So this morning the coffee grinder was set on a lesser setting because we were low on coffee yesterday. So today I had to run the grinder twice and I overdid it slightly, resulting in coffee that can hold a spoon straight up. Anyway, it should give my bones the kick I need. We had another soccer match on Thursday and again brought home a win. The two days after usually have a good amount of sore and stiff but my need to try out a few new chainsaws, including a pole-saw, added some time to my healing. But I love that weekly challenge of battling for position, possession and of course goals.
The nice part of this week’s blog is that we had a nice CDI recap PR release – (READ BELOW)
This has the most updated news on these films-
I did see that Hoopla, which is the national library distribution is carrying BESTSELLER as well as Walmart stores. Please take a look at your Walmart and snap a pic!
This week was a productive one with a few unexpected calls that were very positive. What I’ve realized is that as people get older they realize the more the precious aspects of time. How we don’t know how many grains of sand are in our hourglass so what and when we do something is important. What we leave behind us is important. DJ Perry the actor (on screen) will live on longer than DJ the artist. I’ve had a few very successful business associates reach out and express their desire to go deeper into artistic and meaningful endeavors. I will keep creating because that is what I do. It is like breathing. The dreaming and visualizing of the who and what that happens before you breakdown the story into where and how. I’m so appreciative of all our partners.
I know what rambling I can share-
I am a Star Wars fan. Being seven when the first original ‘Star Wars’ hit was like living childhood in a sweet spot. That’s why George Lucas can make some mis-steps in my liking or taste but he is and always will be a king. A dreamer who sold an idea off an out-there (far, far, away) script to a studio, cast and crew – and captured every child’s grand imaginative adventure and put it to the big screen with ground breaking, jaw dropping FX. And after George marketed that film to the world in a way only rivaled by WWE’s Vince McMahon. Vince, another manI would love to have a few drinks with and get his unique insights. Those two men (Vince & George) ruled their franchises in very different ways. Vince, seems aggressive with a PT Barnum-like public attitude, working to control several Alpha stars and their sharks (lawyers). And George, a seemingly quiet and reserved man but other artists could visualize what he was dreaming and they got sucked into his imagination that would be turned into an exciting world. So add George to that invite list. George, Vince and I chilling and having a few Red Stripes.
Okay, back to topic- I like millions, have watched the newest ‘Star Wars’ franchise show. After two shows I found one performance to be lacking for me. Surprisingly, this character was the recipient of major public negative feedback and counter-feedback defending an actress who is black. When I watch, I watch performances not color. But that defense was being thrown up. Now I’m sure that some audiences disliked the role for the wrong reasons and communicated this poorly and with offensive words. I had a few deep conversations about this topic this week and for me I saw the pensive internally conflicted side of this character (ironically great when not speaking, but feeling) and the other side I saw was like an evil ‘Maverick’ from Top Gun. Watch out. They’re reckless! Dangerous! What am I going to do? Okay, I realized that is actually a ‘cool steal’ (taking influence from someone else’s performance as a respectful nod) ala my ‘George Jefferson’ walk used by Gil Gilles in BEST YEARS GONE. But what was not sitting right for me was 1) – transition between the emotional HIGH (I’m reckless) and LOW (I’m misunderstood) and that can be the editor too. An actor is often at the mercy of the director and editor and if they piece together a disjointed emotional scene it can not sit well with viewers. 2) The other is the cadence of voice that somehow snapped me from “far, far away” and brought me to a Tyler Perry film and I say that loving me some Tyler Perry. It just sounded like attitude slang. I want to try and explain myself properly-
In one of my discussions on the topic above, Samuel L. Jackson’s involvement was brought up as a counter-point. Again, I LOVE me some Samuel L. Jackson -but, I had the same fear of his cadence being too modern (Our galaxy:) reflective. He succeeded even though he made me walk a line. I saw mostly a non-swearing Jackson doing what Jackson does best and I kept waiting for the train of obscenities to come flowing out- “Those #$@@%# Sith #$%#%#W are getting on my last #@#@!@$% mid-chlordan nerve.”
I have several issues with the prequels with Samuel not being one of them. It’s like when we do a period piece and you have to get into a mindset from another time period. Star Wars has an even wider fictional range to create within but ultimately it’s how we perceive it. I mean most of the Empire officers sound British and we know there is no audible sound in space – but it’s just fun. So keep it fun. Ultimately I’m on board with all the series and I’m routing for this one particular talent to succeed. And last I checked she’s co-starring in a major ‘Star Wars’ TV series and so in my book, she is succeeding.
I can’t buy into any subconscious racists filters or anything like that because I loved actors Billy Dee Willams, John Boyega (Han: That’s not how the force works), Giancarlo Esposito and let us NOT forget James Earl Jones. We are left with a two-sided issue – Can you criticize someone of race without bringing race into it? AND Can you take criticism without spinning the blame to something that might not be the root cause? When you blanket everything with absolutes you ruin open communication. When you speak from a place that blames/mislabels the wrong issue again communication is ruined.
Have patience with one another as the world learns to communicate proper again. Instant communication and the documentation of communications has created a new environment of accountability. Think before you speak has always been good advice but now with emails, twitter, tictoks, ……………………. they all have a new accountability. I’ve always tried to be thoughtful in my communications so the changes in society are fine but many are challenged. For many who speak emotionally off the cuff are now often regretting their word, texts, tweets and wishing they could edit- they are facing new challenges. We’ll catch up eventually this is just a major time of change for mankind. But isn’t it always…breath.
I could talk more about Polar and Grizzly Bears mating because of the warming weather but I’ll save you that. Bringing this chat full circle, we have to acknowledge that many of you are finding yourselves in this new age. After all the immense digital scrolling, bit-coin obsessions and other short-cut seeking life-filler that usually deposits people further down the path but with not much done – lost time. And some who reaped a few additional shells and beads no additional happiness was gained and with the lost time maybe a tad less happy. I’m not losing time, I’m living. Many days the joy of any new film release is trumped by watching the little song birds feed their new young. Watching the baby rabbit ‘Simon’ and his jumping antics bring as much a smile as some festival wins. That is life. Study life, digest it and some of it can be re-introduced onscreen in a future story.
This week will be more BESTSELLER promo. Let me know what you think of it. I think it is one of my most intense roles in a film that I think captures the right haunting mood. The BEST YEARS GONE promo engines will be started. I’m so excited to give the same laughs we heard in the theatrical run to living rooms and dens everywhere. Lastly, working steady to get even closer to our goals with the upcoming HOT ROD LOVE film. We had some new people last week commit to join us on this next film adventure and this week should bring a few additional ones. Keep moving forward is the mantra. Keep dreaming. Keep creating!
Hazelnut coffee cheers!
I’m once again sipping the hazelnut coffee and feeling good about the week’s accomplishments. It has been a hard week in some ways simply because for me it is A) Keep business as usual moving, which is on many fronts with our library of films B) Promote the most recent releases C) Prep the new projects about to launch
It has been trying in some ways because I’m dealing with the pre-hiring practice of discussing deal points. Here is that point where after explaining the business model of three nearly identical films in a series – people want to try and go outside that model. You have to have people who really believe in a project and want to put forth their very best. Some people got the call to see if they wanted to return and work on the second film. Some are returning and others are being replaced. In this industry people wait for that opportunity to step UP because someone else stepped DOWN. That is often the way. Are you going UP or DOWN?
After this Quest Trilogy is complete we will be adjusting our slate to larger budgets. I had a few people say, maybe when you have more funds in the future, contact me again. I was just honest, No. I will likely be working with the team we develop during this “team building” phase. They must trust in our path and be willing to grow with us. I’m not asking for volunteers, free help or paid with credit – this is offered work. I’ve been doing this a long time and I firmly believe what is to be, will be. Casts in development may change but once a film is done you could never imagine anyone else in that role. Crews create the “perfect storm” with their collaboration and determination. They win those daily battles that give them the holy grail of movie puzzle pieces. Those battles are the tales of old men many days from now. I’ve looked back on battles fought 15-20 years ago. I’m damn proud of most of the artists I’ve ever worked with. We share history, life and collective art. Once done – you can’t take that away.
We had a great compliment while in a meeting this week. Someone in our circle had recently worked a larger million plus dollar film and it was hectic and chaotic. They said, they didn’t fully appreciate the experience of working with CDI until they worked on that film. I’ve heard that story from several people and I’m proud of that. We work to TRY and achieve that but you must go that extra mile. It shows that money will not buy RESPECT, ORGANIZATION or RESPONSIBILITY. How much money was thrown at problems that were emergency reactionary because proper planning was not done? Probably enough to make a movie:)
I’m also trying to develop the next group of artists who want to make a living at this. It isn’t about the short game I can tell you that. A recent conversation – on public relations. Early in my career I tried to promote our film endeavors more within the state (Thank you Michigan Vue – miss you) but back in the day, the feature filmmakers were few. Newspapers and magazine wanted to follow more theater and any number of silly trends but seldom gave filmmakers a serious spotlight. As our success grew elsewhere with newspapers, magazine, fanzines and such taking interest in our work (I have storage crates full of paper PR from around the world)- It also gave rise to some local Michigan dreamers unwilling to invest in the hard work. For many years, anywhere I would go for a drink or to socialize, everyone had a great idea for a movie. You got a script? No. Money? No. The story repeats itself.
These “ideas” came from all places including some family/friend connections. Filmmakers are seldom at a lack of “ideas” it is money they lack. My Uncle Bob was in the film business but due to trying to hide his actual age from some in-laws, he gave me the arms length treatment. I wasn’t asking for handouts, I was ready to work. Even some REAL advice would have been helpful. But years later the tables had turned – Any chance of hiring him? I guess, I didn’t really give it much thought.
Locally, I grew up in Lansing, Michigan. I went from Northwestern Elementary school to Michigan State University. I have friends from first grade on up and still play in a Men’s soccer league. Years ago when news would hit our local state media, my closest friends or associates would sometimes seem off around me. Maybe having your face in the video stores, posters or on TV makes some uncomfortable. I understand that.
But, actors are just people. But it was odd and annoying for some of those friends/family I’m sure. I was the guy with a beeper and agents calling. Talking about places, people and things my closest didn’t understand. You can explain co-starring in a film in India but unless you lived it…very hard to convey. Now, I enjoy my quiet in Lansing, Michigan. I would say I get much more done than most because of living here. In my many Hollywood business travels, they were always amazed because I was’t just talking, I was coming to them having done. I have many relationships in Hollywood and some still not mined. You want to come at a deal the right way. Many beg, plead, dance, ass kiss and such for an opportunity. My opportunities come on equal ground and where a mutual positive potential is present. The funny thing is for the appeasers in Hollywood and elsewhere, most of their hoop jumping doesn’t even promise results. It’s not a “this for that” deal. It’s “do this and this and this and this and maybe…maybe we can see if anything can be done” lure. Don’t take the bait. Don’t watch the flashy hook being pulled through the water.
And when these people get trampled and burned in our industry they became jaded and hateful. Sad people who live in sight of their dreams but never touch it. They have straight up actor ghettos in Hollywood. Bars that are filled with the failed and broken. Go off the strip of Las Vegas to see another example of this. I’ve seen these circles exist in the smaller markets like Michigan. Social ghettos where struggling artist meet to try and establish some pecking order amongst themselves. Many followers of the fake it to you make it clubs. A mutual life boat of hope that loves to dissect and critique art despite the fact that styles vary and change. People still jump on bandwagons. There was a slew of wanna be PULP FICTION like films after that released. Funny thing is many of the critics, sitting around the craft beer watering holes, were shoving crayons up their noses when we were making films. I have found some very talented young filmmakers and I ask for patience in my dealings with them. What were they doing seven years ago? You can see what we were doing – being #1 western rental. Actually that remained for 7 weeks and stayed in the top ten for 17 weeks.
If someone is going to boast something to me it better be real or based on some actual knowledge, experience or facts. If not, I will call you every time. I’m offended by idiot statements and I’m allergic to stupid. So most of the time I don’t travel in places where I may be forced to be brutally truthful or where the BS is just too unpleasant. In our production circle you are expected to keep the drama on the screen. Only a handful of days to act like a professional on set- after that you can go all Charlie Sheen on your own time.
To bring it back around – I don’t promote as heavily in my own home state. It’s my shelter. It’s where after weeks in the Philippines, I want to come HOME to. I like to be treated as a non celebrity most of the time. I do enjoy some great sponsorships in leather goods, hot sauce, candles and more. I’m still waiting on coffee:) Call me. So I do enjoy a few perks here and there. Our CDI projects we’ve produced are in broadcast around the world, streaming, DVD’s and more. I still get consistent fan mail (emails these days) from people who appreciate our collective works. This blog was started so I could talk about films and my industry, maybe giving the guidance I lacked early on. If you wanna know what is going on with me – you can stop by weekly. If you don’t – I won’t be filling your ears in person with my boasts. I don’t need to – I like this saying. I’m not quoting here. It went – when a person drives a BMW, which is a good car but not a great car, they race around, trying to show people how fast they are. They are revin’ their engines trying to draw attention and tell people they are fast. BUT…When you drive a Lamborghini, you just cruise about. You don’t rev your engine, don’t need to boast and race about trying to show you’re fast. Because you know you’re fast. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that. I’ve always liked that approach and I do feel that confidence. We live quiet but we are capable of great things.
Many years ago, I saw a greater picture. I didn’t just want to be known for our art in the USA – I wanted to cross lines, build bridges. This work started many, many years ago. Now, this blog reaches 80+ countries and we keep widening our film sales deeper and deeper into the world market. I am not making films for the little pond of Michigan but for the expansive ocean of audiences worldwide. That said, I love and appreciate you all who follow our art. For the peers striving – draw strength from yourself and once you find your audience – their appreciation will feed you. Be smart. Speak less and do more.
I’m not going to go on and on with individual updates on films. We have many films coming out in March, April and May so it will be a busy next couple of months. Read earlier posts if you need updates on releases. We’re about to start signing cast and crew onto the next film “Chasing the Star” which is getting very close to being ready – a few more weeks.
Keep at it people and don’t worry about twitter followers, Star Meters or seeking validation from insecure people. Make your art respecting the business. Seek to entertain and educate your audience. The audiences will allow and inspire you to grow. The source of your strength should not be peers that often are unhappy with themselves and seek to unseat you with words. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER always!
Be a doer not a talker. Okay, I’ve got to get doing so enough talking(writing):)