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

Posts tagged “tradition

Stoke the Inner Fire, the Art of Patience, the Circle of Producers

Coffee Cheers. I’m sipping a steaming cup of coffee and sitting here pondering the business from the past week. I’m a person who attacks things in private. You don’t or won’t find my nose stuck in a video game for hours. A five minute time out to play ROBOTRON or JOUST is an occasional occurrence. I fight everyday to gather the funds for new endeavors and to keep the business of all the other films moving forward. I’m feeling good about everything and had a few things happen this week that could be good lessons for whomever reads this.

First – CDI is not a company that pays just a few and seeks out free help in places that require highly skilled individuals. We hire as wide as we can afford which has been limited in the past few years. Increase in days expands costs across the board. We do things that others do not like lodging. Commuting when reasonable is okay but long trips on each side of a shoot day can burn someone out quick. Actors in the day before helps them to settle and focus before entering the ‘world’ we’ve created to film in. These are all costs. Over the years I’ve learned to simplify my life so that I could focus on the stories. Our money negotiated to the max with the help of many who love stories, including our sponsors, makes this possible.

Along these lines, we only can hire so many people. The producing staff often works much harder for less when and if hours are broken down. Often the effort is not worth it if the accumulation of shells and beads is the only measuring stick one has. Producers sport a point of two from the back end which is like a lottery ticket bought just in case the universe wants to reach out. It also is a badge of honor that they were part of a the “officers” who made the film happen. At CDI even an “associate producer” title is honored. Other outfits may throw around titles but at CDI is means something. For us at CDI is means representing the company. Attitude. Motivated. Experienced. As one who has coached here in the USA and overseas and as a martial arts sensei and still always a student – when someone is deemed ready they are approached. Filmmaking with tribeCDI is just that- a team, a community and a group of film warriors ready to problem solve daily to win the pieces of the puzzle.

My budgets restrict how many artists I can develop with a paycheck. Even the ones who would PA (Production assistant) free the costs are still additional with each person. We like to try and really feed people. I recall one set in Nashville in the 90’s that had a few loaves of white bread, a pack of lunch meat, mayo, mustard, ketchup and a stack of paper plates. This was for a large cast and crew. I ate it without any issues but I could see what certain actions did for a project. That one 15 min producer call that gets a sponsored meal from some great establishment is so worth it. My mind often is filled with ways to give our cast and crew a better experience. In return I just ask for their very best at their task on either side of the camera. The cast and crew can see the care and work we’ve put into our productions. Bottom line is we do care.

So in summary -I never once could demand to be on a team. I had to show my skills, develop my mind to the game and make them want me to start by my performance. In martial arts I focused on my skills and tried to effectively communicate to students below me. In time you become so valuable that they want you representing their tradition or organization. I see many lack the patience for many things of worth. It is a hard skill and one that I deal with still daily. Don’t let past failings or short-comings hold you back. That is your earned experience. Don’t be looking ahead too soon in hopes of being seen as more important. Be in the present. Be excited to learn the new lessons. Get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. 2020 was a year to test that discipline and practice what I preach. Be present. Be patient. Become the best version of you.

Another example that provides me with a nice lesson to share is – When life gets you frustrated with all the external issues turn within. If I’m out-of-tune inside, everything I try to do fumbles. I don’t see the pokey dog bone which I kick. I can’t get a software to work right (I can’t get me to work right)…you all know what I mean. Meditation. Prayer. A nature walk. Thirty minutes on a heavy bag. Tai Chi – tend your inner fire. I DON’T HAVE TIME, some will scream. But you must or time will be wasted. Like in healing there is treating the symptoms and treating the source. Focus on that inner-fire and watch how everything starts to turn around. BALANCE is achieved and by stoking the fire of the internal the external starts to change. I’ve used all this solo time to really increase that fire stoking. Take 15 or 30 minutes to change your frequency and watch what happens.

FILM UPDATES

BEST YEARS GONE – The second pass now with director Shane Hagedorn‘s refining is underway. A few notes we’re passed from the circle of co-producers to our director. I’m more inclined that maybe the first look should have came after the second pass where the director is now engaged. A rough cut is built from director notes and editor’s eye. Now a large % of my notes would be stuff that our director will address. After the director and editor do their cut I will give it another look. I look for mistakes but recognize subjective versus a mistake. I have to have confidence in my directors. Their own subjective choices play strongest – the too many cooks in the kitchen issue can exist. I’ve seen it happen but if I respect the boundaries, it sets a standard. Sometimes the closer the role is the farther I might want to be from nuisance choices in editing. That is why you take the time to match the right script to the right director. The writer and the director work through the story fully. Do not underestimate the pairing of the right story and the right director. It is a skill unto itself.

As the edit moves along we’ve made progress on upcoming merchandise and the Battle of the Bands! Exciting stuff. More stills are being batched to release. Our own Dan Chipman is working a BTS so our cast and crew can remember the crazy year of 2020. Our fellow producer and AD Nate Robertson also has a special video being worked on. We’ll be having a story/interview coming out on all that very soon. This movie is heartfelt and extremely funny. In my talks this week with our distributor I was told how much they all enjoy the humorous offsets CDI scripts have gotten known for. Meaning serious topics are discussed and when it gets a little uncomfortable it gives us humor. They used the end of the Wild Faith trailer with Ben Lily and Hester hoping they don’t need God’s help today. I was happy to report that BEST YEARS GONE will have humorous moments. Yeah. maybe a couple;)

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND I’m told has a new marketing campaign they are discussing. They want to get this film more into the mainstream. They feel it’s a great film that has a lot of play in it. The release was going to include theatrical and fest events but the Covid mucked that up a tad. But the film is being well received and has been seen by maybe a million of so people. It will find a much larger audience it just needs a bit more time.

THE QUEST TRILOGY is being treated as a series as it readies its run at Pureflix. I’m so proud of these films and I think general audiences will enjoy them. It’s a distilled down parable trying to remove all the white-noise and paint something where the dots are actually connected. Whatever your walk of life take a watch and I think you will find them vastly different from anything else you’ve watched/heard on this subject.

LOST HEART – If you want to read more on the actors from Lost Heart, see some BTS and read a few PR links please visit the new pages on http://www.cdiproductions.com – thank you David Gries. And if you still haven’t seen this film do yourself a favor. Have a laugh. Have a cry. It is truly a ray of light. Light? Strange lights in the sky? Watch the film and it will all make sense.

In wrapping this up – my week was spent doing end-of-he-year tax stuff for CDI and the films. Thank you to Dean Teaster, Melissa Anschutz, John Mashni and all the good folks at Davison & Associates. We also are working development hard. We only have a few final funding pieces to arrange on the WW2 film before full green light. We also have had more great talks on the Wild Faith spin off HASTINGS. Again it is not IF it is WHEN. We’ve been doing casting for our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA German’s and our young lead. Are you 8-12 who plays young shoot me a reel it will get looked at. Speak fluent German? Send me a reel. We’ve been having internal casting talks and we’ll be announcing as soon as we move into pre-production. I’m also looking at portfolios for paint on glass or digital matte artists. Fun, fun stuff! Beautiful falling snow. Time for some more coffee. Have a great week.

Be good to one another!

DJ


Free Tea Tree and Thanksgiving Updates

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A light dusting of snow covers the ground and I’m sipping at the hazelnut coffee (not sponsored yet) and reflecting back on my busy week. I want to welcome our Romanian and Indian readers to the blog. On the Indian front we’re having some great conversations about getting some of the CDI films there and also about a few collaborations on scripts we have.

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Speaking of sponsors – Maple Holistics approached me about possible endorsement. I have a select list of products that I’ve got deals with. These often are passed down to our cast and crew in the form of gifts such as our awesome product from The Candleberry Company. I used the tea tree shampoo for this past week and I have to say I like it. I liked the texture, the tingle and it left my hair feeling very clean. You too can try for yourself and they’ve provided me a link below. Enjoy. Tell them DJ Perry sent you:)

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We also had a Viking Tuesday taking the axe and splitting some wood for the office stove. Winter will be coming in full force and we’ll be ready. Onto the films shall we?
FORTY NIGHTS 
BIG SCREEN!
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Miller’s Historic theater in Bedias, Texas playing FORTY NIGHTS and we follow-up with a December showing of CHASING THE STAR. Both these films are now on Amazon Prime and it’s exciting to have new fans contact about the films daily. I can be contacted directrly about big screen public licensing.
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So many great people participated and now others are getting to just EXPERIENCE them. These adventures have something for everyone – it matters not what path you walk. It is a great Christmas story maybe a bit more like the old Chuck Heston films in that they are not all sugar-coated. Now I have not seen STAR the new animated film about the birth of Jesus but the clips I saw had King Herod as a silly man. I think many people have eliminated the realty of a world under a tyrant ruler like Herod. We have one venue decide our film was too dark in tone. No sex or real violence but also not jingle bells or even one snowflake on the screen. I’m happy because much like THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, our film paints a harsh reality on the telling of that story but might create more understanding of the gravity of the situation. Where a lack of story once existed around the wise men – manifesting in lawn idols and contrived moments that only served to summarize the event. I think we put the stakes into a much more realistic context and gave plausible faces to the magi. Decide for yourself and help make these films part of your Christmas tradition. Next year will come Part 3 THE CHRIST SLAYER and that films is preparing to move into music and sound design in Jan 2018.
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Now for THE CHRIST SLAYER to go into post another is coming out…WILD FAITH.
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This post Civil War 1800’s tale is almost done. The visual time line minus end credits is locked with VFX. The audio is being tweaked and mixed. Color Correction is being set up for next week. This film is getting CLOSE! It will be done by the end of the year and we’ll be looking at all our options with this fine film property.
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Additionally we’ve been in deal making mode on many of the CDI library. CDI and myself manage the Civil War film WICKED SPRING produced originally by CDI’s former sister company in Virginia. The new release will celebrate the passing of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. It will also be a nice release to a new audience in this digital age along with a 60 min doc that shows how a group of young filmmakers made this epic independent film. Follow us here for all the updates – https://www.facebook.com/CivilWarMovies/
Some of the past films looking at expanded distribution in 2018 include ASHES OF EDEN, BESTSELLER, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ. Also many of the titles will be rolling out to foreign territories.
This week I also plan to release the WILD MICHIGAN book. This was my original screenplay before budgetary adjustments. This will be launching in time for Christmas. It will make a good holiday gift.
And if you like Christmas stories that are unconventional
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KNIGHT CHILLS is a PG-13 scary Christmas time tale which can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many fine retailers.
MBF (Man’s Best Friend)
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The bank account is open and we’ve started to fuel the ship up. We’re still in discussions with a few backers as we roll forward. I’ll be following up to get people’s paperwork this coming week. This great film is drawing some strong attention with its themes of military vets and dogs. We’ll be announcing more cast in the forthcoming weeks.
Several scripts submitted for collaboration/association are under consideration. For those that don’t know that means funded properties that are seeking production supervision and casting/crewing/distribution work. Also this week I had communications with a few major studio/networks over properties. I’m trying to put the pieces in play for the next handful of years. It was nice to catch up on a few calls this week with friend/associates. I know some of you out there are due a call and trust me I’m making my way down the list. I’m going to close this up as I still have some things to do today so that my start of the week will be solid.
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Those that like to follow my brewing/wine making – the Ida’s Wine (rhubarb and mulberry) came out REALLY good. One of my favorites. The Green Goblin 3.0 is about to get racked to secondary and I might immediately start a new batch. I have some produce to use up from the freezer because we have incoming venison. Venison and 4H pork is about the extent of our meat-eating. Some chicken and fish get peppered into the diet.
So, next week I hope you spend some time with friends and family and not just on the day. Try some free tea tree shampoo. Watch a few holiday friendly films and be thankful. I’ll chat you all up next week. As always, thank you for stopping by.
DJ

Peace, Purpose and Progress!

Getting Along

It is a peaceful Saturday and I’ve finally gotten a chance to sit down and spend a few moments with all of you. This last week was extremely full of meetings, handing off of materials, in-studio work and many other matters of business. But let’s take a moment to discuss the topic everyone is speaking on.

I think that most of the headlines are currently focused on the terrible happenings in France. We can watch the misery and yet it still feels distant until it hits home. I remember how I felt when one of my best friends from the neighborhood growing up – got caught in that Boston bombing. He suffered some wounds but nothing too severe. I would guess the thoughts of that day would be the worst. But I imagine my pain had he died or lost limbs like so many. We watch on TV these masses of people fleeing savage behavior in their homeland, but imagine it was yours. I wonder where or when we all failed? Where tribes of people with differing beliefs exalted themselves above one another using their religion as justification. I believe if people truly anticipated a final judgement of sorts that was based upon how they lived their lives and treated people –  the world could be a better place. So much violence being inflicted over something as simple as differing opinions on paths of faith.

Alien Hunters

As the possibility of life on other planets becomes more real versus just science fiction – perhaps that will change things. Now some scientists realistically fear attracting higher life forms, like alien hunters. Maybe if another life form started seeing all mankind as something to be harvested, removed or eliminated – maybe our little differences between us would lessen. Religion should be about tradition and something intimate between a person and who/what gives them their peace and purpose. I don’t like to talk judgmental politics or religion – my place is as a storyteller. But violence against innocent people is once again just a horrible example of the worst that mankind has to offer. It’s been happening for a long time to many tribes all over the world. This recent tragedy is just a current reminder of how horrible we can be to one another. If a religion pits people versus people it was likely created by people to serve people – not divinity. If your organized religion endorses this  lack of tolerance – question the source.

Enough of that topic. Let’s look at some of the movie updates from the week.

On Set ASHES OF EDEN

“Ashes of Eden” – Some wonderful PR rolling out this week. That is the extent I’m allowed to talk about it for now.

DJ Perry as author Mark Franklin

DJ Perry as author Mark Franklin

“Bestseller” – Artwork with the distributor has started and I believe our national street date will be March 2016. Meanwhile we’re traveling to Grayling, MI next. That might be followed by Kalamazoo and the Detroit area.

“Donors” is releasing Feb. 2nd, 2016. EXCITING!

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Jesus (DJ Perry) in the upcoming “40 Nights”

“40 Nights” the distributor and marketing teams have started work on marketing materials. I do believe Wal-Mart is assisting with the marketing art so we know they’re one of the participating retailers. Tomorrow we’ll release the 1st of a series of short teasers. Meanwhile we have music and sound design still full speed ahead. VFX work is finishing up so we can lay it all in and color correct. The next couple weeks we PUSH hard!

The “Chasing the Star” script was the center of meetings this week. We also have been doing a good amount of west coast casting since we’re shooting in AZ. We’ve been excited by some of the reads we’ve seen and we’ll be announcing some new casting choices this week. The business paperwork will be signed this month and we’ll start putting paper under people next month. In time for a Merry Christmas with this Christmas themed film.

I’ve got final paperwork for the distribution of the “Knight Chills” book and film. A comic book/graphic novel could also go into play. The sequel script is being worked on and may get some attention once I finish this. “From Venus” might also get this treatment.

AN ORDINARY KILLER

“An Ordinary Killer” is getting remastered to prepare for a re-release. It will be the film showing Nov. 19th at our Sanctuary Spirits mixer. That is in Grand Ledge, MI and there is an event page on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/events/187821044889028/

If you want to come meet some other actors, filmmakers and enjoy great distilled spirits come join us.

Lastly, I’ve got an NDA to sign and return. I’ve got a company sending me a book and script for an upcoming 2016 project. We will see:) I’m excited about the 2016 CDI western we’re doing with “40 Nights” director Jesse Low. Overall,  I’m trying to have a productive end to 2015 and get ready for a great 2016!

Have a great weekend and be good to one another.

DJ