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

SURPRISE Early Post- End of Year Wrap Up (Thank you!)

I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee on a VERY snowy Michigan day. Negative degrees outside and blowing winds. But we will most definitely have a white Christmas. When we all left off, I had the premiere of SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, in Iowa. It has performed beyond expectations with several extensions (Algona until the 29th) and expansions into other theaters. (Follow our FB page) I did not attend the Michigan kick off at Celebration Cinema, as I was attending a funeral and memorial up North. My week stayed very busy with trying to deal with family things. Working with our team on prepping materials for the upcoming releases. It looks like we were able to get the film to a downloadable link for theatre owners. I was reporting and prepping for end-of-year check dispersement on the movies, which will happen next week. Lastly, was trying to get the Christmas stuff around. So, this Christmas is a bit chaotic with the death in our family, the blizzard and our film’s window of release.

Once we have this delivery of the film process set up, we’ll turn to looking at film festivals and a German screening. There is even talk of showing at one of the US military bases in Germany. This film will have an exciting journey ahead of it. The film has definitely gotten the positive response from the people I care about most with this story. I had an opportunity to speak with several elderly people and they gave high marks on the re-creation of the time. The regional people were so proud of this story and it is resonating with people everywhere. The film has already generated some heartfelt fan mail that is just humbling to read. That is the power of storytelling. Thousands have seen the film and many have seen it multiple times, taking friends and family. In Michigan, we’ll be looking at doing a special Owosso, MI screening and also a run around Detroit, MI in the new year.

Our battle plan with SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA), will continue through 2023. I’ve been re-reading a supernatural thriller for a possible CDI associated film. Also in 2023, we’ll get the foundation put in on our next CDI feature film, Harsens Island Revenge. We have already started scouting and we’ll be announcing our director early in 2023, as we enter the casting phase. So again, update those reels. I was able to take a few good meetings while attending the SNIA premiere. I’ve finished the first draft on the SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE, and some development actions will be underway in 2023. If all goes as planned we could be rolling cameras in 2024.

REFLECTIONS AND GOALS

Every year, I do deep reflection on the past year. Success, failures, trials and tribulations, all equaling growth. This year has had great harvest being the biggest release year I’ve had since 2005. We saw BESTSELLER, BEST YEARS GONE, SMOKE & MIRRORS, FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA release. Has anyone reading here, seen all five releases?

I set business and personal goals. I set goals on home fixes or improvements. I set goals as an actor, writer and producer. I set goals for/with Collective Development Inc. (www.cdiproductions.com) – new projects. New divisions. New endeavors. New collaborations.

This year saw a few music videos release under CDI’s production. As someone who was there when MTV started, I loved working in that medium.

OFF TO THE RACES from the movie ‘Best Years Gone‘ by Vertical Bridge

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=393380005705951

LOVE these guys. From our state of Michigan! And these gents are also from MI and really, really kick ASS.

REVOLUTION by the band DeepFall

This year full of releases and we did produce and prep several projects. HOT ROD LOVE, the CDI racing comedy set in the 1970’s went back on the shelf this fall. We had some funding. We had some sponsors. We had some participation from track owners. SOME, doesn’t cut it in filmmaking. It is truly one of the funniest ensemble comedy scripts sitting at CDI, with Caddyshack being the tone inspiration. Everything in its own time. I had to finally let go of a look I was developing for my character in that film. I am setting my “acting/producing” sights firmly on 1926 with WW1 veterans going head to head with the Purple Gang mafia.

This past year, I did turn down two different acting roles. I usually do so for one of three reasons. One. Not connecting with the role. Two. Not connecting with the story/script as a whole. Three. I cannot give the project the due attention I put into all my roles. I don’t phone anything in. I take each and every role very serious. That is why once business is out of the way, you get 100% effort, no less. $200 or $200,000 will get you the same performance. With acting performances, audiences got to meet Mark Franklin, Gil Gilles, Mr. Hosworth and Col Lodell. Vastly, different gents. have you met any of them?

The last gent was an honor and a very complex character to play. Let’s talk, Col Lodell. First the name of several characters based on actual camp assigned people, were altered. The events are true cut the characterizations are just that, not meant to be a biopic. That said, the camp commander that I portrayed, took his internal motivation from his faith in ‘The Golden Rule’. To treat others (Captured Germans) as you would want your PW boys treated. The filming was cold and rugged and that plays on everyones face in the film. A grit that cannot be manufactured on a stage or with a LED wall. We’ve been experimenting and will use LED walls in future VFX but there is something about a wild wind in your face, eyes near watering, and experience something closer to what these actual men did. We get to hear CUT and go back home. Every perspective has a story and they all dance closer and closer to a true event that helps to restore a touch of the humanity we all seem to have lost. Unity. Love. Even with a world at war. The fallout. The anguish, shame and soul crushing heartache.

My backstory was after serving in combat in WW1, Lodell, is pulled from academia, back into action as a camp commander. Seeking out Nazi-rot that grows inside the camps threatening lives and a PR nightmare should an escape happen. A majority of the PWs are farmers taken in desperation and forced to fight. Surrender came fast, not willing to fight to the death for Hitler’s war. Real threats. But like a needle in a haystack. The heaviness of supervisions production in many ways mirrored Lodell’s challenges. I channeled much of my real heaviness of responsibly to my performance and it works.

EVERY soldier just like the prisoners of war, missed their own bed, toilet, lazyboy, pet, family. I love a scene in SNIA where Col Lodell is just watching a Christmas scene of Santa and his nurse ‘elves’ giving children presents. He is the man with the most medals and he is as sad and homesick as the lowest prisoner. WAR hurts us all. I think that is why many SPORTS came about so that things could be handled more easily for both parties.

I’m happy that people are enjoying the film. Lodell, had to be the Col Potter of MASH. Leadership on screen or in real life takes many qualities to do it even semi successful. Lodell, has the secret to leadership but you’ll have to watch the film. I got to get more clean cut and play in the world of my dearly departed grandfathers. Burt Swope, in the Navy and Robert Emerson flying cargo in the Pacific, I believe in the Army. Air force was started in 1947. Anyway. This film captures everything that is nostalgic but also makes you feel as if you are living in it. Not some black and white flicker, cold and distant but in living color. If you can see SNIA on the big screen do. Otherwise, after running our theatricals into March or so, we plan to screen in Germany and a few film festivals. It will start DVD and home video around Nov 1st is my best guess. Meeting next year will tell. TRIVIA: On that scene above, my face got so cold I blew a take unable to fully pronounce my words. I asked for a moment, gave the face a rub down and a few good smacks before ACTION nailing it.

I think the performance will open a few new doors. I always tell actors, don’t get frustrated by people because they don’t see what you don’t show them. This is usually followed by, I don’t get a chance. The 14 year old filmmaker in my rolls his eyes. Almost everyones phone is a studio, where you can work a monologue a thousand times. Comedians and magicians work their craft over and over. If you get the slightest bit off when a camera comes close, you need to work on that. That camera should be that old friend, never glanced at- yet always embraced. Being natural leads to comfortable which leads to the environment to make interesting. In 2023, don’t get in your own way with doubts and ‘cannots’ and all that negativity. See dead ends, as paths of the maze mapped and now known. The true path becomes closer.

WRAP UP –

I truly do LOVE winter. I always have. It teaches you a healthy respect for nature. You admire the beauty of pines that thrives under the blankets of snow. Crackling fire, destroys the old leaving nurturing ashes to sprinkle for the spring plantings. Writings and new ideas like to seep into the pondering mind. A season of hardship and helping where you can. When everyone does a little the world is a better place. We here at TribeCDI are resting and rejuvenating with our loved ones. But rest assured the call of the storyteller rides these cold Michigan winds. Tomahawks and Tommy guns. Hot Rods and Painted Horses. I want to thank all our cast, crew, sponsors, supporters, families, friends and FANS. Tom T. Hall use to have a song, I wish I had a million friends – and I’ve complained about Facebook ‘Friends’ vs acquaintances – but with so many of the films being seem by tens of millions and I’ve been blessed to read your notes of encouragement and connection. I do feel like I have millions of friends, because you accepted our stories, our characters, into your homes. You’ve hunted Bigfoot with Niles Cass in Lost Heart. You felt for Paul Landings and his terrible loss in Man’s Best Friend. You’ve laughed with Ben Lily in Wild Faith. You’ve taken comfort during the holidays watching a relatable Jesus, in The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) And I could go on- my point is thank you. Sincerely, from a childhood dreamer who started with my friends and a VHS camcorder, thank you.

Next up New Years Day! So Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

DJ

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s