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‘Best Years Gone’ Moves Into Music & Sound – CDI Updates and Sunday Rocking Chair Ponderings

Good morning partners. Hazelnut coffee cheers! We had a good rain last night and everything is becoming lush and green. Later today will be our first flea market visit to see if I can find any treasures. I love to look for personal props for certain characters. I was looking pretty close to ole Ben Lily as we moved forward developing the WILD FAITH Tv series spin off. I have a string of biz calls to do about the 8 show spin off. With our WW2 film a full go we’ve decided that the series HASTINGS will go up after SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. So I’ve had a full shave and a hair cut as I prepare for the next role. We announced two more actors last week with Dean Teaster and Samual Peterson joining the cast.

This week we’ll announce more cast and crew as we move through pre-production. We’ve almost cast our Germans which is so exciting. Just incredible talent and I’m again happy to say that about all our castings. So many exciting announcements that will be forthcoming.

Our holiday window of Thanksgiving to Easter is now complete. It will be fun to see how THE QUEST TRILOGY did with audiences this year. We keep growing our audiences each year and I truly do love getting all the fan mail. CDI will eventually do another trilogy of biblical films. One of the scripts is being studied for future execution and we hope to return to the desert in the near future.

MANS BEST FRIEND is starting its general market roll out. I have to say I loved the previous poster art but this poster captures ‘Paul’ in the eyes. And what a noble pic of Paul’s MBF. I think this film that got caught up in the Covid breakout deserves that renewed push. For a beat everyone was holding on licensing as the whole world adjusted. I’m so happy that it is getting its second wind. I was already getting LOTS of fan mail (NOTE: My silly spell check tried to turn ‘mail’ into ‘tail’ and that reads totally different. I’m happy to say this coming June at NRB the 5 best finalist films under 250k will compete for gold, silver and bronze. Both MBF and LOST HEART are finalists. So having 2 of the 5 nominated films feels good. It makes me proud of our artists and I do take pride in having written those scripts.

‘WRITING’ is a love that I hid for a long time only because I wanted to be seen as an actor first. The actor ME became frustrated at the lack of deep, powerful films. I’m comfortable now being considered a screenwriter along with an actor and ultimately producer. I’ve enjoyed writing short stories as part of my book contributions to this wonderful book series by Callie Smith Grant. (Revell/Baker) Each book focuses on animal relationships and sometimes centers around a holiday. Cats and Christmas is up next and so I’ll polish up my story and see if it makes the grade. The fun fact here is I was approached after WILD FAITH was seen in the theaters. From there I’ve contributed to three books now. The one coming out later this year (09/21) is on dogs. I like dogs:)

This morning as the rain storm passed, our team on the documentary ‘For the Love of Catch‘ hit the road. This is for the last filming segment of the doc. We’re set up to start editing and dialog clean up immediately after. They have been getting some great interviews from the world of grappling to discuss what they love about it. We’ll be doing a PR release and talking more about this in the coming weeks. It is being directed by our own Catch-Can World Champion Curran Jacobs. Big congrats to Dan Chipman and his mobile production home for capturing some amazing interviews. Adam Towner has been signed on to edit and work post. Stay tuned!

LOST HEART has been just playing so well to the family/faith audiences but as pointed out by fans, the film is so much more. Hence the upcoming general market release, but we’ll wait until I have more to report. But let’s address that term? market? We are all storytellers.

At CDI we don’t make “faith” films – but create stories with strong character development. In ANY story character development is king. And knowing the ‘faith’ of the character is the seed. Some seek faith, lack faith or try to hold onto faith. Maybe they lost all faith in mankind, themselves or their path to God. All these characters come from a different place. Those carrying status in religion might struggle with their faith while the downtrodden might live in appreciative faith. I have many ask about religion which has helped to build great civilizations but unfortunately usually is tied to conflict and war. I also think that someone’s seeking to understand divinity is a personal and private relationship, unique to each person. In my opinion it also doesn’t require any fancy study, conversion, certification, validation etc…to me DIVINE is a constant like gravity. Only mankind’s understanding changes but anyone actively seeking DIVINE is getting closer and closer to THEIR truth of understanding the constant. Many of my deep pondering are reflected in ‘The Quest Trilogy,’ historical fiction examining overlooked events or perspectives to try and gain a new insight.

A nice example in Forty Nights is the showing ‘Jesus’ working to put the words of the heart on the tongue. Some watchers following along with their scripture wait to jump on the words and claim their superiority in finding supposed flaws. The purpose was to show human flaw in Jesus. That mighty things like LOVE are hard to put into the perfect words. The purpose was to show the journey to those final words. It still makes me chuckle when I see people upset about John and Jesus seemingly not knowing each other….the post baptism conversation and later flashbacks between John and Jesus obviously showing a pre-existing relationship. The baptism was a ritual passing of the torch but their casual talk away from the masses was meant to show they knew one another well.

Later in the desert, we see Jesus struggling to find the perfect way to teach what he knows. Some of the greatest minds in certain fields cannot teach what they know. Being a teacher is not easy because you have to paint a picture to enlightenment for another persons imagination and intelligence to grasp onto. Those three films are full of contemplative gems and many have discovered some personal truth by watching them. For some they just miss the point – I like the Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon I think) scene whereas Bruce tells a student not to just focus on the pointing finger alone or you’ll miss all that heavenly glory. I think the old saying of ‘the Devils in the details’ is another funny way to say this. Some people are so worried at hoping to increase their “religious” status by winning some ‘Bible Jeopardy’ that they miss the lesson of the parable all together.

And so scholars continue to debate and the facts alter and change as new “experts” appear. Science and Religion have more in common then they think and to me it’s fascinating that they don’t always co-exist well. Anyway, I think that the trilogy was my “Noah. I want you to build an ark.” moment. You want to know my feelings – watch the films. I tried to connect the dots in a way that made sense to people who cannot truthfully function on blind faith alone. You will find a deep sincere reverence that permeates all three stories. The trilogy conjures all the right emotions and feelings because in the medium of film it’s show me versus tell me where you can. It’s when the story rises beyond just show and tell to actually allow one to FEEL the story. It’s an art. I’ve gone on a while here. I could and have filled books with my thoughts on these matters. But your relationship with divine or choice to not interact or accept is deeply personal. I like to speak with the stories to those still seeking their personal truth and maybe help clarify aspects of things for those who feel to have found divinity yet still seek to fully understand it. I have a suspicion that only on our final walk will we fully understand.

Okay let’s shift gears!

BEST YEARS GONE – based upon the wonderful and quirky writing of Karl Manke in his book ” Hope from Heaven” (You can buy it:) comes the story of unconditional love, dreams gone awry and generational communication issues. We now have the film after a wonderful edit by Nathaniel Nose (Dir./Editor The Christ Slayer) and has now landed at Dennis Therrian’s studio. We’ve had two post sessions so far and what a lift to the spirits. While this film will have all the trademark emotional beats it truly marks what I feel to be a big step comedically. It is for me for certain. Now growing up I thought I was going to be a stand up comedian with strong observational humor like George Carlin. In my personal life I would say I have a healthy sense of humor maybe too much. (I have been known to pull a prank or two) I have to say I had such a wonderful time filming this. It was the adventure that unfolded in the Covid storm and we were appreciative to have all our precautions rewarded with a safe journey. Now we’re into talking music and the dialog is also popping better than ever due to innovative software, gear and the growing experience of our sound team. The deal with BMG is signed. Next week we’ll start feeding them marketing deliverables. Poster art will be underway as we deliver choice screen captures. Additionally the first official trailer is being cut and so maybe end of May we can rock that out.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS!!!! It is still underway and we are getting some KICK ASS music submissions. Keep them coming and you just might end up in this film. We’ve really enjoyed listening to all the great original music. Kudos to all of you. Keep on rocking!

I want to get back on path with my writing. I want to finish my new SMOKE & MIRRORS feature script. You’ll get to enjoy the short film likely this fall. I saw some of the VFX work and I’m smiling. My SciFi script is another goal to at least get my first draft. The 1st season of HASTINGS is being edited for missed commas and such. I think we had a nice chat and I gave you all a good update on the films. In short – it has been busy. But I’ve also been getting some great moments observing the new hens in our “chicken land” enclosure. Some major wood chopping against a few mighty logs that I swear were made of iron. I will soon bottle up some of the berry wine that has been aging. We recently toasted off Best Years Gone will some lilac wine aged several years. It was enjoyed by all. Amazing what the natural world has to offer. Until we speak next week. Be good to one another.

DJ


Happy Easter 2021

I’m sipping the coffee early and trying to do my blog here before I have to start getting the patio around for our little Easter meal. We are just having the mom’s over but it should be a nice day to enjoy family. Again welcome all the readers from around the world. I think I’ll do a simple TOP 10 list today to make things easier. I know Easter is many things to many people and I think that a person’s journey is their own personal one. It is a time of rebirth, renewal and new beginnings. A chance to awake with the perspective you wish to carry with you day to day. So enjoy a watch on some of the classic Chuck Heston biblical films and maybe sneak in a viewing of ‘The Quest Trilogy’ with your family.

TOP 10 Updates from the past week-

  1. Our awards season is starting and here is a smattering of the nominations https://www.prlog.org/12864311-hidden-gem-lost-heart-gathers-multiple-nominations.html – congrats to all our nominated folks and our entire creative tribe.
  2. The new general market campaign for “MBF: Man’s Best Friend” has begun with new artwork and as of this morning on the distributors ENCOURAGE TV the film just broke 1 million views!
  3. LOST HEART is getting a general market release in the coming months and that film keeps on growing in audience size. Another great family watch!
  4. Casting on “Silent Night in Algona” continues and this week we plan to announce two more actors from our lead family. We’ll meet ‘Grandpa Joe’ and young ‘Donny Tietz’ this week. Stay tuned in! Thank you for all the great reels and reads.
  5. Distribution is fully signed on BEST YEARS GONE which has now moved to the new audio studio to start having music and sound design work done by our own Dennis Therrian.
  6. The BEST YEARS GONE – Battle of the Bands (On the FB page) is getting lots of good submissions – keep them coming all month!
  7. ‘For the Love of Catch’ documentary is about to film its last segment this month and will start editing. We’ve had some great interviews and this will give a fascinating look at the history of grappling.
  8. I’ve been having fun doing work on an audio book that I’ll share once it is completed.
  9. Wild Faith keeps moving ahead in strength and plans for the TV series get stronger as we along.
  10. I hope each of you makes the time to take a watch on The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) – enjoy!

In a place and time where so many feel a need to check a box to belong – know you don’t have to check any boxes. It is okay to be unsure, to be a seeker and/or to fail and start again fresh with new experience. Again absolutes often reveal the fool and admitting being a fool can open oneself up to great new perspective and wisdom.

With many things to do on this fine day I will keep this short. In summary, at CDI we have several more projects in development like “Hastings”, post production like “Smoke & Mirrors” and much more. Individually and collectively we’ve faced challenges grown. So enjoy this beautiful day of renewal and plan your adventures ahead. Happy Easter to each and every one of you and have a good week ahead!

DJ


ARTISTS Around the World, Updates and Award Nominations

Good morning my friends – coffee cheers. (Above: Movie lunch pails – one day:) I loved seeing all the readers that dropped by last week and from so many different countries. Interesting talk recently that the artists in all countries likely exist in an alike mind space. This started from watching the live action Mulan. I really enjoyed it. Of course I’m a martial artists and I also love the history and traditions of the asian countries. The media backlash was over some of the film being filmed in areas of China where the treatment of some people there has been in question. My point is that I can assure that most of the artists in China are not the ones committing these actions. Politicians and corporations are where the differences often lie. Again I think that art is one of the best forms of communication still working. I think it is through storytelling and art that people try to change things by changing the hearts of the people. Iran. That was brought up and I am sure that there are many wonderful Iranian artists and many are likely not in step with their government. Artists have been persecuted in many places over the corse of history for illuminating people in a way that often goes against the agenda of politics. Don’t get me wrong, artists have their issues and running a country of diverse people is never easy. But the film Mulan had beautiful locations and maybe that is why certain things were filmed at certain locations. Story-first we call it. In telling our story we try to do what is best for the story not politically motivated. Also I do understand financial reasons for location choice. I just like to look at the sum of the parts. In any endeavor using many people – having a story to focus upon brings out the best in each person. Their best artistic qualities end up showcased. Again that’s why we embrace the ‘collective development’ of individuals versus a ‘cancel’ mentality. On our sets a respectful attitude is required and any course corrections to transgressions would be attempted and often the flow is resumed. In a few situations we’ve let people go but when that has happened I’ve owned that as a miss or a loss. A kid who had to be sent home from summer camp because a staff couldn’t nurture the good kid within. A student who quits never to return to the dojo is on the sensei – he failed to nurture the student properly. An athlete who has to be removed from a team shares that failure with his coaches. Just a few thoughts. I’ve had beautiful fan mail and invites to visit their countries from people all over the world. Those places I would be honored to visit but being honest, some places have me nervous. The nervous apprehension is not stemming from the artists. So in conclusion, if a group of people geographically create something in an area where some in power have misstepped should all the people, all the artists be held accountable? And yes. I’m sure the artists in some of these places object to things they don’t agree with, much like here in the USA. But many elsewhere are met with bullets in response to their objections. So let us praise positivity in story wherever it’s told.

Onto some film updates. First this week we starting to announce some of the ICFF 2021 Nominations which is for films of faith, family and inspiration. Positive stories:) We were fortunate enough to again be chosen for several nominations with LOST HEART. First is my favorite award nomination next to ‘Most Inspirational’ which THE QUEST TRILOGY garnished. BEST FILM – I love this because again as mentioned earlier it represents the collective artistry of the tribe.

On a personal level I’m enjoying the collecting of these screenwriter nods. When acting was my main push and I guess I would say it still is. I use to downplay the screenwriting not wanting to be seen as a screenwriter who acts. But these days I’m 100% confident is just being the artist I am with multiple avenues to create. As an actor, I’ve had the pleasure of trying to utter some pretty bad dialog in some questionably written scripts. Often by some good directors who’s art of screenplay wasn’t on the same level. But that means a director directing and actors acting with a poor blue print. To have a chance at executing a good story you need a strong blue print. This is why I’ve done less and less outside work. I KNOW great material is out there and good teams to execute production but getting those circles to all align can be difficult. There is so much that can hinder a film production the script should not be one of them. So I’ve been poking about and having a few discussions on literary representation. I would like to see a few stories go be created by others. To have other artists and tribes make a go at telling a great story because of a solid blue print. We can only create so many stories as a company. So I look forward to creating a few wonderful vehicles for actors and teams out there in the world.

Congrats to Jesse Low. One of the other instinctual things a producer(s) have to do is try to marry the right story to the right director. It is an art. Just like management. Casting. Crewing. If working as many with a zero budget it’s making the best hand with what you have. On the low budget you do have choices. In a way the best choices, because you will only attract artists who love the story and/or filmmakers. Also development – after several features – the relationship flow with Jesse Low has become tight. Coffee Cheers to many more!

A film will LIVE or DIE but the leads. So many wish the opportunity but it is not easy. It is why I cringe when someone says, “I might try acting, sounds fun.” Acting is more a calling (or a disease) versus a fun thing to try. The medium of film requires even more focus as things are often in random order and the multiple takes can be draining. Many actors and actresses don’t have the endurance to do it. That is why shorts are a good build for cast and crews. Features are a longer journey and requires pacing, prep and hyper-focus.

Melissa Anschutz went above and beyond – allowing audiences via her national PR appearances to hear about her personal battles immediately following filming. This reached, touched and helped many people with alike tragedies in their lives. She is very deserving of both these awards so a big congrats to Melissa and thank you for all you do to help the tribe of artists. You’re an inspiration to many out there.

CDI has been blessed to have many very successful artists join our tribe and storytell with us. These folks have such great projects behind them that when they branch out to work with anyone they take a real chance. At CDI we don’t play ‘star’ that is for the red carpet for those who wanna play that – this is storytelling. I’m so appreciative of the artists who bring their very best. No phoning it in. They BRING IT. I do love how Tarantino brings great names from previous successful stories that maybe haven’t been seen in a while and showcased fresh, powerful new performances. We do that. We work hard to provide the most professional experience and to encourage the best set to create. I’m so happy for Victoria Jackson and Don Most for their nominations in the supporting roles. If you watch the film LOST HEART you will realize how deserving them are. Often a fest might give a nod because of the star power it brings but these nominations are right on. They both give performances that audiences will remember for years to come. It shows that Happy Days and SNL were just early stepping stones and they are still the artist they ever were and with experience, even more talented now. Congrats.

Now we come to this. I want to say that I have to get better about accepting such things. I truly enjoy other people getting recognition so that they will want to come out and play next time asked. Last year I was nominated for ‘Paul Landings’ as the Best Actor in MBF and took great pride in that since Paul represents our wounded military vets. Now ole ‘UFO Worldwide’ Reporter Niles Cass doesn’t seem as dramatic or deserving but I am still deeply honored. Two different tone films which is made more interesting since at ICVM at NBR (Crown Awards) in June (Texas) they have narrowed down to 5 top films nominated for Best Film and MBF and Lost Heart are going head-to-head because of the Covid lockdown last year. Proud of both stories just very different.

I wanted to share another special recognition that LOST HEART received. Congrats to my brother from another mother Ponceman. Working with Ponce a second time was just a pure joy. Might have to make it three times;)

I could do some additional updates but it is getting late and I need a shower after waking up and pushing myself in the strongman contest. This coop was MUCH heavier than I thought but the Amish don’t play. This is not like the previous coop which was nowhere as heavy duty. New chickens arrive next weekend.

Casting and crewing talks have been going great on the WW2 drama. This week we’ll announce two more leads in the main family joining actors Curran Jacobs and Cassie Dean. One is a beloved tribal member and the other a wonderful actor who will work with CDI for the first time. Our German reads have been exciting! We have other roles locking in and many to still explore.

BEST YEARS GONE is going to be traveling this week to our post studio with Dennis Therrian. Nathaniel Nose has done a wonderful job. We’ll know this week if he’ll be cutting the trailer. The Battle of the Bands runs until the end of April and we’ve had some great submissions. I plan to announce another judge this week joining Joe Pullin and John Two Hawks. I’m so excited to get onto this next phase. I look forward to spending some time at the studio in the pines. I think I might have to be on grill duty also.

I’m going to wrap it up here. I know I likely missed a few updates but I think we hit upon enough. I was a bit behind last week on emails, calls and even contract review (Monday:) But this week will be a good catch up. I hope each and everyone of you have a productive week. Be good to one another.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ


National Nominations, New Updates and ‘trying to be a Calm in the Storm’

(Chilling at the new post studio – in the pines)

I’m sipping the coffee on this beautiful Sunday. The last couple days have been partially used to start the yard clean up. Some more wood logs got chopped up ready for the next cold day. The garden is going to become the new ‘chicken land’ along with some raised bed veggies and new blueberry plants to join the others we have. Every year different new yard endeavors are put into play. The zip line has not yet been installed.

In the office I started moving pictures and paintings around after I acquired a new painting of an ancient soldier. Once I started moving things around it became an afternoon of trying to get it just right. The nice part is all this can happen while taking business calls. I had one day where I was on the phone 10:30 to 2:30 straight – but lots of good business was done. This is also festival and awards season for us. We’re very selective about our festival selections. You can spend a lot of time and money pushing out to all these tests. Let’s start with the fest updates-

International Christian Film & Music Festival – Lost Heart is up for overall BEST PICTURE, BEST DIRECTOR (Jesse Low), BEST SCREENPLAY (DJ Perry), BEST LEAD ACTRESS (Melissa Anschutz), BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (Don Most), BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (Victoria Jackson) and the PEOPLE’s CHOICE nomination for ACTRESS OF THE YEAR (Melissa Anschutz) and ACTOR OF THE YEAR (DJ Perry)

I’m so happy for the film and the growing response to the film’s story as it makes it way out into the world. A big kudos to Melissa Anschutz who took lead on this film with a career defining performance.

ICVM Crown Awards this year happening at NRB in Dallas Texas in June both “MBF: Man’s Best Friend” and “Lost Heart” have been nominated as one of the 5 finalist in BEST FILM UNDER 250k plus they might result in some personal nominations in the 18 categories.

Again we’re appreciative of the recognition. Many of these festival submissions are done by our distributor but we sometimes do a few select submissions. All the monthly and small online festivals are just revenue gathering models. I’m not against these just not something we chase. If more people become aware and watch the film I guess that is the goal.

FILM UPDATES

BEST YEARS GONE the last set of notes is being sent over this week and those will be implemented and the film will travel to our post studio. The last inserts of footage and such will happen there before music and sound begins. I’m going to try and make the studio hang once a week to review and enjoy this process. The BATTLE OF THE BANDS has been getting some great submissions on the FB page contest. We are announcing another celebrity judge in Mr. Joe Pullin who has worked on all levels of the music industry. His full bio will be posted this week! Merchandise is starting to creep out with a cool auto sticker set and soon iron on Tee shirt logos! Go to http://www.cdiproductions.com and go to the merchandise section. We plan to also start an artist showcase and sell other artists goods for a commission. That is in thew works also!

(Mr. Joe Pullin – our next celebrity JUDGE)

THE QUEST TRILOGY – Tis the Easter season and so we’ll ask that you put your sandals on and travel with us to the desert. Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer can all be watched on various platforms Amazon Prime, Encourage TV, Tubi, Pureflix just to name a few.

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS is doing great and now that funding on another project is complete we can pour more effort in the direction of the TV series. We have planned to put the series in the Spring 2022 slot as we’re still getting past Covid and I’m needing more time to put this TV deal together. With eight 44 min shows this is a larger endeavor but one that I think will be coming soon. I have several follow up communications.

IN OTHER NEWS:

A CDI co-production “Locked in a Room” has gotten a new re-issue as AMERICAN LIAR now available on Amazon Prime. It is an R rated thriller with greed being at the heart of it. Shot in Detroit by writer/direction Larry Simmons – congrats to all the artists involved! Take a watch but watch out for “Mr. Creepy” 🙂

Discussions are underway for BESTSELLER to finally get out to a wider market. Knight Chills has multiple opportunities for a new release. WICKED SPRING is being worked on to release in HD.

WRAP UP: Many people are trying to navigate the storms of isolation, financial insecurity, stress, parenting and more. My goal is to work hard to create something stable. People feel “behind” as if a year has been stolen from them and in many ways it was. Now I’ve focused and worked very hard to keep my balance and in turn provide balance to the other artists struggling. I stated this week that I push forward with my “best efforts” daily, always. I try and not put any expectations beyond as it just adds stress because it is out of my control. Everyone is feeling the urge to RUN after the world Covid lockdown and that is creating a ME and NOW vibe rippling through society. Again I feel we make the greatest gains working together but everyone needs to pay attention to their own fire from time to time. You are no good to a circle of people if your own personal fire isn’t burning bright. I’ve tried to change as little as possible save what we had to for safety to give people an experience. In 2020 BEST YEARS GONE was that. This year is getting better Covid-wise but it still shadows over endeavors and people’s moods. But we will again do what we do and that is all we can do. Please be kind to yourself. Don’t hold your progress up to the same non-Covid standards. Don’t lean into what you do not do but what you were able to do. And be good to one another. This has been hard on everyone with some having it better and some worse. Help someone out this week in some way, shape or form and you will feel the joy of it. I’m going to carry on and we have lots of exciting announcements coming in the weeks ahead. Starting with more cast and crew will be announced for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. Also business sponsorships will start this April and that is no joke!

Have a great week ahead.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ


CDI Announces WW2 Drama to Pre-Production and more…

Hazelnut coffee cheers! I want to welcome all our new readers from South Africa, Saudi Arabia and more. I’m surprised every week by the new countries joining us. In Michigan we had a big rain and all the ice and snow left us. A few more days and the mud dried as the ground unfroze and now Spring is upon us. Matter of fact in our state we just jumped ahead an hour. We’ve been cleaning up the yard from falling sticks. I’m prepping some logs to be split into firewood soon. The garden is going to be turned into ‘chicken land’ and we’ll move gardening to raised beds and pots. Blueberries will be added to the berry selection this year but like the rhubarb it will take a season or two for the fruit to come.

So tomorrow I will be getting the first of two vaccine applications. My parents and many of my loved ones have already been vaccinated and now they’re getting to my age group. Also tomorrow will be some banking as we prepare more film disbursements and I plan to open the new film account for our new WW2 drama. Our PR announcement below:

https://www.prlog.org/12861700-collective-development-inc-moves-wwii-drama-silent-night-in-algona-into-pre-pro.html

We are getting some amazing actor reads and we’ll be announcing more of the talent joining us. Location scouting will be next along with crew conversations. We did get an affirmative from Jesse Aragon, a great camera artist who brought the great images in The Quest Trilogy, Wild Faith and Lost Heart. We welcome him aboard the next journey. Dennis Therrian will be composing and doing our sound design on this powerful story but first he has BEST YEARS GONE.

BEST YEARS GONE has a new cut that is close to a lock. Our director and editor are working the final nuances. I think we’ll have a producing showing at some point here. From there it is onto music and sound design at the new studio. For those that don’t know our composer lost his house and studio in a fire. The house and studio have been rebuilt and we are about to take the studio on its maiden voyage. Also a trailer will be coming soon!

Additionally we’ve had some great artists submitting songs to the FB page for BEST YEARS GONE in our Battle of the Bands. Please do keep submitting your songs and stop by and take a listen to the ones that have landed.

This week we’ll be announcing another of our celebrity judges. Again the plan is to have the winning band actually perform at the premiere or the music video that will be created for our winner.

LOST HEART and MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND ate both getting a new campaign. Lost Heart is a cool and complex film whereas I had many fans reach out and say that they really enjoyed the film. They had no idea that UFO’s, BigFoot and the Devil’s Crossroads and humor play into the story. We felt that we had to pick a direction with the first campaign and so the drama, music and atonement were our pushed themes. The film is doing great and climbing charts at Tubi and other major outlets but we’re not getting male audiences unless by accident or association. (Watching with a wife or girlfriend) BUT when the men have watched it they have really enjoyed it. So a second campaign will be going after that male demographic that loves mysteries of the unexplained. So that will be an exciting campaign to get the audience that wasn’t going to bite. In the meantime we await to see if the International Christian Film Festival has any nominations for LOST HEART. So many deserving performances and the music…but we will see.

THE QUEST TRILOGY is getting to the end of its holiday run with Easter right around the corner. I truly do love this trilogy as it puts the stories in an easy to follow manner. It also approaches the events from a unique perspective. One such thing is in Forty Nights we examine Jesus when he “vision quests” into the desert where he is working on putting the words of the heart on the tongue. It shows him working some of it out yet people watching cry out, “that is not what he said.” EXACTLY he is shown developing his teaching. CHASING THE STAR some have said, “But the magi aren’t Christian.” BINGO as that did not develop for decades later and people should learn the history of the order of the magi. This films are not regurgitated same old, same old but sheds some light upon these events that connects the dots for many people. Everyone’s experience is different and so watch the three films and let me know your thoughts.

BESTSELLER could be getting a new major release which is an exciting proposal. KNIGHT CHILLS might be getting a special Blu Ray release. Also fans of WICKED SPRING, a new letterbox/HD version is in the works with BMG. We also have some new items making their way to our new merchandise section on the http://www.cdiproductions.com site. You can also watch most of the films w/ ads from Encourage TV also assessable from the CDI site.

Other development is underway including HASTINGS the Wild Faith TV spin off. We might have a few other scripts in development and that will assure the next few years are quite full. I’m going to get on with my day and I’m looking forward to our warmer days including the start soccer season. Last year’s season was cancelled but I hope everything rolls out just fine in 2021. I’m ready to get back out there! Until we chat again next week, be productive and be good to one another.

DJ


‘BATTLE OF THE BANDS’ LAUNCHED AND WW2 1944 IS THE NEXT STOP FOR CDI

Good morning my good artist friends from around the globe. I saw many new readers from Peru, Ireland and Cuba just to name a few. I don’t know how it is in your part of the world but here in Michigan (Southern Canada) just kidding – the ice and snow started to melt showing us patches of earth. Spring is in the air and the wood bins are full for the final blasts of cold. Plans are being made for the Spring already with an expansion to the chicken-land enclosure and maybe an outdoor gazebo. Within the office I’ve been doing some tinkering here and there all while jamming to some good tunes. I think that is what led to the idea of the Battle of the Bands. BEST YEARS GONE which is closing in on a final cut will soon move into music and sound design with Dennis Therrian. But we’ve used many featured artists on past films. WILD FAITH used Trace Adkins narrating vs singing but we’ve had several artists join us. On LOST HEART we got to hear John Carter Cash and his wife Ana with The Cash Collective and Roanoke featuring our young lead Taylor. Anyway, this was an idea to take a few of my music artists friends higher on the ladder and give them a chance to experience some of the other great artists out there looking to have their voice and stories told. So if you have original songs that you own all the lyric and music rights, submit the song(s) to the wall at – Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/Bestyearsgone

In April our Judges will listen to the finalists and give their comments. From there our director will review and a winner will revealed. So submit your songs – rock, rap, country! Good luck!

LOST HEART has still been getting lots of national PR and on streaming sites like TUBI it has been climbing joining WILD FAITH. Critics are what they are but here is another review-

https://boxofficerevolution.wordpress.com/2021/02/02/lost-heart-movie-review/

We have some exciting ideas bouncing with our distributor. The film seems to be hitting well with the female audience but isn’t drawing in men as much. BUT when men watch they are actually enjoying be causing of the fun UFO and Bigfoot elements in the story. So we might be designing some artwork that reflects some of that because it is a really fun movie. Like I’ve said, I challenge you to watch it and not laugh somewhere. Cry is a good possibility too. I had some fan mail that thought they were in for something lighter in tone like a Hallmark film but were surprised by the power of the drama.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND is also on the rise and the distributor thinks it can go even further with a new campaign so I’m looking forward to see new art, trailer and PR push. This film is really making the circle through the military friends and families marching towards 1 million viewers on Encourage TV and playing many more channels.

These three fine stories that I promise you are unique in their genre, are being featured on many sites as a series. Sony/Pureflix is doing a special Easter season push as is many of the outlets and platforms. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. What I love about the first one is that it depicts a time before Jesus started any ministry. When he was still crystallizing his teaching and how to “put the words of the heart on the tongue”. But many people were not happy or content to see a pre-Jesus. The man BEFORE he fully became what others now expect. It’s a unique perspective that some missed. But those who missed are people just looking to ‘devil the details’ and they often miss the lesson altogether. Enjoy the films and let me know what you think and if you see the unique perspective of a man who is a work-in-progress.

DEVELOPMENT & PRE

Several projects are in motion with our doc ‘For the Love of Catch‘ filming the next several weeks. Some VFX post work is being completed on SMOKE & MIRRORS a spooky short that we filmed with the CDI Tribe. HASTINGS continues to advance down the development road. The good news that will be announced this week is that SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is officially moving out of development into pre-production. We have been casting and will have more exciting announcements including the casting of our young female lead. It’s…

We’ll also start discussing crew and put several tasks in motion creatively. I’m beyond excited to have the CDI Tribe do a WW2 drama. I’m thrilled that this was the script Rance Howard and I spoke so many hours on. Being that this is all ‘based on a true event’ makes it even better that this moving story will be told to the entire world.

WRAP UP – If you are a musician with original music drop it on the wall for BEST YEARS GONE or just go listen to some of the great music being added. I want to thank Mr. John Two Hawks joining Dennis Therrian as our second celebrity judge with more to follow. I spoke with John yesterday which was a great catch up. I blame/thank John for my love of NIGHTWISH. John has played with them on a few occasions and I really enjoy their sound. His full bio can be seen on the FB site where the ‘Battle of the Bands’ is being hosted. IF you have a company that wants to align with either our next release BEST YEARS GONE or our new SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA WW2 film. If your product was around in 1944 we plan throw back packaging. And if your company was not well, we can make it look in the style of 1944. We will have many exciting supporters and sponsors to announce now that this is moving forward. I hope you all have a great week. Stay safe and be good to one another.

DJ


Early Scoop on Spring CDI Endeavors – 2021

(Last week my CoStar Erika Hoveland had a bday! Such a joy to work with her. I look forward to working with more Michigan talent)

Spring is in the air as the milder winds have found their way to Michigan. But the warm hazelnut coffee still hits the spot. We had a lot of readers stop by from all over the world last week. Mexico, Canada, UK, France…actually about a dozen countries were represented. Last week we talked about actors helping actors but the real take away is to be ready. Is there still things you can do? Better pis, updated resume, cover letter, fix broken links, updated reels and the list goes on. Many people like to look at what is outside their control versus what is inside their control.

Part of my week was getting end of year tax stuff organized so all that can be paid. Many people do their own taxes but I’ve always used a tax expert. With all the 1099’s, K1’s and more it is best to have that expert hand in matters. But that is all almost done and it will be onto the new business of 2021. We are always working to improve the flow and so that process continues. We’ve been updating the http://www.cdiproductions.com website. You can now go to Encourage TV streaming and merchandise is appearing weekly with Graham Turner overseeing that aspect. I know that a new BEST YEARS GONE auto sticker collection is now for sale. What will be next? Check it out.

(COMING SOON!)

BEST YEARS GONE – the next cut of the film is being worked by our director and editor. I know that we’ve started looking at some VFX and stock footage required. The Battle of the Bands endeavor is almost ready to reveal. It will be a worldwide look at original music but artists willing to showcase their music in the film. In return they will also get a music video shot using footage from the movie. I’m excited for an official trailer after the great response from the BTS footage. We might get a few new pics to roll out to audiences also. So many great things happening with this movie. Click below to read the story again about shooting and to see the behind the scenes video.

LOST HEART – the film is closing on 230k views on Encourage TV and I’m told is going strong at TUBI and other platforms. More interviews keep rolling out and I see some festival play ahead for the film. BIGFOOT, UFO’s and JESUS would be a great tagline. I would love to see some art work that plays to these other fun and exciting aspects of this film. If you have not seen this film treat yourself. I would love to hear your thoughts via IMDB.com or our Amazon.com page.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Another fine story that centers on wounded warriors and service dogs. On Encourage TV we are closing in on our 1st million views. Same as above, if you haven’t seen this film do yourself a favor and do so.

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – Our pilot feature topped 4 million views on Encourage TV and has been pulling the views from platforms all over. The TV series is being looked at by a few networks and we are working to move this forward. We have 8 shows in the first season and I’m excited to see us re-visit Michigan in the 1870’s! What am I going to say? If you haven’t seen Wild Faith, please do, and see what you’ve been missing. A teaser poster for ‘Hastings’ is on my list.

THE QUEST TRILOGY is playing in full force with Easter right around the corner. So make the trilogy part of your tradition. Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer – enjoy! If you want an intelligent, insightful look into these stories without it being cliche’ please do take a watch. Pureflix is doing a push with them but I’m sure they can be seen on many platforms.

We do have some development underway with our distributor that could mean some exciting things for a few of the titles. Some of this is SD films converting to HD and some being conformed to letterbox for modern viewing. We might have a few special Blu Ray deals coming together. Our Catch-Can documentary is filming as I type. Our director Curran Jacobs just captured the Mid Weight World Champion title last night also, congrats! I see a teaser being cut for this doc and I can have some distribution talks after that happens. Curran is also one of our newly announced leads on “Silent Night in Algona” shooting later this year.

An old 16mm film we shot back in the day THE FLOCK got a new poster for IMDB thanks to the director John Regan.

This week we’ll be moving forward on many of these endeavors. We’ll be announcing our moving forward with “Silent Night in Algona” with the announcement of a few more cast members. Location breakdowns will allow us to begin grouping scenes before turning to Nate Robertson to schedule. The Battle of the Band contest will roll out around March 1st as will close upon our locked picture. Aside from that I’m preparing for Spring clean up around the yard once this snow fully retreats. I think this year we will be leaning even more into the chicken endeavor. We’ll still grow some veggies but the fenced in garden area will have double purpose. I’m also looking at an outside gazebo so some back yard breezy-time can happen. Fencing, deck update and more are on my list. Let’s see how that all goes. I’m going to get at a few things including watching MSU play this afternoon. I hope you all have a productive week ahead!

Be good to one another.

DJ


Actor Questions, Advice and Top 10 Weekly Updates!

The coffee is a welcome treat on this snowy Sunday. I’m happy to see so many people joining us from around the world. Barbados, Ireland, Vietnam and the lists go on. I’m proud that our circle here is from all corners of the world. Fun stuff this week with the Mars landing and the new pictures. To see such a vast new place and the countless planets of various types that might be open to explore in the years to come. I’ve always been in love with outer space and I’m happy to see so many advances underway. My SciFi script will get finished this year. I’ve already got some plans to test film some of the model shots. We’ll be addressing some of the needed VFX in the next two projects that will help us with that film.

I often ask for questions – this was asked on FB by an aspiring actor from our state. I don’t know the individual but he was asking a group “Do actors truly go out of their way to help other actors?” First you’ll find that I don’t engage in wall conversations often if ever. I come here to discuss things and to pose questions and give information. I guess you first have to define HELP. I saw people debating, lamenting and offering insights. Is help giving advice on resume, pics, cover letters? Is it offering encouragement after rejection? I think people are hesitant to recommend people because in a way they too become accountable. Actor X who has been a positive contribution in past projects recommends actor Y who is late, unprepared, bad attitude or any other negative and both X and Y can have their relationship affected. So I think people are hesitant to risk their few good contacts.

I can put this situation in a producer realm. We at CDI use a location and we take it very serious and take precautions. If another haphazard production comes in with the owners thinking oh, they are like CDI. And they discover the new filmmakers are not careful like CDI, it can poison a well. These lessons can be applied anywhere. I’m careful about my recommendations. So back on topic – do actors help other actors? I think actors who have a role want the best around them so they might recommend. Actors still trying to land a role usually don’t push anyone because they don’t want to be seen as having demands. But as an actor, I feel I’m selling a unique interpretation so I’m not worried of others. You should have faith in what you bring to the table. I’m a person who never feels like I need to worry about the other talent and I’ll tell the stories I’m meant to tell.

To finish this topic. What does the actor do to help themselves? Are they prepared for an opportunity? Are their materials strong and prepared? Are their websites and actor links updated? Do they reach out with cover letters to create new opportunities or just wait for an agent with 8,000 actors to get you that job? Do you work to network and to better your own presentation? You can only help someone so much and they need to HELP themselves by doing what they can do. I can promise you that I’ve gotten to where I am by lots of sacrifice and work when others played. KINKOS was my office back in the day. So after reading all the other opinions on the subject I decided to give this individual my attention. What I want to see is GAME FOOTAGE. I saw a link for a video reel, clicked it and…VIDEO NOT FOUND! This was me in my own state with a few other film folk but many casting folks have only seconds. OK. Good face. Reel? Deactivated. Move on. So someone is asking why doesn’t anyone help me with his subtext but they are not helping themselves by fixing broken links, updating materials and so on. So how many actors are helping themselves to the fullest? I could again add up the wasted time people spend lamenting and in that time a few business proposals could be sent out. Just stuff to ponder.

This week has been full of updates so maybe I’ll do a Top 10 today-

  1. https://www.prlog.org/12858547-curran-jacobs-versatile-talent-man-with-many-missions-career-goals.html is the link announcing our first actor to SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. He also had a World Champion Catch-Can match at the end of the week. Read all about it here.
  2. Here is Don Most talking LOST HEART and MBFhttps://www.facebook.com/TotallyDrivenTV/videos/487883575704988
  3. Here is a great ‘Faith on Film’ interview with Shane Hagedorn on our CDI films – https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR0em9rnQtrgfSwhpTIB_Pa79fgpTHK6CyvGirYPS9Npv1Lhsa7bZGpapHA&v=pHFKX60JQ4U&feature=youtu.be
  4. Here is a great story about our BEST YEARS GONE film that is in editing with our director and editor. You can also see a Behind the Scenes video embedded in the story. – https://www.prlog.org/12857968-passing-through-the-storms-of-covid-unified-in-telling-story.html
  5. Again with our last film BEST YEARS GONE here is a fun video on ‘Masks’ by our fellow associate producer and AD Nate Robertson. – https://www.facebook.com/nathan.k.robertson.7/videos/10226043446822881
  6. We have had a lot of development work on the Battle of the Bands which I hope to launch March 1st, 2021 – original songs will have a chance to have a music video shot and be included in the film.
  7. The parent site http://www.cdiproductions.com has been undergoing updates with a new LOST HEART page and a new BEST YEARS GONE page will be going up. Be sure to stream any of your favorite films and be sure to check out the ever-growing merchandise pages.
  8. I’m excited about the new MBF campaign. On Encourage TV we are closing in on our first million views. WILD FAITH is likely going to cross over to 4 mil + views this week. LOST HEART is continuing to grow also and I had some wonderful fan mail so once again – thank you.
  9. I missed an opportunity to join some fellow cast/crew mates from ‘Book of Ruth‘ which was a nice remembrance to singer/actor Carman who passed away. https://youtu.be/7ogLfumsPNY It was great to see everyone and listen to the stories.
  10. This week the filming continues on the next phase of our documentary ‘For the Love of Catch‘ which is exciting. I hope to cut a teaser trailer for this soon.

I’m looking to wrap this up. This week was severely cold and at least on one day the cold gave the office wood stove a run. But yesterday we had the fire roaring and the last of the logs split into kindling. I’m not sure if the amount of wood will get us through. We have some additional logs that can be cut to size and split, so we’ll see if that is needed. I have to say that ‘axe days’ help keep you in great shape. Speaking of…I’m trying to get some info on our soccer season that was cancelled last year. I sure do hope it starts up this year as I need to run. And I hate to just run run so I need a reason to run. Soccer provides that great reason to run. I hope you all have a productive week. I plan to end the month strong and just maybe we’ll announce another SNIA casting.

Have a great week. Be good to one another.

DJ


First Looks at ‘Best Years Gone’ – Development Updates! Feel the Music & Laughter

Good morning everyone! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee watching the snow fall. Michigan is at its coldest point with overnight going into the negatives. I want to welcome the new readers from Vietnam, United Arab Emirates and more from around the world. We so enjoy the ever-growing circle of artists who stop by to take a read. This week was very productive on many fronts and so let us look at a few updates.

BEST YEARS GONE – This week we have had many updates on our film now in post-production. Below is a link to Nathan K. Robertson, our 1st AD and Associate producer put this fun video together on MASKS and safe protocol while shooting end of 2020. Please do take a watch – if you grew up with 80’s Sat morning cartoons you will enjoy this. Thank you again Nate.

This is followed by a story and ‘behind the scenes’ look about our company CDI (http://www.cdiproductions.com) and our mission statement. The cool video was done by Daniel G. Chipman who has worked with CDI on and off since 2002. The music was by the incredible Dennis Therrian. The next cut of the film will be done this week and our director will make any tweaks from there. We’re also looking at the VFX shots and soon the locked picture will move to music and sound design. We had great talks this week on upcoming merchandise items. Also the ‘Battle of the Bands‘ details are getting worked out and the distributor is excited. We are talking about a unique premiere at a racetrack with bands, the film and a race! How cool would that be? Have you followed our IMDB.com or Facebook pages? Seek them out:)

LINK BELOW TO THE STORY AND BTS VIDEO! (I’m very happy with how the story came out)

https://www.prlog.org/12857968-passing-through-the-storms-of-covid-unified-in-telling-story.html

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS talks and development continue. The 8 shows are being polished up for presentation and we’re working with our distributor to develop this TV series spin off. We’ve got the script to a few of the proposed directors and we’ve started to look at who would return and who would not for the series. I stated how thrilled I was by the Darby Hinton endorsement of the season 1 scripts. Our distributor is helping pull together marketing “impressions” for us to use in our development business. They reported 15 million impressions for 2020 which if you multiple that X 8 shows that is a lot of zeros. Talks with several networks will continue. With THE QUEST TRILOGY playing as a series on Sony/Pureflix platform under a new Easter campaign maybe Sony/Pureflix will be a good partner. We will see where the journey takes us but we’re pulling everything together. But to the millions of fans – thank you!

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – This week we made some great steps towards pre-production. We had more financial commits to this Christmas WW2 film. We’ve also have had some great actor reads from around the country. I’m happy to say that we’ve settled on casting for a handful of roles. I’m really impressed by some of the talent especially the reads that came from the outside. We usually have to go through hundreds or thousands of casting choices but it is beyond cool when you find someone you love in the first couple reads. We are discussing a teaser poster, PR title font and other things before we start announcing. I like to wait until we are moving into pre-production for casting PR but we are so close. Only a few more pieces to align and we’ll also be bringing on several sponsors via product placement. We know from WILD FAITH that 15 million + impressions are what sponsors can expect. So this week we might see our first cast announcement and I’m really excited. It is fun to see the script come to life by artists. This is a based on a true event and is a powerful story with themes that will ring true today. It is cool to note that Rance Howard was my WW2/farm script consultant. I got to hear stories for hours. I wish Rance could be playing with us on this one.

If you go to the http://www.cdiproductions.com website you can read lots of updates. The merchandise is slowly getting its feet underneath and the streaming links to ENCOURAGE TV are active whereas you can watch our films free with ads. Watch. And leave us your thoughts/vote on sites like Amazon.com and or IMDB.com if you would. LOST HEART is now starting to hit high in the BMG charts on sites like TUBI, joining WILD FAITH and MBF also growing a fine audience. MBF will be getting a new campaign push as the film was forced out during the transition when Covid first hit. We’re working on the 1st UPREZ and conforming of older film titles to HD/widescreen. My plan is to also do a run of CDI’s first two films in another CDI CLASSIC COLLECTION – Double Feature. KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS will join FIGURE IN THE FOREST and HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS available now on the CDI Merchandise page. We are proud of our humble beginnings and happy to be bringing these titles forth for the hardcore CDI collectors. I love physical media and so will you if any companies go out of business in the near future. VHS, VHS, VHS – just kidding. Although I do collect my favorites classic VHS as art.

I did get some tinkering work done this past week at the office. Keeping a fire hot to fight off the cold was a constant battle. I can tell the swinging of axes will have to happen this week. We’ll work this week on finding our last few ‘Algona’ partners so we can move to the next phase. Our first cast announcement will be this week and no I’m not the announcement. I am going to participating in this film in a good solid supporting role. I have lots of duties on this next endeavor and so it will be good to not be so deep in a role that I’m shooting every day. I shot everyday on the last film as the star and it takes endurance. Not all artists are cut out for that and that’s perfectly okay. Many memorable characters have been made with relatively small screen time. I just need to be connected to the role. I’m really loving this new role. The characters attributes not far from my own but the character exists in a world that is a vastly different time and place. That is the exciting part to try and get inside their perspective. What news did they hear daily? What did they talk about daily? Fears? Dreams? Technology? Music? I really do love period pieces.

I’m going to wrap this up maybe make a few biz calls. Sushi is on deck for tonight. Do support your favorite local restaurants or they might disappear. I think with our Covid numbers getting better, vaccines rolling and politics fading from center stage we can all get back to our passions. How many hours have been stolen? Glued to the TV News, emotional mudslinging and just anxiety of the future. You’ll get there. After touching base with news that delivers with your garnish of choice – turn it off. I recommend pulling out those old albums. Blue Oyster Cult, Public Enemy, Bowie, Rolling Stones, KISS, Led Zeppelin, Tom Jones, Grand Funk Railroad, Heart, Beastie Boys, Moody Blues, Bob Marley…MUSIC! And create…

Also make sure 1-2 of your calls daily, yes calls, not texts. This last year I hated the lockdowns but I caught up with and spoke to all kinds of old friends. I’m still working my way down mental lists. Laughter is the key and I have great laughs daily. Sometimes hearing funny new stories and other times talking of past funny situations. But make those calls and laugh. I see so many people angry about what they cannot, and in some cases, should not, try to control. MUSIC + FRIENDS+ LAUGHTER = BALANCE. Try it! You’ll be happy that you did. Until we speak again next week be good to one another.

DJ


Power of ‘Purpose’ PLUS the TOP TEN CDI Updates

Hazelnut cheers! A beautiful snowy morning here in Michigan. I want to welcome all the new readers from Germany, Sweden, Germany and China. I appreciate you stopping by to take a read and apply what you can – where you can in your own personal journey. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the unity topic we’ve had for a few weeks. My fireside meditations led me to the analogy of a spending train. We’ve got so much developing here at CDI we’re thundering down the track. The occasional hater throwing rocks out of boredom or a need for attention. If a few people threw rocks at a speeding train what would happen? They would bounce off the steel hull and be gone down the tracks. The train had places to go, people to see and things to do. They would never stop the train to debate or waste time – they would stoke the fire and full speed ahead.

In this time of Covid it’s a great time to stoke the fires of passion within. Build up your reserves of energy and get yourself in your best shape. Do all those things that often get neglected because you have others things to do. How many hours saved by not spending two hours in a car commuting back and forth to work places. More time to read. More time to update. More time to plan. From March 2020 I have been putting this into practice. While I could list so many things missed in 2020 I could also make a list of the things I got done using the extra time. Again as I write on such topics of motivation and such I say again that I am not better than anyone. You have the ability to make changes in your situation and it starts with a thought. Thought powered by the imagination, focused by the will, held strong by faith in yourself and your life purpose.

This week was very productive against a backdrop of ice and snow. Let’s see if we can do a TOP 10 updates from the week. Refill your coffee and let’s take a look.

  1. Additional “end of year” tax materials supplied for the fun part of filmmaking. We’re streamlining this process all the time to try and better the overall process.
  2. Our WW2 Christmas drama Silent Night In Algona is now formed as a corporation. We’ll open the account soon and start bringing on the funds. We still have a few units to assign but within 60 days of entering into pre-production. Casting has been full speed ahead with a national casting for our young lead. We’ve also been doing a lot of casting within the tribe of talent we’ve used before. The audition reads have been great to see the words ALIVE! I’m excited that we’ve almost got our lead family cast. We’ll announce that in a few weeks likely dripping them out or in pairs. This project will be a great story of love and unity set in small-town USA in 1944.
  3. I had a wonderful call from Darby Hinton, an actor best known for playing the young lead on the Daniel Boone TV show but has reoccurred or guest starred on many of the great shows of Hollywood. He was our ‘Gerald’ the shopkeep in WILD FAITH. He was one of the folks I offered a read on season 1 of ‘Hastings‘ the Wild Faith TV series. He called to tell me he wasn’t blowing smoke – he has read and been part of shows with great writing and THIS (tv series) is great writing. He said he reads at night (like myself) and to his wife’s regret he had to keep reading. He asked if I had writers meetings, other writers…to which my response was just me and the voices in my head:) I would ponder and spill notes out onto paper. From those legal pad notes I just dive in and start writing. I’m going to get the 8 shows edited up and ready for outside presentation. If you haven’t seen the pilot feature do yourself a favor. A fun film with a powerful message.
  4. Best Years Gone – So this week we prepped the new audio studio and I’m beyond thrilled that it is amongst the pines and forested fields that we’ll breath the audio and music into these stories. We will be rolling some new still photos out this week. I just might have a Valentine’s Day gift for our cast, crew and fans and I think we’ll give it to you on Sat. the 13th on the BYG Facebook page. Are you already part of that? If not come on over. We have some exciting things still in store including merchandise that is coming and the BOTB. (Battle of the Bands) I’m working to get that launched. We are also soon to have the next draft of the film edit now that Shane (our director) has given his new round of notes and adjustments. This film is heartfelt and will be funny for sure.
  5. The CDI website http://www.cdiproductions.com is undergoing updates. First you can now subscribe to the tribe which will become a center of updates. I even thought of my blog existing as a weekly send out. But the film pages are updated. Streaming is now connected to our distributor’s ENCOURAGE TV. Merchandise is slowly coming together with a few new items. This will explode by year’s end. We will also be doing artist spot lights and have some of their work on consignment. If you have any ideas feel free to drop a comment. From those subscribed we might start looking at pre-orders and that could allow some larger piece orders. Lunch box? Bobble heads? Posters?
  6. LOST HEART & MBF are the most recent releases. Both are growing their audience nicely and I so appreciate all the fan mail from folks. We’re not big festival folk at CDI but like to select a few. In my experience and opinion the festivals best serve if someone from your team can attend. But with everything going virtual you are essentially paying to have them do a free streaming of your work. But new circles of exposure and if people are truly impressed you can have lifelong fans. I’m a person who in the last handful of years I’ve not attended industry mixers and such. But with the absence of even my few – I’m looking forward to talking film and the arts not by phone or zoom. Again get up to speed with the CDI stories with a watch on these two films. Do you have a favorite CDI film? Comment and let me know.
  7. THE QUEST TRILOGY – The CDI Tribe earned their desert stripes with this trilogy of biblical adventure stories. I’m excited that PUREFLIX (Sony) is going to do a big push as a series to their viewers. Now with ad based Video on demand everyone can take a watch and experience the CDI films. These films have the trademark style and quality that you’ve come to expect from our storytellers at CDI. The bible is full of stories many untouched because of the R or X rated material suggested within. We haven’t tackle those stories but did find “unexplored territory” to address with our speculative storytelling. I think this is more interesting versus retelling the same handful of stories. I do have my next trilogy of stories to tell back in the sands but that is a way down the path.
  8. This year we will have SMOKE & MIRRORS finishing. This has no deadline so it got moved down the release line. But this decision allowed us to make some more aggressive choices on VFX work. I LOVE this short and I’m excited to see it develop into a full feature. I am retooling the feature based on the short film. Knowing locations really helps in planning the story. David Gries and Melissa Anschutz are MUST SEE in this film. But those that know their work will not be surprised in the least.
  9. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH‘ – the CDI associated with Red, White & Blue Project doc will start shooting again this month. I think we’ll have some sort of promo video for this documentary in the coming weeks.
  10. We also have something special coming from one of our crew/associate producer Nate Robertson. Nate was our foreman on the last film that set sail through the storm of Covid. Nate took a job that already had pressure and had it magnified by Covid procedural pressures. As a show of how our system at CDI is strengthening. The producers create a bubble of harmony for the set to exist within. Inside the set, the flow is controlled by the AD. The flow was there, time was managed and Nate was able to express some of his artistic self via a BTS video of sorts. I know we’re excited to see it. I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg.

If I forgot anything it will have to wait until next chat. I’m going to make some good food and watch the football contest and the commercial creativity. I have a few emails/calls I might make to get a jump on my week. That is another good secret – work with people you truly enjoy. I never roll my eyes or stress over phone calls. They are always good touching of bases between fellow adventurers in life. We discuss our separate ventures, our shared ventures, and those yet to be made. I don’t have a close relationship with everyone as time won’t permit. But those who do know me truly, I think would speak well of my intent. My intent is to see dreamers win. I want you to break poor patterns and do better by yourself. If the artistic path is a true calling that calling grants faith in yourself and a purpose. The latter is priceless and exactly what is missing from many people. People who check many ‘success boxes’ yet still are unhappy. To me it’s like the moment when Obi-Wan puts the helmet on Luke to further test him against the remote droid. Reach out. In those moments of sensory deprivation if the calling is heard – have faith. If you don’t know ‘Star Wars’ you are now assuming I have had a stroke.

If storytelling is a great road winding up a mountain – many people are at various places some higher and some lower. What I’ve always prided myself on is being in good company at wherever place I’m at on the road. Climbing higher only changes the view but it’s still about the laughter and fellowship that accompanies the climb. And when my time comes to leave this world where I’m at is where I’m at. Always a work in progress. So the secret is enjoying the early struggles of beginning filmmakers or the challenges of the mid-road struggles – have friends on the journey of storytelling. Have friends outside the journey of storytelling. Have these things and your journey while unsure at times will not eat at you with stress. Living by ‘Best Efforts’ will allow one to laugh off the failures (with friend), toast the wisdom learned (with friends) and forever be the better person. Getting along with a little help from my friends.

Be good to one another.

DJ


The ‘Sacred Set’ of Unity and Non-Judgment – ART for the Save!

Another Michigan Sunday and another day of beautiful blowing snow. I think we’ll only get the fringes of this new storm. I had planned to jump right into the movie updates but I’ll discuss a few things here that I see as important. Not only to our endeavor but to all endeavors. I’ve noted that on our productions we have cast and crew from all parts of the spectrum. But this spectrum can be in ethnicity, religion, political or even the disabled. In the off time these artists go off to their own circles of living. Some feel the need to shout their stance about everything, lobbying their point to the masses on their social media walls. These opinions are often in opposition to one another which leads to child-like spats.

My sight of this banter is brief as I scroll to post our PR on various film projects. PR is really the only use I have for social media along with keeping up on a few cousin’s day-to-day lives. I’m disheartened by what I see which is a slew of people communicating beyond poorly. WHEN CONDEMNING HATE MAKE SURE YOU DON’T GO TO THE SAME PLACE. Social Media often misused becomes a poison. By reading lots of angry statements I see the poisoned people. People all sipping from the same cup of poison. As I work hard daily to develop, launch and fund projects, stories and parables whose goal is to cast positive light upon all people, others are busy ripping each other down.

I had some great meditations this week on politics since our country is still working to find its balance. I’m a moderate when it comes to governing. I don’t want total supremacy of any extreme stance. I don’t want to have everything my way. I will try to explain a bit better but it’s more about sharing my curiosity on the subject. If I have a group of priorities that is important to me, I’m happy to have some of my ‘wants’ met and to concede some priorities to others. If you have school children your priorities could be very different than a childless couple. But you know even while some of the priorities while not yours, helps others – and so you should be happy to give. Extreme people seem eager to win everything and after a while, at any cost.

In business, we call it same side of the table negotiation. So everyone walks away feeling like they got something they wanted or needed it is a WIN-WIN. If one party has everything and the other party has nothing, it’s not good for the balanced whole. But many people still so want it all. For you to have all others have nothing. Who does conflict serve? I cannot control the world or how individuals treat one another. A world where people are forever pointing out the perceived wrongs by the other party. People trying to remake the world into a place where two wrongs make a right. The one place I can control balance and unity is on a film set. I can say that the stories we tell are built onto the ancient chassis of tragedy and comedy.

I believe, again I say ‘believe’ in the restrictive age of dangerous opinions – that communication via storytelling is one of the few remaining ways of collectively, effectively communicating amongst people. And so by us leading by example – by putting stories of laughter and tears forth and pushing lessons to try and make everyone a little more kind and understanding. Our stories show us where we’re alike and illustrates the often toxic results of leaning too heavily into our differences. So we will continue to tell our stories with a vast array of artists without boxes. I did recently have someone say they might not want to participate in something if the people involved don’t align with their views. No such nonsense will prevail here. I’m accountable for good size chucks of money. I hire the best artists available to us. I work to unify and bring out the best in each artist and it manifests on the screen.

While shooting on ‘Best Years Gone‘ (Now we’re talking movies!) we had talented artists that come at things differently in their personal lives. That was all moved to the background as we told our story of imperfect love, loyalty and dream chasing. All this happened during heavy political and Covid times and yet our artists remained focused. In 10 to 20 years these stories will still be influencing while the politics of today become a notational blip in history. Be skilled. Give the Tribe your best efforts. Be respectful on set at all times to everyone. These are the things I care about. So our storytelling will never have strings attached or walls restricting people save maybe laziness, dishonesty and negativity. A CDI film is a manifested place of creativity, imagination and ingenuity. The outside world with all its A or B is not something I participate in. I choose to try and understand and develop people versus cancelling them and not listening. Participate in that game and nobody wins and eventually it will turn on you.

All the crazy seems to be over one person’s right to check a voting box. Their box checked is based on their own opinions but unsure people often feel the need to over-explain or justify why they check this box or that. You don’t need to explain your view or tear down the opposing view. Just check your box and move on. Why the need to justify with insults to people not listening? PEOPLE don’t listen if they don’t RESPECT. Start with that- I can’t heal people of their insecurity, or need to gather support for their opinions and viewpoints. But I will not get into the judge game as so many do. As I stated before, I don’t want nor need to have everything my way. I’m willing to concede some to create a better balance for the whole. When you walk up the plank boarding a TribeCDI ship you’ve willing come on board for a greater adventure. To tell a meaningful story that will enlighten for decades to come or maybe more. Black, white, brown or green – Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Pagan or Spaghetti Monster- Gay, Disabled, Conservative, Liberal, Moderate will all become ONE TRIBE of STORYTELLERS. This is the way:)

Forty Nights (The Quest Trilogy Part 1)

CHASING THE STAR (The Quest Trilogy Part 2)

The Christ Slayer (The Quest Trilogy Part 3)

THE QUEST TRILOGY above is getting ready to play as a series on PUREFLIX (SONY) on the run up to Easter. I think these films are 100% unique in that they were made with no agenda except exploring, distilling and speculating with a certain teaching at the heart of it. In these films we also chose to tell the story in a style akin to the Original ‘Star Wars‘ films. Please do take a watch on the three films in their proper order. Even if religion is not your thing or even Christianity, take a watch. The films are for everyone and again explore many of the questions that people have pondered for thousands of years.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND is getting a new 2021 campaign with BMG. WILD FAITH and LOST HEART are continuing their trek out to worldwide audiences. With home video up 40% we’re getting tens of thousands of new fans per week. If you keep an eye on the parent http://www.cdiproductions.com site you will see many updates coming including streaming and merchandise.

DEVELOPMENT

The Hastings TV series is being packaged to sponsors and potential financiers. The show scripts are being reviewed by possible directors and returning talent. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has been incorporated and we’re working to put the last financial pieces in place but it is so very close. We’re started the hard -casting in earnest and we’re starting to lock in some of the talent. Once we move from development into pre-production we’ll start rolling talent PR announcements out. We’ve been doing a national casting on our young lead 8-11 that plays young. Blond hair preferred. I’m always amazed at the young talent making it happen. I can say I’ll be playing a supporting role on this one. It will allow me to go clean cut for a role.

BEST YEARS GONE is now being worked on by the editor and director to get us a locked picture. This coming week we’ll be helping to set up the new post studio. It’s in a beautiful pine forest and I’m looking forward to our upcoming film work there for years to come. I’m going to start to wrap this up. I’ve been getting a new story synopsis out of my head and onto paper. I have a few business proposals I might try to get a jump on for the week ahead. Be kind to one another. Erase those hateful thoughts. Spit out that poison and do something constructive, productive and meaningful. I see so much wasted time. If you’re in the arts and failing look at your allocation of time. If you waste thousands of words and hours throwing stuff back and forth arguing with no real goal or possibility of change, don’t complain as others pass you by in productivity.

I have said it before, I don’t consider myself special. I’m not anymore special than anyone else. I just focus and hone my craft and basically outwork others. End of the week I had a nice development talk with a younger filmmaker that I had not spoken with in a few years. He has traveled the country in the various film communities and encountered the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY of our biz. You can’t move away from it. It exists. You can learn to recognize and avoid these pitfalls and quagmires. He was pitching me on an idea I had pitched 15 years ago but I think the environment is now better suited. This filmmaker was on the right track with a mindset adjusted by the world situation. To dream with realistic short goals that can lead to greater rewards. Wait! Was this individual a conservative? Liberal? What religion? Was he gay? Straight? Does he like McDonalds or Burger King? I have no idea. We didn’t talk about such things and they were not important to our discussion. We were two artists with experiences talking about how to move ahead and keep telling stories. Different groups of people doing vastly different things with their time. Which team do you want to be on?

With that, I’m doing to bid you ‘good day’ and get to some other domestic Sunday business. I do have some wine that could be bottled. Maybe a bit more office work. I got a lot of caulking done this week. Thankfully the wood piles are full from a few ‘Viking Days’ at the fort. Keep that fire burning!

Have a great week!

DJ


Stoke the Inner Fire, the Art of Patience, the Circle of Producers

Coffee Cheers. I’m sipping a steaming cup of coffee and sitting here pondering the business from the past week. I’m a person who attacks things in private. You don’t or won’t find my nose stuck in a video game for hours. A five minute time out to play ROBOTRON or JOUST is an occasional occurrence. I fight everyday to gather the funds for new endeavors and to keep the business of all the other films moving forward. I’m feeling good about everything and had a few things happen this week that could be good lessons for whomever reads this.

First – CDI is not a company that pays just a few and seeks out free help in places that require highly skilled individuals. We hire as wide as we can afford which has been limited in the past few years. Increase in days expands costs across the board. We do things that others do not like lodging. Commuting when reasonable is okay but long trips on each side of a shoot day can burn someone out quick. Actors in the day before helps them to settle and focus before entering the ‘world’ we’ve created to film in. These are all costs. Over the years I’ve learned to simplify my life so that I could focus on the stories. Our money negotiated to the max with the help of many who love stories, including our sponsors, makes this possible.

Along these lines, we only can hire so many people. The producing staff often works much harder for less when and if hours are broken down. Often the effort is not worth it if the accumulation of shells and beads is the only measuring stick one has. Producers sport a point of two from the back end which is like a lottery ticket bought just in case the universe wants to reach out. It also is a badge of honor that they were part of a the “officers” who made the film happen. At CDI even an “associate producer” title is honored. Other outfits may throw around titles but at CDI is means something. For us at CDI is means representing the company. Attitude. Motivated. Experienced. As one who has coached here in the USA and overseas and as a martial arts sensei and still always a student – when someone is deemed ready they are approached. Filmmaking with tribeCDI is just that- a team, a community and a group of film warriors ready to problem solve daily to win the pieces of the puzzle.

My budgets restrict how many artists I can develop with a paycheck. Even the ones who would PA (Production assistant) free the costs are still additional with each person. We like to try and really feed people. I recall one set in Nashville in the 90’s that had a few loaves of white bread, a pack of lunch meat, mayo, mustard, ketchup and a stack of paper plates. This was for a large cast and crew. I ate it without any issues but I could see what certain actions did for a project. That one 15 min producer call that gets a sponsored meal from some great establishment is so worth it. My mind often is filled with ways to give our cast and crew a better experience. In return I just ask for their very best at their task on either side of the camera. The cast and crew can see the care and work we’ve put into our productions. Bottom line is we do care.

So in summary -I never once could demand to be on a team. I had to show my skills, develop my mind to the game and make them want me to start by my performance. In martial arts I focused on my skills and tried to effectively communicate to students below me. In time you become so valuable that they want you representing their tradition or organization. I see many lack the patience for many things of worth. It is a hard skill and one that I deal with still daily. Don’t let past failings or short-comings hold you back. That is your earned experience. Don’t be looking ahead too soon in hopes of being seen as more important. Be in the present. Be excited to learn the new lessons. Get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. 2020 was a year to test that discipline and practice what I preach. Be present. Be patient. Become the best version of you.

Another example that provides me with a nice lesson to share is – When life gets you frustrated with all the external issues turn within. If I’m out-of-tune inside, everything I try to do fumbles. I don’t see the pokey dog bone which I kick. I can’t get a software to work right (I can’t get me to work right)…you all know what I mean. Meditation. Prayer. A nature walk. Thirty minutes on a heavy bag. Tai Chi – tend your inner fire. I DON’T HAVE TIME, some will scream. But you must or time will be wasted. Like in healing there is treating the symptoms and treating the source. Focus on that inner-fire and watch how everything starts to turn around. BALANCE is achieved and by stoking the fire of the internal the external starts to change. I’ve used all this solo time to really increase that fire stoking. Take 15 or 30 minutes to change your frequency and watch what happens.

FILM UPDATES

BEST YEARS GONE – The second pass now with director Shane Hagedorn‘s refining is underway. A few notes we’re passed from the circle of co-producers to our director. I’m more inclined that maybe the first look should have came after the second pass where the director is now engaged. A rough cut is built from director notes and editor’s eye. Now a large % of my notes would be stuff that our director will address. After the director and editor do their cut I will give it another look. I look for mistakes but recognize subjective versus a mistake. I have to have confidence in my directors. Their own subjective choices play strongest – the too many cooks in the kitchen issue can exist. I’ve seen it happen but if I respect the boundaries, it sets a standard. Sometimes the closer the role is the farther I might want to be from nuisance choices in editing. That is why you take the time to match the right script to the right director. The writer and the director work through the story fully. Do not underestimate the pairing of the right story and the right director. It is a skill unto itself.

As the edit moves along we’ve made progress on upcoming merchandise and the Battle of the Bands! Exciting stuff. More stills are being batched to release. Our own Dan Chipman is working a BTS so our cast and crew can remember the crazy year of 2020. Our fellow producer and AD Nate Robertson also has a special video being worked on. We’ll be having a story/interview coming out on all that very soon. This movie is heartfelt and extremely funny. In my talks this week with our distributor I was told how much they all enjoy the humorous offsets CDI scripts have gotten known for. Meaning serious topics are discussed and when it gets a little uncomfortable it gives us humor. They used the end of the Wild Faith trailer with Ben Lily and Hester hoping they don’t need God’s help today. I was happy to report that BEST YEARS GONE will have humorous moments. Yeah. maybe a couple;)

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND I’m told has a new marketing campaign they are discussing. They want to get this film more into the mainstream. They feel it’s a great film that has a lot of play in it. The release was going to include theatrical and fest events but the Covid mucked that up a tad. But the film is being well received and has been seen by maybe a million of so people. It will find a much larger audience it just needs a bit more time.

THE QUEST TRILOGY is being treated as a series as it readies its run at Pureflix. I’m so proud of these films and I think general audiences will enjoy them. It’s a distilled down parable trying to remove all the white-noise and paint something where the dots are actually connected. Whatever your walk of life take a watch and I think you will find them vastly different from anything else you’ve watched/heard on this subject.

LOST HEART – If you want to read more on the actors from Lost Heart, see some BTS and read a few PR links please visit the new pages on http://www.cdiproductions.com – thank you David Gries. And if you still haven’t seen this film do yourself a favor. Have a laugh. Have a cry. It is truly a ray of light. Light? Strange lights in the sky? Watch the film and it will all make sense.

In wrapping this up – my week was spent doing end-of-he-year tax stuff for CDI and the films. Thank you to Dean Teaster, Melissa Anschutz, John Mashni and all the good folks at Davison & Associates. We also are working development hard. We only have a few final funding pieces to arrange on the WW2 film before full green light. We also have had more great talks on the Wild Faith spin off HASTINGS. Again it is not IF it is WHEN. We’ve been doing casting for our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA German’s and our young lead. Are you 8-12 who plays young shoot me a reel it will get looked at. Speak fluent German? Send me a reel. We’ve been having internal casting talks and we’ll be announcing as soon as we move into pre-production. I’m also looking at portfolios for paint on glass or digital matte artists. Fun, fun stuff! Beautiful falling snow. Time for some more coffee. Have a great week.

Be good to one another!

DJ


Driving from Development Toward Pre-Production

It’s once again a morning where we awoke to big flakes of falling snow. We are suppose to have several such days this week. I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking the state of the Union. My feeling is that once we get to the other side of this Covid and political election, we can start the healing. I’m happy that the vaccine is rolling out and that the most vulnerable are starting to get their first shot. I’m excited to gather in groups again to laugh, share and create. We’ve continued to move forward against all the opposing forces at work and I’m excited about where we’re going. I’ll leave the politics by saying I sincerely wish for a peaceful transition. I wish this new administration only the best just like the previous administration. As a life-long team-sport playing individual I hope that the sportsmanship between the parties gets better. When politics fixate on just tearing down the other party, the people lose. Coffee cheers to unity as we move into 2021.

The last two weeks I’ve worked with our upcoming director Anthony Hornus (director of MBF) on the transfer of script. By this I mean the transfer of understanding of each character, description and dialog. Many scenes were re-worked, tweaked and polished. We use that time to discuss production aspects, casting ideas and more. This is a development phase activity bordering on pre-production. The difference is funding and while we are almost a full ahead we’re also not quite there. But, I think by the end of this month we’ll be making that announcement. We’ll go full into locations, casting and key crewing at that point. This project will shoot in Iowa and so it’s looking at flights vs drive in’s and such. We’ve got some good experience at bringing the show as we did to Yuma, AZ three times. It takes a supportive community to tell a story at these smaller budgets. But I’m happy to report that is exactly what we have. Between our backers, distributor, the Iowa community and our on-going sponsors, once again we’ll tell a powerful story. This one made better because it’s based on a true event. The script will likely start going out to producers today or tomorrow.

Also coming at the end of the week just as I hit my limit for the day was the 1st rough edit of BEST YEARS GONE. Monday morning, I plan to watch the edit in full with good audio Real audio work doesn’t start until we lock the picture. This cut will start to be worked by editor and director to work toward that lock. I did watch the film in pieces on my phone with low audio. It’s exciting as the writer to see the characters and story come to life. As an actor it’s amazing to see a character you lived with come to life with all the other characters. My co-star Erika Hoveland, is so powerful and it was a real joy to tell this story with her. But the other quirky characters Mandy, Tinker, Jed, the Pats in our story, really make it for me. Dean Teaster had me laughing out loud watching. You all will see later this year when the film releases. We’re also going to start rolling out some of the official screenshots. Also we’ll be launching some fun merchandise dealing with this fine film. This project gave me confidence in what our great team can do even when faced with new challenges.

LOST HEART keeps rolling out and the fan mail keeps coming in thanking CDI for bringing some a heartwarming story to the screen. Launching this film in 2020 is also something we’re very proud of including the event filming. Here is the PRE and POST party if you have not seen them yet. They give some great insight to what the #tribeCDI is all about. Watch below and if you have not seen the film please do – would you believe it deals with BigFoot, UFO’s and more?

THE QUEST TRILOGY – As Easter lies ahead, many are enjoying the unique and fresh approach to these biblical stories. Here is a trailer for the trilogy of films. These parables are meant to tell a story and encourage us to live treating one another better. You can take these films as gospel or as just a good story with a lesson. Either way, they are an honest, respectful look at these stories minus any agenda save to tell a good story. The Bible is full of good stories and I appreciate all the fan mail from the worldwide audiences who took something from them. Watch them. You just might enjoy the story.

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The pilot feature film Wild Faith and the developing TV series ‘Hastings’ – we have some great battle plans being drawn up on this TV series. A few of our proposed directors and returning cast are reading the scripts for season 1. We have our ideal window to shoot but if we can pull this all together in that ideal window is unknown. We are undertaking something new and we’re also dealing with a world dealing with new challenges. But, the prep remains the same and at this point all development strengthens the endeavor. Each week that passes Wild Faith grows a larger audience. Just using our distributors streaming platform ENCOURAGE TV – Wild Faith has grown 80k viewers per week for 11 months now totaling over 3.5 million viewers. That is if only one person watched the film. My point is that as every week passes, the audiences are helping us to launch. I know that all the artists involved would love to revisit Hastings and the stories of Emmett and his family.

Thank you to all the fans out there. I could share more updates but I want to get after a few things today. The fans of MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND have also been letting their voices be heard. I’m thrilled that everyone is enjoying the stories and we’ll be working hard to make sure that continues. Every day work on the stuff you can control and don’t let your mental or physical time be wasted on what you cannot control.

Happy Sunday to you all. Be good to one another.

DJ


Seven Updates and Some Past Week Pondering

(Last day on ‘Lost Heart,’ I was wrapped and spent the night working with craft service)

Ahhhhhhhh….chilly Michigan morning coffee sip. I’m enjoying the hazelnut coffee as I prepare to make some sort of attempt to describe this past week. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Last week I wrote on UNITY and that was a big hit. I’m a storyteller who loves to enrich audience’s life by entertainment and sometimes enlightenment. I have found that the story is one of the most effective ways to communicate. When people have conversation following a good piece of art it invokes meaningful dialog. People from all walks of life can come together and discuss the final show of The Mandalorian and debate themes, topics and differences. But they’re all united in their common love of Star Wars. In politics they should all be united in their love of our American system.

My belief is that both parties for decades now have drifted further from highlighting, promoting and pushing their party platforms and closer to no-holds barred character assassination. This includes trying to control how things are framed, presented and digested by the public. The reporters of days gone became known because they did not try nor want to be the stars, the story. But some due to their humble-approach, did become stars. Now we live in a time when people want to be “influencers” – what? We influence daily with our actions, words and deeds. I’ve seen the thirst for fame in these people and so the stories drift towards their opinions hammering the narrative to meet their goals. And where is the faith in the respected platforms? Faith that the masses will see the good in the endeavors and chose to back this person, party, platform. But some don’t have confidence in their platform and so they try to pitch, readjust, reframe a platform attempting to catch as much support as possible.

Example: Why is John Deere tractor better than Brand B

Just highlight the positives of what you are selling. No need to hammer brand B’s product customers will see this difference if it truly exists in terms of quality and performance.

Why should politics operate any differently? If you create the better product, better price point, better performance – you will never need to engage in cutting someone else’s rope short.

When I set out to make a movie, I don’t waste energy trashing anyone’s film – I just work towards making a successful story of quality. If I was running for an office I would not waste time tearing down an political opponent, I would just draw people to my platform.

Brand B tractor is a fine tractor but we at John Deere feel that we offer the better product and here is our list of why… but the cheap shots I’ve seen from both parties firing back and forth over the years, shows weakness in their stance. This weakening is what allowed a businessman with no real political experience to land in office. Running a corporation is very different because the power aligns with accountability. Our government is a system of checks and balances. It requires respectful communication and cooperation between the parties. This lack of – created a vacuum for someone from the outside to step in. Things happen much different in the two worlds and we saw many attempts at actions over four years that were deemed not legal in their process. Courts knocked it down and PR blame games took over. I joked we needed a good UFO attack to unify the world. We got a virus instead. This put the old HEALTH VS PROFIT question front and center. They need to flow together as one and not be positioned in confrontation. Healthy, long-living people can spend longer creating more on-going profit. But the medical system in the west has been reactionary vs preventative for a good long time. It is slowly changing and the unified collaboration of data and research is what allowed a quick ramp up on a vaccine. It was done quickly because PROFIT was set aside although the companies will profit. But best was the shared data to help deal with a health crisis facing us all. Can the world please tackle cancer next and be done with that horrible disease? If the cancer numbers had been highlighted and the spirit of collaboration embraced maybe it too would be a thing of the past.

Let’s focus on collaboration. What I see with social media and wall-debates is everyone feels a need to win vs lose and to gloat on that win. Lobbying to try and gather unanimous support vs same side of the table negotiations, talks, understandings.. Harsh ridicule used to drown out or squash any outside opinions but with no discussions. Unwilling to listen is the greatest form of disrespect. This also sounds like many organizations in their unwillingness. In science they have a process to drive towards truth but many outsiders have also been silenced by academic arrogance. Religion? Too many times to count. When I speak on religion I don’t cast any stones at divinity but at man-made institutions. Man-Made – If women want to jump on that bandwagon of also corrupting their institutions, please have at it. BALANCE should be the goal. We all have shared needs and concerns and we have different needs and concerns. I always think that the concerns of a person living on the Southern boarder of Mexico in Yuma, AZ will be very different from someone in Michigan. To find those common things that provide a mutual foundation and to take turns addressing concerns. I have seen HATE, not just dislike but HATE from people. Every time I see hate even pointing out something meaningful, I feel sorrow because that person is sick. Hate is a sickness. It starts with self-hate and preys on all the fears within us. If you hatefully denounce hate, you are still poisoning yourself. I see sickness all around which is why the positive fan mail from our stories have been rays of light. Our stories combat hate with love and leave some temporarily healthy, free of poison. This is only until the next projection of hate from that person and it builds. Unless habits are changed…HOPE.

For the record, I think protests often breed poison if the leadership is weak. They start with words crying of unjust but often turn to poison in one’s own mouth. Watching a group of extremists who wanted to win their position at all costs, clearly demonstrated their uncaring position about balance. I’m still greatly saddened to see the way sacred halls were turned into a scene like ‘Cedar Fest’ after MSU lost a big game. These turned into mobs of people burning things and being unruly. Again, someone lost the big game. And by their actions we all lost, because our character was tarnished. But our character on the world stage was being tarnished by those we elected with their on-going actions. We all have much in common and if the elected people cannot find those bridges and take turns making each other’s priorities something to discuss and enhance, maybe the wrong people were elected. But people can change…

I saw the political bodies House and Congress united in fear and renewed purpose finish their work. Even the most ambitious-party minded politicians had to ask themself what was/is their real “purpose” in service. Now I was looking for that UFO invasion but what we got was an invasion on our process of democracy. I watched some of the most sincere words come from the mouths of people where I had only heard negativity and blame previously. I saw a unity that did not exist 24 hours earlier. Now this unity was not the intent I’m sure but it will likely be the result. It has caused all Americans to sit back and re-examine much like the Covid virus. I think that many never slow down enough to truly ponder and Covid did that. Now we can ponder the past week’s actions. I hope that I never witness such poisoned individuals rabid with hate but I know that is unlikely. It will only get better when we all get tired of the taste of poison hate and seek the sweetest of love and listening.

All this writing and I have not yet got into any film updates. I know that many don’t want any views from their entertainers and I’m often one of those people. As a screenwriter and artists I like to observe, seeking to experience the event from all sides. To question why things happen. I cannot say what tomorrow will bring. But I can control my thoughts, action and deeds and keep the poison from my mouth. I feel bad for the sick wrought with hate. Start a change with what you can control – YOU.

  1. BEST YEARS GONE – The 1st edit is done and it’s being polished so we can take a watch end of this coming week. The reports from editing has been very encouraging with the story, acting and execution of the story being hailed. This all done in a small break during the Covid lock downs.
  2. We are going to launch a ‘Best Years Gone’ Battle of the Bands to give one artist(s) a chance to have their song in the soundtrack plus be involved in a music video.
  3. Merchandise for CDI films has been in development and will be making a big jump in 2021. Stay tune to http://www.cdiproductions.com for updates – SUBSCRIBE TO THE TRIBE!
  4. As LOST HEART continues to expand in viewership here is an other PR article that I’m proud of because it really highlights the script. That is the issue with so many projects is they lack a powerful script that says something. http://m.digitaljournal.com/entertainment/entertainment/happy-days-star-don-most-opens-up-about-lost-heart-film/article/583626
  5. I love the time and process put into doing the final WRITER and DIRECTOR polish on the ‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA‘ script. Tony Hornus (MBF) and I spent 4-5 hours each day last week to go through every line of the script. To discuss each and every scene and motivation. We get to have advance discussions about what will be needed in production. We likely have one more day of work on it – maybe two.
  6. HASTINGS Tv show which is a spin off from WILD FAITH is being read show by show by some of the actors and proposed directors. Those reading the shows are expressing their joy in them. Shane Hagedorn star and one of the series directors said, “The shows are about being good to one another.” Sounds like something we could use. I’m in talks with several parties and I think this series is a matter of when not if.
  7. As we start the drive towards Easter season I hope people will take the time to watch THE QUEST TRILOGY. These are not preachy and propose an interesting perspective for seekers who might not align with the mainstream organized religious bodies. That is not to say that the various organizations haven’t enjoyed them as they all were nominated as ‘Most Inspirational’ winning twice but they were not created in a bubble. They relate very well to the world and I think the films have as many fans coming from a non-religious place. I’ve said it many times that you could be from a totally different faith from Christianity and still enjoy the films. Take a watch and see for yourself (Part 1 Forty Nights, Part 2 Chasing the Star, Part 3 The Christ Slayer)

Okay I could go on about a few more updates but it is noon and I have things to do. Several of the films can be seen free on Amazon Prime, Encourage TV: Youtube and more so enjoy a few of the stories and please do let me know what you think.

Be good to one another.

DJ


Welcome 2021! Hazelnut Coffee Cheers

Happy 2021! Hazelnut coffee cheers.

Outside this morning is a winter wonderland. We had a cold front move through Michigan that first put ice on everything -followed with a heavy dash of snow. Now it looks like a beautiful Norman Rockwell picture outside. This has been perfect weather for all the indoor activities I’ve had to undertake. I’ve always worked to enter the new year more prepared than the previous. Just by the addition of the previous year’s experience I’m better prepared. But I also find Santa Claus most always want me to stay in step with the changes in technology. I’m still a PAPER person. The trees! I LOVE trees and would be fine with paper made from hemp. I hear a leather is being made from cactus. Even with my love of paper I still need to evolve. I just start to get the hang of something and they change it. But it really is quite amazing – we are living closer and closer to a Star Trek world.

I should be doing product reviews-

I was due since last year for a cell phone update and finally I did. My phone went from a model iPhone 7 to 12 PRO and so I had to migrate all my data over. I also had to learn the new this and that – the camera got more complicated but takes great pictures. Also I got two new audio devices. One is a JBL Echo 3 I believe which is a wireless speaker but this one has a microphone and can be used in group conference calls. You can set it in a room and talk from around the room and it sounds great. It also jams out in a most excellent way in between those biz calls, Lastly was pair of Apple ear buds and I pray I don’t lose them. Like sunglasses – if you buy expensive ones even if a fix it plan – you will lose them. But a cheap gas station pair and 30 years they will still be around. So my business tools are being updated and I’m thankful.

Our industry use to shut down for several weeks during the holidays and still does. But with social media mixing with our business does it ever really shut down. During these times are when I enjoy doing my writing. I have writing goals lined up for the year. I’m doing my official page by page this week on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA with our director Anthony Hornus. Our last writer/director collaboration resulted in MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND which is a powerful story. If you have not watched it hop over to Amazon, Tubi or any numerous platforms and take a watch. This next story is just wonderful. I wrote it a handful of years ago about actual events at a WW2 German PW camp in Iowa. Rance Howard was my consultant on matters of the WW2 era and farming doing that time. The scout trip had me speaking with all manner of people in the area who all had stories to tell. We are very close to a full GREEN LIGHT. That means funded and moving forward to those unaware. We are starting to look at locations, casting and more but again that moves to high gear once fully funded. But the timing between getting the script locked and getting green lit should be perfect. I’m very much looking forward to telling this story. I will be getting a traditional WW2 haircut on the run up to filming this one.

The other project playing front and center is the spin off TV series from WILD FAITH. As our audience grows by the millions, we’re looking to do something we have not yet done. We have interest from several sources and its just looking at all the possible combinations and options. I’ll have a few conversations about the TV show later today and into next week. Like above, if you haven’t seen WILD FAITH due yourself and favor and return to a simple time. It is quality watching for the whole family. John Hughes asked to read the script several years ago and left a message that the film has all the charming qualities of the old Disney films and TV. I think he was right on the money and that Wild Faith will turn into a memorable series. And yes that will have ole Ben Lily returning.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH will resume filming this year. That is the doc film we started end of last year. It is about the history of catch-Can wrestling and the passion of a handful of martial artists bringing it back.

SMOKE & MIRRORS will be completed this year. VFX and credits are all that need to be completed. The feature film script is something I’ve been working on. I had a nearly finished script before we did the short. Now I am doing a page 1 rewrite having gotten to know the characters even better. This is a great ‘Steam Punk’ early 1900’s world and the characters are amazing especially those played by David Gries and Melissa Anschutz but no surprise there.

(Finn visualizing – more walks, more treats, more…)

I hope that everyone is ready to visualize their goals and get after them. I’m going to enjoy doing some writing on this beautiful day. I plan to go stoke the wood stove in the office and make a few calls. After I want to sink into some script writing. I hope you all have a safe start to your new year – work hard and be kind to one another.

DJ


New ideas, thoughts, processes and appreciations were born in 2020.

I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and want wish a Happy Holidays to all of you. Welcome new readers and subscribers from UK, Trinidad, Tobago, Philippines, Sweden, Denmark, South Korea and Africa, France and Ukraine. I left my cup to you all and give you my best wishes for a productive 2021. I’m wearing a nice new pair of warm pajamas and I feel blessed to have been gifted an assortment of love gifts. I also got some new technology that will assist with my 2021 business. I have a new JBL Charge speaker meant for speaker calls. I also have new apple I-bud things which I hope fare better than my past Bluetooths. A few new clothing items and an assortment for fun items. I enjoyed gifting and spreading some happiness to folks. I still have a handful of people to catch up with but I will all in good time. I love all the holiday wishes and I hope everyone had a safe Christmas. We went like Santa and did short drop off and visits. We did the zoom opening of gifts and while different and not the preferred celebration, we had fun. In person would have been better but until our elders in our family get the vaccine it was a smart call. We want them all around for the holidays 2021.

This is the time of year when I start to clean up and organize all my actor/filmmaker materials. It is also the time of year for LLC state file fees, end of year corp tax work and other non-sexy but required work. I for one am excited and pumped up for the new year. This is the time to create your goal lists for the incoming year and to see where you fell on your last years goals. I actually did quite well with my 2020 TO DO list and having all that extra time not meeting in person allowed me to get a LOT done. That said, I’m reading to be meeting at the ole fort again to plan new adventures. So use this time to wrap up 2020 and prepare for the year ahead. Write it down. Visualize it. Plan short goals on the way to greater goals. DON’T be afraid to fail because even failure will give you much needed experience.

SOME OF MY 2021 GOALS

  1. Do a 2021 select/fest run for LOST HEART and perhaps MBF who’s fest run got Covid squashed.
  2. BEST YEARS GONE is scheduled to be completed in June but we’re on schedule with about an hour edited. By the end of the year we hope to have a rough cut and locked cut by end of Jan. What I saw was amazing and I am beyond happy with what I’m seeing.
  3. This has to do with BEST YEARS GONE but I think we’re going to do a virtual Battle of the Bands that will end up seeing a song go on the soundtrack with a music video created by CDI. I have some interest from a few legit judges that will help in the process of deciding.
  4. CDI Merchandise Division will launch in earnest in 2021 pushing out with new BEST YEARS GONE swag. Try this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/DVD-DOUBLE-FEATURE-Figure-in-the-Forest-2002-Heavens-Neighbors-2005-movie-/363016656566
  5. I plan to get WILD FAITH‘s TV series HASTINGS launched. Ideal filming would be 1st half of 2021 but if our timing is off we’ll swing it around to Spring 2022.
  6. We also plan to film SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA back half of 2021. Casting for our German-speaking actors is underway. We will announce heavily once we assign the last few units. I’m working on the writer/director script with Tony Hornus (MBF).
  7. Smoke & Mirrors short will be finished and we’ll take it on festival circuit for fun. But I’ve started my new work on Code Name: ASH the feature film version from which the short was taken. I’ve loved all the research for the new feature script.
  8. We are preparing to do the final filming on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH documentary film. I’ll be putting the paperwork together for our next phase.
  9. I’m excited that we’re streamlining and updating our dispersement process at CDI. That’s a good thing because we’re getting larger and I still write every check by hand. This might not always be the case and I might invest in a few stampers but I still love it. On BEST YEARS GONE, I again had the pleasure of giving an actor their first paycheck ever. It’s a big thing to actors, a milestone and I remember it well. To get paid for your art gives hope. Hope that a path could be what was meant for you. The “shells and beads” is just a way of expressing appreciation for ones work and contribution.
  10. Writing- During the lock down I wrote the first season of Hastings allowing us to start development work such as assign directors, casting and some scouting. A few of my goals with writing in 2021 is to finish CODE NAME: ASH and my first real Sci Fi endeavor SEAWITCH is what I’m calling it as a working title. I know that development work for 2022 will also be underway. Development works at several levels and can take a few years to many years pending fate and filmmaking.

I’m staying with my existing battle plan. BEST EFFORTS. I would love to participate in a few outside projects should I connect with the material and schedule works. Let’s talk about that POSTING CASTINGS. I see postings from people just asking for actors within an age but they say nothing about the character, the story or the creative team. And you get desperate actors excited sight-unseen to a project listing. Now to be fair in a few cases the previous work is known which can be a positive and a negative pending quality. I understand the keeping a story somewhat private but you have to give the talent something. I would rather work on development or earning from the existing library versus participating in bad work. To get the best actors you need to get the talent exciting. If you think you have the next best thing have talent sign NDA (Non Disclosure agreement) and let them read the script. I would not participate in too many projects if they withheld the script save maybe a major studio film and even then…come on. So one of my helpful hints to get better talent is take some time in the description of the story. List the director and DP and if you like a talent let them read the script. It’s a two way interview and while it might be a great step for a talent, the production NEEDS to find that great talent to succeed with any quality.

Okay. I’ve talked a bit about my goals for producing with CDI, also myself as a writer and actor going into 2021. I hope we have a soccer season this year. I am stepping up and expanding some of the martial arts training preparing for X project or if I just need to unleash any Kung Fu fury. I might wrap things up here to go eat a little breakfast and go chop some wood. The house is in good shape with no real company but we still managed to create a small holiday mess. But as the new little gifts find their new place I’m grateful for what we have. I’ve got an abundance of the homemade beer and wine. Some great sipping gifts and as things lighten up I’m looking forward to clinking a few glasses and making plans.

Enjoy your new year safely. Cheers to a healthy mind, body and spirit. Think positive and kindness expelling any negative toxins and the spirit will soar. Replace repetitive news with music. Replace hate with create – and lead by example versus condensing communications. Actions are louder than words. All to often when some speak they “feel” empowered but their other actions dismiss their credibility labeling them a hypocrite. But actions are what actions are – a truth. If you give vs talk of giving that is powerful. Practice “green earth” vs just talking about climate change. Practice respectful communication in the spirit of unity.

Unity was the theme of last weeks blog. I had such a great response to my blog last week that I want to incorporate it into an upcoming press release. At CDI the spark of storytelling is a constant and will survive all circumstance until mankind is no more. It is greater than our daily priorities that others try to use and put us in a box of A or B when I am a Z:) It comes down to doing the right thing even if it puts a little loss on the sheets. From A CHRISTMAS CAROL and the heart-opening message of the business minded to CHRISTMAS VACATION whereas the employee bonus check doesn’t arrive. I think we can all look at where we can take less so we can enjoy the benefits that come with the spirit of giving to others. YOU CANNOT take it with you. Another lesson this year was – YOU ALWAYS THINK YOU HAVE MORE TIME (Thank you Steven Anschutz) so follow your passions be it as a hobby, part-time or full-time. Gift yourself that time dancing with your own fires of passion. Write, Read, Watch, Sing, Play, Create…do what you need to do. But spend that time to stoke the fire and it will make you a better person. You will share that feel-good fire with others and they will also pass it along. When faced with two-sided news always give the positive first. It puts someone in a more positive, receptive state-of-mind and allows them to better receive any off news. That “off” now becomes something to work on as we all must continue to do. So MUCH growth has happened in 2020 and while it was a challenge many old models were broken. New ideas, thoughts, processes and appreciations were born in 2020. Let’s put everything we learned into practice in 2021! I will see everyone next year.

Happy New Year!

DJ


COLLECTIVE JOY – Merry Christmas and Cheers to a Better 2021!

Good morning. Coffee cheers. Well, today would have been one of the first holiday family get-togethers but alas we are not due to the lock down in Michigan. I have a good amount on my mind this week plus several good film updates on several of the projects.

I’m beyond happy that the stories we tell are being seen by millions and I’m receiving such uplifting fan mail that tells me what we do has a positive purpose. What WE do. That is an important word WE. We’ll address that more soon. The new CDI release is LOST HEART which is truly a ray of light filled with laughter and tenderness gifted to whomever takes a watch. I believe that the lessons inside our stories can be taken to heart for ALL people. From the negativity I’ve seen fly, EVERYONE can use a little story to remind us of the goodness in us all.

Lost Heart has 3 leads in it. Melissa Anschutz, to know her is to respect her dedication and love to the character’s she becomes. This film is a crown gem in her growing list of roles and stories. It is also deeply personal because of losing her husband to cancer and her own personal struggle with the disease, all while putting this movie together. Victoria Jackson who is a true comedic genius and is a tad outspoken in her political lean has drawn some praise and fire. Now add Don Most, who recently was heavily criticized by some and applauded by others for attending a ‘Happy Days‘ fundraiser for Biden. FOX took a PR piece on Lost Heart and really played the political slant almost like a TMZ piece. While it has added thousands of views it has angered some and so the days after the FOX story posted anger responses erupted from a few and the VOTE score on the film 1-10 dropped from mid 8’s to 3-4 over politics.

Political or not, it happens to all the children (movies) and while I wanted this child to be safe from bullies/trolls – people will vent their frustrations before taking accountability or accepting differences. Conservative MAGA or Cancel Culture Liberals – EVERYONE can use a good story with lessons about being good to one another and the value of kindness. I’ve been around long enough to know the drill. Friends, family, peers drive the score UP and the haters arrive and it goes down and fans start to bring the score back up and it will settle into a final score in a few years. Older audiences, myself included are not as savvy with computer reviewing so that is often not reflected. CDI works with respectful artists period from across the spectrum. I personally don’t ride the rollercoaster of hi’s and low’s. I try to live each film as a “drop the mic” moment and enjoy each day.

BEST YEARS GONE – The edit is coming along great with over 40 scenes cut. We’ll have a first edit in a couple weeks and the goal is to lock picture end of Jan. 2021. Let’s talk about that film in light of what we just discussed above.

Our motion picture has been adapted from a self-published book entitle “Hope from Heaven” by author and small-town barber Karl Manke, who by challenging state law during the Covid lock down earned himself the moniker of ‘America’s Barber’ whatever good or bad that name might bring. One man’s personal actions put him in line with the theme or agenda of others and against state law, an outlaw or patriot was born unto the media depending on the opinion piece. But I can say that Karl did not ask for the media circus and was not trying to be a flag bearer for anyone.

(One of several projects I was honored to work on with Dan Haggerty)

Enter our CDI (www.cdiproductions.com) a Michigan-based motion picture company since 1996 that has produced various films over the years and has found a niche of positive, well-told stories that often include a few life lessons woven within. CEO DJ Perry, often the screenwriter these days, gives credit to the early TV shows like The Waltons, The Life & Times of Grizzly Adams and Little House on the Prairie. These were shows strong in character development and story. Often with a treasure of a lesson buried at the heart of the story for the audience to dig up, leaving them with something to ponder beyond the screen. 

We believe that our stories speak to the entire spectrum of audiences – it doesn’t matter where you stand politically, our stories are for everyone.” – DJ Perry 

The story seems simple enough, a young woman raising twin teen daughters as a single parent falls in love with a less than perfect man and conflict ensues. Also said, less than perfect man is an ex-race car driver who had a team and a dream with his cousin. This relationship ends due to the poor decisions whereas the thin threads of family are broken. These characters while extreme, are still relatable to most either in shared qualities or as the worst versions of ourselves in some alternate universe.

This political year combined with the Covid situation made filming plans even worse. CDI had originally planned to begin filming in April 2020 on ‘Best Years Gone’ the adapted film name. The well-written book was full of colorful characters and a nice blend of realism and mystery. The book and script both speak to imperfect relationships and the importance of forgiveness to the self. In the public arguments the means by which many communicate shows no desire to really be heard, understood or to find common ground. Most remarks are inflammatory and meant to injure the other party by slandering things they hold dear and sometimes sacred. This story had greater messages that can be applied to anyone.

CDI has a strong reputation for staying on schedule, on budget and creating exceptional quality stories within business guidelines. This quality is by gathering talented artists and uniting them behind a story. UNIFIED BY A STORY! So is the way of the TRIBECDI. What is the tribe you say? The creation of a sacred artist space whereas the art of storytelling can be told unhindered by differences and distractions.  A philosophy that demands respect towards one another as artists and only asks for your best efforts to be put forth without any added drama. 

CDI has diverse, artistic individuals from all over the spectrum of beliefs and affiliations. In some those beliefs can be polar opposite and in other examples just differing priorities on taxation, spending or any of the various topics debated around dinner tables. The issue is that in a growing culture that becomes more inclined to try and gather to only like-minded groups finding that singular group at the larger level of inclusion is near impossible – you WILL end up working with diverse people and that is a good thing. At CDI we don’t endorse or support any one life path save the path of telling a good story.  I think that many could learn from the environment we work to nurture and grow. We continue to refine and grow ourselves and the key is to keep the story in sight. While others flounder due to poor communication we are still able to speak to the audience as a whole. We create great little stories with powerful topics- often softened slightly by humor. The story a gentle reminder not to take life too serious as we only go around once and life is too short a ride to do it mad or with a chip on your shoulder.      

Okay now my Top UPDATES

  1. According to our distributor Wild Faith is still growing an audience with the film ranking in BMG’s Top 5 on most platforms. We had HASTINGS talks and progress is being made.
  2. I’ve started doing the writer/director polishing passes on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We are close to a full green light. We just have a few units to still assign in the project. Once we do expect some big PR announcements.
  3. I’ve been doing some writing on the new updated draft of the SMOKE & MIRRORS featured script. CODE NAME: ASH – I’ve had a wonderful time researching and writing and the short film will be done and released in 2021.
  4. The Quest Trilogy is being licensed for the season and I’ll notify as I find network and such featuring it. If any of you see it playing let me know.
  5. MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIENDIf you enjoyed this film the dog who played Brown Boy is named Big Papa and he needs surgery. It is the same kind that a few of our own furry family had to have. If you enjoyed the film and want to help out a great guy Robert Ash, is needing help with the costs so if able think of donating at the link provided. https://www.gofundme.com/f/big-papas-surgery?fbclid=IwAR1g6JR1Kz8lDcM7laYtwgXU_Oz5N4EAAyhDlJQtJxGlhuMnQQWIXFrc7VA
  6. The doc “For the Love of Catch” will start rolling cameras again start of the new year!
  7. NEW merchandise is coming so that is quite exciting to me.

SPOILERS SO IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FINAL ‘THE MANDALORIAN” SEASON 2 FINALE STOP READING

(My bro and I are intergalactic bounty hunters in our spare time)

The POWER of storytelling. I’ve been a lifelong Star Wars fan and give much credit to A NEW HOPE for me wanting to be an actor/storyteller. I was and still am a big Han Solo fan. Luke was always somewhat secondary for me. But in this time of hardship, stress and frustration for many Luke Skywalker is just what the world needed. The odds look to be just too much. The battle appears to be a losing one when “one X wing” how is that going to…wait a minute. Was that R2D2? Is that? Glove? Green lightsaber! I like millions had imagined scenes like what we saw unfold in our childhood imaginations. I loved seeing the JOY that overcame so many watching this unfold. I cried and I’m not even sure why. The need to through back to another time. To truly escape back to a Far, Far Away Galaxy. To have Luke Skywalker come and save the day – to save 2020. It again showed me the power that can come from storytelling. Now to bring it all full circle the haters will come for this show also. Maybe Mark Hamill will say something that offends someone or just going against the grain is what some need to do to get noticed. But for me it was collective joy. Seek a Collective Joy in 2021 and by our individual actions lets make 2021 the year we all want. Appreciate people as you get to spend time in 2021 even if they have different priorities versus yourself. Communicate respectfully and as if that person were in the room with you. If you want a better 2021 you need to do your part – actions. We will circle back and talk next Sunday for the last time before 2021. Be good to one another and have a Merry Christmas!

Last Note: These films are made with collective love by diverse artists who share the sincere hope each of our stories will bring you some amount of joy. A person drowning in negative filters will not ever see joy in anything and will actually want to destroy the experience of joy others may experience. But those icy haters should know we don’t EVER give up on you. We create and await that one day that our one story made you crack a smile, laugh aloud or shed a tear. We immerse ourselves in a made-up world and tell a story. All while giving up precious time with families and friends. As artists, we’re called to reach out with a story and try to melt the icy negativity that stretches across the hearts and minds of so many. To give them a chance to find some joy. To feel a story of Collective Joy. Here’s wishing JOY to you.

DJ


2021 Hiring Advice – Casting Updates, Film Progress – Development

I’ve awaken to the foggy chill rolling over a Michigan morning but have the hazelnut hot coffee to combat the cold. I see that many more circles of people are suffering losses from the Covid. Again the toll that it’s taking on all fronts will cement this year into the minds of many. I hope the that year ahead brings comfort and better fortune to many who suffered. But the losses of family and friends gone will be more apparent. Businesses that collapsed will have to be re-tooled and for many that means starting over. I hope we can get politics to disappear into the rear-view mirror as the energy between parties and people has been downright shameful. But for the many times whereas I turned off any news and turned on music = JOY. I’ve rediscovered or introduced myself to lots of new music. I’ve pulled myself away from the world of digital text/email communication and enjoyed phone calls again. That has effected my personal and professional relationships in a very positive way. I hope that what we all bring forward is a deeper appreciation for one another. Kinder communication is needed and will enhance all endeavors.

One form of communication that has become popular is grandstanding and lobbying. If a person gets an answer they don’t like or that goes against their desired result they are in essence a poor loser. Now I know the example that leaps into many people’s mind. Accepting that our efforts or the acceptance of our ideas has fallen short is hard for many to take. Often these people might seek to vent their issues to others to gain sympathy and in some cases empathy. I use to marvel in Hollywood at the number of artists flocked together in the cheapest drink joint to loudly complain about all the external forces keeping them from their dreams. Seldom did I hear about sub-par materials, motivational issues and the blame always seemed to fall on someone else. To someone not in this ‘trap’ it feels like you’re standing on the banks of a river watching people swirl hapless and pinball down the river. Who walked into the river? Why? Did someone say it was a shortcut? Get out. Dry yourself off. Get your direction straight and set off towards your goals.

I wanted to think of other examples to help folks. I recently read a huge rant from a crew person in our industry. It proclaimed their willingness to work without pay with people or projects they found fun because of friendship. They also ridiculed someone who had offered them a low paying gig. And it was grandstanding at its finest and it worked to grab attention. Did it get the desired result? The friends of this person who had this person often work free were in agreement. But they did not see themselves as part of the problem. The venter also did not see the issue. A person has so many days a year they can earn. Giving up an unhealthy amount of those days can create a financial strain. This frustration stems from giving too much to an unpaid source (friends?) and creates a desperation when bills come. Now said associate(s) come with a paid offer that doesn’t meet the expectations of individual because of their poor time managing. AND so they are basically saying they cannot manage their work to recreational time. And they like to blame others. And they’ll loudly vent their self made frustrations to anyone who will listen. Usually the only ones who will comfort these people are the non-paying friends. And those with resources to pay realize they don’t want to buy that person at any price. They don’t take accountability and they poorly manage their lives – is that what you want to bring onto a project? But people truly think they are doing something positive by claiming justice and righteousness but really they are saying DO NOT HIRE ME. Don’t be one of those people. I’ve seen so many just take themselves out of the game. Maybe that is what they wanted all the time. They believe they need an excuse to bow out making it someone else’s fault. The reasoning is someone gathering funds to pay cast and crew, standing accountable to investors, is gonna evolve and grow faster than a bunch of friends playing. That has always seemed obvious to me but the logic utilized by many people is very strange.

We live in a melting pot of beautiful people in this world. All biologically more or less the same but wrapped with different customs, food, dress, culture, beliefs and music. With most projects or artistic endeavors – the artists involved are from all ends of the spectrum and therefore cannot be rendered into one group. They can be inspired to focus on one story but still all have various backgrounds to be respected. One of the best respectful practices one can give is to listen. Real listening allows real dialog. This becomes healthy communication. In all walks of life and in all endeavors I hope that in 2021 healthy communication becomes a practice. Good storytelling is not condescending, preachy or judgmental and when done proper is one of the most powerful forms of communication. I will continue to practice this form of communication because I believe it most effective and leading by example is best in my opinion. Maybe a year of less talk more action will influence others and the world can shift. Shift to a place of beautifully differences but none-the-less all the same.

Much of this stems from the masses of people wanting 2021 to be very different. Some things are outside your control but are you doing your best with what you can control? I certainly would get an A for effort. Now by the nature of who I am and what I do I’m a self starter. Others are learning this as they are forced to work from home. Work when you decide to work and relax when you decide to relax. Know thyself. Learn to shift gears cleaning. At rest be at rest do not let the mind spin with regret of the past or anxiety of the future – relax. In the present get the recharge and rebalance you need and with a new day adventure forth. You cannot stop age and death but you can control what you do on your journey. Appreciate yourself, others and this life adventure. I try to remain modest in the light of success and view loss and setback as a learning experience. I know of some fighting battles to stay on this journey of life – do not take it lightly. Think through your stresses and remove their hold on you and watch certain binds disappear with a thought. We can imprison or set ourselves free. We have that ability. 2021 set yourself free and be the best you.

OK – enough of the deep ramble… I’ve refilled the coffee cup and the smell of bacon fills the house so let’s get on with this. Onto the movies and other endeavors-

Let’s talk about THE QUEST TRILOGY. The three stories are unique because of the glimpse into how these important and overlooked events in films 1-3 effected or were effected by angels fallen and faithful. Because they are the thread between all three stories and time, space and dimension are powerful aspects of existence slowly being revealed to us, the stories go from PRESENT (Forty Nights) to the PAST (Chasing the Star) and land in the FUTURE (The Christ Slayer). As the new campaign rolls out for the holidays I had to enlighten parties to the fact that the lack on linear was intentional and part of the greater story. So many little nuisances to discover. I had a fan last week talk about with each viewing they discover a new gem. Something they missed prior and so I’m thankful that some are studying the trilogy. If you have not seen these three films please do in the proper order and leave a review for THE QUEST TRILOGY as a whole. I look forward to seeing those reviews so peel the onion and enjoy.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND

Available on many platforms – on ENCOURAGE TV we’ve topped 700k viewers with millions overall watching. Now you can watch FREE with ads.

WILD FAITH – As this film makes its way around the world it’s always interesting to see how other countries view a story. Humor is different from place to place as is the general acceptance or sex or violence and just “grasping” the story as a whole. It is interesting because the ‘Civil War’ was the American Civil War although several countries were involved. Here is a pretty good review from the UK that I enjoyed.

Also funding and distribution talks on HASTINGS the spin-off TV show is underway. Season one is written and the budgeting and production flow is being examined. The first round of proposed directors are looking at the scripts for assignment. I have several more talks to have but this next endeavor is coming together and what a win it would be for Michigan. I think we’ll be starting a Hastings FB development site. Also I think my clean face is going away as I let Ben Lily slowly start to creep forward.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA The end of 2021 will include the filming of CDI’s 1st WW2 era film. We are gathering our commits before forming the business entity in early 2021. We have almost all our funders in line. We had additional funders jump on board last week and the final few should be on board by year’s end. In the new year we’ll also be talking with various sponsors to travel with us on the film. Right now we’re looking at German or German-speaking actors as several of the leads are German POW’s. If you fit the bill feel free to reach out with a reel on the http://www.cdiproductions.com website (Subscribe to the Tribe) or right here.

SMOKE & MIRRORS – the final VFX work is underway and we’re taking our time and we’ll hit some festivals and a special showing at the Dodge Turner once this virus passes. The full feature is in development with me revisiting the feature script. This is a great turn of the century based story that will star David Gries from the CDI tribe.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – this project has completed some early filming but is now preparing to go full steam ahead into 2021 with a series of interviews. We will premiere this later in 2021 another great thing to look forward to.

LOST HEART – This film is like a lighthouse casting its positive light out into the darkness giving laughter and hope to many out there. This is a feel good, thought-proving film and audiences are responding in kind. I’ve been just elated by some of the wonderful pieces of fan mail. What makes its even more exciting is when it comes from peers I’ve never met. I had a nice note from an actress who has watched it twice after it was referred to them by a friend who illustrates for the Jim Henson company. I’ve said it before, I think this is the closest to a feel good Spielberg movie that CDI has done. I’ve gotten lots of compliments on the script but I want to say that without the great performances the writing would not be enough. If you are in need of a smile, laugh and uplift please do watch the film. It is available on most platforms!

I might have missed something but I think it’s time I get on with my day. I have a week of investor dispersement ahead and more development work. Plus each day playing elf wrapping up some love presents. I will end with this tidbit from Nathaniel Nose who is editing BEST YEARS GONE. He reached out one day after reviewing all the footage and complimented me and the cast on performances. He was excited to see me doing comedy (Mike Deeney:) and he thought this was the best performance of my career. Okay that is subjective but it still made me feel good. I left it all on the table as Gil Gilles and I’ve brought some wonderful characters to life (Jesus, Ben Lily, Paul Landings, Stan Reed, Buddy Colt, Lynn Kendall…) so I’ll just take it for what it is – it tells me that if you’ve enjoyed my other roles you might enjoy this one. He also gave very high marks to my co-star Erika Hoveland and that is part of the key. Having great artists to co-exist with and create so thank you Erika/Sylvia.

Have a great week. Lead by example. Seek accountability. Control what you can. Be good to others.

DJ


Event Links, Interviews, Film Updates and Seasonal Thoughts…

Good morning. I’m sitting here sipping the coffee and writing to all of you. I want to thank all our readers from around the world stopping by to touch base. I appreciate all the artists out there taking the time to stop by and share a few moments of their Sunday. I’ve been still doing lots of film work on the developing, post flow and and release and PR aspects. I have a few podcast interviews I’ve agreed to do. Here is a recent one. Isaac has been a long time friend and his “mission” is positive content.

What I try to explain is that at CDI we are not tailoring any film to FIT any particular audience save the age rating that we keep in mind. You don’t want to F-BOMB all over your PG film. I’m a lover of colorful language at times and I enjoy R -Rated entertainment. Sometimes it helps the story and sometimes it is just too much for my taste. Despite my start in horror films which I still love, I’ve always been more about atmosphere and mood vs slash and gore. I have several friends who that is their passion. I’ve reached a place where I enjoy the consistent flow of fan mail that says how this film or that film has helped them. As a writer I’ve really grown to enjoy those moments that ultimately teach us something good, bad or ugly. So bottom line we’re beyond grateful for the acceptance by the “faith film genre” but our films about faith – “those strong in faith, those lacking faith, finding faith, seeking faith, losing faith and holding on to what they have.”

Our films are for everyone to invoke tears, laughter and offer a different perspective through filters we all share. Moments of entertainment and escape from our own lives and to have a few message gems hidden within. The 50 year old me also loves not being up all night in a dirty location, covered in corn syrup (blood) which bugs LOVE by the way. Showing up on a western town set with a cup of coffee wearing a low hanging gun rig is a lot cooler to my body clock. I truly enjoy that after years of bringing other peoples stories to screen I’m finally getting my own stories told. And they are touching people and giving them hope and new understanding. I told someone in a meeting yesterday I’ve never been more proud to be a storyteller. I use to say that if we made a bad scene nobody dies on an operating table but we do have the ability to help many, many people. We’re still trying to pull the numbers in from our 2 day showing of LOST HEART on Encourage TV. We know it exceeded 30k views maybe as high as 100k and the beautiful notes followed.

I’m not so much into “shocking” people these days. If there is any shock I want to give fans/audiences is that person who watches Paul Landings in MBF: Man’s Best Friend and says “Is that DJ Perry?” that feels good. That film on Encourage TV (This is a paid by ads site where audiences can watch free w/ ads) but MBF is climbing to 700k watches and this is one stream. Our distributor monetizes dozens of streams and foreign territories. I’m excited to see all these films travel. The holidays are exciting because that is when families and friends watch films. And in these times of few recreational choices these stories are being watched more and more. I guess I just want to say thank you. To all the fans that have been with me since I was running bloody IN THE WOODS (Me as Rookie firefighter with Jim Grulich – fighting monsters) * Amazon Prime – to my newfound fans from playing Jesus in The Quest Trilogy, Ben Lily, Niles Cass, Paul and most recently the character study known as ‘Gil Gilles’ in BEST YEARS GONE now in post-production.

I’m going to ask you all to explore our films. Each one is truly hand crafted. You can tell the artists care about the stories. That has been true since the early days. You can see so much heart in Jeff Kennedy’s HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS – a beautiful PG-13 film that we placed too heavy of swearing into for our audience. I told you I like colorful language at times. A live and learn in many ways. Followed by FIGURE IN THE FOREST also directed by Jeff Kennedy which was a beautiful story led by Dean Teaster who many know from our recent films. These have been pressed into a 2 DVD “Classic CDI Collection” and I’m exploring talks of uprezing as these were made in the SD (standard def) days. For next year we do plan on releasing KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS the first two films from CDI that was our playing with the horror and comedy genres. It is nice to have existing copies of these films. Thank you to those that have purchased.

PICK THIS UP AND SEE WHERE WE STARTED FROM-

https://www.ebay.com/itm/DVD-DOUBLE-FEATURE-Figure-in-the-Forest-2002-Heavens-Neighbors-2005-movie-/363016656566

But lets give a run down on a few of the current films-

ASHES OF EDEN – If you’re excited about BEST YEARS GONE recently filmed – directed by Shane Hagedorn – check out his first collaboration w/ CDI. It stars Melissa Anschutz and you’ll see many of the #TribeCDI – I play a lovable drug dealer named Donnie:) It is a great story that premiered to a 600 person crowd at the CCFF to a standing ovation. Shane is great at weaving emotional scenes and it shows in this earlier effort. Check it out free on Amazon Prime, Encourage TV likely Tubi and Pluto TV. Here is the teaser!

I LOVE the new campaign underway for THE QUEST TRILOGY – they are told in this 3 fold story that starts in the present, falls back to the past and leaps to the future. The thread in the three films is the Devil and the Angels which makes this a unique story. It explores the possible effect of all these events from the perspective of the angels serving and fallen. Please do take a watch on FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. Happy Holidays! Leave your comments on the IMDB, Amazon pages and/or to me here.

WILD FAITH – We are aggressively in talks with a few parties about bringing back the Murphy family and friends from WILD FAITH in a TV series currently titled HASTINGS. I have written the first season consisting of eight forty-four minute shows. I’m looking at a few ways to put this together business-wise. I had a few “first right of refusal” situations not legally but by using good business fairness. I had a very productive talk this weekend that might give us the results we are looking for. The pilot feature WILD FAITH shows what a powerful world was created and these ongoing stories strengthen and carry forth the evolution of these beloved characters. The bad news is that I’ve been enjoying the lack of facial hair and soon I might have to start that walk back towards Ben Lily. I guess I could do that.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – To answer a few fan questions – there is no immediate plan to do a sequel to MBF but never say never. Someone else asked if I had my eye on any action films. I still like films that are heavy on character drama and include action vs an action genre film. But do I have a Bruce Willis DIE HARD like movie in me? Giddy Up!

PS: There is a chance that MBF might play at the Capital City Film Festival Drive In Event since it was scheduled to play before the shut down and was nominated.

LOST HEART – A beacon of light and laughter that has been expanding across the USA and the world. I think the UK is getting to travel to Lost Heart. Our beautiful state of Michigan is giving a wonderful peek to the world. I haven’t gotten any real ‘Niles Cass’ fan mail, shadowed by that Josh Perry, love you buddy:) …but I’ve received many messages from viewers expressing their love of the story and characters. It brought them some comfort in these different and for many difficult times.

A few asked about the EVENT on ENCOURAGE TV. They are also playing the Cast & Crew Event – Enjoy!

PRE-PARTY FOR ‘LOST HEART’

The AFTER GLOW

The thing is I feel blessed by all the good things abound. I’ve always worked diligent and consistent as I find that gets bests results. Starting, Finishing and everything in between. I’m starting to develop a need for some breakfast although lunch is creeping up too.

WRAP UP:

We’ll be back in action finishing the filming on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH doc film first of the year. We have some exciting merchandise conversations happening. We’ll be pulling the paperwork together on the WW2 film SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA early in 2021. Just take this time of holiday reflection to plan the upcoming year. What did you do that you want to repeat? What did you do that you want to remove? We’re all a work-in-progress and we can change our course with a handful of decisions. Be the change you want to see. Don’t worry about changing others just allow yourself to be a living example. Show people you are not lip service by leading by actions. Less talk and more self action. This holiday season be mindful to people and animals less fortunate and in need.

Enjoy the season.

DJ


WILD FAITH TV Series Updates, Lost Heart Release Info and More…

Good morning. I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and enjoying sitting here with Finn and Daphne on this Sunday. I finally have just about everything from the BEST YEARS GONE shoot unpacked. I’m trying to use the older ‘classic mode’ on this WordPress.

The first in the CDI CLASSIC SERIES the Double Feature ‘Heaven’s Neighbors’ starring Aaron Jackson & DJ Perry and ‘Figure in the Forest‘ starring Dean Teaster and MaryJo Cuppone both directed by Jeff Kennedy! A GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFT! Click below to BUY:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/DVD-DOUBLE-FEATURE-Figure-in-the-Forest-2002-Heavens-Neighbors-2005-movie-/363016656566

We’ve just went through Thanksgiving which consisted of pie-drop off’s and goodie bags. We had our own little Thanksgiving and will be eating turkey leftovers for quite a while. We’ve also got the tree cut and put up in the house. We will likely do some decorating today. We also started on the outside which we do a little bit of decorating but we don’t go Chevy Chase with them. I’ve used this time to catch up on end-of-the year work.

LOST HEART – This movie is now popping up on DVD and streaming all over the marketplace. The EVENT showings on ENCOURAGE TV did great. We had tens of thousands of views and gained some attention for how we pulled it off in these trying times. We have new stories coming out in FORBES and THE LA TIMES. I will tune you all in to those when they hit. The other National PR on Huckabee and such was fun for our talent. I’m told Mike was a kind and generous man who really enjoyed our film. If you have not seen it yet I urge you to watch it with your family.

TUBI (Free with ads)

AMAZON PRIME

ENCOURAGE TV (Youtube)

Here are a few PR pieces

Watch with your family and leave us your thoughts on http://www.imdb.com (Lost Heart page) and amazon.com

I think the film is a wonder blend of heartfelt and humor with inspiring themes but not being overly heavy handed with the faith aspect.

BEST YEARS GONE – The ‘Gil Gilles’ mustache is gone but we have a hard drive full of scenes for the next CDI feature. We made an announcement last week that Nathaniel Nose has been brought on board as the film’s editor and VFX supervisor. I’m excited to have this film racing towards the finished edit. I had so much fun shooting this movie even with all the safety restrictions. We’re soon to start logo stamping a few stills and get that flowing. We will also be announcing more sponsors including UAS that we will feature this week.

THE QUEST TRILOGY (FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER) – For the holidays a new campaign is underway for our trilogy of films. Make it a family tradition to watch these three epic stories that shed some light into the dark corners. Watch the new promotional trailer and watch all three!

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND

With nearly 700k views on ENCOURAGE TV alone the powerful ballad of Paul Landings is making its way into the marketplace. You can watch it free with ads here –

WILD FAITH is one of those special films that brought forth lovable characters and showed audiences a world that is a throwback. A throwback to a simple time in the late 1800’s. This film has been seen by millions worldwide and the idea that this could becoming a TV series is exciting. If the series is going to move forward we’ll know soon.

The most exciting part of all this development on ‘Hastings‘ is that I’ve finished writing season 1. Eight 44 min shows that once again follow the Murphy family as they continue life after the events of WILD FAITH. I’m so happy because all the captured magic of the film is there. The characters were established and so it was a joy to write them. Also because of breakdowns that need to happen and the fact that if I wrote the first season it would lay a nice foundation. Who knows? I might take a backseat to other writers in our circle for a second season but to have a chance of cameras rolling by March we needed “blueprints” which equals scripts. I’ve enjoyed the day of feeling accomplished and I’m ready to start allowing our CDI development team to look at the shows. My thought was do I put them all out there at once or one at a time? The goal would be to have the first season DONE by November for a Holiday 2021 roll out.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (Development)

The back half of 2021 will be shooting this WW2 Christmas story that Mr. Rance Howard was my script consultant with. We had great conversations on WW2 and farming. He was suppose to play the grandfather but I’m sure he’ll be smiling from above.

We will start casting for our German leads so if you are German or can speak German please do reach out. We’ll also be looking for our young male lead. It is exciting to think of this beautiful “True story” to be filmed next year. We have a few units to still assign funding wise but already have commits. We’ll start the company early in 2021 and get that film prepped for an end of 2021 shoot!

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH

We’re in talks to get our camera team back shooting more interviews on the west coast. Also editing of the doc itself will begin in earnest. This is a great CDI side project that puts a spot light on a great art/sport.

SMOKE & MIRRORS – Digital VFX work is underway and we’ll be also getting the credits done. From there we look forward to a 2021 roll out on this cool short film that we will look to expand into a feature. The short was taken from one of my feature scripts which I need to finish up.

I’m going to wrap this blog up so I can return to winterizing the yard and do some tree decoration. My goals for the next few weeks include DEVELOPMENT work, dispersement of moneys earned to investors and prepping end of year biz taxes. I’m so excited for 2021 and overall I feel as odd as 2020 has been – we pulled out a pair of big wins with LOST HEART release and BEST YEARS GONE into post. So enjoy this time with family and friends and get ready for the new year!

Giddy Up!

DJ


Full Debrief On CDI Films

Good morning everyone! I want to welcome and thank all the readers from around the world. I’m sitting comfortably in my Lazy-Boy chair with my hazelnut coffee. Below is just a partial list of where all our fellow artists friends stopping by last week were from. The entire world is pretty united by what we’ve all been facing. I always said it might take an ‘Independence Day’-like alien attack to unite everyone but instead we got a virus. I was disappointed to see the issue weaponized politically over the last couple months. But there is no political spin to the actual science. I have friends that like to look at the stats and minimize the impact. But right now the death toll in the USA is as if our city of Lansing, Michigan was just destroyed or disappeared pending how dramatic you want to be this morning. Now this large nation has many cities and hey it’s just one BUT if it was your city that becomes an issue. And we might lose a few more cities worth of people before this passes. So if we can unify our actions and if this new batch of vaccines rolls out we might find our way back to something resembling normal.

But…we should remain aware of health and safety. We should plan for future unified responses. Federal, state even down to local we were not quite prepared and life accountability was being placed on officials. That’s different than leaning for or against taxes or new laws. So political affiliation aside I don’t fault officials for doing too much. Too much is often better than not enough but in this case every bit of over-cautious (a good thing normally) is causing economic hardships. It is a no-win situation because you cannot manifest a perfect. And on both sides politically they await for each other to misstep so they can blow that up into the next headline. Needless to say I’ve been personally disappointed in how much conflict we’ve participated as a nation. “I told you so” and “cancel” culture mentality is not helpful in growing cooperation. Information is often given with insult that results in the passing of knowledge falling on deaf ears. Most people don’t know that part of my college degree was communications at MSU. Most people are just horrible communicators and don’t even know it. They rush to social media lobbying trying to build support for or against a person’s words or action versus privately and respectfully communicating behind closed doors. With nobody else to hear there is no temptation of grandstanding. Given feedback is exchanged in an environment of respect where the person is respected enough that the meeting happened privately.

EXAMPLE: At CDI over the years, the need to meet with someone for course correction on set has arisen. If you respect that person which you should, you address any issues in private. I’ve seen way too many sets where problems are addressed loudly with finger pointing and throwing people under the bus. How do you think that effects that person and their respect for the company? How does it ultimately effect performance?

These are the things that people fail to grasp. When they want to achieve the same success at running a set as CDI it is done based on principals that starts at the top. A loud mouth, insulting CEO, producer, director or what-not will bring toxic devastation to a project. I’ve seen way to many production companies getting along by using up passionate volunteers and trading them up for the next batch. You are always starting over. Your quality is not increasing as your people’s experience and confidence grows. DEVELOPMENT is a key to success. Not just YOUR development but the development of a tribe of people. Look beyond ME to WE and you’re starting out on the right path.

OK. Film updates. Hmmm…do we have any? Maybe a few:)

BEST YEARS GONE – Much of the writing above could be applied to the above writing. We had been funded and ready to shoot this film since March. Much like some of the world leaders in government and business, I was faced with hard choices about when to set sail, safely with the best chance to succeed. Nothing save possibly experience gave me any added insight but like everyone else this Covid was/is a new variable. But I was the last one held accountable for the ship, cargo and crew. We started months earlier reading, studying and developing our safety protocol. The producers including Nate Robertson who is also our 1st AD took this job very serious. I appreciate him because a failure on his part is personal and painful but a failure to me is more direct. I’m responsible for everyone’s actions including his. So to have Nate and all the producers work so hard to prep a safe project meant the world to me.

Beyond that 75%+ of the crew are returning warriors with maybe another new 25% coming on board their first CDI film. I want to thank all the cast and crew for playing by the rules which included masks and face shields, sanitizer, distancing, morning check in’s and individually catering and craft. Over the years I’ve been on projects that were hindered by colds, flu and such. So the idea was no matter your individual feelings about Covid this was about WINNING. Note the goal of “winning” was getting safely to port with all our cargo (film pieces) safely. We also did pre-test and weekly test between our shoot blocks that we spaced slightly to give time to adjust and rest crews a touch more. There are many things we did not like with the added spacing but it worked for this film. We did manage to keep two positive Covid folks from bringing that on set. Two crew members had to await test results when they were exposed on off days between blocks. I’m happy to report the positives are now healthy and the caution hold on two crew came back negative. But our battle plan worked and we have the entire film IN THE CAN. We use to really use that term when we shot film.

Congrats to Shane Hagedorn our director for his calm leadership through it all. Travis Haywards led his department with a friendly demeanor knowing a few short years ago he was the young artists. I remember taking him as 2nd AC with our FORTY NIGHTS camera team a handful of years ago and now he was the DP. Another example of CDI development priority. Every crew member was truly a joy and that is rare as many of you will find out. We’ve found new artists that I’m sure will be ready to roll with the TRIBECDI when the time comes. Check out http://www.cdiproductions.com and SUBSCRIBE TO THE TRIBE. The film is exciting filled with humor and heartfelt relationships. The movie is about family, dreams, love and faith and has an automotive race car theme running throughout it. We’ll be announcing this week the addition of the films editor which is Nathaniel Nose, best known for his directing and editing on Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy, The Christ Slayer. The film will surge forward in post-production and we will look forward to bringing it to you in 2021!

We’ll follow the lead-in above to THE QUEST TRILOGY. A new campaign is launching for the holidays that puts the series in the proper order. The series is much more enjoyable when you watch in the proper order of FORTY NIGHTS (#1), CHASING THE STAR (#2) and THE CHRIST SLAYER (#3) and there is a NEW OFFICIAL “THE QUEST TRILOGY” trailer we’ll be highlighting this coming week.

Our #2 film CHASING THE STAR was listed as Pureflix’s second recommendation for Christmas films. I’ve heard people say that did not like how dark the film was. But under King Herod those were the times. The Magi order as depicted is the order seeking a celestial messiah to save mankind. No elves, jingle bells or snowman but an honest look at a possible internal conflict the three wise man faced. We know the nativity statues worldwide but what do we really know about these men? Very little. So we work to put a face to those men and their quest. Here Pureflix has invited you to watch-

https://insider.pureflix.com/movies/best-christian-christmas-movies-2020

And The Quest Trilogy will also be coming to Pureflix as a series in Feb 2021 running to Easter 2021. Enjoy the NEW trailer here – please share it with family and friends.

IF you enjoy these films do drop us a review at http://www.imdb.com, Amazon.com or anywhere you can. I hope your family enjoys this trilogy of films.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film keeps growing an audience. I was at the bank doing some business deposits when the teller told me she had cried watching MBF. She noted it was such a beautiful film and she had been telling friends and family about it. If you’re proud of our military brothers and sisters and love dogs this film might be just what you are looking at.

WILD FAITH – This fun and powerful film has been seen by millions of people. Those millions love the world seen at a simpler time with a story of love and faith amongst the Murphy family. Right now we have a handful of companies interested in seeing this film roll out next year as a series. The first right of refusal partner has the proposal and I’m looking to get a green light before the 1st of the new year. If so cameras could roll in Feb./March on HASTINGS. These stories will follow the same tone as the feature and we’ve got a good gameplay forming up. PS: Happy Birthday today to director Jesse Low!

LOST HEART – This amazing film is our new 2020 release. On Nov 7th and 21st we streamed our filmed cast and crew premiere event as well as the film itself for two nights free. After some great national PR topped off with our stars (Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson) traveling to Nashville for the Mike Huckabee show, the film will start its licensing run and roll out. The event was filmed and edited by Nathaniel Nose who did a wonderful job capturing the beauty of our state. It continues to highlight Collective Development Inc. as a Michigan company and Lost Heart as our new release. We will plan to stream the event perhaps on the CDI website and CDI’s FB site next week. I would also like to see the event end up on the DVD. IF you watched the film one of the two nights please do go VOTE and leave a review on the LOST HEART http://www.imdb.com page and feel free to request it from networks and retailers. Thank you for allowing us to do a special premiere and share with all of you. Another great film that I’m so proud of. I watched last night with my mom and I will call my dad who also watched the film last night. I’m happy they are both here to see it.

WRAP UP – I’m going to wrap all this up. We’re having the first light snow here in November and yesterday I did some winterizing. I have a few more things to get taken care of. We harvested the last of the ground veggies from the garden. I might bottle up the new wine next week. I finally have almost all my stuff unpacked from filming. We’re going to do pie-drops this week but just gonna lie low with Thanksgiving. We don’t want to get any family sick. I had a pair of close family come down with Covid. One said, he would rather have the flu four times over and said if he had been less healthy I might have been carrying a coffin. This victory of getting BEST YEARS GONE shot and into editing leaves me feeling satisfied. I was looking forward to the holidays and will still work to make it as special as possible but like our film set, safely.

Be good to one another and we’ll talk next week. Have a great Thanksgiving by being thankful you have your loved ones with you. Stay safe and be kind to one another.

DJ

PS: I spend a good part of an hour trying to delete copied blocks of text and was too afraid to add photos. I need to roll this WordPress back to non-blocks. I thought I lost this morning’s update so you are getting no pics or corrections but you’ll get the info.


Horses, Hot rods, Roosters, Rockstars and more…

I’m back in my lazy-boy for a few with my coffee at hand. I’ve been at my second stay with our crew at the Hilton thanks to one of our new CDI sponsors. These kind of deals really help filmmakers create the best environment to create within. The journey of a film is so important to how it comes out. I have to say that once again we’re working with such a great group of artists. Again I’m proud of how everyone is united in following safety practices because together we want to exit 2020 with a high note. The TribeCDI troupe is once again doing what we do best. That is telling a story and BEST YEARS GONE is methodically getting it done. We the Covid about we’ve been limiting any outside visitors and testing weekly. Shooting this time of year can bring cold and flu issues so the added precautions have been helping protect from all these.

Hospitality and Health is our position for craft plus. And by that I mean having a health professional on board to not only safely disperse craft for preventative measures. I even heard of work-out, stretching sessions in the morning although I have not participated. I have my own daily routines but it is a valuable role which has been making a noticeable difference. Meals have been prepared by another sponsor that being Sparrow Hospital. Again we have been working to make this shoot a safe and fun shoot.

Horses, hot rods, roosters, rockstars and more – I’m home to rest with family, do payroll, Covid Test and prepare for the last run. All this is excited but really its so we’ll have something exciting top talk about with you in 2021. We do have something exciting to talk about now!

LOST HEART – So on November 7th we had our first public premiere watch of the Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson led film. This film was shot in Michigan and is a wonderful blend of humor, drama and intrigue. I’m waiting on full numbers from ENCOURAGE TV but we know at least 20,000 tuned in to enjoy the story. That is easily the largest premiere we’ve had. Usually it’s theaters numbering 600 at max capacity. This was safer and reacher MANY more people. Melissa, Don and Victoria are off to Nashville today for The Mike Huckabee Show promoting the film.

This movie will play again Nov 21st free on Encourage TV. If you’ve seen the film please post your vote and review on our http://www.imdb.com page for “Lost Heart” – pass it along.

Once we get LOST HEART full launched past the premiere we’ll evaluate the offers to carry it exclusive for a while and I’ll let you all know. Further down the line will be streaming and DVD. It is exciting to see audiences finally get to travel to Lost Heart Michigan. How beautiful does Michigan look in the film? I know. It’s a place of great beauty.

THE QUEST TRILOGY is getting a new campaign to make audiences aware of these biblical adventures produced by CDI. They are meant to be watched in the order of FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER (Present, Past and Future) – I know these films are expanding into many more countries. If it is in any of the 80+ countries that are part of our reading circle here please send me a picture. I love watching them in other languages.

WILD FAITH – I had some very nice fan mail this week that thanked CDI for making a film like WF. Both were from African American ladies who watched the film with their daughters. They really related to Grace and Haddie and it gave them conversation after the film. I’m happy to say that the strength behind the TV series is growing. We have multiple interested parties and we’ll look to put the deal in motion once we finish the endeavor at hand. But thank you so much to those that take time to send those messages. I sincerely am so happy that the film is being a bridge of understanding. Love over hate.

MBF: Man’s Best Friend – this movie continues to grow an audiences via word of mouth and I hope this Veteran’s Day we can get some kind of watch party going. I’ve had a chance to meet a few of the fans of this movie in person. These men and woman were service folks so that made it all the more special.

I’m having a few issues with the new layout with WordPress. I lost part of my typing here so I’m going to wrap this up. I need to do some unpacking and about to eat some lunch. I want to thank everyone for stopping by.

Be good to one another!

DJ


A Few Days ‘Shore leave’ Before Back to Sailing the High Seas! Weekly Top 10 CDI Updates

Good afternoon. By the time this gets posted it will likely be almost eve but better a tad late than never:) I’ve been coming down off an “acting high” from the current project we are working hard on. All I will say is “magic” and leave it at that.

I think what will best for me today is to do a TOP 10 updates

  1. The BYG ship is launched and sailing strong on the high seas. I’m so appreciative of the cast and crew and we will continue the strong tradition of storytelling:) Follow us at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11808308/reference
  2. Today ‘Lost Heart‘ star Melissa Anschutz was on The 700 Club and will be on Mike Huckabee next week. https://www1.cbn.com/melissa-anchutz-produces-and-stars-lost-heart
  3. I haven’t watched this yet myself but here is an interview I did with my friend Isaac at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc8roA3CkN0 talking about the CDI films.
  4. If you have not downloaded the ENCOURAGE TV app please do. It will allow you to watch many of the CDI films streaming including the 2 night special event Nov 7th and 21st that will be LOST HEART with the EVENT premiere also! Thank you to Double JJ Resort again for all their help.
  5. I saw a sneak peak of the new trailer for THE QUEST TRILOGY campaign about to launch. It was so exciting to see all three of the films put together into one powerful trailer. Watch FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER with your family.
  6. In our national PR campaign this week we’re focusing on the amazingly talented Taylor Dupuis who played the young lead in LOST HEART. Also check out her music in her band Roanoke.
  7. Some very encouraging meetings have been happening regarding the TV series spin off from WILD FAITH. I have to put a few things together on our end but we have some strong interest and that is growing as our numbers keep climbing. If all goes well we will film 1st half of 2021.
  8. Once we wrap the current film project we’ll be also finalizing the funding on the WW2 project to be helmed by Anthony Hornus. That is a touch down the line but like everything else, it’s here before you know it.
  9. We recently gave out the deliciously scented sponsor candles from The Candleberry Company. If you have not explored this company and candles are your thing, check them out. Hmmm…honey is my favorite but I love many of them. Our cast and crew love them and look forward to them every time. If you want to expand your brand via sponsorship and/or production placement – reach out. https://www.candleberry.com
  10. I’m looking forward to a winter season of writing. One of my endeavors will be to finish SMOKE & MIRRORS. The short proof of concept piece will be done by the end of the year. VFX work is underway and I think people are really going to enjoy this tale directed by Nathaniel Nose director of The Christ Slayer.

I’ve landed back at home for a few days before off again but as I hinted at above – the current project is following the same path as previous. Get good, positive, hard-working artists attached to your story and you’ll create something special. I hope everyone is having a great start to their November. This will be the busiest month of my year followed closely by the October we just left behind. I’m looking forward to the holidays in whatever form this Covid environment allows. I’m going to unpack and unwind for a few and I’ll talk at all of you again next Monday.

Coffee cheers!

DJ


Covid-Free and What’s Up With ME (And CDI Updates)

Coffee Cheers! Again if you own a coffee roaster and want to get your brand name out reach out and we’ll use your coffee in our upcoming production of BEST YEARS GONE. I’ve been having the same issue with brewery and distillery options. We’ve always made product sponsorship deals with various companies and showcased them in our films. But they are slow to commit on this go-around and I have to guess that its the Covid effect on their businesses. If I don’t make a deal it will become just a created label. So whatever your business is if you want to discuss our sponsorship program reach out to me on here and we can talk.

I got my Covid test back that was super easy at Walgreens from my car. I’m clear. So I will report to the hotel this weekend under our new corporate deal with Tru Hotel/Hilton. Speaking of sponsors I want to thank The Candleberry Company for their sponsorship. Lerma Transportation is onboard to assist with the craft service. And it looks like BIOCLEAN will also be a sponsor again and in these times it’s good to have them on board. We are going to run a very safe set because Covid is not the only enemy. The flu and common cold is also a hinderance so we hope to keep everyone healthy. We have more cast to reveal including my old amigo Terence Knox (St. Elsewhere, Tour of Duty) and another CDI alumni from “Chasing the Star” will be joining us! I’m excited about the team of artists and we’re going to have a great time telling this story.

BUT…we have another movie rolling out as we’re starting to film. LOST HEART had a successful cast and crew screening in New Era at The Double JJ Resort. Music, interviews, food and fun followed by a wonderful film. Weeping, laughter and everything in-between. I was happily surprised by how engaged the audience was. We had a good number of local randoms mixed into our crowd. Bottom line is I think we have another hit. The local, regional and national media is kicking. From smaller reviewers like Noah Kaser below to Mike Huckabee who will be hosting Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson in Nashville. The film is truly funny and has heart warming messages about dreams and family without being heavy handed. Please do tune in Nov. 7th and 21st on ENCOURAGE TV (A Free app) to watch the premiere event and the film. It will start 7pm EST on those two dates (Nov 7, 21). Won’t you please join us? Noah below said he’s reviewed 200 films this year and LOST HEART is in his Top 5! We hope it makes your list also:)

Once we get past the premiere showings on the 7th and 21st of November we should know where the film is headed. Likely an exclusive run on a network before it goes wide. It will also start making its way around the world.

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS

I’ve had a few good meetings over our Mid-Western WILD FAITH turning into a TV series entitled “Hastings”. We have interest on a few fronts and if everything works out we’ll film 8 shows this spring. It will be a wonderful thing to see the beloved characters back in action. Several sites are streaming it but Encourage TV alone is closing on 3 million. Add in broadcast TV and foreign and we have a large and growing audience. I’m excited to put this in motion and to bring BEN LILY back into action.

SMOKE & MIRRORS is just looking awesome and sounds just as amazing. We are having some VFX work done and after credits – Shazam! Done:) Finishing up the feature script is on my things to do this winter.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – We have Veteran’s Day approaching and I’m so proud that this film is making the rounds. Much of the festival and event play got squashed by the lock down but the film itself is growing via word of mouth. You can watch it free via Encourage TV yourself and leave your thoughts. I see that Brazil now has MBF.

I’m also excited as we enter the holiday season to start pushing THE QUEST TRILOGY. This adventure trilogy is shot using the “style” of the original Star Wars films. You can see it in FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. It was filmed in the Yuma desert where RETURN OF THE JEDI filmed. It is a unique series of films and again is not preachy but thought provoking. Watch them all together to get a greater story and enjoy them with your family.

FEW QUESTIONS FOR MY READERS

  1. Has anyone read my story in the cat book released this fall? Thoughts?
  2. Who has seen “The Quest Trilogy” all together and what were your thoughts?
  3. I’ve got several past thrillers and horror films perfect for the Halloween season, favorites? Scariest?
  4. Would you be excited for a WILD FAITH tv series? Favorite characters?
  5. MBF – Who do you agree with? Again a real thought provoker.
  6. Have you ever used a Candleberry Co candle?

This past week has been getting warmer wardrobe around and a few rehearsals on BYG film. We picked the last of the beans from the garden. The crockpot with beans and additional veggies and a pork roast will be filling the house with good smells. The Autumn Ale has been enjoyed at a few meetings. The chickens are doing good with the coming of the colder weather. We took a nice nature walk with Finn yesterday and I just love this season. I’m just feeling great about the coming week and I will be seeing some close artist friends that I usually only see when filming. Get yourself artists with a positive attitude and that vibe will transfer to the story.

Thank you again to everyone at The Double JJ Resort. It is a wonderful place to visit for golf, horseriding, waterpark and more! I’m going to get back to a few pre-production things today and I’m thinking of doing these next batch of blogs on a Monday since our filming for the next few weeks will include Sunday. So I might be doing a delayed blog OR I might do a video blog recap which might be easier. We will see said the wise man. Be good to one another!

DJ