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

Posts tagged “screenwriting

‘ROCKY’ Could Have Been A Faith Film and Other Coffee Ramblings…by DJ Perry

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The chilly fall has settled into Michigan making sipping coffee or hot cider even more enjoyable. Now is when I have to start thinking of the winter ahead. The stuff that will have to be put away and stored. The firewood for the coming snow. Even the change of clothes to heavier layers, is a normal process in Michigan. I think last week we discussed something which was the delay in shooting our next feature by a quarter. The funds are there and so many would want to rush to production, the fun part. But, we’re putting the icing on the cake for a wonderful distribution deal on WILD FAITH. It has been a touch slower since I’ve had the joy of working with the Hollywood agent system. But, in the end it will be worth it and will directly have an effect on the TV series. Upcoming 2019 will see the major organizing of the release and push on the series. We are planning to shoot in Michigan. Likely a series of shows shot in a tight production block. It’s new waters for me so I’m learning something new every day.

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Tomorrow we’ll announce via PR our recent Crown Award and the Burbank International Film Fest win for ‘Best Faith Film’ and while I would have loved to have it gone against all the films – they work by genres. But WILD FAITH is just an accurate look at 1870’s life. As the screenwriter I did not add any overdue FAITH. People we’re just more living in tune with their faith during that time period. Life was more wooly and I think people had more life and death encounters be it disease, drought, famine, bear attacks – you get the point. I love the faith and inspirational themes. ROCKY being one of my favorite illustrations of that. On his way to the fight – the father priest throws down and few blessings. Yes. ROCKY could be a faith film and it would have surely won ‘Best Inspirational’ as I’ve seen it inspire masses and I’ve been inspired by that film. My point is, I’ve never set out to make a ‘Faith Film’ and I’ve never set out to not make a ‘Faith Film” – I’ve told a story. Characters in almost all stories are confronted by a situation that tests their faith thus the relatable conflict.

Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ must find her faith. Indiana Jones fights to keep his faith versus his scientific reasoning, Men vs shark in JAWS, puts faith out there to be chewed upon as a topic. I think every film made about mankind has faith woven into it. So, is it that the content must have X amount ‘faith’ in it? Judges in chairs that spin around and hit a button if your film has the required ‘faith’? I appreciate it mostly, the acceptance to our films. But because the story, characters, situations, lessons were all something that were touched upon. That shed a bit of light on our faults projected onto a screen, so we can better understand ourselves. Deep. I know. Occasionally, I feel quite grand with my profession, pride like a good woodworker,  or any other artist. Mostly, I still feel like that kid, make believing with my neighborhood friends living out our own  STRANGER THINGS life.

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I’ve changed some in my screenwriting, I’ve noted. My earlier self was darker, heavier and nihilistic. My mom often questioning, why I kept dying in my films. Now, I’ve always had a funny, lighter side to my personality, ask anyone who really knows me. But, most of my writing came in my moments of solitary. Also writers in Michigan benefit from our long winters but the end result is often PSYCHO or THE SHINING writing in nature. Those previously mentioned films are two of my favorite for the season. Another side note: I do want to do another horror film but it has to be good. By good I mean story. Creating horror films in the handful of story formulas is like a rite of passage. The lovers of that genre cannibalize the artists with dastardly reviews. But meet them in person and they’ve always been very nice. Maybe because they saw you on camera foaming at the mouth and swinging an axe. Anyway, I was saying that I enjoy the laughter and smiles. I recall many showings of WICKED SPRING whereas people wept in the theater. We did that with our story. But I see so much negativity and anxiety with people not coping to our new world. A world where we’re more communication-connected than ever before BUT we’re not. FRIENDS have a new definition thanks to FACEBOOK but my definition stays the same. I want to be part of making people think, smile, laugh and still occasionally cry, if that comes with an enlightenment.

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The ‘Faith Film’ anti-goodhousekeeping seal of quality is being shattered as more storytellers (without labels) are returning to tell stories that their grandmother, mothers and fathers would enjoy. Ben Hur (The Original) and Ten Commandments (The Classics) were always on TV when we had our family Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter gatherings.  There are great organizations that are rising to recognize and award this kind of content. I always worry about censorship, we can choose to watch what we want. But if a demand is there, look at the rise in METV, Heroes & Icons, and the rise of the faith market. People are casting their votes with their rentals and purchases. I feel most honored by the online communications from viewers having powerful emotions invoked from our stories. It is a dream to have holidays where the films play and families bond over a watch. My goal is to make a few classics. All of them might not make it but we’ll give our ‘best effort’ every time.

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I was reminded yesterday when inquiring about a director whom a close associate had worked with – their last film isn’t done. It hasn’t been completed in a matter of several years. As an actor, I’ve got two films shot in recent years, one a co-starring role, not finished. I’ve got a call, meeting, catch up with a director friend who’s trying to finish one of two projects we did together in the very distant past. It bothers me occasionally talking someone’s new project(s) when those people have loose strings to tie up. There are many films about that don’t interest me as a viewer, but I always tip my hat to finishing. Finishing is a skill needed in this industry, without it, suffering. But it sounds like my old friend is trying to finish, so that’s a good thing.

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This week I finished my first solid draft on our next script with BMG entitled LOST HEART. In meetings with our distributor, they really liked a concept made easier that I had written something in the same vein. But I wanted to apply some of the growth I had made mentioned above. Same log line but different script. I had a wonderful time creating this story and it became so alive with characters and a world, other’s will long to visit. Jeff Kennedy and I, my partner in CDI, semi-retired – always had that as a goal. To create a world and invite people inside it. The CDI first five – really helped hone this craft. You have to BELIEVE in the world. Another 2019 goal is to get Jeff Kennedy back into a director’s chair. I have a few good ideas but they will require a good pow wow or two.

MBF has been in editing. They shot a few pick up establishing shots and transitions this week. Always good to do this once you get into the edit and really see what could be added. This film I’m so proud of. It showcases and pleads for better treatment of our war vets and dogs, that can heal us. We continue to release official stills from this film. For now the spotlight is given to…

THE CHRIST SLAYER!

Find our social media site on Facebook – lots of updates.

https://www.facebook.com/thechristslayer/

Part 3 has a bold name. But the title has a meaning that audiences will discover, maybe not what they thought. I’m excited to say that Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy is coming all together. I watched a recent 5k work flow version with 98% VFX. Color Correction and conforming still lie ahead. ADR, music and sound design are steadily under construction. I’ve been working with the distributor and their marketing team as we prepare for release in early 2019. I was really happy with the story, smiling throughout. I love watching artists friends give moving performances. That’s what we want deep down. To captivate and transfer that emotion via story. This will be an exciting watch and so again, catch up – parts 1 (FORTY NIGHTS) & 2 (CHASING THE STAR) on Pureflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Christian Cinema, Parables TV….and so on. To our cast and crew, it will be worth the wait.

Okay, time for a pumpkin spice english muffin and another coffee.

Have a great Sunday!

DJ

 

 

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Feb 25th – Ten Updates “Keep Climbing”

The coffee is nice and hot as the chill wind in Michigan really blows hard this morning. Last night I got to take a few hours to go down the road to the opening of an art gallery. The Meta Collective (they like the Collective title also:) -did a wonderful job showcasing the art of many of the local artists. Music, food and drink just added to the experience. After we went and got some Thai food and called it a night with X Files. We’ve been watching the entire show from season 1 onward. We’re close to watching the new shows that will feature some friends like Rance Howard. Thank you to all of you who reached out with your kind messages about Rance.

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Many times I’ve written on here about my focus on the path ahead. While others prepare to celebrate our achievements I’m always seeking that next project for the tribe. One step in front of the other – the climb. Friday was a busy day to top off an already busy week. My TO DO list almost always carries over to the next week. I did knock a few things off the list yesterday and have a few more things to do today. This industry tends to be a series of planned advancement like ‘Rocky’ running up the steps. Can you go the distance?

Let’s try random 10 film updates-

  1. The big news that has people buzzing is our announcement of the first theatrical run at Celebration Cinema in Lansing and Grand Rapids of “WILD FAITH”
  2. Watch our social media for new showing sites – click below
    WILD FAITH MOVIE SHOWTIMES – March 16- 22, 2018.
    Celebration Cinema Lansing, MI:
    https://celebrationcinema.com/film-info/lansing/wild-faith

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2. We are having serious talks about the TV series in additional to final talks on our home video. The home video release is looking like fall into winter/Christmas push. It doesn’t work to talk to all of you about the TV series until you see the film. I can say our distributor LOVED the film and could see the vision for a spin off TV series. So pitches are being made and the TV series is one of my goals for this year. Production for the series would likely be 2nd half of 2019 in Michigan.

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3. Just to prime you all – our past 1800’s classic WICKED SPRING * (getting a major release 18 years later is a “classic” status to me) is rolling out. This film will start appearing in March on various digital platforms and DVD. I think Christian Cinema is already playing it. Amazon and others should be available on or around the 5th of March.

https://www.christiancinema.com/digital/movie/8055

4. MBF (Man’s Best Friend) – We had a great week working development on our next film. We’re now down to talking with our final potential backers. About the cost of a good new car to go and we’re rolling into pre-production. Also our distributor is very excited about this project and will be participating early in the process with a few nice perks. I’m excited about what that means but I cannot share that information just quite yet. In the meantime I’m working hard with our team to gather the already committed funds which at times can be like wrangling cats. Meow!

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5. “Forty Nights” and “Chasing the Star” are being licensed into other foreign territories. I’ll enjoy announcing these new releases as they happen. Part 3 of the trilogy “The Christ Slayer” released their theatrical poster art last week. The trailer is about to undergo color correction and the music and sound design is being polished. The feature is also in post audio and will be there for a few months. This Christmas season audiences can see this powerful final chapter in the theaters before the Easter 2019 home video release. Also congrats to our director Nathaniel Nose and his wonderful wife on the arrival of their new baby:)

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6. I had a good talk with Chris Wright/Knight, the author/EP of “Bestseller” and we discussed the new marketing of this film. We also discussed future endeavors – but it’s always a joy talking with another great Michigan artist.

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7. “Ashes of Eden” as noted before has been assigned to a new distribution company. The film was delivered last week and so we should have some exciting new ways to see this film in the coming months.

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8. The distributor talks this week did include CDI’s production slate of the next biblical adventure trilogy. I’ve been outlining and researching as I prepare to pen the next trilogy. It seems that they are very happy with the writing and production of these past films. It’s a nice place to be with set distribution after countless months shopping films in years past.

9. Screenwriting is creating many new opportunities. I’m back on a good weekly writing schedule and enjoy seeing with my imagination. I’ve been asked about screenplay writing for hire. Make an offer and if the story connects with me and the business is right a deal could be made. I will not take on a story that doesn’t connect with me. Again that lesson of knowing when to say NO. Actually you cannot afford NOT to say no in some situations.

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10. Last week I was happy to present a character reel that my amigo Shane Hagedorn edited for me from my “Forty Nights” work. You can see it on my IMDB page or my social media sites. I am looking for that next project to act in after we complete “MBF” this Spring. I do have a western in Colorado that wants me to co-star as the Sheriff. Playing an 1800’s lawman would be a first for me and they have a strong cast forming up. So again that question of acting was brought up to me. Same answer as above. I am more selective with my acting because of my time spent in producing/screenwriting – but right script, right role, right business – maybe. Make an offer and we’ll see.

A great week of business and now some down time preparing for the week ahead. It was nice to do a bit of raking and yard clean up before the rain hit. We did not have any flood water here but other places were not so lucky. Water can be a bitch so I’m sorry for all those that had to contend with water issues. If you want to see “Wild Faith” on the big screen get your tickets online. I will be there on Friday in Lansing to greet a few people at the two kick off shows. I think some of our Grand Rapids cast/crew will attend the Woodland showing on Friday. I sincerely hope that you enjoy the hard work of many Michigan artists. For all you artists not involved watch the film and see if it is a world you would like to ‘play’ in if the series moves forward. I am always open to spending 2-3 min watching a reel of talent out there. I’m watching:)

Congrats to other filmmakers in the State of Michigan showing their art. I’m so happy to see the developing industry post-incentives. “Keeping it home-grown after the carpet-baggers have flown” – Keep dreaming. Keep creating.

Have a great week ahead!

DJ

 


Fun, Sun and Getting Work Done!

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(This is how my boy Luke helps with the tree clean up * Sorry no thumbs)

Welcome readers from Costa Rica and Hungary! Another week down and we had a few beautiful days last week with a mild breeze. Even today which is heating up to be a scorcher has a nice breeze. It will be low 90’s during the peak of the day at 4:00 pm about when the whistle will blow on our soccer match. So I’m taking in water and catching up with all of you. This past week our dead elm started dropping more branches and it is right over the path to the office/fort. So when getting a bid this week they offered to return within the hour. Ruby’s Tree Service did a great job and they chipped up 80% of the branches at no added cost. Everyone else wanted a major bump to chip up the branches. After they left I worked for three hours moving some 300lb+ pieces about. I had to leave a few until I recruit an additional lifter, but I got lots organized Friday afternoon and Saturday. I did feel a bit beat up on Saturday from my lumberjack efforts. I eased up until Monday since I have this game today. But I am happy that I have no fear of falling limbs and the garden is getting a major additional in the sunshine department. This tree adventure replaced my bottling of the Irish Stout so that will happen this week. Okay. Let’s look at a few film updates in no particular order.

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Accounting Paperwork went our to Forj Digital and putting together the agreement for the ‘Chasing the Star’ soundtrack. NOTE: ‘Bestseller’ and ‘Forty Nights” soundtracks are available on iTunes and other music outlets.

This week PR on the DVD artwork for ‘Chasing the Star’ was released and so Sept 5th will be the national roll out. Some pre-order sites will start to appear in the coming weeks. Also artwork for the above mentioned soundtrack is also underway.

PR from this week

https://prlog.org/12644814

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DJ Perry as Jesus in “Forty Nights”

“Forty Nights” keeps rolling with more disbursements to our backers. I was also sent this review of the film this week. I don’t agree with all of it but that is why it’s a review:)  Thank you Dr. Jeff Krupinski for your watch.

https://drjeffkrupinski.wordpress.com/tag/40-nights-faith-vs-fear/

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Third in the trilogy “The Christ Slayer” will be reviewed this week. We have a first cut and to say I’m excited to watch it is a true understatement. We’ve got big things in motion on the VFX and we’ll be doing some PR on that in the coming weeks. We had a heck of a time trying to get a piece of equipment from New Zealand but that should finalize this week.

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(Lana Wood & Darby Hinton in “Wild Faith”)

“Wild Faith” watch through was exciting and as the film moves towards completion we keep pushing on the business end. The film is exciting to watch and I’m happy to once again be working in this genre. I do LOVE westerns!

I was able to get quite a lot of writing done and I’m closing in on a first draft of a new screenplay. I’m also working a few deals that could have me selling or doing work-for-hire writing. I really do enjoy the writing experience and enjoy seeing how the story gets translated from page to the screen. If you’re looking to hire a writer feel free to reach out and discuss.

I’ve been keeping my eye out for that next character/story that captures my attention. Rolling out in the near future will be Jesus (The Christ Slayer) and Ben Lily (Wild Faith) so I’m seeking. If I don’t find a role that I connect with well, that script is almost complete.

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(Old release poster “Knight Chills”)

This week we did another pass on the temp website for CDI and discussed more on the roll out. Also a few of the books I want to release are getting closer. One exciting book project is the novelization by David Hayes of the “Knight Chills” script. I’ve seen the cool cover art and they’ve been typesetting. It will be a hardcopy in stores and on the Comic Con tour with Source Point as well as an Ebook. I’m excited by the possibilities here including talk of a graphic novel and the sequel script which is complete. Sir Kallio rides again. Pretty cool:)

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Well USA is about to challenge both Norway (Women) and Mexico (Men) and at 4:00 we take the field. I love the game. The garden is doing great for those who asked – actually eating lettuce on our sandwiches as I finish this. I hope you all have had a good week/end and that you have a great week ahead. I know a few people dealing with hardships and losses so appreciate each day and keep chasing your dreams.

Be good to one another!

DJ