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

Posts tagged “show

Father’s Day – Future Showings, Castings and Distribution

Hazelnut coffee nourishes me from my morning haze. I had a few people over yesterday to celebrate the fact that on Tuesday June 23rd I will be one year older. I want to throw a  Happy Father’s Day out to all the fathers. My fatherly duties only extend to a pack of lovely animals. As I opened a few nice cards yesterday that spewed nice words on my character I thought of my dad. He taught and continues to teach me things all the time. I see more of him and that makes me smile. He has always been a fair, funny and stern man when required. He didn’t always understand the world of movies or the passion that drove me to follow that path. I think like many parents of artists – they worry and in many cases rightfully so. It’s a hard path where in days past you only got known usually after your death. Maybe this is more applicable to famous painters but it also applies to other artists I’m sure. I’m happy my father is still here to give wisdom, guidance and comfort. I see my parents as the training wheels and I’m happy both of mine are still attached to the bike. I got my father a little love gift that I will give him later but my gift will NOT be his favorite today. My brother and his wife Abby are going in today to have their second child. The Perry clan will add a new little life. We don’t know if it is a boy or girl but we’ll will be happy with either.  So dad is gonna be a grandpa again and that’s a pretty cool Father’s Day present. So the fathers or those that act in a father-like fashion congrats to you upon this day.

As I approach my actually B-day on Tuesday I have so much to be proud of as I reflect back on what has transpired on this journey thus far. It goes all the way back to “PLAYING” with the camcorder in high school and before that making “radio” dramas on tape with dialog and sound FX recorded on a tape player. Recently, I’ve again had the pleasure of watching hundreds enjoy our “PLAY” on the big screen. Let’s look at a few of these movie updates.

ASHES OF EDEN – WOW! What a full journey and starting in Oct it will really travel. We are releasing a clean(er) version of the movie. Our director Shane found himself in a place between SHOW & BIZ. He loves the raw version of his SHOW but the distributors main outlets require a slight adjustment. It is why we do more and more development/distribution work making films that will do well in the marketplace. Early on you can make films basically on spec within a business structure but many mistakes can be made. Does one scene or a handful of words kill a certain retailer and/or TV license? These are things that get looked at now when we are in development. I know Shane came from a hobby-esque film background whereas whatever struck the current fancy was created with little thought to distribution. Once you start partnering with investors (not social donations) you have a responsibility to them. Factoring in all these variables gets your story out to more. If you don’t take these variables under consideration it likely is a situation of showcasing your film to a couple hundred people and moving a few hundred DVD’s to family and friends. The path we’re on can be reflected in a recent sales report I received with over 285,000 DVD’s sold. That is what proper development can bring but sometimes compromise is required. I’m not saying the world won’t accept the thousands of filmmakers who do these films on the side as only art. I’m saying if you want to “PLAY” for a living you must factor the business in at all times. I’m so very proud of this film and I look forward to taking the next step with Shane. A great creative, hard-working mind who was a joy to collaborate with. Check out ASHES OF EDEN once it becomes available wide in October. This week we should see the new poster art surface.

BESTSELLER – This film has had quite the journey. I’ve got an interview that I did recently (Not released yet) – that asked some pointed questions on production and I gave some pointed answers. I’ve flowed with the Q&A at a few screenings about production and went with the spin. The film almost never was due to mismanagement before we came onboard but I’m so proud of all the current artists involved with the RE-shoot. Their work resulted in the fine film we now have. We’re about to announce our next theatrical show date in Lansing with a DVD release party afterwards. We are also working on Kalamazoo and a few in the Detroit area. I would also like to see an Owosso, Michigan screening. So, more showings of BESTSELLER will be forthcoming. We also just got our 1st national distribution offer on the film. We will continue to evaluate these offers.

40 NIGHTS – So this past week our director/editor sat in with our assistant editor, FX supervisor and one of our other producers. This is our second wave of viewers that will give vital feedback. It will be used to create our second pass on the film. From there we will bring the other producers back in to review. We will have a locked picture in July.  Also the 1st teaser trailer of the film is being worked on. I’m excited to show audiences a first look as we’ve had so many reach out about this film. We’ve just opened a new database whereas you can sign up on the 40 Nights website if your church or organizations wishes a showing. This is in response to the requests we have been getting. So check out http://www.40nightsthemovie.com and sign up. I’m excited to also get the licensing of product underway.

Distribution Updates –

CDI Distribution has recently made additional TV deals on three film projects. One is with our non-profit friends at Red, White & Blue who work with military themed film properties. This includes the CDI associated doc “Outside the Wire” and “Standing Post” both are heading to TV. Also “7 Stones” will be playing at this network. Delivery is happening this week and I’m once again proud of all the artists involved.

Also I have been in talks with a new distribution entity via an introduction by our family/faith distributor. We’re looking for the right partner on grittier properties like our thrillers. The 1st round of talks focused on – DONORS, THE TERRORIST and BESTSELLER. The result was they’re interested in all three films. That doesn’t mean they will all land there but they could. But that was my morning yesterday before our little B-day gathering.

The Future-

Script-wise I’ve been doing some good writing. I’ve retooled one of the past CDI script properties and we will look at moving that forward soon. We will likely do some Michigan casting in the weeks ahead. I have to get the new draft of the script polished and over to our distributor. “Knight Chills 2” and another power drama I’m working on are very close to being completed. I also have been preparing to write the next script in our biblical series with Lightworx Entertainment. I have had so much business going on that getting into the writing mindset was difficult for a moment because of that phone call or an immediate “TO DO” that always broke the mindset. But things are falling into a more even flow and the writing is once again going great.

Good Business –

Not to long ago I had a filmmaker in our state try to go behind my back to push his agenda with a contact. Bluntly – I don’t respect this filmmaker. By his own words and actions he is…a joke when it comes to management. His art is careless and his business disorganized. His personal character is… Let’s just say he is his own worst enemy. I normally would not even waste these words on this person but an opportunity to illustrate a good lesson is at hand because of another filmmaker associate out west. He actually asked permission to contact someone and asked if I would mind being used as a reference. This is how business is meant to be done. In the 1st example myself and at least one other person got a call to get the facts on this person. It was odd for this person to reference myself but not come through me. Why? This person knew I wouldn’t endorse him. The nice part of this story is that I wasn’t the only one who reported back with the same feedback. His actions defined him. Your actions will define you. Words lose value when they have no true integrity behind them. Be true-hearted in your words and deeds. The latter person in this story may do some solid business because he practiced good business. This other individual – buyer beware. Don’t buy into the BS that they are selling. Lots of these types are about trying to say what they think you want to hear – but there are also many sincere people. Trust your judgment.

I could go on about this or that but I really need to go get cleaned up. I’m about to become an uncle again today:) After I’ve got a soccer match to play. Our yard needs to also get cleaned up from the gathering yesterday.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

DJ


Filmmaker Pitfalls + Distribution & Development

It’s a chill morning in Michigan and I’ve got my trusty coffee by my side and I’m ready to share a few moments with all of you out there. It has been a good week of business and personal so let’s get into a few topics that were floated by me this week. Let’s start with a question that comes up often. I’ve been asked about my thoughts on “Social Fundraising” or social handouts as I like to call it. I’m mostly against these Kickstarter and other “fundme” campaigns for several reasons. Let me explain myself before everyone questions my answer. Now I am going to relate this to what I know, that being filmmaking.  So this may not apply to other justifiable causes such as raising money for illness, funeral expenses, transplants and other real NEEDS. I’m not talking NEED but people and their WANTS…Big difference.

Did you ever know that kid who was always spoiled, bothersome? Like I recall kids begging their parents for quarters to feed into video game machines back in the day. Yes. They use to cost a quarter:) Someone would give the kid a dollar or a few quarters just so the adults could be left in peace to talk alone and socialize. It is that, “At least they are staying out of trouble” mentality. So that kid goes off and likely after a short while is back with his hand out again and again… People will again give a few dollars to him so that he goes away. But I can assure you, if that kid was borrowing that money or had earned those quarters from hard work, he would not be as loose – keeping that flood of coins dropping into those machines. When it’s your money or money that is borrowed with expected results – the appreciation and use of those funds is much more focused.

Someone else I know called it “Mercy Giving” because it is easier to give a little versus hurting feelings. Maybe this is seen as positive or is it? If something ventured is obviously lacking in quality but people give to it anyway it does make one question why? Why?  As a parent, would you encourage your child to take up “corner standing” with a cup and sign that says, TOO HONEST TO STEAL, TOO UGLY TO PROSTITUTE?  Would you throw money at someone building a house that is nowhere near being up to code and will likely with end up overgrown and forgotten because it is red tagged?

I don’t overly think on these things as people will quit giving when the results are always the same. My world view is different, maybe a tad more realistic. Despite what people think, we don’t live in a world where everyone who plays wins. I think people who are actually in SHOW BIZ – (Let me break that down because not all who play are in the business) SHOWBIZ  – That is where quality art meets business in a blend that results in something that can be sold in the marketplace. More novices are into the SHOW but not truly SHOWBIZ. They want to focus on the art because that is fun – the interviews, the mixers -all fun. Fun – Even if the process is only creating content nobody really wants. And so they ask, ask, ask for others to give, give, give – so they can create nearly unwatchable, unsellable material. Now if this is a hobby, which for many at this level that is what it is – and that is exactly how your filmmakers learn and grow. But after once or twice of allowing filmmakers to play why continue to support? Maybe this is acceptable?

I mean golf is an art of sorts but I don’t see people kickstarting so they can get a new set of top-of-the-line clubs and a years worth of greens fees. (I’m sure someone has tried:) But unless this person was playing golf at a level whereas true PRO development was required/justified this just sounds silly and many sane people don’t do it.

I think handouts dull the sword.

How you say? There is no accountability to be had if everything is just given because this is again that kid with quarters. He is never grilled after on how well he spent the quarters. “Did you get a high score?”  “Did you get an extra ball or get a match?” (Pinball reference people) No. You were just given money so to be “out-of-the-way” for a while occupying your time. That is until they want the next handout. These are all things you would do with a child but I see it happening everyday with adult artists. But if artists are truly striving to excel both at business and art those will be the survivors. Nobody would drop coins in the hat of an awful sounding corner/subway playing guitarist, unless it was for them to stop.  So I guess I’m just saying support the arts responsibly. Look for those that truly have developing qualities. Look for those that are looking to eventually stand on their own two feet not just be blindly supported. Give your money to the hungry or homeless instead.  If you are over 25 and still taking handouts to produce sub par product – and I use that term loosely because someone would actually have to want to purchase this film for it to truly be a product. By purchase I also mean beyond your 100 family or friends that are expected to support you otherwise your glares will make them uncomfortable at every holiday or local gathering:)

So in summary, I guess if the person only comes begging at the table once in a while and consistently is given a few coins to go distract himself – maybe that is acceptable to some. But I just can’t endorse that sort of action. I won’t support or LIKE something just for a half ass effort. In our business we face acceptance and rejection daily and that is part of the business. Success and failure hardens the steel and makes you refine your process. I just ask those out there who seem to be like a needle skipping on a record (Another reference – look it up) – What do you want to be? How do you want to be seen? Is your art evolving in quality? Are you ready to earn true success with increasing quality and business refinement or do you want to continuously beg for handouts only to create material that is never challenged and would not survive in the worldwide marketplace. Begging for financial handouts is not a business plan. “We hope to get into a high-profile film festival” is NOT a marketing plan. As many of our artists seek the easiest way the Chinese, Indians, the Europeans…the world over are all pushing their creative artists to survive and thrive in a business environment. Meanwhile we reinforce mediocrity and endorse begging as a business plan. It is sad but true as we are losing ground to others willing to put in the hard work. OK. Ask me how I really feel about all that:) Embrace the hardships you face because it with sharpen your sword and make your steel strong.

Enough sword and steel babel…onto film news:)

On the distribution TIP – we now have a few distribution offers on “Ashes of Eden” and the film screeners continue to be requested. More interested parties are coming to the table every few days. It is getting exciting and we will be announcing our Summer Michigan theatrical VERY soon!

Our thriller “Bestseller” is about to schedule its one  day of pick ups. That film is really looking great and after the release of the 1st trailer last week we have several distributors waiting to see the final film.

On development updates we’ve got several new funders looking at projects of their liking. I think we will soon be moving into some pre-production on  some of these new films.

A couple of big budget film projects are back in motion again with new funders. We will wait to see if these projects move forward but things get complicated when talking tens of millions of dollars. When you really see how big the game is that is when you get down on someone who can’t even conduct fundamental business. I am learning leaps and bounds every day but you must challenge yourself.

Additionally, I did some wild lines for the dark thriller “The Terrorist” this past week. I’m very happy that the picture is about locked and is looking powerful. We’re going to polish up the audio and we will see this film released at year’s end.

On the acting front, I was in talks on an indie project that just didn’t add up at the end of the day. Again if you’re not a hobbyist and you’re doing this as a career you have to look at the complete picture. I do have one other local indie I’m still having talks over – no telling if that will work out or not. Don’t be afraid to say, NO.

As I vet out projects I’m very content finishing up the post projects on my plate. My new acting management is really trying to get that right 1st big studio film under me. Several talks are underway with casting directors, producer and directors. I have opened myself up to consideration on a few TV projects also. There is a big trend towards TV mini series and such so I will keep myself open to these opportunities. I like the idea of guest spots more but if the right series came along I might consider something on-going.

Enough business for the day:) I pointed out what I did in regards to social funding because if new filmmakers never learn the art of business they will be replaced by those who do. There are always exceptions one can argue but on the whole I would say many are just too lazy to learn the valuable business lessons required to play at the highest levels of our film industry. OK. I’m going to do some work in the yard and relax from my long week. We got the new floor in the office/fort last week and so more tinkering may be the order of the day. Tomorrow is Father’s day and so I will be spending some time with Pa Perry and family before heading off to the soccer field. It has been a good season and as always the workout is second to none. I’ve also been enjoying the WORLD CUP matches and look forward to the USA playing on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

DJ

 


Empty Cup and Inspirations

SNOW is a large force of nature in many folks day. In Michigan the Great Lakes gave us some protection and so we have a beautiful blanket but a reasonable amount. I’m sipping the hot coffee and giving all of you a little update before I put in two days of work on the new office. We are going to finish up the electric on it and this past week was organizing my desk and added another bookshelf. Last week was a cautionary tale told as a tribute to an old friend. This week is vastly different. At Collective Development Inc. http://www.cdiproductions.com we have engaged in working with other promising filmmakers. We go into association and use our experience to help others emulate the success we’ve had while trying to help them avoid our past errors. This usually works only as well as someone listens. I will say that some of the associations become the foundation of long-term maybe lifetime collaborations while others are the first and last. I’m very focused upon this task of storytelling. I will ultimately only work with the same. I will first talk about one of these collaborations. ‘Locked in a Room” directed by Larry Simmons. By his admission the film was going to be an exercise and he expected it to be a few rungs higher than a student film. When we first talked I told him I don’t play. If we did this we did it right. The proper marketing and PR, high prod value, distribution friendly cast and worldwide distribution. We had professional differences of opinions on occasion but all done with respect. He discovered how much more BIZ work was involved with SHOW+BIZ. He knew a lot from the music world BUT film is audio, music, fx, color correct, quality control – so many more layers than just audio and LONGER! Ten 2 min songs is 20 minutes and we are dealing with just under 2 hours of product.  Many people can manage a short be it narrative or commercial but a feature is another beast. I think Larry learned so many lessons that he will carry over to our next projects. That said, I was so proud of Larry. We finished the film, shopped the film and now Echo Bridge Entertainment has released it. They have a studio level distribution set up to handle Lionsgate and Miramax material. They released us a touch earlier than our March 7th release and boy did it come out with a bang. Google Play is becoming one of the new powerhouse venues pushing instant downloads. We came out debut at #20 and it has moved to #12. This painful piece of art so many hours to create is now in the mix with major Hollywood releases and standing its ground and climbing. It is scary as I saw people in the theaters hiding and yelling at the screen:)  More than just the exposure and profit that can follow Larry is a role model. Not just to his kids as a man following his dream but to many aspiring filmmakers. This nice write-up is in celebration of black cinema and those that create it. Even more Larry can stand as an inspiration to other filmmakers in Detroit, MI be they black, white, asian, hispanic, middle eastern – doesn’t matter. STORYTELLERS are one TRIBE! The haters will come out as they are as sure as the Northern star. My script is better. Why can’t I find backers. Those who feel left from the limelight. Smile and keep moving I say. I like the old saying that if someone comes with their cup already full I cannot help you. Many are not open to listening. Listening is not weakness it is wisdom. A common question I get is from people who want to work with me/CDI. Be a good listener. Be a doer. Don’t come with your cup full to the brim – I will have nothing to offer. I don’t like to spill.

GREAT LINK TO THE STORY ON LOCKED IN A ROOM SUCCESS STORY

http://m.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jan/31/celebration-of-black-cinema/

Other updates –

“DONORS” http://www.donorsthemovie.com is looking to lock up picture and have it over to us for music score in two weeks.

Development talks/meetings going strong. New scripts are being reviewed. Some budgeting underway. “Race to Judgement,” “Soul Eater,” and many others.

Some exciting news coming on CDI TV. The new Parables TV Network deal for “Figure in the Forest” and “Wicked Spring” are on the forefront of the TV movie dealings.

“7 Stones” is rolling out to the 1st distribution folks.

A pair of biblical features following the success of “Book of Ruth” is close to pre-production.

Westerns are certainly on the development slate. After “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” released to #1 western  rental for 7 weeks, top 10 for 17 weeks. This film has grossed well over a million dollars with Lionsgate and we are looking to recreate this success. Soon it will be time to strap on the gun rigs again!

“Ashes of Eden” editing is going great. I can only say that this film has dynamite dramatics. Check out the trailer teaser if you want a look. A lot more on this film as we get a little further down the line.

Well, I think it is time for a coffee refill and to get ready to work on the office.

Stay warm. Stay safe. And have a wonderful weekend.

DJ