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

Posts tagged “titles

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

mug1

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!

IMG_3847.jpg

I have had much better luck getting booze sponsors vs coffee

GOALS

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.

WIDE

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 

A056_C002_0320IW

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.

Outlaws

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.

Spirit of Excellence

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!

IMG_7795

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!

image1-1

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.

img_28581

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.

Asking Forgiveness

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.

image2

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.

Jesus Still

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.

MISC.  

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


Know your Goals for 2019

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 9.03.55 AM

Sunny Sunday in Michigan although it is beyond chilly and only going to get colder. I’m happy to be up and about after a week of being under the weather. I was sick with a touch of the stomach bug that was going around when I was finishing post work on THE CHRIST SLAYER. A week of healthy and I got hit with a come and go fever riding with a head cold. I was mainly just achy and weak with sinus pressure and a deep cough. Now only a touch of the cough remains. I dislike being sick (who does?) as I always have lots going on.

Master copy

I recently had an invite to be on camera for a young director I really like. I had to turn down his offer because it did not come with money. On the same day, I had six hours of business tax prep work that I did instead. That’s why I see some merit and perhaps fun in the hobby-side of the filmmaking game going on but it’s truly such a vast different game from what a few others are doing.

I think I have to just accept that filmmaking for some is like playing golf. They don’t play in the pro circuit earning but just enjoy swinging the clubs with friends. But if you do have your eye on the pro circuit you need to direct your energy and efforts towards that and those who are striving to that end.  The longer you play in the hobby arena that’s lost time where you’re not prepping for the big game. You’re not learning the lessons that come with the true business of filmmaking.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 1.25.25 PM copy

Crowdfunding in film with only a few exceptions is just playing. It hurts many who never learn to pitch or to earn. I see people spouting with no idea of securities law just shotgunning for investors. People tote in their PR being professional but ride without insurance or workman’s comp. They’ve never done all the accounting, the 1099’s and K-1’s1099 and everything that comes with being a professional filmmaker. Now some will evolve but most will not. If you don’t have your chain of titles and releases, no major distributor will want to touch your endeavor.

team-at-cabin

I’ve stated that I work very hard on the business and still make the occasional mistakes. That is part of learning. So when I see people not even trying to step up business-wise it’s sad. Artistic talent that could grow into more is hampered by the business or lack there of. I’m wishing you all luck, sincerely. I want to see castings that pay more that IMDB credit and food. I would love to work a few days here and there on projects with new artists but their business has to be there. Otherwise it’s all just pretend. So when your career is not going how you want it stop pretending you don’t know why and look at what you’re doing. It’s kind of along the lines of that doing the same thing and expecting different results. Make 2019 different!

ledges

I had a conversation with a fellow filmmaker about a few recent postings. If someone says in their listing, ANY EXPERIENCE or NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED – pass and pass. That is a red flag of the quality of work. What they’re willing to accept. That might be okay for a community theater posting but don’t look for professional talent to come knocking. I know what we look for and it’s not Uncle Pete who thinks he wants to try something new. Or someone just looking to fill their spare time. So pending your own goals, vet the opportunities.

I do occasionally watch videos of artists as we’re always looking for possible additions to the CDI tribe. Most often in these videos I see inconsistent quality because of holes in cast or crew experience, poor story or inferior equipment. I’ve seen aspiring talent that puts something forth that frames themselves poorly.  I’m not trying to knock anyone as we all start somewhere and I’ve been through it all. I recently saw someone spotlighted in a post. I don’t know this person but they often post about their projects.  So I take the time to click thinking I might get a glimpse at what they can do in front of a movie camera. Instead I get cheesy selfies being used as promotional material. To someone who doesn’t know this person it doesn’t say hire me, it says waster of time. And it frames the person in a poor light – literally.

IMG_1732

That’s my little insight and I hope a few of you use it to better your year. One solid project is better than 5 weak projects in terms of exposure. OK. Let’s look at a few CDI film updates.

A050_C008_0318MH

THE CHRIST SLAYER is DONE! This film is not the largest budget project I’ve supervised but in scope it was a beast. We had VFX happening in Canada which included digital matte’s and model building. Sound design in period pieces is always harder since you have to shrub any sounds that don’t belong. The same goes for visuals. This film was delivered last week and it will play theatrical events in April. It will be available on the lead up to Easter both on DVD March 4th and streaming after that. If it plays in a city near you please treat yourself to seeing this on the big screen. I will let you know when theatrical show dates appear.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MG14J9H?pf_rd_p=c2945051-950f-485c-b4df-15aac5223b10&pf_rd_r=RR5B558MHVKGDDJ2GE4H

coming-to-town

In March WILD FAITH will also be hitting theaters across the USA before releasing to home video. I also think we’ll be getting the new artwork very soon.

With both of these films finished we’ll be turning our attention to MBF. The Animal Planet promo was viewed over 420,000 times and I do hope they run the show next season where Duncan visited the set in Corunna, MI. We’re close to our first edit. From there a few tweaks and onto music and sound design. We’ll be delivering the film June 30th to the distributor. It looks like a theatrical followed by the home video run.

c 3

DEVELOPMENT of the new CDI films is underway. We’ll be launching the IMDB and putting our summary packages together. LOST HEART is next up so stay tune.

Okay. I’ve got a pork roast in the crock pot. I’m going to go check on that and do a few other things to get ready for the week ahead.

Have a great Sunday and we’ll chat next week.

DJ

 


Father’s Day – Sunday Chat

GasperArzu

The coffee is fresh and hot and I’m sitting here in the lazy boy with all of you on this fine Sunday morning. I want to welcome new readers from the Czech Republic to the blog. I love that as the movies expand our circle of artists expands. The garden got some much-needed rain and is growing fast. We’re already enjoying lettuce for salads and on sandwiches. Also the large dead elm tree we had dropped is finally cleaned up. I spent a few meetings going outside  and slowly feeding the outside chiminea and organizing the logs. Wood does not get wasted with the wood stove in the office and in the winter you need it. Also the siding is purchased and has been picked up to do the upper part of the office. I have a small bday/CDI gathering coming up so I did not want to try to do that this week. It will be a nice bday present to myself. I got to watch two good films this week that we’re not my own. One was “Wonder Woman” and I really enjoyed the film. It featured great action, locations and the production design for WW1. I also finally watched “In the Heart of the Sea” directed by my good friend’s son Mister Ron Howard. A great peek at life during that time period and how some thrived and fought to survive by the sea. It was said to be the inspiration behind MOBY DICK. I might have to try and tackle that book again. I fell asleep many times with that film on my chest trying to read it. Two very different films but both had great glimpses into other periods of time.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 1.14.12 PM

Let’s talk development first. I’ve been working hard to put everything in order here at CDI as all these great films roll out. Even other older titles are finding new life as people discover our films and potential $ still locked into some of them. The new slate of films I’m working on with the studio is coming nicely but I require another 12 month slate of smaller films until that deal can get going fully. So I might use this time to produce a few films that distributors have been asking for.

KNIGHT CHILLS

The symbol of the KNIGHT CHILLS franchise.

Knight Chills the film that kicked off CDI in the late 90’s has grown into a bit of a cult classic. It has been turned into a book that will release on paper and digital this Summer. It will be sold at Comic Cons as well with Source Point Press. I’ve written three sequel scripts now but the first two were too high of budget for what that small little film did. I did discover that it sold with Spectrum Films much better than we thought. The company liquidated and went under and we never recouped all our profits. The film sold again with another minor horror distributor and released to several countries. The bottom line is that a friend of mine in the Comic Con circuit via films, comics, books and graphic novels was a big fan of the film. He asked to write a book off the screenplay and we set up distribution with his Source Point Press. I’ve always thought the entire ‘idea’ could be a great franchise. I think this winter we’ll shoot the sequel. It’s a fun romp in the vein of TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL. They want to do a book on the sequel and expand into graphic novels. Not bad for a little film thought up by the Kennedy’s and I all those years ago.

IMG_3212.JPG

I’ve also finished a first draft of a new script we’ll produce either this Fall or next in Michigan. The working title is “Man’s Best Friend” and I feel it’s a powerful piece that will find a broad audience. We’ll soon start doing some advance casting trying to find a few of the required roles. I’ve been identifying the 3 new films in THE CONQUEST TRILOGY the BMG follow-up to THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) that will film once again in AZ. I’m also setting up talks with a few entities about the Wild Faith TV series. A few discussions also over literary representation after writing/producing the last 4 films. I’ve done several work-for-hire writing jobs in the past including adapting books to script. Soon I’ll be throwing my hat into the ring with some large production companies. I love to write and so I might get the right team behind me.

Let’s look at a few new updates on the CDI film front.

IMG_2918

Forty Nights – I’ve had several buyers, promoters and PR companies contact me over this film and our trilogy and I’ve directed them over to our distributor. I think we’re just at the tip of the iceberg with these films.

A071_C003_0322BZ

The Christ Slayer – This past week we got to see the 1st cut of the film. It was moving to see the 3rd film in this trilogy there on the screen. The film with no color correction, minus VFX and with minimal sound clean up was still beautiful. I also got to see the difference between Jesus in “Forty Nights” and now “The Christ Slayer” to fully see the evolution of the character. That can be said about several of the characters. They have started building some of the VFX modeling since we brought on our VFX folks. We had to get a special piece of equipment from New Zealand and that finally got worked out. Two scenes are still being worked but it will be a worthy add to the trilogy.

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 9.10.54 AM

Chasing the Star – the film is delivered to our distributor and it is already creating positive dialog. See – http://lenovotips.net/news/The-Star-of-Bethlehem/

I’m excited to see this film pushed during the Christmas holiday season. It’s truly a biblical adventure that I think will help make that story seem more based in reality. I’ve said in many interviews that I wanted to take people behind the figurines of 3 wood or plastic nativity scene wise men and make them breath. I think we’ve done just that and while the film is darker in tone it paints the picture of why a celestial Messiah was sought after. Pre-Order this title when you can and prepare for an adventure.

outlaws

Wild Faith – VFX work and sound design has been underway. Once music is applied this film is truly going to be something special. I love the film also because of all the special people involved in the making. We stayed in little lake side cabins and created this beautiful story. I do sincerely think that this film is a beginning of something more.

Well, I have a full day. A short flea market stop followed by a visit with my dad. Later if the fields hold we have a soccer match to play. I want to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and father-like figures out there who mentor and guide.

Have a great day and be good to one another.

DJ