June has just started and it has been unnaturally chilly and very wet with several storms passing through the last month. The yard is bursting to life with growth and soon berry season will be upon us. I’ve been harvesting rhubarb for wine-making and I think it is time to bottle the HOPPY GRAPE APE wine I made last season. I look forward to sharing some wine in the months ahead. I’ve been enjoying our soccer season and although most of the games have been wet and rainy I’m having great fun. I’ll keep working on the yard that is again the target for a returning woodchuck I named ‘Dig Dug’ 🙂 He caused me to redo the entire front porch of the office/fort with a ground wall, cement, rocks and logs. It looks nice but wasn’t planning on that being the priority. Today if it dries out it will be grass mowing and grilling.
On the personal development front it looks like the new representation for my screenwriting and acting is underway. Paperwork will be exchanging soon and I might’ve had a first writing assignment on a TV show had LOST HEART been on deck. As a first assignment I did not want to try and do too much with all the pre-production at hand. Let’s talk on that…
LOST HEART – We’ll have a locked schedule tomorrow and I’ve already been in first contact with several actors and agents. I hinted last week at the return of Don Most to CDI’s LOST HEART and after my Friday conversation with his agent, another trip to Michigan is happening. He will be starring opposite Melissa Anschutz (Seen above as Mother Mary) who is playing our lead. If my final conversation start of the week goes as good, we’ll be announcing Don with another great co-star.
We’ll be having another production meeting this week with our director Jesse Low and our team. Some crew talks have started and so we’ll be reaching out. All I can say right now is that the location on this project will be beautiful. The lodging and such may be one of our coziest yet. I’ve said it before but aside from getting great footage at the end of the days I want our cast and crew to have a memorable shoot that they can laugh, smile and recall for the rest of their life.
We are interviewing some office staff UPM’s and Prod Coordinator’s so if you think you qualify please do reach out. You will not regret it:) More on this fine project will be announced throughout the month. I look forward to seeing some old faces and meeting a few new ones on this shoot.
I’ve made a lot of updates on WILD FAITH and The Quest Trilogy so today I’m going to pass along a list of some of the foreign territories releasing the films.
FORTY NIGHTS – Brazil, Benelux, S. Korea, Mexico, Romania
CHASING THE STAR – Mexico, Africa, UK, Greece, Netherlands
THE CHRIST SLAYER – Mexico, Brazil, S. Africa
WILD FAITH – Latin America, Benelux
- Digital rental is June 24th for WILD FAITH
These lists will keep growing with each film market. I believe they just returned from the Canne Film Market so we’ll have more territories we will release into. I want to thank our hard working distribution folks. If you are a buyer and your reading this – do reach out to Bridgestone Multimedia Group.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – So I was in studio doing some final narration last week and I also got to hear one of the final pieces of music for MBF’s powerful ending. We’re in discussions with our distributor as we prepare to cut the final theatrical trailer. It is a beautiful thought-provoking story and I think audiences will take to it. We deliver the film June 30th so soon after theatrical audiences will get to watch the film.
We have some other exciting development underway on several fronts. I look forward to the continued release of the trilogy and Wild Faith that might include a few special screenings. I know it will be playing HAPPY TRAILS VA STYLE this Oct. I believe. I will give better date and time once the screening time is set. We will know soon if we will play at the WILD BUNCH film fest. They have wanted the film since we started it. Also some great developments that could push the TV series even further. My new agency-to-be also really likes the film and there might be a few possibilities there to assist as well. I really enjoyed watching the DEADWOOD Movie. What a great world they created. Congrats to all the artists involved with that film.
Don Most looking to return on CDI’s next film “Lost Heart”
I’m going to wrap this up. It was nice yesterday at a family graduation party to see Doug Emerson who follows this blog. Also met another nice lady who had seen THE CHRIST SLAYER in Texas. I had attended a memorial for another old friend prior to that and it was nice to meet some great people. Several of them expressed how much they enjoyed the films. Aside from here in this blog or doing an interview I don’t carry on too much about the films. It is nice to meet some of the people “in person” – and to hear what they enjoyed about our films. Our films have been seen by millions of people over the years but I seldom get to speak directly to them. Know that we do truly appreciate you all taking the time to listen to our stories.
OK. I’m going to go mow the lawn (Movie Star activities:) and fire up the grill.
Have a great Sunday and week ahead.
So we had unusually odd weather reports whereas they were calling for 4-5 inches of snow. Come on now Michigan, it’s almost May. Snow? Inches? This morning I heard our multitude of birds singing this morning outside and upon peeking – no SNOW! Yesterday I did a good amount of prep work outside in the yard prepping for the snow. The property which has had some changes including the addition of a storage shed, is looking right fine. I removed a small pond and moved an outside fire sitting area to make room for our Finn the runner. Also a new dart board is hanging and the first games took place last week.
I want to thank all of you again who follow along each week. I see a few artists from different countries stopped by for a read this week.
In all we have artists from over 80 countries stop by to get inspired. There are 195 countries currently in the world so we have some room to grow still. This past week consisted of various tasks both with family and with the film endeavors. We took another step towards moving into full green light on our new CDI film entitled LOST HEART. Four more of the investor units to move and we’re making a film. We had some great meetings last week so I hope that we can wrap it up this coming week. The sooner that we do this the more preparation time we will have. Lodging, casting, crewing, vendors and flights all need to happen once the ship is fully loaded (Fully financed) and is ready to sail. We are very close:)
Last week I hinted at one of the well known actresses that was reading LOST HEART for one of the lead roles. After speaking with her Friday, I got to hear how she absolutely loved the script. I was told her representation is often quite ‘stoic’ when it comes to projects but that they genuinely enjoyed the script. So I will get an agent intro this week and when we can make a firm offer they are ready. The July 15-31st timeframe is what we are aiming at to shoot at. Don Most who was one of the co-stars in MBF: Man’s Best Friend will be joining us again on this story in a much larger role playing opposite Melissa Anschutz. It is all coming together, I’m just anxious to get scouting, hiring and prepping! I’ve been having fun with a little character creation myself. I will be bringing Niles Cats to the small town of Lost Heart.
WILD FAITH – I have seen the proof DVD (See wrap above) and it looks and sounds great. They are in the warehouses and will start rolling out to retailers May 6th. This is followed by digital purchase and rent in June and Wal-Mart DVD release in July. Thank you to all the support of this film. I know many people want to see the film and those who have already watched it on the big screen want to own it. It’s a good one for the collection. I think audiences will really enjoy it.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – THE CHRIST SLAYER
From one bearded mountain man Ben Lily in Wild Faith to another bearded gent with playing Jesus in The Christ Slayer. I’ve heard from a good many people who enhanced their Easter by seeing this film in the theaters and/or streaming and DVD. I still might have some local event to showcase this film. It was suggested that maybe all three play together so in the coming weeks we’ll explore a few options.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend is close to being done with the first pass at dialog and sound design. We’ll likely be sitting down the 1st week in May to give notes and do a final pass. Meanwhile VFX, color correction are being completed and we’ll be working on a final trailer. I’m very excited about this project and I think audiences will really be taken in by this story.
I’ve got follow-up meetings this week on literary representation that could include acting representation targeting the foreign market. The agency has been reviewing my materials and the response so far has been very enthusiastic. They handle/represent some very talented folks and I would be honored to try this pathway with them.
CDI is also moving towards a few production collaborations that might include a slate of new biblical adventures and more. We have action, sword & sorcery and a few other great genres developing. I need to circle back and finish my SciFi script I have been working on when time permits. But all in good time. ALL these film endeavors are hard to pull together. Experience makes them easier but they are still always hard. We use to have to shop, shop, shop and shop our final films. We use to hit multiple festivals to try and lure a distributor to the table. Now we have theatrical and international distribution partners from the get-go and it can still be a climb. But if you are sincere you have to keep climbing. There is risk and sacrifice at every level. Also where you put your energy becomes more and more important the older you get. PICK YOUR COLLABORATIONS CAREFULLY.
I still see some filmmakers occupying the space where student and upcoming filmmakers exist to learn and grow. I think some stay in this safer space because the big game is much harder. MUCH harder. I’ve been asked why we don’t enter some of the regional film challenges or award events. Simply because that space exists for developing filmmakers to get a few marketing hooks to assist in reaching for that next level. We do attend a few select events if it matches the film property. So if you’ve done well in these events for a while, perhaps it is time to step up. If things start to feel safe that can mean stagnant as well. Just a few words to ponder on.
I’m going to refill the coffee cup. We have a family get together today to cover a handful of bdays that we’ve recently had. Thursday (my new day) is my first soccer game of the season. The change in day is nice because it will give more flexibility to my Sundays that often includes family events. I wish everyone well on their artistic endeavors this week. Keep chasing your dreams. Until next week my friends!
I hope everyone is having a good week. It was a long week filled with sadness, laughter, success and set back. But with my trusty hazelnut coffee I get to sit here and reflect back on some of it with all of you. First, our household has been much quieter with our reduced pack. Two sisters Lulu and Daphne are spending lots of time together. We will be getting another dog for Daphne to help train. She did such a wonderful job with our Luke. We really want to have a new guardian by the time LOST HEART shoots this coming spring. It might happen on the lead up to Thanksgiving since we will both have lots off time to make a new pack member feel welcome and loved.
Speaking on loved ones, cherish them because our shared time is finite. One of our neighbors from our childhood passed away unexpectedly after a brief illness. We got to catch up with childhood friends but unfortunately it came at a visitation. New childhood memories were made with the nice and nephew one night with pizza, pumpkin carving and seed roasting. This coming weekend we’ll have another reunion with my Uncle and cousins but also at a cost. My Aunt lost her short battle with cancer. She was the sun which everything went around and so they’re rightfully having issues adjusting. I am looking forward too sharing stories and laughter with my cousins.
This week I spent a good amount of time communicating with our film distributor as they prepare for AFM. For those not in the knowing it’s the American Film Market. A version of our MBF teaser is going to travel to AFM. The DVD/poster art for THE CHRIST SLAYER is being prepared. WILD FAITH deal is also in the works and I need to find out the details of the theatrical deals.
Part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY – The Christ Slayer is in post sound and music. Also we engaged our colorist for the film’s color correction. That is now underway. We had both Carl Weyant (Longinus) and Melissa Anschutz (Mother Mary) into the studio. A few lines had to be fixed and that process went smooth. We also were treated to some opening music that shows carpenters building wood crosses on the hilltop as Mary watches. With the opening music it is so POWERFUL. I’m excited to have audiences go on this final adventure. Again if you have not watched part 1 or 2 (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star) buy the DVD or stream it from Amazon. Also many other great platforms are carrying them.
WILD FAITH is also heading back into the theaters as the strength and power of this film is being noticed. Our celebrity narrator is looking at availability and paperwork has been sent across. We’ve had various outlets contact us directly over wanting this film. All those communications are being forwarded and soon the entire distribution flow will be announced. Once everything is in their hands we’ll turn our attention back to the TV series.
Also with MBF our military vet/adoption dogs film, I’ve seen about 30 min of the rough film and I’m rather happy with it even in the rough state. It’s a powerful and moving film and something else to look forward to next year. We keep adding more official stills to our Facebook page. Please do stop by to see pics and get updates.
LOST HEART has gotten its first feedback from one of our proposed stars and it was everything I had wished for. We will start moving it out to others to read. I really do love the story and again it is filled with powerful themes.
Speaking of scripts – this past week I wrote a PSA (Public Service Announcement) script and the client loved it. Now I have to prepare a budget because we also might produce it with CDI. Again, we do some commercial work at CDI but it’s selective. I’ve also returned to doing some writing on my first SciFi script, which is beyond fun. I’ve also started to look at a few possible literary agents to help sell a few scripts that I don’t plan to produce.
I also was encouraged to submit to a film shooting in fall 2019 as the bad guy. I sent my materials and if I am what they’re looking at I will read their script and do a short read. I am ready to get back in front of the camera again but it has to be the right project. This year audiences can see me as Jesus again, mountain man Ben Lily and injured marine Paul Landings. I thought maybe the DEAD QUIET film might release this year but it doesn’t seem like it will. This year I did do a commercial gig for “Our Daily Bread” and a music video for musician Trey Conner. I’m about trying something outside my box if the business is good and the project professional. What else will 2019 bring?
One thing I like to do at the end of each year is do a self-evaluation. Look at projects and project your goals for the new year. Look at what goals from the previous year were met and which ones were not. Writing this down so you can actually review next year is a very useful tool. From seed to harvest. Goals, destinations and such are all good but remember to enjoy the journey.
Have a great week and a safe Halloween.
First I want to welcome the new readers from Hong Kong and Singapore. It is a wonderful Sunday and I’m sipping coffee on this chilly morning. Yesterday I did a one-armed mow for the second time. The wrist in a splint and getting stronger each day. The flexibility will take a bit to return but happy it is healing well.
This week I’ll be watching a new visual work link of THE CHRIST SLAYER with most of the VFX inside. Sound design passes are done and we’ll keep refining plus ADR were required. We’ve been releasing new promo as we head into fall here getting prepared for a premiere, theatrical and home video release. Broadcast and digital will be 2/4/18 and DVD 3/4/18. Who is excited to see part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY? See part 1 FORTY NIGHTS and part 2 CHASING THE STAR to catch up.
CHASING THE STAR
Each one is a stand alone adventure but they also have parts that tie into an overall story. It will be fun to see who gets the stories that unfold throughout the three films.
This week had a good conversation with a prod/distribution studio over the series and we might be putting a few of the older titles down a new distribution channel. We’re working to put a narrator on the front and end of the film that would tie into the tv series. We’ve been working this hard so we can close this home video deal. But just like everywhere communication (or lack of) can slow things. But we’re close to wrapping this up and that will allow us to move forward. It will also move us as a company onto bigger and better things.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend
We’re still rolling out some official stills and this coming week our director and DP will be adding some pick up shots. The opening intro has been recorded and they’re working on that. We should have a first cut (edit) end of October and a locked picture in November. I’m excited that our film will be showcased on a new ANIMAL PLANET show called ‘Amanda to the Rescue’ this fall. Here is a story in PEOPLE magazine.
We hope to have the first teaser for you before Christmas:) Ho! Ho! Ho!
Development work is underway. If WILD FAITH had been all wrapped up with our narrator and to the distributor that would give some peace of mind. This deal is more complex because it sets the table for the TV series and more. I’ve been slowed in my personal life slightly with my wrist now out of the cast and in a splint for 3 more weeks. It is slowly getting stronger. Also our furry boy Luke has been undergoing cancer treatment since we were in pre-production on MBF. But I did use the time to prep one of the new scripts working with our distributor BMG. I finished the first draft and have been doing a fine polish. For me this is making it all flow – painting a picture in the mind of the readers. This helps when it comes to translating from page to screen. I’m still looking at a few other writing projects and talking with possible lit agents for a good fit.
I’ve been reading a few in-house scripts and looking at the options. If I can close up the WILD FAITH deal in good time I might look at a winter project but more likely will be spring project. LOST HEART – the script I’ve been polishing is looking like a fall 2019 project. I don’t want to rush it into production we know what happens when that happens. But with THE CHRIST SLAYER premiere and release and end-of-the-year business taxes, I will be busy. I like to take Thanksgiving through Jan. 1st for family activities. My goal is to have TCS ready to premiere by Thanksgiving.
Today I have family over for a cook out and a close friends Bday so I’m going to go get after a few things. I hope you all have a great finish to your weekend and a wonderful week ahead!
The coffee is fresh and hot and I’m sitting here in the lazy boy with all of you on this fine Sunday morning. I want to welcome new readers from the Czech Republic to the blog. I love that as the movies expand our circle of artists expands. The garden got some much-needed rain and is growing fast. We’re already enjoying lettuce for salads and on sandwiches. Also the large dead elm tree we had dropped is finally cleaned up. I spent a few meetings going outside and slowly feeding the outside chiminea and organizing the logs. Wood does not get wasted with the wood stove in the office and in the winter you need it. Also the siding is purchased and has been picked up to do the upper part of the office. I have a small bday/CDI gathering coming up so I did not want to try to do that this week. It will be a nice bday present to myself. I got to watch two good films this week that we’re not my own. One was “Wonder Woman” and I really enjoyed the film. It featured great action, locations and the production design for WW1. I also finally watched “In the Heart of the Sea” directed by my good friend’s son Mister Ron Howard. A great peek at life during that time period and how some thrived and fought to survive by the sea. It was said to be the inspiration behind MOBY DICK. I might have to try and tackle that book again. I fell asleep many times with that film on my chest trying to read it. Two very different films but both had great glimpses into other periods of time.
Let’s talk development first. I’ve been working hard to put everything in order here at CDI as all these great films roll out. Even other older titles are finding new life as people discover our films and potential $ still locked into some of them. The new slate of films I’m working on with the studio is coming nicely but I require another 12 month slate of smaller films until that deal can get going fully. So I might use this time to produce a few films that distributors have been asking for.
Knight Chills the film that kicked off CDI in the late 90’s has grown into a bit of a cult classic. It has been turned into a book that will release on paper and digital this Summer. It will be sold at Comic Cons as well with Source Point Press. I’ve written three sequel scripts now but the first two were too high of budget for what that small little film did. I did discover that it sold with Spectrum Films much better than we thought. The company liquidated and went under and we never recouped all our profits. The film sold again with another minor horror distributor and released to several countries. The bottom line is that a friend of mine in the Comic Con circuit via films, comics, books and graphic novels was a big fan of the film. He asked to write a book off the screenplay and we set up distribution with his Source Point Press. I’ve always thought the entire ‘idea’ could be a great franchise. I think this winter we’ll shoot the sequel. It’s a fun romp in the vein of TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL. They want to do a book on the sequel and expand into graphic novels. Not bad for a little film thought up by the Kennedy’s and I all those years ago.
I’ve also finished a first draft of a new script we’ll produce either this Fall or next in Michigan. The working title is “Man’s Best Friend” and I feel it’s a powerful piece that will find a broad audience. We’ll soon start doing some advance casting trying to find a few of the required roles. I’ve been identifying the 3 new films in THE CONQUEST TRILOGY the BMG follow-up to THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) that will film once again in AZ. I’m also setting up talks with a few entities about the Wild Faith TV series. A few discussions also over literary representation after writing/producing the last 4 films. I’ve done several work-for-hire writing jobs in the past including adapting books to script. Soon I’ll be throwing my hat into the ring with some large production companies. I love to write and so I might get the right team behind me.
Let’s look at a few new updates on the CDI film front.
Forty Nights – I’ve had several buyers, promoters and PR companies contact me over this film and our trilogy and I’ve directed them over to our distributor. I think we’re just at the tip of the iceberg with these films.
The Christ Slayer – This past week we got to see the 1st cut of the film. It was moving to see the 3rd film in this trilogy there on the screen. The film with no color correction, minus VFX and with minimal sound clean up was still beautiful. I also got to see the difference between Jesus in “Forty Nights” and now “The Christ Slayer” to fully see the evolution of the character. That can be said about several of the characters. They have started building some of the VFX modeling since we brought on our VFX folks. We had to get a special piece of equipment from New Zealand and that finally got worked out. Two scenes are still being worked but it will be a worthy add to the trilogy.
Chasing the Star – the film is delivered to our distributor and it is already creating positive dialog. See – http://lenovotips.net/news/The-Star-of-Bethlehem/
I’m excited to see this film pushed during the Christmas holiday season. It’s truly a biblical adventure that I think will help make that story seem more based in reality. I’ve said in many interviews that I wanted to take people behind the figurines of 3 wood or plastic nativity scene wise men and make them breath. I think we’ve done just that and while the film is darker in tone it paints the picture of why a celestial Messiah was sought after. Pre-Order this title when you can and prepare for an adventure.
Wild Faith – VFX work and sound design has been underway. Once music is applied this film is truly going to be something special. I love the film also because of all the special people involved in the making. We stayed in little lake side cabins and created this beautiful story. I do sincerely think that this film is a beginning of something more.
Well, I have a full day. A short flea market stop followed by a visit with my dad. Later if the fields hold we have a soccer match to play. I want to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and father-like figures out there who mentor and guide.
Have a great day and be good to one another.
I love this sandstorm picture. The last few weeks I’ve been working on the follow up film in our biblical series with Lightworx Entertainment. It will be announced in some official development PR soon. The script is called “Chasing the Star” (working title).
Casting has been on-going and I have to say I’ve seen some great talent from around the world. This film is gearing up for an early 2016 shoot.
Staying on the topic of development – it’s an exciting and challenging time. I know what follows the casting, financing, scheduling and development work – PRODUCTION. (Battle Drums) I really take these opportunities serious. A successful project brings continued prosperity for all those involved. It’s a team of people making their artistic mark within set business parameters. If you don’t agree our “tribe” is not for you.
We’ve had exploratory talks (J.M.) that yielded good financial news. This week we’ve had several productive talks with certain keys on some of our upcoming projects. These films have their worldwide distribution deals in place. It’s a new experience working with the distribution studios in advance but I like it. It means no shopping required after the fact which increases production flow. With a good deal that means less financing effort and with worldwide rights pre-assigned – it means moving into development on something new sooner.
I’ve had representation of many types from small local agents to Hollywood big 3. I’ve had managers from many different walks – all with their own ideas of how to promote. Many wanted to mold or change you – following some trend. I think most artists fight to be understood and respected in our business. RULE #1 for someone representing – that is they have to believe in what they are selling. You NEED someone who really GETS YOU. Are you a character actor? A lead? Do they understand why you say YES or NO to a gig? Many agencies are shotgunning talent aiming for anything and everything. I recall years ago when starting out, I asked Bruce Campbell at a sit down with director buddy Mike Kallio, “Any advice on finding a GOOD agent?” to which he responded “Good agent? Good luck with that one kid.” I think he meant finding a good agent was like finding Bigfoot. At another dinner I asked actress Lana Wood the same question. “I’m still looking honey” was her response. I’m saying, if you find that person who believes in you treat that like gold. How many actors would be lured by the grass being greener seduced by bigger agents or opportunities? Be loyal if it’s working. Col. Parker, Peter Grant and others played a large part in the overall success. Art and Business.
She recently had my work put before a well known director. I was presented exactly as I should be and without any BS spin. I think in our faced-paced world just getting someone to stop long enough to see your talent is half the battle.
I will be working to get the release dates on “Donors,” “Bestseller” and “The Terrorist” . “Ashes of Eden” is gearing up for the 13th of October US release. I think we might have a theatrical ASHES OF EDEN re-run just before the DVD/VOD release. Stay tuned.
“40 Nights” is now undergoing dialog polishing. VFX work is underway and sound design/music on deck.
I’m very proud of the last three CDI associated films cast and crew. The Michigan reputation has gotten better with west coast executives but the truth is we have been seen as backwoods. Hey, I love the outdoor association to backwoods. We have our pines, birches, oaks – Michigan is full of breathtaking nature. I’m told, We’re Southern Canadians in many ways. They believe that in Canada because it helps soften the blow when the Red Wings kick on them.
Back to the backwoods and how that relates to the former incentives – let’s be truthful, our cast and crew got fed mostly scraps. There exists exceptions and if you’re an exception – GREAT! Only love. But for most – the jobs offered were much below their true skill level.
The State of the State Now
I think we’ve got great talent in Michigan. We produce good players but often bad teams. I think the competitive in-state nature doesn’t always allow the best collaborations.
– To bring this full circle
Kudos to the crews from the previous three CDI features. But if I’m going to do that I can go all the way back to CDI film one. We’ve always taken filmmaking serious. I knew what Hollywood thought of us even then. We often get labeled as inferior but I know we’re NOT inferior. But to say that isn’t the best way. To show them now that’s the way. I’m pleased by what I’ve seen in the wake of the film incentive death. Some cried and left and others are finding their grit again. As the eye of TMZ moves away from Michigan, so does the vast amount of people wishing to be celebrities versus those working to have their art revealed.
I’ve been filled with compliments recently by “Hollywood” insiders on not only the final product but our dependability. That is something that is such a secret to success. If you cannot keep a timely/on-budget production or post a film within a timely turn around -you’ll likely NEVER make it in a studio system where production funds are granted. They are investing into dependability that a marketing team can work with in unison.
CDI – The Brand
We’ve built a BRAND (Collective Development) that represents diversity, quality and dependability. And we’ve been able to do that because we hire people who take great pride in their work. Hire people who are truly talented, accept accountability and maintains a professional respect amongst peers. I’m just very proud because all these films are built largely upon the Michigan talent pool.
DO IT. DO IT RIGHT.
WE WILL ALL WEAR THE FAME OR SHAME OF OUR UNITED ACTIONS
BE THE CHANGE YOU DESIRE
DARE TO BE FAIR
SAY NO VERSUS GO IF THE SHIP AIN’T TIGHT
ONE STATE TO RULE THEM ALL (Sounds Lord of the Rings)
A STATE OF WINNING (Okay this fun exchange just went Charlie Sheen on me – I’m out-E)
Have a great weekend everyone. HOPS are almost ripe. Maybe time for a warm up cup of coffee.
The year is underway and many business endeavors are moving. It has been a good week of organizing and prepping for new business. I’ve also been getting some good training in for the new year. That is mostly for the soccer field but doesn’t hurt for camera work either. I know many of you are putting your new year resolutions into play. Let’s look at some of the new actions in motion.
1) We are about to PR “7 Stones” now available on VOD.
2) Discussions are underway on a few new biblical films after it was reported that we have the highest grossing biblical film with our distributor. We had some good talks over this property.
3) Our director Shane Hagedorn is in studio doing a music check today on “Ashes of Eden” and we are excited as this film nears the finish line. Early distribution talks have started and many are just waiting to see our full story.
4) “Bestseller” is now officially in editing and we should have a rough cut in about a month. We are all excited to see this film moving to the next phase. I’ve had several good talks about what will follow “Bestseller” and soon we may have a sure direction. I am getting distributor input on all these ideas.
5) I’ve been having some literary agent talks after a recent option/purchase agreement on one of my script properties. I think that scripts that I do not see as an acting vehicle I may consider selling. There will be more PR on this as it develops.
6) We’ve had some interest in possible financing on “Soul Eater” my prequel to “The 8th Plague” so that was submitted last week and now we wait.
7) New foreign territory and TV Network talks started this week. We will see what develops from all of that.
8) I need to get new updates on “Donors” and “The Terrorist” but I know both are very close and will be coming to market this year.
Aside from all this I have been prepping some of the end of the year business work for taxes and such. It is the less exciting aspects of filmmaking but so very important. I hope you all are staying focused and enjoying your first month of 2014. It was a week of steady business and that always leads to something exciting.
Welcome one and all to “Clawing My Way to the Middle” first blog of 2014. It was a wild Christmas holiday with the ice storm and even now we prepare for another Arctic storm to come. I had a good friend come and help me cut up the fallen elm tree which I stacked up. I will say that once it has dried I will have a good amount of firewood. I had to do a little make shift fix to the fence until we can really address it. There was a lot of business that finished at the end of 2013 and some that was just on hold. Let us look at the year ahead so top off that coffee cup and let’s take a look.
In December I was filming later than usual in the year with my acting on “Dead Quiet”. It was a cool okay COLD chance to film with some dedicated folks. I’m curious to see what we created although the first look at dailies brought good feedback. I’m also curious to see the Christmas film I did locally renamed “Small Town Santa” which ties into my next announcement. I had almost sold/produced a Christmas script of my own several years ago. It banged around with some majors and would have easily been the largest script sale I’ve made. I had Hollywood try to do a commercial tween rewrite. I was willing to sell but truly hated that version. When that deal did not go through I put that version in a dark vault never to see light of day again. I kept my version inspired by THE WALTON’S versus the AfterSchool special mess. I held onto it in hopes that either I could do it right or that someone else could. I finally had a studio read MY version and loved it. The option/purchase agreement was made and it is very likely that it will launch this year. A press release is being put together so I will hold on details. I’m starting to look at a few scripts that are not acting vehicles for myself and I might consider a sell. Many like the visual style of the writing and so 2014 will see me put some effort in this area. My agent wants me to look at scripts to sell via them also so I guess I will consider. So if you are in need of a script in a certain genre reach out. You better bring your checkbook though.
I’m starting to continue distribution and studio talks that started at the year’s end. I’ve got some legal meetings this coming week over properties. I’ve got a few scripts to read – one being the proposed follow-up to “Ashes of Eden” with director friend Shane Hagedorn. Post work on ‘Ashes of Eden” is almost complete and “Bestseller” is about to dive into editing. This year will see “Donors,” “The Terrorist” making 1st distribution pushes along with the two films above. CDI will look at more associations and continue the tradition of storytelling. The chances are good that I will be doing a follow-up project “The Beast” with Russ Williams (Darkest Night) and the western “Rifle” with Carl Barbee (Resurrection).
As for acting – the hair got a sizable trim and I’m ready to tackle some new roles. I love the family of folks in front of and behind the camera. In 2014 we will create more stories.
What a wonderful week. I’ve been working with our “Bestseller” team to polish up our accounting, get post work set up and promotions. Our female lead Melissa Anschutz has had some interviews come out and we’ve also released a new batch of pictures. Please check out http://www.Bestsellerthemovie.com and see photos, PR and more. It has been a busy but productive week as I’ve prepped for end of the year work with CDI http://www.cdiproductions.com and our films.
This week was also paying out to investors, getting modest residuals, 1st monies flowing on new projects and so banking and business was a good part of the week. I had to catch up on some producer work that needed my attention when I was away. I also balanced that with lunch dates with both my parents. The past weekend was a great one for me standing up with my brother in his marriage.
I got to see the beautiful color grading work that was being done on “Ashes of Eden”. We’re looking at music and sound design work on Tuesday and I’m really looking forward to that. I’ve very excited to finish that film. I’m told that both “The Terrorist” and “Donors” are also VERY close to being done. 2014 will have these features along with “Bestseller” come to audiences worldwide.
The first of the film’s we recently licensed to Germany, Austria and Switzerland rolls out this month. The Civil War film “Wicked Spring” is releasing as “Virginia 1864” and I’m excited for this and the other CDI library to gain a greater international audience. “Locked in a Room” and “Darkest Night” will also both be releasing there.
I’ve also been working with my LA agent to prep my materials for presentation on a few studio projects. I’ve been in touch with a few casting agents this week and I’m looking at a few projects for acting. I can say after “Bestseller” that I’m warmed up! That film is some of the best action and intensity I’ve put to screen. I was ready for a break upon wrap but already the body is healed and the heart is starting to wonder…”what next?”
We’ve got a few projects being presented here and there for possible financing. I had good talks over the western I’m looking to star in today and I know that will be a great story to tell. Above and beyond all the film work past, present and future I’ve been building a wind break for our little Red Wood tree “Red” and dealing with some leaves. Today we went to a few estate sales and got a few great pieces for the house and office. Well, I didn’t forget about all of you out there. I was a little late posting because I had to watch MSU play while getting a few other things done. Thank you so much for tuning into what is happening over here as I keep clawing my way to the middle:)
Have a safe Saturday. A peaceful Sunday and productive week.
A wonderfully productive week. Outside the temps went from steamy HOT to chilly cold, welcome to Michigan. Last night was a straight up fall feast at my fellow filmmaker and friend Dean Teaster’s house. BBQ ribs, corn, sweet potatoes, homemade applesauce, salad, cornbread…I was FULL! We had great discussions about some future film plans. Also it is exciting to note that “Ghost Town” is gonna do some theatrical play in Michigan likely in November immediately following the “Ashes of Eden” premieres. So it is going to be a wonderful fall and I’m equally excited about the thriller we are prepping to shoot. Above the line contracts are about done and keys will start to get their paper this week. The vendor talks are underway so we can get some tools for our artists to play with. I’m very excited by the artists that we have on board and once again we are going to do what we do. That is tell a good story. I’ve been really spending some time digging into the character development of a highly complex role. It will push me to some extremes and I’m happy to do so. I truly do leave it all out there with every role opportunity and this will be no different.
I had some communications on a previous film opportunity that I trusted my instincts with and passed on. It seems that was the proper thing to do as films take strong prep to make happen. How much money would you accept to charge out of a trench into the face of an onslaught of gunfire. Yes. You get my graphic point. As I’ve stated prior, I really can’t worry about every other journey being taken. People will learn at their own pace and others will work themselves out of the industry when there is nobody left to buy their BS.
I may have one small journey after the thriller. A western I’m attaching is financing a test shoot in New Mexico before putting up a much larger chunk of cash for the entire shoot. I’ve been ask to play a lead in the test shoot and the film. It will be nice to be in the 1800’s once again.
The editing on the 1st three shows of “Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” is close to finishing. Another week from this Tuesday and they should be ready to show. It is a fun entertaining show and I think people will enjoy it.
“Ashes of Eden” music and sound design is underway and so soon we will have a finished film. This same final sound design and mix is almost done on “DONORS” another thriller feature with my producer buddy Charles P from Yuma, AZ. That is exciting. I’m about to introduce a campaign this coming week to promote the triple dose of terror with “Deadly Renovations,” “Locked in a Room,” “Darkest Night”. These three films would all make for an enjoyable scary night. You can also throw in “GPS,” “The 8th Plague” and/or any of my earlier scary films as well. I love this time of year also so open a six-pack of pumpkin or apple ale and get SCARED!
I have to upload some acting clips and send my agent some photos for promotion. My new LA agent is to try to land the occasional studio film. With the new Superman/Batman film coming to MI who knows. Well, I’m about to get on some breakfast of bacon and eggs. I have to put a mow on the yard before the MSU game starts. We are going to fire up some chili for dinner. Tomorrow is 2nd round of the soccer play off. We are playing a tough team but we will give it the old college try to try to land the win. Tomorrow is also the monthly flea market that is always fun. I always seem to come across some interesting thing that I probably didn’t really need but enjoy anyhow. Enjoy the weekend with family and friends!
Well I spent a good day and a half with no wireless internet. Comcast just came and gave the major upgrade/overhaul and now things are working great. I had to stumble through a slew of email business exchanges via my phone and I apologize now for the random misspellings that likely made it seem that I had suffered a stroke. It has been a beautiful week outdoors with only one day hotter than I truly enjoy. Our garden is yielding its 1st tomato’s and after a good mow today everything looks great. It has been a semi-busy week that I tried to balance out with some good downtime just to ponder and think. Never underestimate the power of the quiet mind. You must make that time for yourself to think outside the mind storms that so often threaten to swallow us and our focus.
The more that I’ve refocused energy on my home state the more hmm… disappointed I’ve been on the state of things here. (In our film business) I love Michigan and am proudly, a life-long resident. I think that entitles me to have an opinion. I’ve been accused before of not really taking as much of an interest in my home state’s film industry. I think that is only partially true and comes with a major clarification. I really do feel that I’m in a Collective worldwide with groups of sincere artists. I don’t see lines on a map and boarders of state and country, as much as I see A) sincere storytellers OR B) fame-chasing bullshit artists. I know well the reputation we can get as Michiganders. I’ve got almost two decades working in this business and some years prior as a struggling artists. I’ve taken my journey step-by-step with no shortcuts or huge helping hands. I’ve fought hard by my ACTIONS, not words, to change how people think about Michigan. I know to a circle of industry people they know myself, they know CDI and they know the companies and projects we associate with and that is what they think of when they think Michigan. Our ACTIONS have earned us the positive associate with our state.
I unfortunately have been privy to the other side of the coin. The pecking order, name dropping, fake it until you make it mentalities. Insecurities by many of our state’s artists that create division vs unity. I’ve been made aware of some of the painful decisions by certain individuals /companies over the years. Situations whereas some half-heartedly take on projects without a real clue to what it takes to successfully complete something. As long as they can wear their shades, talk on a blue-tooth and pretend they know what is happening – all good.
Some of the best artists out there are not the loudest talkers because they are in action. They are asking themselves, “How do I complete my art and make it fit into a business world?” Others talk the talk but seldom walk the walk. So I guess my interest/our interest as a company really is on the right collaborative fit and the character of the people, not the place they call home. You would think Collective Development Inc. says that all in its name. As a company we’ve spent millions of dollars outside our state and also a good amount inside our state. Sometimes it is the story that dictates location and sometimes business decisions do play in. I see many frustrated artists sound off because they can’t get any financial traction but they still want to only focus on the art/show/fun vs the business aspects. If you don’t do it as a business you do it as a hobby. Nothing wrong with that either. I make wine but I don’t own a vineyard. I play guitar but I don’t get paid to do so- They are hobbies. If you’re a hobby filmmaker who hates business – I would say avoid investors and focus more on donations like fundraising sites. Make stuff for fun and festival showings. Just don’t create disasters in the investor pools by piss poor management. When a project can’t even make it to market – to fail or succeed by an audiences vote to buy, that is ultimate failure. Now failure in itself can be a positive if you learn from it. If you accept it and embrace accountability and consequences. I’ve been witness as of late to some of this damage done and it really disturbed me. I wasn’t as mad but more sad because I know how hard it is to get established. I also know how small this industry truly is and how a few bad decisions can end careers.
As I pointed out last week – some careers being ended could be good for the whole. When we first started out and were given an opportunity – we gave every ounce of effort we could squeeze out. Even with that full effort we made our share of errors and had to overcome issues and setbacks. Now when you see folks “half assin’ it” (My dad’s favorite saying), it’s just disheartening on many levels. Usually because someone nearby would treat that opportunity like gold. I’ve always done that when I say YES to some project. I always go into every film as if it could be my last. I have come to realize that some people claiming passion don’t really care about the work as much as they just want others to respect them. Hard lesson but still very simple – Respect is earned! You can’t buy it, demand it or find it. It’s earned! Make a movie under respectful conditions and you’ve earned the respect for life. I’ve lost a lot of respect of some folks just by observing, listening, reading and watching. I want Michigan to be respected for the great artists living and working here. You are defined by your character and in turn help define us all as a whole. You will be defined by your actions.
Off the SoapBox – Other Film Updates:)
– Strong movement on “Supermodel Showdown” and with new footage – we’re making it even more compelling. Cool first TV series for sure.
– German sales deal moves into final delivery stages on our 3 films licensing to those territories.
– Awaiting MFO approval on a project – Shoot OR push that is the question. It all depends on how fast these ducks line up BECAUSE pre-production doesn’t happen with a wave of a magic wand. This project if it goes this year will employ many actors. Please do get your reels of previous drama work ready. If it moves ahead we will be moving fast. If you have reels I plan to eliminate many of the hoops and cast from reels with possible interviews. We will treat you as professionals but be ready like professionals.
– CDI announced new production deal on “Bestseller” and major re-organization underway. Some of the previous management on this project inspired some of my opening blog statements. Not all of them. I will also be announcing an on-screen role. I was offered a role in the film and after 3 days of consideration I accepted. I’m excited about this and I think fans will really enjoy it:)
– GREAT movement on ASHES OF EDEN. We had a good 30 country radio interview this past week. New theatrical trailer almost done. Dialogue edit almost done as music and sound design continues.
– Development of new relationships with networks continues. Working on some new HBO development.
– I did get a last-minute call from a director friend (J.B.) shooting some B-Roll in Lansing for a cool UK Sci Fi drama shooting in Michigan. I stepped in and did a great cameo doing something on camera that was a first for me. It was a cool character and a cool scene. I was a little jacked up with energy on Take 1 and gouged my finger fast drawing a pistol. I guess if you ain’t bleeding – you ain’t working hard enough.
I will also be announcing that I have a new run going with a theatrical agent in Hollywood. I wanted a foot there because I am going to work into maybe a studio picture a year. I’ve had many of my A list crew friends working studio films in Hollywood ask why I wasn’t wanting to work on studio films. I’ve been fond of the diverse, unique filmmakers I’ve gotten to collaborate with in the indie world. I keep working based on people who know my work on and off-screen. I don’t play Hollywood BS games very well and so if the best ass kisser is gonna win – well, it won’t be me:) Ass kicker maybe:) But the agents think my art is strong enough and if the studios are looking for a new face – cool. Otherwise I’m just continuing to grow my audience film by film – country by country. Either way is fine or a nice mix:)
“Locked in a Room” is part of a fall “8 Horror Films” set at Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, K-Mart and other fine places. I think $10 or under and we share billing with several other stars showcasing their scary goods. It is getting scary movie season and I’ve put 3 out there and you can go back and watch even early classics if you so choose.
Some of these notices will be explained in more detail in forthcoming PR but I like to give all of you the advanced scoop:) Enjoy your weekend! Nice job by the LIONS also last night!
Welcome to Feb. everyone. We are past the holidays and off to a great start. Before I get into some of the exciting updates I wanted to share a story. Many years ago when I was just starting this journey I knew this young girl. I knew her from the acting workshop that ultimately led to my 1st starring film role. The years that followed opened more doors but she was having trouble getting her first footholds. She was a blonde bombshell type that you might find on BAYWATCH or such. The girl could really act and really sing but her appearance made most see that first. I remember telling her over a game of pool that she would have to work twice as hard to get people to see past her boobs. It was true. I saw Bruce Campbell at an event climb over a table to come meet this young lady who arrived with a few friends. She had that appeal but still could not land that dramatic role she needed to showcase herself. She decided she wanted to go to Hollywood. I told her as hard as it was she should really try to get her experience in secondary markets before going Hollywood. She had her heart set on going and so I told her she had to be focused. Hollywood is like a full time spring break for young people. It is where wanna-be actors from around the world come with dreams in hand. They have what I call actor ghettos out there. Basically it is expensive out there and so aspiring actors live in certain areas. They usually party and talk about finding agents, finding a gig, blah, blah. The point is more talk than action. My 1st trip to LA I was invited. I went to read for Wes Craven and I stayed in one of these areas. In two weeks people were amazed because I had done more in two weeks than they did in two years. I don’t think I am more special than anyone I just have a focused way about me. I think that is from martial arts. So I told this girl don’t get caught into these traps. The trap of young people putting play before work. All night parties that lead to late wake ups that lead to day long hang overs that lead to food, coffee and where is the next party. They bitch about the unfair system that keeps a person down. I can’t get an agent. I never get the role. I can’t get a break because of…. never was there accountability. So I fill this girl up with as much common sense wisdom my immature self can muster. She heads out to grab her dream. Three weeks into her move I get a call and she was now dating some musician from a well known rock band. Long-short is that a handful of years later she is cast aside for a younger rock groupie. She has not done a single film but she has done every destructive drug possible. Her “glow” had faded and while she is still pretty she is now older and cannot compete with the better resumes. She moved back and spent more time here chasing cocaine and the next party. She ruined her image at a company party by asking around for “meth”. She moved here and there and I would occasionally get the call asking if there was any acting parts. Yes. I want to risk investor money on a worn out looking girl showing wear and tear of a woman twice her age. A flakey drug addict that may or may not show up somewhere. The last time I saw her was years ago at a local bar where I had gone to meet a few friends during the holidays. She was a hot mess and full of regret. I recall the words of encouragement I shared and wished her well. She was living in Florida but was home on holiday. Years go by and nothing from her. I finally got a phone call a few years ago saying she had moved back to Michigan and was working at her church. She said we should catch up and party a bit. I was not in that mode and surely did not want to feed that. My career path has not been easy and if you are not a hard worker you will fail. I never called her back but emailed her something to the effect that I was glad she was back in-state and getting her life together. I mentioned maybe coffee sometime but I did not follow up. I think because she was still asking about acting and I did not want to hurt her feelings – I never met up with her. I would not be hiring her anytime soon for an acting role knowing all that I knew already. Years clicked by and unfortunately the only time she sprang to mind was when I saw an AOL story on before and after of METH. Well recently I found out that she died in 2011 at age 33. They did not mention how but it had to be drugs either by accident or purposely. I found this out only this week. I was having a day of slight frustration waiting for this deal to close or that. It took me all the way back to the beginning. I wanted to tell this story on here because if it saves even one person it will have served a purpose. I see many of the same type of people looking for short cuts to stardom. So heed my words. Remember the solid words of the hard working people around you. Love yourself. Thank you for listening.
TO MOVIE NEWS.
A deal has been made for the inspirational film “Figure in the Forest” and the powerful Civil War drama “Wicked Spring” to play on the Parables Network. It should start playing later this month and I’m proud to have these films going out to new audiences. We will be working additional distribution deals on these and all our films.
We will also be announcing that “Deadly Renovations” is going to vudu VOD platform expanding the release of this film even more. The film is also opening an AZ festival by special invitation. Pre-sales on “Locked in a Room” and “Darkest Night” will be starting this month. “Benjamin” is playing the Long Island Film Festival in March also. April 19th with be the theatrical and DVD release of “Realizism” in Grand Rapids, MI.
Today I’m going out to look at “Ashes of Eden” editing work. The trailer has created a lot of buzz and it should. I think it really gives a powerful peek at what the film is about. Also we will be discussing future collaboration between our companies.
I hope you all have a fun and safe weekend. Enjoy the Superbowl with family and friends and have a great month.