A beautiful pic taken by one of our talented crew on set of #wildfaith
It has only been roughly a week since I’ve returned home and it has been a whirlwind of settling back in, winterizing the homestead and handling all the business at hand. The business at hand is…well exciting to say the least.
I cannot elaborate completely because paperwork is underway and you don’t want to talk about deals before they are closed. What I can say is that the deal affects all our G, PG, PG-13 type material in our CDI library. I’m preparing reports and first returns on “40 Nights” to our investors. What this film, the trilogy and the new “Wild Faith” film has done is brought an opportunity. An opportunity to take everything to the next level. In this new deal “40 Nights” will be the first property to benefit as a new, larger push is about to be put behind that film. We did not have big P&A money behind that film and so it came out into the marketplace without a bunch of proclamation about the film being this or that. But the film has struck a chord with many people and now a larger corporation wants to step in and elevate the awareness of this film, the trilogy and beyond.
This deal will benefit some of the past films in the library for sure such as the “Wicked Spring” re-release that I had an opportunity with not to long ago but decided to hold. That will turn out to be a good choice. I see several films getting a new push into the marketplace. I’m glad that we spent the last couple years prepping the library because when opportunity knocks. (You know the saying) Now I was harping on actors in my last blog about not being prepared. I had a lot of people thank me for this common sense advice. If someone was going to get a job at a park as say a life guard. You would need to work out your own transportation. Your Parks & Recreation employer would not send a driver or pay your bills so you can…work. It sounds silly even writing it but that stuff happens in our industry. The rumor that our career field is a dumping ground for broken, misunderstood souls that don’t fit into the norm is only a romantic fable. You can be quirky, unique and artistic but you must have a common denominator of respect and ability to get-it-done and NOT be a flake. I’ve met so many of those types who want to act like the art is all that matters. Well, when using other’s money and having timelines that other businesses plan and spend around – flakes are quickly removed. My advice – don’t be a flake. If you commit, follow through. We’ve talked about that before – once I commit it doesn’t matter if I agreed to $100 or $10,000 you will get my very best. I’ve corrected people who have said, they only got paid this amount so they’ll only returning this amount of effort is acceptable. WRONG. Acceptable way to remove yourself from the climb. Why? Steps behind you is a passionate, struggling artist(s) willing to give everything they have. The day I don’t give 120% on-screen is the day some other artist would have been the better choice. I pick projects and roles I love. I bring the passion every time and so should you if you want to succeed.
I always talk of the team building because I am building a team of positive artists that in a well-organized setting their best work can come forth. After “The Christ Slayer” this spring the budgets will start climbing. Rates will nudge up and some departments might add depth. I’m not a person who steps over people – I develop people. That’s part of the deal that is happening now. As we grow, if our working relationship was good positive and drama-free that invite will likely come again. Ask yourself if you were a sail or an anchor to a project. As highlighted before in pre-production one potential hire didn’t like the pay rate and rather than just a polite pass they decided to burn the bridge. I know a few other producer/directors who worked with this person and I’m curious as to their experience. I actually felt a touch bad for this person I don’t know. Because I know when too many doors close that person is often faced with finding something to support themselves with and also try to maintain happiness in a non-filmmaking field. So when presented with a paid opportunity that has the possibility of making you happy, embrace it, they are rare. Many will never make it in our industry and will be faced with that reality of “what do I do with my life” – In hindsight, I considered granting this one person a special thanks. Their public rant actually helped us making more people aware, willing and wanting to work for a sub-contracted rate, actual pay. We were offering much more most, what so many often endure and again we paid. Not just in food or copy of finished film (if ever completed) or IMDB credit. We weren’t asking other artists to CROWD FUND our movie. We simply did what we could do financially – fairly and across the board. Again I will use the life guard job as an example. If you were looking at getting hired at the public swimming pool and what they were offering didn’t work for you – would you politely decline or would you spout off to some Parks & Recreation Coordinator killing your chance of ever working there? Right…Filmmaking should be given the same respect – producers talk and “black listing” is really just coming to a sound conclusion to avoid potential troubling issues be it a poor customer service vendor, an unprepared cast member or negative or unprofessional crew. Again…be a sail NOT an anchor.
Onto other updates
CHASING THE STAR
We talked about what is happening with “40 Nights” and obviously that will also benefit the other two films in THE QUEST TRILOGY. Met on Friday with Dennis Therrian our composer and sound design and he was thrilled by the new directions taken in this film. Bret Miller and Dennis Therrian came at the project from two different places but once they met in the middle – something beautiful happened. This is true artist collaboration at its best. It stems from RESPECT. Give it, to get it. Easy lesson but many cannot grasp it. The film is in sound design and VFX and the trailer is getting close. It’s really gripping and powerful and I’m excited for audiences to see it.
Footage is being organized and I have it on good word that the first few scenes are being assembled and it’s exciting. We’ll be preparing a sneak look for our new corporate partners. The direction of creating our series took a few major steps forward. NOTE: It would be about a four-month commitment of time to produce ten shows. So we will see how this unfolds but what a great thing for Michigan if it happens. I’m so proud of the cast and crew.
The film that I acted in and helped with is making its debut at the AFM next week. If you’re a buyer looking for a cool NYC based action/thriller this film should be looked at for licensing. Look up Adler Entertainment and arrange a sit down.
Post-Production and New Development work is underway. Stay tune for many new developments.
Be good to one another.
I’m sipping at the hazelnut coffee and enjoying the early morning here in Michigan. We had a nice relaxing day up North after a very busy week of business. I want to welcome some of our new blog followers from India. Our international readers might enjoy some of the updates as we work to get more of our films to you.
I spoke about some “uninvited drama” last week. It has been put to rest. You have to seek to do that. Actually the less attention and energy you give it the better. I have a friend that I’ve known a long time. They seem to be going through an adjustment and break from a TOXIC relationship. I do note that they get into these long drawn exchanges of words. Now as someone who writes this blog, I know how much time they take to write. When people take all this additional time to debate what should not be debatable, it eats huge amounts of time with no payoff save frustration. DELETE and move on. Consider not posting things that will end up wasting your time if you are unable to IGNORE. To apply that to my life – if I was to take every critical personal attack to heart and waste all this time defending – little would get done. But in the time it would take to read or address these negatives – I’ve landed a new distribution deal. I’ve written another script scene. I’ve combed through a budget. Even a “Charlie Brown” (Whoa is me) statement will often bring a bunch of sympathy responses. Answering all those with a polite retort can eat a morning up or afternoon. So be careful what you throw out there. Someone who is feeling down and engages in such behavior risks only feeling down again for lack of productivity. Now push those feelings aside and get a list of TO DO’s done and I promise you will feel better. An issue might still exist but you did not feed it. You did not allow it to consume you. You controlled it and TCB baby! (Took care (of) business) Next time you feel like writing a short novel spewing the frustration over someones actions you can’t control – try ignoring it and taking care of yourself. Tackle that task that you’ve been putting off and I promise you – you will start to feel empowered. Less talk – more action!
To the FILMS…
THE QUEST TRILOGY
40 Nights – What can I say? My goal is that all three films will become a holiday tradition to watch. I think they have the power to do so but we will see in 20 years now won’t we. Family Video has joined our growing list of retailers and rental houses. Here is a new review that was sent over today –
I’ve heard of people watching the film multiple times for an uplift. I’ve been told of the DVD being given as a gift. I’ve enjoyed hearing what joy has come from the little film we artist created.
The second “Chasing the Star” should have its second cut. We will be reviewing this week. Things are in line with music and we will be addressing our INTRO and VFX soon! It is exciting to see it all come together and I’m so proud of our team.
I’ve started the hunt for the director of our third film, “The Christ Slayer” which despite the harsh title is a beautiful story. We’ve been dealing with returning cast and also starting to look at new artists. I will be excited to finish this trilogy next year.
Many of our CDI/CDI Associated films are expanding. Every couple of weeks we’re announcing new pathways. Let’s look at a few developing.
- “Locked in a Room” is moving into a secondary distribution including a few new foreign territories. It is already in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and it will be expanding again it looks like. This is a unique thriller by the awesome twisted mind of director Larry Simmons.
- PR this week will be announcing the return of the “Knight Chills” franchise. The new Facebook page is up although not much to it yet save the new trailer. It will release in 2017 with the book that is complete. https://www.facebook.com/KnightChills/?fref=ts
- 2017 will see several new releases as our deal making continues.
- “Ashes of Eden,” “Bestseller” and “40 Nights” continue to widen their circle of availability. This past week we announced FAMILY VIDEO carrying this trio of films.
- The CDI Classic library is now digitized and so in 2017 some of these films will enjoy their first On-Demand or Blu-Ray releases. Some special edition DVD releases will also happen in 2017. (Wicked Spring:)
We discussed “Knight Chills” and while we’ve been keeping it under tight wraps – the sequel is in active development. We’re tweaking the teaser trailer for the sequel and we’ll be doing some strong PR on this exciting event in the near future.
A Jesse Low directed western project is in active development and nearing pre-production status. It’s inspired by a project we tried to launch during the writer’s strike years ago only to have it die a slow painful death. Yes. I too have failures. The heart of the previous story will beat strongly as we move forward with this new creative team. We will have some strong announcements concerning this project in the coming weeks.
- YES both the projects could provide some Michigan casting opportunities. So as I’ve said before – we like looking at “game footage” so get your acting reels together.
Men out there, words of wisdom – IF you plan to audition for a western (which we are trying to shoot this year) LET IT GROW, LET IT GROW! Same with our biblical films as we DO NOT like fake beards/hair etc… I think it comes from one project I had an association too – it was fine enough drama but it was so distracting because it looked like someone glued beaver pelts to people’s faces. I think that scare of all that hard work suffering because an actor can’t make the commit to grow hair/beard when required. So…there you have it.
Here is another little gem with casting at CDI anyway…always feel free to send an updated reel or clip to me. But to put minds at rest – if we’ve hired you before to no issues. (You trouble makers know who you are) Providing you brought your performance A-game and you were a sail NOT an anchor, you will be considered. You are often hand delivered under the nose of a director. My phone always rings more during casting times than non but I love you all the same. I just want some of you who don’t get called to know you were likely considered. Your location vs budget, age, look etc…all can factor into decisions but ole DJ remembers his co-stars. Some of you can attest to getting the calls out of the blue – sometimes years after a discussion. But keep your materials strong and current.
While on casting let me point out one other observation. I think this is important to many of those tween talent growing into adulthood. I follow a handful of promising talent that I am impressed by but waiting for the right project. I caught a glimpse of an actress I’ve followed and almost worked with – going through a public store with a couple co-stars. They were loud, obnoxious and created a few messes. Now, I’m not a saint and I’ve been kicked out of a few stores in college BUT I was not away on business representing a project and a company. I was just disappointed because I, as a company owner look for professionals that reflect well on our casting decisions. These young ladies I’m sure had no problems talking about their project but I felt like I was watching an episode of JACKASS. I guess this works for them and they might all be great actresses but I do think they will lose out on some roles because of how they paint themselves off camera/on set and off camera/off set. Yes. Wrap is called and it’s your free time but I think some professional behavior is desired by some productions. Like ours.
Alright, I’m sure I missed a few updates but I’m going to go have another coffee and enjoy the day. Another soccer battle today. We won the last game so we’ll see if we can earn another victory.
I’m experiencing culture shock as I’m in some ritzy hotel in Charlotte NC trying to catch up on this blog. People, people, people, people…city, cement. It was just hours ago, I was nestled deep in the mountains of Maggie Valley at a special place called Robert’s Roost. I’ve always felt a draw to mountains and the Smoky’s in particular. It was almost ten years ago that I spent so much time there prepping, filming and promoting our “Ghost Town” movie. It was wonderful to spend time with friends very near and dear to my heart. I also missed some of the souls no longer with us. Their dogs Gator and Ben, the rooster Sampson and panther-headed cat Toby have all passed. On the first night we arrived at the dinner hour and after relaxed with a bon fire and the best relaxing gifts including a peach whiskey of the white variety. The next day we traveled and explored the Blue Ridge and another night of laughter and remembrance. In my guest room filled with 1800’s treasures which included sleeping each night under the tanned hide of a buffalo blanket. They’re heavy and extremely warm, so I now understand why they were in such demand to fight the frontier cold.
My mind and spirit needed the short get away. One full year of prepping, shooting and posting “40 Nights” which released (April 5th). This film released just as we were shooting the follow-up film “Chasing the Star” – which we just put into editing. To adjust to the less hectic phase of development and post production was a welcome change. While many people highly enjoy the filming journey, which I do, it’s also when you’re on alert for any number of issues that could arise. I always breathe easier once we’re in post and things are much more controllable. I didn’t want to slow development, so upon returning from Yuma, AZ – I immediately finished the first polished draft of the third film in the Quest Trilogy entitled “The Christ Slayer” shooting spring 2017. I know that this fall could also see us in production so it was a needed pause, a reset and deep breath. PEACE.
I’m going to try to use the last few days here to catch up on some calls and communications. Our thriller “Bestseller” will start releasing to nationally retailers like Family Video and also online rental/retailers. Here’s a place where our “special edition” version can be purchased.
“Bestseller” showcases the wonderful talents of Mrs. Melissa Anschutz playing the lead role. People have met her recently as Dana in “Ashes of Eden” and Mother Mary in “40 Nights” and I’m so honored to have such a talented, hard-working actor/producer following in the footsteps of the other CDI tribal members over the years. So look for this exciting thriller at your favorite retailers/rental outlets!
More Links to “Bestseller” will be appearing in these coming weeks.
If thrillers are your thing “Donors” is another film one of ours that released recently. Buy it here at one of these retailers.
Stay tuned for new updates on “Chasing the Star” and several of our upcoming projects. I feel very blessed to be on this journey. I’m aware how the years move steadily forward. I’m appreciative to be working with such talented groups of artist making these life lasting stories. I’m blessed to have met so many great people in my travels. To be blessed to see so many beautiful places. I hope that people will continue to enjoy our collective storytelling. I’ve heard from many of you directly or in reviewing our films and I’m sincerely touched. Thank you. I’m going to end this blog for today and soak up a few more quiet moments in North Carolina.
Be good to one another.
So I’m back from running around this morning. We are doing some upgrades in the house bathrooms and so we’ve been looking at options. We had breakfast while out since our like new coffee maker is acting up. We’ve only had it since Christmas so I need to check into that. Now we’re back from our errands where one of the nicest surprise was seeing an old friend of mine while out. I had that kind of day yesterday where at a certain point I was done with the business calls and emails. I made a few calls and caught up with some old friends that I had not spoken to in a while. It was nice to just chat about life and not be talking just about film business. We actually talked about DIPPER GOURDS and the garden. Last week I had a good amount to say on a few topics like social crowd funding and I’m just realizing that people usually want the easiest path. In my experience those paths rarely lead to success but maybe best they just find out themselves. Let’s discuss a few projects underway now…
“Ashes of Eden” is about to release news today or tomorrow of our expanding theatrical release and also note that we are in negotiations on our domestic DVD/VOD release for 1st quarter 2015. In is interesting to note that director Shane Hagedorn and I have been having more development discussions on what we want to do next. Here is a great recent review of the film from Canada.
As I type we have editing going on with “Bestseller” our upcoming thriller. I actually need to type an email outlining some of the work flow ahead. The pieces are all in and creative re-working of edits are underway. This will be an exciting film and I think audiences will enjoy it. We have big plans for this film which will become known to others as we move ahead.
I’ve been enjoying splitting my time between post work/distribution and development. I’ve been doing a lot of this while recharging my batteries by strengthening my connection to nature. The gardening, berry picking and general organizing has been great for me. I’ve said before that picking veggies in the garden while taking a business call usually brings good energy to both. Beyond the haggle over shells and beads there are people, artists who embrace the storytelling tradition. But they must also embrace the business. Show Biz is a tradition itself and if you don’t learn that biz side you aren’t truly IN IT. You just aren’t and if you disagree it is because you don’t get it and I’m not going to waste valuable time trying to light a candle underwater.
On that same topic we are on the cusp of several projects moving ahead to production. That is another reason I feel bliss in having no lines in my head. I’m not sorting through the complex emotional layers of a role and becoming…THE ART OF BECOMING
Many have asked what school of taught method of acting do I follow. The art of Becoming is a good name for it. Or BE THE BALL DANNY as I like to call it. “Caddyshack” fans will understand. As a lifelong martial artists I agree with the idea that every person has a unique martial art that is best for them. We are all unique and so we all should take/leave what works for us but I think focus and commitment to character is the key. Some of my bests scenes I don’t recall being there as I was living it not playing it. I know some co-stars of mine would say I have strong method ties to my process. I will always remember Mark Lacy on “Wicked Spring” bruised from me carrying him through the forest. I have a strong grip and he had bruises. To physically save someone there is no middle ground. Ask a firefighter – there is no gentle life saving carry. It is you versus exhaustion with a goal at hand. TAKE 7 – ACTION! So I have a few roles ahead that will require powerful concentration. So I’m enjoying the warm breezes and the freedom of nothing in the places where these characters are developed and grown.
Well, speaking of – I want to get outside on this beautiful day. I could go on about other issues abound like petty jealously that some of the new partners are now having with their new success. I had hoped some of these new partners would be spared what I went through a decade plus ago but sadly they are experiencing some. I shared DVD units moved on one of our titles which was 250,000+ . I simply told them that the small sample of jealous people throwing stones at you or posting negativity is nothing more than spit in the ocean. Five films from now you will still have those who regret your success so just use hate to motivate. So it doesn’t matter what field you’re in just rise above that negativity. Some who speak negativity the loudest are just attention seeking. They can’t create so they hate. Pick your side as an artist.
Off to enjoy the day. Be good to one another!