Showing posts with label Michael Douglas Carlin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Douglas Carlin. Show all posts

Monday, October 13, 2014


by Michael Douglas Carlin
recently visited the Philippines. Our very good friend, Sir Edward, had had a stroke, and I wasn’t getting the information I needed, so I boarded a plane. His eyes lit up when I walked into the room. He struggled to speak. It was clear that something had happened to silence this once fierce warrior of peace. The silence didn’t last long. He struggled to get out a few words; "I had a stroke." I got to meet Klea and see her love of Ed. She has been there by his side for a number of years. I have spoken to her on numerous occasions, but now I finally got to meet this amazing champion of peace. Klea had traveled to Myanmar, Basilan Island, Jolo, Zamboanga, and many other dangerous places with Ed to take relief to those less fortunate, who found themselves in a precarious situation through no fault of their own.

Just prior to Ed's stroke, I had mounted my own mission into the danger zone of Border Mexico. Ed followed my path with great interest. He sent me text messages of concern for my safety. I texted him prior to traveling in and let him know immediately when I returned to safety. Ed taught me how to mitigate the risk, and I heeded his advice.

We never grow tired of the streams of tears when our relief hits the mark. On my trip, a doctor and nurse accepted four duffle bags of medical supplies that had the power to save lives. When they realized that these supplies were a gift from America and that we wanted nothing in return, they welled up. As they helped carry the supplies into the clinic, they could not hold back the tears. When I reported back to Ed, he seemed very pleased that one of his protégés had grown up and begun to comprehend his message.
I am one of thousands of people whom Ed has taught to do good deeds. Over the years and in my many travels with Ed, I have met hundreds of them. It always surprises me how many more there are whom I have never met. Even Ed cannot comprehend the impact that his life has had upon the world. Many of the paths that Ed has traveled were one-time trips. Other people have picked up where Ed left off and continue helping people to recover from war, famine, tsunami, earthquake, fires, floods or typhoons. Ed’s influence lingers, and he teaches so many to open up their hearts and to give.

We sat at the dining room table for hours that day. Ed was able to begin speaking almost normally. Something happened that day as we began telling Klea stories that we had experienced together. I started many of the stories, and Ed began speaking to finish them. We had lunch at the Hard Rock Café in Makati. He greeted new friends and old with that classic "Ed smile." By the time lunch was over, I could tell that Ed was exhausted. We had been together for five hours, and my presence had made him work to remember—to speak. The brain is an amazing and intricate structure. I witnessed synapses reconnecting right before my eyes.

We agreed to break for a few hours to give Ed a chance to rest. I returned at 7 pm for our trip out to dinner. Ed and Klea climbed into the cab, and we visited "Howzat," a local hangout for foreigners. When waitresses spoke to him, Ed struggled with his speech. When we talked to him, he was able to speak with only minor problems. Some of the jumbled words were quite funny, and both Klea and I were swept away with the mixed emotions. "Do we laugh or would that be cruel? We couldn’t help ourselves, and Ed began to laugh too."

During that dinner, I saw moments of total clarity, during which it seemed to me that Ed was one hundred percent back only to disappear back into the fog. From this, I gained hope that Ed would make a total recovery if he worked hard. Those of us who know him understand that Ed can’t do it any other way. When we parted that night, I knew that Ed needed rest. I agreed to give him the weekend.

Early Saturday morning, I headed down to Cagayan de Oro to meet Elmer and Cora Sayre. Ed and Elmer founded the Buffalo Bank there many years ago. What began with an investment in the first twenty water buffalo has grown into a full-fledged microfinance operation that now serves over 3,000 farmers with water buffalo, goats, chickens, pigs, ducks and sanitation. Elmer showed me his operation, which includes meeting spaces, manufacturing of toilets, cottages, crop development, and livestock management. A team of loan officers deals with farmers to evaluate their needs and to structure a borrowing and repayment program for them.

What I came to understand from my visit is that, if Elmer and his team were simply to hand out water buffalo, the water buffalo would be eaten. Attaching importance to them as a tool for the farmer helps to educate the farmer in methods that increase productivity. Farmers are grateful for the opportunity to improve their quality of life. When Elmer talked about criteria for granting microloans, he sounded just like the many bankers I know in Century City. "We look at their character and their capacity to pay back the loan. We shy away from those who are known to have gambling problems." Gambling problems? That was the last thing I expected to hear in this remote region, but cock fighting is one of the pastimes in the Southern Philippines.

The next day, we went to the remote regions, a four-hour drive from headquarters. In the mountainous region, I saw breathtaking views. Farmers were growing their crops on the sides of mountains. I got to see the impact of the water buffalo first hand. A farmer even offered to let me ride his water buffalo, and I couldn’t resist. That was a thrill I will never forget. I also will never forget tasting food for the first time. Every meal on this trip was one hundred percent organic. I ate coconut that was picked fresh from the tree, and I drank delicious coconut milk. Pineapple, papaya, watermelon, fresh vegetables, fish and free-range chicken were also at every meal. No chemicals are used in the farms supported by the Buffalo Bank, and all of the people I met seemed so healthy. All of this began with a single investment by Ed in the first twenty water buffalo.

I again turned my attention to Ed and Manila. We spent the week together pouring over paperwork, talking about pending missions and getting caught up on what needs to happen to continue Ed’s work. What amazes me is that Ed, who clearly suffered a stroke, has no concern for his own health and wants to communicate only to insure that the children to whom he promised surgeries get treated. In a private moment, Ed insisted that I travel to an orphanage and make a donation in his name. Many times I heard Ed insist that he would wage peace until his dying day, but his appeal in that private moment for children who have lost their parents solidified his commitment to continue this work until his dying breath. Happily, I made the trip to the orphanage and complied with his wishes.

The smiles on the faces of those children reminded me of the smile that Ed wears. Those smiles light up the dark spaces on the earth. The little child in Ed wants all of the other children to smile too. We have all seen him rise up to protect the less fortunate as their guardian and protector. We have seen him brave border crossings to bring in life saving relief. We have learned to give at his hands. We have watched him thunder away, threatening warlords. But, Ed is so much happier when the children are smiling.

The work continues…

The Promise of America

The Promise of America is that no matter what your current station you can take advantage of the opportunities in front of you right now and make your life better through working hard and obtaining an education. Aaron Cohen is not only a believer in this promise but an achiever of this promise. Now we are celebrating Aaron as the 2010 Century City Citizen of the Year, an award given by the prestigious Century City Chamber of Commerce. Aaron is an unprecedented two time recipient of this award. Each award was twenty years apart signifying that Aaron not only made it but maintained his position in life and within the Century City Business Community. In any other country this would be a story that would become a legend, myth or fable. In America this is a common story about a man that began in the most humble of circumstances and rose to greatness. Common because others have achieved the same result from their hard work and dedication but uncommon because from a purely numbers standpoint this story isn’t repeated near enough in America or the rest of the World.

Aaron began life in Bulgaria and at the age of 10 dealt with Nazi occupation for two years. He took advantage of an opportunity to leave for Palestine. At 15 ½ Aaron did time in a British Jail for protesting against the policy of not letting Holocaust Survivors come to Palestine as outlined in the British White Paper of 1939. Aaron joined the Israeli Underground becoming one of the most elite commandos. They were known as Palmach and they fought against the armies opposed to the formation of Israel. They passed a single machine gun from village to village to give the appearance that their firepower was greater than it actually was. Aaron would volunteer for these dangerous night missions where failure meant certain death. Together with his battlebuddies they defeated the armies of Syria, Sudan, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq to bring the dream of a sovereign nation of Israel into being against all odds. While in Israel he was one of the founders of the Kabutz Urin. In Israel he met a woman that would change his life forever. He married an American with full intention of settling in Israel but was sent for when she visited home.

He arrived in New York not speaking the language, with no money, no education and no job. But what he did have was a willingness to work hard and to learn. Three days after his arrival he was in school learning English. He worked a factory job during the week, went to school at nights, and worked a second job on the weekends to make ends meet. At the factory he was named a management trainee just prior to the end of the Korean War. When the war was over he was laid off. He vowed that he would never be laid off again. He came to the west coast where he learned how to clean windows and floors.

There are many people from that era that would love to claim that Mary Pickford gave them their start but Aaron was blessed to be able to work for Mary cleaning her house -this lead to other celebrities homes that needed cleaning and then to Mary’s first commercial building. Aaron landed a contract to clean all of the Hamburger Hamlets and according to his philosophy that all anybody wants to see is a hard working honest guy he landed all of Buckeye Realty’s buildings. He sold his business and stayed on to manage it. Now he hails from ABM the largest maintenance company in the business. The company has expanded their offerings to include security, engineering, and parking to compliment their stranglehold on the maintenance business.

Aaron’s favorite claim to fame is that all three of his kids graduated from the same High-School. Three years to the day after Aaron arrived in the United States he was made a U.S. Citizen. He credits his teachers. One teacher gave him the book he needed to complete the course at a time when Aaron couldn’t afford the book on his own. All of his teachers, and he remembers every single one of them, instilled a deeper appreciation in our Country. In Century City Aaron is known for his patriotism. He regularly leads the Century City Chamber of Commerce Meetings Flag Salute. Then at the end he thunders “AND GOD BLESS AMERICA AND GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS.” Every time Aaron sees any uniformed soldier he stops everything and politely addresses them thanking them for their service. When it comes to the buildings in Century City there isn’t a single one that his sweat hasn’t been left in. Aaron is a proof that the promise of America is still alive and well.


Where do you turn when you need a mechanic? Turn to Century City Car Care. They are currently celebrating their thirty fifth anniversary in Century City. Located at 1800 Avenue of the Stars they have become a part of the fabric of Century City by handling the car care needs of workers, managers and owners from all over the Westside but in particular Century City.

Did you know that you can even get your engine rebuilt in Century City? When Wilton Beckett set up the plan for Century City it was to be a self contained city where you could get all the services you needed without leaving the city. 35 years ago, Century City Car Care was established and it has been under the present management, Yuval Palmon, for the past 16 years. Century City Car Care is a place where you can get your windshield wiper blades changed all the way to getting your engine rebuilt by ASE Certified Mechanics.

Think about the possibilities. You can drop off your car while you are working to get the oil changed. You don’t need an appointment, or a shuttle and you won’t be late for work. If you are having trouble with your car and it requires more time than a day then Century City Car Care will rent you a car from Hertz inside the Century Plaza Hotel. The cost of the rental car is covered.

Century City Car Care only uses original parts and they stand behind their work, just like a dealer with a 12 month/12,000 mile warranty. There are no limitations on what they can do – from regular interval service to brakes, tires, transmissions, clutch, air conditioning, body work, lube and oil changes. Their entire business model is based upon repeat business because they are so embedded in the community. You don’t have to look far for satisfied customers. Yuval has known most of his customers for years. If you don’t know Yuval you should give him a call and get to know him. Your car will thank you.

Give him a call and wish him a happy anniversary: (310) 552-2180.

Michael Douglas Carlin is the director of the movies Luvicide and American Federale. Recently he completed a ten-year stint as the Publisher and Editor of the Century City News. Here his articles turned into three books: Rise a Knight, A Prescription for Peace, and Peaceful Protests.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


      Ridley Scott’s movie Kingdom of Heaven captured the spirit of Knights. We see armies headed to lay siege on Jerusalem, and the fortifications are being made to the best of the abilities of the people who are living there. Something happens when the priest complains that there are no Knights, and, therefore, the city is deemed defenseless. Balian asks a young man about his condition. The young man is a servant. Balian commands this young man and all men capable of bearing arms to kneel and take the oath of Knighthood. This young man kneels a servant. All of the others are ordinary men. They kneel as Balian commanded. When they rise, there is something different about them. They are Knights. They are able to transform this newfound power into a razor-sharp repelling force that inflicts losses on the attackers that brings them to the table to negotiate safe passage to friendly lands. Where there was previously no hope, the bestowal of Knighthood invoked forces beyond comprehension.
Something happens when men and women take the oath of Knighthood.The oath in Kingdom of Heaven was simple: Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth always even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. This is your oath. Rise a Knight.


In 1996, I participated in a mission to Nicaragua that forever changed my life. I remember the moment that the change occurred. I handed antibiotics to a woman that likely saved the lives of her children. There was that silent communication between us, as we spoke different languages. That look of gratitude will forever be seared in my brain. Sir Edward calls this rendering, "hand to hand, eye to eye, and heart to heart." What also gives it power is that we never expect anything in return.

Less than a year later, I experienced another life changing moment. I was asked to kneel an ordinary man and to take the oath of Knighthood. When I rose a Knight, my life changed forever. Since that day, I have participated in relief missions throughout the world. For many of those missions, I simply packaged and shipped relief items, raised money, or handled logistics. But, on several of those missions, I traveled to deliver the relief personally, "hand to hand, eye to eye, and heart to heart." When I became a Knight, I made an oath to live my life as a Knight.


The following oath was translated from Medieval Latin and is found on the tomb of a Knight of Malta in northwestern France. It dates from 1560 A.D.

"I do solemnly swear by Almighty God and His Name, and in free and voluntary desire, to serve as a Knight of Malta of the most holy Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. I do swear by the Eternal Power of the Trinity, to be both a true and chivalric Knight, to obey my Commanders and to aid my brethren. I also swear by all that is holy and dear unto me, to aid those less fortunate than I, to relieve the distress of the world and to fulfill my knightly obligations. This oath do I give of my own free and independent will, so help me God! Amen!"

These words come down to us from an ancient knightly order, in which knights were instructed in their duties.


Be loyal of hands and mouth and serve every man as best you may. Seek the fellowship of good men; hearken to their words and remember them. Be humble and courteous wherever thou go, boasting not nor talking overmuch, neither be dumb altogether. Look to it that no lady or damsel be in reproach through your default, nor any woman of whatsoever quality. And, if you fall into company where men speak with disrespect of any woman, show by gracious words that it pleaseth you not, and depart.

The office of knight is to promote faith in Jesus Christ as Lord of Lords, King of Kings and the only Savior and to protect those who seek to worship in His name anywhere upon the face of this earth that He has made.

THE OATH OF A KNIGHT (Also known as A Knight’s Prayer)

Almighty God, Eternal Father, Lord of Lords, have mercy upon me, a humble knight in Thy Divine Service. O Lord, I pray for Thy indulgence and blessings.

Forget not Thine servant in his trials, nor his Order of Knighthood. I pray that Thy Will be done in all things, both great and small. Let me always be worthy of Thee, let me not forget Thee in good times or bad.

Armor me with the armor of Thy Righteousness, give me the sword of Truth that I shall confound Thine enemies and be unto Thee a true knight.

O Lord, in my hour of need, be with me. Let me never forget my sacred and holy vows unto Thee, that I should not be prey unto demons and devils nor the dark things of this world.

Let me always be a beacon unto those in distress, never allow me to forget my obligation unto the homeless nor the poor: let me serve Thee and Thine Eternal Throne all the days of my life. Let me always remember the obligations that I have taken upon me.

Lord, if it is Thy Will, let me serve Thee forever!

If ever, oh Lord, I turn from Thee in this Order, let my name forever be cursed, may my spurs be broken and my body given unto demons to dwell with them forever in that Lake of Fire which Thou hast prepared for the ungodly.
Power beyond Power, Pillar of Strength, Refuge of the Homeless, let me serve
Thee for all the days of my life! Amen.

These words were part of an oral history of the Crusades compiled in 1200 A.D. and were spoken by a Knight Hospitaller moments before a battle against Moslem forces.


This is the oath of a Knight of King Arthur’s Round Table and should be for all of us to take to heart.
I will develop my life for the greater good. I will place character above riches, and concern for others above personal wealth, I will never boast, but cherish humility instead, I will speak the truth at all times, and forever keep my word, I will defend those who cannot defend themselves, I will honor and respect women, and refute sexism in all its guises, I will uphold justice by being fair to all, I will be faithful in love and loyal in friendship, I will abhor scandals and gossip—neither partake nor delight in them, I will be generous to the poor and to those who need help, I will forgive when asked, that my own mistakes will be forgiven, I will live my life with courtesy and honor from this day forward.

© 2013 Michael Douglas Carlin. All Rights Reserved.

New Film Finance Model Tied to Social Media & Charities

Presales Using Social Networking Is Next Financing Model For Movies

(This article appeared in the August 8, 2011 edition of the Century City News)

By Michael Douglas Carlin

In the film arena preselling seats or content has become a trusted financing mechanism. In the ‘80s we had presales of video, television or foreign rights as a staple of independent film finance. There were many business models introduced that mitigated much of the risk bringing the Studio’s total exposure on any particular film down to less than 15% of the total budget. There were ample rights that brought in attractive revenues if the picture performed at the box office. Many smart producers were able to retain sufficient rights and lay off nearly all of the risk through the pre-sales financing mechanism.

Today many of the sources of this revenue have dissipated. Taking a chance on a film that doesn’t have a track record is a big risk and the number of films that are pushing the creative envelope are few and far between. But the opportunity to leverage social networks to presell a film is virtually untapped. The first to create a successful business model tapping into these social networks are Spero Stamboulis and Brian Ide. Their pre-sales model is taking the risk out of their upcoming feature film, “Mike Mulligan’s Midnight Ride.” They call their business model “ReDistribute” and you can see more at

At a time when the Prime Interest Rate is around 3%, and the stock market looks more like a casino; Spero and Brian may have hit the mother lode. Where would you put $25 million today? Where would you put $100 million? These two men can show you how they plan to rewrite the film-financing manual by leveraging existing social networks to bring a film into profit before one single frame of film has ever been exposed. In modern day terms… before a single high-definition video clip has ever been recorded. They do this by aligning the film with hundreds of charities that have a vested interest in the success of the film. They tap into those social networks and spread the word at a fraction of the cost of expensive advertising and reward charities that deliver with a lion’s share of the box office receipts. This is a new concept for breaking an unknown film concept into the stratosphere.

Making movies is so much more about the management of risk than it is about making great movies. We complain about lack of creativity at the box office but nobody can argue with the mitigated risk from remakes or sequels. Complain all you want about “Hangover II” but the numbers speak pretty loudly that this business model is a winner.

Spero and Brian have a movie to finance that may break all of the rules and become the next reinvention of the film finance model. If their financing mechanism works it may bring in a completely different type of investor that has traditionally seen film as too risky a proposition for their core portfolios. In their model they combine social networking, philanthropy, and movie making to bring a family values – historical project to the screen. By preselling tickets through a number of charities they are taking the risk out of their venture and creating a historic based piece that will entertain, educate and give back.

But why not make a donation directly to the charity of your choice? This model counts on people doing what they would already do and making a choice to have a portion of their ticket go to charity. Consider the choice between “Cars XV” and “Mike Mulligan’s Midnight Ride.” Families going to the movies have the opportunity to teach their children that by choosing the Midnight Ride they can give to education and help those less fortunate.

Many “A” list actors are already kicking the tires to see what this might mean to their careers as they attempt to stay on the most prestigious list by also tapping into these important networks. If you operate a medium or large size charity you might want to get on board with their concept because their mechanism might mean millions of dollars to your organization. If you own a distribution company you might want to get on board as this mechanism might become a reliable supplier of “High Concept” content that has ready made profits for investors, distributors and charity partners. If you are on the talent side you might find that their movies are a financial and social opportunity as well as a way to give back. Hilton HHonors has already agreed to support ReDistribute for 2011 and currently American Airlines is taking a closer look. ReDestribute has been selected as one of 50 finalists. They will further narrow their selection by internet vote. You help ReDistribute become one of five charities to win backing of the airline by voting at: htscameraaction/Vote.aspx?vidI D=49 and this can be done once a day from every email account that you have. The contest ends on August 26th.

This concept and the social media revolution are both still in their infancy. We have only seen the beginning of innovations that will come from leveraging our social media networks to drive revenue and mitigate risk. One area that will certainly benefit from tapping into social networking structures is the Motion Picture Industry. These two young and very smart guys might continue to lead the way.

And the concept couldn’t have come at a better time when the resources of governments are stretched to the breaking point and charities are being counted on to fill in the gaps. Movies that make us feel good combined with causes give us that warm and fuzzy feel.

Ten years from now people will be running around Hollywood talking about the big fish that got away. They will all be attempting to book an appointment with Spero and Brian who will be running a studio or two by then…

Here is how you can reach them now: Brian 310.795.4423 or Spero 818-795-9099 or see more at

Michael Douglas Carlin is the director of the movies Luvicide and American Federale. Recently he completed a ten-year stint as the Publisher and Editor of the Century City News. Here his articles turned into three books: Rise a Knight, A Prescription for Peace, and Peaceful Protests.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Inherent in the Problem is the Solution

by Michael Douglas Carlin
Originally posted 9/2008

Housing is a basic right!

We desperately need more affordable housing. Housing the poor or homeless is actually less costly than dealing with the issues of homelessness when we turn a blind eye to the issue. Offering shelters with services that rehabilitate people when they have hit a bump in the road, makes much more sense than ignoring them. Home ownership is part of the American Dream and yet it is becoming far too difficult for the average man or woman to achieve that dream.

Now we have Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with an estimated 5.3 Trillion Dollars in Mortgages. What could all of the real estate in America be worth? 50 trillion? 500 trillion? I don’t really know the answer to that question but just the number of homes in America must be in the 50 trillion range. Our National Debt is now about 10 trillion.

With the problems we have in America right now doesn’t it make sense to take some bold steps to fix what is wrong with America.

Step #1. Take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – ALREADY DONE

Step #2. Print currency and ship it to debt holders. Pay off the National Debt by increasing the money supply. This would free up 30%+ of our existing budgets in Government.

Step #3. Switch currency from being backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government to being backed by the Real Estate of the Country.

Step #4. Offer loans to any citizen (regardless of credit history) on any property providing that citizen comes up with 30% down payment for properties without Solar Panels on the roof or 20% if the property has solar panels. The government would back the properties with 80% loans on any property with Solar and 70% if the property doesn’t have Solar. In essence the currency would then be backed with by the mortgages on the Real Estate of America. Create a revenue share deal with the bank or financial institution that originated the loan so that they would receive an override on the loan when it was performing. They would also intercede if the loan defaulted. They would foreclose on the property and keep 80% of anything the property sold for over the amount of the loan and if the property sold for less they would absorb up to 20% of the loss as a fee to continue as a preferred lender and able to originate loans.

Step #5. Let’s not spend our resources tracking down illegal aliens any more…it is a waste of our resources. It is time for another amnesty program where we invite anyone here that has managed to keep out of trouble to become a citizen. The process would be a six month window to surface and provide proof that you have means of subsistence, followed by a five year waiting period that includes an education process and a vetting process to achieve citizenship.
Step #6. We know that Hurricanes, Tornados, Floods, Earthquakes, and Forrest Fires are part of the landscape of being American. Yet we have no provisions for thwarting their impacts. It is time that we prepare for the occurrence of these events by having our Army Corp. of Engineers develop permanent structures to minimize their effects. Every waterway in America needs to be prepared for taking on more water than usual. We need to develop a water grid in America where water can be moved from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration. The Army Corp. of Engineers could develop a series of locks and canals to move water throughout the Country. When a drought leaves one area dry we could move water to mitigate the effects. In areas where housing is in the path of Tornados or Hurricanes any new housing would have to comply with building standards to withstand Category 5 winds. One structure that comes to mind is the geodesic dome house that seems to withstand the most extreme conditions. Places with Earthquakes must have structures built to withstand a 9 point Earthquake.

Now is the time for us to begin planning for the next thousand years. The five years plans of Capitalism are meaningless.

We went off the gold standard in 1971. Since then our currency has been backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government. Now with the failing of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae we need to establish United States Real Estate as the asset that backs our currency. With the new “Real Estate Standard” we will stabilize our economy and provide a solid asset to back our currency. The standard should be similar to banking where the consumer is able to borrow up to 90% of the value of the Real Estate based upon current market conditions.

Michael Douglas Carlin is a filmmaker, author, and journalist. American Federale is available on iTunes, Amazon, and GooglePlay. Rise a Knight is available on Amazon. Peaceful Protests and A Prescription For Peace is available on iTunes.