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

The Secret of ‘Fire’ ‘Music’ and ‘Know Thyself’ – plus a few film updates…

Good morning my friends. I’m sitting by our new electric fireplace near my chair. Our old one died during the holidays so a new one has replaced it. I’ve got my steaming cup of hazelnut coffee with me as I ponder the past week. I want to thank all the new readers from around the world for stopping by to take a read. I hope there is a few nuggets of wisdom you can pull upon. I had so many good calls this week and 2023 business is underway. I have new goals and already I’m knocking some of them down. I’m sure this year will come with wins and losses as that is the way of life. I’ve reminded a few people, to stop. Turn around. Look at how far you’ve come. Be happy with what you have done, not just fixate on what you have not done.

This week I’ll be gathering up end of year tax stuff to generate any 1099’s for the films. We also do K1’s for all the investors. I was able to get all the check dispersement written and sent out. I only had to resend two as addresses had changed. I’ll also get things around for our company and myself. These are the needed but unsexy parts of the film business. It is so much more than playing with the camera. There is a massive amount of work that goes into each and every film. This is the biz side of show biz.

I’ve been told recently, and not the first time – that I work people hard. I ask artists to dig deep and to put their very best forward. I’ve dedicated my entire life to telling stories, and while we have much fun, we also work very hard. But when the artists finally see the final product, 9 of 10 times, that creative endeavor is one of the best, if not the best, endeavor that artist was involved with that year. They take family and friends to watch the stories and they’re proud to have been part of the stories telling. I’ve got family who have not yet seen our recent film. Our holidays were disrupted by a loss in the family. In my hometown they played the film for several weeks but I still did not get out to see it. But many did! We’re working to set up a special SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, screening in Owosso, MI with NCG. For our Detroit area friends, we’re working to set up screenings there also. Our new theatrical division at CDI Distribution has been launched!

Let’s looks at some of the updates from last week-

  1. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– We had several new theaters open. We had a projection bump at a new theatre screening in Iowa, after they moved the film from the test theatre. Much like home systems, many theatrical houses have different set ups, some older and some newer. They rarely update everything at once likely due to cost. But, I know at the one location it was worked out and the film is playing. People are requesting to managers who contact bookers-who contact us. The film is in 20 theaters and we have another 13 going up. And many more still approaching us from different states. Keep it up, you people are making the film travel. I expect the film to travel theatrically into March or April. We are also exploring a few select film festivals and we want to screen in Germany. Many good plans in action. We are working on a few special marketing deals while moving towards the home video window.
  2. MERCHANDISE– We’ve done some test marketing of some merchandise but we’re starting to really look at a stronger launch of this division at CDI. I can also say that a MUSIC DIVISION, is developing. That will allow audiences access to the amazing soundtrack scores created by Dennis Therrian. These two areas are on CDI’s 2023 developmental goal list. Do you all have a favorite music score? I would love to actually do some runs of LP records. Any participating record pressing companies? Please reach out. RECORD LABEL? Not there yet:)
  3. MOVING FORWARD- Harsens Island Revenge – This film exits development and will enter pre-production next month. What does that mean- that means that the film foundation (legal paperwork) will all be executed and the project funded. At that time we’ll be announcing our director and some of the attached cast. The script having undergone several sessions of writer/director polishing, it’s ready to be broken down. I love this stage because you go over every line of action, description, dialog and discuss. In this case I got to perform several scenes with our director, to get the flow ands feel. Most of the tweaks were minor but took strong scenes and made them even more powerful. It is a very cool story and what a time period to play in. Primary casting and crewing discussions will start in the coming weeks. Our producers already did a location scout trip and another one will be planned. We just created 1944 and now we’ll enter the 1920’s, artists are you ready? Next week, we’ll look to set hard shoot dates after Labor Day 2023. Get ready for some new teaser art as well!
  4. Pen has not yet found ink, but I’m deep into talks on a CDI associated film to be shot late 2023 and early 2024. To recap what a CDI associated film is- it’s a film whereas someone else is bringing the capital $ to the table but want the experience of CDI behind it. As a producer, I remove the ‘supervising’ role and become more or less, a consultant. CDI will bring other assets to help but the main responsibility is on other shoulders. I’ve been asked to co-star in the supernatural action-thriller, and I’m feeling it. I hope to be able to call the film by name and run some PR about the new arrangement, in the near future. It is always best to work out all these details in advance so there is no issues later. This is a KEY to success. Have the hard conversations now and get everything in writing some it’s there. I still have 4-5 films out there in the film post abyss, they might finish one day. I sincerely hope they do. NUGGET: If possible, you actors, pick production teams with a track record of finishing.
  5. SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – This week the script will go out to some historians and some friends in the Native American community. I think, I have written a powerful and balanced script, with lessons about loss, revenge, understanding, love and unity. It is not sugarcoated in any way and contains a few scenes that left me shaken after writing them. I had to go immerse myself in some nature and beauty, away from the truth of our shared history. I will be putting the script forth after this round of notes, and we’ll be putting together the Phase 2 plan. Phase 2 will be the development work in Iowa to prep for a 2024 shoot. I’ll also be having some teaser art put together. This will be a great return to the 1800’s storytelling for CDI.
  6. I want to thank and encourage all of you to keep exploring and watching the CDI library. I’ve had fans reach out and thank us for The Quest Trilogy, MBF, Best Years Gone, Lost Heart, Wild Faith – you can even watch many free on TUBI or Encourage TV. I actually enjoyed The Quest Trilogy, playing while I was doing work. Again, even when not watching I love the music. But the amazing scenery (Yuma, AZ) and the story often gets me distracted for a few moments. More so, when I see friends on screen who are no longer with us. TRIVIA: Who was the voice of ‘God’ in FORTY NIGHTS? You can leave your answer in the comments.
  7. Speaking of the CDI library, we will be looking to set up several of the old films, in HD at BMG. I had to look up dates for GHOST TOWN, which will be one of the new set up preps. Also AN ORDINARY KILLER, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and KNIGHT CHILLS are all being worked on.
  8. Animated Division of CDI is in the works. CDI did an “in association” feature THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ, which is being re-rendered and conformed for a release through BMG. But, we’ve got a few shorts and features in development. I’ve always loved cartoons and such, so getting involved in that direction feels natural.
  9. We’ve got some good interest in creating video games off some of our films. You might know KNIGHT CHILLS, Dice Don’t Lie, video game has been in development. Once the final render is done of Sir Kallio, we might start some 3D printing.
  10. This week I also plan to meet over the next FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, doc. I’ve already started to talk with a few folks and if all goes well the team will shoot it this Spring/Summer. I think we’ve got a great overall summary of the history in the first film but now we can go into segments and define parts of it even further. Wrestling, grappling fan or not, this film will entertain you and educate you in the rich history.

The holidays were unconventional with the death in the family but the spirit of the season kept on. Aside from the loss, the beautiful snowstorm and the slowing of our day to day for a few days of family and reflection, really helped to recharge my batteries. The finishing of projects and the beginning of new. Again the seasons of our lives as creative artists. And while, sometimes the stories pull me away from my comforts for a time, the stories we tell are timeless.

It is also a time where we artists re-unite. CDI has been a home for some and a stepping stone for others. I like to think we instilled some good qualities into the folks who’ve moved away and into their own respective fields, sometimes in the arts and sometimes not. I tell people, CDI is like any other endeavor, you will get out of it what you put into it. For many, it means being a part of something great that nobody can take away from you. To do that takes hard work. Very hard work. And I only like to work with people who care about what they put their name on. Craftsmanship. Whiskey. Cars. Films. Life is too short to not care about what you work on. The Quakers (Look them up) made amazing furniture and wood crafts because they believe they’re honoring God by their own hands with their craft. I think that is a good mind set and the results are something infused with- love.

FIRE– I’m going to get after a few things today including getting some firewood around for the office stove. I do want to try some lump coal like my buddy uses in his stove. Longer burning and more heat. I’m also on a mission to organize even better this year. I will be putting everything to digital for back ups. I keep being asked about a podcast ‘Around the Fire’ at the fort. I am thinking about it. But I like the fort being a place of low tech and around personal synergy. Knights of the Round Table. Vikings in the Lodge. Monks in the temple. Development at CDI is not just projects, it is people. But people have to want positive change. Self defeating, self associated talk will draw all the negative to you and lower your own personal power. Birds of a feather, flock together. Misery enjoys company. Also believe to achieve. Positive perspective. Creative visualization. The mind is a powerful thing that can assist or hinder. That is why the KNOW THYSELF, rings so powerful. In the new year if you are struggling, fight to take control of the self. Start with your words. What are they? Sounds. Vowels. Symbols. But powerfully attached to our innermost self. MUSIC is a wonderful tool that can lead the mind in the places you want to go. I said, GO – not where you are. If depressed, there are many songs that will not help. But, certain songs help lead our mind. To use a modern term, learn your own triggers and trigger yourself in a positive direction. And DON’T trigger yourself by playing music or putting yourself in a situation, you know, you won’t react well too. Depressed. Don’t play depressing music. Steel drums and island music often puts a big ole smile on my face. Just something that I like to use as a tool. Music puts the mind in a different state and allows you to tune oneself. I use guitar playing the same way. If I’m feeling ‘out of tune’ a few strums can put me not just back in tune but vibrant. I’ve had many great business calls right on the heels of a guitar/energy tune up. FIRE. KNOW THYSELF. MUSIC. Three very primitive and useful tools one can use. I’m not sure if any of this will help anyone, but if it helps one person.

Until next week, coffee cheers!

DJ

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