG_7035.jpg

MBF: Man’s Best Friend – I was getting my special thanks around and the end credits are being worked on. I will be doing a watch through on Weds I believe before any last tweaks and we start to render for delivery to myCinema and Bridgestone. I’m immensely proud of this film and the topics in highlights. We’ll be starting up PR on this film with release dates in July. Congrats to all our artists involved.

Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 9.47.14 AM

WILD FAITH – TOMORROW June 24th is our DIGITAL RENTAL for those that want to take a watch but not own it. BUT if you like what you see the DVD is for sale starting July 2nd at several locations. Family Video, Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Amazon… The larger audience will get a chance to meet these wonderful characters in this late 1800’s world. If things progress along the same lines a sequel and/or TV series could be coming in the not-to-distant future. Congrats to all the artists involved.

IMG_5507

THE QUEST TRILOGY – People are continuing to enjoy the three films in our trilogy FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. I’m excited to see these three films continue to expand into more countries and onto new platforms.

IMG_6975

LOST HEART – My world has been full of the fictional town of Lost Heart, Michigan. A  small, semi-touristy lake town. Birthplace of fictional mega Country star Hannah Sweet. We announced Josh ‘Ponceman’ Perry and Don Most to our cast. We still have a few great artists to announce that will be joining us. Our young female lead is an ex-Michigan native now making her way in Nashville. The other is a SNL alumni who is beyond talented and will bring one of our leads to life. Another talent joining us was in CDI’s very first film and most recently in Wild Faith. So stay tuned for more announcements in the next few weeks leading up to our shoot.

thumbnail.png

We have a great crew shaping up and this is great development for the possible TV series and more. We are working hard to bring CDI production up under a few studios for future work. The number one thing I look for in cast or crew is the right attitude and of course talent. It is easier to develop talent versus attitude. I’ve had many ask me about “secrets” or “keys” to success and I will share this one tidbit.

LOOK AT THE LONG TERM NOT JUST THE SHORT TERM.

So many people ruin avenue’s for lifetime collaboration and revenue for a short term gain. I have people that I’ve worked with since the late 90’s cast and crew. A shoot is usually only 3-4 week commitment tops. I’ve seen people act as if their entire year is based upon those few weeks. I watch the film challenges, the fan films, the fun festival films and know that these are not paid. I see the hard work, the smiles and the final wrap pics. With some you get immense appreciation and others whatever offered will never be quite good enough. If your other choices during the remaining 48 weeks puts you in a place where a lower paid feature is not acceptable you are doing something wrong. I like those good pay days like anyone else. We have a new roof to put on the house but often it might take several smaller jobs versus one big one to get the needed money. If I like the project, the role and the pay is on level with other’s involved I will usually do it. They grow. The pay grows. It is a lifetime relationship of collaboration, art and pay that is being nurtured. Think on that one.

thumbnail

I am where I am by respecting numerous small relationships and collaborations. I appreciate and value every person who has ever put a dollar in my hand. I appreciate and value those who have helped me tell a good story with their blood, sweat and tears. I cannot speak for all the producers out there and I know some have flawed business models in my opinion. Hell, we are far from perfect in our own but anyone close to us will know how hard we work to try and do things right. But until you are out trying to raise money off an idea put to paper – you don’t know. It might be a corporation but it is still a small group of people working really hard. When you are trying to be fair to everyone some bumps in $ across the board can add up to thousands that producers don’t often have. I hear of lodging nightmares of tents, people sleeping in cars, 10 people in a cabin with one bathroom – but we are just as concerned with living conditions as the camera lenses. Now with your first film you might do what has to be done but quickly you see that the added things you do for cast and crew show up in the final product. I’m excited for this next adventure in part because of the cool lodging that our cast and crew will be able to enjoy. This is because we are a team who cares. We care about our artists. We care about the locations we are allowed to use.

IMG_1703 2

  • NOTE: To those companies/projects/films that walk behind CDI films at a certain location I sincerely hope that you manage those locations well. We are always invited back but a poorly ran set can close off a location from anyone using it.

While typing above I was remembering what a mess the original BESTSELLER film was before CDI took over and reshot everything. We had to change the minds of many people and we did. Shame on the management that allows that kind of bad reputation to fall on our industry. So PLEASE don’t just look at what happens in front of the camera. What happens behind the camera is equally important and DOES effect what happens in front of the camera. OK. Enough filmmaking secrets.

Jesus inthought.png

I’m going to hop off here and get cleaned up. I’m going out to eat and spending some time with family and friends. Tomorrow it is back to work on the LOST HEART pre-production. Thank you to all the kind people who have reached out with birthday wishes. Here is my hazelnut coffee CHEERS to you all. Have a great Sunday and remember to be good to one another. Keep following those dreams.

DJ