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

Posts tagged “Santa

New ideas, thoughts, processes and appreciations were born in 2020.

I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and want wish a Happy Holidays to all of you. Welcome new readers and subscribers from UK, Trinidad, Tobago, Philippines, Sweden, Denmark, South Korea and Africa, France and Ukraine. I left my cup to you all and give you my best wishes for a productive 2021. I’m wearing a nice new pair of warm pajamas and I feel blessed to have been gifted an assortment of love gifts. I also got some new technology that will assist with my 2021 business. I have a new JBL Charge speaker meant for speaker calls. I also have new apple I-bud things which I hope fare better than my past Bluetooths. A few new clothing items and an assortment for fun items. I enjoyed gifting and spreading some happiness to folks. I still have a handful of people to catch up with but I will all in good time. I love all the holiday wishes and I hope everyone had a safe Christmas. We went like Santa and did short drop off and visits. We did the zoom opening of gifts and while different and not the preferred celebration, we had fun. In person would have been better but until our elders in our family get the vaccine it was a smart call. We want them all around for the holidays 2021.

This is the time of year when I start to clean up and organize all my actor/filmmaker materials. It is also the time of year for LLC state file fees, end of year corp tax work and other non-sexy but required work. I for one am excited and pumped up for the new year. This is the time to create your goal lists for the incoming year and to see where you fell on your last years goals. I actually did quite well with my 2020 TO DO list and having all that extra time not meeting in person allowed me to get a LOT done. That said, I’m reading to be meeting at the ole fort again to plan new adventures. So use this time to wrap up 2020 and prepare for the year ahead. Write it down. Visualize it. Plan short goals on the way to greater goals. DON’T be afraid to fail because even failure will give you much needed experience.

SOME OF MY 2021 GOALS

  1. Do a 2021 select/fest run for LOST HEART and perhaps MBF who’s fest run got Covid squashed.
  2. BEST YEARS GONE is scheduled to be completed in June but we’re on schedule with about an hour edited. By the end of the year we hope to have a rough cut and locked cut by end of Jan. What I saw was amazing and I am beyond happy with what I’m seeing.
  3. This has to do with BEST YEARS GONE but I think we’re going to do a virtual Battle of the Bands that will end up seeing a song go on the soundtrack with a music video created by CDI. I have some interest from a few legit judges that will help in the process of deciding.
  4. CDI Merchandise Division will launch in earnest in 2021 pushing out with new BEST YEARS GONE swag. Try this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/DVD-DOUBLE-FEATURE-Figure-in-the-Forest-2002-Heavens-Neighbors-2005-movie-/363016656566
  5. I plan to get WILD FAITH‘s TV series HASTINGS launched. Ideal filming would be 1st half of 2021 but if our timing is off we’ll swing it around to Spring 2022.
  6. We also plan to film SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA back half of 2021. Casting for our German-speaking actors is underway. We will announce heavily once we assign the last few units. I’m working on the writer/director script with Tony Hornus (MBF).
  7. Smoke & Mirrors short will be finished and we’ll take it on festival circuit for fun. But I’ve started my new work on Code Name: ASH the feature film version from which the short was taken. I’ve loved all the research for the new feature script.
  8. We are preparing to do the final filming on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH documentary film. I’ll be putting the paperwork together for our next phase.
  9. I’m excited that we’re streamlining and updating our dispersement process at CDI. That’s a good thing because we’re getting larger and I still write every check by hand. This might not always be the case and I might invest in a few stampers but I still love it. On BEST YEARS GONE, I again had the pleasure of giving an actor their first paycheck ever. It’s a big thing to actors, a milestone and I remember it well. To get paid for your art gives hope. Hope that a path could be what was meant for you. The “shells and beads” is just a way of expressing appreciation for ones work and contribution.
  10. Writing- During the lock down I wrote the first season of Hastings allowing us to start development work such as assign directors, casting and some scouting. A few of my goals with writing in 2021 is to finish CODE NAME: ASH and my first real Sci Fi endeavor SEAWITCH is what I’m calling it as a working title. I know that development work for 2022 will also be underway. Development works at several levels and can take a few years to many years pending fate and filmmaking.

I’m staying with my existing battle plan. BEST EFFORTS. I would love to participate in a few outside projects should I connect with the material and schedule works. Let’s talk about that POSTING CASTINGS. I see postings from people just asking for actors within an age but they say nothing about the character, the story or the creative team. And you get desperate actors excited sight-unseen to a project listing. Now to be fair in a few cases the previous work is known which can be a positive and a negative pending quality. I understand the keeping a story somewhat private but you have to give the talent something. I would rather work on development or earning from the existing library versus participating in bad work. To get the best actors you need to get the talent exciting. If you think you have the next best thing have talent sign NDA (Non Disclosure agreement) and let them read the script. I would not participate in too many projects if they withheld the script save maybe a major studio film and even then…come on. So one of my helpful hints to get better talent is take some time in the description of the story. List the director and DP and if you like a talent let them read the script. It’s a two way interview and while it might be a great step for a talent, the production NEEDS to find that great talent to succeed with any quality.

Okay. I’ve talked a bit about my goals for producing with CDI, also myself as a writer and actor going into 2021. I hope we have a soccer season this year. I am stepping up and expanding some of the martial arts training preparing for X project or if I just need to unleash any Kung Fu fury. I might wrap things up here to go eat a little breakfast and go chop some wood. The house is in good shape with no real company but we still managed to create a small holiday mess. But as the new little gifts find their new place I’m grateful for what we have. I’ve got an abundance of the homemade beer and wine. Some great sipping gifts and as things lighten up I’m looking forward to clinking a few glasses and making plans.

Enjoy your new year safely. Cheers to a healthy mind, body and spirit. Think positive and kindness expelling any negative toxins and the spirit will soar. Replace repetitive news with music. Replace hate with create – and lead by example versus condensing communications. Actions are louder than words. All to often when some speak they “feel” empowered but their other actions dismiss their credibility labeling them a hypocrite. But actions are what actions are – a truth. If you give vs talk of giving that is powerful. Practice “green earth” vs just talking about climate change. Practice respectful communication in the spirit of unity.

Unity was the theme of last weeks blog. I had such a great response to my blog last week that I want to incorporate it into an upcoming press release. At CDI the spark of storytelling is a constant and will survive all circumstance until mankind is no more. It is greater than our daily priorities that others try to use and put us in a box of A or B when I am a Z:) It comes down to doing the right thing even if it puts a little loss on the sheets. From A CHRISTMAS CAROL and the heart-opening message of the business minded to CHRISTMAS VACATION whereas the employee bonus check doesn’t arrive. I think we can all look at where we can take less so we can enjoy the benefits that come with the spirit of giving to others. YOU CANNOT take it with you. Another lesson this year was – YOU ALWAYS THINK YOU HAVE MORE TIME (Thank you Steven Anschutz) so follow your passions be it as a hobby, part-time or full-time. Gift yourself that time dancing with your own fires of passion. Write, Read, Watch, Sing, Play, Create…do what you need to do. But spend that time to stoke the fire and it will make you a better person. You will share that feel-good fire with others and they will also pass it along. When faced with two-sided news always give the positive first. It puts someone in a more positive, receptive state-of-mind and allows them to better receive any off news. That “off” now becomes something to work on as we all must continue to do. So MUCH growth has happened in 2020 and while it was a challenge many old models were broken. New ideas, thoughts, processes and appreciations were born in 2020. Let’s put everything we learned into practice in 2021! I will see everyone next year.

Happy New Year!

DJ


NEW CDI Updates, Necroland and more…

image2-1.png

GOOD MORNING

So this morning started with the news of an elder family member passing at the ripe age of 89. I had the pleasure of meeting him a dozen years ago and connected with him over several games of horseshoes. Yesterday marked the 3 years passing of our furry daughter Joplin who was with us for 15.5 years. Finn our new boy just celebrated his first year with our family. The wheel keeps turning. I’ve said before one of my daily goals is to just laugh. I focus and work extra hard on certain days so I can do in-person meetings vs just a string of calls. I push a business call or two and call to touch base and reconnect with old friends and associates. Actor/artist Terry Jernigan and I recently touched base after too much time. I have a list of people who I need to catch up with. This is all in-between planned calls with associates in other countries and time zones. I don’t love phones but until those Star Trek transporters are ready for commercial use, phone works. I asked Santa this year for one of those old school hold phones that plugs into your iPhone. I’ve been pretty good so maybe Santa will look after me.

IMG_8037

A REVIEW

Speaking of iPhones – I met this past week with filmmaker Nathan Quinn. We were celebrating his finishing of his first 90 min feature installment of NECROLAND. With the amply amount of extras, effects, props and such the film has succeeded strongly in one place, it surely paints a chaotic world. The film unfolds in broad strokes that tries to reveal a world-wide crisis somewhere between magic and science. Think steampunk without the turn of the century feel. The show does have interesting characters but the film plays like more of a tv pilot. I say that because several groups of characters are introduced but few are fully developed.  It reminded me a bit of the old GI-JOE tv show. This guy has a cool hat and a whip. This lady has some sort of cyber implants. But we don’t know too much of anyones backstory. I could occasionally see where improv performances struggled but I also felt a few real moments. I also have known Mr. Quinn for many years and he’s not a compromising type. NECROLAND has moments of feeling child friendly but the profanity and gun massacres with head shots, will hinder that. I’m speaking of distribution because I love Danny McBride, George Carlin, Redd Fox type humor. I’m fine with violence when it isn’t just going for shock value. But I understand there’s an audience out there for everything. But those that love the violence and the R-Rated aspects will want more of it and less “Goonies gone wrong” I think. I was also impressed with some of the editing work during the montage sequences. It was trippy and dare I say enjoyable, which begs Nathan who has a background in music – to maybe add a rocking soundtrack. If you played something like Black Sabbath’s “The Mob Rules” during some of those Necrit attacks! NOTE: I was quiet during lots of the production because I just wanted to see the story. A HUGE amount of man hours in that film not forgetting the stuff that pre-dated it and did not make the cut. I know he’s doing some polishing (I suggested color correction) for the DVD. I think a group of friends gathered together on a Saturday night could really enjoy this film. I think this film marks an important place in the Ironcore development. I’m more excited to see where it all goes from here. In a feature film direction – I would say a more targeted audience, fewer characters allowing more character development. But in a series format like LOST and countless others you can have 20+ main characters. I think Ironcore is going to start direct sales with the DVD so take a look when it becomes available.   Congrats to my friend for leading a team of artists in using your imaginations and creating some cool art. Countless artists have been given a chance to participate in their own love of storytelling and being in front of the camera thanks to Ironcore.

DEVELOPMENT

It all starts with a script. I’m just about done with my read on the book I’m turning into a screenplay. I loved the character development and the gist of the story. I’m also honored the author wanted me to present the story in script. This film has the intent to distribute behind it and we’ll be shooting this later next year.

thumbnail-2

I had good meetings over our projects in development with our distributor. We discussed what has been moving strong at the markets. I’m enjoying this growing relationship as we keep telling our stories and they push them out into the world markets. One of the main topics and updates was on LOST HEART. Next week they will start concept artwork for the DVD cover. Our team has been getting elements over to the distributor. We will also be doing a watch on the rough cut before director Jesse Low fine tunes it.

34481819_2058849274388409_2256370234413809664_n

MBF: Man’s Best Friend – the response is strong and growing. After the non-profit premiere success we’re pivoting a bit on the event theatrical. The film will play next month in Kentucky for the Equus Art & Film Festival. We have non-profit showings being set up for the first of the year in Lansing, MI and Naples, FL. But in the meantime keep passing the word and over the holidays make sure your family watches this powerful story.

cdi_fbholidaycoverpic_820x312

WILD FAITH/THE QUEST TRILOGY – All the CDI films are enjoying time with families around the world. We just got some breakdowns of all the countries and platforms that are playing our films. Just like this blog it is a great international family of those who enjoy listening and telling stories.

I’m excited that the holidays are here. I have a dinner with old friends on Monday and Thanksgiving on Thursday. I hope you all enjoy some time with your family and friends.

Have a great week!

DJ


Fall Updates & Rumors on Forthcoming Projects

I awoke to a light rain and I got the coffee flowing while making chili for todays MSU game. As I prepare to get into the movie updates for the week I want to thank our new Czech Republic readers for tuning in.  I LOVE fall and it is really setting in here in the Michigan. It was a good week whereas many projects moved on down the line. I’m trying to get my brain moving enough to recall some of the stories that might impart some lesson. I’ll just jump into updates and we will see what flows.

BESTSELLER is now in our post sound studio and our editor got to know Dennis Therrian, my post-supervisor. Again finding artists who are not only talented but take great pride in their work is the key. I’m excited to see the layers of music added to our final picture. CGI work and sound design will also be taking place as well as color correction. Be ready for many more updates in the coming months.

http://www.bestsellerthemovie.com

ASHES OF EDEN – yesterday we kicked off 42 showings of the film in the Detroit area. (Canton & Novi) and the first audiences went to the theaters last night. If you are in the area and you want to see a powerful, professional story told mainly by Michigan artists please do take a look. It is at the Emagine theater chain so go on-line and pick the best time for you. We look to be close to signing with another big theater chain and will be announcing more on our national distribution deal in the coming weeks.

http://www.ashesofedenmovie.com/

This week saw me getting to review THE TERRORIST with a finished music score. Also DEAD QUIET released an advanced poster for the horror film slated to release in 2015. I had a small role in a SMALL TOWN SANTA, Christmas film for a producer associate of mine. It is now out on streaming and will start selling DVD’s in Oct so as you get closer to the holidays it could provide a nice watch. I look forward to seeing how it unfolds. I do a small role in DIVISION 19 and I’ll be keeping my ears open for updates on that project.

SUPERMODEL SHOWDOWN shows 1-3 are now on Indieflix.com so check it out if reality TV and travel is your thing.

That really covers most of the projects in post or releasing. The big question I’ve been getting is – what next?  We’ve got a handful of projects in development but I may be close to signing onto a new project. It is best described as a Sci Fi/Western and I had good Skype talks with the director. He extended an offer and we are talking terms. It would have me shooting a handful of days in December outside of Las Vegas. I will keep you in the loop on this project and my potential involvement.

This week had me catching up with several of my friends living elsewhere like Terry Jernigan and David Borowicz. I always enjoy reconnecting and sharing laughs with these friends of mine. Okay I’m off to stir the chili and get a few things around this morning. I hope you enjoy the remaining weekend ahead.

DJ

On set of "The Terrorist"

On set of “The Terrorist”


Welcome 2014 – Looking Ahead

Welcome one and all to “Clawing My Way to the Middle” first blog of 2014. It was a wild Christmas holiday with the ice storm and even now we prepare for another Arctic storm to come. I had a good friend come and help me cut up the fallen elm tree which I stacked up. I will say that once it has dried I will have a good amount of firewood.  I had to do a little make shift fix to the fence until we can really address it. There was a lot of business that finished at the end of 2013 and some that was just on hold. Let us look at the year ahead so top off that coffee cup and let’s take a look.

In December I was filming later than usual in the year with my acting on “Dead Quiet”. It was a cool okay COLD chance to film with some dedicated folks. I’m curious to see what we created although the first look at dailies brought good feedback. I’m also curious to see the Christmas film I did locally renamed “Small Town Santa” which ties into my next announcement. I had almost sold/produced a Christmas script of my own several years ago. It banged around with some majors and would have easily been the largest script sale I’ve made. I had Hollywood try to do a commercial tween rewrite. I was willing to sell but truly hated that version. When that deal did not go through I put that version in a dark vault never to see light of day again. I kept my version inspired by THE WALTON’S versus the AfterSchool special mess. I held onto it in hopes that either I could do it right or that someone else could. I finally had a studio read MY version and loved it. The option/purchase agreement was made and it is very likely that it will launch this year. A press release is being put together so I will hold on details. I’m starting to look at a few scripts that are not acting vehicles for myself and I might consider a sell. Many like the visual style of the writing and so 2014 will see me put some effort in this area. My agent wants me to look at scripts to sell via them also so I guess I will consider. So if you are in need of a script in a certain genre reach out. You better bring your checkbook though.

I’m starting to continue distribution and studio talks that started at the year’s end. I’ve got some legal meetings this coming week over properties. I’ve got a few scripts to read – one being the proposed follow-up to “Ashes of Eden” with director friend Shane Hagedorn. Post work on ‘Ashes of Eden” is almost complete and “Bestseller” is about to dive into editing. This year will see “Donors,” “The Terrorist” making 1st distribution pushes along with the two films above. CDI will look at more associations and continue the tradition of storytelling. The chances are good that I will be doing a follow-up project “The Beast” with Russ Williams (Darkest Night) and the western “Rifle” with Carl Barbee (Resurrection).

As for acting – the hair got a sizable trim and I’m ready to tackle some new roles. I love the family of folks in front of and behind the camera. In 2014 we will create more stories.

Cheers!