So I’m balancing my laptop as I sip my coffee and try to type. Lulu our cat has taken an interest in our new little furry boy Finn. Daphne our other dog is taking her time to warm up. It took her 3-4 days with Luke before he was totally accepted and it was a lifelong love affair from there. Little Finn has all the same courageous and brave attributes. He was his puppy pack leader. He’s slept great for two nights now and has had zero accidents. He had the outside potty down from his two visits. Play, sleep, explore and eat. Repeat as needed. It was an emotional tear to put this bundle of joy over the pain of losing Luke too soon. I joked that Luke’s ‘force ghost’ is coming to Finn and teaching him all the fun stuff as we sleep. He is his own little man but he will definitely be the new cuddle king and will grow into the protector. Even last night on the back porch Daphne was barking at the top of the stairs at whatever critter was wandering the yard to collect food. Finn ran up beside her to give his support. They shared a sniff as if to say, “I got this” and Finn bounced down the stairs first. No lack of bravery. After a hard month of loss in October the month of November is shaping up to be a thankful one.
This past couple weeks has been extremely busy with the movie business. I remember being in the midst of the storm, working five projects with different artists. Finishing sound design, listening to musical score, VO and title credits approvals, new trailer, new posters, finalizing deals, development but before frustration could ever sit in, I felt blessed.
I get to work with all these fellow artists creating beautiful stories. I get to watch such talented actor friends become these roles. I know the hard work that our crews gave each day so that we could assemble the pieces. I was moved by the music that just injected the scenes with hair-raising emotion. What are these developments? A few early spoilers before the PR releases.
- The Wild Faith phase one deal is done. An actual purchase of the property will take place before a TV series moves forward. But that has to wait because as the kick off film in a new partnership/division WILD FAITH will be going into theaters in March 2019. This will be a wider release vs our limited showcase that did very well. We’ve added a new narrator that will start and end our story. He will be well-known to almost everyone and our own Melissa Anschutz got to be in-studio with him in Nashville. There is your hint:) We started delivering elements to the distributor and we’ll deliver the film later next week. The theatrical screens could be tens, hundreds or even a thousand plus as that is what is in their network. They LOVE the film and we know that this film is very timely so I hope many get to see it on the big screen. But any number of screens over our 10 or so we did on our own will be viewed as a success.
- THE CHRIST SLAYER is looking and sounding so powerful. It had a great response at mipcom and AFM markets. The new poster art is beautiful. We’ll be announcing that with our release dates that will include 2/4/19 broadcast/digital, 3/4/19 DVD and national “special event” Easter theatrical showings in April. This is all being done through BMG with their theatrical partnership. I’m so EXCITED to see this film on the big screen. Model building, digital matte paintings and more make this one of the largest scale movies we’ve produced.
- We have a batch of new teasers inviting families to watch FORTY NIGHTS and already CHASING THE STAR is being add to many Christmas line ups. I encourage you to take a watch or purchase for your collection. If you enjoyed the experience leave your thoughts on IMDB.com or Amazon. Both are on Amazon Prime along with many other great platforms and networks.
- MBF also made an early appearance at the film markets. We’ve had major interest including in the theatrical. A rough trailer made an appearance at AFM and we’ve polished it up and will announce Tuesday when and where audiences can see it. Also the first official poster will be released. Here is the bottom half of it above. MBF was one of my, if not my most vulnerable roles emotionally. After seeing the trailer and about 30 minutes of the rough cut I think I’ve succeeded in honoring the most important people, our vets. Dog lovers will also enjoy this story because it rings of truth. So much that ANIMAL PLANET is making it one of their featured shows on “Amanda to the Rescue” on Sunday nights. I’m told it’s one of the later shows.
- Development. LOST HEART. Often when I write I sometimes have someone in mind. I know literally thousands of actors and that gives good imaginative fuel to me as a writer. That doesn’t mean that the casting always falls that way, sometimes my imagination gives the better read. But often it works out and that leaves only a few castings to find. We’ve started to get in a few requested reads. The response to the script has been very good. I had good talks about it with our distributor. I’m excited about the upcoming slate of movies that CDI will produce. The theatrical aspect will be incorporated into this new production deal. Yes. PR will be coming out on this as we enter into the new year. 2019 will be exciting.
My last point that can be applied to your own situations. First, vet people, companies and projects. Valuable time can be wasted from your personal or business time on unrealistic or unattainable goals. I’m an optimist for sure but no matter how high I train to jump the peak of Everest will still remain out of my reach. But a path. Many, many steps. Good prep and planning and the goal of reaching the top is possible. Others profit from your time or efforts if you make it or not. These are dangerous people and performance is key. Actions vs words. I see many more projects getting launched and finished. At my various meetings I still hear the horror stories and they often include the same names over and over. So do yourself a favor and be careful where you put your trust and energy. This weekend while concluding some business with an executive I received this added note which I have to say made my day.
“BTW – thank you for the business partnership and friendship. It’s relationships like ours that I can point to as the reason why I love what I do.”
Generations of Collective Development Inc. directors
People have often looked for an agenda in me because of my kindness. It’s real. I can be tough when required and the trick is not to be tough on a new contact because of scars from old business wounds. I am proud of what I’ve done with others in this lifetime. I hope I have many more stories to tell before someone adds a RIP next to my name. The truth is we don’t really know. So how I get to my goals is more important to me versus just getting them at all cost. My goals will not be obtained by stepping on people or screwing people over. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not perfect. I’ve made unpopular decisions. I’ve miscommunicated before. I’ve unintentionally hurt feelings. But my actions on this path tell people I’m sincere. This is my path. Like me. Dislike me. Nobody can question my dedication to the hard path.
Furthermore, If several projects that your associated with keep having issues, is it bad luck that you keep stepping into? Or are you part of the issue as a common denominator? Passing blame is weak and poor leadership. Accountability is power, take it. We’ve had various small bumps while working on all these projects associated with several films. Any bad communication is always my bad. I spend a good amount of effort trying to keep the communication lines strong and proper. Some days it can be difficult managing but once a good flow is established things really do flourish.
Enjoy the harvest of November. Be grateful for what came to be. Reflect and take accountability for what did not. How can you make a positive change and increase the harvest next year? Do the kind of business you wish to receive.
Have a great week ahead. Watch for those PR releases.
Today we are doing final prep on “Chasing the Star” the second film in our QUEST TRILOGY. I’m happy to announce that these three gentlemen are the actors we landed on after looking at reads from around the United States. These three are representing the Texas, South Carolina and NYC (By way of Michigan) markets. If you work hard you can make it happen from anywhere. It’s been fun to see all the artist come together – every day new props, new wardrobe tests, new gear arriving and new family. Yes. The film family is a unique experience and as a producer I’ve always strived to create an experience that people will remember. I think we’ve been doing that at Collective Development Inc. for some time. Even those early films like “From Venus” and “Heaven’s Neighbors” were filmed with great care creating lasting memories for all.
While this new film is launching we’ve been heavily promoting and pushing our other films to market. We’ll be doing our Yuma, AZ “thank you” premiere of “40 Nights” on March 13th, hosted by Champion Church. They helped us with everything from background talent to use of locations. The Lansing/Grand Rapids theatrical run of “40 Nights” has just expired. We’ve been approached by many interested people who wanted to see the film on the big screen, so, we may move the film to the Sun Theater in Grand Ledge or other such venue to keep that momentum. Many are asking us to bring it into Detroit via one of the chains there. We will try. Here in AZ we’re looking at a meeting with Harkins Theaters to do a run, so we’ll see if that comes together. April 5th is the “40 Nights” DVD release at most major retailers. The streaming release looks like it will happen in June – more on that soon! You can pre-order the film DVD at several retailers but here is just one.
We also just released distributor poster art for “BESTSELLER,” which releases in May. This film is a great curl up and watch thriller. Be afraid! “Ashes of Eden” is another film of ours that releases on April 5th – great story, music and performances.
PRE-BUY “Ashes of Eden” here
I will write more later but right now our team is doing a dozen different things to final prep for tomorrow. Because tomorrow we start “Chasing the Star” …
Keep clawing your way towards your dreams!
Much of the country got hit by a major winter storm. I thought this pic would remind us of a warmer place. In Michigan we only got a dusting thanks again to the protection of the Great Lakes. It has been a busy week for sure wrapping up old business and beginning new business. To look back upon the previous week’s news of death, it reminds me to live. Do what you’re suppose to do. Use your gifts. Be happy. I’ve been entering new areas of business as we climb higher on the ladder. It’s always an adjustment to climb higher, to believe and in our case, put forth your art to a wider and wider – world audience. I talked prior about my refusal to complain but adapt to our new growth. I know a few filmmakers with talent but they don’t really grow. They spread along the ground – ground cover but they don’t grow UP! You have to compete with other trees for sun to do this. So while some will play if safe and spread – making more or less the same material. It’s about taking bold moves but having the right business in place. Sunshine can equal shelf space, theatrical time slots or just the attention of an audience pulled in a thousand directions.
I’m thrilled that younger people are again gaining patience and a new appreciation of character development that is coming through mini series and TV shows. I think that Starz or HBO may be one of our future destinations for production. I place “Game of Thrones” and “Black Sails” as two of my favorite shows. I like that different time and place – world creating. We’ve done it on several films and it takes artists who are 100% committed. I’m so happy with our latest and greatest period film. It takes place in biblical times, “40 Nights” the first of a three part trilogy. The three films explore the quests of some amazing individuals. Early test showings have way exceeded expectations. Now I would rather pull expectations down and not light a match to fire up the haters, but I think many audiences will sincerely enjoy this story. I think within the story is something for everyone. We’re now done with the film. From here, we’re looking at theatrical and event showings. Our distributor may do a month push on domestic release to give us a little more time. It’s a film that truly should be seen on a large screen if possible.
I’ve finally circled around back to the business of the soundtrack deal. The agreements are being put together. “40 Nights,””Donors,” “Ashes of Eden,” and “Bestseller” will be the first ones to roll out.
A lot of prepping and energy spent on these new films releasing to the world market. We have an entire group of the older CDI films in the library heading for a new release. At least in one case “Knight Chills” – it comes shortly before a sequel moves into production. Essentially, instead of going to film school for 4 years we made 4 test features in various genres – crossing all the T’s and dotting the I’s so they could keep selling like they do today. I like to call them the CLASSIC CDI FILMS. They can also be defined as the pre-HD generation of CDI films. I was working in film in the early years before it became video with poorly attempted film looks, hopeful multi-chip improvements and frame rate adjustments. CDI moved aggressively into HD using some of the first cameras used by George Lucas in “Phantom Menace”… Lastly the journey has brought us to the age of RED and a slew of great HD cameras in the digital uprising.
We’ve got so much going on with prepping for the roll-outs on these films. We’re looking at a few projects we were approached on for feature film production. (They have their $) A few script reads teasing future acting roles. But we’re excited as “Chasing the Star” is gearing up to enter official pre-production. Some good news is that 4 days will be shot in Michigan which will allow some of our great talent to be showcased. Right now we’re finalizing our business. Almost done. From there we get ready for the first part of the shoot in Yuma, AZ.
I’m happy to announce I’m done with the 1st polished draft of “Knight Chills 2” and almost done with the polish on the third script of the QUEST TRILOGY. (“The Christ Slayer”)
Stay safe. Stay warm. Stay the course with your dreams. Have fun:)
I’m enjoying my second coffee indulgences of the day. I’m almost packed for my trek into the world of “40 Nights”. The pre-production crew is heading in to finalize locations and get the ship ready to set sail. I’m excited to go tell this story and return home in time to see spring enter. We are all anxious in Michigan for warmth to return. We all love the yard, gardening and landscape fun tooling about on weekends. The animals also miss being outside for long, lazy days. I plan to bring the warmth back to Michigan with me.
This week I’ve been so happy as the team prepared what was needed to be done in advance of our arrival. We’ve got 99% of the cast and crew in place. Michigan will be represented heavily. While I love shooting in our state you have to be loyal to your story. We’re going to once again go do what we do as artists- tell stories in moving pictures. I can’t recall if I shared this last blog or not but I found myself pondering this next role. While many of my characters were created in the minds of a writer(s), this next role is based upon an known person. His doings are as disputed and varied in descriptions as many known figures. Think George Washington, Gangis Khan or Buddha. But whenever people have a set idea in their mind’s eye you always run the risk of going against that grain. I just sat that all aside and I’ve given into the script, the story, the role and the words. I think as an actor, that is all you can ever do.
I’m the first to point out that EVERY film I’ve done has had some negative critics. A sizable portion of that feedback can be jealous actors, writers, producers, filmmakers, old associates, people who don’t like your face or someone you failed to hire. Or just maybe they sincerely didn’t connect with a film or character. I’m still always amazed at what lengths some people will go to bash a performance or a film. I think EVERY film has audience members who just didn’t like it. But someone who writes extensively about it often has other issues at play.
EXAMPLE: Sorry Will:)
I watched (I use that term loosely) ANCHORMAN 2 recently and my point – I didn’t take a half hour plus of my life to write a thesis on how bad a film it was. To be fair – I like some of Will’s movies (Step Brothers, Talladega Nights) but that sequel seemed to be a “cash in” on the original. Well…they got my money:) The long-short is that I’ve never really concerned myself with what people think. I’ve always just done my thing the best I can and let it go. This role made me pause because of others excitement and expectations. But I say that at the end of the day – same method. “Be the Ball Danny! Be the Ball!”
So I’m a person that loves to be ultra prepared. I always feel I owe that to be fellow cast and crew. We have about 80% of the business done. We’ll have almost all the other business prep done in the first couple of days of on-location pre-production. From there much of my duties are to study lines (Several of them) and get tan. What?
I’m not much of a “get a tan” type anymore but it does fits the role. So perhaps I will soak up the Vitamin D and work on more line prep. As talent I work every day on this one. It’s been a short while since I’ve been 1st billed and had to do the bulk of the scenes. I’m been a happy co-star to let other actors do the heavy lifting for a change in terms of scenes, lines and days. Well, rest time is over. I’m back to the front line but I’m good. I love this stuff. It’s just like when as kids we would recreate our favorites TV and movie scenes. The difference now is that my scene comes from our script. We’re shooting in supremely beautiful locations and I’m have fun with friends old and new. Bottom line – I’m ready.
Other great developments.
WASTELAND is about done with the edit. Music is being considered although we may score it in Michigan. I saw a peek at some FX work. Overall – very good stuff. David Gries as a bad ass – he’s that good. I have always seen him friendly and smiling. Little did I know what was just under the surface. The small teaser released a week or so back doesn’t do the film full justice. I think the finished film will be playing festivals this fall.
BESTSELLER – Color correction is happening as we speak. The FX are all laid in. Dennis Therrian just did a complete system upgrade for this film and the ones ahead. Yes. He will be doing sound design and score on “40 Nights” so excited to have the upgrades. Stay tune for details about the May media and public premieres.
I’m waiting to hear how test screenings of THE TERRORIST went. That film has been polished up and I’m happy that it’s finally going to roll out to audiences.
DEAD QUIET is supposed to reveal a trailer at some point. I only worked it a few days but enjoyed working with those folks. I’m curious to see how that all turns out.
We’re also going to have a film marketing summit over WICKED SPRING, ASHES OF EDEN and DONORS with our distributor while out west. They release May, June and July with rapid fire release dates. The last time I had a trifecta release like this was AN ORDINARY KILLER, JUDGES and The 8th PLAGUE I do believe. I’m ready to get these films out to the fans. Thank you out there for all the emails, messages and notes of encouragement and anticipation. I encourage fans of one film to cross over and see the art of the other artists I’ve worked with. I’ve got a large film family.
TV and foreign sales continue and we’ll be seeing some new announcements soon. I can also say the same about theatrical. We’ll have updates on that front likely starting with a May showing of WICKED SPRING (Civil War film) in Grand Rapids and perhaps Lansing. We’ll also be working on dates for BESTSELLER theatrically in June/July.
When I return from out west we’ll get “40 Nights” into post. I do have a CDI commercial job we’re overseeing. Yes. We do take on larger commercial projects. Additionally, I have an offer on a script writing project coming. I’m also finishing up two personal scripts one of which IS “Knight Chills 2” the follow-up to our 1st role-playing film (Dungeons & Dragons like) we shot back in the late 90’s.
The back half of the year I would enjoy acting in one studio film and maybe do a guest spot or two on TV shows I like. My management has been working down that path and things are moving into alignment. I’m going to close this down as I still have packing and want to spend some family time. By next week we should have even more new exciting announcements from on-location. Maybe a distributor announcement on “40 Nights” ??? Maybe 🙂
Have a great weekend everyone and keep clawing at those dreams.
One of the locations for the upcoming CDI feature “40 Nights”