Photo by Graham Turner
I’m sitting here sipping my hazelnut coffee. I have lots on my mind. Artist or those who follow the dream of being an artist as a career start young. Many fail because the endeavor is hard. Not that many other things aren’t difficult but many just don’t fully “get” the artist mindset. As a young person it can be you against the world with little to lose and everything to gain. That is why many make their run at it by often moving away or by making personal sacrifice in hopes of gaining a foothold.
As you get older that dream may still persist but also life may lead you in other directions. People fall in love, become parents and sometimes they cannot keep up the battle financially. The significant others brought into this circle often battle to understand and be supportive. I’ve said before, when I get an opportunity to do what I love it creates a hardship of sorts for my significant other. Domestic tasks usually handled by two now fall upon the shoulders of one. But living with a frustrated artist can also be a detrimental state.
That is why you always see so many ‘special thanks’ in the end credits of a film. The “others” help a film get made usually by holding down the fort. Everyone has an artistic side to their nature but it’s those of us who are truly driven by it like a compulsion, an addiction to create who take a special someone. Many artists live in isolation of being truly understood. But there exists those who recognize and respect and love these traits in an artist and support them despite the hardships. These people are special and deserve to be recognized.
One of our close producer/actors at CDI just lost their special other. An intelligent and practical man whose art manifested through his cooking. Some cook and some make it an art and this gentlemen made it art. He actually did some craft service duties for us last fall on an upcoming short film. The director loved how positive and helpful he was and I think he finally was really getting it. It can be hard for the significant others to not be in that bubble. To see but not share in that enthusiasm that radiates from artists doing what their heart calls them to do. But on this occasion he was part of it. He felt it. The TRIBE. He enjoyed the experience so much that further talks followed whereas this might become more of a norm but alas it was not meant to be.
Saturday night just before the big lightning and thunder storm he went home, a tragic victim of an aggressive cancer. His last words were “you always think you have more time.” How profound and true these words are and they should be a wake up call to some and a reinforcement to others. These words inspired and haunted me but ultimately encouraged me to cherish the time we have here. To appreciate the people we share our time and lives with. So quit that miserable job and run that charter fishing business if that is what you always wanted to do. Don’t put off writing that book that has been in your head since college. Embrace the now and know time is fleeting. I think I have always tried to follow my passions and use my time wisely. Because one day our own sands of time will trickle down the hourglass and the journey will be done.
Let’s talk my favorite passion – storytelling and my favorite medium film.
BEST YEARS GONE – This story has been in heavy development with casting, costuming and consulting. We are looking at going old school by breaking the shoot up into a few shorter blocks grouping together scenes that require less and more. This is more like filming in the earliest days but will allow us to better control the size of the crew on certain days and damage control should we have any virus issues. I’ve just about got a handle on my character and others have been doing the same. It is now almost time to start getting those puzzle pieces/scenes. I think audiences will love this film again a powerful mixture of serious issues wrapped in humor. Life can be tragic but it can also be funny and sometimes both. This film captures that and we will once again be proud to bring that to audiences worldwide.
WILD FAITH – Worldwide this film has been expanding and is being viewed by millions of people. I think this is a great film again serious and humorous and is proving to be enlightening. I’ve read just some amazing fan mail about this movie. I’m so proud to say that all this attention and appreciation is building our audience to the TV series. We will be working hard over the winter to put the pieces in play. A spring 2021 shoot schedule would be ideal and I think it might all fall together. While it might not be everyones cup of tea (as if anything is) it is loved by many. Thank you to all the fans worldwide.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – I had several people reach out having finally got around to seeing this film. I’m guessing maybe it had something to do with National Dog day. This film is a bit more intense than some of the other CDI fare that has a good dose of humor but the subject matter required it. If you love animals and want to see a powerful drama please do take a watch.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – We’re prepping this trilogy for the holiday window fast approaching but you can watch at anytime. Part 1 FORTY NIGHTS, Part 2 CHASING THE STAR and Part 3 THE CHRIST SLAYER – enjoy!
LOST HEART – Our distributor has approved the EPK kit and so PR will start rolling soon. We have several of our stars doing national spots and the planning for our cast and crew screening is full on. Our goal is to have millions tune in for a one-night only event via ENCOURAGE TV. This will be an event with pre-show interviews and well wishes. Following that event the film will move to an exclusive window with one of the many interested networks and finally home video streaming and DVD. I was speaking with Josh “The Ponceman” Perry who is one of our stars yesterday. He absolutely owns the screen but I could say that about so many of the cast. I’m excited to show our artists and after that – the world!
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – Our in association documentary film about the origins of wrestling is underway. If you have an interest in wrestling and want to see how you could get involved feel free to reach out. We are gathering interviews and will make a great entertaining and informative film.
WRAP UP – The film work keeps moving forward. This weekend has been busy as we know have a coop with our “golden girls” getting adjusted. We fired up the new stand up freezer and stocked it with the pig and transferred over the venison. I also bottled the dark “Autumn Ale” and will likely rack the wine in the next week or so. The garden is growing with the fall veggies and even the hops are getting close. So I’ve felt a bit like a farmer as of late but I find it all very relaxing. I will leave us again with that powerful truth that we always think we have more time. So if you have things you want/need to do don’t keep pushing it off. DO IT.
Be good to one another and I’ll see you all in September:)
Good morning everyone! It has been a very interesting week. I will start by saying I am at least in part a person who enjoys ‘alone’ time. I always say the brainstorms and excitement comes in those meetings with friends and peers. But what really matters is when we are alone what happens. I’m like a multi-tasking little bee moving from one task to the next. Some people shut down once they have nobody there but I ramp up. In my solo days when struggling more in the industry I was a workaholic. I had family and friends worried and plenty of doubters and haters from the masses. I’m a fully committed artist and feel ‘best’ is subjective so I always strive for truth and unique. Those are things I can control. There is a secret there. Don’t be driven crazy fixated on what you cannot control. Work with what you can control. I’ve been behind on my emails and business since we shot LOST HEART. I’m using this time to really organize everything. This goes for the office also. I’ve got sheets of new ideas to implement in the coming years. So how you spend or waste your time is under your control. As it gets warmer the yard zen will be in full effect. PS: Welcome new readers from Japan, Bulgaria and Australia – cheers. So my point is you can spend vast amounts of time plugged into the 24/7 update machine or put some music on and get stuff done. If you spend this time organizing, planning and prepping when the fog lifts some will be relieved and some will be ready. I promise you I will be ready. I urge all of you to do the same. You can check in morning, noon and night if need be but don’t live the agenda of fear and pause. Let this situation make you afraid not to live.
This self imposed isolation marks an interesting place for an observer like myself. This marks a time when the value of life is being placed above the economics. Economics aren’t removed because the crippling financial effects would have happened slowly out of control. By halting certain businesses the action is controlled and damage can be mitigated but not removed.
This points out an interesting point – people in authority are expected to bring about certain changes but they are expected to do so flawless – impossible. Every transition will and does have casualties. How do you fix a situation? It’s a classic Star Trek moment – the engine room is on fire and going to destroy the ship. Spock contains and changes but at a great personal loss. Many world problems don’t have clean solutions and that creates ongoing suffering. I often refer to HUMANITY NET – what we all require regardless of anything else about us. Clean water, food and air – healthcare? These world issues are giving us as humanity a test run. World cooperation is underway, not without flaws but what is? Expectations? I remember feeling bad after 9-11 as reporters hammered the FBI, asking if they dropping the ball. Like watching the end zone pass dropped and keep asking if they dropped the catch. You know they did. Why keep asking silly questions? So as many deal with this for the first time – it isn’t flawless but people are trying and working very hard. We can come out of this better as humanity. I see glimpses just behind the tee-pee hoarders greed and the “must add politics” to everything. We will see.
- First here is a bunch of teaser trailers and behind the scenes videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtJJRsD49k5DsNq11BD_40g
- Tomorrow I’m doing an interview with Isaac Hernadez about CDI and our scripts/films.
- I heard word that the India thriller “Karma: Crime, Passion and Reincarnation” is coming to USA streaming. Stars Carl Weyant from “The Christ Slayer” and maybe that DJ Perry guy:)
- I’m trying to arrange a few watch parties of CDI films that will have a Q&A session after. We will see as I must talk with our computer folk.
- I’ve got two different people talking about hiring some script work we’ll see – either way writing is happening.
- Good meetings last week on ‘Best Years Gone’ and we’ll be announcing our Director of Photography this week. Looking forward to working with this person again!
- Thank you to all for the fan mail on The Quest Trilogy, MBF, Wild Faith it truly makes my day. You all make my day and it keeps me moving forward.
- We are working on some new exciting releases and merchandise for 2020.
It is still chilly here in Michigan but I will be getting stuff done on this fine day. If you know some people sitting at home who might want to join our weekly time together – http://www.djperryblog.com
My closing statement is this – as much as I appreciate my solo time and get lots accomplished in those moments- I’m missing my family, friends and associates and I look forward to meeting with all of you soon. Use this “social fast” time to organize yourself.
We had a nice day of sunshine yesterday and that allowed us to get outside and do a little bit of yard clean up. Today the weather is back to wet and overcast but tis the way in Michigan. In a few short weeks we’ll be back in Yuma, AZ to film our third installment in THE QUEST TRILOGY. Let’s examine those films and the journey that these projects take.
The Christ Slayer
The bank account is open and the finalizing of people’s paperwork and getting their investment into the bank is always a task. People are busy but we work on tight timelines. We only have a few units to assign before we’re a fully functional battle station. Paperwork between crew started this week and next week some paperwork on talent will begin. Right now rooms, flights for the pre-prod team are the priority of the production office.
On cast we’re waiting for our schedule this week so we’ll know how many days talent will be required. Casting has been mostly a joy but you always get to those few hard choices. This past week we came to a few casting decisions after some healthy back and forth. We finalized casting on one of our last co-stars, a supporting role and a few featured roles from the AZ area. Each artist brings their unique talents to the screen. I’m so excited about the casting choices that were made.
I’m also happy that because of distribution being in place we don’t need to drop any ‘lure castings’ as I call them. That’s less than ideal casting but it’s done with the possibility that it may help grab the attention of a distributor. I understand why this is done but it can have a backlash. Distributors we’ve spoken with will tell you that certain names are known but they’ve become known for less than inspired product. They spoke of the flood of films that basically takes (Insert animal) and (Insert Holiday) add (Insert lure casting) and repeat. Now, I respect the fact that it’s a business model but I need more to invest myself in. I need a story that means something to me deeply.
“On schedule, on budget and our projects bring high artistic value.” That’s how we’re described by distributors and why we’ve been developing our ongoing business. I’ve said it before, you need to streamline your operation so that you can work with marketing teams whose job is to put the film into the marketplace. No excuses.
As I’ve done before I’ll give you a hint to the upcoming casting along with a story. First one of the roles WAS hard to find because it possesses a quality you can’t easily manufacture. In this case it was the “innocent role” which in “Forty Nights” was our T-Rex/Moses and in the upcoming “Chasing the Star” was filled by the amazing actor Logan Kishi. Thinking outside the box led me to looking at a certain spectrum of talent. From there I saw an actor who shared by last name. I looked at his materials along with dozens of others actors but kept coming back to the one with the famous last name:) His humor was right on point with the writing and he had that IT factor people talk about. In moving down the road in the casting process we discovered this talent had a sibling who also is an established actor. Another read for another role and BAM it has become a family affair. I’m excited that these two siblings will get to share in this journey together. People may assume I’m casting from family but I’ve never met these two brothers with the cool last name:) If we are related it’s buried up in the in the limbs of the ole family tree.
Two local actors who’ve participated with us before in Yuma, AZ have landed featured extra parts that while small are very important. (As all roles are) I’m sure they’re excited to be participating and we’re excited to have them.
In summary – We’re moving forward strong. I’ve been spending time with the story and it’s a joy to be able to imagine the talent in the roles on the page I’m reading. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. I am also looking forward to a little sunshine and Mexican food!
Chasing the Star
I’ve been assembling information for our end credits. This week we’ll also start moving over photo elements to the distributor. We should get our street date set in the coming weeks. I’m excited for audiences to get their first peek at the film. I’m trying to make it possible for our friends at Champion Church to see the film before we roll cameras on “The Christ Slayer”. They’ve helped us in so many ways as part of our Yuma team and I like to give them a special treat as a thank you.
The Easter stuff is slowly making its way out and that brings us closer to the 4/4/17 release date. The nice part about this release is that we’ll create a nice flow between the releases of the three films.
Once “The Christ Slayer” releases around Easter 2018 my hope is to see the three films play together or over three nights on television. I’m anxiously awaiting the new artwork which I hope to see this week. Fingers crossed.
Lisa Lauren Smith drives the drama as Haddie in #WildFaith
We’ve had many people reaching out about this film. I sincerely think we’ve got some gold with this film. The energy while making it was just powerful and cast and crew alike brought their A game. This week we’ll be seeing the first full cut of the story. I would say I’m excited but that would be an understatement. Keep following us and I’ll keep you updated after the first watch.
I’m not going to wax on about development at this time. Truth is I have much to turn my attention to and so I will cut this short. All of us artists appreciate your time and attention and in a few short weeks and months ahead we hope to entertain, educate and inspire you with your stories. That is an artist’s hope.
Be good to one another.
A quiet morning of sipping coffee and reflecting on the past week. On the domestic front this week saw Lions and MSU football kick off to victory. The garden is giving tomatoes, peppers and some beans in abundance. I bottled up the fall brew beer that I’ve named AUTUMN AMBER and is tastes good and with some age it will get even better. We used the smoker on some chicken and it came out great! So on the personal level I’ve been enjoying the slow transition from summer to fall. Let’s discuss some business shall we.
First I’ve noticed that some of the things happening in the our local film community will evolve on their own. My personal “community” is composed of doers from every state and other country’s creating art and telling stories to enlighten and educate the masses. We’ve discussed many of the issues that our state faces and I’m sure that is represented in every film community in every state. There are some that are chasing fame and working cons to try to grab a foothold. As I’m about to shoot a thriller this Oct. that is a complete re-shoot due to mismanagement I see that some of the individuals responsible are just moving to the next “mark”. Some are following their same game of deceit and bamboozling. I did step in to give warning to one young man who seems bent on getting ahead by any means. I just saw his attempted involvement with two other filmmakers that I call a friend. So I had to bring that to light because I don’t want to see others have their passion films damaged. Be real and build a real career on real effort and work. Not claiming “uncredited” work on studio projects or falsely adding or promoting yourself as being part of something you are not. I gave my warning but for you out there hiring or collaborating – you must also beware. Talk to people who have worked with these people prior. Remember like a job interview they are looking to say what they think you want to hear. A good speaker can bullshit a lot of people and you often won’t realize until it is too late. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way earlier in my career as well. I’ve got a finely tuned bullshit meter but we all can be a victim.
We are about to start signing deal memos on “Bestseller” in the coming weeks. We’ve been in talks with vendors and I’m excited about what this group of artists will create. I’ve been spending some time with my character role and looking forward to bringing this to life. Some of my contacts in Hollywood are now becoming aware of what we are shooting and we will be bringing a few actors in to work with our mid-west talent. They have had some great feedback on our revamped script and we are doing our production breakdowns. This should be a very smooth shoot and a great way to end the year. So prepare for a new website and PR on some of our great talent attached.
ASHES OF EDEN! The film is in final sound design and scoring and we are on course for a November Michigan premiere. Before that audiences will get a strong look at our film via a theatrical trailer which will release tomorrow! I’m excited about showing people a peek of this powerful film. I’m going off survey responses from our test audiences. We also have submitted and may have a few known music artists joining our talented local music acts. I’m excited to again show our interested distributors our new marketing piece. I also excited to show all of you!
BENJAMIN has been re-cut with distributor feedback and retitled THE TERRORIST. All the talk from over there in that camp is that we also have something very special. So this is another film that I’m excited to get out to audiences. Another riveting drama.
SUPERMODEL SHOWDOWN. The question of if this TV series is going to strike a fancy has been answered. We did a promo piece and that was shown to 3 different parties all of which responded positive. One responded so positive that it was a board room showing in London and we have an offer coming in next week. The negotiation process starts but we do have a fun, entertaining show and this might be a great start for CDI TV. Will I end up producing a few reality shows? Maybe. We will see.
I also have a TV series in development with a major studio that could be great fun. This is my first time working within this TV studios development process but I will learn from it I’m sure. If it happens it would have me co-starring in my first TV series. I know I’ve avoided that prior but this would have me on the writing/producing team so I re-considered. It still could fall apart or get shelved but so far so good.
Many of our scripts are in development pipelines being evaluated by money sources. I think 2014 will surely see a handful of these get made. I’m enjoying this time of productivity. Some is from work previously done finally coming to and some are new growth. EVOLUTION is the word I’ve been in meditation on. I can roll with whatever the universe brings because I know that it is all just evolving energy. I see great storytelling ahead.
So as you can see I can be concerned about issues in our local circles but I cannot get overly invested. Those overselling themselves to the inexperienced will continue to do so. Those chasing that 15 minutes of fame by the “fake it to make it” technique will continue for some. Others will continue to not see true opportunities presented to them and do things half-ass so they can move quickly to the next venture out of desperation. I was inspired watching a PBS doc yesterday on the torch passing between film and digital. The passion of storytelling by storytellers is the underlying golden thread. That is where I belong. That is who I am. The same child like artist who first picked up a camcorder to start telling little stories. I’ve matured in business from good mentors and experience good and bad. My wanting to bring our art to the wider world that only happens with distribution and dependent upon good business has pushed me forward. So I do care a lot about those around me. But I can only be a compass by example alone. I cannot and will not take part in a bunch of drama that I read about daily on all these social media outlets. While others talk I’ve always been one taking action and I have to stay that course. The artists that work with me will always get my best. I don’t understand and can’t try to understand those others. So I will keep tending my garden, loving and laughing with true friends and family and telling stories. That is all I can do. So I implore those out there to always give more than someone paid you for. Always give your best and use the passion inside you. Don’t sell yourself out for shells and beads or lures of fame. That is all fleeting but the stories you tell. The art – that can live on and on.
It is another Summer Saturday in the Michigan and I’m sipping the morning java and writing you a few of my thoughts of the past week. I will try to bring something forth that might help some of you others walking this path. I do have a few story’s from the week and I will perhaps pick one of them to try to teach a lesson.
The Oversell – I know in films about filmmaking you always see the slick Willie producer trying to tell everyone what they want to hear and keep their stories straight. This may be funny in the movies but those people aren’t real and once you burn bridges it rarely ends up happy ever after. Be honest and let it roll from there. I know various projects that worked in half-truths at best and I can’t stress enough that once you lose that credibility you are really in trouble. So don’t paint castles in thin air saying you have so and so on board if you don’t. I had a few situations where things were being said to try to appease someone and after a simple communication the jig was up. FALSE INFO. So someone comes across as either A) A liar or B) Clueless to the Truth. I don’t think either of these things play well into the perceptions of how someone runs their business. So if packaging something be honest and don’t oversell. Because that person may be able to pick up a phone and directly confirm your story and if it doesn’t vet out, you lose.
I also had a situation this week where someone claimed that my schedule was in conflict with a project that wanted me to work on it. Right now I speak for myself. I know my schedule and what conflicts or does not. To have someone put words in your mouth screams agenda. I’ve seen people in casting positions (not experienced ones) try to push one talent over another. In this case someone had someone in mind for a lead because they thought somehow it would better their standing. So other options to that same role were buried. It is just a sad disservice to whomever hired that individual but that was all exposed and now this individual has that little check next to their name. Checks against someone don’t erase easy because someone rarely changes who they are or how they operate. I honestly don’t put too much energy into such matters because if someone placed these unqualified people in power that usually means a series of bad choices will be made. Too many bad choices equals a bad movie. If I’m asked for materials and I take the time to send them all I expect is for them to be seen by the right people. I don’t mind being turned down if something was truly evaluated. I lost another role a while back because I just won’t pass for a gaunt lab assistant. Not without a large paycheck to just focus on that and I shudder to think of what it would do to my soccer game:) You might look like another character or be the wrong age or race, all acceptable. But I book off my reels all the time and to hear someone say, “they don’t want to see reels.” WRONG. I’ve produced many films and reels are the best sell. Like if you were looking at hiring a PRO player on a team. Try outs are great but game footage is golden! Agents with a stable of actors without reels shy away from sending reels.
OK. Onto the more positive. Serbia media was blowing up on inventor TESLA’s birthday and the film I’m attached to officially changed the name of the film from THE MAD SCIENTIST to TESLA. I think it was a great move and I’m excited to be part of the movie telling the story of my favorite inventor.
We saw the PR release this week on the German, Austria, Switzerland deal going down with WICKED SPRING, DARKEST NIGHT and LOCKED IN A ROOM.
DARKEST NIGHT is now on VOD (Amazon Instant) and releases on DVD on the 16th of July here. You can see a sneak peek and so take a watch and leave a review of your experience.
This month we also have WICKED SPRING and FIGURE IN THE FOREST playing on Parables TV!
ASHES OF EDEN marketing is firing up and in the weeks to come we will have new posters, trailer and other exciting updates. The film is in post and is just way beyond my expectations.
SUPERMODEL SHOWDOWN series has been in editing and is truly a fun watch. We are starting to look at marketing for this project as well. I think lovers of reality TV will enjoy this show.
Other than that it has been doing yard improvements – and attending the 4H auction, picking berry’s and working the new driveway. I’m also happy to report the garden is producing the 1st beans and tomatoes will soon follow. I’m greatly enjoying my summer as I finish these projects up and develop new ones. I know I will be back in front of the camera again when the time is right. But until that time I will keep on with the business work and enjoying my day-to-day. We also start the second half of the soccer season on Sunday and I’m excited for that. I get to put my new gear into action! I wish you all a great weekend!