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

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Refuel, Relax, Rest – Much to Be Thankful For – FILM UPDATES!

The hazelnut coffee, is tasting great on this snowy Sunday. I see where many folks elsewhere got 5+ feet of snow! Parts of Michigan, saw a large snowfall and even here in Lansing (Center of the State) we got a good amount. It is pretty to watch fall and it makes everything bright, which has been nice. But, it has been bitter cold for sure. The several days of arctic freeze gave me the time I needed to start catching up on all my biz paperwork.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – We have been working on getting the end credits around and from the list we’ll be double checking against our Algona, premiere list. This week, we’ll get a chance to review the film, with most all the elements inserted. The film will release first in Algona, Iowa on Dec 9th and the Fridley Theaters. Our hope is that they will open the film in all the cities they’re in. We are looking to see when the show times will go live, so folks can start getting public tickets. The trailer will soon be playing in front of other films. We plan to show the film into 1st quarter of 2023 in the theatre chains. We hope to have it expend across Iowa, and the midwest. An LA/Hollywood and German showing via theaters or festival is also being planned.

We also have some exciting things coming together for the 2023 home video release. I really do think that this film could create a “Field of Dreams” effect – whereas once a year the film returns to Algona, theaters and people travel to the town of Algona, to see the museums. We will also be working on the Michigan premiere, that might happen first of the year, due to all the crazy Christmas hustle and bustle. Many will have to have patience, if you miss the select theatrical showings. But come, the run up to Christmas 2023, the film will be getting a major push. Between the theatrical and the home video, we hope to show it in Germany/Austria. Thank you to everyone for your support.

We’re also going to be working with our sponsors and product partners, moving forward. Note, the period wraps on the Spam, Hershey’s bars and more. We are honored to have such wonderful partners in storytelling. We have had many great companies join us over the years. I look forward to many more, as we move ahead in our storytelling adventures.

DEVELOPMENT WORK!

Silent Night in Algona, will be the 5th release this year. Who has seen all five films? Who can name all five films? OK. It’s early and the coffee is still kicking in for folks. 1) BESTSELLER 2) BEST YEARS GONE 3) SMOKE & MIRRORS 4) FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 5) SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – if you end up watching all 5, you are truly a CDI fan. I’ve had someone talking to me about a CDI fan club. You can SUBSCRIBE TO THE TRIBE at http://www.cdiproductions.com and we’ll be doing some updates there soon. I use to have a wonderful fan club ran by a fine lady named, Pepper. I think she is still with us, loving her dogs and spreading joy. She and several friends, use to travel to different CDI premieres. She did interviews and highlighted co-stars and leading ladies. She reviewed films and really did many great and wonderful things. Her health, hasn’t allowed her to keep up with the webpage and it went down several years ago. I will check in on Pepper, over the holidays. I hope she has been doing well.

Once SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, is finished, we will be all caught up on production. We have been slowly prepping 4 films in the CDI library, for re-release with BMG. In 2023, we hope to bring KNIGHT CHILLS, FIGURE IN THE FOREST, AN ORDINARY KILLER and GHOST TOWN to the marketplace. Two are in the wrong aspect ratio and were shot in standard def so they’re all being digitally enhanced to HD. I will readdress all this once I get this current film locked.

But, I will say- I’ve seen the first draft of the new uprezed trailer for Ghost Town, and it looks beautiful. I need to watch and provide some notes. We are also working to get distributor back ups of all the films. KNIGHT CHILLS, we are trying to get the best source version. But this will get done. We are also working on a few cool extras, maybe even an interview from our director Katie Hicks. I might do a sit down, with Jeff Kennedy, to talk about those days. The sequel and video game became even more exciting, when I got to check out some of the new software and LED walls. Not only, will CDI keep working to enhance of VFX sequences in our films, we will be doing some films that are completely animated films. I have a few people in Michigan, I’ve been watching, about some possible collaborations. Ideas-forming.

Harsens Island Revenge – Get those acting reels together. Yes. CDI is an acting troupe of actor/producers, but we have several friends of the tribe, that we often collaborate with. Like, many projects, we have many more friends of the tribe, vs roles open in a film. But, we have some time, so we’re going to really use the time to cast, and look at talent for future endeavors. I use to travel to more film gatherings, events, networking. Oh, I feel a ramble coming on…

The truth is, with how busy my film work is, my daily hours are pretty full. I unwind, mediate, visualize, the week ahead. Refuel, relax and get good rest (Three R’s) to attack it all again the next day. Staying out late partying, isn’t really on my planner. Now, let me say for the record, I’ve certainly been there, done that and got that tee-shirt, but I’m at a different place on the path. I have a domestic life, that brings me peace and balance. It allows me to better focus my energies, achieving dreams. But, just like at one time, I knew every bar in my town, now, I do not. I was a work-a-holic, binge drinker, in my youth. The binge drinking (Viking drinking) was taught to me, from those glorious nights out, after games in Hornbaek, Denmark, playing soccer as a teen. What a great time that was for three summers. I love those good folks to this day.

Okay, back at it. So, I had unrealistic dreams (Acting) but, once I set my sights, there was no plan B. I worked, and lived in studios, we made our hours, working for days on end. Sometimes forced to using TV stations in the middle of the night to finish films. Often jumping on a jet planes, with my amigos, to go pitch ideas and finished films, around Hollywood for a couple weeks. Days full of 405 driving to meetings, parties in the hills. Hard partying, after, hard work, to try and turn our obsession off. But, the tequila would often just spur even more exciting dreams and ideas. I LOVE those days. The CDI crew was like pirates, we rolled hard, building. But, the journey will burn some out. I’ve seen so very many break, and fall. If I could have made myself fall into regular steady employment, I would have long ago. But, my simple mantra of putting everything into the film I’m working on, so it results in one more opportunity to tell a story, remains. So far, that has worked. I think because, there are so many stories, in every town, in danger of fading away, gone. But, a group of artists like CDI, can bring a story to life, for generations. That is what we do. That is what we are doing.

And back to development- this week saw a few really great steps. The script for Harsens Island Revenge (HIR) is going through that writer/director phase. Each character, action and line, discussed. I can say, every scene improved through long conversations. Motivations. Moments. I love this process with directors. All directors who have directed a script I wrote, have been through this process. It is fun, playful and enjoyable. We got through another 25 pages in a session and have likely 1-2 more sessions to get all the way through. Once the script is locked, the writer part of me steps back. All work from there will be between actors and director. But once you leave the director at the end of the process, they should have a deep understanding. It is an exploring, something even more important with period pieces.

HIR, will start looking at cast and crew, with our director, over the winter. We have a good idea of the look, tone, work flow and our scout trip has us all very excited. So, wrap up your year by getting your highlight reels together. CDI is mostly all actors, so pick and lead with your strongest material. If something is subpar consider leaving it off. Less can be more. At the same time, if someone is interested, they will watch a lot of your work. Especially if they are thinking of working with you.

SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – After nearly two full days of polishing, I ended my week, with my first draft of the new Spirit Lake Massacre. I’m very proud of the final piece. I’m going to do even more research to add a sprinkling more of the historical gems, to this already powerful piece. In December, I’ll be able to have some more discussions on the locations for this 2024 project. Next year, might consist of some construction, and some prep work.

CDI HOLIDAY WATCHING – With snow and cold, forcing many inside- it’s a good time to watch some of the CDI classics with your family and loved ones. WILD FAITH, MANS BEST FRIEND, LOST HEART, THE QUEST TRILOGY! Encourage TV, Tubi, Amazon Prime, Google Play– check your platforms. I’m going to go do some holiday shopping both online and at the store. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving week. I’m always happy when I get to see family and friends. We are all thankful at CDI, to all of you fans.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, Updates and More-

Hazelnut coffee cheers. Welcome new readers from Spain, Portugal, Philippines and more. We are into November and we had a run of warm above average days. But now, the cold winds have started to blow. We are due to see snow today so I’ll be getting the wood stove in the fort going. I spent some time chopping some wood this past week getting ready for these cold days ahead. We’re also entering the Christmas season, so I’ve been looking at a few love gifts here and there. Thanksgiving is not far away, but with our family stretched, it can be a task aligning schedules. Also with the Algona, Silent Night in Algona, premiere, lots of time being taken the planning. I want to again say, thank you, to all our veterans. CDI has a good reputation for tackling stories with soldiers at the heart of it. Take a watch on them, and let us know your thoughts.

TOP SEVEN UPDATES:

  1. This week started off with a ZOOM meeting with our partners in Iowa, helping to set up the premiere and theatrical showing in Algona and beyond for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We are working hard on credits but some of those will be spelled wrong if your handwriting is poor. There is no changes once it is all locked up. But between us all, we should get our premiere night list pretty close. If we do miss anyone or you don’t qualify, they will have public showings starting that night Dec 9th at Fridley. I thought we were running two weeks and I also heard someone was told one week. The truth is that as long as a demand is there the supply will keep flowing. So don’t wait, really hit that first week playing at the theatre. I heard companies planning to buy blocks of tickets for employees. We had schools do that for WILD FAITH, taking middle school history classes. That would be a good idea here also. The film is not yet rated but would be PG. 2 hour and 20 min runtime. While not one of these Marvel four hour marathons, it is a full story that moves right along with the pacing. The new trailer was released and my home video meetings for next year went very well. The release plan is to play in several cities on the big screen after Algona, Iowa. If you want it to play in your neck of the woods, contact your theatre and request it. After that we’re working to set up the Michigan and midwest showings that will run into 2023. Discussions for a German showing is also underway. The final run will be the home video build towards Christmas 2023 for DVD and streaming. This week we’ll be watching a mostly complete film with several VFX scenes dropped in. EXCITING!
  2. Harsens Island Revenge, is in pre-production with our first step being the polishing of the script by the writer (me) and the director. Our director has asked to not PR anything yet as he is working to finish up a previous pair of features and we’re trying to stay focused on locking the script. We are 1/4 of the way through and should be close to finishing this week after another fun day of working the script. A few super sleuths have been digging, but we will not do things out of order, so early inquiry’s become just a distraction. Every move, is discussed in our development meetings. Once we have a locked script, and announce our director, many more people will get to see the script. Casting will be over the winter and crew talks will begin first of the year. We will film in Oct/Nov 2023, but this is another period piece that requires much advance planning. Our scouting trip was extremely helpful and this will be another great story featuring a piece of Michigan history.
  3. Speaking on development, I was engaged to research and write another epic historical that takes place in the 1800’s, SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE. At the end of the week, I finished my first draft. I now need to get in there and smooth and expand certain scenes. I plan to have a few meetings at the end of the year on this powerful story again taken from true events.
  4. The previous releases this year BESTSELLER, BEST YEARS GONE, SMOKE & MIRRORS and FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, have been finding their audiences. We have a few more reviews coming on these films. I love all the good folks who have reached out about enjoying the films. If you’ve watched any of them, please go to their IMDB or Amazon pages and leave your thoughts.
  5. I’ve been slowly, pulling elements together for some of the films in the CDI library, being prepped to release back into the marketplace. GHOST TOWN, KNIGHT CHILLS, AN ORDINARY KILLER and FIGURE IN THE FOREST, we’ll see how many we can get out next year. Also, THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ, CDI’s first feature length animated effort, is being rendered to HD for an upcoming release. I would love to do more animated projects and we have several things in development.
  6. We’re prepping to do an end-of-the-year dispersement on the films before I start 2022 business taxes with our team. Associate Producer, John Mashni, who helps oversee this process, also will play a large part in areas of CDI moving forward. One area is soundtracks. I would love to have a few LP’s manufactured and of course streaming. What soundtracks would you want? I’m thinking an LP with the best of The Quest Trilogy. Have you seen the trilogy of biblical adventures? FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER, are all available to watch on various platforms but Encourage TV is free with ads. The 1st film just passed 2 million views on Encourage TV, so thank you!
  7. LOST HEART, also released as BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS, is gaining strength. The film is approaching its first million views on Encourage TV. I think after the holiday season, we’ll exceed that milestone. On a personal level, I will look to cut an actors reel from my ‘Niles Cass’ footage. I loved working with everyone on that film, but especially loved Ponceman, Josh Perry. He is pure magic in the film.

The end of the year will be full as you can see. I sill look forward to some celebratory family time. The next couple years is being planned. Discussions on a few projects to add to the slate are underway. We will only consider funded projects at this time, but the tribe gets it done. If my polish on the scripts goes well, I’ll focus on a few other screenplays I’ve been working in my down time.

Acting has been part of conversations as of late. I had such a busy year, business-wise, I turned down two roles this year. I do enjoy the no stress of going and acting on someone else’s story. I don’t take a role just to take it, it must ring true. I will say the one role I have lined up for 2023, in Harsens Island Revenge is a good role. It is not the starring role but it is solid, a good role for me to play while producing. I’ve thought of looking at representation again, but getting someone up to speed is always a task. We’ll see, things are moving forward and I’m just gonna roll with it.

I guess I’ll wrap it up here. The LIONS play again soon and let’s hope they have a good game. My alumni MSU has been playing better so maybe a bowl game awaits. I’m looking forward to the World Cup starting this month. I’ve been healing up well from my soccer season and soon might start some indoor training. I hope all of you have a great Sunday! I’ll talk at you next week and we’ll share some new updates.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ

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