While most of my blogs are directed towards my career and I occasionally make personal notes pertaining to certain things – I don’t often get too in-depth but today I will share a little. My imagination and love to play stemmed from a great childhood that I shared with a group of children in our own small secluded neighborhood on the edge of Lansing in Michigan. I moved there when I was five when my parents built a house. Our neighborhood was surrounded by woods that would become our Sherwood Forest, Ninja training camps and battleground for numerous BB gun wars. Forts of all sizes were built underground, in trees and everywhere else, usually consuming every piece of lumber we could pirate from our dad’s workshops. The one neighbor across the street Alan, was the 1st to come introduce himself to the “new kid” – me. He had been held back in school which to some gave him a negative moniker. But to us he was the mad scientist and Scottie from Star Trek rolled up into one. He was handy with all manner of tools. He had a good basic understanding of electronics and mechanics although some of his handy work was a genuine fire hazard. He was the guy who brought so much to our adventures and was anything but disadvantaged as some in the school district would have had you believe. In the earliest “movies” we would play with my dad’s camcorder and create our stories. Alan was always good for a little special effects especially if it included fire. I could fill a book with the adventures we all had but I will not write them all here. The thing is he passed away today after an illness that took on several complications. I had followed his progress for several weeks and recently thought that perhaps, just maybe he was on the mend. It was not meant to be so. So as of today he no longer has to struggle with the day to day issues of living in this world. I know he will be greatly missed. His sense of humor and his gentle demeanor will be remembered. But most of all I’m so happy that he came and knocked upon our front door to introduce himself all those years ago. I recall that day as if it was yesterday. I thank him for the friendship we shared during our adventuresome youth. My life would not have been the same without Alan’s friendship in those early years.
One of my early birthday parties with my brother standing behind us, Darrel to my right and Alan to my left. RIP my old friend. I’m in AZ finishing the final week of shooting here but my heart will be with his family putting him to final rest.
Lesson: Follow your dreams and be good to one another. Appreciate those around you for you never know when their time here amongst us all might end.
Ahhhhhh…sips of hot hazelnut coffee and a nice cool morning in the Michigan = peace. I want to welcome all our new readers from Poland and China! The soul of the artists is not divided up by territorial lines of nations or tribes. One world. This week we’ve been reaping the first harvests from the garden which is one of our best yet. We’ve already had beans, squash, zucchini and tomatoes. I’ve been prepping for the coming Fall and Winter by gathering some wood for the office stove.
This week the office got some good use as creative minds have been coming together to prepare for new journeys ahead. Aside from meetings I’ve had lots going on within the realm of distribution. As you know we’re always looking to extend our reach and share our stories. Let’s look at some updates in no particular order.
BESTSELLER – We’ve started talks with a foreign sales rep and might have a few more this coming week. The film is expanding in the marketplace and we’re entering that great time of year for creepy films. Here is a nice review from our friends at Cinema Head Cheese.
Get cozy late and night and take a trip to Northern Michigan:)
40 NIGHTS (1st in the Quest Trilogy)
Many positive things happening here. I’ve noted that “40 Nights” is released now on Pureflix On-Demand. If you use their service please do take an opportunity to watch the film. Also we’re about to enter into some discussions with Brazil and other territories.
ASHES OF EDEN
Look for “Ashes of Eden” on Pureflix On-Demand also in the coming weeks. We’re also expanding this fine story into foreign territories in the coming months.
CHASING THE STAR (2nd film in the Quest Trilogy)
This past week we watched the 2nd edit and it is almost there. It was much stronger in many places due to small adjustments. My notes were more commenting on how scenes and performances had enhanced. Only a few areas to look at for tweaks but I was so proud of our team. The actors are going to be very happy with their moments. Music beds have started to be constructed and will be tailored once we lock picture.
THE CHRIST SLAYER (3rd in the Quest Trilogy)
Our talks with returning cast has almost concluded and their response to the story has all been extremely positive. We’re also talking to various directors to find that right fit for our part 3. I’m anxious to share further developments as they unfold.
Last week we announced the 2017 release of the 20th Anniversary version of “Knight Chills” that was our first film all those years ago.
Join us here for updates and to see the anniversary trailer here –
That film was so much fun to film back in the day due to our love and interest in fantasy sword and sorcery. It also was announced that a sequel is in active development. We’ll soon be announcing some of the team behind this next adventure.
Jesse Low, our director from “40 Nights” is set to direct with CDI again. We’ve chosen to develop a western property inspired by one we tried to launch several years ago. I’ve enjoyed going line-by-line and scene-by-scene discussing each and working to make it the best we can. I’m exciting to be prepping to go in front of the camera again. This rugged look has not been the easiest with the heat but I’ve survived. We will be making some major announcements here very soon. Maybe as early as next week. Casting talks have started and this week will intensify. I want to take another good solid look at some of the Michigan talent. This film could be the pilot feature for an on-going TV series so casting regionally could be helpful long-term.
I’m reading a script I was sent to consider acting in and what I like was I had NO IDEA what it was about. I thought it was one thing when all of a sudden BAM! I will say that it fits into the horror genre but it is a sub-genre I have not done. It is hard for me to find a genre I have not done. I liked the character but I want to do another read and have a few discussions. Another benefit is I may just be able to sleep in my own bed. NICE:)
I’m going to wrap this up. It is a beautiful day and I’ve got a mid-afternoon soccer match. Our team is having one of its best seasons. I just appreciate the challenge and strengthening of body and will that comes from it all. Challenge yourself, don’t be afraid to fail, give it your best effort.
Keep Clawing your way to the middle!
What a week, what a day… where to begin? We had a blitz of media leading up to the Lansing, MI release of “ASHES of EDEN” that kicked off last night. It will keep playing in theaters for another week and starts the Grand Rapids, MI run on Monday. We’ve received new national distribution offers this week to consider and will keep hitting the theatrical cicles. I think Detroit area is next for this film. We also have a nice support of directors DVD, posters and T-Shirts. Our first night was a great kick off and we had a handful of the stars show to do some signings.
I was with my CDI associate/close friend Dean Teaster who tied the knot last night. It was a great dinner and social and I had one of the best steaks I’ve had in a long time. I tried a bevy of drinks last night and was reminded of my age with a small ache this morning. I was able to meet up with our “Ashes of Eden” keys and enjoy the exciting stories from the nights first showings. So if you have not had a chance to see the film please do. (Look at the CELEBRATION CINEMA websites)
On deck is our final pick up shots for the dark thriller “Bestseller” and we have all those details just about worked out. It will be fun to return and capture these last few pieces. It will included a little bit of in-water work but at least I won’t be bumping my head on ice:)
An exciting drop that I will give you here first is that “Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” will look to launch on Indieflix’s AFTERDARK programming this forthcoming Friday. It is funny with a little sexy mixed into it all. The 1st three shows will be available on there and I think audiences will enjoy this adventure.
We are also about to start shopping “DONORS” which is another thriller starring Niki Saletta best known for “7th Heaven” and also co-stars in our upcoming “The Terrorist”. She does a wonderful job in both films and we are happy to have her artistry.
My parents both had birthdays this past week and we are have a party for my dad today and likely hosting a dinner with my mom first of the week. We’ve been using the smoker and grilling a lot and soon fresh garden veggies will be in abundance. Besides yard work that I need to get done this weekend we are going to put a cleaning on a new purchase. It is an old late 1800’s hutch that Doc Holiday would have been right at home with. It needs a little work but will be a great piece in the office.
My only advice this week for filmmakers or anyone working in art as business – don’t allow yourself to be dragged into peoples drama. Don’t associate with people that will tarnish your good name and work. Let those people isolate themselves and they will burn themselves out. It is funny how when I hear of projects that are disorganized cluster%##@@’s – I’m never surprised to discover that one of those handful of known screw ups is somehow involved. VET people out! If you are going to invest (I didn’t say donate like these social hand out sites) invest – talk to people. I would be happy if anyone were to talk with our past E.P’s because you would hear that we stayed on schedule, budget and handled ourselves professionally. Now, I’m not the only one that runs a tight ship in this area but there are only a few. There are many BS’ers out there trying to tell you what they think you want to hear and others still that will laugh and tell you how disorganized they are as if that is truly funny. No. Funny is when your work reflects your effort.
I need another coffee before going to see how we are going to clean up this old timey hutch.
Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll talk with you all next week. If you go see “Ashes of Eden” feel free to send me your comments here.
It is truly the journey not the destination in the grand adventure of life. A friend of mine who I called to catch up with had news that set me back. His father had unexpectedly passed away. This was the year of starting a retirement and of course he thought he had many more years of enjoying and learning from his father. That was not to be. As I like to say, losing parents seems like losing training wheels. Prior to this I was having my daily issues usually with patience at some timeline that was off or a communication I was waiting upon. I tell people that many folks could not lead the artist’s life whereas you don’t always know where that next paycheck is coming from. Now it is exciting when you get a nice lump sum or you hob nob with some other famous folks but there is a balance to it all. The following day my father and I were to have lunch and he insisted on picking me up. He rolled up on his Harley and we went on a couple hour ride in the country looking at all the places he grew up. Truthfully, it was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. As a young child I use to wait for him to come home from work so we could go for a ride on his motorcycle. It was one of those full circle moments and also a deep appreciation for what I still had in a mentor and a sorrow for what my friend was now missing. So I guess my point is for all you driven artists inflicted with that ego driven urge to create art that will be seen and possibly appreciated – don’t forget what is in front of you. I know my father would likely be happier if I had a normal JOB but he also is proud of the character of his son who can thrive in my environment. I deeply cherish my friends and family and most of them haven’t seen half my films. I’m alright with that because I have my support for that in my fans. I appreciate the personal support that comes in laughter, insight on life and remembering the past. This fills my cup.
TODAY is the premiere of “DONORS” the thriller that I play a shadowy role in:) IF you are in Yuma, AZ area and want to see a cool indie thriller – please do. All info is right here https://www.facebook.com/events/649394905132609/
I want to give a BIG congrats to Niki Saletta who carries that film almost single-handedly.
We are getting close to announcing active development on a new associated film. It will shoot somewhere down South and has some development to finish but script work is coming along. I want to speak to some distributors in the coming weeks about it and also BESTSELLER that fits the demographic.
BESTSELLER is gearing up for planning on our pick up day. We will gather our clips and get this film moving onto the next phase. I’m waiting on the shot list from our director and editor. I’m excited about this because I’ve seen the footage and know what we have and seeing beautiful Northern Michigan even for a day or so will be great.
I had a wonderful email sent to me from an 8th grade history teacher Wade who uses “Wicked Spring” as a teaching aid in his 8th grade students. I think that is one of the best compliments as a filmmaker. That film has played network TV, played in the UK and sold hundreds of thousands of dvd’s and that was made over a decade ago. Now with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War I’m happy that we have made a “classic”. I’ve had a handful of emails from around the country about the performances and the picture of life in that time that we painted. Kevin Hershberger, Curtis Hall, Anthony Hornus – the entire cast and crew can be proud of the storytelling job. It was my grandmother’s favorite film and in a career lifetime you hope to have a handful of these. I recently also had that happen with “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” which could be on its way to a similar status. Strive for this and it may happen – only the audiences can make it so. I know that “Heaven’s Neighbors” has been used in classroom settings to illustrate mental illness. It is a grand ability to entertain and educate. So for crews working hard when the going is rough – if you are working on a project with heart, the right dose of business – you might be part of cinema history. Cast – there is no throw away roles – you should live, love and be the role you take on. This fan mail that included how many young minds were being taught via our storytelling was one of my weeks high points.
My script review continues on a few projects presenting acting offers. All of them are period pieces which is pretty cool in my book. Development continues on a few projects including gathering investors and setting up locations. Our sales team is in talks to bring the CDI library to many new foreign territories. “Ashes of Eden” distribution talks continue. All in all a very productive Spring whereas I’ve been holding court on the patio in the sunshine. I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable long weekend. I think I’m going to smoke or grill my first full duck (Thank you Shane Hagedorn). The garden got tilled (Thank you Stacy Hagedorn for the Mantis use) and I worked on the pond which we will fill today and add some water plants. Spend some time with your love ones and we’ll get back at it next week!
Keep clawing your way to the middle:)
What a great start to the fall with some leaves starting to slowly litter the ground. Tomorrow is the first of our soccer play offs and today we will be talking the dogs swimming again. Last week we did that and it was fun to see Luke (Our youngest furry son) swim for the first time. He did have to learn that you can’t smile and swim at the same time because you drink up water. He learned quickly and it was fun to see him try something new. The garden is continuing to give and it is so nice to have fresh veggies on a daily basis. The eggplants are growing and that will make for a future tasty treat. Let’s get onto some business updates shall we…
It has been an ever-growing stream of resume’s flowing into us for the production of “Bestseller”. This film is really shaping up to be what I believe to be a crown gem of a project. Casting and Crewing is underway and many are people who I’ve worked with our my keys have worked with. Again accountability is the name of the game when it comes to hiring. On a CDI project it is about keeping your drama for your momma unless it is on the screen.
Support departments are about filled and this week will focus on camera, G&E departments. We have our two camera operators filled between our DP and 2nd Camera. Also we are closing in on our final locations and I can say they are all beautiful. Michigan has so much to offer in the way of beauty. So I have been working character development also and I have a creative discussion with our director later in the day. A new website will keep you informed of updates and that is http://www.bestsellerthemovie.com
“Ashes of Eden” released its theatrical trailer and this week I’m excited to show a few of the distributors I work with. I think they will be very pleased and so as we move towards the finish line with this film I’m curious as to the future impact of this story. I’m very proud of all the artists involved and again I think it will be a real feather in the cap for Michigan.
“Supermodel Showdown” gave a sneak peek to 3 different interested parties and all three were extremely positive. We may have a deal looming behind the completion of the 1st three shows. Seek out SUPERMODEL SHOWDOWN THE COSTA RICAN ADVENTURE on Facebook for some advance news on this project.
There are of course many other pieces moving on the chessboard but these are the major movers of the week. I’m still engaged in some studio story development on a project but the CON to all that is the time in development. Studio or Network projects can carry a nice payoff but also take 3-5 years of development whereas it can get shelved at anytime especially if your executives get replaced. But I’m learning quite a bit on their development process and just taking it as a learning process and not letting myself get too far ahead in my thinking.
Well I’m off to watch MSU for a few followed by that walk/swim with the dogs. I need to recharge the batteries for the countless hours this week on the phone, emails, editing suite.
Have a great weekend!