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

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NEW YEAR 2022 In Focus

I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee and also working with a Santa gift which happen to be reading glasses with blue-blocker to reduce eye strain. I think my eyes get a little worse on me every few years but these glasses seem to really help. I can’t attest to long-term. Since the Christmas week of activities we’ve gotten a nice white snowstorm. Our New Year’s Eve included an Uber-cozy eve with a sip at Midnight but bed shortly after that. I did not enter 2022 with any hangover or dehydration. I’m not into the dance party thing unless you count my listening/air MC at home to Beastie Boys or Public Enemy. I recently was in Iowa with a circus full of people and so I’ve enjoyed the slower, quieter pace of getting things done. 2021 had myself and CDI being very productive and we’re looking to do more of the same in 2022. I have to note turning on the TV and seeing Darby Hinton in a Christmas Hallmark film something with mistletoe in the title. Back to our updates:)

In retrospect and in no order some of the good, bad and ugly of 2021. The first is the sad loss of many good friends and family during the past year. That is something that I hope we don’t heavily repeat. And 2021 went out with the passing of Betty White at 99. I love all the fan flair especially the one claiming she sacrificed herself taking 2021 with her. She reminds me a bit of Rance Howard (RIP friend/costar) who worked right up until he died. Same with Bill McKinney and many more artists I’m sure. Age will continue to give you a unique perspective through your entire journey. But growing old can be a privilege.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – Filming this safely in 2021 was a major highlight. This highly ambitious home front drama was many years in the making. It is in the wonderfully creative hands of our editor and I’m excited to see the scenes come together. I’ve almost got the business all caught up and we’ll be putting some advance promo together. From there we’ll enter into some additional marketing/product talks with some of our sponsors and those coming on board. In Canada we have model building underway. I’m just so happy that we have all these puzzle pieces and can start to assemble. It is going to be amazing since all the artists gave everything they had. We’ve been releasing stills on our Facebook page so follow along.

BEST YEARS GONE (BYG) – This breath of fresh air which we filmed between the 1st and 2nd Covid lockdown of 2020. Shane Hagedorn and I shared a motto to have fun while filming. Everyone had been kept uncertain and in self-isolation and smiles and laughter were much needed. This film might be just what many people need. The humorous abilities of the CDI Tribe can be seen in several CDI films including strong moments in WILD FAITH and LOST HEART but BYG really takes it to another level. Adapted by yours truly from the book HOPE FROM HEAVEN by Karl Manke. http://www.karlmanke.com if you want to explore his works. I think another collaboration is on the horizon but right now we are discussing which book to bring to the screen. Any favorites? Lastly, I’m hearing that the film has been chosen as a participant in a London-based festival. That PR will be forthcoming once I get more info from our director Mr. Hagedorn.

Speaking of films that sprang from books – BESTSELLER is finally getting a home video release this year. The book written by Christopher Knight is a twisted tale of a tormented literary agent played by Melissa Anschutz. CDI was the producing entity and I’m happy that our existing relationship could give this film the deserved send off. In May the film will be ready for home video audiences and will widen the release in September likely to hit the prime October window for thrillers. This film is beautifully shot and showcases Michigan’s beauty. I’m excited to see new poster art and trailer for the home video release. I would love to turn another Chris Knight story into a film. We shall see…rumor is he also writes under another name also…

BEST YEARS GONE and BESTSELLER are not the only films rolling out in 2022. SMOKE & MIRRORS short just had a final tweak and is being prepped for a few fun festivals. The CDI/Red, White and Blue Project documentary film FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH just finished last week. Directed by Curran Jacobs, edited by Adam Towner, mostly shot by DP Dan Chipman – this feature length doc is being hailed as the best of its kind by wrestling historians. I’m proud to have been involved producing on this wonderful piece of history that was in danger of fading, lost to the past. That will not be the case after this film. Thank you to all the interview participates who made this work so special. We cannot wait to show the world this entertaining and informative film. We are looking at doing another documentary film in 2022 stay tune.

BIGFOOT, UFO’S & JESUS – Our inspirational film has found a great main stream audience under the alternate title by which LOST HEART appears on some platforms. Here is the amazing Josh Perry inviting you to watch. If you did not you should. Click below to watch on FB – I hope my linking here works.

https://fb.watch/ahsJaSdsrg/

WRAP UP

2021 had us filming music videos, releasing into theaters, traveling to Algona, Iowa and more. As noted earlier some friends and family like CDI’s Pappy won’t be traveling with us anymore. They are RIP and not dealing with the waves of life. These deaths, like the childhood neighbor remind us of the precious value of time. Spend time in good company and working towards goals that mean something to you. Life is short so commit to making steps towards whatever your creative endeavor is.

If you want to hear about our new year development we discuss that quite a bit in the previous few blogs. I want to film WILD FAITH: HASTINGS and while this endeavor is mighty we’ve been chopping away at it. Giddy up. A new CDI animated feature, a new dramedy, sequels and more in development as we enter this new year. I need to look over the CDI website and see where that needs to be updated. I want to once over the FB pages and see where I can enhance. End-of-year taxes for the projects is at hand but I have the best team ever for all that. I will spend the month also finishing the script I’m working on now. I’m in talks with a few projects to script write in Feb which is when we’ll also pull the business together on the first spring CDI film. I’m here in the 2022 and ready to march so put down the Christmas cookies and party hats it’s time to get after it.

Have a great first week of 2022!

DJ

Day After Christmas Reflections

I’m back in my chair with my laptop sipping hazelnut coffee and watching the LIONS football. For the non-Michigan, USA folks, the Detroit LIONS are the pro-Michigan football team. As a young child I had a Lions helmet and I recall many holidays and family get-togethers with people yelling and swearing at the TV. Our Lions have not had the best record. They are tough and often put up a good fight usually only to defeat themselves via errors. I’ve had several relatives go to their grave awaiting that magic season. The Lions have a new coach and have been playing tough but also losing. They won their first game two weeks back and it was like a Christmas miracle. They liked the taste of that and won their next game in an upset and now they are playing again. I guess I’m just saying they are looking better. I will always be a Lions fan just like I’m a Michigander through and through.

This morning I could not get the ye ole’ blog done since we had an early Christmas gathering at my dad’s house. We ended up having four smaller Christmas get togethers and I think they all went very well. It was easier and more enjoyable versus trying to shove it all in together. I’m not a clothes shopper since high school save maybe the jacket or hat I don’t need but end up getting. So the reason my socks and underwear don’t look like Swiss cheese is because of loving family. The occasional flannel, henley or sweatpants also via loved ones. I will wear something until it is see through and 1/10th the original thread count.

I don’t ask for much and actually enjoy finding gifts that suit people. This year found me slightly behind with SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA) dropping me right into the holidays. I still have a few wrap up things with that film but for the most part now we are all into post-production. The FX work is starting in Canada and our editor in Boston is ordering things. First talks have happened with our composer and sound designer Tricky T. The Tricky T has been finishing another project for us which is FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH. This amazing doc is being hailed as one of the best on the subject matter. Dennis (Tricky T) has been mixing all the audio elements and putting it all in surround sound. Both these projects will see the first showings in 2022. But let’s make it three – our SMOKE & MIRRORS underwent a final fix just a week ago and this comedic horror short will be making its festival run and release in 2022. We had intended to release in 2021 but with the needed correction and the other projects we decided to wait. I’m looking forward to all these moving down the line. SNIA will likely only be seen by the folks in Algona theatrically as a premiere in Dec 2022 if all goes smooth on post. The VFX is the most challenging aspect and we’ll see how the timeline shakes out but we have great people working it.

SNIA has started to release still photos and as I said last week I’ll be looking to put a behind-the-scenes video and a teaser into production first of the year 2022. Also in 2022 will be the home video release of BEST YEARS GONE. We are being asked about more theatrical showings which might happen and we’ll do a few festivals for fun. The thriller BESTSELLER has it’s home video campaign ahead. It’s looking like 5/31/22 for digital transactional and 9/1/22 for TV/Cable and subscription and ad based video-on-demand. I’m thinking BEST YEARS GONE will be something close to that maybe staggered a month. I will know more soon.

Speaking of 2022 – This week I have a few sit more downs and send outs on our other CDI films. Our distributor is running some good promos on The Quest Trilogy and we’ll be doing one soon for WILD FAITH and possible WICKED SPRING for a western/1800’s film push in the new year. I’m also wanting to have some real conclusive meetings on WILD FAITH: HASTINGS. I think we were ahead of the curve on the western revival and we are positioned well to continue the roll that WILD FAITH has started.

Also I’ve got a good start on a new script (TAGLINE: American Graffiti 1975) that is being custom built for our troupe and to build on some of the good business we’ve started. This film will shoot in Michigan and likely go up in the Spring (March/April) and at that time we’ll have a better look at the playing field for the WILD FAITH: Hastings. If that is lagging another feature will go up 2nd half of 2022. I’m really prepping to have a good year and with a good wind we’ll launch these projects.

I’m going to go hunt up some holiday left overs and take care of a few gifts. Thank you to everyone who reached out with a holiday greeting. Cheers! I have a buddy or two stopping by later to catch up. I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday. It really was holiday season and right now with the sun shining outside, everything right now just feels good.

Have a great week and I’ll see you next year (next week):)

DJ

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