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

Posts tagged “star meters

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

 

 

 

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Haters, Hazelnut and Hollywood Kick Off’s

SMSDRelease PartyIt has been a nice week in Michigan with most of the humidity taking a break and beautiful, cool days to enjoy. Yes, the hazelnut is beside me as I type these words to all of you. I want to welcome even more readers from as far away as Italy and Australia – welcome. We are an international family.

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This moment in our film industry is really quite unique as the theaters are down in attendance this summer. I think people can get their fill of flying metal and action that is hard to follow. These movies have their place just like visual rides like you might find at Disney World but people like to FEEL. This requires characters that you actually care about. Some of you might know our “Ashes of Eden” film is playing in select theaters in Michigan now and will be expanding. Our hometown run (Hard to be a prophet in your own home town) has been surprisingly good and was extended to the end of the month. We will see if they move us to other locations. Aside from Celebration Cinema where we are playing we have four other chains showing interest and with one chain we are locking down dates. I almost get tired of the daily promotions which I feel you can overdue but this film is worth a watch. We just got a 4 Star review from a Canadian film reviewer that reviews family/faith content and this follows a Michigan 5 Star review. I think the acting and the pacing of the film allows you to invest in the story. There’s also a wide age of interest in the film because everyone can relate to something/someone in the film. So as the film plays or expands into Detroit-area and other cities do take a chance and see why this film is grabbing attention. I’m also happy to say, should it be impossible to make it out to theaters it will be coming to TV and DVD, BlueRay and video on demand. Our best estimate factoring in our theater runs would be shortly after Christmas. That could change but we shall see what happens. But do try to see on the big screen as it is a great experience.

I spent yesterday packing and such for another trip North to complete the small pick ups on the “Bestseller” feature. (Which is looking great) It’s exciting to have so many wonderful stories/films rolling out one behind the other. This film is INTENSE and I think fans of dark thrillers will be on the edge of their seats. This film will also be doing theatrical runs once we get past post and our premiere(s). I think the premieres will happen in November/December.

“Donors” is looking to make a few appearances at a couple horror festivals this fall before releasing nationally. It’s time for some people to meet Dr. Savior:)

I could list more of the in “post production” films but you can see yourself on my IMDB.com (DJ Perry) – which brings me to that data base. I’m a beta tester for their casting sites and I love the direction that they are moving in. They are also cleaning up some of the Star Meter corruption that runs wild on there. Back in the day it was funny that we had issues with unreleased movies being attacked with ratings of 1’s and 2’s before a film had even released. The sad part for those folks lies in the fact that the final proof is in the pudding. Despite a few hateful remarks these films mostly got the release they deserved. A few bad comments thrown at “Book of Ruth” didn’t stop over 250,000 DVD’s from selling. Some rocks thrown didn’t stop “Ghost Town” from renting 85,000 times in the first week of release. On an international level this hatred is like throwing pebbles in a river trying to stop the water flow. Back in the day we traced IP’s and all this nonsense and it almost always went back to someone who we either didn’t hire or a filmmaker/screenwriter upset that someone else did the business and got their film made and seen. It has happen with almost every successful film. I can almost note which films are going to be successful based on how much hate comes at it.

“Ashes of Eden” has suffered a bit of this “Hate” as someone has added (usually via multiple accounts)… a series of 2’s when voting on IMDB. Now unbiased with test audiences and such we know what we have and anyone who actually watched the film I think would agree that they would never rate it below a 5 (on a scale of 10) unless they had other issues. I tried to explain it in a recent production meeting like this… People are quick to support if they feel they are doing a mercy favor such as buying girl scout cookies or going to see some hobby film to support an unlikely dream. But when that given support becomes real business and adds to the commercial power of an individual or group – some of that support dries up. The truth is that many artists don’t like to see others get ahead. I saw it in the actor slums of Hollywood my 1st trip out west. I had people saying to me, “You’ve done more in two weeks than I’ve done in two years.”  Really? NEWSFLASH – Group hangouts whereas you bitch why you can’t get ahead or why you didn’t get cast in this or that WILL NOT get you ahead in our industry. Same goes with whatever industrious hater is spending time doing the data entry (I know I’ve done my share of data entry) trying to knock someone else’s business and/or art. IF that person spent the same amount of time refining their own craft or looking at more effectively marketing their own craft – those people would be much further ahead. The HATE effort might make a few people go see PLANET OF THE APES versus our film but on the overall stage we’ll just grow further ahead because you can’t beat good word of mouth. If that person(s) is using our success as hate fuel – it will only get worse.

I honestly, sincerely do appreciate true success from other deserving people. When the art is good, the process to get that art is done fair and it’s executed in a business way so that it can benefit the entire group of artists – I say GOOD JOB! BUT – Throwing together something subpar and wanting me to love it, like it or anything else just brings my fathers words to mind on half assin’ things. I do credit doers and motivated self-starters-  I just think some of that needs to be refined or they will not evolve and thrive in the professional realm. So IF you are a person who looks over their shoulder constantly or is trying to move forward but spending more time being concerned with others art/success you will likely fail. This causes only more blame and resentment and the circle continues.

I’ve been rightly criticized because honestly I don’t pay much attention to other projects unless I really like it. I’m extremely busy with our slew of projects and when not doing my business I’m enjoying people, nature and learning new interesting things about our vast world. If I can inspire a few haters to redirect their energy towards positive growth – all good. Watch the films and if that hate is what your heart speaks by all means write it. It might make you feel better about yourself by not taking accountability for your own lack of progress. Blame others if you need to but know you can’t stop real success. If you can’t control your own destiny you sure can’t control others. Why? Good example below put into soccer terms.

In soccer terms – if you are pulling a jersey you are likely mismatched against someone better and you are about to be owned.

“SUPERMODEL SHOWDOWN Costa Rican Adventure” launched on http://www.indieflix.com See AFTERDARK Channel and TONIGHT in Hollywood our host Nadia Dawn will be front and center at a party celebrating the release. The first three shows are running on Indieflix and the others will roll out once an audience starts to grow. Pop over to the party and the Indieflix site to check it out!

We have had more investors approach on some upcoming films and so once I get past this pick up we will start looking at a couple of new film projects. I look forward to seeing where the path will lead and what new artists we will work with in the days ahead.

Have a wonderful weekend and be good to one another.

“Don’t hate – create!”

Nadia Dawn will host a "Supermodel Showdown Costa Rican Adventure" in Hollywood TONIGHT

Nadia Dawn will host a “Supermodel Showdown Costa Rican Adventure” in Hollywood TONIGHT

DJ