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

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Happy Father’s Day and Sunday Updates on CDI Film Projects

I’m sipping the coffee but in the early eve of the 19th. I have another busy day tomorrow with some family activities and such but I wanted to give you a few thoughts. I just read something about Chadwick the Black Panther actor not getting the part of Drax in a Guardians of the Galaxy film but it exposed him and opened the ‘Marvel’ doors for the future casting. We are getting down to the last few castings in SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. This is hard because you are trying to build the right chemistry. We’ve had some requested reads that just didn’t make the grade. Sometimes it is nerves. Sometimes it is too much confidence, perhaps they don’t fully commit or make interesting, unique choices. I recall when we were casting WILD FAITH we were reading many actresses as Hester the half Native American tracker. Some good attempts but the mark kept being missed. Melissa Anschutz who is an amazing actress, could have played any of the roles because of her commitment level. She is the only one who found the bullseye. But convincing her to take a role where she says a dozen or so phrases was…interesting:) But the pay off was most excellent. You can get tired when casting but the focused work will show in the end product.

WILD FAITH (Free with Ads)

Almost 5 million viewers on Encourage TV. We are in a few conversations about the HASTINGS TV series. So if you have not watched the film please do. If you’ve enjoyed it before show your support for this film. If you would love a TV show based on this film let your voices be heard.

WICKED SPRING – We got some great practice at reproducing the Civil War era with our 2000 film. This was done when CDI has a sister company Lionheart Filmworks. The feature is now managed by CDI and Lionheart went to the films director Kevin Hershberger. I’ve been proud of all the TV work he has done. He LOVES history and it shows. Anyway, for streaming we now have an HD version of the film. The distributor did a high res version and from what I’ve seen it looks really good. It is just amazing what new technology is allowing us to do. This success could give new life to some of the pre-HD films.

Speaking of pre-HD much like last year when we released the CDI Classic Collection Double Feature #1 Heaven’s Neighbors and Figure in the Forest. This year my goal is to do Knight Chills and From Venus. Also I might explore a full HD campaign with Knight Chills. We have had two great companies approach about a special BluRay release and so I will be circling back to those discussions.

BESTSELLER is not from as far back as the classic collection but a few moons ago. It will be rolling out with a full campaign this fall.

NEXT week we have two of the films, MANS BEST FRIEND and LOST HEART, of 5 finalists in the Crown Awards in Dallas, Texas next week. They announce on my Bday (June 23rd) the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners. I love both films like children. I just hope whatever attention the films garnish pushes more audiences at these two powerful and heartfelt stories. This month also saw the beginning of the ‘Lost Heart’ roll out under the name ‘Bigfoot, UFOs and Jesus’ for the General Audience. I love the enthusiastic response that I received from so many of you. So it doesn’t matter what title you watch the film as – just enjoy it. Both of these films can be watched. Which is your favorite?

BEST YEARS GONE team has been putting the final touches on the first official trailer. The plan is to drop the trailer on Tuesday or perhaps Weds, perhaps. We are going to start having Travis Hayward start planning the music video once the trailer color correction is done. We are in the process of setting up a couple of premiere events for September. The films sound and music is roughly half done. I will be meeting with Dennis Therrian this week and get a better update.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – This awesome doc film will be releasing its official teaser July 4th and I’m proud of all the hard work that has been going on with this project.

DEVELOPMENT

I’ve been doing some script work on a few projects that I’ve been meaning to get back to. Even just a little creative writing a day can be really refreshing. We discussed HASTINGS previously and there is some development happening with the post work on SMOKE & MIRRORS. I’ve been doing a lot of scene work on this feature script. We have several great things developing but they are not ready to be spoken about. Somethings are left best for when the deal is done.

WRAP UP

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and I’m so thankful to still have both my parents here to love and guide me. I know my father worked very hard and that is where I must get some of that tenacity. I got to see my dad yesterday and I hope to see him tomorrow. If I don’t it is because he has a funeral for a classmate. Unfortunately, even at our age we are starting to see the occasional alumni obituary. This can only get harder as you travel down the path and lose more friends. It pains me to even think of that so I’m just appreciate them all. Even now I still owe a few calls. I do try to stay up and check on people. I look forward to a few nice sit downs and catch ups this week around my bday. For those asking I will likely pick a patio on Tuesday for a few hours in the afternoon/early eve and on Weds celebrate more chill with family.

Aside from this the chickens are producing eggs although we’ve had two Finn escapes whereas he chased the chickens. He seems to have shown restraint having caught two but not bit them. I’ve been harvesting some herbs and rhubarb and the berries also are ripening. So I need to bottle up the aging ‘berry’ wine into bottles and prepare to put another 5 gal in motion.


Rolling Into JUNE! CDI’s TOP 10 Updates from Last Week!

Morning has recently left us for afternoon and now after some reheated grilled chicken and salad I’m ready to blog with you all before I go give the yard a mow. When soccer season started about a month ago I overused my tendons outside me knees. It is the back and forth motion without having them conditioned for that strain. With weekly games it has been hard to get a full recovery but they are getting stronger. That Covid time off did not do me any favors.

We have had a few days of heat but luckily some storms have blown cooler air in on several days sparing us humidity. The raised garden beds now have the veggies and herbs planted. The chickens have been kicking out the eggs allowing almost daily egg breakfasts. I’ve had a great week of productive moves on the board. Maybe we should do a TOP 10 Updates on this fine Sunday.

  1. Our sponsorship program for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is being looked at by several major brands for alignment. If your brand feels like exploring marketing with our Christmas Homefront WW2 drama please reach out.
  2. Last week we had a great SNIA meeting with art department and looked at all the challenges that lie ahead. This week will be calls with Jesse Aragon our director of photography. We will look to start locking in our camera, grip and electric team in the coming weeks. Our first schedule is being looked at and soon we’ll pow wow over that and start to make moves. It is so interesting how it all starts to gel and come together.
  3. This week I’ll be seeing the polished draft of the teaser trailer on our doc FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH. It will release on July 4th and give audiences a glimpse at the amazing grapplers we have assembled to discuss their passion.
  4. Speaking of trailers, the official trailer for BEST YEARS GONE is in sound and music with Dennis Therrian and it will release soon. Rumor has it might be on the run up to June 23 someones bday;)
  5. The BEST YEARS GONE film itself is in serious music and sound design. We’ve started assembling the end credits. Color correction should be almost complete. We’re already looking at two premiere events in Sept. One a race and showing at the Springport Speedway Sept 11th and the Owosso, MI premiere date TBD.
  6. The General Market ‘Lost Heart’ release (BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS) is underway appearing on amazon and several other platforms. I love the new poster, trailer and movie as a whole. Released to the faith market ‘Lost Heart’ is up for ‘Best Film’ at the Crown Awards this month.
  7. Also one of the 5 ‘Best Films at the Crown Awards is MANS BEST FRIEND. A uniquely powerful film which feels like pineapple to a beet when you put the two films next to one another. Vastly different tone but proud to have both recognized.
  8. I want to give a congrats to VERTICAL BRIDGE who won the ‘Best Years Gone: Battle of the Bands’ and will have their song OFF TO THE RACES in the film. Additionally CDI will be shooting a commercial with the band with Travis Hayward directing, shooting the video. I’m excited for all the artists involved.
  9. We have some interested people looking at the WILD FAITH/HASTINGS TV series pitch this month. That would make a great bday present. If we get the green light we will be shooting next year.
  10. I’m starting to work into some creative script writing. I had a great call about the possibility of writing a screenplay for hire. We will see how that turns out. I have lotta possibilities and the things that are meant to be will come to be.

I’m going to wrap this up without a lot of chit chat because I have quite a bit of yard work to attend to before I have people arriving this eve. The berries and hops are getting closer to fruit. The catnip, rhubarb and several other things are already giving. We’ve been enjoying getting into the wines granted to us from previous harvests. I hope you all enjoy some time with family and friends. We had another out of town family get-together seeing some family we have not seen in over a year. Tomorrow I’ve got a big list of things to get through and I’m excited to get after it. I hope you all have a good weekend followed by a productive week.

Be good to one another.

DJ


Upcoming First Looks at ‘Best Years Gone’ and ‘For the Love of Catch’ – BATTLE OF THE BANDS – Music Video New!

( Zen like Kwai Chang Caine-I loved Bruce Lee but David Carradine brought something special to the role)

As I sit here sipping the hazelnut coffee I’m listening to the chicken’s egg song. I can say that the egg dishes around here have improved greatly with the use of the home eggs. This is the start of my birthday month and the heat is finally arriving in Michigan. Yesterday the veggies and herbs got planted in the raised planters so we’ll see how that goes. This week was full of calls and business dealings lets look at some of that after I reflect a bit. Last week we talked a bit about a situation whereas someones actions were counter productive to the whole. While this could have been an isolation and remove, at least temporailiy instead I saw it as a learning situation. I talk about development versus cancel and so a productive, insightful conversation took place that clarified some of the expectations and also became a teaching moment for myself. I could have reacted negatively but with a little perspective, patience and listening – I’m happy to say that things are back to flowing along swimmingly with both parties having grown. Last week contained some gems. My point is that you can apply this to any situation in your own lives. Instead of growing drama the situation was used for growth and insight. I’m not a fan of drama unless on the screen. Many use it to gain attention, sympathy and/or to work LOUDLY to try and secure their worth. As I’ve said before and worth saying again, work quietly and effectively – trust me it is noticed by those who run things.

Who wants to talk movies? We have several really good things to report on. Where to start?

UPDATES

LOST HEART fresh off its showing at ICFF (Christian Oscars) and will compete this June 23rd (My Bday) in the Crown Awards for ‘Best Picture’ against 4 other films one that is MBF! The General Market release BIGFOOT, UFOS AND JESUS has started and it can be watched on Amazon Prime (See link below)

All our stories are meant to promote unity but even as this new release rolled out and you people negative judging off a film title. One person was outraged at the inclusion of Jesus WITH Bigfoot and UFOs and apparently we all will burn in hell for the title yet they have not seen the film. In the same thread someone did not WANT to watch it because Jesus name was listed in the title. PEOPLE ARE JUDGMENTAL! Period. Christians talk persecution and judgement yet they too judge and persecute just as good as anyone. I’m sure from the clothes that people once wore to church to whatever the gossip floating around the congregation was, people judge. I just ask people to watch and not judge a book by the cover. That is an old piece of wisdom. But I did have a lot of people reach out in kindness having watched the film. I’m excited to see how the roll out continues but these little observations are fascinating. So many negative, depressed people with filters that put a unhappy spin on everything. Press play. maybe you can change/clean up those filters and receive laughter, joy and ultimately health.

I noted that MBF or MAN’S BEST FRIEND is up for ‘Best Film’ at the ICVM Crown Awards in Texas this month. Covid kept this film from people submitted and now it is being recognized. Actually tribe CDI has two of the five films – good odds. I also had a few fans of the film pass their love along. One such person made note that Paul was an Oscar worthy performance. Oscars are very political and I’m not saying it would not be great to accept one but the response of the fans is better than peer acceptance. If Paul is respected as a good voice – mission accomplished.

BESTSELLER will be prepped for a new campaign with BMG under their General Market label. I’ve enjoyed dealing with Chris Wright on this new release. We will be looking at other projects that might get a new push.

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – discussions are gaining strength and my hope is that some of the sponsors we are bringing on board SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA will follow us to the TV series.

Post-Production work on BEST YEARS GONE is racing around the track! A small pit stop has been made to polish up the audio on the first official teaser. Maybe we will look to release it on or just before my birthday on the 23rd of June. Music and sound design is being worked on daily and part of that is the soundtrack. We had a ‘Battle of the Bands‘ and our celebrity judges, producer team, director and composer had their work cut out. With songs from around the country we found the perfect song for our film. The winner’s song will appear on the soundtrack and we’re going to produce a music video with them. Our film’s Director of Photography Travis Hayward will be directing the video. As a child of the MTV generation I’m excited. I have a video of our director announcing the winning video and I think we’ll post that on the FB site tomorrow morning. A great way to kick off the week. Go to the FB site and watch what the judges had to say and you can listen to many of the songs yourself.

(The Christ Slayer – reuniting with this ‘brother from another Perry mother’ in SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA)

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is gaining momentum. We’ve been announcing new cast members and I’ve had some great talks with some amazing talent. We’ve also started to fill the crew spots starting with the recent announcement of Nathaniel Nose (Dir/Editor/FX on ‘The Christ Slayer’ and editor on the upcoming ‘Best Years Gone’) will be joining us as the FX supervisor and editor. We’ll be focusing on camera, G&E department in the coming weeks. We’re also making great inroads with the local people proud to have their local story brought to the world. Here is a great story that just ran –

https://globegazette.com/community/forestcitysummit/news/wwii-film-silent-night-in-algona-to-have-northern-iowa-focus/article_f5907c1e-a32d-5641-9bd6-35aacc1d30a8.html?fbclid=IwAR393hwSSDBxun3qEnqzXmr20T2kJeJYCBC7JK493zuvqG6rui7gK0ItPO4

We are starting to approach sponsors and businesses that want to align with our WW2 Christmas story. We will be announcing some of our loyal past sponsors excited to join us once again. Stay tune and if you wanna help with your company please do reach out.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film on the almost forgotten grappling art being resurrected by a handful of martial art greats. Director Curran Jacobs is a two time world champion in the Catch-Can style and he manages to capture the collective passion for Catch in a arena often riddled with competitiveness and division. The process for this has been educational and will give us a template for future docs at CDI. The first official teaser will release on July 4th.

RIP to Ray Nikolaison

I’m not sure if I tackled every project update but we hit on a few main topic ones. There is a flea market down the road I want to visit. Now that I’m looking for WW2 relics/props it has taken on a new level of enjoyment. Today they cancelled the streaming memorial for Ray Nikolaison but we’ll get a link later. Ray was the man behind The Book of Ruth, Journey of Faith and was a sales rep early on for FIGURE IN THE FOREST. RIP With that check on mortality go do something with loved ones and be kind to all.

DJ


Meaning of ‘Tribal Loyal’ and ‘Secret of the Dream’ – Happy Memorial Day

(Happy Memorial Day – Veteran Paul Landings and Brown Boy)

I want to welcome the new readers from Spain, Egypt and other territories around the world. The mornings have still been chilly and so the hot hazelnut coffee is a welcome treat. Again it was just an amazing week but a few things have sat on my mind. Poisoning wells is a term we use in our producing and it means an individual or company that doesn’t take care in their action and business and it can ruin it for everyone. It happens with locations, investors and business relationships. I’ve been accused of keeping my cards close and that is because many do not treat those relationships as they should. Many people are mindful only of their immediate wants and don’t look long-term. CDI has been built upon many years of trial and error and filtering out the toxic and/or lazy. I really do care about our people and seek to develop them. At CDI fertile grounds exist for tribal loyal to undertake project development but many like to make their own go at things. No experienced overhead and management often results in zero funding even if the creative talents exist. People ask me what “tribal loyal” means and it is quite simple. If you are lucky enough to hunt up a strong opportunity do you bring it to the tribe? The tribe has the success record and gives confidence to investors and new partners. But many would still horde the contact and try to make the best of it, often resulting in failure. In simple terms if you hunted up a deer for food, would you bring it back to feed the tribe or hide out by oneself to horde the kill? We’re fortunate to have developed a solid core of people at CDI that know that a contact/opportunity will be properly used for the good of the tribe. We have some that are “in orbit,” that circle the tribe, enjoying many of the benefits but maintain their…looking for something better to come along. Which of course is a perception and often isn’t better- “the grass appears greener…” you get it.

I had one situation whereas an established, well groomed relationship was approached covertly by one of these “in orbit” tribal members to further a personal agenda versus the tribal agenda that I serve daily. This go-around communication was brought to my attention out of respect for our mutual business by this long-term business associate. I’ve gotten these calls from LA with people using my name as a ‘friend’ because of Facebook but that is another thing. The big table is for those with funding and accountable for the money. This person circumventing was just like thousands of others seeking funds. But they were politely given the same answer I’ve always given. I’m not tech savvy, I’m people savvy (sincere) and so that is what I focus on. Collaboration and deal-making. When I’m successful many artists get put to work. But the process in which this particular individual went about getting their own answers reflected poorly upon them. They made light of it when it was addressed and in the same communication was asking for more from the tribe. So the hard truth is that previous to CDI funding, there wasn’t any funding confidence in this person. This person’s personal agenda pursuit yielded the same answers. Now that their perceived “better” agenda doesn’t look plausible they return back asking for more. But should the “more” be held back and gifted to the loyal and those enthusiastic and appreciative to grow and develop with our tribe of artists? I recall a conversation years ago that “We got all we’re going to get out of DJ Perry, no need to communicate with him anymore.” Harsh but a realism in my world.

A TV series and a continuous slate of films with an increase in size and scope is what lies in store for Collective Development Inc. It is not a boast, a challenge or anything of the sort – it is just a truth if I’m drawing breath.

Within CDI, I do expect a certain behavior from our tribal members and it matches what I expected at summer camp, the martial arts dojo and in soccer practices/games. I try to use the resources we have wisely to do the big 3 – stay on schedule, stay on budget, give high artistic quality. Team formation and management is what I excel at and it starts by recognizing and respected each cast and crew as an artist. And my power to make definitive decisions lies in my accountability no more. Currently we don’t have enough projects active to have every artists working their ideal role via acting or director, DP, etc…but we will. And those hungry for more could undertake in-house development. Done from within it carries the weight of the company and the field of successful endeavors. Outside the tribe, that project stands alone and the same hinderance exists.

I personally could have left the tribe and been a lone wolf as the offers were there. But I realized immediately that separated from the tribe one doesn’t carry the same power. I represent honorably our tribe’s storytelling ability. And it is a TRIBE. Every person involved plays a great role in the success. Know that these examples of missteps are not one person but a few scattered over a span of several years. Some recent and some not. But I will grant you this nugget of wisdom. I see many artists pass up opportunities that they feel are not in line with their own direct dreams. I’ve learned a secret. Often the keys to our own dreams lie in helping someone else achieve their own dream. I’ve watched people selfishly step on and do whatever, compromise whatever, all seeking that elusive key. But what if the key appears only as a reward for helping others? We are all interconnected. The other thing is we cannot always help everyone save by good example. I love as we grow we keep bringing more artists together. In my life when I’ve had external issues I looked internally. Tend the inner fire. Also the path forward is seldom a straight line. That line might go all over the board and that is the journey of life. Live it well and worry less about the final destination. Keep moving in the right direction.

And I want to be clear – the above examples are NOT some passive aggressive lament on personalities of a few. As the counselor, sensei, coach and CEO of Collective Development, I take my accountability. But my decisions won’t and don’t always line up with everyone’s opinions. But even when some feel I got it wrong I think everyone would agree that I’m asserting fairness as I see it. My passion for the stories being told is also unquestionably legit. I tell stories I truly care about. So you have two sides to a coin. Have I failed to open some minds to the collective strength of a tribe of artists? Have they failed to recognize and appreciate the opportunity and benefits of an artistic tribe? Bottom line is we are growing at CDI and I am looking to give opportunities to those tired of the selfish agendas and wanting something more inclusive. We have had some very good crews over the last several years. Our last film really flowed well and all during the break in the Covid surges. We are just getting back to crewing on our next WW2 drama -shall we take a look?

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA

A few of the departments include discussions with the keys so we’re going to be focusing on crewing in June. Also our German casting is almost complete so we’ll be announcing them. Sponsorship and brand alignment is launched and I might have our first to announce very soon! Our Facebook site is growing and adding more everyday.

LOST HEART & BIGFOOT, UFOS AND JESUS

The General Market (GM) release of ‘Lost Heart’ has begin and it will start appearing on platforms as early as next week. This movie started in the family/faith market which can turn some viewers off. But this film truly is much more and deserves to be seen by a wide international audience. The GM title will also do better overseas where these three words in the title are more easily understood versus ‘Lost Heart’ but by any name the film is a true joy and we hope you and your family will love it.

Under the title ‘Lost Heart’ the film will be up in June for ‘Best Film of the Year’ at the Crown Awards. Here is a recent review of the film which I really enjoyed.

BEST YEARS GONE – So the film is racing around the post production track. Dialog, sound design and music are underway. We had two of our celebrity judges sound off on their top 3 songs. These videos are on our Facebook page so seek us out. We will be announcing the winner very soon and a music video will be done. We had a meeting on that and we’re quite excited. The actual first official trailer is done visually and is now in post-audio and we are all excited to share it. The trailer and screen captures will travel to our distributor to begin poster work. We have two premiere events in the work. Both in September with one being a theatrical premiere in Owosso, MI and a race/bigscreen event with the Springport Racetrack. We had a great meeting and scout on Friday and it will be another unique CDI experience and we’ll be looking to film it.

Recently FORTY NIGHTS broke the 1 mil viewers on Encourage TV and with TV play around the world this trilogy (Part 2 CHASING THE STAR and Part 3 THE CHRIST SLAYER) is being seen by 10’s of millions. I really enjoy the great fantail from those who keep discovering and enjoying these films.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – The trailer teaser for this documentary will roll out July 4th! We are really excited to be bringing this look and eventually entire documentary on the nearly forgotten art of catch-can be brought back to life by some of the greatest grapplers on the planet.

SMOKE & MIRRORS – I’m looking forward to seeing this project come together and as noted this project was created from a feature script. I think the success of this short showcases what an incredible story could be told as a feature.

MAN’S BEST FRIEND is a title that ties into Memorial Day weekend giving viewers a look at the sacrifice many of the survivors of war made. If you haven’t seen the film please do take a watch. If you have seen it, enjoy another watch.

WRAP UP

So yesterday it was yard mowing, trimming, planting and such as we put in our veggies and herbs. Today maybe a bit more of the same plus I might do a version roast in the smoker. I always think about maybe deleting the opening ponderings and stick to just updates but those lessons discussed are what will truly help you succeed. I could just talk about the success we’ve had in our updates but if you’re having issues getting traction with your own endeavors maybe those words will bring you insight. I hope you all have an enjoyable couple of days. Happy Memorial Day! Remember those US troops who dies to give us all the freedoms we have.

Until next week!

DJ


NEW Trailers, Castings and More…

I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee while waiting for it to dry out a tad so we can go hit the flea market down the road. I love looking for props and character pieces. It has been warming here in the Michigan and I think we are finally past the morning frost. The newly planted blueberry bushes had to be protected but the apple trees seem to have done just fine. Our ‘Chicken Land’ has been producing a steady 4 eggs a day resulting in some wonderful breakfast sandwiches. I need to get stuff around for the second mow of the season.

The Covid lockdown did not control my mind. I did not fret, complain and concern myself to a point mental hinderance. I acknowledged and redirected to what I could control. Attacking things I had not had time to deal with. This last week we’ve had some good social interactions reminding us of what we’ve missed. I had a good visit with Pa Perry, several in-person meetings and even a social gathering. I do hope the mask mandate for our soccer league disappears. As I work to get the legs back in game shape the wearing of the mask has been cumbersome. This week I was less sore than week one and I hope next week will leave me better yet. Soccer is a game of stamina and endurance and the whole body moves in all different directions. But it feels good to be waging war again on the field.

So many updates so maybe we should get into them:) Several of our team will be present in FL this coming week to attend the ICFF which is a family/faith festival that recognizes artists. It is like the ‘Inspirational Oscars’ I’m told but its all subjective. But LOST HEART is up for several nominations from Best Film, Best Screenplay (I know that guy), Best Director, Best Supporting Actor/Actress and both Actor and Actress of the Year. But walking the red carpet will be several of our artists including Melissa Anschutz, Don Most, Sherryl Despres-maybe Victoria Jackson.

Also this wonderful film will be getting its general market release very soon. The film has two interwoven stories and the A story is LOST HEART and leads out front. The B story runs in the back ground and is greatly entertaining. Much of it follows the antics of Chip (Josh “Ponceman” Perry) and his hunt of the legendary Bigfoot. In addition to Dennis Therrian’s incredible score the general release is also highlighting the musical talents of The Cash Collective and Roanoke. Either way the same great film that everyone can enjoy. As a HUGE fan I feel this film is the most Spielberg of the CDI films. I could be delusional about that but it feels that way to me.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has been making great strides. Some of the updates were presented by our director in this newspaper release in Iowa. Read here-

https://www.algona.com/news/silent-night-algona-film-production

Our casting of the Germans is about complete. We’ve been slowly working crewing with many adventurers yet to recruit. Tomorrow we’ll be announcing two more actors. One is yours truly and I’ll be playing the PW camp Commander. It is a really nice fit at this point in my career. Had I been charged with running a PW camp during WW2 I think my approach would have been the same as the character. More of the character study is truly getting into the mind set of that era. What did they read daily in the newspaper? What was spoken about at the coffee shop? What fears did people have? Radio shows. Music. I am enjoying the re-educating myself on my grandfather’s era. I do wish Rance Howard was alive to be in the cast. He was really excited to be in this story. We’ll do him proud as well. The other talent is an amazingly unique actor named Michael Wayne Walton. He was in CDI’s first feature which was ________? 🙂 (Trivia) …and he also appeared in a few other CDI films (Can you name them?) He has been making his unique path in this hard industry and I’m extremely grateful to have Michael coming on board to play a great MP guard who creates ‘bridges’ with the German men he is assigned to detain.

The PR release will go out tomorrow but you got the early scoop here. More casting and crewing and now with the more relaxed Covid rules we can get back to our weekly in-person meetings.

BEST YEARS GONE is in full out post-production push with July/Aug being our finish date. We made good steps on setting up our premiere. We will likely have a meeting this week to look at dates and make sure the location works. I have it on good source that the 1st official trailer is not far away. At the same time – color, music and sound design are all underway.

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The feature keeps growing its fan base with 4.5 mil at Encourage TV alone. I reached out on a few new fronts working to build our licensing so we can shoot the 8 show TV series next year.

CDI Associated film BESTSELLER has been signed to BMG’s new General Market label. They will build a wonderful campaign for that film and my guess would be a fall pre-Halloween release. WICKED SPRING is the test run in our up-rezing of older SD films to HD. As of Friday it sounds like they might have been successful. I will know this week for sure. If all is good FIGURE IN THE FOREST might be up next. I also got to see the first edit of FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and boy is it good. So proud of our little team. We’ll final mix for delivery with Dennis Therrian but we have a few months of post I’m guessing.

Funny how the fan mail from MAN’S BEST FRIEND have been asking recently about me participating in other action roles. I think I made note of “sure if the right story came along” and…I did have a script submitted to me. It’s written by a screenwriter who has lots of film and TV series credits of note. The director is also got a wonderful resume of TV and film work. Well, I read the script and gave my interest in a couple of characters. From there it seems we might have landed on one. The film is more action orientated with mafia/western vibe. It would have me playing a pretty kick ass role. Not sure on dates. It will be fine unless it steps on the upcoming WW2 film but I will cross that bridge when and if I need to. I gave my interest and I want to thank them for offering me to come on board. It is good to see so many projects start to move.

I’m going to cut it short here and take a nice walk around the flea market. I hope you all have a great week in your own personal endeavors. Until next week.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ


HAPPY Mother’s Day! Also CDI’S TOP 10 UPDATES (There are some good ones)

My first sips of hazelnut coffee on this Sunday morning. I’ve been recovering the last two days from my first of the season soccer matches. My legs are in good shape but not ready for the constant run and directional changes. Yesterday my legs were stiff and tad heavy giving me the ‘mummy’ walk – “COIN!” (Old Scooby Doo reference)

I had a very productive week on many fronts and I’m just so pleased with how everything is moving along. But before we get into all the film updates let take this moment to celebrate mommas. EVERYTHING I’ve done in this life I’ve done because I was brought into this world. Every story that started as a spark in my imagination and brought to screen is because of her. (Dad also had something to do with it:) But I’m just so appreciative that I was given this opportunity. We will have the moms over this afternoon for an early dinner. A few love gifts and a good meal. I LOVE you momma:) Happy Mother’s Day to all of you. That counts if you mother child or animal, so again – thank you to all the mothers for what you’ve done, are doing and will do because that is what mother’s do. LOVE.

Maybe let’s try a TOP TEN Updates

  1. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH documentary is now in editing. We had a post meeting last week and we’ll even having a teaser trailer coming soon. This is about the history of the grappling arts and the evolution of “Catch” as told by those who love it the most. Hosted and directed by two time world champion Curran Jacobs. We have some great interviews. Big Kudos to Dan Chipman our mobile production and Adam Towner, B camera and post. This just might be the first of many documentary collaborations between #Tribecdi with The Red, White and Blue Project Inc. You can follow us on IMDB and Facebook as we have pages for both now.
  2. BESTSELLER – This “Hitchcock” like thriller adapted from the book by Christopher Knight has been signed for a new release campaign. This film stars Melissa Anschutz, DJ Perry, Ralph Lister, Taylor Nichols and Lana Wood. It has really only had a limited DVD release and so this new push will be much greater. It is R-rated (language and implied violence) but is done without being overly graphic. This film captures Michigan in the fall in all it’s haunting glory. I will have more info as we go but I believe the idea is a late summer/fall release!
  3. BEST YEARS GONE – the first pass on dialog clean up is complete. Last week our director and composer discussed music cues and even sound design ideas. Color Correction is happening as we speak along with the edit of our first official trailer. As if that wasn’t enough- we’re planning the premiere, manufacturing merchandise and more official stills are being prepped for delivery to our distributor (BMG) so they can begin poster art. Lotta fun ahead with this movie and I think audiences will really enjoy it. I need to add that the Battle of the Bands judging is underway by our team and celeb judges. We will be announcing a winner this month!
  4. LOST HEART is really a film that has a lot going for it. But to try and convey that via shelf art alone is hard. The film is a story is about music star Hannah Sweet going back to her home town for a funeral but the B story is the town of ‘Lost Heart’ itself. It started with fan mail before Christmas from men who had lost the remote and via wife/girlfriend and was made to watch ‘Lost Heart’ and really loved it. I recall one gent saying that he would have never watched that film except by his wife’s choosing. But he loved the Bigfoot, UFO (UFA?:) and humorous mystery in our story. In a meeting with our distributor I recall telling these stories after discussing the demographic audience that is being drawn to our story. A joke was mention that if the title was “Bigfoot, UFO’s and Jesus” the film would find its partially missing male demographic. Guys hanging out amongst themselves are unfortunately not going to randomly watch a film named ‘Lost Heart,’ which is a name I truly love. It was pointed out to me that a title like “Bigfoot, UFO’s and Jesus” would also attract more women who were equally into the mystery aspects, like my own cousin Angie. So I stand corrected. This GM release should add to our overall audience by revealing the wonderful B story of our film. It was a nice hidden gem inside our story but I think we need to be more direct. So a ‘General Market/GM’ campaign release is underway with a new title, poster art and trailer. I will share this new artwork at the end of this update. But I’m very excited because this film/story deserves to be seen by many, many, many more people from around the world. And so it will.
  5. WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – I want to do a polish up on the “Hastings” scripts for simple grammar mistakes but I had a few more connections start to open up on the WILD FAITH TV spin off. I’m excited to put that into play to shoot next year. I know the feature is growing an audience around the world and so the series would have a nice welcome audience.
  6. MBF/MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film has been working its way into the marketplace. I was told a new deal was just executed taking the film into Latin America. I know it is making its way into territories around the world. The top two questions I get with this film 1) Will you do more martial arts filming? I do have a great concept that will eventually make it to script. 2) What was Paul’s sentence, will there be a sequel? Right now I like keeping Paul’s fate in limbo with audiences. Will there be a Part 2? Never say never. If you have not watched this film – watch it. If you have and enjoyed it, pass it along. Thank you to the many fans of this film out there.
  7. The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) – A special message is spread across these three stories. Actually several lessons are presented and the way the story is told – everybody can take something positive away. The film series just ran through the holidays at Sony/Pureflix and again I so appreciate all the fan mail letting me know how much you enjoyed our stories. It is humbling and powerful what can be done with a story.
  8. SMOKE & MIRRORS – This early 1900 short tale is getting the final touches. Maybe we’ll cut some teaser in the coming weeks. It’s spooky. It’s kookie. Wait a minute! It’s a really fun little film that was derived from one of my feature script. This will make a great feature film. All in good time.
  9. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – We’re making great strides on all fronts. Last week we announced Garry Nation and David Reardon coming on board. Our German casting is almost complete. Discussions with the art departments has started in earnest as we prepare to create the world of 1944 Algona. This week we should start in on our sponsorship endeavors. We have a lot of excitement in these circles and we’re excited to align with these brands. To do what we do at these modest levels requires the assistance of the community and our sponsors. Thank you to all of those supporters past and present. And here is an additional cheers to our future ones! This week we should roll out two more of the great talent associated with this film. I’m beyond excited to tell this story. If your company or business wants to support this based on true events WW2 home front drama please reach out.
  10. TRIBE CDI – The biz of the biz, I had a VERY productive week working with Bank of America to streamline our fleet of films. All this is to help streamline our inner workings. This all can make a days work only a few hours. Also had a good meeting with another one of the team (Tiger) who oversees dispersement amongst a other things. We will be prepping some of those to go out in the coming weeks. Thank you. As you all support the films, we get to keep making the films. I’m excited to see in the next decade what stories are brought to life on screen! Thank you also to Dean Teaster (COO) and Gary Davison and his team. David Gries & Carl Weyant who maintain the website. #Tribecdi is not a catching hashtag it really does represent a tribe of artists and the business that supports it.

I just enjoyed a wonderful breakfast bagel with our own eggs and 4H bacon – so good. The yard is really looking good and the warmth is creeping into Michigan. I look forward to having many enjoyable meetings both business and social in the coming weeks. I’m going to end this here with some great new poster art for Lost Heart’s new general release. Be good to one another. Be safe and keep following your dreams.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ

PS: The new trailer is almost done and I really do love it. I could not stop smiling.


Welcome to May! TRIBE CDI Springing Into Action!

Hazelnut cheers to you all out there. Greetings to our new readers from Germany, China, Thailand, Ireland and more! In Michigan we’ve had another warm up before a small cool off coming this week. It was an exciting week full of new developments. On the home front it was a week of yard work and today will be the first mow of the season. The chickens have been laying eggs and that is exciting. They love their greens especially dandelion greens which are extremely nutritious. I tried some last year and while a bit bitter they could make a good meal. I have not seen any morels yet just inktip mushrooms. I’ve been harvesting catnip and soon rhubarb for wine-making. We are blueberries but they will not fruit this year. But the apple trees look full and the black raspberry and mulberry look like they will be abundant. This week we assembled two large stand up planters that we’ll use for veggies since the old garden became ‘Chicken Land’. I also worked on the steps coming across the wood bridge and the steps leading into the office. I hope we might be able to have a few CDI and family gatherings this year.

Having my two Covid vaccinations out of the way and no I did not have any side effects save maybe a touch more tired for a day. This allowed me to attend one of my first out-of-town business meetings which would have included a boat ride but the weather would not permit. But it’s exciting that the ice is breaking and projects are starting to move ahead in strength. I feel deeply for places like India having a major crisis and I’m happy to see the world stepping up to help where they can. Michigan too has had their issues but my hope is that things will slowly move towards a more normal.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA announced two more cast members in Charles Edwin Powell and The Ponceman. This week we’ll announce two more actors. Both have been leads for us bringing their unique presence to the film. My hint is that both actors were in MBF. (Man’s Best Friend) We’re adding to our crew weekly and one area that we’re looking to add depth to is our AD department. I had talks with a few last week and I want to keep exploring so when we get to projects like a TV series we can have the crew we need. If you are an AD please do reach out. AD is assistant director and work as the foremen of the set working to keep the schedule. We are also launching our sponsorship and product placement this month for those wanting to align their product and services with this WW2 holiday story.

BEST YEARS GONE is progressing as planned. The dialog edit is complete and next is sound design and music. We will also be going through the final Battle of the Band submissions and looking for our winner. The plan is to shoot a music video and play it at the premiere. We have a great plan for a premiere and will be looking to do that in July or August. The trailer for BYG is underway by the talent Nathaniel Nose who edited the feature. It should be done by end of the month! Merchandise beyond the auto stickers and such will be coming soon! Watch the merchandise site on http://www.cdiproductions.com for new items! Our distributor will start working on poster art soon which is also an exciting time.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is in editing and the teaser should release soon. I’m excited to see all this come together and it might be the first in a series of documentary films.

SMOKE & MIRRORS is also finishing its post process. It had no real deadlines so it has moved slower than if we had investors to make happy. This gothic, steampunk short will be finished this year and the feature script is being worked on by yours truly.

BESTSELLER – This Christopher Knight book turned into a thriller will be released with BMG under its new general market label. This mystery-thriller stars Melissa Anschutz, myself, Ralph Lister, Lana Wood, Terence Knox and Taylor Nichols. I’m looking forward to this film getting a wide release into the marketplace.

LOST HEART is a pleasant surprise for many who think the story is another run of the mill Hallmark film with country music and redemption themes. It has Bigfoot, ufo’s and even the Devil’s Crossroads which appeals to its own market. So the General Market release will have different art and title but will be the same wonderful tale. The film is up for multiple nominations at the ICFF this month in Florida with our own Melissa Anschutz, Victoria Jackson and Don Most scheduled to attend. I will be riding post here in Michigan but I might get away to a fest later in the year. Nashville maybe? We will see.

I want to thank all the fans who have been watching the #tribeCDI films and reaching out with kind words for Man’s Best Friend, Wild Faith, Lost Heart and The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) among the many. Go to the page associated with Amazon and IMDB and leave a message. It helps to expand the viewership and offset the trolls who like to hunt films. Anyway, thank you so much for your support. You all are why we make the stories. To hear how well they’re being accepted and also affecting your attitudes so positively is a wonderful thing for the artists to hear. Most of the films can be seen free with ads on Amazon, Tubi, Pluto TV and Youtube (Encourage TV) so take a watch.

I’ve had some new business people reach out about more film ventures and we’ll see where that leads. I’ve been flowing with things and just working it step by step and things are happening. I’ve been having some great talks and texts with some industry friends – discussing their plans. I am continuing to seek a path literary-wise and slowly pulling my actor materials together. I’m not against outside projects at all even though I have turned several down. It just has to be worth taking my eye off the assortment of projects at CDI. Just like the re-assigning of BESTSELLER to BMG it is an effort to keep looking for opportunities for past stories while finishing the present ones and planning the future endeavors. But I truly love the people I get to work with.

Soccer season starts this week and I haven’t been doing the kind of running soccer requires. My cardio has been heavy bag work at best and so we’ll see how the gas tank is this week. I imagine a good amount of post-game soreness but for some reason that always feels so good to me. I’m going to let you all go so I can get the lawn mowed and might have to fire up the grill. Stay focused on your plans and don’t let small set backs derail you. Those failures are steps towards success if you keep at it. Experience can only be earned so don’t be afraid to do once you’ve evaluated the situation. I look forward to talking to all of you next week. Be good to one another.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ

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Winter Gives Way to Spring – NEW Updates!

Coffee cheers and welcome to all our new readers and followers from Peru, Ireland, Austria and more! The week actually flow by and we went from unusually warm to cold and rainy and now sunshine is called for later in the week. As of Monday it will mark my week 2 after my second Covid shot. We just visited with a neighbor last night who had a memorial for their 52 year old nephew lost to Covid complications. So for many it is still a very real thing. I’m actually looking forward to getting back at in-person meetings, biz mixers and such. I’m very happy with all the weekly progress on our CDI projects.

(DJ Perry & Erika Hoveland in ‘Best Years Gone’)

BEST YEARS GONE (In Post) has many things happening at once. The film is undergoing color correction, dialog edit with music and sound design up next. I bet we listen to all the cleaned up dialog soon. The Battle of the Bands is giving us a good listen at some of the artists. Merchandise for this film is going to increase which is exciting. But the premiere planning is really cool. We are looking at having “The 1st Annual Gilles Cup” a regional “Best Up&Comer” amongst the “spectator drag” racing participants. This will be followed by the winning music video and the film itself playing on a huge blow up screen inside the in-field of the track.

For the Love of Catch (In Post) This amazing documentary has been filming for a month plus now and will be moving into the post-production phase. We will start to assemble these legends who speak about their exploration into the art of grappling and ultimately the love they have for the sport.

SMOKE & MIRRORS (In Post) – This passion project is a short film adapted from a feature script of mine of the same name. We had a commercial opportunity that needed “demo footage” and so we filmed a condensed short story. I’ve been reworking the feature script for a future production with Nathaniel Nose directing. I’m thinking of playing the short in front of BEST YEARS GONE to start its run. We also want to do a benefit screening for the Turner-Dodge House where we filmed. It is a spooky, fun short with amazing performances from David Gries and Melissa Anschutz.

DISTRIBUTION TITLES

MAN’S BEST FRIEND enjoyed a new General Market push which started out with a bang as a Latin American license was immediately made. The film is really starting to get out there and I’m so appreciative of all the reaching out by those that love this film. I keep hearing people ask about a sequel and I’m just not quite sure. I like how the film ends. It is not all tied up in a bow. An action/martial arts film? Maybe. I do have a pretty good idea for one. Thank you for all the compliments and it was nice to showcase some of my skills.

LOST HEART continues its march and the general market release will take it even further. Thank you to ICVM for the nominations. I’m proud to have two films in the top 5. This film is up for many nominations this May and I know that Melissa Anschutz and Victoria Jackson will attend. Don Most might attend as well as one of our nominated actors. They will have a great time!

THE QUEST TRILOGY prime season window of Thanksgiving to Easter is now over. We’ll see how we did and we’ll be sending revenue to our supporters.

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The movie continues to grow in popularity and the TV series is developing. I had good talks with our distributor and we have a few new opportunities to help launch this into a 2022 series shoot.

With our co-productions – BESTSELLER might get a new release in full in 2022 as well as several of the CDI General Market titles. AMERICAN LIAR and THE ACTOR are both available to watch on Amazon Prime.

DEVELOPMENT

Silent Night in Algona we announced the new cast of Shane Hagedorn and Christine Marie. Both are amazing actors who have brought some great characters to the screen. They will do this once again. Our next two announcements will be a great semi-regular talent working with the tribeCDI and one from our “Ghost Town” past. This matching will be incredible and I can already see the magic scenes they will create. MAY will be when we start to officially approach sponsors. If you have interest in aligning your service or product with our WW2 film please do reach out.

WRAP UP

The ‘Chicken Land’ is fully operational and the girls love the greens. They have also started giving eggs so that is a great addition to the mornings. I am going to wrap this up and go do some sunny side up with rye toast and 4H bacon. I also purchased a pair of long elevated grow beds so that we can still do some of the garden favorites. Rhubarb and catnip are ready to harvest and I’m about to put the first lawn mow down. Also May 6th starts up soccer season! I’m excited to get back out there. I do strength and stretching daily along with my martial arts practice but running…not a fan unless I’m doing something. So the first few games might be rough not to mention just your ankles and knees getting their first stop/start work outs. Blueberry bushes will arrive soon. The apple trees look like they are going to be full this year. I will also start working to fill the wood boxes again for next winter.

I’m also going to get back to my script writing since I don’t currently have an assignment. I’ve been bouncing between my SciFi script and the feature Smoke & Mirrors rework. I’ve enjoyed the pondering, research and scribbles as I pull these stories together. Carry on with your own endeavors and watch as those daily small steps all add up and take you closer to your goals and dreams.

Happy Sunday!

DJ


New Nominations, Post-Updates and Prepping for a WW2 Story

Hazelnut coffee cheers! I see new readers/followers from Jamaica, Ireland and Ecuador, welcome. It is a beautiful day that started with having my niece and nephew over to visit ‘chicken land’ before we all went down to the local flea market. I did not find any treasures but that is how is goes, sometimes yes, sometimes no. But this weekend has been mainly yard work clean up. The lawn garden bags are by the curb for pick up and I also shored up the raspberries. The rhubarb is growing strong and the apple blossoms are full which might mean hard cider this fall. I’ve shared the brown ale with the few meetings we’ve had. To me it taste like NEWCASTLE. Just amazing what fruit, veggies and/or grains can become with a little fermentation magic.

This week went by quite fast with the main tasks being making moves on BEST YEARS GONE post work. SMOKE & MIRRORS post work is also finishing up. (Almost complete) And we’re entering post with the documentary ‘For the Love of Catch‘ which is exciting. Additionally, we’ve been busy with the pre-production tasks associated with our WW2 drama SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We’ll keep announcing new cast and crew over the next several weeks. Everyone is excited about storytelling in this time period. many of us have been immersing ourselves it the 1944 culture. I’ve enjoyed digging more into my grandfather’s WW2 service.

This week we’ll have talks with our art department over the script. They will break down props and we’ll address more major challenges. Period films are a great endeavor that requires artists to be at their best and research is a key. I’m going to do a new photoshoot soon showcasing the new look I’m moving towards. I have a great WW2 coat that was a find last year. Preparing for a role can be a bit like preparing for Halloween at least by way of look. More on this fine film as it develops.

Proud to announce that two of our films both qualified as one of the five finalist in the prestigious ICVM awards given on June 23rd (My bday) in Texas. MBF got much of its theatrical and festival run squashed by the Covid outbreak but it has been gathering momentum. The two films are both very different in tone but I feel like we won just by having two of the five films. Congrats to all the CDI artists involved and thank you to the audiences accepting these stories. We are all very appreciative and thank you to ICVM.

Final 5 Random Updates

  1. BEST YEARS GONE – battle of the Bands still ongoing on our FB page. We added the bio for Celebrity Judge Joe Pullin and we might have more to announce. We are loving all the submissions – thank you!
  2. BEST YEARS GONE auto stickers are available and soon we will have more. I think shirts and hats are next up!
  3. BEST YEARS GONE trailer is being worked on by Nathaniel Nose. We should have something in a few short weeks.
  4. https://www.tudosobreseufilme.com.br/2021/04/melissa-anschutz-7.html?m=1 a great interview with Melissa Anschutz on her career and ‘Lost Heart’ (You can look it up in English)
  5. FORTY NIGHTS which plays with CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER on Encourage TV is also creeping towards its first million views. If you did not watch these three films, which should be watched in order, enjoy.

A great pic of Erika Hoveland and I filming on BEST YEARS GONE. Seen here in Dane Deford’s boat. As the cold gives way to warmth and Michigan is defrosting, I’m looking forward to gathering again. I’m happy to say I’ve had both doses of my super serum and feeling just dandy. I look forward to some cookouts and such in the near future. Enjoy the rest of your day and the week ahead. Every day has been full of emails, calls and meetings but all worth it as the projects keep moving down the line. We have some very exciting things developing at CDI and I know that steady ahead can get you there.

Keep channeling your energy into steady ahead and soon you’ll find things happening.

Be good to one another. Coffee Cheers!

DJ


‘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


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


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


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