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

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‘Silent Night In Algona’ Release Talks and More…

Good morning. I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee and enjoying this brisk morning. A welcome change from the 90 degree days we’ve had lately. My soccer game on Thursday resulted in a loss but the battle was good in the scorching heat. I’m worried that I might not have drank enough water. It was 92 degrees and I have to say I play much better in the cool Fall from my school days. My whole system felt off for two days after the game. Add day two soreness to the equation and poor sleep one night and I had a rough go Friday night. Usually I sleep very soundly and I’m a person who must get at least 5 hours to perform properly but usually get about 8 solid hours. Saturday was as close to a sick day I’ve had in a long time. But most of it was the sleep deprived from the night before. So I’m going to ramp up my water intake for sure. I slept good last night and things seem almost back to normal. But rest and hydration is a much needed element to being productive on the highest level. I use to be a night owl but now I’m a 11-7 sleeper and I enjoy the early rise. We have roosters in our neighborhood that helps with this early wake.

The property has gone full blown with everything growing and blossoming. I’ve started a batch of Mexican-style beer which I’ll be bottling this week. I’ve been harvesting rhubarb and almost have enough to do a batch of wine. I’ve been doing a run of beer and wine each year and it makes for a fun sip at meetings. The hops are growing like crazy and we’ve got several plants gifting us herbs and soon veggies will follow. I love tending to all this while still carrying on my creative duties. I’ve been cutting freshly cut logs to dry and splitting older logs to fill the bins for the coming Fall/Winter. The wood stove is getting a rest from its duties of heating the office. All of this is a good connection to nature and trust me that throwing the axe and hammer around is a hell of a work out.

June is now upon us and that is my birthday month (June 23rd) and I’m not sure if I will do anything special. I am often fine with just a nice meal and the company of family. I can’t believe how the years have gone by. But I feel very blessed to be able to do what I so love- storytelling. Shall we look at a few film updates? Okay we shall.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA- The film and elements have been delivered and are being checked by our distributor. We are still in that process so we don’t have solid home video release dates yet but the talks are going on now. It was proposed to release the DVD and transaction digital around Labor Day (Sept) with subscription video on demand and ad based video on demand around Thanksgiving. We are approved to return to the Fridley theatre in Algona for a FOUNDERS DAY run. So if you did not see it in the theatre, here will be your opportunity or if you want to see it again. The home video version has added sound design and visual effects and so that will also be a great new way to enjoy the film. We’ve had many people want to purchase a keepsake DVD and share this film with family across the country for the Christmas season. People will surely have that opportunity. I’m thinking that the museums in Algona might start carrying the DVD’s also. The current theatrical is just ending but with another showing run in July I guess it is not done. In theaters from Dec 9th to July is a pretty good run.

HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE is heating up with the official production script now formatted and we’re awaiting the schedule for producer approval. This will also give us the day-of-days which tells us what actors, boats, cars and such are needed on what day. This will allow us to move to the agreement phase with talent. I’m going to be putting our VFX deal together this week with McGraw Multimedia. I’m looking forward to working with old friends Eldon and John McGraw on bringing a handful of VFX scenes to life on screen. This will include a cool WW1 scene, two boat scenes and a plane sequence. I’m excited to bring this story to life. We’ve been working on the hard parts of the production which is lodging and catering. I’ve also been in talks with several companies about sponsorship aligning their brand with this film. In Sept/Oct we’ll capture this story and have the Fall/Winter to put it all together.

MISC. DEVELOPMENT

As noted in previous blog entries I’m working to bring some of the older films into the new age. This will include HD enhancement on some. Others will have extras such as ‘Making of’ books and merchandise. And in a few situations it could include a sequel or reboot. We’ve also got some serious development underway on a new Iowa-based film and the WILD FAITH tv series HASTINGS. It is a balance of past, present and future endeavors. I don’t feel like going too far in depth right now on development but we do have many fun projects underway.

ACTING – In part because of the new acting role in ‘Harsens Island Revenge’ and part because of soccer season and the heat, I gave myself a haircut. About 8 cuts of the shears and I’m now sitting much cooler with shorter hair. It was about to the middle of my back. It grows like a weed. This next role in a hardened and experienced ex-officer from WW1. I was watching a doc show of actual life at the front lines in the trenches during WW1 and it was an eye opener.

I found myself thinking about an opportunity to work with an agent again and I’m conflicted. When I was actively seeking roles I had a high booking rate. But taking outside roles does take away from my development of CDI projects. But it is nice to sometimes just go an act versus running a circus. I’m not against considering roles but it has to be something special. At this point in my career I’ve played a lot of roles. I demand a lot from a story/script. Many regional castings are poorly presented and if unpaid have to be a pass. I’m not against those doing unpaid films as it will allow some new talent a chance to showcase on passion alone. I’m just at a place where I cannot sacrifice my routine of doing for free. Also I need to read an entire script. I turned down one project this year because free and fun are just not enough as I mentioned above. Another turned down my inquiry because they were eyeing another name talent. But I do have a great role ahead of me and I’m excited to become this man. I believe in the overall rule that I will do the projects I was meant to do. I know that I still love it though. I could not just produce without the acting. I could write without either of them for someone else but I would still miss acting and producing. Again, I will do what I’m meant to do. The thing about working for others just acting is when the character becomes lost because a story is never finished. I have 5 films I’ve acted in that never finished and four of them were features. I was paid for my time and it took me to places like Miami and Las Vegas but the hard work has never been seen. This always makes me think hard when taking on an outside project. All actors have these stories.

WRAP UP-

My growling stomach is telling me it is time to feed. I see eggs and bacon in my future. Today might include getting some veggie plants and flowers. I’m going to stay better hydrated and get ready for a great week ahead. I hope you all have a great week also. Brick by brick – build towards your goals.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ

Memorial Weekend – CDI Military Themed Films

Hazelnut coffee cheers-

Welcome this morning to our new readers from Italy, Finland and Pakistan! I want to start by wishing a Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all our veterans out there. At CDI we’ve examined the veteran experience in several of our films. My hope is that you would watch these films. I think I’ll write a little on each of them.

  1. WICKED SPRING is a Civil War era film that without any political overtones examines the lives of the common soldiers on both sides. This film was a massive undertaking and I’m very proud of the work we put into this story. I’m considering doing a making of book filled with extras celebrating this film. I found a link that had a lot of great information some of which I had even forgotten. You can watch it for free with adds on Encourage TV (Youtube) and several other platforms. It is a deep character study that will move your heart to think about what war does to family’s on both sides. Read more here- https://alchetron.com/Wicked-Spring
  2. FROM VENUS and AN ORDINARY KILLER are two films from the CDI library that need a full reboot. The first is a comedic romp about two ex-military buddies trying to rescue a young man pulled into a SciFi cult. On the other far end of the spectrum is a based on a true story of a serial killer caught 27 years after the crime. The lead detective is an ex-Vietnam veteran trying to keep his temper in check as his persistence and patience are tested. DVD’s are about from the original release but both of these will eventually undergo an HD upgrade and new release. COMING SOON
  3. Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town – This Smoky Mountain Western takes place after the Civil War and features many themes and topics concerning veterans. Some of my favorite interactions is between a ex-Union Captain and an ex-Southern General. We get full rights back on this film in 2024 and will be preparing a new release.
  4. The 3rd film in THE QUEST TRILOGYTHE CHRIST SLAYER – CDI’s biblical adventure series focuses on Roman soldier Longinus who put the spear to the side of Jesus on the cross. Many great themes present themselves even though this examines soldiers from several thousand years ago. It is still best to watch the three films in order. I had someone this week reach out about how much they loved FORTY NIGHTS (Part 1) and part 2 is CHASING THE STAR giving a unique take on the three wise men.
  5. WILD FAITH is one of CDI’s most popular and focuses on the life of an ex-Civil War soldier with his own nightmares. He has made a promise to a black soldier who saved his life but that promise would challenge the norms of the time. It can be seen on many platforms like NBC’s Peacock TV and Encourage TV where it has recently passed 7 million views. With tens of millions of views this movie has a planned spin off TV show in the works. It is called HASTINGS and will follow the further adventures of the Murphy family.
  6. MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Also on the same platforms as Wild Faith above is a more current film whose story focuses on a wounded Marine veteran just trying to get by in life while working at an animal shelter. This story about the plight of veterans and dogs is highlighted in this powerful film that will pull on your heart strings. As an actor, I get many people reaching out asking about the future of the lead character ‘Paul’ and if a sequel will ever be seen. Maybe one day is my response. This is a much watch film but bring your tissue.
  7. ASHES OF EDEN – While the focus is not directly military themed I do play an ex-military soldier who unable to find suitable work has fallen into being a drug dealer. I really loved this role and character because of how complex he is. This film is a good watch that has a wonderful lesson attached.
  8. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – This film is strongly military themed as it is based on true events. These events unfold at one of the many German PW camps spread across the midwest during WW2. It is just finishing up a theatrical run that started on Dec 9th. It will be coming out on home video this holiday season my best guess is Oct/Nov but I will let everyone know once I get word. It is a truly inspiring story that people can lean into as an example of humanity at its best. A much needed film in this day and age.
  9. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – A beautiful documentary film about the art of Catch-Can grappling presented by the leading historians and teachers of the art. The interviews are led by Army veteran Randy Couture. It showcases some interesting history that includes ole Abe Lincoln and West Point. This was produced in association with the Red, White and Blue Project Inc. a nonprofit for military awareness and assistance.
  10. Another great documentary done by the non-profit above is OUTSIDE THE WIRE: The Forgotten Children of Afghanistan. This follows donations from churches in mid America to the orphanages and schools high in the mountains of Afghanistan. This is achieved only with the help of the military in a great untold humanitarian mission by US led Coalition forces.

It is good to highlight these stories which give glimpses into the lives of military individuals and families. Even our next CDI film Harsens Island Revenge shooting this year will have a strong military presence. Thank a veteran for their service and watch a few of the stories above. I’m going to wrap things up here and eat a good breakfast before doing some more clean up around the property. For those fans of Austin TwoFeathers, best known perhaps as ‘Buddy’ in MBF – he’ll be joining us on the next CDI film. Only a few most castings to go and we’ll be getting a schedule to approve soon from the AD department. That will allow us to start giving exact dates to our cast so please have patience as that is coming very soon. Have a great relaxing weekend and I’ll talk with you again next week.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ

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