Past, Present and Future – The Cycle of Creating and Living
(Getting a 2024 re-release – Ghost Town)
I’m sitting here now after having taken a trip down the road to the first Mega Mall flea market. I love going to look for future props either for a character or the film as a whole. I came home empty handed but that is sometimes how it goes. Yesterday we celebrated my niece’s bday with some morning bowling which was fun. I did pretty good for not bowling in several years. I now have soccer on the TV and I’m excited to start playing with our first game the first week of May. I’ve also enjoyed the spurt of warm weather whereas I re-planted some clover seeds and started doing clean up on the yard. The old hop vines cut down which the birds LOVE for nest building. It is nice to see the bees getting busy to work and the birds active with their activities. We are prepping to grow some veggies and such and even the apple trees are looking really good this year. It won’t be long before the yard is full of berries and rhubarb. I do have the materials to make a Mexican-style light beer and some berries from last season to maybe do another multi-berry wine. We drank up most of the other during the long winter. We had a record temp day in Lansing, MI of 85 degrees but now we have a cold front passing that could put snowflakes in part of the state. Only in Michigan.
Last week I had a great meeting with fellow CDI founder Jeff Kennedy. He has been sidelined for several years dealing with some health issues but also has been enjoying retirement. Retirement doesn’t mean not creating art. They have wonderful artwork everywhere inside and outside their home. We shared a beer in his backyard garden and discussed the classic CDI films and their forthcoming re-releases in HD. We were making plans for CDI to march on for another 25 years. Yes. It’s a long ways off but still you have to plan for such things. The new films are doing quite well and we’re very happy about how many people we’ve reached with our stories. We are always looking ahead and we’ve got a lot of great projects developing. CDI is a multigenerational company and we’re proud of all the growth.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA continues to be played in theaters across the Midwest. It will also be playing as part of the Iowa Motion Picture Awards next month where it has been nominated for BEST FEATURE FILM. We are awaiting to see if we’ll be invited to play at a few other events. The new improved home video version of the film is also being pulled together as we start delivering our master and materials to Bridgestone Multimedia Group. The film will be delivered in May and we should have our hard release dates for home video announcement in June. My guess is an Oct/Nov release.
HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE is full speed ahead and we’re still reading talent and interviewing a few remaining crew spots. We’ll be traveling up North to do some location scouting with our team. With directors approval we can start locking in locations and seeking the final few that we need. Lodging and catering are being explored and we should have all the info we need after the trip to get our schedule completed. That allows us to move forward with cast agreements, vehicle and extra breakdowns and more. Excited by all the cool locations, vehicles and props we’ve found so far. It will be a great shoot and so looking forward to seeing some of my artist friends that I only see when filming.
WILD FAITH: HASTINGS, SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE and FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 are among some of the projects in development. We will be having more discussions on these new projects and start to put more pieces in play. After we wrap Harsens Island Revenge in October we’ll be looking to see what project is next up in the Spring 2024. We have a few possible “in association” projects also developing and so we’ll have to see what happens in the coming months.
We also have several projects being prepped for re-release in 2024 with KNIGHT CHILLS being the one we’re focused on right now. The Blu Ray is in the works and we’re all excited about that.
WRITING – I have several scripts that I’ve been working on and I’m going to try and settle into some daily writing. Even working a little each day all adds up. Once we get SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA delivered that will help free up some time.
ACTING – I have been aware of a few projects casting in the area and even saw a breakdown that had a character or two I found interesting. But for me to be invested I like to read the entire script. I considered a few projects but for now have chosen to focus on the next role of AXEL, Ex WW1 officer and now an outdoorsmen just trying to live the peaceful life. I LOVE to create a role layer by layer. I love to watch and read about the time period and to try and adjust my perspective of that time. I do have to say that following BEST YEARS GONE, I am looking forward to more comedy.
THE SELF – Partially for the next role and partially for the upcoming soccer season, I’ve been working to get myself in even better shape. Tai Chi, heavy bag work, meditation and even some weapons (stick, staff and sword) practice. I’m just taking it all up a notch and I’m really enjoying it. Laughter and music also play into my plan of keeping the self healthy. I additionally had some great conversations with some old friends this past week. It is always a pure joy to catch up with people and share stories.
WRAP UP – This coming week we’ll be finalizing plans for the forthcoming scout trip. I’ll be focusing on sponsorship talks this week since we have some great opportunities for cross marketing. I’ll probably put some more clover seeds down this week. I want to explore a few tree trims and still want to explore the building of a new deck. The tree trimming helps refill the wood box for next winter. Cycles. It was just a great week of embracing and celebrating the past while also motivating oneself for the future-thus charging our present endeavors.
I’m going to sign off here and get after a few tasks. We have a cold front coming in and so I’ll likely prep the wood stove for a few final wood stove fires. I’m excited for the seasons and tasks ahead. I’m so appreciative for the path I’m on and work each day to achieve balance and momentum moving into the next endeavor. Until we speak again next week please make an effort to be good to one another. Many good folks out there are dealing with their own issues seeking balance.
SURPRISE Early Post- End of Year Wrap Up (Thank you!)
I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee on a VERY snowy Michigan day. Negative degrees outside and blowing winds. But we will most definitely have a white Christmas. When we all left off, I had the premiere of SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, in Iowa. It has performed beyond expectations with several extensions (Algona until the 29th) and expansions into other theaters. (Follow our FB page) I did not attend the Michigan kick off at Celebration Cinema, as I was attending a funeral and memorial up North. My week stayed very busy with trying to deal with family things. Working with our team on prepping materials for the upcoming releases. It looks like we were able to get the film to a downloadable link for theatre owners. I was reporting and prepping for end-of-year check dispersement on the movies, which will happen next week. Lastly, was trying to get the Christmas stuff around. So, this Christmas is a bit chaotic with the death in our family, the blizzard and our film’s window of release.
Once we have this delivery of the film process set up, we’ll turn to looking at film festivals and a German screening. There is even talk of showing at one of the US military bases in Germany. This film will have an exciting journey ahead of it. The film has definitely gotten the positive response from the people I care about most with this story. I had an opportunity to speak with several elderly people and they gave high marks on the re-creation of the time. The regional people were so proud of this story and it is resonating with people everywhere. The film has already generated some heartfelt fan mail that is just humbling to read. That is the power of storytelling. Thousands have seen the film and many have seen it multiple times, taking friends and family. In Michigan, we’ll be looking at doing a special Owosso, MI screening and also a run around Detroit, MI in the new year.
Our battle plan with SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA), will continue through 2023. I’ve been re-reading a supernatural thriller for a possible CDI associated film. Also in 2023, we’ll get the foundation put in on our next CDI feature film, Harsens Island Revenge. We have already started scouting and we’ll be announcing our director early in 2023, as we enter the casting phase. So again, update those reels. I was able to take a few good meetings while attending the SNIA premiere. I’ve finished the first draft on the SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE, and some development actions will be underway in 2023. If all goes as planned we could be rolling cameras in 2024.
REFLECTIONS AND GOALS –
Every year, I do deep reflection on the past year. Success, failures, trials and tribulations, all equaling growth. This year has had great harvest being the biggest release year I’ve had since 2005. We saw BESTSELLER, BEST YEARS GONE, SMOKE & MIRRORS, FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA release. Has anyone reading here, seen all five releases?
I set business and personal goals. I set goals on home fixes or improvements. I set goals as an actor, writer and producer. I set goals for/with Collective Development Inc. (www.cdiproductions.com) – new projects. New divisions. New endeavors. New collaborations.
This year saw a few music videos release under CDI’s production. As someone who was there when MTV started, I loved working in that medium.
OFF TO THE RACES from the movie ‘Best Years Gone‘ by Vertical Bridge
LOVE these guys. From our state of Michigan! And these gents are also from MI and really, really kick ASS.
REVOLUTION by the band DeepFall
This year full of releases and we did produce and prep several projects. HOT ROD LOVE, the CDI racing comedy set in the 1970’s went back on the shelf this fall. We had some funding. We had some sponsors. We had some participation from track owners. SOME, doesn’t cut it in filmmaking. It is truly one of the funniest ensemble comedy scripts sitting at CDI, with Caddyshack being the tone inspiration. Everything in its own time. I had to finally let go of a look I was developing for my character in that film. I am setting my “acting/producing” sights firmly on 1926 with WW1 veterans going head to head with the Purple Gang mafia.
This past year, I did turn down two different acting roles. I usually do so for one of three reasons. One. Not connecting with the role. Two. Not connecting with the story/script as a whole. Three. I cannot give the project the due attention I put into all my roles. I don’t phone anything in. I take each and every role very serious. That is why once business is out of the way, you get 100% effort, no less. $200 or $200,000 will get you the same performance. With acting performances, audiences got to meet Mark Franklin, Gil Gilles, Mr. Hosworth and Col Lodell. Vastly, different gents. have you met any of them?
The last gent was an honor and a very complex character to play. Let’s talk, Col Lodell. First the name of several characters based on actual camp assigned people, were altered. The events are true cut the characterizations are just that, not meant to be a biopic. That said, the camp commander that I portrayed, took his internal motivation from his faith in ‘The Golden Rule’. To treat others (Captured Germans) as you would want your PW boys treated. The filming was cold and rugged and that plays on everyones face in the film. A grit that cannot be manufactured on a stage or with a LED wall. We’ve been experimenting and will use LED walls in future VFX but there is something about a wild wind in your face, eyes near watering, and experience something closer to what these actual men did. We get to hear CUT and go back home. Every perspective has a story and they all dance closer and closer to a true event that helps to restore a touch of the humanity we all seem to have lost. Unity. Love. Even with a world at war. The fallout. The anguish, shame and soul crushing heartache.
My backstory was after serving in combat in WW1, Lodell, is pulled from academia, back into action as a camp commander. Seeking out Nazi-rot that grows inside the camps threatening lives and a PR nightmare should an escape happen. A majority of the PWs are farmers taken in desperation and forced to fight. Surrender came fast, not willing to fight to the death for Hitler’s war. Real threats. But like a needle in a haystack. The heaviness of supervisions production in many ways mirrored Lodell’s challenges. I channeled much of my real heaviness of responsibly to my performance and it works.
EVERY soldier just like the prisoners of war, missed their own bed, toilet, lazyboy, pet, family. I love a scene in SNIA where Col Lodell is just watching a Christmas scene of Santa and his nurse ‘elves’ giving children presents. He is the man with the most medals and he is as sad and homesick as the lowest prisoner. WAR hurts us all. I think that is why many SPORTS came about so that things could be handled more easily for both parties.
I’m happy that people are enjoying the film. Lodell, had to be the Col Potter of MASH. Leadership on screen or in real life takes many qualities to do it even semi successful. Lodell, has the secret to leadership but you’ll have to watch the film. I got to get more clean cut and play in the world of my dearly departed grandfathers. Burt Swope, in the Navy and Robert Emerson flying cargo in the Pacific, I believe in the Army. Air force was started in 1947. Anyway. This film captures everything that is nostalgic but also makes you feel as if you are living in it. Not some black and white flicker, cold and distant but in living color. If you can see SNIA on the big screen do. Otherwise, after running our theatricals into March or so, we plan to screen in Germany and a few film festivals. It will start DVD and home video around Nov 1st is my best guess. Meeting next year will tell. TRIVIA: On that scene above, my face got so cold I blew a take unable to fully pronounce my words. I asked for a moment, gave the face a rub down and a few good smacks before ACTION nailing it.
I think the performance will open a few new doors. I always tell actors, don’t get frustrated by people because they don’t see what you don’t show them. This is usually followed by, I don’t get a chance. The 14 year old filmmaker in my rolls his eyes. Almost everyones phone is a studio, where you can work a monologue a thousand times. Comedians and magicians work their craft over and over. If you get the slightest bit off when a camera comes close, you need to work on that. That camera should be that old friend, never glanced at- yet always embraced. Being natural leads to comfortable which leads to the environment to make interesting. In 2023, don’t get in your own way with doubts and ‘cannots’ and all that negativity. See dead ends, as paths of the maze mapped and now known. The true path becomes closer.
WRAP UP –
I truly do LOVE winter. I always have. It teaches you a healthy respect for nature. You admire the beauty of pines that thrives under the blankets of snow. Crackling fire, destroys the old leaving nurturing ashes to sprinkle for the spring plantings. Writings and new ideas like to seep into the pondering mind. A season of hardship and helping where you can. When everyone does a little the world is a better place. We here at TribeCDI are resting and rejuvenating with our loved ones. But rest assured the call of the storyteller rides these cold Michigan winds. Tomahawks and Tommy guns. Hot Rods and Painted Horses. I want to thank all our cast, crew, sponsors, supporters, families, friends and FANS. Tom T. Hall use to have a song, I wish I had a million friends – and I’ve complained about Facebook ‘Friends’ vs acquaintances – but with so many of the films being seem by tens of millions and I’ve been blessed to read your notes of encouragement and connection. I do feel like I have millions of friends, because you accepted our stories, our characters, into your homes. You’ve hunted Bigfoot with Niles Cass in Lost Heart. You felt for Paul Landings and his terrible loss in Man’s Best Friend. You’ve laughed with Ben Lily in Wild Faith. You’ve taken comfort during the holidays watching a relatable Jesus, in The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) And I could go on- my point is thank you. Sincerely, from a childhood dreamer who started with my friends and a VHS camcorder, thank you.
Next up New Years Day! So Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
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.
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.
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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
Practicing Patience and Riding the Waves…
Hazelnut coffee cheers! I’m sipping here after an active morning of getting the dogs around and fed. We’ve had some passing storms that last two days including a tornado up North in Gaylord. The clover seed we put around the yard should take off like crazy this week. I’ve already mowed twice but I see that we are close to another. Trimming, cutting, raking and fence work to shape the yard. The hops are already to the top of the patio. Various shrooms including Dyrad’s Saddle that I let be. On occasion I will try wild eats but the animals enjoy them also. The new chiminea is assembled and this week we got the new garden hose and hanger assembled and put into action. The fountain is set up and working nicely. All these little things help break up my office work which has been quite a bit as of late.
This past week was the dispersement of $ back to the many investors on our films. We are looking to get some of them to join us on this next film endeavor HOT ROD LOVE. We had a great visit with owners of a track that would look just great on camera. It creates a “field of dreams” like destination for racers and spectators. Also had a few great meetings on work flow for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA and we’re staying on course. We’ve got almost all the deliverables in on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and also submitted to the Toronto Film Festival which would be a great premiere showcase for it. We are in hopes of hearing some feedback on a few festivals we entered SMOKE & MIRRORS into so that we could have a premiere visit which fans of the genre. BESTSELLER is prepping for a May 31st release and Amazon will be the main platform although we are waiting to see on Hoopla, Kanopy, Vudu, InDEmand and more. Come Sept 1st the Subscription video on demand and Ad based video on demand will kick in. BEST YEARS GONE will be coming July 5th and we’ll announce more of those platforms as we get closer.
On HOT ROD LOVE we are having things pull together a tad slower in this economy but we steadily getting there. My goal was to film two movies this year but with all the delays the obstructions, I’ll be happy to settle for one. We’ll likely roll cameras 6-8 weeks after full funding is committed. The Facebook site is a good way to stay connected and we’re also posting some great pics from the time period. We’re all excited about creating the 1970’s and several of us are already putting things in place. I’ve been forced to take my own advice and have patience. Things are unfolding and as they do we’ll keep rolling with that momentum.
ACTING– I’ve been growing the beard and hair out in anticipation of our 70’s film. Better to have something to work with in shaping the character look versus not enough. I don’t like to do fake hair and beards but will color when called for. I’ve had a film cameo presented that I’m considering and I’ll discuss this week. A close friend is associated with the film and asked me to look at it. I had another producer reach out asking if I would look at something in June so I told them to email it on over. I have to make sure the the cameo look jives with what I’m doing in the 70’s film. I can’t go way off course for a one day cameo but it might work out just fine. The other project I don’t have any details yet.
WRITING – This week I’ve had a lot of great progress on the new book I’ve been hired to turn into a screenplay/movie. I’ve been playing with several working titles that are perhaps more catchy for a film but have not landed on that one title. But I’m over a third of the way through the first draft and I’m loving the flow. I truly do love writing and creating these words full of interesting characters.
I was also approached by another author with a book, also interested in a screenplay/film, if I like the story. I said it might be a bit before I can circle around to it but I am appreciative that people are seeking me out. I always use to keep the writing in the background to my acting but I like the attention it has been getting. I look forward to doing some writing for others and letting them produce it from the page. There is a certain flattery to that process also. I will get back to some of my other passive writing endeavors soon.
WRAP UP AND WEEK AHEAD–
This week will be more promotional pushing on BESTSELLER. We might reach out and have a few reviewers in the horror/thriller genre take a look. Some graphic postcards promoting the release will be sure to follow. I’m looking to bring some cool PR/BTS materials on the VFX and model work being done on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. The pick up footage has just arrived and tightening continues on the edit.
We are working closer towards a Knight Chills, video game teaser. I hope to hear some word on the converting of Knight Chills to HD. We had some discussions on the sequel which we are letting slowly develop. This HD release will be the start of the new franchise push to market.
NOTE: This week my goal is also to keep the windmill set up in chicken-land. Our ‘girls’ have been giving us 4 eggs a day and fresh eggs are awesome. Our clover we planted should come on strong this week. Clover is a good food for the chickens and wildlife but also because of the root system might stand up better to the dog traffic. Always something.
As our reps return from France I hope they had a productive and pleasing trip. It is always fun to hear of new audiences for the films. We again won our soccer match last week and we’ll see if we can repeat on Thursday. I had to use glue and the vice to repair a blown out cleat. Breaking in new shoes can be a bitch so I don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. So now I’m a cobbler, no, I don’t make pies…shoes.
I go to a lot of flea markets and estate sales seeking fun props and wardrobe. You can also find lots of useful items that you use around the house for pennies on the dollar. I went to a great outdoorsmen sale ran by the ladies who sold me the furs for WILD FAITH. They were sewn into Hester Thickett’s coat and a piece or two might have ended up on Ben Lily. But I have people like this on call to assist with props when needed. I’m into primitive archery and so was this individual and I left with four bows. Two recurves, one a Fred Bear, and two flat bows. Add a hand forged knife, viking bookends and a few dinkies and I helped support another small business.
The new bows will be fun to shoot. I enjoy archery and find it very ‘zen’ but gun ranges don’t do the same for me. Nothing against those who do find the range relaxing but archery to me is more like fishing, chill. I enjoy stalking tree stumps as much as anything else. I almost played Robin Hood in a film fighting Vampires, true story. Robin Hood. Santa Claus. I have a few classic roles I would still like to play in my life time. On that note, I’m off to refill the coffee cup. Have a great week and be good to one another!
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.
Production Ramble and Film Updates
It is a chilly and wet morning here in Lansing, Michigan. It’s been a crazy balance of film and life as we move out of summer. I’ve had a string of fix-it projects with our roof, car brakes, wisdom teeth removal and my computer. Note: I did none of those things directly. The computer hard drive failed and had to be replaced. I was starting to reload files from external drives when luckily the company was able to retrieve the old data. I do have to reload my script writing software which was due for an upgrade. Add on the fact that we’re re-doing a bathroom and that adds up to a good deal of domestic work. We also added a pair of oak book shelves last week that up-ended everything in the house for two days but now looks wonderful.
We’re working on a small narrative book video next week and that will be fun. We stepped out this week and supported Shane Hagedorn in another acting role in the Detroit area. It’s nice to see filmmakers developing and growing in their art. We met some nice people and had an enjoyable time.
Speaking of premiere showings we have one coming on the 14th of Sept in Owosso, MI for MAN’S BEST FRIEND. Tickets go up for sale the 4th or 5th on the NCG Owosso website. Keep up with the MBF facebook page as we’ll be updating there. It is open to the public and we’ll be having my co-stars Don Most, Garry Nation, Tim Abell and David Reardon in attendance. So if you want to see a powerful film about our wounded vets and adoption dogs – come join us.
WILD FAITH is finding an audience out there. This past week I had several people come up and tell me how much they enjoyed Wild Faith with a few having watched the movie multiple times. Next up a group of us will be traveling to AZ to attend the Wild Bunch film festival. Once we are booked we are going to invite our Yuma, AZ family and see if any want to come visit.
My dentist this past week was all smiles after he and his daughter enjoyed watching part 3 of The Quest Trilogy – The Christ Slayer. He shared some of the insights she took from the film. She GOT IT! Because she watched all three films. The movies can be watched as a stand alone but they are meant to be watched all together. So one of our goals this holiday season will be to let people know that the films are all part of a trilogy. I’ve also decided that I will be writing another biblical era film. I have one on deck now but the cost has put it a step beyond my means. But that could change as we expand our circles.
We don’t USE people – We DEVELOP people. I go into every media relationship wanting the same long time relationship I share with several of our #TRIBECDI – Composer and sound designer Dennis Therrian is a good example, he and I go back to about 1997. In media now I hear about how ‘fluid’ people are and hardly keep a job beyond three years. Many are people who cannot deal with any conflict and need to be right all the time. Add to this that our industry is naturally fluid – in it’s flow…(Planning) few folks – (Shooting) army – (Post Work) few folks.
A freelancer has to make more good choices vs bad choices in a year or they will fail. This industry is based 100% on referrals if you’re amongst the wise. We as Indies have a small margin of error due to budget constraints. If you as cast or crew are doing what you love and YOU see the effort by production to give cast and crew a good ride while working to make a quality story. You should be supportive and loyal to the nth degree because it’s rare. For you under 25 folks you will realize. Many of you from your ‘Office Space’ cubical. Yeah… Don’t let your ego sink you. Before I sling arrows let me admit my biggest WEAKNESS. It has always been that I care about people. I truly do. I recognize that dreamer fire burning in some people. And I’ve seen people who’s willpower cannot match their dreams – let me translate LAZY.
I can see people’s success and fail potential. I see those battles of willpower when the dream becomes hard. Almost impossible until – it happens. I’ve bet on people that they could escape their self sabotage and live their better self. I’ve won more than I’ve lost but I’ve surely lost. The TRIBE works in a very tribal way thanks likely to my CDI partner Jeff Kennedy’s anthropology courses. If you aren’t pulling your weight your peers know. They see the lack of focus. They see the attitude and that person will find themselves pushed to the outer rim. I also will state that CDI is a tribe of artists that live on the alpha end of the spectrum. They are savage in their hunger for success as an artist.
I can tell you as an older lion that surviving in this industry long term is a badge to itself. That said, I love to develop appreciate, hungry and extremely talented artists. When you take away the environment for drama and BS, which is a trap for all groups of humans gathering, these artists potential shines even more. Making great art inside a shit-storm is a hard go. You have to control your artistic studio, workshop, world, set. Do this and watch your project get even stronger. The energy when a crew believes…when they see the world, is amazing.
I offered a script to one of our crew guys on ‘Lost Heart’…NOTE: I like my crew to know the story they are creating. Cast or crew I just would have to know what I’m selling hours of my life to. Okay…but he said he was enjoying piecing it together each day. This ‘interest’ in the art from the crew is what helps to elevates the final story.
If you prove yourself to be untrustworthy, undependable, unfocused, unprepared – you get my point. The crew will often work around you rather than with you. If your drama overly seeps into the set, they might ignore but they remember. See again as a martial artists, I see the hot set as a dojo. I mentally bow when I enter and I bow to my fellow cast and crew. We all stop our own time from ACTION to CUT and live those moments together that is the STORY. That is some intimate shit. And some artsy sounding shit at that. But it’s true.
Back to the topic, I’ve been doing this walk a good long time. I want this to keep creating and so I’m not looking for friends or social peeps, BFF’s or any of that. I’m looking for select artists whereas the Tribe see’s them as a good asset. I can say that of the cards that people have brought to the CDI table over the years to play, the best card was always loyalty. You work to create an inspiring place for artists to develop projects void of time-wasting, energy-stealing drama. That is the goal. How successful were we? We’ll let the projects tell that story as I believe the end product has a lot to do with that production energy. It absorbs into the story just like seasons when you shoot. An October movie always has a strong haunting and introspective vibe. Again that saying, Making great art within a shit-storm is a hard go.
I’ve been working hard to develop people because I think I knew where we were heading. I see the on-going slate of films peppered with a few TV series. That takes talent, dedication and organization. Again, praise to all the good stuff happening in our state. Back in the day there was Lynn Drzick (West Side) and Mike Kallio (East Side) and a shot gun smattering of filmmakers in Michigan. Working to TV stations at nights trying to complete films shot on FILM. Okay. I see movies on Vikings, Detroit Hustle, Firefighters, Sex Trafficking, Body Swappers…all in our state of Michigan. Very cool!
I’m going to slide out of here and get with my day. Be good to one another. Thank you for letting me ramble over coffee. I hope to see some of you Sept 14th in Owosso, MI at the MAN’S BEST FRIEND premiere showings. I’ve heard good things about the theater tests but I’m waiting to be surprised myself. Coffee cheers!
Have a great Labor Day weekend.
Happy Mother’s Day – May CDI Updates
Happy Mother’s Day to all the nurturing ladies out there. It is a slightly chilly Sunday coming off several wet days here in Michigan. The lawn needs a second mowing and I still have to till the garden ground.
This past week has included lots of development work on LOST HEART our next film. We have the last three units to assign before we move into full pre-production. We’ve had several talks and I think the last three will get claimed soon. It also helps that we will be dispersing money back to previous investors. For me, once we lock up the business we can focus on the creative. I had some schedule discussions this week with our 1st AD. It looks like we will shoot July 16-Aug 1st in N. Michigan. In about 2 weeks (or sooner) we’ll start bringing on cast and crew. The bank account is open and I’m awaiting the check book. Once we green light to pre-production the ball will really start rolling. We’ll also be announcing some of the great companies and businesses supporting us with sponsorship. It will be an exciting week ahead for LOST HEART.
We have also had some development discussions on KNIGHT CHILLS 2 which has been in talks for a while. This would be a collaboration and I’ve been working to set up the distribution aspects of the film.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – The entire 3 film series in out on Amazon Prime. You all can now watch all three back to back. FORTY NIGHTS. CHASING THE STAR. THE CHRIST SLAYER. Please do enjoy this extended biblical adventure. I’ve said before that the style was influenced by the Star Wars original trilogy. I look forward to hearing from more of you that have seen all three. They do stand alone but create a greater picture when all three are viewed. Congrats to part 3 THE CHRIST SLAYER for taking 2nd place BEST FILM at the International Christian Film Festival in Orlando, FL.
- I have several sources talking to me about a new series of biblical adventures. We will see what the future holds.
WILD FAITH is now out on Amazon and other platforms for digital purchase. In June we’ll see digital rental and July will be the DVD release. Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Family Video and several outlets will be carrying this fine film.
- Again talks are happening about the possible TV series
MBF: Man’s Best Friend is finishing up color correction and sound design. A work-in-progress link was sent to the theatrical company for evaluation. I was watching the film now with all the dialog balanced and it is really engaging to watch. Music will be starting soon and we’ll also begin working the new full trailer.
This week I’ll continue my conversations with the possible agent for literary and talent. I’ve also had a few independent script writing opportunities arise. I will be exploring that. I’ve been pulling together my materials both as a writer and as talent. I’ve enjoyed the response from all of you to mountain man Ben Lily and of course ole J.C. from THE CHRIST SLAYER. I’m looking forward to making a deal so that some of my future negotiations concerning acting and script can be handled by a 3rd party.
I’m asking my readers here to take a watch and leave a review. You can comment here as well. I’m going to wrap things up here. Eat a little something and we’re taking the mother’s to the zoo today. I look forward to a fun day of family stuff before back at it tomorrow. I have to work on writing out checks and dispersing to our backers. I really do love writing checks. To our artists, our backers – it always feels good. Again I don’t think I’ve ever been able to pay an artist their true worth but we do compensate and create.
Keep plugging along and we’ll chat again next week.
Finishing vs Starting – Biz Wrap Up
The hazelnut coffee sits beside me bringing my computer in my head online with each sip. I’ve been returning to action since returning from Burbank. So I’ve been trying to plan out my fall. I’ve been considering all options before us while moving ahead. We’ll be announcing a few exciting developments including a production deal.
Right now my focus is on finishing the distribution deal on WILD FAITH, which includes a developing TV series. As many of you know and we’ll expand upon in a PR release – we won ‘Best Faith Film’ at Burbank International Film Festival.
My next priority is the finishing and releasing of part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY entitled “The Christ Slayer”. This film is the final chapter in our biblical adventure series. I again play Jesus and this film has the most VFX to date. Bridgestone Multimedia Group has it marked as their flagship for Easter 2019. I’m very excited for audiences to experience this film. Director Nathaniel Nose has done a wonderful job with it and Dennis Therrian is composing an incredible score and doing sound design.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend is also in editing and will move into post music and sound design as The Christ Slayer exits post. We’ve been releasing official stills and a teaser will be released before Christmas.
I’ve also been writing a new script LOST HEART that I had intended to shoot this fall. But with the post schedule and my writing moving a tad slower because of the wrist (cast off now a splint for 30 days) – I think it may push to 2019. I want to do it right and that requires prep. But the script is still being worked and will likely be done this month. I just need to look at the entire slate and how we want to roll things out. Lots of moving pieces to consider. I think we might start doing a few table reads on possible scripts also.
Acting-wise I’m starting to feel the urge again to be in front of the camera. As always it has to be the right story. Outside the biz I’ve been enjoying the approaching fall. I’ve harvested hops and wild grapes for one of my new wines. We’ve got a few squash that will be a good addition to the dinner table. With no soccer today for me I’m going to try to put a one-handed mow on the yard. The wood stove might get a working tonight and so fire wood gathering and cutting will be more important in the coming weeks.
Enjoy the harvests in your life.
Home is Michigan
Again Michigan is covered in a blanket of white snow. I know that many of you are from various parts of the world. Welcome readers from S. Korea and Burma. How wonderful that all these artistic people have found our little corner of the internet. My hazelnut coffee is going down easy and I’ve got a list of updates on several of the projects. This morning I did take a stroll through the Facebook which has kind of replaced the newspaper sadly. I usually find science articles to read and enjoy certain animal posts that highlight how intelligent and soulful animals truly are. Where to begin?
I commented on a fellow filmmaker’s vent this morning. In short – a disdain for people who have more resources or who falsely claim experience. It’s a problem but one that usually works itself out. We use to lovingly refer to it as The Oregon Trail. For us older people it was a TSR-80 game. But in real history it was a rugged journey that resulted in many dying and being buried along the Oregon Trail. We use that saying to describe the many in our business who perished along the trail.
Many people have long-wondered what the “trick” is at CDI to producing their content. First, there is no trick. It is a logical checklist of work that must be done in a particular order. You can refine that over time but this takes an effort. Good management of people is something that you cannot buy for yourself. There is no piece of equipment you can purchase that will motivate good work flow. Some of the secrets, if you wanna call it that are…
- Hire artists firsts not friends – you can become friends (True definition not Facebook’s) through shared art, dependability, accountability and positive collaboration. But to assign/hire someone unqualified for a crew or cast role out of friendship hurts the collective endeavor and often the friendship. Don’t set people up to fail. Don’t let preventable failure lower the quality of your projects or worse yet – kill it. I think for young filmmakers that is where these 48 hour film challenge things help. With a youthful generation of highly creative, technology-adept youths INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION is a learned skill. It is easy to be disrespectful, behind a computer. But these comments in the real world to a real person, can get you kung fu’d, fired or create a poison in an otherwise productive creative atmosphere.
- Chiefs. I’m talking to company owners. I’m talking to producers, director and keys. You all set the tone for the environment. Define the roles ahead of time. Don’t figure it out as you go. Producers have months or years of development work before any camera roll – use it. Creative MUST respect the Business machine and the business must respect the artistic contributions that will elevate it above being a mere formula genre film. Only strong leadership can walk this balance between the two and enforce this kind of collaboration. NEED vs WANT…KNOW the DIFFERENCE.
- Follow Through – this means the same in micro as in macro – for anyone in the chain of execution. You NEED people with follow through or they’re simply a negative – excuses not withstanding. It does not matter what the creative potential of an individual is if they’re not able to follow through. This should always disqualify/limit a person from leadership. Now you can put creative slackers under a disciplined key so they can be exposed and maybe learn from leadership. Ego will sometimes make them reject the chain of command if they feel they are a superior artist. The best artist in our world has follow through and a “best effort” positive attitude. Again, the best artist is not always JUST the best artist but the best artist with follow through. If a creative caterer made half a crew lunch = fail. Someone at go time had collected only half the props = fail. Wrong instructions as to where to park support vehicles = fail. Hundreds of things a day can cause strife on a film set if your team is not properly prepared. Be prepared.
- Help is not weakness – many people have not learned the many important lessons from managing projects of various sizes and budgets. People need to know when to say NO or to seek out and hire the proper experience. But either greed or fear of loss of power, causes many to sell themselves onto projects that they are truly unqualified for. F- YOU DJ! YOU GOTTA START SOMEWHERE! Okay. Settle down, I hear you:) Now in the beginning, I might have been one of those people. But, I did qualify as a doer of many other things. Some of these things small and some large in other areas of my life. I have always been someone who has a natural drive to GET IT DONE if I’m behind something. Investors saw that eye of the tiger in me. Investor interest seldom comes from a fancy fluff package or a regurgitation of business buzz words – more often that investor see’s or feels something in you that was/is akin to his own inner fire.
OK. I need to save a little wisdom:) But I try to keep a pulse on this Michigan film community. I see positives and negatives. Michigan has always fought the ‘backwoods’ mentality given to us by Hollywood. Funny thing is much of the Hollywood elite is midwestern. But I will say that I see improvements. Tax incentives gone – my opinion – it never should have been about drawing work to Michigan but development of work from within Michigan. But it did help legitimize filmmaking as an acceptable title here in Michigan. Ask old-timers and MI filmmakers from the 80’s and 90’s, about being called a filmmaker. It was like telling your family you want to be an astronaut. It was usually met with a sideways stare and a loss of words.
Now people don’t sideways stare at me they simply want to know when the next film releases. They tell me they have young children interested in filmmaking. It’s great to see the parent support of these young dreamers. I burned out on festivals a decade ago but I respect all the great festivals our state has to showcase, network and nurture our creatives. I watch the yearly migration to the west coast where people learn that the increase in opportunities is usually matched by the increase in applicants. But many have to experience it. I will be out there for a week on some business this month. I’m looking forward to seeing some friends and associates. Oh, and the sun. But after a few I must return home. Home is Michigan.
Shane Hagedorn’s big shoulders to carry his first feature
We master the film off this week and I’ve got some meetings coming up over home video/foreign. The TV series is something that I’ve been aggressively chasing. I think it would be great for Michigan. I know a few other TV series working to get traction. How great would it be to have a string of TV shows happening. We’ve also been hard at work on securing theaters. We’ll be announcing soon as several deals are almost done. I do truly love the genre and I think it would be great to see weekly as a show. Once you watch the movie let me know.
If you cannot wait and need a fix of 1800’s action/drama our Civil War film “Wicked Spring” is getting a re-release 16 years later. 18 years from when cameras first rolled. We shot the pre-war and war stuff in two separate shoots and areas. I’m waiting for the streaming link to go live on amazon. 2/5/18 is supposed to be digital release date. DVD’s on 3/5/18. Here is the new cover that the distributor settled on. It has one of my favorite pics from the shoot and it is of Anthony Hornus, who played the Union commander. Also that’s Michigan’s Brad Egan front and center marching forth.
Look for this cover that has the remastered film. Also the DVD includes a 45 min Making of that is a wonderful look back at producing 18 years ago. Please do take a watch.
Cool look at the TOP Civil War Films
We’ll be posting places you can buy/rent as they go live on
Wicked Spring Facebook
Are you ready for another look at Part 3 of…
THE QUEST TRILOGY
Forty Nights and Chasing the Star are working into more platforms and networks. The push will start for Easter sales. I’m excited that the poster and movie trailer for The Christ Slayer part 3 is almost done. As if the excitement of “Wild Faith” wasn’t enough this first full trailer will allow BMG to start promotions. It is amazing the scope of it all and it brings the greater story of the trilogy together and answers many questions.
SIDE NOTE: Forty Nights is part one and if you don’t know I play Jesus. I’m over due on a few character reels but this one was hard. When you’re in about 70 min of a 88 min film or so and you are looking for 2-3 min sizzle it can prove to be…difficult. My actor/filmmaker buddy Shane Hagedorn knew I’ve been very busy the last few years working on the whole. He surprised me with a character reel of Jesus. I will be sharing that with you all in the coming days. I always ask that one good role just gets me one more. This will come in handy as I’ve got a few things in the works hence the LA trip.
Many have asked me what’s next for me on-screen. As we’re always working on delay – this year you can watch me as mountain man Ben Lily in “Wild Faith” and reprising my role as Jesus in “The Christ Slayer” film. I’ve got some good film role options that I’m not at liberty to discuss. It might be the year that several development collaborations pop. I can say that the main focus for me is MBF. (Man’s Best Friend) We’ve accepted collaboration with a military non-profit http://www.theredwhiteandblueproject.org/ that has done some great things in the past for our soldiers. They want to off-set some of our military cast/crew costs and create an educational aspect. That aside we’re trying to complete financing on this project and we’re getting close. I am excited about this project and I think so will you once you find out more about it. Here is our social media site.
I could go on and one but I have some snow to shovel and I’m prepping to do personal tax prep tomorrow. Coffee cup is low.
Be good to one another!
On the EVE of 2018! Looking Ahead…
Good sunny, arctic morning to you from Michigan. It’s 8 degrees today and with windchill…it is bitter. So the Christmas season is about at an end with people looking forward to the coming year. I have to say that 2017 was a pretty good year. I loved our U.P. trip exploring the upper reaches of our great state. We also had our challenges like anyone else such as our furry boy who faced a few medical issues once agin. I’m glad to say he’s now doing great aside from despising the chilly cold. I lost some beloved friends from childhood, mentors and others close to me this year. They will no longer need to debate or navigate the small issues of life. They rest at peace while the remaining group of us look forward to 2018. I hope 2018 can be a year of better communication between people. Better could be translated to say respectful communication. I saw so much negative operating outside our sphere while at the same time being impressed by our positive approach to our endeavors.
Again if someone has a different culture, religion, viewpoint on something indulge it. It might not change your stance but it might refine your reasoning. I said it last week, practice not saying anything in text/posts that you would not say to that person directly. And if you’re a person who says you would – SAY IT TO THEIR FACE – do it. Communicate with someone, interpersonal communication. It was an odd course in college but I can see where that is now lacking. I get asked for advice often about our filmmaking endeavors. Become a good communicator and try to always keep your word. Good communication goes for everyone. The better a director can communicate to his keys the better. Conversely you must become a good listener as well. With decreasing attention spans that is hard for many. This is also a good hint to actors. I see many what I call 50% actors. By that I mean, don’t be a great actor when speaking and go blank when your listening. By truly listening you are reacting which is at least 50% of acting. Look at your own work and see if this is a problem you might have. Do you keep missing that casting opportunity? Take an honest look and see if this is something you need to do. It is an easy correction but just requires awareness and acceptance.
Last year we worked hard to bring our films to you. Forty Nights and Chasing the Star – parts 1 & 2 of The Quest Trilogy hit the holiday scene hard. As we head towards Easter I think the push will be towards Forty Nights. The Christ Slayer – part 3 will be going into music and sound design. We’ll be releasing a new poster and trailer heading into Feb. I got to see 75% of the new trailer and I was floored by what I saw. Everything we’ve learned shooting the trilogy really comes full circle in the last chapter. It was also a huge joy to see Forty Nights and Chasing the Star playing together on Parables TV. I see the day of all three playing together during the holiday season.
WILD FAITH – The 2018 year will kick off with this mid-Western tale. As a treat we released this PR with a link to our new theatrical trailer.
We’ll be meeting more in the new year to talk premiere, theatrical and home video. It will be exciting. For everything that the trailer IS it is not the best of this film. The movie really excites me in a way that is hard to do after 50 movies+. I think it will become a favorite especially for lovers of the time period and genre.
Speaking on the genre WICKED SPRING our 2000 Civil War film will be getting a new release with Bridgestone Multimedia Group. Other CDI films will be getting new life in 2018. We’ll also continue our march into foreign territories.
It’s now time to push hard and bring on the last of our investors on our next CDI project which is MBF (man’s best friend) a powerful tale about our military vets and shelter dogs. You’ll be reading about more cast and crew and updates as we move forward.
I’m going to cut this short. We’ve got a few things to do around here before we welcome in the new year. We’ll be spending time with a few friends tonight likely with some chill music, cards and some good eats and drinks. I will not be waking up with any hangover. Leave that to you young bucks. Those of you who do blow it out party style get a ride. You don’t want the legal or additional results from an accident.
See you all next year! Be good to one another.
Advanced Updates and Accolades
I’m sitting here letting the coffee lull me awake. It has been a full week and I had many developments both personal and business-wise. I’ve been in our home state of Michigan and Winter has released its grip but the chill remains. We had a lot of rain last week which led to morel growth in our area. Yesterday while doing some yard work I found my second group of the tasty mushrooms. The one I found yesterday is the largest I’ve discovered to date.
The garden till is next this week so we can get seeds and plants into the ground soon. The hops are already growing like crazy with the black raspberries right behind them. This week I’ll be doing some work on the office which has been a phase by phase endeavor. I enjoyed a little meeting on Cinco de mayo with a few film friends enjoying RYE of HORUS provided by one of our sponsors at Sanctuary Spirits. (Pause) Okay, just had to take a time out as my brown furry boy was chasing a wild rabbit living near by out of the yard. That plays positive for keeping the garden safe. Today I’m excited because we’re kicking off our first soccer match today. I took the winter off to heal the aging body but I might have to work the subs more often. It’s an age 30 and over league meaning you can turn 30 during the season. That means doing battle with 29 year olds and such. In my weekly doings nothing challenges me like a power match whereas two teams are working to dominate a game. Individual battles whereas two people fight for the space, the possession of the ball and to score. No thoughts of business and such just a meditation of motion, action and teamwork. It comes in handy when confronted with film issues and you need that added push. I know how to fight towards a goal. To earn something not to be given something – where you have to take the ball away. The other team will never give you the ball. Life will not usually give you things you must earn them. All good lessons to learn. Okay, let’s talk film.
This cool western tale is now in music and sound design. About 40 minutes of dialog clean up and sound FX have been put into the film. Our designer and composer Dennis Therrian is loving the process. He loves the story, the acting and is feeling inspired. Development on the TV series is also moving forward. I would love to start shooting shows in 2018. A little hard work and that just might happen.
The Quest Trilogy
These three films rolling out with BMG are just starting their journey and I hope we’ll be watching them for many years to come.
The Christ Slayer (Third in the series)
We’re about an hour into the first edit and our director Mr. Nose is extremely happy. I want to get the first trailer in motion in the coming weeks. I’ve almost wrapped up all the final production business leaving only post work.
Chasing the Star (Second in the series)
The second film that follows the adventure of the magi just finished a week run in Royal Oak, MI and now is in Grand Rapids, MI at the Celebration Cinema for a week. This movie uses many artists from Michigan including Grand Rapids own CHOP & HUE who did our wonderful VFX space sequence. Our director Bret Miller calls GR home as well. So if you missed Lansing or Royal Oak enjoy an evening in GR and watch “Chasing the Star” this week.
Forty Nights (First in the series)
The first in our series released April 4th to DVD with remastered sound and visual. I will also drop it here ahead of the PR this week. At the International Christian Film Festival in Orlando, FL “Forty Nights” won MOST INSPIRATIONAL film. We were nominated for 4 awards but this nomination was the one I wanted to see us win. Why? Because our goal always is to inspire people with our storytelling but it also represents all the artists. Working together they created a film that was noted as being the most inspirational. Proud once again of our team. Next year they want Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer after that. The Trilogy is doing what we had hoped. One of our EP’s was there to accept and attend the festival on our behalf.
This week also consisted of development and work to prep some of the CDI library for new distribution. I was happy to wake up this past week to communications that a History class in Indiana (I believe) was watching “Wicked Spring” in class to show the humanity of soldiers during that horrific war. Some 17 years later and the film is still inspiring and teaching. This film is one of the films slated for a Special Edition release. We almost did this before but decided to wait and put it through our new deal. I will keep everyone informed. Once again I appreciate you spending a few moments with us on your Sunday to reflect back on the week.
Be good to one another!
Development Updates – July!
Welcome readers from Ireland and Italy – how cool. I do appreciate the worldwide readership that just reminds us we are all one. Creative people trying to journey through life. There is much unrest in the world and I do hope that we can evolve to a better understanding of one another. I’m tired as I type this from a long week and a full weekend. This weekend saw some tree trimming and garden work. The garden is growing nicely and I do think we’ll have a good harvest. Following a handful of hot days we’ve been treated to a pair of cool days that reminds us that Fall will be coming soon.
I was in talks about a possible dramatic movie role shooting next month but I’m not sure it will work out. My look is locked in somewhat due to my October filming that requires me to have a rugged look. But it was nice to communicate with some upcoming filmmakers and perhaps in the future we can collaborate.
“40 Nights” and “Ashes of Eden” have been licensed to Pureflix On Demand and we should have a release date soon. We’re prepping some web art for them now.
Xfinity now joins Directv and several other new platforms – carrying both “Bestseller” and “40 Nights” On Demand. Here’s a list of some of the On-Demand platforms – http://www.moviefone.com/movie/40-nights/20079437/where-to-watch/
40 Nights DVD – There are many places like Walmart to get the DVD but the demand seems to be out there. The film went from backorder on Amazon to “in stock” on the 13th of July, and again is on backorder. All in just 5 days. Thank you everyone.
Here’s a nice interview I did about “40 Nights” and The Quest Trilogy so take a read if you are interested in this film series.
This week we also watched the 1st edit of “Chasing the Star,” the second film in our Quest Trilogy. I have to say I was extremely pleased to see the story all together. The music is now underway while we fine tune the edit. The VFX and intro work will also be starting this month. It’s a powerful story unlike what we’ve seen before. It should be done prior to Christmas. Very exciting.
Development work has been on the fast track. We’re close to announcing the new film project with Jesse Low (Our director from “40 Nights”) Also development work is being done on “The Christ Slayer,” the final film in the trilogy.
A while back we hinted at the sequel to “Knight Chills” and I’m happy to report many great developments. We’ve attached our director and most of our principal cast. We’ll be re-releasing a 20th anniversary DVD of the original film with a teaser showcasing the sequel. Right now we’re in talks with a few foreign territories over the films. This will be a fun project! The meetings have been full of laughter.
The soundtracks have been rolling out and I would love to hear what songs people enjoyed from the “40 Nights,” and “Bestseller” soundtracks. – Next up – “Ashes of Eden” soundtrack, so stay tuned.
I’m going to do a few things around the house before I get ready for another soccer battle. I hope you all have a productive week ahead.
Keep clawing! Keep dreaming!
Birthdays & Bullet Points – Updates!
Hello my friends,
I’m just up and sipping on the hazelnut coffee attempting to put my words down on here for you all to read. This has been a BUSY week as usual. Let me see – today is my youngest dog Luke’s birthday. I had labs growing up and they are great family dogs. I’ve been around many types including wolf/hybrids which unless you are trained should NOT be brought in as a pet. We had two other dogs, the eldest a Rot-mix and she guards. We got Daphne, an Aussie Shepherd/Golden Ret. mix and she is a fun dog but not a protector unless we were attached by moles. So we decided to get a third, one that the other two could help train and that could protect. I had never had a pit/pit-mix but also don’t buy the breed label. All dogs need to be worked with and have strong leadership. Long/short is that we adopted our Luke. He was the color of coffee when we first met him and highly self-assured. Our eldest put him in line a few times and our sweet Daphne thought her favorite stuffed animal dog had come to life. She was a great teacher (still is) and so we ended up with our buddy Luke. (After Star Wars) He grew to be a gentle giant and has brought us much joy and happiness. I watched him lick and give kisses to my niece and nephew – he’s curious, kind and watchful. Do NOT believe all the hype against any breed. Just like us we can all be kind or violent pending our environment and circumstances. We love having him and today he turned five.
Also had both parents birthday’s this week and a slew of movie business work. Let’s look at some of that.
- “40 Nights” sales keep growing and everyday I’ve gotten wonderful messages from people who experiences the film. I’ve also been amazed at how many times people are watching the film and many are giving copies of the film as gifts. We are going to announce more platforms carrying the film and are working on foreign set ups.
- “Chasing the Star” – the second in THE QUEST TRILOGY finished a first edit on Friday and is now fine tuning the edit. VFX and music work will start very soon. Exciting!
- The 3rd film in the trilogy “The Christ Slayer” is in development with locations and such.
- “Bestseller” is expanding and is a great summer film to watch up at that vacation house at night. Spooky:)
- Development work on a few new projects is steadily getting done. Stay tuned!
- We will start working on the next soundtrack release that will likely be “Ashes of Eden” but I want to include several with new releases.
I’ve been approached to look at a few projects/scripts for acting. I will see where that leads me. I’ve got a busy week ahead between meetings and we go to 4H this week. If you eat meat and want well cared for animals that also benefit young people the 4H is a great organization. I’m back on the soccer field today after a week off which was good. I had a knee that needed a little healing up. Is it 100% – no. But we will see what kind of battle I can fight today. It will also be a little bit hot.
Enjoy your day and be good to one another.
Mentors, Marketing and Making Ready
Our day of intense heat gave way to the nice cool day we now enjoy. I will get to talking more on biz here soon but I thought I would get some of the other random thoughts out of my head. I also want to Welcome new readers from Poland and Brazil. I love all the international friends that follow the blog. It is a small world after all:)
To me, the imagination is the great first teacher of the acting craft. Many of us were making space ships from couch cushions and pretended to be tracking monsters on our forest walks. All this just carries over naturally. I think we get hindered by sheer magnitude of trying to make it as artists in a world of shells and beads. (Money) After being in an acting class at the Community College years ago I left after about an hour. Much like “drama club” in high school it was not my thing. I was getting together with friends and making short films. I didn’t like the silliness in those classes. I took another stab at an acting class at MSU with a teacher named Joyce Ramsey. You could tell that silliness was NOT what she was about. She was brutally honest and no nonsense. She gave a public shake down of each of us after our day one. Funny, she gave about the same assessment that I’ve been given by at least one movie studio. She said I could play leading man to the featured gas station attendant. But she declared, “you will be a stronger actor when you leave my class.”
I was NOT in the theater program. I was NOT in the cliche of students in the college “drama” circles, but she invested in me. She would catch me if I came out of character. She empowered me with confidence to trust my own choices. I think she really understood how deep my well of imagination ran. I think, I was one of her favorites – at least in that class. She knew movies were my interest not the stage. Even so, she encouraged me to audition for play THE DOLL HOUSE, going up at the college, even if just for the audition challenge. To honor her request, I did and was offered the male lead. With a smile, I turned it down but left with a confidence that I could survive and thrive amongst these stage actors. I’ve thought of her several times over the years with the success I’ve had. She was older when she taught and I was not sure what happened to her. I looked her up a few months ago and became friends on social media. I had intended to reach out and let her know how her words had helped me to climb where I am now. I heard she passed away yesterday at 89 years old. Now she knows all – I hope she has a good rest and I’m sure she helped many like myself. Thank you Joyce.
The strength to look at the harsh trials of our industry and believe I could make it.
FILM BIZ UPDATES
Many of our films are rolling out this month to various ON DEMAND platforms. Joining “40 Nights” on Google Play is now “BESTSELLER” –
SOUNDTRACK coming soon!
NEW “40 NIGHTS”
“40 Nights” has released on VUDU and AMAZON.
We have more teaser clips rolling out to promote the ON DEMAND roll outs.
“Chasing the Star” the second film in the QUEST TRILOGY following “40 Nights” is in post with editing passing the sixty minute mark. We should have a locked picture at month’s end and move into music and sound design.
We have NEW development talks underway with Shane Hagedorn, Jesse Low and BlackJacket Films over scripts.
Additionally I’ve been having a few talks over script sales. I’ve recently had discussions with a director in Hollywood over acting in a film for a week or two this summer. Additionally the garden is in and the yard is looking very zen. I love all the wildlife. I have a busy week ahead and I feel ready to sail forward. We have another soccer match today and I’m looking forward to that.
I hope you all have a great end to your weekend and a productive week ahead.
Finishing 40 Nights and Looking Ahead
This week has moved by quickly and we made some good steps towards finishing projects. I’m waiting on the coffee to finish brewing so my writing may be a touch off until I get that wake up. We have our first family Christmas gathering this afternoon so I wanted to get this written. It has been a blessed year and the one ahead shows signs of being even more productive. I’ve put some updates up on http://www.cdiproductions.com although the site needs additional updates it gives upcoming release dates and such.
Our 1st film in the QUEST TRILOGY “40 Nights” has been the big push. Our distributor has a large retailer order but that requires us to upload the film to the distributor at the beginning of the new year. Right now music is being composed and laid into the film and VFX is being completed. Both the opening sequence and VFX need to be laid in this week coming forth. I’ve seen some of the plates and the VFX transitions. Great stuff by Vroman arts.
We’ve been working to finalize a commercial project and additionally get the foundation in place for “Chasing the Star” the 2nd film in our QUEST TRILOGY. The LLC is in process and our docs have been revamped. We’ll be attaching the investors over the next two weeks. Casting has been in full swing and I hope to attach cast and crew first part of Jan. 2016 and be ready for a Feb./March shoot in Yuma, AZ.
“An Ordinary Killer” has been remastered and we’re about to do a DVD run with the new packaging. This film played at our FILM & SPIRITS program at Sanctuary Spirits on the 3rd Thursday of the month. This month we will be watching FIGURE IN THE FOREST. This film has enjoyed numerous TV play. (TBN, Parables, UpLifTv) I think we’ll be doing a remastered run of this film also.
I’ve got a great list of new 2016 goals forming. I put them down every year and like to see what areas made strong advances and what requires more attention. I’ve also been reviewing a few scripts for acting in 2016. I’m feeling pretty confident on C.U.J.O. shooting this coming year. I’ve got a CDI western that will shoot with Jesse Low (4o Nights) at the helm. Aside from that I’ve got a handful of possibles but that depends upon many factors.
I’m going to conclude this short weekly update because I have gifts to wrap for early this afternoon. I want to also comment that I’m so excited about the new STAR WARS film(s). I saw the 1st one in 1977 many times. So many in fact our parents did not want us to keep watching the same movie. We would sneak into other theaters to watch – STAR WARS:) So I’ve had a blast with all the merchandise that is in stores. It also was a major inspiration for my path. I’m proud to have chosen and been allowed by you the fans, to have a career. Our recent QUEST trilogy has a Star Wars influence for sure.
MSU my alumni school locked up the BEN TEN championship! Our Lions are …the Lions. Still no major snow here in Michigan so it feels like a California Christmas. I’m sure that will change in the weeks ahead.
Have a great weekend!
Charting the Course and Preparing to Move!
I have friends in AZ excited that they are having their first under 100 degree day. Here in Michigan we have enjoyed a true fall complete with a nice chill. MSU is on TV and a good cup of coffee is beside me. It has been a week full of good hard work peppered with some great meetings. As I noted last week I was back and forth on some important decisions. Most of these have to do with scheduling. Our follow-up film to “40 Nights” is moving to advanced development. A rough schedule is being worked on so I can break the budget down. Location talks and such have started out west. Our casting call has been listed on IMDB Casting for a few months and we’ve looked at hundreds of reels. We’re looking more at west coast AZ & CA actors on that film due to transportation costs.
Conversely we are looking at Michigan for this western project which will shoot in November or post April 2016 pending some talks later today and tomorrow. We had a good sit down and discussed the two films. It’s exciting to look ahead as we examined the pros and cons connected to each shooting option. Next week we will roll some PR out that talks about our upcoming slate of films.
I had some good talks with management and they are moving into talks with casting on a few TV series. I do like several of the TV series out there and the mini series offer a chance to really develop characters.
Speaking about TV:) We might have an exciting announcement next week on one of our films. You will have to wait to find out if final approval goes through but a TV deal is looming.
“Bestseller” and “Donors” have been finalizing their delivery of materials. We are excited about the Nov. 1st showing of “Bestseller” in Owosso, MI. Also “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” will kick off a filmmaker mixer at Sanctuary Spirits in Grand Ledge, MI on Oct. 15th. They make their own booze and I have enjoyed their bloody Mary’s and gin and tonics. See you there!
I’ve put a call out on “The Terrorist” but need to actually connect. I’ve got no new updates on “Dead Quiet”…
On the “40 Nights” FB site we’ve been adding BTS pictures each day. The distributor also has me doing a video vlog. Check it out! Follow! Share!
I’ve also been writing every day – usually first thing in the morning with my coffee. I finished the 2nd script in our biblical-era 3 picture deal and the ideas we’re flowing so I just kept going. I’m half way done with the third script. I love when it’s just flowing.
I need to catch up over the “Knight Chills: book/film deal and I’ll be sure to let everyone know the most recent updates.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the season!
N CUBE = New Developments, New Screenings, New Castings
Minus the humidity this has felt like fall. My hazelnut coffee welcomes me and football (GO MSU) is all over the TV. This past week I helped my mother move into her new condo and today a good part of our bathroom remodel will be complete.
I did not get my script work done this week that I wanted to but that will change. It looks like we are moving forward strongly with our 2nd biblical film in our series with Lightworx Distribution, “Chasing the Star“. Our funds are committed and so this development process will move ahead once I finish that 1st draft to get to key members. We will again be filming in the Yuma, AZ area.
We also are closing in on our final financial commits for “Wild Faith,” our last CDI film of 2015. It will shoot in Michigan and is being distributed under our deal with Lightworx Entertainment. I’m excited to do one more film before the holidays. Let’s look at a few other updates!
“Ashes of Eden” is prepping for its 2016 release and we may have a few more theatrical showings leading up to the release.
“Bestseller” will be doing an event showing on Nov. 1st in Owosso, Michigan at the Wrought Iron Grill. More will follow before the spring national release. “Donors” will also be releasing nationally in the spring.
“40 Nights” sound design and ADR/dialog work is coming along great! We hope to have a premiere in December before Christmas. April 1st is the worldwide release date for the film to home video. The initial response from retailers has been great.
Casting calls for both “Chasing the Star” and “Wild Faith” can be found on IMDB casting. This process is well underway and we have seen some great talent.
We will be announcing a once a month CDI movie night that will be at Sanctuary Spirits in Grand Ledge, MI. We will be kicking off this month I believe on Sept 24th with the smoky Mountain western “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” on the big screen.
“Knight Chills” the book and movie combo will be coming together for a winter release. This is all to get things ready for the production of “Knight Chills II” with shoot dates TBD.
I’m reviewing a deal now for our soundtracks to become available for purchase and I’m excited to have them in my collection.
We have had so much good business flowing and we are streamlining and preparing for a great 2016. I’ve got a few studio/network acting products coming together as many of you know. Just keep working smart and good things will come.
Keep clawing your way to the middle!
Three Golden Rules of Evaluating Projects and August Updates
The coffee is tasting great on this fine morning. I have to say that the last two weeks have been extremely busy but also productive. Let me think of something that transpired this last week that would be a good lesson to illustrate.
BE DEFINED BY WHAT YOU SAY NO TO
Equally – as much as one can become defined by what they do they can also be defined but what they don’t do. Inaction can be a good or a bad thing pending. It is why great care should be taken in choosing to participate or not. IF you look at what we do as just a hobby, sport, recreational, way to belong/meet people – YES tends to be used more freely.
IF you are doing it as a career (main income) the YES becomes something that only happens after much exploratory conversations.
Let’s look at three things that will most definitely get a NO
1) “Experience not needed” – Yes. I’ve seen this on casting posts. I would not hire an electrician, a plumber or a dentist with this mentality. It says that a person or company has not yet grasped how valuable cast is to a final project. And it has to be CAST as a whole. One powerful performer surrounded by stiff, clueless performers will ruin a scene. You must take care with ALL your casting. And yes, experience is preferred.
2) State that the project is PAID or not right off. It respects the time of artists. Professional established talent will not work for free. If a professional talent took time to read your script and perhaps do a read – what a waste of time if it is revealed to be a credit thing. Now IF you have zero credits – do it. Fight for 30-60 seconds of great footage that can sell you onto professional films. Most of those hobby films have bright moments they just can’t keep that throughout the film. So, save yourself time and ask about PAY right away. The common come back is WE WANT PASSIONATE ARTISTS WHO CARE ABOUT THE ART VERSUS THE MONEY. Guess what? WE WANT A PRODUCTION COMPANY THAT CARES ENOUGH ABOUT THE END PRODUCT THAT THEY HIRE WHAT THEY NEED. I was about to use a camera as an example of paying for what will serve a film best BUT… I see people get nice cameras and bad glass (lenses) so that example is not going to work. Another good example is like the ultra low SAG films that use union and non-union. Non-Union for an actual role doesn’t mean we don’t pay because we don’t have to. We pay all main talent union or not because we want strong talent. In summary – once established don’t work for free.
3) SCRIPT – recognize that the script is the blue print by which every department works with. First ALWAYS read a full script before accepting a role. If the script is poorly formatted or too short/long in page count for a feature that equals TROUBLE. Someone who has it all “up here” or we “make it up as we go” – RUN!
Lack of proper script, pay or understanding of the importance of experience will always get a NO from me. I know that a few smug artists (while misguided I do still consider you artists) will argue that they can use all volunteers, not pay and make up a script on the fly and still succeed. That formula has a small % of success. Magazines will raise up and praise those that do succeed despite themselves. But that is not the norm and they never showcase the countless failed artists and the messes they created often with others money. So if you broke all those rules and you still got a powerful piece with major distribution – congrats. I look forward to seeing your masterpiece.
Okay, how about we get onto some updates? Yes!
This week we were working on some distribution artwork for “Donors” and “Bestseller” is next on deck. The domestic deals on these two films are done and 1st quarter of 2016 will see these release. “Bestseller” additional theatricals are in the works.
I don’t have all the details but worldwide on “The Terrorist” was signed. I enjoyed the people I worked with on this film very much. It was one of the hottest summers on record and that was less than cool. But the final film is what matters and we have something special to share.
“Ashes of Eden” – We might have a special encore showing in a theater before it releases on Oct. 13th with Lightworx Ent.
PRE-BUY LINK – Add to your collection
“40 Nights” – the kick off release of the trailer kicked off a lot buzz. Some of the business talks in the wake of this has been exciting. Buyers are starting to get their first look and next week we finalize the licensing management agreement. If you want to create product to sell using the “40 Nights” brand feel free to reach out and I will put you in touch with the right parties. We have some interested parties already and the opportunities are building.
The film tweaks have been made and the transition to full post audio music and sound design is underway. The work starts Monday and I’m beyond thrilled.
This week look for an exciting announcement with “40 Nights” and onto development.
We have been getting some great acting reels in from talent around the country for a pair of upcoming CDI projects. The 1st being a western and the 2nd another biblical drama. It will also get announced that the western has been given a letter of intent by Lightworx for worldwide distribution. They are already on board the 2nd biblical film as part of our 3 picture deal with them.
I’m enjoying having the distribution in place ahead of time. I enjoy the collaboration with the people selling for us. It is nice to discuss things in the script stage. Watch for many more announcements on these two films.
OK. Off to deal with BUDGET rental car charge on my production credit card. I’ve had issues with them on two different times. I think it might be time for a company move to another rental company.
Always something:) Have a great weekend!
40 Nights Prepares to Drop First Trailer and Other Ramblings
I’m on my TAKE 2 with hazelnut coffee. Went about this morning and one of the things I’m most happy with is that I bought an antique, cast-iron, wood burning stove for the office. It will not go in right away because I have a few other tasks to complete. Home improvements just seem to be an ongoing thing. We also ended up stopping by to visit my brother and niece. He referred us to a Vietnamese place to eat lunch. It was really good so, if you’re in the Lansing area. (Nola Bistro)
So in the extreme heat we have going on I decided I needed to BLOG all of you before carrying this wood stove out to the office. I might just ramble this week as I’ve got much to download. So Tuesday was the first day of our Lansing run of BESTSELLER. It was nice to have a few close family and friends see the film on the big screen. Each showing has had an audience that gets the opportunity to see it in this format. We will move the film to a few other venues but the more important development is the domestic US/Canada deal that we will likely accept. It will play great on home video/VOD for the masses but IF you can see it big screen you really should. It will play tonight at 6:45 and 10:45 in Lansing at the Celebration Cinema. Here is the promo video from our 1st public showing. It was put together by Dan Chipman who has worked with us on a few projects now.
DONORS film announced that it had signed for domestic US/Canada with Jax Distribution.
ASHES OF EDEN closed caption work is being finalized and I can’t wait for worldwide audiences to get their look after Oct. 13th, 2015.
40 NIGHTS – The 1st official trailer is DONE. The distributor is very excited to have this preview to introduce the project to worldwide buyers. All the people given a sneak peek really enjoyed the film. As a matter of fact financial commitments on the next couple films started to come in off just these sneak peeks. It is great to note that while I think the trailer is powerful the film itself is much greater. This is not one of those films that everything good was thrown into the trailer to lure people. This film trailer gives a taste of the journey ahead but the final film will be so worth the wait. PR will be done to introduce the trailer next week. Here is a screen grab from the trailer. ENJOY
Promotion of street dates (Ashes), theatrical release and domestic set up (Bestseller) and post-production work (40 Nights) – add a little commercial work and we’ve been busy.
Development has been full speed ahead. I’ve been planning between now and mid 2016. The script for a western is about ready and scheduling, casting, location scouting, budget refining and more has been underway. I will say that it is shooting in Michigan. No, we didn’t move to Georgia and the state can keep their incentive. (Yes. I know they killed it) I did an informal cast call (Two African-American actresses) last week in my blog. But that didn’t bring the acting reels out. Those casting duties will be addressed in good time.
The Winter/Spring 2016 film will be “Chasing the Star” and script work is moving right along. It is looking like it will also film in Yuma, AZ area. This is the 2nd film in the three picture deal that we have with Lightworx Entertainment.
I’ve had talks over a few films but unless the right role/project hits me – I have enough work to keep me very busy. KNIGHT CHILLS 2 is something that might also get done over the winter.
I could go on about more but I have a pair of apple trees to plant and a wood stove to haul. I’m very encouraged as I look from here and project five years into the future. The films we will make and the new audiences we will distribute to. I was so happy to have peers and mentors give such powerful reviews of both the “Bestseller” feature and the “40 Nights” trailer. I look forward to releasing the first official trailer to all of you. I also have the directors cut of the full “40 Nights” feature to review. I will be watching that very soon. (Thank you Jesse & Jon)
Have a great weekend!