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

Posts tagged “social media

The Virus of Hate and CDI Updates

In thought

Welcome to July! I’m sitting here sipping my hazelnut coffee and just finished watering the garden and yard. I’ve harvested some additional rhubarb and the berries are starting to pop. I’m going to make some ‘ROTHGA WINE’ short for “Return of the Hoppy Grape Ape” which was very popular. I’m also going to do a run of dark beer which I’ve never done. We’ve had several days of grilling and today we’re having a bday gathering at my father’s for several missed and upcoming bdays including his own. This week we’ll also celebrate my momma’s bday with a cook out. The outdoor goal for the week will be to put down some cedar mulch.

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I’m a true optimist so I’m sincerely wishing we start a truck back to being a healthy state? nation? world? I’m a tad concerned because so many want to just ignore the situation and I get that. But for every person I talk with who thinks things are overblown I hear about another death due to the virus effecting some family. No they are not all elderly but even so how does that make it any better? But what makes it worse is the virus of hate. I’ve seen so much nasty attitude being thrown about which seems to be a combination of  highly stressed people needing to vent off and tribal anger. The political system has weaponized nearly every platform of life. People plugged into 24/7 news are living in a “Breaking News” state of panic. People in SOP (State of Panic) are offended easily and over-reaction has become the norm. With the virus where people could be accountable for lives over-cautious can be a good thing. But over-reaction to partial, incomplete or the pushed message has created something greater than the virus it has created hate. When you start hearing people wishing people of another stance of thought dead, something is wrong. As I said before and I’ll say it again – in the process of condemning hate don’t join the ranks as one who also hates.

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Again after getting a dose of the news (this includes social media) I would recommend putting some music on or escape into a nice movie. Put on the Steve Miller Band and write that book or script. Speaking of…

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BEST YEARS GONE – Recently we announced more cast for our next CDI film. We have moved primary filming into that last window before Thanksgiving. We will be doing some VFX, B-Roll and beauty exteriors prior. We met recently with our DP Travis Hayward and I’m excited about some of the ideas we have. We have engaged in talks with various companies about sponsorship and have some great partners lining up. We’ll be making a few more cast/crew announcements as we get closer to rolling cameras.

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LOST HEART – This film is just about complete. A few of the color corrected shots need a quick tweak and we’re wrapping up the last few things biz-wise. The credits have been gone over and gone over and it’s agonizing because with all the effort still some mistakes are made. When I see a studio film and all those names I cringe as that is a huge task. This will be a big week and as badly as I want to share some exciting news I’m going to wait until the ink is dry. Please do follow us on Facebook and of course the CDI website at http://www.cdiproductions.com

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THE QUEST TRILOGY: FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER – In the often confusing world of biblical storytelling apparent by the multitude of denominations that all claim some sort of pedigree over the others – we distilled the parables to the heart of a teaching. We tried to fill in the gaps to have it make sense to those who require logical connection. A good story can enlighten us to new lessons, ideas and actions within our lives. These films don’t participate in the “our denomination is better than yours” mentality. These are stories that anyone can take something away from if they have never stepped foot in a church or cracked a bible. I listed to a bit of a mainstream podcast that for the most part made fun of the films. But he kept encouraging the other reviewer to watch it so they could make fun of it together. They watched them out of order and went into the watch with their cup full. That is a term we used in martial arts and refers to the zen idea of emptying your cup so you are open to learn and listen. Not to what the other person tells you is true but what you “discover” and “feel” to be true for you. Anyway I get the “rip it apart” mentality trying to be funny (I was 20 before) but these films have a good dose of “CIRCLE OF IRON” to them. That was a film of a spiritual journey written by the late, great Bruce Lee. If you are picking apart small things you are missing the story. Bruce said something about focusing on the finger instead of where it’s pointing to the moon. What is missed is all that heavenly glory. Something to that effect. If you like films that make you think you might enjoy these historic fiction films.

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WILD FAITH – This week brings me back to the develop of the ‘Hastings’ TV series. Of our distributor’s films WILD FAITH was again the top viewed on several platforms. I’m speaking with possible TV networks to commit and have several more to explore. If you have not seen this film please do and see what everyone is talking about. The TV series will have many of your favorite TV stars from past years. This type of family programming is in demand and we hope to help fill that void.

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MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film continues to engage and create discussion with audiences. I’m so proud of this film and I hope we get to showcase it in LA this fall. I want to thank all our men and woman who proudly serve.

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SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – A handful of years ago I worked with Rance Howard (Ron’s father) as my consultant on a powerful story about WW2 German POW’s in one of the many small mid-west prison camps. The project had many up’s and down’s that can happen when too many cooks are in the kitchen. I left the project and it stalled out but now several years later with our script, plans are being made to shoot this in 2021. MBF’s Anthony Hornus will direct. We have over half the budget officially committed as of last week and we’re putting together our presentational packages. I’m excited to see CDI tackle the WW2 era. We’ll be doing some upcoming PR on this but like always you get it first here.

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THE HISTORY OF CATCH-CAN WRESTLING – As a lifelong student of the martial artists I’m fascinated by all the warrior arts. From ancient times to present day the art of wrestling has continued. Now CDI in association with The Red, White & Blue Project is helping to produce and distribute a documentary film with current world champion Curran Jacobs as the host. Some will remember him from MBF as the young defense attorney for Paul Landings. If you have any interest and want you or your company to support this doc-film please do reach out. I’m excited for this collaboration!

I’ve gotta refill the ole coffee cup and get something to eat. Keep working on your art, your dreams and be kind to your fellow humans. I hope July is a kind month to us all and I’ll look forward to speaking with you all next week.

DJ


Attacking the New Year – Read if You’re Ready for 2020!

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Fellow coffee lover Victoria Jackson (Lost Heart – Coming 2020)

BATTLE OF THE BEVERAGES

The hazelnut coffee is flowing and so am I on this fine 2020 morning. It was a wonderful holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas and now I’m ready to roll. We had a nice and chill New Year’s Eve with another couple, old friends – making fondue and playing cards. I had one fuzzy navel that took me back to high school football games with schnapps. I did not miss waking up dehydrated with a pounding headache. I do social drink with friends after soccer games or during some informal film meetings, but not going for broke these days. Between my soccer, martial arts and film friends, I’ve had my day for sure. I’ve had a few friends over the many years who loved drinking maybe a little too much. I’m not to one to judge because I have drank like a Viking on several occasions, I just cannot pay the piper with hangovers. I have so much opportunity and even working as hard as I do I still miss opportunity here and there. I guess as I round the corner this year to 50, I can say that if it was between coffee and alcohol, coffee would win. My buddy TJ would say pour whiskey in it – Win Win:) So I hope everyone had a great holiday ending with our entering the new year. Now you get to make decisions about how you spend your time. What you do to your body/vehicle. How you go after your goals. Goal #31 – Get coffee sponsor for 2020!

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I have had much better luck getting booze sponsors vs coffee

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Dreams are the first step. Once you break down the dream into steps you can start to go after your dream(s). You have to have faith in yourself and having a solid plan gives you a plan. Just like a great script is the first step to give yourself a chance at a great story. Trust me those out there winging it and having success is few and even if they have blip of success, trying to repeat or replicate that is difficult. I’ve been doing this now a long time and I love what I do. I don’t look at anyone’s life and say, I wish I had that. I don’t pine for a fancy car, house, clothes or what-not. If you have health, family, friends and are able and allowed to create your art and grow your passion into a career, what more? Enjoy the journey even the hardships because they are forging you. I don’t enjoy seeing whining about setbacks while pursuing the arts. These situations/hardships often posted on social media walls telegraph a person is weak. Now admitting weakness in the right situation can be strength but often what I see is wasted time to get sympathy, or too get the other failed feathers to flock together in agreement or support.

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Pick which road you want to travel – excuses, blaming or solutions

In LA on my early trips I would see bars in the actor ghettos filled with people drowning their rejection (I’ve done it a few times) and enjoying the company of other with failure excuses. Now the coffee shops with the person who has a stack of notebooks, lap top and chatting up battle plans- might be the healthier person to collaborate with.

REDIRECT that ENERGY 

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Christine Marie has one of those desired attitudes – positive and talented – Wild Faith, The Christ Slayer, MBF, Lost Heart…

Those minutes writing all those texts could equal that fantasy sword and sorcery novel you always wanted to write. It could be that screenplay to show the world what you can really do ala ROCKY. Now that the newspaper has been mostly replaced by internet news – I scroll a bit first thing in the AM while coffee is brewing and the dogs out doing their business. Read your postings as someone with money or opportunity to provide in the arts. What would you look for? Talent is only one part. Attitude and this is my #1! Good attitude and seeds of talent and we can nurture. When shooting a film, a quick FB scroll during off time can almost predict who is going to report fresh to set and who is going to be dragging in less than 100%. If I see complain, complain, complain – do you think this is someone you want on your set, everyday for weeks? Would you invest money behind someone who is always pointing out flaws versus offering solutions to help, fix, increase.

BE THAT GUY/GAL ON SET, CREW OR CAST, THAT YOU MUST RE-HIRE

PRODUCTION COMPANIES – BE THAT ORGANIZATION THAT PEOPLE ENJOY AND TRUST WORKING FOR.

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Wild Faith was full of hard work and FUN

Now both could have moments where they fall short but that is where ATTITUDE again plays in. Admit when you are wrong and that is strength. Apologize if someone saw your worst side versus your best side for a moment. I had a friend and collaborator once try to justify an artistic breakdown. There is no justification that is a failure. Admit that and move on with wisdom. Great artists who cannot communicate need to stick with a solo medium like painting or basket weaving. In high-school I had a saying, “that no girl was hot enough to compensate for a shitty attitude.” That same lesson can be applied to the arts. There is no artist talented enough to compensate for a shitty attitude.  I’ve heard stories of James Cameron (who I don’t know) first hand from cast members about James C’s early day rants. Maybe he has matured in his communication. I mean he is talented beyond belief, maybe one of the best storytellers in our time, but why a shitty attitude? He is living the dream the young artist in him only could imagine many years ago. Now I’ve never had a film run 100 million dollars over, so I don’t know certain levels of pressure. But especially those working on tighter budgets – attitude, gratitude and two way appreciation is the key. Remember who is providing paid work and an opportunity to showcase artistic services. And producers remember who the loyal, hardworking, positive artistic-providing cast and crew are.

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HA! I get producer recognition at one event and I’m trying to tell people how to do things:) No. I’m just giving some insight to what works for us. SPIRIT of Excellence awards founder Skeeter Murray, who also does comedy amongst many things needs an apology. I could not attend last Sunday the awards deal and decided to do 2 videos. Well, previous to my filming the video I had watched Eddie Murphy host on SNL.  So Murray might have become Murphy:) So I’m sorry if I did butcher your name. Speaking of Eddie Murphy, filmmakers would enjoy DOLEMITE, IS MY NAME. It paints a great picture of an artist with lots of passion, who with his loyal just went after it despite lots of rejection. Good film!

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Okay, THE HORSE OF MY DREAMS book event that I will be attending will be at Baker Books on July 11th, 2768 E Paris Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI from 1-3 pm. Like I said last week, come out and get a book. Hear me read one of the two stories that has to do with movies:) Bring anything you want me to sign. I will bring a silver sharpie!

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I will find that perfect TITLE:) 

My screenplay that I’m working on now is coming along great. The hardest part is the title. The book author wants my help in titling so the book and film could have the same name. It doesn’t have to happen like that but has several pros. ‘HOPE From HEAVEN‘ is the current title but I think we can do better. I want to wait until the screenplay is done this month because as you peel away layers you get to the heart of the story that is often the right title. The script itself is coming along great and will translate to film nicely.

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I’ve been updating promo items personally and for projects. One of the decisions right now is should we do a WILD FAITH 2 sequel or push the TV series HASTINGS. We are also developing and evaluating a few projects for the CDI slate.

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I’m looking at this young man again for a couple possible film roles

MBF: Man’s Best Friend will have more theatrical showings, events, festivals, TV play and foreign expansion in 2020. Again thank you so much for all the fan mail on this and all the CDI films.

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LOST HEART is close to a locked picture. I will get a new update on that tomorrow but we are close. The film is so good and I’m excited to bring this to audiences Late Summer/Fall 2020.

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THE QUEST TRILOGY – Many people are taking the opportunity to watch these three adventure films set in the biblical times. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER. Discover these hidden gems being shown around the world.

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Too many to mention right now – lesson here. Don’t rush news out just to have something to talk about. Develop without distractions and trickle out the info until it is the proper time. Just my two cents – others may love the onslaught of communications when folks see possible work that lies ahead. For me, it can be distracting to respectfully answer back to all these people when trying to actually get to the place of moving forward. Again just use of time. Work smarter vs harder in 2020! I wish each and everyone of you a great start to your New Year!

Be good to one another.

DJ


Discussions on Compensation and Advanced Release Dates

Good morning and welcome including our new readers from Bahrain. It is a peaceful morning with hazelnut coffee and a sleeping puppy. Michigan is foggy but without snow currently. I’ve been balancing all my post work, development work and family activities. First I will comment on a request for insight on a work question in-state (Michigan) in regards to compensation.

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The symbol of the KNIGHT CHILLS franchise.

The first film CDI did KNIGHT CHILLS was unpaid cast and crew with us spending money on gear, food, props, FX (we crashed and blew up a car). Everyone was in the same boat. We were not even sure if we could shoot a feature film but intended to give our best effort. In the beginning a group of people with little or no resume experience may group together to take that first step.

On our second film we started paying cast and crew. Not extras and not PA’s but everyone else was paid what the budget could support. I will tell you that paying artists cast and crew is one of my favorite things to do. I remember an actor crying in a van when I handed out the first week paychecks. For this person and many it was the first paycheck these people had every received for their art. The act of paying was more important than the numbers scribbled on it. It was giving artists hope, pride and dignity after countless rejections in our business. In 1999 the film scene (Ha!) was much different. The opportunities many have now just did not exist. The only benefit I saw from the tax incentives was the acceptance of the “Film Business” in Michigan as a legit careeer path.

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To this day we pay all our cast and crew but not PA’s and Extras. We feed and take great care with the extras and that’s where we meet many future cast mates. We create tiers for keys and department crew. We also have a two tier pay for union and non-union talent. Our feature rates are lower versus commercial rates. As I noted last week I believe one is an investment and one is a service. We’ve had a few outspoken crew people spoiled on a few good commercial payouts complain about rates. To these people – just pass. Don’t torpedo your ship because you can’t make a rate work for you. These people might have debt, high cost of living (beyond your means) or any other reason why they need to say no. But that’s not everyone. Also the positions on feature film sets are earned early on and crews often grow with the company. Those people who say “I’ll catch up later when you have larger budgets” often won’t. Because loyalty does mean something. If you’ve been the Director of Photography when they had nothing they will likely want to keep that DP as they move into larger budgets. Often if a crew gets out of line there are hundreds that would jump at the opportunity. But you have to be a company that finishes and releases films. People grow tired of putting blood, sweat and tears into a project that never finishes. I’ve got a couple of films I’ve been paid for but they never finished. A waste.

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I like to say we will be defined by what we say NO to. I say NO a lot but politely as some people are just not where I would like them to be creatively. I know other companies and producers who do things very differently. Attacking them isn’t going to help and until you’ve raised funds and been responsible for millions of dollars – your opinion is pretty weak. That said, if you want to make your projects better, paying experience up front will keep you from paying for mistakes. Experienced actor means more options in editing versus that’s our one good take. Out of focus camera. Things left on set because art department last looks didn’t see something. Lack of hair or clothes continuity – all lack of experience.

My goals aside from making our days and getting our puzzle pieces (scenes) – I want every artists to 1) Have a lifetime experience that they will fondly recall like going to Summer Camp. 2) Become more effective in their craft and/or communication 3) Have pride in the final art

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I’m not following anyone else’s business model but what we’ve developed over two decades seems to work well. I do think that audition notices should discuss compensation up front. Artists should not waste valuable time reading scripts, memorizing lines and putting down reads for something they will not participate in because of no pay. I will not work for free. I have a few times in the beginning because I wanted to get the experience and I wasn’t bringing the experience. But now I bring experience and distribution opportunities for any film I’m in. Like many of us I have life bills so I no longer work without compensation. I also like when a project is compensating everyone because the quality is almost always higher. I don’t really want to act with someone’s Uncle Phil that they threw in because he had the day off.

Like many in today’s society it’s easier to cast stones. I often see condescending messages back and forth that really is just strutting for an audience. If you don’t like the way things are done be the change. Raise the funds and do it right. Lead by example not by running your social media mouth. Bad producers will quickly get a bad reputation and when nobody wants to work with them, they disappear. I know many in this state that if they disappeared from the scene things might be better. Some bad eggs have already left the state because they burnt all their bridges and need new grounds to BS. If your experience is beyond a production not paying, just give a PASS. This allows a new talent/crew an opportunity to step up and learn. But people do pay dues. No certificate from a film school or program is going to automatically get you in a key position. Doing a great job will certificate or not. Now they have many great programs so the students come out with experience. But they too might have to work free or discounted to get the experience needed to move forward. OK. Enough on that subject.

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BULLET POINT UPDATES AT COLLECTIVE DEVELOPMENT INC.

  • Visit us at http://www.cdiproductions.com
  • MBF: Man’s Best Friend is closing in on a 1st rough cut of the film. The first trailer was well received and the distributor is already talking theatrical.
  • We are planning to release a BTS for MBF on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day as a thank you to our cast and crew.
  • WILD FAITH will have a PR announcement later this week. We will be announcing a new wider theatrical release – they’ve been working on creating the short marketing trailers. The film will release into theater’s starting March 1st I’m told. More info here soon.
  • WILD FAITH poster art is being worked on by the distributor. TV/Broadcast release will start 4/1/19
  • WILD FAITH digital purchase 5/6/19 on Amazon and other platforms
  • WILD FAITH DVD sales will be 5/27/19
  • WILD FAITH digital rental with be 6/24/19 * day after my bday:)
  • Streaming Networks SVOD (Netflix) and AVOD (Hulu) in early 2020

Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy – THE CHRIST SLAYER was announced with release dates. Here is the PR release from this past week. Read about it here.

https://www.prlog.org/12744411-the-christ-slayer-poster-and-release-dates-announced.html

Our distributor also released the poster art.

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The film is looking and sounding amazing. It is one of the largest production value films we’ve tackled. The music honestly is some of the very best I’ve heard in our projects. But Dennis Therrian our long time composer is growing like all of us at CDI. We’ve just about got all the dialog and sound design completed. Here is me in the studio fixing a few lines.

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This past week has also been development. We’ve got a few 2019 projects coming together. LOST HEART is being prepped for a Spring shoot. Talks on finally shooting KNIGHT CHILLS 2 have advanced. Also a few other exciting scripts that are being polished to possibly be put in the production line. Some exciting news about all this in the new year.

I’m going to go make some breakfast and go explore a bit with the new furry son Finn. Luke would have been very proud of this little gremlin:)

Have a great Sunday and a productive week ahead.

DJ

 

 


Thoughts On Casting and December Updates.

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So with the weather change in Michigan from bitter cold to wet and warm, my sinuses were bugging me this morning. I also had to play ref for doggie wrestle-mania. Also with the snow melting I had to do some puppy proofing in the yard. Little Finn is starting to explore, dig, patrol and eat sticks, bark, mud. I had to harvest up the remaining wild grapes because grapes can cause kidney failure. He started some puppy classes and Daphne, our older dog has been teaching him good and bad. Before Luke got sick Daphne and he use to play fight every day. She is a touch out of shape but Finn is making her exercise daily. They are quickly becoming good siblings. Our only regret is that Luke did not get to take on a parenting role with a new little one.

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In between playing referee and doing work we’ve had TCM playing and I’ve enjoyed watching the many classic films. It is funny now how we can watch the credits and so many names are lost to me. I’m a lover of film and I still don’t recognize certain names that I’m sure were common household names at one time. But that is why we seek to make a few classic films that stand the test of time. To create those few roles that people will talk about for decades to come. I feel like I’m just coming into my prime as a storyteller both as an actor and producer. I also feel like my writing is finally being acknowledged and that’s a gift. But all the recent success is built upon many years of hard work.

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The symbol of the KNIGHT CHILLS franchise.

I think 2019 is finally the year to do the EARLY YEARS OF COLLECTIVE DEVELOPMENT which will be part film education. I would like to include the four first CDI films and the BTS and maybe a few retrospective interviews which might go on the social media. But before Michigan had a film boom it was truly a barren landscape with just a few filmmakers making a go at it. But KNIGHT CHILLS, FROM VENUS, HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS and FIGURE IN THE FOREST were our learning years and we paid close attention to the business. I would like to package them up into a definitive collection.

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Signing for fans at the 15th anniversary showing of IN THE WOODS

Another area that I want to focus on is merchandise with our films. It’s something that I truly enjoyed throughout my life and I would like to be part of that tradition. I’ve had big ideas but like most filmmakers I’ve always been under financed. That is changing and I would love to put some of those plans in action. So feel free to drop a note here about any ideas for merchandise that you would like to see.

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This week many projects were taken to the next level. In 2019 we’re going to see three CDI films move out strongly into the marketplace. We’re now on the front lines of a new theatrical partnership our distributor has put together. I’m awaiting the home video dates on WILD FAITH that has been delivered to the distributor. Tomorrow the re-mastered theatrical version of WILD FAITH will go to the theatrical partners. I’m in hopes to have a much more detailed announcement next week. We are still putting the final touches on a few deal points. But it will be all worth the wait.

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MBF has had a good showing at the first film markets. The feedback I received was commenting on the professional quality and strength of the story. Our first trailer was put together somewhat in haste due to a sudden demand for a first look after Mipcom. It was decided to spruce up the AFM teaser and release it as a first trailer. I’ve had many people reach out who support our military and/or dogs to comment on the story. This will be a wonderful film with a strong message and we look forward to bringing it to everyone. There is an initial interest in a limited theatrical release – more to be discussed once we get the film further done the line.

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THE CHRIST SLAYER – If you’ve watched FORTY NIGHTS and traveled into King Herod’s lands in CHASING THE STAR, the next journey is coming. The Quest Trilogy will be complete with part 3. We’ve been working hard in the studio and the film is now sounding great! The picture is just epic and now the music is matching. Sound design is so much fun adding wind, animals, crowds, creaks, sails, swords and the list goes on. We’re adjusting dialog where it’s needed to create great from good. Post is a serious process that really seperates the professional from the amateur. It takes time to get there and those watching our films would notice a steady progression. Now when we sit in the IMAX watching it on the big screen I’m always taken back to those early days. Keep moving forward.

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LOST HEART is the film that is slated to be on deck for Spring 2019. A funny heart-warming drama that also deals with a few serious topics. Add a large dose of Michigan charm and I think we’ll have another great film. It will again be distributed under our deal with BMG. I’m also looking at Summer and Fall films and I know it will be a productive year ahead. I think we’ve found a few of our actors and some are returning favorites. We’ll be posting on this film as we enter the new year.

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I’m going to also use the winter to finish a few of my other scripts including my Sci-Fi script. I’ve had a few people talk to me about commercial and non-commercial projects in the new year. Again if your script is good. You’re financed and compensating your talent, and you think I fit something, run it by me. I know, I’ve offended a few people with passes on projects in the past, but it was done politely.  We are defined by what we say NO too. When I say YES, I put my all into it. I’ve got a few projects that I put a lot of myself into and they never got finished. A couple were well compensated projects but still the art is buried. So I look for quality and people who can finish.

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Speaking on this. I recently saw a project that looked interesting but before someone rearranges their day or even does a read, especially as a co-star or major role, I think signing a non-disclosure to read a script is in order.  If I have not worked with the group before, I do ask that the project be funded. Because reading, really reading can take 1-2 hours and if that time is spent, it should be worth it. There are exceptions, but I’m talking cold auditions for unknown parties. The response of “compensation is pending role and will be discussed if role offered” or “script provided only if cast”…whoa! What if the talent dislikes the script. Hours driving, memorizing, reading only to drop out after a read because of a poor script/blueprint. I don’t like my time wasted or to waste other’s time but will often do a quick “sketch” off sides if the story interests me. If they like the sketch the next step is to read the entire script if the film is funded. Nothing like those inexperienced filmmakers trying to raise 3.2 mil to do their first film. That’s like me and a few buddies building a spaceship out of lumber and junk to fly to Mars. Not likely. So, I’m going to remain open to working with some new folks but if you approach please do have your ducks in a row. I’m happy to see that happening with some of the Michigan groups. I’m beyond happy to see the success both in business and storytelling.

And with that…I’m going to make some lunch and do a few things around the house ands get ready for another great week. It has been a great mix of business and catching up with family and friends. I hope you also enjoy your day and have a great week ahead.

DJ


Losing Luke Brown and Seeking New Balance

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This Sunday has been a change for me. Balance is such a key to happiness and we all seem to strive for that balance daily. In filmmaking – my main artistic medium, it’s about giving your all to a story and after recharging. There is more time spent in development, pre-production and post-production after filming. How you spend that time can do much to influence your productivity. My family, friends and my furry pack have always helped give me peace and recharge

We proudly had the ‘Brady Bunch’ pack consisting of three cats and three dogs. Almost two years ago we lost our elder dog Joplin. She lived a long 15.5 years, longevity for a Rottweiler. Two months ago, we lost Jameson, our eldest cat who grew from a shy, scared cat to a chill-relaxed adventurer. He passed after a long life and was joined by his brother Dmitri, whom I affectionately call the gray rat.  Last Monday what we thought was a tooth infection turned out to be much worse. So Monday at the day’s end, he was laid to rest next to his brother.

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My life was/is changing. Some who know me well, know that our silly, funny, happy boy Luke (Our youngest dog) has fought various life threatening illnesses for the last three years. We gladly sacrificed many social outings and gatherings so we could tend to and enjoy our borrowed time with our buddy. Monday night Luke’s journey started to get harder with the onset of some more serious neurological issues from his tumor on his head. As we treated him over the last 5 months his quality of life was very good. His attitude was always happy and adventuresome. He loved his walks in the woods and his couch cuddles. He never feared the hospital and remarkably brought joy to everyone there.

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He was strong, brave and loyal, and I took lessons from him everyday. He had beat the odds so many times and after the second illness I prayed that his body would know health again, and for a while he did. But when in pre-production on MBF: Man’s Best Friend we discovered he had a cancerous tumor in his sinus. Here I was producing a story inspired by my ‘Mr. Brown,’ that showed the positive effects dogs can have on all of us, especially our wounded service men and my boy has what? I did love watching the incredible cast and crew work hard to capture our story, but my heart was breaking. It worked for my role of Paul, but with so much work to launch a film, it was an ironic shame that I could not fully enjoy it.

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Soccer season this year also brought my 1st ever bone injury to my right wrist. That slowed my roll with typing and all activities requiring my right hand. So at the homestead we’ve got the one-arm gimp and tumor-head, taking care of each other and getting by. The new script LOST HEART was going slow, but I worked it with my buddy beside me. I often read aloud to him and while his feedback was limited, it always helped me. I know that a Fall shoot means a last paycheck for all our cast and crew before the holidays. But while Luke’s decline in health was slowed by treatment, I could see the direction of it. We knew the battle was for time, not a total win. There was no way I could leave my loyal buddy to go off and film. I know it was selfish when I looked at the whole but it’s what I had to do. I hope others will understand. If you don’t understand, I feel bad for you, because you’re missing something.

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Luke had a wonderful past couple weeks that included walks at his favorite nature park, which was a Sat. morning ritual. A Sunday cookout with his grandma’s, which he loved so much.  Last Monday is when we lost our Dmitri, and that is also when Luke had his emerging issues intensify. The location of the tumor and the meds used to help were also likely hindering him. Vision and coordination loss started to develop, with episodes lasting longer, more often.  By Weds, the fight was real. So many times he had bounced back. His body was still so strong, so maybe – HOPE. His will was there to fight a bit longer but it was not meant to be. A great dinner of venison and rice followed by an unexpected walk to the park. (His idea) He had not wanted to go to the park, or perhaps could not, for weeks, but that night he did. He wanted to lay out in the warm breeze, listening and smelling the birds, squirrels, the wind in the pines, the softball game cheers and kids laughing. It was really nice.

What followed was a rough night and thankfully the next morning was the most beautiful Fall day. He was done fighting and was resting peacefully. We had a doctor come to the house and with cool breeze blowing in the windows, wrapped in his favorite blanket, head on his most beloved stuffed animal, he opened his good eye looking at his momma holding his head, daddy holding his paw – he put his head back down with full love and trust and left his broken body behind. He also left a huge hole in our hearts and daily life. Everyday was a smile, a tail wag and something silly that always reminded you not to take your setbacks to serious. He was an inspiration on how to live each day.

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I’m happy that his frustration over a body that no longer wanted to respond was very brief. At the end he had peace with his two remaining sisters and his momma and daddy with him. I will miss all of our furry pack that we’ve lost but Luke taught me so many lessons that I will hold onto.  My final polish on the ‘LOST HEART’ script as I read him each line, was almost done. I had stopped to devote my full time and attention to him. I slept with him on the floor for the last few nights because his vanishing sight made our brave boy nervous. I’m sad but filled with new motivation moving ahead. We never took any of his good days for granted. I will carry that into my future day-to-day where I do cherish each interaction, be it business, friendship or both.

I KNOW how bad many of you WANT it. What is IT to you? Expression of your art, words, craft? Fame, money and appreciation? I’m here to tell you, don’t sacrifice everything. I recall being tethered to a pager back in the day. It always came first. I see that behavior in the upstarts of today with cell phones. It’s like a self-imposed tether – like what people wore after legal trouble. It’s like people have forgotten that the phone is a tool that works for you, not the other way around. Gather a ‘TO DO’ list and do all your phone and/or computer work all at one time. Aspiring actors/filmmakers can get requests from all time zones often bringing the Hollywood pressure of dangling opportunities.  Whereas someone “needs something like yesterday” only to have something sit on a desk for weeks. What was sacrificed to get that summary to that desk to sit for weeks? A sports game of a sibling or child? Storytelling around a kitchen table with family? Hanging with lifelong friends?

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Since I was a young boy I loved telling stories. Upon discovering that a lucky few could actually create make-believe as a job, cemented by direction, gave me my dream. But I could never sacrifice everything else for that dream. I did not move to Hollywood, NYC or any of the other places that people always said I had to go to in order to MAKE IT. Why? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what I do as an artist but I did not love it more than the people in my life. So, a battle to compromise and do both was and IS a battle worth fighting for. I want to create memorable stories and characters in timeless movies but I don’t need to climb onto any A lists to feel accomplished. Many climb very high only to find themselves alone. Think on all this.

We’re adjusting to life whereas our past stories, memories and lessons are what we have left of Luke. Next week LOST HEART will get the final polish. The wrist is almost healed and getting stronger. I look back and feel like I did right by my buddy as he would have for us. I feel full of grace, compassion and appreciate for life and those we share it with. It’s again why you should examine your circle and remove negative, toxic elements and be the change you want to see. Lot of drama in life amplified by social media and 24/7 ‘Breaking News’ environment. Unplug. Listen. Communicate. Laugh. Be loyal like a DOG to those around you. Trust, is a learned behavior and if you’re a tribal leader of artists – take this role serious. Don’t let the lure of shortcuts hurt or kill what could be lifelong friendships. Ask anyone who has joined a team of CDI artists in telling a story and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Beyond making our days, I want to make lifelong memories for cast and crew. Laughter and Love.

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Next week I will have more updates on the films. THE CHRIST SLAYER, WILD FAITH, MBF all have amazing things happening. We’re focused on finishing these stories and bringing them to audiences. We’ll be moving into official development on ‘LOST HEART’ for Spring 2019 this month. I want to continue to try and move people’s human-emotional compass in a positive direction.  I’ll be making some great announcements moving forward but today I want to just sit on these words. I’m sorry if you’re here more for the film updates versus listening to my ramblings. Those updates will return next week. Thank you everyone for joining me here to share a coffee and listening.

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Be good to one another. Love one another.

DJ

 


“Wild Faith” Rides Into 4 New Cities – Several Development Updates

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I’m sipping the hot hazelnut (coffee) on this frozen Sunday watching the squirrels eat the left over squash and strawberries from last night. I want to welcome our readers from Chile. We’re glad to have you with us as we recap another strong week of updates.

Let’s start with the music video I participated in as camera talent. I was approached about acting in ‘My Ghosts‘ a music video.  I was taken by the story/concept script for the music video. The artist (Trey Connor) was strong in his genre and style and the director (Tomaki Boaz‘s) previous work showed he’s a strong developing storyteller.

I was trying to match their premiere date with one of our “Wild Faith” showings to give them a nice plug. The dates did not work out and they released the music video yesterday. I’m proud when I see young people not just interested in ‘playing‘ with the camera but developing their business. One wrong variable can decrease overall production value if not addressed properly. I enjoyed seeing the happiness these young filmmakers had in presenting their final work yesterday. The producer was proud of producing her first music video, as she should be. Of course friends and family first rush to give their congrats. And I see one individual whose response was something like “Umm do you want my honest response?” – First by logic alone, anyone who references an honest response is ultimately saying that usually they are not honest in their responses. But this “bait” was an obvious setup for someone to go against the grain just for attention.  This producer wasn’t commenting on the video but the process of taking something from concept to final product. It’s a skill sorely lacking in many circles – you know who you are. So you’ve got this guy wanting to throw stones at young people not playing filmmaker but actually doing business as filmmakers. I usually stay out of such things but I had to call him on his withheld opinion. What enlightening words is he about to drop with his honest opinion? EVERYONE has or should have an opinion on everything – that’s called thinking. It doesn’t make anyones opinion any more special.  Many have been brought up in the age of “say anything behind a computer” where class, politeness and sincerity is often overlooked. If this person had something truly caring and constructive to offer they would offer it in a private discussion versus a public tease of offering judgmental, opinionated honesty. ** NOTE: This individual clarified their post and brings up good points on “bandwagon liking” everything out there. I’m glad to be wrong here but know the rock throwers will emerge. That too is a skill artists must learn – to suffer the slings and arrows of critics. I say don’t ride the rollercoaster of up’s and down’s – steady as she goes is the best policy.

I can tell just by the words people manifest if they lead a positive life that opens new opportunities or a negative life whereas the world is always keeping them down. I’m not sure what this guy will respond with but if I was looking to hire someone – I know which individual will likely be presented with new opportunities. It’s pretty easy to identify the people who will continue to fill themselves with venom and spread it. Social media actually makes it quite easy for employers to get a psychological profile on people. Negativity is a poison that nobody wants in their work environment. If Trey’s music is a far cry from your daily dose of death metal like SLAYER – cool. There are many who don’t get the art of those bands who growl and slam about in mosh pits either but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable for those others who embrace it. I’m just saying, having an opinion does not always require giving an opinion. Sometimes best to say less or nothing if you’ve got nothing nice to say. Honesty can be used to help or hurt, the intention is what I look at. When done to showboat publicly it’s mostly used to hurt. When done personally and privately it’s usually done to help. NOTE IT. Enjoy this music video created by some hardworking young people making their way into our industry. What I love is I don’t have to make any apologies for the work. It’s solid.

Music Video for Trey Connor’s ‘My Ghosts” 

Speaking of young people in our industry – I went to the local Lansing, Michigan CCFF mixer Thursday night to support this event. It is exciting to see so many passionate about our industry. Congrats to all those who work so hard  to provide that experience. It was good seeing a few old friends down there. The coconut shrimp and other eats were wonderful. I hope they have a very successful 2018 fest.

As “Forty Nights” contines to play strong on Amazon Prime and other platforms along with “Chasing the Star” – the 3rd installent is under construction. “The Christ Slayer” trailer is finished save conforming and color correction which will start next week. Soon audiences will get a peek at Part 3 which will be in theaters on the run up to Christmas and home video for Easter 2019. It looks amazing and that is because of all the talented artists led by our director Nathaniel Nose.

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We’ve just completed our Novi, Michigan theatrical run with “Wild Faith” and now we’re about to open in four new Michigan cities. HASTINGS! JACKSON! KALAMAZOO! BATTLE CREEK! These special event showings are happening because of you demanding it. Contact your theaters and get contact info for their management to pass along. We’re working on a dozen new showing locations and we’ll try to get close to you. We’ll keep moving and playing the film on the big screen all Summer until our Fall home video release. But do yourself a favor and go see it on the big screen. I may attend the first Hastings screening on Monday. So far we’ve had a great time touring with our (mid) western and I’m appreciative of our audience’s responses.

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Next month “Wild Faith” will join “Chasing the Star” in Florida for the International Christian Film Festival. Both are up for numerous awards but I’m just excited about more people being able to experience these films on the big screen. Rebecca Lawlor our main EP on all three films in The Quest Trilogy will be there to represent Collective Development Inc. – also attending will be Shane Hagedorn, Lauren LaStrada and Jesse Low – all three who were nominated for “Wild Faith” and I wouldn’t be surprised if Garry Nation attends for his nomination of Best Actor in “Chasing the Star“.

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MBF (Man’s Best Friend) – We’ve just received the last of our paperwork/funds and once I deposit the final check on Monday the new ship will be seaworthy. We’ll have our shooting script and shoot schedule set next week. Casting and crewing paperwork will be underway in the next two weeks. The process of “finding” the character has been interesting. I’m playing the title role in the film and love the challenges it presents. I’m excited about all the great talent we have gathering on both sides of the camera. This will be another great CDI story to tell. We launch the ship (roll cameras) in May and will finish in early June. Among the exciting developments is a visit from a major cable network to our film set. Let’s just say it has to do with ANIMALS🙂

I’ve also been in heavy writing and development mode – and I’m very excited about that. CDI is in talks on content creation for a few emerging studios. This could mean some very exciting on-going things for the tribe at CDI. We’ll also be announcing a new on-going commercial deal that CDI has with another major corporation. TV series and new feature films are all on deck. I’ve got a few really big meetings coming up this month. I’m actually more concerned with the travel arrangements versus the actual meetings. Talking business and films doesn’t stress me at all but travel and technology has done that on occasion.

I’m going to jump off here to seek some food and also do some creative writing. I hope some of you will make it to the “Wild Faith” showings. I have more meetings this week. I’ll also be prepping for my short upcoming business trip. I wish we had that teleportation technology in action. Enjoy the week ahead and be good to one another.

DJ


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

 

 

 


Keys to a more successful 2018

A101_C001_03254IWell Winter has fell upon Michigan for sure with a good amount of beautiful and chilly snow. If it is going to be cold I really do enjoy snow. It is brighter and I love the look it gives to everything. Yes, it makes the hazelnut coffee taste that much better. Christmas is only a few days off but we’ve been enjoying the season everyday. Where do I even start with all this? STAR WARS (No Spoilers I PROMISE) has been front and center with the media and most folks. I had the pleasure of watching the latest installment yesterday. It was made extra special because I attended a showing with my lady, I put girl elsewhere and some people thought I had a hidden love child. My brother and his wife and my friend of about 40 years whom recently moved back to the area to work at MSU. We saw the original 40 years ago together and to have him there again was very special to me. I enjoyed the film very much. Now as an artist I really try to avoid too much judgement. I’ve been to art museums where a few tin cans  and some string displayed about is called art. I saw a waste of space but respect the decision to present it. I know that for me the prequels don’t work but I’ve enjoyed these new films made by fans of the originals like myself. I think that sometimes less is better but again that is just me. I sat and watched the end credit roll and smiled as we’ve been proofing our end credits on WILD FAITH. For all intent and purpose the movie is complete. We’ll be watching the final proof here soon at our post-house. Color correction was the final tweaking being added and that was almost complete. The film actually required very little due to the quality of the photography from Jesse Aragon and our team. We’re doing the final sound/music on our theatrical trailer. We plan to release it between Christmas and New Year. I was sincerely thrilled by the cut. I watch a lot of trailers as they are one of my favorite things to watch. A visual synopsis and a tease. This movie is exciting and I hope that audiences out there will also enjoy the efforts of many wonderful artists. SOON:)

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The reports have been coming in on the first two films in our ‘Quest Trilogy’ and it is quite amazing. The few off reviews I’ve seen either stem from someone wanting a Hallmark film vs a Chuck Heston style Christmas drama. CHASING THE STAR is our EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. All three films are purposely done in a STAR WARS style with the camera work and epic music. A few that are unaware that it is a trilogy are surprised by our ending of CHASING THE STAR but if you watched FORTY NIGHTS it makes perfect sense. You don’t need to watch them together but they do all fit. Fans of FORTY NIGHTS who were unaware of the trilogy aspect have been thrilled to find out there is three interconnecting stories. 2018 will be the lighting of the PR campaign on the 3rd installment THE CHRIST SLAYER. I think once the news of the three stories being a trilogy becomes wide-spread – many will re-watch with joy – as they pick out the strands that bind them all together. All in all the trilogy is one of the great accomplishments in my life. I’m very appreciative of all the artists who participated. I will be thankful for them my entire life and I hope some of them do take pride in their involvement. We created something special.

Here is the trailers for all three films again.

I’ve spent a good amount of time organizing and prepping for the year ahead. I’m trying to have a smooth end of year tax season with the films. The business responsibilities behind all these projects. When people invest in your endeavors there are many tasks that go along with that. Filmmaking is fun but there is a lot of biz that goes with the show. That is why when people don’t respect that fact I don’t respect them. For many their work ends when the film is done. For the executives it does not end for many years. So next time you’re on a film as cast or crew give a little consideration to those people who make it possible for you to be there working.

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I had a meeting not too long ago where I asked and was informed of the recent work this person had been doing. It almost always comes with a preface that it (the work) was done for a small fee or free because it was for a friend. I’ve found that this is usually said to give some leverage to ask, suggest or hint that they would appreciate more money on one of our next projects. I hear this story year after year from many people. Some of these same people are the first to say something if we overlook something while busy or it did not quite meet their expectations, but have been again paid, paid, paid and paid. But you find out that these people are still waiting on compensation for previous friend films or again worked free as a favor to a friend. Are these people/friends really friends helping to move that person in their career? Maybe. But when they are doing all these low/no paid gigs it puts more pressure on them to push us for more $$. I wonder at what point do I/we earn a bit of give in the name of friendship? Who is helping to pay their bills? Who is concerned with them staying in the game as a working artist? I’m not saying you cannot or should not do favors, I’m just saying that financial hardship from taking too many no pays should not fall upon those who do pay. We pay in tiers equally and not just pay 3-4 people and try to go all volunteer on the rest of the crew with no pay to talent. Our product has a certain quality because we pay for the artists we need. The rates are smaller vs commercial because the crew and cast is MUCH bigger. We’re climbing back to some of the larger budgets we once had but I still occasionally hear the moans. I’m climbing the ladder again responsibly and my advice would be treat those who pay you like gold and do less free projects. My ‘friends’ in the business are those who have compensated me and allowed me to survive and continue to move forward in our difficult business. Just a thought to put out there for 2018. And lastly, this is straight truth advice. NEVER turn down a modest paycheck offer by informing someone you’ll “wait for the larger budgets/rates”… I can say directly that when the bigger budgets are there, those individual(s) who made such a statement will not get that call. Some of those will turn around and again work for no pay again for a friend. In this industry you have to bet on winning horses. Because when those ‘friends’ bottom out and leave the industry – as I’ve seen hundreds do, they will not be concerned with their ‘friends’ – this is truth. Ponder that as you enter 2018. I’m not saying, don’t do favors. I’m just saying ‘friends’ can also be those that allow you to earn and grow in this business.

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As for 2018 – we’re getting closer to locking up our business on MBF (Man’s Best Friend) our next CDI film. This week we gathered more paperwork and money and we still have a way to go in the week’s ahead. Additionally we’re developing a couple westerns, a TV series, a new biblical trilogy and a couple animated projects. It will be a good year. This week I’m filming for a non-profit which will be nice. I’m planning to get back on my writing schedule too which has gotten off track.

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Okay. I had to take care of a few things. But again another little observation. A few years ago I met the nicest man working on an animated children’s movie of “The Patchwork Girl of Oz” with his modeling based upon the original illustrations from the 1st public domain book. His passion reminded me of everything good about being an artist. It took a few years of watching, giving notes and tweaking. We polished it with the same music and sound design love we give our feature films. The film is now getting ready to start rolling out to Amazon and other platforms. I do a little instagram promotion and of course some aspiring comic illustrator had to throw a stone. I took a glance to see who this all mighty person was to make such throw away declarations on someones hard work. Not a bad illustrator, but I’m sure unaware of the hard journey and the actual illustrations from the 1913 book. Likely a frustrated illustrator unable to get his foothold in another hard industry. I only guess this because successful people don’t usually throw such negative barbs. They appreciate where they are on the journey and that others are working their way. One of his personal descriptions was “All around good guy” – Hmmm…I guess our definitions are different. Also in our circle – if you watch an old black and white film with subpar effects or whatnot respect and recognize that these people were working hard just like we do now with more limited tools but imagination none-the- less. You can apply that to the new Star Wars films. I’ve seen the haters. If it is not your cup of tea don’t drink it and move on. I like TRAILER PARK BOYS Canadian TV series and have for many years. We use to get bootlegged VHS copies recorded from Canadian TV. Now many years later the show has found its way into the US pop culture. But go watch CART BOY or their earliest stuff. High production values? No. But the heart was there and they evolved – some out there would definitely not find this to be their cup of tea. So move on. So many people want to enforce their opinions but when it is tinged with jealously or just spite it’s sad. Many are just frustrated artists. If they happen to find any success the irony is they will just have their work attacked by people who were just like them.

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Social media has just made people brash. I try not to comment anything that I would not say directly to that person. And also know when it won’t do any good. I’ve seen features that I did not really enjoy by aspiring filmmakers but I KNOW what it takes to finish a film. The art can improve but if you cannot complete a workflow and the film, you will not evolve. So just consider being a bit more classy and a little less assy. I made that word up. Because you could be the stick today and the pinate tomorrow.

I vent these few things only because I truly want to see 2018 be more positive for people. The rise in mental issues/depression that I see touted in the news doesn’t surprise me as the seas of negativity are everywhere. But you don’t have to swim in it. I can promise you that once I hit publish on this blog and it posts I don’t come back checking it each hour for acceptance or to see who dislikes it. I won’t even have the computer back on until the morning when I start in on my list of business TO DO’s. I don’t notice if I lose followers, friends or care how many shares, likes or whatnot. StarMeters up or down, doesn’t matter. I’ll be spending time with family and friends. Laughing, sharing and living. Don’t let life pass you by as you stress over acceptance. Be you. Be good to others. Create don’t hate. Be happy.

Be LOVE.

DJ

 

 

 


End of October 2017 Updates!

IMG952984Good morning fellow artists. A chilly morning made warmer by the hazelnut coffee by my side. 2018 I will get a personal coffee sponsor or I may just start a new business. Collective Coffee – a coffee for all of us:) I did get approached by a tea tree shampoo that wanted my endorsement. More on that soon. I want to welcome all our followers and readers including new readers from Israel. Our readership from Germany and China have increased and we’ll start with that.

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CHASING THE STAR – the 1st film in our biblical adventure series THE QUEST TRILOGY will be releasing to the UK. Actually I’m seeking proof that it may release Oct 30th! I might have found it.

https://www.eden.co.uk/shop/chasing-the-star-dvd-4543645.html

We’ve got new screenings coming up in Texas, Iowa and…in December.

Here is a good PR link if you are unaware of the film.

https://eprnews.com/epic-story-of-three-wisemens-perilous-journey-toward-bethlehem-releases-nationwide-sept-5-139763/

It is on amazon and many others sites. Enjoy! Also we were invited to submit again to the International Christian Film Festival. Forty Nights won ‘Most Inspirational’ amongst some great nominations. We will see if this follow-up will also impact audiences.

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FORTY NIGHTS

Hello TEXAS! This film will be playing at the Miller Theater in Bedias, Texas in November. It is very cool to see this film on the big screen. I think all the trilogy films will be enjoyed for years to come around the holidays. I’ve enjoyed the wonderful notes from fans on how this film has inspired them. Inspired to just be better human beings no matter where your faith takes you.

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THE CHRIST SLAYER

I loved filming the other two films. But I have to say I’m REALLY excited for this third film. We have some top-notch VFX work trying to creatively reproduce God’s hand. By that a few events that we could not just easily capture. Our VFX creators have worked on Black Sails, Rogue One and several high quality films and TV series. The STORY is how this was achieved. This film is a sleeping giant. The season now should be about CHASING THE STAR that released Sept 5th. But starting in 2018 PR for the third film will start growing. I’m excited because once again between sacred writings the plausible WHAT IF’s are explored to help us relate, understand and experience something new yet feels so right like an old pair of slippers. I can see the quotes now, DJ Perry said “A good relationship with God is like an old pair of slippers” – OK. I said it. These films are NOT about Christianity per say. They are about simplistic teachings devoid of modern agenda that people can apply to their own path. Denominations of Christianity fight, argue and debate to monopolize the “correct interpretation” of a teaching. I see that the “devil is in the details” because no mortal knows the universal truth. To exalt oneself and pretend you do is…you fill in the blank. This third film directed by Nathaniel Nose is everything I wanted from the film and more. I think as we gather fans of the storytelling style – great minds will chew on it and share in meaningful conversation. That’s a lot in this day and age of rock throwing. It really hasn’t changed in all these years. In biblical times they would stone someone to death and now they stone people with negative social media responses meant to stand out from the masses or attack non-conformers. Set down the stones and just watch to enjoy. We as storytelling artists ask no more. Lastly on this film I’m very excited on the post art developing. I’ve seen three drafts now and it is getting – COOL:)

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Oh, you want to talk cool? Let’s talk WILD FAITH. We’ve been back and forth between a CGI element added into the footage or adding existing footage into our footage. We explored the heck out of the first option and we just could not make the timeline or numbers work. I had a few people gives quotes just too high but wanted to not be disqualified down the line on others films. While not disqualified a sub-contractor will often lose their place in the pack if they step aside. Because if someone does something discounted as a favor those favors are usually appreciated to the point of the next opportunity. Now sometimes a key crew hire is based upon the director. Sometimes their skill set better matches a certain themed film. And I understand having to PASS on some projects for financial, creative or both. Long/short is that we had a few plans to tackle the final few seconds of VFX affected footage. We gave our best at Plan A and now as music is finishing on the film Plan B is going into effect. This Plan B will be in effect while producers start putting end credits together and Jesse Low and Dennis Therrian start their stereo and 5.1 or is it 7.1 now mix of the final film. Color correction will also be on deck while mixing is happening. The bottom line is that the film is almost done. The film was really, really, good without a lick of music and now with that amping up the action on the screen…watch out!

The TV series – lots of interest but everyone needs to see the world, the story and the characters. I think once they do a series will be underway. Now with WILD FAITH looking at a 2018 theatrical followed by a general market release – reasonably the series would not film until 2019. Now we could get a green light before based on early distributor/network screenings which could put us into production earlier. Time will tell.

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Fans of this time period will enjoy the forthcoming announcement that WICKED SPRING will be getting a new national release in 2018. I chose to produce this Civil War era drama from a list of film ideas Kevin Hershberger (Known now for his Legends & Lies and other TV docs) had. It truly was an independent epic with us taking over Ft. Pickett military base. Lodging in the officers  quarters. Our soldiers in the WW2 barracks. We ate in mess halls and relaxed in the officer’s club. A wonderful experience shot in 35mm and 1st released on VHS. It is due a new release to find a new generation of audiences.

Follow along with us here

https://www.facebook.com/CivilWarMovies/

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NEW FILMS

Several projects are being looked at but next on deck is MBF, our film that highlights the plight of military vets and shelter dogs. We announced even more cast this week highlighting some additional military vets working on the film. Read about all the updates here at https://www.facebook.com/MBFthemovie/

I’m excited to be working with all these individuals – old friends and new. More announcements next week!

This week we bottled up Ida’s Wine (Rhubarb & mulberry) and early samples were GOOOOOOD. The final harvest has given me what I need for the GREEN GOBLIN 3.0. It is a popular fall wine and I look forward to another run. I cooked up and tried puffball mushrooms, which not my favorite of the shrooms but good. This past week was check writing to investors on one project and prepping assets for distribution delivery on another. I do have issues working with the every changing world of tech. Thankfully I keep wonderful people around me whose skill sets are strong in these areas. Okay, I might have missed an update or two but the bacon is about done. I’m going to go eat and get a few things done.

Have a great day and week ahead! Stay safe and watch out for those little trick or treaters.

DJ

 

 


Distribution, Doorways and Development

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The mornings have gotten a slight chill and the days have been warm and mild and thankfully devoid of the damp humidity. We have new readers from China so welcome! It has been an extremely busy week and much of the week I fought against excited energy that bordered on nervous a few times. I meditated on while those feelings tapped away and it was because I felt fear. See when you’re fighting and pushing hard to open doors you’re reacting, feeling and not just thinking. What happens when a door opens? Or when a couple of doors open? Do you have everything you need to step through? Which door do you step through first? Patience is also always a battle. I had a couple of days this week whereas good developments happened that were a result of previous actions. The “watched pot never boils” sort of lesson. Let’s look at some random updates in no particular order.

UPDATES

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Chasing the Star has been selected to play in the Lanett City Film Festival in Lanett, Alabama. We have more screenings, reviews and such as we build towards the Sept 5th national release. The first responses to the film buyers have been strong. Our distributor is crediting the quality of the film, cover art and the true gap in the mythology of the wisemen for our strong response/interest. The distributor has also engaged with Movie Guide for a promotional package that will target 100k+ contact list. 150k social media hits, special site take over and online radio promotion.

Here are a few of the PRE-sale sites

http://www.christiancinema.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=7919

https://www.christianbook.com/chasing-the-star/9781945788239/pd/889043

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Fans of the 1st film in The Quest Trilogy Forty Nights keeps pushing out into the marketplace.

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Updates on Part 3 “The Christ Slayer” – the VFX work and fine tuning the edit is underway. Audiences will get a first peek at the teaser on Aug 7th and I’m very excited for everyone to get a watch.

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WILD FAITH is close to releasing a new BTS sizzle and the poster has been slow but is coming. I met with post supervisor Dennis Therrian on Friday and everything is flowing great. I know we’ll have an enjoyable film. I’m also looking at multiple pitch’s on the series which the working title is ‘Hastings’ after the town.

A lot of development work on M.B.F. short for ‘Man’s Best Friend’ which now has its letter of intent to distribute from BMG. Our business paperwork is being assembled and key crew and cast are being brought on. We’ll be doing some casting especially in the teen department. We’ll be approaching previous investors first and see where we’re at. Location scouting, scheduling and such is moving forward.

Aside from all that I’ve had strong movement forward on our new CDI website, agent talks and I actually did two reads this week for projects. One is a small dramatic piece locally for a non-profit and the other a film that would shoot in Europe next year. So I threw down a quick read and we’ll see what happens. Many of those reads consist of just a good reading and digestion of the story. After I usually do just 1 take of a few lines so they can hear their words and see my face. Once I hit send I don’t put too much thought into them. That is a good thing to refocus your energy. Again be the PULSE not the RAY. Fixation will not make anything happen any faster or at all. Focus on what you can control.

I’m going to wrap it up. The garden has been doing great and giving fresh veggies. We’ve tied two soccer matches back-to-back this second half of the season so we’ll see what today brings. I’ve almost got enough of the mulberries and rhubarb for the next wine endeavor. I’ll make that once I return from my U.P. walk-about next week. For those not from this area – the UP is the upper part of Michigan – rugged and beautiful. I’ll enjoy getting out in some major wilderness and recharging the mind and spirit.

Be good to one another and thank you for sharing part of your day with me.

DJ


Yard ZEN – Reflect, Relax and Recharge

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Lots of coffee flowing – actually this morning I was so tired I ground the beans and forgot to add the grounds. I was watching the pot and thinking that the coffee looked light, watery – because it IS water. Take 2. Coffee is now flowing and about to go at the second pot. The last few days we’ve been putting upper siding on the office/fort bringing it closer to being down on the outside. Going tight up to the rafters will help even more with keeping warmth and cold inside. After this step it will be a bit of overlapping shake in the front and back with cedar planks enclosing the rafters. We had a little bat visitor when working on the siding yesterday. He just came to say hello. Also had a belated bday gathering at the father’s that also doubled for his bday gathering. His bday is next week and so is my mothers, so a few days to celebrate this coming week. It was a nice get together with family and we also had a good work weekend. Big thank you to G-Money for his assistance.

A few random film updates from last week

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I spent a good amount of time with director Jesse Low brainstorming on the poster art for “Wild Faith” – just cannot seem to get that right. We’re getting closer to having found our final images and now just working background and blending everything together. The film has lots of cool elements to hint at and it’s nearly impossible to highlight all of them. New trailer, BTS and poster all in the works – COMING SOON!

The Quest Trilogy

Review and PRE-order sites are appearing for “Chasing the Star” that releases Sept 5th.

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Here is a nice RECENT REVIEW of “Chasing the Star” – enjoy…

http://www.imom.com/movie/chasing-the-star/#.WVo70zOZNsM

PRE-ORDER site

https://www.christianbook.com/chasing-the-star/9781945788239/pd/889043

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DJ Perry at waters edge while shooting “40 Nights”

The first film in THE QUEST TRILOGY “Forty Nights” continues to sell as post production work is full steam ahead on “The Christ Slayer” film. A trailer, poster and more is being worked on for “TCS” as we speak. We’ll be releasing some PR this coming week on our VFX team with that film.

Forty Nights – Watch TODAY!

https://www.christianbook.com/forty-nights/pd/8167VS

As for “The Christ Slayer” look at some of the cool stills, BTS and even a VFX video at our social media FB site.

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

In other random develop news

The new CDI website is being built. The “Knight Chills” book will release later this month. (PR Coming) Also my first official version of a new script looking to possible film later this year is done. It’s a subject I feel passionate about and I’m extremely happy with the final draft. My first round of producer reads is currently underway. The first script feedback has been strong with good excitement about the story. We’ll start looking at locations (MI) and casting (Mostly MI) and if all the business lines up…so get your reels up to date.

But enough business for now. I’m going to go set up one of my bday gifts which was a new grill. We have the deck all cleaned up and decked out. We’ve got  hops growing up around the deck. The yard/garden/office truly is the site of great personal zen. I encourage you all to create your own space and use that space to reflect, relax and recharge.

Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

DJ

 

 

 


WINS Of the Week

Ahhhh…coffee. Awoke to a beautiful light snow that adds brightness to what has been a dark week. Drizzle and dark clouds made the week drag a touch but I had much to do. I had lots of busy work with doing end-of-year taxes on our businesses. It’s surely the “unsexy” side of the business but it’s what keeps the machine working. We continue to refine our process and I appreciate everyone that works that end of the process. I want to welcome the additional countries reading the blog. Denmark is one of the new ones and I’m sure I have my host family and friends from my soccer days to thank. The week also had both post and development work grinding hard. Let’s look at a few of these updates.

WILD FAITH

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We’re sitting at about the 70 minute mark with editing. I’ve seen early snippets and continue to release stills and behind the scenes to our website and social media sites. I’m excited about the themes we get to bring to light in this powerful action drama set in post Civil War Michigan. Once I get the business at hand underway I want to return my attention back to the series. I know that I’ve got a few business calls to return this week showing me that we have good buzz.

THE QUEST TRILOGY

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DJ Perry as Jesus in FORTY NIGHTS

Forty Nights

The film is almost delivered both digital and paperwork. Again why so many filmmakers fail is because you must have all your process documented. Releases and agreements allow your film product to be taken to market. I know many films stumbled because of not having the required releases. It can hurt the film but also a distributor if it gets released and trouble arises. Years ago we had a film released by one of Hollywood’s top distributors and they insisted on using some box art that wasn’t cleared. We had communications against the art because it wasn’t our artwork, which made no sense. Long short, lawsuit. We were released because of our written objections. They had to yank the title. Our film sued, won and they had to pay a nice sum. But the film could have done more perhaps if someone would have made sure releases were in order. So while a pain in the ass it is a much-needed process. But when the filmmakers are at fault that can kill a film and bring unneeded legal issues so stay on top of your business unless you are just doing it as a hobby, not for profit.

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CHASING THE STAR

Poster work for the theatrical is underway. The film is maybe two weeks from being done and we’ll mix and master everything. VFX is the final piece and once that is inserted we have a fully functional battle station. The paperwork with Bridgestone is signed and sent and I’m awaiting the countersigned agreements. Following that we should get our final street date for release. I’m looking forward to our review as a complete film. Success is when the audience can get lost in the story. I’m proud of everyone working so hard.

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THE CHRIST SLAYER

This last film has been the main thrust of development. If everything stays the course we’ll enter official pre-production this week. Casting, crewing, VFX tests, location scouting are all underway. We announced Christine Solomon who will play opposite one of our new leads Carl Weyant. We’re soon to announce a few more supporting roles this week. I’m personally excited to return to the role I started in FORTY NIGHTS. It will be my first time returning to a character although it has almost happened several times.  I’m excited to explore this other end of the spectrum. I think one of the best developments this week was the return of Chef Eddie. He’s a gourmet chef who spoiled our crew while shooting “Chasing the Star” – and I for one am happy to have him back.

FUTURE

We do have a few development projects starting to take shape that could be the projects we shoot following THE CHRIST SLAYER.

I have a few other thoughts I could ramble on but I refuse to add any negativity into the pot. I can say I’ve been extremely disappointed by several developments and happy that other neglected issues are finally being addressed. I have always had the goal to provide entertainment and to try to expand minds and hearts via storytelling. I will continue that journey and as always I invite you to join us.

Be good to one another. Talk at one another, don’t yell.

DJ


Creating Sanctuary in the Chaos

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(A sip of coffee) What a week. I have to say weather-wise it was very cold but quite mild compared to other states. Lots of great developments including getting all the business taxes submitted to our movie accountants. Only my personal taxes are left to tackle. I’m really staying focused on the films because I think unity is something we all really need right now. I’ve almost eliminated any social media viewing for pleasure save STAR WARS updates. There is so much hate, anger and fear – and Yoda taught us those things lead to the dark side:) But seriously, we all have different priorities pending our lot in life, but I’m saddened by the chaotic state of our nation. I think the health of our planet and the future we leave the children of tomorrow should be the priority.

I mostly enjoy people and that is never based on the clothes they wear, the car they drive or the house they live in. It’s based on their attitude, humor, compassion and how they treat their fellow human beings. I think we’re back to a dark place in America like pre-9-11. As tragic as all that was at least we saw the best in people rise from the ashes of those towers. The intangible tower of UNITY. Now if anyone values or dares looks at things differently, they’re considered STUPID right-wing, IDIOT liberals, ignorant ASS HATS. There is no real communication just shouting and babble.

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Beautiful – by artist Jeff Butler

I’ve seen the left think Bush was the root of everything wrong. After that it was Obama who became the target. What people fail to understand is that all that negativity is poison spewed is also poison to the self. The crazed look of hate and non-rational ranting heard from both sides has damaged people badly. We’re a country of change complete with checks and balances. Trust in that and don’t be swept up in the chaos of it all. Seek clarity. The best actions are made when they come from a place of clarity.

Sanctuary of Storytelling

I want to be part of sanctuary that grants clarity. When people are no longer are able to cope with wild emotions that have pulled them so far from their normal orbit – they will crave peace. Once the TV NEWS gets turned off and they immerse themselves in a darkroom -the lights dim as the wind, music and beautiful visuals appear- messages of hope. FILM truly can be a sanctuary. We’ll be here tending that sanctuary ready to give peace of mind to all who enter. Maybe we can send calmer, cooler heads back out into the world. In America we must seek compromise – same side of the table negotiations versus hate and gridlock. It cannot be an all or nothing mentality where certain policy is only good for some. We’ll face many more challenges in the future and we’ll all need those moments of sanctuary. Allow yourself to go there. Let the venom be purged and your mind become calm.

Now to the films…

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FORTY NIGHTS

We’re excited that “Forty Nights” is getting an expanded 2017 release. The change in name from “40 Nights” to “Forty Nights” will allow people who ASK for the film to find it easier. Many first run retailers who were asked in person likely typed “FORTY” and – Nope. Nothing in our system. So this expanded release will correct that issue. It will also have (in my opinion) stronger art work. The previous cover was a rush job by Wal-Mart. The cover was not our Jesus, and it was…poor quality in my opinion. The film is now being digitally re-mastered and may include a few extras goodies. I hope to reveal some new artwork in the coming weeks.

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CHASING THE STAR

We met last week over the second film which is now in final VFX and color correction. This week we start to work on the end credits and we’re going to be setting up theatrical play dates soon after “Forty Nights” 4/4/17 home video release date. On Friday I had the first draft of our home video deal with BMG. We’ve got a bit of back and forth but should have an exact release date soon. This film lives up to what we started with “Forty Nights” and I’m so excited to see audiences take this second journey –  Chasing the star!

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The Christ Slayer

Once again, I’m in a race against the harsh desert of AZ trying to get all our investors and business in line. It has not been an IF but WHEN on these films and often these folks don’t realize what we face time-wise. We’re often the small investment and the urgency is not always understood until they feel the desert heat. That said, we’re moving strongly forward with the worst case situation being us having to shoot on the other side of the AZ summer. (124 degrees is too hot) With all the pieces falling into place I would rather shoot in March, so I’m going to push hard. Last week we announced our director Nathaniel Nose. Before that we announced our returning cast. Soon here we’ll be announcing our new leads in the film. We’ve found two of the four and we’re also casting a few new antagonists. I’ve had a few reels start to come in to me after requesting Middle East or Italian actors send their materials. Thank you. The crew is also shaping up nicely and we’ll be once again bringing some Michigan keys out to work with our AZ team. I really would enjoy storytelling in AZ when Michigan is buried under snow.

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WILD FAITH

The first STILL photos are starting to roll out and soon I hope to have a teaser poster and trailer. I’ve seen some amazing footage from the film and I think audiences will really enjoy what we have.

FUTURE ENDEAVORS

We’re looking at future projects and where we want to go with our film slate. We have many options to consider. Keep putting one foot in front of the next one and before long you’ll surprise yourself on how far you’ve traveled.

Until next week…

DJ

 


Updates and Director Announcement

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Francine York & Elvis

THOUGHTS

I’m sipping HOT coffee on this freezing and frigid day in Michigan and I’m going to enjoy a few moments chatting with all of you. The New Year is underway and even one week into the new cycle I’ve observed several things. First 2016 did see several iconic people pass on. I lost an Aunt a few days after Christmas after a long 90+ years of life. She is the one I arranged to meet with Willie Nelson and she got sick the night before. If you haven’t heard that story – I met Willie and his troupe in Eureka Springs when filming “Book of Ruth” because he and Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty were old friends. On that same note Dan passed on in 2016 and that was a sad day. There was discussions with a studio of my involvement in helping to revive his popular series. It was not meant to be.

But overall 2016 was a great year business-wise with two new feature films in the “can” and a new deal between CDI and a distribution studio BMG. In the new year my father lost another brother – an exemplary kind and generous family man a few days ago. Additionally, I had worked on “Miracle at Sage Creek” with Francine York, best known by my dad for “Girls, Girls, Girls” with Elvis but she has a long and impressive resume. She and I were in a scene together and I remember in the make up trailer she kept looking at me. I asked if something was wrong and she replied, “If I was a 100 years younger” and laughed. She told me a few Elvis stories and signed a picture for my dad’s man cave. I followed her social media posts as she loved to watch old movies and tell great stories. When she passed I posted a simple note about the passing of a classy lady on her FB site. People (fans I assume) or more like one in particular just started ranting. PROOF! PROOF! Now in this day of fake news and false reports of death I understand but this person was just crass. That just brings me to the point of social media 2017. I was born well before social media and I view that as a strength. Let me try to explain…

THE ONION

People do not slowly get to know one another anymore – like peeling the layers of an onion. Getting to know people use to be like reading a book slowly learning things they share or differ upon. Now it’s more like a resume of everything all at once. Like online dating – I almost did it once at the start of it but it seemed too odd. What happened to opposites attract? With all the peer pressure created by social media I’m not sure this happens anymore. Compatibility matches? I mean, if someone just had all their attributes listed something is going to run against the grain. Oh, my God! They like rap music. Oh, they love cats. Oh, they like boxing or guns – barbaric. People can get accepted or disqualified by their lists which leads to segregation of people into groups. In the old days you could be friends with someone for weeks, months before you found out that they were Muslim or Jewish, as if it mattered. People are more often looking at how they are different versus alike and often attack those people who are different. You hate this person’s politics but what if they are a good parent. Maybe they give dinners to the homeless and volunteer…I think when you just try to look at a person as a list of LIKES, DISLIKES and GROUPS you don’t get the full picture.

Judgement is EVERYWHERE. That kind posting I did honoring my peer/acquaintance passing away was JUDGED. I don’t have to prove anything – I was just leaving a note to HER, like signing an obituary board. I don’t know how anyone has real friends anymore with everyone so judgmental. And people putting themselves out there on social media to strangers lures judgement. I have always liked the statement “He who lives in a glass house should not throw stones at others.” I hate to tell you but we all live in glass houses of the self. All I see is the rioting of glass houses smashing left and right. Judgement is often fueled by hate and we’re all human and make mistakes. Hateful, judgmental people wait for any opening to attack someone. It truly is sad and I don’t see this trend going away if people participate. Another small example – my mother is new to the whole internet experience yet she enjoys the interaction with past friends. She sent me a story that Bob Denver (Gilligan’s Island) had passed away. She knew as a child I enjoyed that show and she did it out of love. Now Bob died many years ago and I was going to crassly point that out to her. (Pause, think, feel) I erased it. I almost took something done out of love and judged it with a negative. Instead I thanked her and pointed out he had passed some time ago. But others had already jumped to point out her lack of research. I guess in 2017 I’m going to participate even less in the social judgement. I have grown to love the UNFOLLOW button. I kind of have a three strikes of negativity rule and GONE. You cannot remove all the negativity but you can create your own sacred space and create positive good from there. Time better spent enriching people, lifting people and understanding people.

Try it and see how your life changes. If you took all these social media “rants” and put them together in a year’s time…I know people who’ve talked of writing a book but tell themselves “That’s too big a task – I could never…” yet at year’s end they’ve written a book worth of repetitive negativity and judgement. So when you wonder how I get so much done it’s just about my use of time. Use your time to create not just spread hate. Anyone can point out the obvious but it takes a powerful person to bring real change. Be that person.

FILMS

I spewed on for a while above but I think that storytelling is practicing what I preach. Tell a story- entertain, educate, enlighten people. That is what we try to do here. Let’s look at a few updates and I can let you get about your day.

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Actor Dean Teaster (Preacher Collins) in #wildfaith

WILD FAITH 

Above is an official STILL from the movie. It is my friend/actor Dean Teaster and his character represents much of what we spoke about in our opening. He is the preacher in the small town of Hastings but he has become blinded by emotional pain. This film has the opportunity to be a great force for unity and positive change. We might have a rough cut by month’s end. I’m so proud of all our cast and crew. Stay tuned!

THE QUEST TRILOGY

FORTY NIGHTS

After our digital and limited release in 2016 with Lightworx we’ve penned a new release deal with BMG for a worldwide release. It will start rolling out on 4/4/17 and new artwork and a digital remastering is underway. We were under a rush with Wal-Mart on the first release and so we’re happy to have this larger opportunity.

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Editing on #Chasingthestar

CHASING THE STAR

This follow-up film is almost complete. VFX and credit work is underway and we’ll be meeting this week over the rollout. I’m thinking maybe May theatricals and our wide release with BMG will be in September. I’m so very excited about this story. The film cut is powerful and shines a light on events that have passed into myth. Next week after our meeting I’ll have more to share on this film.

THE CHRIST SLAYER

My ongoing deal with BMG is based upon our ability to stay on budget, schedule and to bring a high level of creativity to these films. This starts with the script but quickly moves to the creative captain – the director. On these films, and all films actually, the trick is the right pairing. I know many talented directors but it is about who FITS. It includes their grasp on the material, being producer friendly (biz trumps art) and their ability to infuse the story with their special vision. I looked at many directors and their work. I spoke to a few – some knowing what I was inquiring about and others did not. Jesse Low was the perfect person to bring “Forty Nights” to life on-screen. When I started communications with Bret Miller for the good part of a year – he had no idea I was looking at him as the director of “Chasing the Star” and that was the key. He was never trying to find the right thing to say to land the job. I knew from certain scenes in his previous film that he could bring a mood and tone to our film. With one film left in THE QUEST TRILOGY, I had lots to consider with finding the right director. As always, with a calm mind, I was led to the right choice. I had worked with this director as an actor and he’s worked with me as an editor. His experiences over the last few years in Los Angeles prepared him for this film. His personal experiences led him back to Michigan and after multiple discussions over the material we had found our third director. I want to introduce you all to Nathaniel Nose. He is a fellow MSU graduate and one talented director/editor. We will be doing a press release this week but as always you heard it here first. I’m excited to once again be working with an old friend and he’ll enjoy the great team of artists we’ve assembled. Thank you to Nathaniel Nose for going on this journey with us. I will leave all of you with this news and hope that you’ll all stay warm and make 2017 a great year. Be the best you .

DJ

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Mr. Nathaniel Nose – director of “The Christ Slayer”

 


Enter December – Updates

Today is a fine Michigan morning sipping coffee and chatting with all of you. This is the first week in December and what change a week can bring. We’re expecting our first real snow that sticks today. That was one of the favorite days for our eldest dog Joplin that has passed on. We went out and got a beautiful tree yesterday and the other animals love it. I think that bringing of nature into people’s lives and living  rooms is a good thing. Thankfully, my tooth issue has passed with a bill of health from the dentist. Hard to believe that little seed stumbled me up so bad. Like a thorn in the paw – I was humbled by it. Without that pain – I was able to finish lots of winterizing. Also got my ride ready for the winter and so let it snow, let it snow – let it snow.

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This week saw lots of business moving forward in post, development and distribution work. I was happy to see “Christmas Miracle at Sage Creek” playing Netflix. “Figure in the Forest” played UpLift this past week. On iTunes we saw listings for “40 Nights” and “Bestseller” both film and soundtracks. Tis the season for family’s and friends to gather round and be entertained. Let’s look at a few of the updates this week.

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The Quest Trilogy

“40 Nights” is prepping for a NEW 2017 release including foreign sales. We’ve had more attention brought to this film from reviewers and word-of-mouth. Paperwork is close to being signed so I can share some new updates. Patience:)

40 Nights Trailer

“Chasing the Star” trailer has been well received and the film is moving towards being finished. We’ve started working credit sequences and we’ll be looking at theatrical and event showings to follow our premiere. We need to reach out again but I think we’ll do another AZ premiere with Champion Church.

Trailer

The last chapter of the trilogy “The Christ Slayer” will start to make some announcements in the next couple weeks. We’re very excited to conclude this powerful series of stories.

WILD FAITH

Now 100% in the can (or on the harddrives) and editing is underway. We’ve been rolling behind-the-scenes photos both on social media and our website.

“Wild Faith” website

http://www.wildfaiththemovie.com

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I have been working a bit on the outline for the series. I think it would be a great opportunity to tell an ongoing story of the challenges of the Murphy family and the community of 1870’s Hastings, MI.

I’ve been looking about at literary agents to assist in selling some of the script properties that I don’t plan to produce. I’ve also been back to doing some writing in my quiet time. I do enjoy the process and I’ve been thrilled watching “40 Nights,” “Chasing the Star,” and “Wild Faith” go from imagination to the page to the screen. I LOVE watching the words, scene and world come to life.

I’m going to cut things here, fill the coffee cup and prepare to decorate the tree while watching our LIONS go to battle again on the football field. I hope you all have a wonderful end to your weekend and a great week ahead.

DJ


More Screenings, Movie Updates and Mother’s Day!

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Stormy N.C.

That first wonderful sip of hazelnut coffee on a chilly morning is O’ so Good!

I returned from our N.C. trip which took me first to the mountains and the second to a city of cement.  It was a good trip to take a breath between these films and get a view of where I want to go.

BESTSELLER

Melissa Anschutz and DJ Perry in BESTSELLER

“Bestseller”

While there in N.C. we saw the start of the national roll out on our thriller “Bestseller” and I encourage you to add this taunt thriller to your collection. If you are opposed to language and intense situations this film is not for you. If being scared while watching a film is your thing…

BUY HERE

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=%22Bestseller%22+DVD+%22Melissa+Anschutz%22&tbm=shop&spd=9029477730781776713

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“40 Nights”

Following the capacity church event in Yuma, AZ at Champion Church (Seen above)  The Good Shepherd Church in Beverly Hills, CA got their 1st watch of “40 Nights” on the big screen. I’m waiting to see how all that went but if it went anything like Yuma, I can imagine the experience. Do you want to license the film for an event? Reach out directly perrydj@aol.com or contact us via the http://www.40nightsthemovie.com page.

Additionally

We had an in-depth review by BIBLE BLOG and here is what they had to say.

http://biblefilms.blogspot.com/2016/04/40-nights-2016.html

This forthcoming week we’re finalizing artwork on “40 Nights” soundtrack. The beautiful score by the amazing Dennis Therrian will soon be for purchase. We’re also releasing a new promotional clip from the movie to help bring exposure. It will be a good week ahead.

Featured Sale Site of the Week:)

https://www.fishflix.com/christian-movies-40-nights-dvd.html

CTSFONT

“Chasing the Star” the second film in the QUEST TRILOGY

Editing has been underway as we push towards a first cut. We’ve also just reached an agreement to partner with CHOP & HUE to once again provide the opening into for our film. Also a teaser trailer and 1st official photos will be rolling out to social media and such in the days ahead.

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We’ve also been having a few development meetings over upcoming projects. We know the third film in the trilogy “The Christ Slayer” will be shooting in the spring 2017. As for which projects move ahead this year we’re close to a few announcements there. It is Mother’s Day and I want to thank my mom for giving this dreamer the best childhood. That is what fueled all that I do now. I love you and I’m so happy to have you. To all of you out there remember those who brought you into this world with a dream of making the world better – we’re trying.


BRANDING Oneself and BESTSELLER Updates

It is a slightly humid Saturday in Michigan. We had a good amount of rain which meant morel mushroom harvest but also lawn growth. Slightly behind on our garden but we do plants vs seeds most of the time. I’ve had a very busy week finishing up BESTSELLER and happy to have this film releasing. It’s a major thing to say, I’ll oversee a film. You are accepting someone else’s money. Now you can’t always predict market appeal but you must make a product worthy of market. We have a taunt thriller and I think it will catch on especially with vacation goers and fans of the genre. Watching this film in a dark cabin in isolated Michigan/Anywhere will make a few hearts beat fast. Once the film kicks into high gear it will have people on the edge of their seats. We learned this reaction to the film from our media showing. So I’m excited to now let others have this experience. The 23rd will be fun showing in the old historic theater which will also host the afterglow. So as DVD’s are being made and the event showing draws near – I’m starting to slowly relax. After the premiere I will be talking to interested distributors on BESTSELLER, THE TERRORIST and a few other projects.

In other Film News-

I’m awaiting offers on a few films for additional TV play. Business is going good on many fronts. I’m as busy as I want to be. That said, I have had a few film projects circling and they are acting projects. If the right deal comes together I might step into a new role. I’ve been working business on “40 Nights” as post editing continues. We are going to start putting some “40 Nights” marketing materials (trailers and such) together following our BESTSELLER premiere. “40 Nights” is a powerful story and I can’t wait to show this later in the year. As the 1st of 3 biblical films it is a great start off film. I’ve been putting together my outline for my follow up biblical-era script. I love that writing process.

Scripts-

With writing I’ve been working on two other new scripts pending my mood. I’ve also started to update an older script that almost got made. I had positive updates on a script of mine under option. It is moving along that studio slow process:) So in between all this crazy business I find my moments to just write.

I often get asked to give advice to filmmakers so I will try to drop some here…

BRANDING –

In days of old where resumes were the 1st step followed by interviews people were careful about what appeared ON their resume. In interviews people often wanted to be on their best behavior and say the right things – Why? To get employed.

Now social media has invaded every aspect of our lives. As someone who hires cast, crew, vendors and such…I do occasionally pop over to someones social media. It is the most revealing of people in my opinion. But if/when you pop over – you see people who wear their every insecurity, displeasure, angst and so on    for the world to see it often plays against a person.  EXAMPLES

If they whine over every decision not in their favor in a public fashion to try to lobby opinion – WE HEAR – DON’T HIRE

If they complain how on the edge with stress they are and how they’re not sure how much more they can take – WE HEAR – CAN’T HANDLE PRESSURE – POOR HIRE

If they complain about their fellow employees constantly – WE HEAR POOR SOCIAL SKILLS – PLAYS POORLY WITH OTHERS

Can’t catch up, frustrated, behind, blah, blah… WE HEAR POOR TIME MANAGEMENT

I can’t every catch a break. NEGATIVITY, INSECURITY…

Even if some of these things are true to you – why would you shine a light on your weak points in hopes of someone hiring you? I find the honesty refreshing but many of you are saying to people who hire – DON’T STOP HERE – DRAMA BOMB IN FULL ACTION

It isn’t even talking coming from behind people’s back this is FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH as they use to say.

RUDE, VULGAR, HATEFUL – it just gets laid out there. Often in the same sentence with their disbelief that they can’t get hired or constantly get overlooked. Back in the day some people took competitive nature too far and bad mouthed others. But now people bad mouth themselves by how they represent themselves.

Hey! If you are independently wealthy and don’t need to be hired – Richard Branson can say whatever he wants. Cool. But if you are looking to get hired – consider presenting yourself professional. One buddy of mine occasionally works with kids but his posts are often off-color and with adult language. I like to swear at times without a doubt but not in a social media post.  I don’t do it for shock value and feel public professional is better. I have films and fans of films – some that have adult language/violence and others that do not. I try to be respectful to audiences in general. My two cents. Just something for those of you trying to make a go at business endeavors to consider next time you want to let your fingers fly.

#$@@$#^$#& – OK. I’m going to get on with some other Saturday activities. We have another soccer match after having Mother’s Day off. I’m looking forward to that. I hope you all enjoy your weekend as well.

DJ


Freezing Temps and Finish Lines

This morning was chilly here in Michigan with temps at 9 degrees and falling. But the blowing snow is even more crazy. I know that our friends on the far east coast are getting it much worse. This morning after a coffee warm up we went out and about. We like to go visit estate sales looking for antiques or collectibles for the house or my office. We’ve truly found some wonderful treasures and it also usually includes breakfast which is a nice bonus. We braved some crazy snow and found some great items. One thing for the office is a like-new professional rotating DVD holder. I will use that to store copies of some of my CDI films kept in the office. Also found a few antiques for the office porch. Add a few other items which begged to follow me home and the trip was an overall success.

Books are one of the things that I enjoy collecting at these sales. I enjoy the feeling and smell of the paper. Even as I work with my new script, I NEED the paper. I’ve had many people in our organization who want to go all digital with paperwork. It’s fine for moving data quickly but at the end of the day paper is tangible. If a drive crashes you could lose important docs unless you have many back ups. So yes, I’m old school in my love of paper. I am a fan of wood also which is what I tend to collect. Some of you might have seen the wooden hammer pic I posted last week. It’s indeed a prop of mine for our upcoming film.

Let’s discuss the new film…

I’m encouraged by legal – not to fully disclose on this film for about another week. I can say the LLC is formed. The bank account is now open. The documents are all in process and things are all coming together smoothly. We also have some interesting things happening with distribution. This film will have distribution signed before we shoot. We have had more than one company show interest in this new film. The deals being offered are getting more interesting and next week will reveal even more. So a bit more patience here please and in time all will be revealed.

POST WORK

WASTELAND, our associated CDI, Sci-Fi film is 80% done with editing on Part 1. A small teaser is about to release. First poster art is being completed. All exciting stuff!

BESTSELLER – We went into the studio and did a few small dialogue tweaks to enhance the quality of a line here or there. The visual is about locked now and following will be the color correction. Music is our next layer and as we move steadily towards the finish line lots of exciting updates will be coming.

THE TERRORIST may be fully finished next week. I have a call scheduled with our director but I think we are just about there.

DVD art on WICKED SPRING, ASHES OF EDEN and DONORS is moving towards being completed.

Theatrical, TV  and foreign sales talks have been very steady. We’ve got a little commercial work in development. The work overall has been steady and I think following some upcoming meetings – we may have features launching back to back.

I also had some good talks with my management on upcoming acting projects. They’re happy for my next lead role and I’ve purposely kept my schedule open past March. They have several developing projects that they want me to participate in.

Aside from all that. Let me see. I caught up this week with a few filmmakers I’ve known for quite a while. Some collaboration was discussed but it was not the right fit for either of us. I told this particular individual that the great part is – “you don’t need us and we don’t need you.” So basically, when/if it does happen it’s because the project was the right fit.

On another front – I got a report that again someone (A filmmaker) was unhappy because CDI won’t support social crowd funding as it applies to filmmaking. We’ve got a polite policy in place on all that. If others are offended by that and offer negativity back – we will ignore them. Our beliefs on doing business obviously don’t match up. earlier I spoke of a talk whereas the business did not align. It was professional and this person left me with a “God Bless”.  Now this other individual seemed like he came off rude and unprofessional.

My simple advice to him.

If you’ve got your own company you’re entitled to do as you see fit. If you want to beg for donations – great. Our investors, partners, distributors and such see social-funding actions as last-ditch efforts to get funding by a hobby filmmaker or someone pushing a project that nobody wants to invest in. NOW. Before those of you out there doing social funding get your knickers in knots – I’m not saying you have to agree with them, with me or our company policy. Do your own thing. Follow your own path. Good luck. May the force be with you. NEXT.

I’ve had a lot of communications recently about KNIGHT CHILLS 2. The script is moving along and I think fans of the first will get a healthy dose of what they so enjoyed the first time around. The film itself will be much stronger in regards to the production due to all the experience and advances in technology since 1997.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Work steadily at whatever you’re building. Things happen less by chance and more as a result of hard work. If you want to get ahead you must move when others rest. Work when others play. When you work, work smart. Know your goals. Plan. Execute. Follow through. Keep trimming away those variables around you that are not sincere, supportive or loyal.

Keep Clawing and Make IT HAPPEN!

DJ


New Distribution, Updates and Observations

In the upcoming "Dead Quiet"

In the upcoming “Dead Quiet”

Hello everyone! I want to welcome our new readership from Greece. It has been a busy week here in the good old USA. I’m not going to touch the powder keg that is Michael Brown/police relations but I can say I’ve been a smart ass to the police as a teenager. I’ve been roughly questioned and searched BUT I’ve never hit or tried to take a gun away from a law enforcement officer. All actions have consequences some tragic and some with wonderful outcomes. Other high points this week – the new Star Wars trailer. I was an absolute Star Wars fanatic and I’ve said in many interviews that I got into acting largely because I wanted to be Han Solo when I was seven years old. I’m excited to play my 1st role this December in a Sci-Fi western “Wasteland” playing a shady space pirate type. I flatly refuse to accept the three prequels in my mythology of Star Wars. I think they were mostly poorly casted and some of the plot holes were too far for me to jump. A jedi-knight in my mind would have never left a poor women enslaved to a flying worm. Period. But I’m personally a fan off JJ (the new director) and with the old cast back I feel the excitement from when I was a child.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I have great respect for Native American rights and therefore can’t fully attach myself to the traditional meaning of thanksgiving. You don’t accept help from your neighbor and one day decide to take his house. But the Natives have figured out the white man’s greed and casinos are a great revenge. Plus you can see Tom Jones sing:) I do like the idea of family, friends and being thankful – reflecting upon all that is good in our lives. As Americans we do have it better than many who struggle each and every day for basic rights and necessities. We went up North and feasted with family and watched our Michigan Detroit Lions win. Today we are having more family over and yet another feast. We are doing two turkeys and I’ve been smoking one which was started at 4 am this morning. Tomorrow we are getting the Christmas tree so we will be flowing right into the next holiday. I do love having a fresh tree in the house. I also planted a new tree in the yard. My brother gifted me a red wood tree “RED” which we had for several years. That ice storm last year put the kill on poor Red who is now a Harry Potter-like wand hanging in the office fort. My brother bought me a Giant Sequoia. It should survive in Michigan better and so it took the spot where “Red” once was. This week I also tried my hand at venison jerky and from all reports it was a success. I’m going to fire up a beer batch this coming week to share with my amigos.

Movie Biz

This week I address a question to the social media public about social funding. More specific the type that accepts donations in exchange for perks and allows you to keep said funds even if the goal amount is not reached. In doing this the campaign people default in the perks because most are tied to having a finished project. Give A in exchange for B once C is completed. But if C is never completed B cannot be given yet A is kept. By logic it sounds like fraud. Or another way – I’m hosting an event and selling signage sponsorships. I take that money for said promotional signage and never hold the event. I posted asking for failed campaign people (Lots of them around) to give me their thoughts. The post was read by hundreds and not one comment or LIKE. An associate also shared or re-posted this posed question and only one filmmaker liked it. It was a director we’ve worked with and my guess is that he has never engaged in that social funding fraud and so felt comfortable posting. Now this only pertains to these ENTERTAINMENT properties. If you are raising money to offset funeral costs of Uncle Sal’s passing and you raise 1k of the 5k campaign and use it to offset the costs – great! That is a different story. So all I can say is that a lot of guilty filmmakers or weak spine filmmakers afraid to rock the boat because they have friends/associates engaging in this type of campaign. Bottom line is use that energy more wisely and do yourself a favor and learn some business along the way. I’ve said the same thing about enterprising criminals that if they put the same energy into legit business they would be successful. As a joke I am going to create some goofball campaign in the near future to showcase this but I just can’t believe nobody has ever pointed this out. Someone will end up one day with 25 group action in small claims court. I think that is the protection for these people. Who is gonna chase $50 or $100? Instead they brand filmmakers as hucksters and investment opportunities dry up. So next time you have trouble getting something financed maybe blame the never produced social media crowd. Let’s get to some real business.

Movie News

It was announced that “Wicked Spring” our Civil War drama is going to get a reboot this spring with the Winters Film Group. We’re targeting a wider audience and I’m excited to get this film out there on PPV, VOD and a new version of DVD and maybe Blu Ray. The hour-long making of when be included amongst the extras.

“Donors” the horror/thriller will also be releasing this 2015 also signed to the Winters Film Group. This creepy film examines the dark seedy underbelly of kidnapping and organ stealing.

“Dead Quiet” is starting to make some noise as they head towards the finish line for a 2015 release.

“The Terrorist” also is wrapping up post-work for a 2015 release.

“Ashes of Eden” is being prepped for its release and should announce a release date by years end. Also some foreign sales are underway.

“Bestseller” is being worked on with the score, sound and visual FX all coming together. This will have a premiere early in 2015 and I’m very excited from what I’ve seen/heard thus far.

Other re-releases are being looked at including a deal that should have several of our CDI films releasing in India. Many know I co-starred in a film “Karma, Crime, Passion, Reincarnation” that released wide in theaters there in 2009. I’m excited that a bridge to our product is being constructed.

The announcement of the novel being written off the “Knight Chills” script has sparked some interest in the sequel. The prequel to “The 8th Plague” is also in talks with a new director. A few other (for now secret) projects are getting very close to launching. Some major business talks begin again 1st week of December to see if we can lock up a few things before the year ends. I’ve been in talks with my management over a few high-profile projects. I’ve been in talks on a few other new independent projects and so I’m excited to see what projects/stories I end up doing. Well, I need to go refill the water pan in the smoker. I hope you all enjoy your weekend.

DJ


Truth, Job Advice and NEW Updates

I want to start by welcoming some of our additional new blog readers from Brazil! What I love is that artists from all corners of the globe are finding this blog journey of interest. I know that it often contains bits of wit and wisdom that one can apply to their own person journey. It has been a great time lately refocusing, evaluating and preparing for the next set of adventures and actions to be put in motion for the forthcoming 2015. I’ve really been training mind, body and spirit – removing distractions and reassigning energy.

In this age of social media expression I find that many waste precious moments. Rather than look within they are seeking something externally.  I’ve heard people say that much of the social media experience has become listening to venting, complaining and such. I have removed almost all my attention from these such distractions. In my opinion, venting should give way to visualization of new avenues and course of actions. Complaining often shifts blame from where it should be – the self. If you aren’t the source issue you are surely allowing others to effect you. I’ve seen immense amount of time people have spent to negatively try to verbally belittle someone else’s artists doings. By the time they’ve spent all their time on others they could have created something new. Now those people can compound their waste of time and energy trying to hate on each new venture. I would often wonder why these people don’t selfishly use that energy to benefit themselves. If you can’t overcome your own laziness, failure, shortcomings you will never reach your goals. And the blame will always be placed on others who are gaining success by hard work.

I’m happy to have risen above all that nonsense. Like I’ve said before – it gets to a point where if someone throws an insult, slant or a jab – I’m asking …”Which project are you talking about?” and “Who are you again?” – If you’re a negative person – I likely have not invested much time getting to know who you are. I don’t like business associates nor friends who seem to carry their dark cloud with them. Honest fact can also be harsh but I never say things to harm. It is a fact that if I don’t care I won’t even spend the energy to say anything. Life will teach you your lesson(s). But if I care – I may speak and I won’t be one of the sugar-coated, silver tongue devils. If your shit isn’t together I may encourage you to do so- which is a good sign that I may wish to collaborate at some time. But I’m not about helping someone who won’t help themselves. Some choose to remain in their ass kiss circles – lying to one another and wondering why they aren’t developing as quickly as they had hoped.  And of course it’s often made out to be someone else’s fault. So if you have toxic people like this in your sphere they are due honesty or avoidance – pending how likely you see an ongoing business relationship.

Speaking of business – let us look at some developments.

ASHES OF EDEN – Deliverables are being put together and marketing will begin in full very soon. The distributor is excited and so are we. We know the power of this film and it will translate to a solid business endeavor. Also some major foreign deals are underway.

BESTSELLER – This film has visual mastering underway. Also music, sound and FX work – we have had some early interest from our preview trailer during the AFM market. After our post production summit we are all excited to see this film done. Audiences should really enjoy this film. It will be another great project created right here in the state of Michigan.

DONORS – This film has a foreign offer forthcoming and I believe next week we will have a domestic offer. This cool little thriller deals with some important subject matter. Check it out at http://www.donorsthemovie.com

The Special Edition announcement of IN THE WOODS might be joined by another classic film. The Civil War drama WICKED SPRING has a few options and I’m reviewing a deal as we speak. This film will get a special edition in 2015. Stay tuned.

WASTELAND – The CDI Associated Sci-Fi Western will have some interesting announcements this week. One includes a key crew member that I’m happy to say is coming from our state of Michigan. I will pull the right artist where it is deemed the best fit. This individual has passion that reminded me of myself many years ago. He gave his interest and passion without first asking what was in it for him. He was willing to work the lowest of jobs just to learn and be part of an organization like CDI. He was surprised by what happened next I’m sure. We  have plans for this person in 2015 so look for an announcement next week.

Good Job Advice –

Those out there who have had to “learn and earn” through hard work and not simply feel entitled by some degree . If you ask about money first when you are inexperienced – you’re in the wrong business. You can make much better money in other careers for sure. I think for many, filmmaking sounded like fun. Face it, It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like films. But when it gets hard many want to cut corners or wash their hands of something as quickly as they can. That is NOT how films are made. Those are the weed that need to be pulled from the garden. I will nurture when I see the true passion to do what we do. Many others will have their phase and move on into other career fields. I take what I do very serious and I know what its taken for me to get this far. I can often work one film with someone and usually tell who will still be around in five years. What we do is hard. Not everyone can do it. Not everyone should do it. If you are a complainer, venter, blamer – you should seek a new career field. Because you will slowly just burn bridges and be left on an island of isolation whereas a new career field is your only choice. You may also damage projects, communities and yourself deeply before you are marked and avoided. So I think many communities of film business artists would benefit from the early retirement of many of these people before they are forced out by their bridge burning. (Long Pause)  Now if you’ve read this previous set of harsh statements and said, “I’m staying.”

“I’m going to be that person who makes the set fun.”

“I’ll be the first to set and last to leave.”

“I will speak kindly on the hardest days because I truly love being part of a teams making stories.”

“I’m going to make myself be valued to the extent I will always be the object of someone’s hiring.”

To those people – I welcome you. You might have what it takes to be part of an ongoing tribe. A rich tradition of storytelling. To give yourself fully to the story once committed despite the size of the crew, paycheck or equipment package. Actors for all their flaws gets this mentality. Once they are committed they don’t care what kind of camera is pointed at them. They will give 100% every time. It is why most of my producers are actors. The best crew members are also of this mentality. They set out to make something great with each set up, take and scene. When you bring committed artists together on both sides of the camera behind a powerful script (Note I didn’t say improv/or winging in) – that passion will bleed onto the medium. That story will have the heart and love infused and audiences will respond. Wrap this all in good business and you have contributed to filmmaking as a whole. I have sacrificed much in my life and I always give 100%. I just cannot and do not respect anyone in our field that gives anything less. That is my truth.

Happy Saturday.

DJ


Social Media Pros & Cons, Policy and Premieres

Another week down and the first signs of spring are showing despite the 2 days snowstorm that we had. I’m sipping my coffee and reflecting back on the week which was highlighted by the fact that I got an oak roll top desk for the house. I’ve got my office in full swing but I still wanted a place to work from in the house. I found one I liked and was offered a deal I could not turn down especially because it included drop off delivery. Let’s see what advice I can try to give before getting into updates.

SOCIAL MEDIA FUNDRAISING

We call this “tin can” shaking for handouts. We at CDI keep a policy of not supporting these campaigns in part because I know so many aspiring filmmakers that if I supported one we would be expected to support them all. Second, I don’t think this really helps develop business skills in filmmakers. Some of these campaigns allow people to keep money even if the full amount is not raised. I think this is the worst violator because I see people who every two months they have a new campaign for a new project. They set an unreasonable goal and when movie X doesn’t fund they cash out that account and move onto movie Y and movie Z and none of them ever get done but people give and people take. It reminds me of people on the corner with a sign and cup. Best situation would have been to budget properly, manage budget correctly and do it all on the business level. Now others might use it as an addition to a budget raised sometimes for post funds and sometimes for “marketing”. That to me is where it gets tricky. If marketing is giving money so a group can travel, party and try to get a pat or two on the back, I can’t support that. Now perhaps if it was a reasonable amount to create screeners and postage to send to distributors maybe but even that perhaps should have been planned on ahead of time. I just know a few people who were put in uncomfortable positions because of these campaigns. I think this would not sit well with investors either because if you can raise a set amount of money you can start to repay capital investment. I always say, a LIKE doesn’t = a BUY and when the family and friends finish giving money – the well dries up and usually only 10%-25% has been raised but that money will get used anyway. Note the project isn’t any closer to getting into the marketplace. Also if you promise perks and that is dependent upon raising ALL the money what happens when only a small % is raised? It all can lead to disappointed campaign backers, investors and potentially hurt the reputation of those who supported and/or endorsed it. You just have to be careful who or what you endorse and so the policy of not doing this works well for us. Bring a business plan and you never know. But if I’m giving away money it will be to the homeless vet with a disability versus a party fund for filmmakers.

Now onto some updates –

– As a recent PR release pointed out “Darkest Night” will release into Germany, Austria and Switzerland on March 28th. This is the 3rd release to those territories and we are currently working on getting more of our titles into this territory and many others.

– We are working on getting the CDI library organized with everything digitized for future delivery.

– The “Donors” film is completed and we are looking at a premiere in Yuma, AZ before going to our distributors.

– We’re also looking at doing another film that would be based in AZ again. We are getting very close to releasing some info on this project. Right now talks with distributors are underway and a few are already on board. Some early casting on IMDB has begun and I’ve been looking at a LOT of reels. Sorry but NO reel NO consideration. Young children can be an exception once in a while but experience gets 1st looks.

– First draft of a script that I’ve hired to write is complete and I’ve been doing a second pass and polish. CDI will also be producing it and so I’ve been having some great talks about distribution on it already. Stay tuned!

– These distributor talks have extended over to ASHES OF EDEN which is VERY close to being done and we will have some possible news on the premiere next week. BESTSELLER’s 1st CUT is being reviewed and notes gathered for the second pass at month’s end. Both of these films have distributors excited to review and they will without question find a home. I’m excited for audiences to enjoy the storytelling. Also THE TERRORIST is moving into sound design and music after a final edit polish.

– A theatrical showcase of CDI and CDI associated films is happening in the Detroit area. We are finalizing the deal and looking at a line up that will include weekly showings. If you ever wanted to watch the entire CDI library on a big screen this could be your opportunity. This type of program is also in talks to happen in the near future in the Lansing area. We will have a good template to follow once this Detroit deal is complete. Look for PR on this soon!

– CDI TV is making some small steps but those could turn into major strides mid year. Again stay tuned!

– Some incredible talks this past week with a studio that we’re in talks of doing ongoing business with. I’m starting to send packages for evaluation this week. I’m also being talked to about participating as an actor in a few of their films. So I will be transitioning into some studio level films for acting but I am doing via the producer path instead of the actor/agent…path. I see big things on the horizon and I’m honored that they want to bridge a deal. This is also a nod to all the artists who I work with who know how to follow through and collaborate as professionals. Those cast and crew that work with CDI know our sights are set high and we work hard to achieve it. I have patience and will do this right. I refuse to cut corners or step on people to get where I need to go. I hear the horror stories weekly and I say it again, be cautious in who you choose to work with. Two weeks due diligence can save two years litigation. If it sounds too good to be true it usually is. Be smart.

I’m sure I’ve missed a few things but I’m ready to get on with my day so thank you again for your support in following my blog. I was recently made aware of how many followers I have from all over the world. I’m humbled and hope some of these reflections can help you on your own path. Dream but also be prepared to work hard to make those dreams happen.

DJ


PR, POLITICS and PREMIERE TALK

It looks like here in Lansing, MI we avoided most of the crazy weather. We had a little wind and snow but overall the sun gave us some melting.  It has been a busy couple weeks and I’ve just got to keep my patience and zen as many deals move about on the chessboard. I’ve had a few projects move a touch slower than I wanted but I will be happy for what did get done versus what did not. Let’s look at some of the positive steps taken in this past week. Before we get into that I will vent off on a small issue. IF you are a university who is making your money off film students in a film program. IF you make a solid film that really showcases good production value, performances and direction. The university SHOULD invest in promoting its own program. PROMOTION = ENROLLMENT = $ for the UNIVERSITY. I’m not going to waste too much time on this topic but I’m never surprised by people’s shortsightedness.

Also I’m surprised (No I’m not) that when local media is trying to promote a city/area to inspire others how only the hobbyist get recognized. What happened to real journalism whereas you seek out the real story. In our area it use to be our local media was only interested in local community theatre and now they are focused on local hobby filmmakers. Now you can give recognition to these aspects but they do not represent the professionals. POLITICS. To be direct it is why I like the business side of things. IF your art is good it will find an audience and sell. I feel as if these organizations and projects that put equal importance on SHOW & BIZ should be highlighted. Now for a long time now I’ve been content making my home here and that is good enough for me. Michigan artists are undervalued often on the world market and much of it is because many are seen as “Community Theatre/Hobbyist filmmakers”.  When the films and filmmakers that are making real business endeavors are overlooked for some social media panhandling a $500-$2,500 film that won dozens of remote festivals that never will get major distribution – it brands us. Now I consider myself MINOR LEAGUE so let’s get that straight. BUT we work hard to recreate a growing business like what Motown, Two Men & A Truck and many other business pioneers worked so hard to do. The worried parents of these starry-eyed filmmakers would be emboldened and given hope when they read of other business filmmakers making a solid go of it.  I’m content living below the radar most of the time because it saves me from the constant “I’ve got a great idea for a movie” talk that follows me. So let’s get onto some business updates!

A few months ago we saw our Civil War film “Wicked Spring” release into the German, Austria and Switzerland market. Now following that we just enjoyed a Feb 21st release of “Locked in a Room” to that same market. And next month March 28th will see the release of our 1st international collaboration “Darkest Night”. Also “Darkest Night” released recently to HULU PLUS and so that will help reach hundreds of thousands of new viewers.

Our CDI sales team is working hard engaging in talks with many new foreign territories. Also many great new deals are being negotiated on new upcoming product. “Ashes of Eden” has several buyers interested and once we have our finished film we will start that process. New poster feedback is being gathered from readers who can vote on http://www.ashesofedenmovie.com . Also our premiere is being discussed and we should announce on that soon. So look for a cast and crew premiere that will happen followed by a public premiere and theatre run. We’ve got excited interest from several distributor/studios in this film and our most recent ‘Bestseller”.

“Bestseller” is about done with the rough cut. I will be calling our editor today to get an update and soon we will screen the rough edit. I’m excited about this project and I think it will be a high intensity film. Patience:)

“7 Stones” is out on the market both streaming VOD and DVD so check out this powerful little drama.

While overseeing post work and sales I’ve been engaging in some major screenwriting action. I don’t promote this aspect much but I’ve been paid multiple times to pen original scripts and adaptations from books. I’ve had projects optioned ($ against a sale price) –  and I’ve had projects purchased and produced. I just finished a pet project script that I’m developing with an old school friend. Let’s just say that fans of “Book of Ruth” will be very happy. I’ve also got another script on deck to write after after that. The contracts are approved just need to be signed this coming week. I may also be taking on yet another project to write in the wake of an option/purchase agreement made with a studio in Florida. Some close to me know my furry boy Luke had knee surgery and so it has been good to hunker down from the cold and enjoy writing.

Also I’ve been doing some major internal CDI structuring with our accountant, lawyers and a film archive supervisor. All the CDI projects need to be put to digital to make it easier for delivery on all these new sales. This is again the BIZ side that has nothing to do with the artsy-fartsy aspects but it is what separates the professionals from the hobbyists. I love what I do but I don’t do it for just fun – I do it as a career. Therefore bad communicators, slackers, excuse makers will not find a home at CDI. Nothing like having your hard work and efforts wasted as something sits in limbo for years OR a film that lacks business structure leaving you with a well done home video to show family and friends. I’m happy that we have some new hardworking blood rolling with the CDI tribe. It’s quite an eye opener when they discover there is another way to do things. There is a better use of time and energy. Do we fall short and make errors? – Of course we do. But how many are really STRIVING! WANTING is NOT STRIVING. I mean really giving that extra effort at every turn that gets recognized. I’m talking about taking that pride in your work. Trust me, I know the difference by looking someone in the eyes. If it is just a JOB to you – find another industry because there is easier money to be earned elsewhere.  REMEMBER actions always speak louder than words.

ACT LOUDLY!

DJ