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

Posts tagged “Anthony Hornus

Deceleration Into Life From Set Life –

Some of the amazing extras who helped tell our story “Silent Night in Algona”

I’m sitting in MY chair with a hot cup of hazelnut coffee. Outside is my first Michigan snow. For me if it’s going to be cloudy and overcast, give me snow. It’s pretty and brightens everything a tad. Now I know I have friends here from VERY warm places that don’t get snow. Now snow is quite magical and that first one always brings thoughts of those days as a kid and will various pets that made that so special. Catching snowflakes, snowball fights, snow angel and sledding. I have a few stories of drunken skiing with my cousin Jerry including one epic fence-destroying trip to one of the small ski mountains. The key to snow is being prepared. This means layers and layers and mind the gaps. -By that I mean where pant legs and boots meet. Where coat sleeves and gloves meet. Where neck might be exposed and of course a solid winter hat. We learn that as a young child from bus stop stays. This continued to elementary school recess that was always an outdoor adventure of ‘king of the mountain,’ snowball wars and snowy football games. In our secluded ‘Lord of the Flies’ neighborhood even more snow games were abound. Sledding was legendary that included a few ramps/jumps that would make Evel Knievel smiles with pride. The afterglow of our cold adventure was a round of hot chocolate, marshmallows optional. At night the even more fun and dangerous snow mobile pull of the sled around the plowed fields nearby. Kind of like being pulled on a tube behind a boat but the bumps and trees made for quite the challenge. I recall at least one time staying too long in the frigid and having to run my hands under warm water, the ache returning with feeling. I hope for my friends living in the no-snow zones I painted a little picture of living with frozen water.

One of the wonderful farms we filmed on – note the sky.

In Algona while filming “Silent Night in Algona” #SNIAthemovie we saw our actual first snowfall. Iowa and Michigan are alike in many ways but have their differences. We seem to have more variation in our landscapes where Iowa has lots of corn. To their credit I did see some hilly places and the sky there was just amazing. Maybe it is the less pollution or any number of factors but our location photos and our film itself captured these many awesome skies.

This project was ambitious as most of the #tribecdi projects are. I believe you have to reach to grow and so we often pick projects with various elements not easily obtained in independent films. Or with independent budgets might be a better term. Any project that takes us from our home state is more expensive. We found basic logistics to be a challenge and in hindsight a better battle plan can always be seen. The script could have been a touch shorter and we did tighten in a few places. The script was the final version that I had consulted heavily with my friend/co-star and mentor Rance Howard. He was a stickler on the farming techniques and perspective of 1940’s citizens. We went in with a battle plan and a tribe of artists. We spent months casting the “right” actors from around the country. This is a big part of directing and our producers work hard with our director and it showed in this production. But we had a large cast and with flying and lodging this is a major cost also. But the actors that signed on were there for the story. As a screenwriter I’ve never been more proud of all the feedback on the script. It was from 14 years earlier and is not perfect (is any?) and even in my own scene study I found a few ‘subtextual’ issues that I corrected. But we had the pleasure of knowing what was coming from the auditions. Now put those same amazing actors in proper wardrobe, locations and – MAGIC! MOVIE MAGIC!~

The actors were all on point and we captured some incredible cinematic magic. By capturing I mean our amazing crew. At CDI we work hard. Movies are hard. Bad movies are hard to make which is why I always give points for even bad films. Finishing deserves credit. Finishing with quality that passes worldwide QC (quality control) is worthy of kudos. But creating something handcrafted that has the story power to last decades is – a reward that you receive only after audiences have celebrated a story for many years. I think this film will be one of those. We at CDI are shooting for nothing short of a holiday classic. We made our go at that with THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) three biblical stories told together from a unique perspective. These films have been growing an audience for many years and are on their way to becoming a classic. You can watch the three films streaming on many platforms and in many countries.

One of our films that we produced with our former sister company Lionheart was WICKED SPRING. That film now managed by CDI is 20+ years old and is still entertaining audiences. It’s also getting a new release on HD/streaming and is a good example of a film that is a true classic. Unique in its perspective with roses and rocks thrown at it but a story that has kept audiences coming back from the earliest days on VHS and network TV. (I still have a VHS copy from TV with commercials)

WILD FAITH is another film on the way to classic status. We can cement that with the production of the WILD FAITH: Hastings tv series. We are adding the film to the title to help assure our tens of millions in fans can find the upcoming series. I’m looking at back half of the year to produce the 8 shows that make up season one. I will be getting on that business asap once I can get caught up on my SNIA (Silent Night in Algona) business. A few discussions were had but again the #1 thing is that the story is told proper. This project has suffered from bad studio/network notes in the past and has moved past those to become a film loved by many. So we will stay true to our story and find the right partners. If it isn’t broke don’t let others try and fix it. We will get this made and audiences will see some of their favorite 1800’s characters back in action. Giddy up!

LOST HEART versus BIGFOOT, UFO’S & JESUS – this film under both titles is doing really well with audiences. The film is such a charm that it has so many levels and layers of story that really should appeal to most audiences. It was kind of an experiment but so far I think it has been good one. It is another great holiday season watch. It also has some great music in the film from Roanoke and The Cash Collective (John Carter, Ann and their family). Worthy of a watch if you are trying to catch up with some of the CDI films. Melissa Anschutz shines as the lead and Josh Perry shows his dramatic and comedic mastery.

RETURN TO ALGONA-

Melissa Anschutz and Josh Perry are both back in SNIA. They both bring such fascinating characters that will once again inspire. Josh Perry left people in tears with his performance which isn’t a surprise at all. Josh doesn’t wave a “Down syndrome” flag ever but I’m just so damn proud of him. On two occasions I’ve observed individuals with Down syndrome observe Josh and you could see boundaries in their minds fall. Josh ‘The Ponceman’ Perry is a movie star make no mistake about that and these young people saw what they could achieve. Josh is an inspiration by his actions not his activism. Maybe there is a lesson in that.

I had a chance to meet more fans of MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND and I’m so pleased that the film sits so well with veterans. I hope that all of you will take a chance to watch this CDI story told by ‘SNIA‘ director Anthony Hornus. One of the hard drives is being sent to our editor Nathaniel Nose who is also supervising the VFX. Our director is upgrading his computer to allow better footage review. Our DP Dan Chipman is doing some rough assembly to seek out and identify some of the pieces of the story caught on the fly. Also the first batch of photo stills is being drawn out and color corrected to help become a color template for the films final look. We have been rolling out BTS stills captured by many of our cast and crew but the real GOLD is coming.

Also this week I’ll be taking a hard look at the feature projects in development. We plan to shoot a CDI feature this Spring before we roll into pre-production on the WILD FAITH TV series. I started to have some first talks about the next CDI feature which could become plural, features pending a few discussions. I have a few development meetings that will nudge things one way or another. But with both SNIA moving into post as BEST YEARS GONE continues its theatrical (last day today in Lansing at Celebration Cinema) before prepping for home video. Also FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is in final post mixing before we start a release schedule on this documentary. We will have a meeting over this property this coming week. We should be doing a final watch through in a few weeks. From there a premiere will also be discussed. But…not until it is done. And we just might be doing another documentary in 2022. As this year closes a new one lies right over the horizon. This week will be tying up more loose ends on SNIA, planning 2022 schedule, end of year dispersement and tax prep and writing. I love to write when it is cold and snowy and I know I have some days ahead of me. I have several properties/scripts I’ve been working on and a few possible work-for-hires so we’ll see with all of that. We have the Christmas tree up after I donned winter warrior Michigan gear and saw. Today we might add lights and another night the bells and whistles. I might go light a fire in the stove at the fort to finish settling back in. I have totes everywhere as I prepare to stow the gear until our next film adventure. Stay warm and be good to one another!

DJ


Saturday Will Be Blogs Until Thanksgiving – Hello ALGONA!

We are at the end of our pre-product week here in Algona, Iowa. We have the MSU vs U of M game on the TV which we work away. Saturday is our day off during the shoot but as you know us producers don’t really get a “true” day off. So from now until Thanksgiving I’m going to be doing my blog post on Saturdays. We started doing Saturdays off several shoots back since it allows crews to have more options open to take care of day to day things like mail, laundry and such.

Our pre-production caravan hit a small snag about 4 hours from Algona when the main RV filled with wardrobe and props had a belt break. The ‘Rambler’ was brought to rest in a parking lot of a grocery store. We had a friendly ex-Marine mechanic who agreed to meet us there in the morning. We sent our director and UPM ahead and I stayed in the RV with our Transportation Captain and Armorer. The Rambler lost power and so after an improve guitar jam fest we slept in the freezer, I mean RV. I got cold but after putting a few WW2 wool blankets over me, I was not going to freeze. Our Marine came to our rescue on a day that started pouring and continued all day. He really saved the day and we got to Algona the next day a bit sleep deprived but safe and sound.

BEST YEARS GONE which was just delivered to our distributor is prepping for their home video release campaign in early 2022. Meanwhile we have more opportunities to play the film theatrically and are working on those dates now. We also might have a special screening one night here on a day off for the cast and crew. Some really great news coming on that front.

WRAP UP – This morning was the last day of pre-production and the morning started with a haunting fog over the lake and now we have some beautiful sun. We had three days of rain but now for filming we’re suppose to have a week stretch of nice weather. Jeeps, trucks, extras and more all coming together to help create our world. We had first airport pick ups with actors flying in from all over the country last night. The remaining crew will also be rolling in today and prepping for an exciting day 1. We are filming our first 4 days in a historic park with a period farm. I’m so proud of all the departments which are all now humming along. This is going to be another great story. Fans of Anthony Hornus’s MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND will love this new film. He has been working hard to pull the vision together. I will update you all for the next couple Saturday’s versus Sundays on the filming. I know this journey in storytelling will bring new friendships together that will last forever. Speaking on friendships – cherish them just like family because sometimes you don’t know when some will leave us. This week we found out our good friend Pappy, David Papenfuss passed away. Mere hours later I found out that one of our childhood neighbor’s husband, also passed. He use to work for an airlines and if I’m not mistaken he might have given me a flight voucher back in the day for one of my early Hollywood trips. Either way, both passed away from Covid and so while things are getting better please do be careful. I saw Pappy at an afternoon get-together on my birthday. He once again brought me a musical card as that was his thing. I have Star Wars, Superman and Indiana Jones cards from him. Little did I know that the last one was the last one.

Cherish your loved ones.

DJ

RIP ‘Pappy’


Happy 4th! Crazy 8 Updates (NEW Trailer)

(Gil Gilles and Sylvia say have a Happy 4th and don’t drink light beer!)

Good morning and Happy 4th to you all! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee as the morning started chilly but is suppose to get warm today. This day is about the Independence of the ole USA. A pretty incredible nation has been created but it was messy and not an easy task. The trials and tribulations continue but I will say having traveled many places in the world that we have it good. I didn’t say ‘perfect’ but good is something many of us have been able to build upon. This past week we had some storms bad enough with tornado sightings that many took to their basements. I’ve been studying WW2 for our upcoming Nov film and can’t imagine dealing with air raid warnings and yet many countries still do. The great thing is that anyone can grow up to make a change. That opportunity, not promised but it can be earned, found, imagined. I have to admit to liking the competitive space race amongst the private sectors. Add a dash of national space race and I really think I might get to enjoy space travel in my life time. Instead of just sitting on their earnings they are pioneering and that is exciting. The UFO report was released minus the national security aspects given to congress. That is also promoting much talk and speculation but I think the good thing is that the mystery objects could now provide recognition vs ridicule for scientist.

It has been good to be engaging in family and friend get togethers again. Catching up on missed birthdays and such gatherings. I hope all of you have enjoyed some of these gatherings and better appreciated the company of one another. Our own property has hosted a few gatherings and I enjoy keeping it rustically groomed and harvest the bounty of berries and such found on the property. But the other day after mowing 1/3 the yard the mower and I got caught in one of those downpours of rain. It just did not want to start after that and I tried all kinds of “online” tricks and such. I literally pulled the start cord 300 times trying to get it started. I got a little obsessed followed by #@!#^%$ which had my arm feeling like I had down super sets in the gym with one arm. That morning after a few sips of coffee the challenge set in again. I marched out and with my left arm (fresh and strong) but 50 increasing pulls yanking the rope out of the machine with a roar. Mechanics and technology are not my strong suit. Apparently wrecking shit is. The long short was a decommissioned mower whereas maybe the motor kept for a go-cart but a new mower was ordered. It is sitting here and I’ll be putting that together. It is an electric vs gas after going that direction with my weed whipper. The gas one always had be tinkering vs whipping weeds.

Let’s look at some of the top ten updates from the films here at CDI

  1. Plans might be soon underway to have ASHES OF EDEN joining BESTSELLER with a new BMG Global campaign. This was the first CDI collaboration with Shane Hagedorn who recently directed the upcoming BEST YEARS GONE. Did you see the trailer? Did it grab you? Make you laugh? Join us and follow us here at the FB site and watch the trailer. https://www.facebook.com/Bestyearsgone/videos/942523879863374
  2. More WW2 casting sand crewing choices and we will look to start putting agreements under folks end of July/start of Aug because we have an Aug scout trip to Algona coming together. We met over the agreements because film projects are really a web of interconnecting agreements. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA follow along on Facebook for all the new updates.
  3. BEST YEARS GONE premiere events are forming up and I have theatrical talks in the next couple weeks. We are going to do a badass spectator drag race and outdoor screening of the film SEPT 11th you are getting advanced notice. A theatrical premiere will also happen in Owosso, MI at the NCG and I will let you know on dates soon but it will also be in Sept maybe the 18th, 25th? Not sure yet. Stay tuned! We plan to film and broadcast this all out at a later date like we did with the LOST HEART premiere at the Double JJ Resort.
  4. BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS – A fun title for a fun film that also includes some serious drama. That said, it will leave you feeling uplifted by the time the credits roll. Take a look for yourself because seeing is believing:)
  5. MANS BEST FRIEND the surprise awards at the ICVM were talked about last week but yesterday at a family gathering I was sitting with a just retired motorcycle mechanic. Nearly 7 feet tall (really) and use to be with a biker club and is polite as you get. Often quiet and soft spoken he told me he saw my movie MBF. Now his best friend is his dog who hangs in his garage as he creates and fixes. He said it really got to him and that he thought I did a really excellent job as Paul. I told him while the law might often regard dogs as property, dog owners know better. They are family that make each and everyone of us better. To be frank, that one kind comment letting me know our story had touched his heart was better than any award. The awards do tell me that many have enjoyed our story and been touched enough to recognize it. We are thankful and for those unaware, the next WW2 film in Nov will be directed my MBF director Anthony Hornus. I know once again we will create something special with a small army of artists and supporters.
  6. SMOKE & MIRRORS VFX should be almost complete. I hope to see something final soon. I’ve also been finding some time to work on this feature. After doing the short I broke apart the feature script and I’m reworking it based on some things I saw while filming the short derivative.
  7. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – Some of you know my life long love and practice of the martial arts. Inspired by my education of Catch-Can by Curran Jacobs we set out to trace the origins of the art. And to showcase the branches of the art as it extended into college wrestling and professional wrestling. Also the doc showcases the colorful factions that are reviving the art because of their love of it. Today at 1:00 pm the 1st trailer will be released to the public. It will release on the ‘For the Love of Catch’ Facebook site and Curran Jacobs (our director) social media sites. It will go PUBLIC at 1:00pm is my understanding. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkISvIrv4hU&list=FLDu-wRzCwru4EOPLvW0HClg&index=2 I’m very proud of the work that our team has done on this documentary. So enjoy the sneak peek.
  8. WILD FAITH / HASTINGS – So I watched this film for the first time in a while as I polished up the coverages of the TV series. I was reminded of the beautiful camera work and music and the wonderful world we created with the Murphy family and friends at the heart of it. The TV series brings many of those beloved characters out more while introducing new ones. I’ve set up and had a few great conversations that has brought things closer. I have continued talks this week but I think my goal of having the series green light by the end of the year just might happen.

There you go – your Crazy Eight Updates! I have a new mower to assemble and I’m going to do a few yard things. Okay maybe nap in a hammock. I hope you all continue to have a good time with family and friends. Be thankful for being able to spend time with them again. Relax. Laugh. And after a good rest get back to your tasks with a renewed focus. Just keep walking your path and you just might surprise yourself with how far you travel.

Until next time.

DJ


Awards, Updates and Insights – Last Days of June 2021

I’m going to have to build a boat if it keeps raining like it has in Michigan. We actually had 3 tornado warnings yesterday. The yard is now a jungle and once the rain lets up a mow will be badly needed. The only damage is I had to put log supports under the raised garden beds. Between the weight of the beds and the wet ground we had a sinking issue that threatened to topple one of the beds. Our house is on high ground with a good amount of sandy soil so no ponds forming. I’m happy that we’ve had no water in the house issues. I feel for the many that are having such issues – water damage is not fun.

I’ve had a busy week and used the rain as a reason to chain myself to my desk. I had nearly 100 checks to write on several projects for investor dispersement. Next week I will check addresses with folks and start to send those around. I really love being hands on and it really keeps me in touch with the projects. We have MANY film updates but I’ll start with a discussion on a common issue in all areas of business.

Negativity – Accountability – Best Efforts

Bad Mouthing, Shade, Hate – known by many names it is all powered by the same toxic traits. I don’t engage in the back and forth. I’ve seen many online arguments that have just gone on and on and on and on and on…I’m always thinking that a novel, screenplay, business plan or pitch could have been written using the same time and energy. I think because I will not waste time that is one of the reasons I just outwork people. While during the Covid and political divide spilling out everywhere with everyone having opinions and willing to share them – I wrote the first season of the ‘Wild Faith’ tv series. Eight shows each 44 min long. OR I could have just shouted my opinions into the wind.

So success will breed envy, jealousy and more. But many of these barbs don’t have any real power when something is gathering steam, momentum and more. I said once, like throwing rocks at a train. Never has a train stopped to confront rock throwers. Why? Places to go, people to see and things to do. I’ve give two examples.

I participated on a project whereas I was not supervising or in control. That usually means they brought the $ and they want to be accountable for it. So my words become suggestions, consulting versus orders. A project I was on encountered several issues as I had predicted and warned against. I received a call from a friend/associate who was in a meeting with the accountable person and a distribution company. Confronted with the issues and wanting desperately to look good to these folks, I was told that he tried to throw me under the bus. I laughed which was not the response they expected. I explained that first if he is in the room representing the project – he is accountable. And in this case the slightest due diligence reveals a VAST difference in production experience. I said, that anyone looking at our team will immediately know where the lack of experience was. The sad part is when someone refuses to take accountability that says something to people. Especially when the 3rd party knows who is accountable. Failing. Learning. Growing. All part of the process and successful people know it starts with accountability. Many will never learn that lesson. One thing after another goes wrong in their life and yet it is never their fault. Yet they are the common denominator is each equation.

I don’t throw anyone under a bus. I’m accountable all the way down the line. My expectations have been let down by the bad occasional hire, etc…but it’s still my accountability. I truly care about my crew and value the journey as much as the destination. I recently heard from a crew person whom we’ve worked with on a few projects now. Apparently they had a conversation with someone in the local film community whom I don’t value and would not work with. They know this because I let this person know my feelings directly many years ago. Now I could make a list of reasons why anyone approached by this person would just pass but I don’t go out of my way to voice this. I’ve been around long enough to know the bad apples soon get realized and discarded in our industry. I was told this person really disliked me and started saying ? I didn’t ask and don’t care. I’ve always tried to be fair and my life is invested in storytelling. I live by a creed of ‘Best Efforts’ and I like to let the work speak versus run at the mouth. Our former crew person simply stated their experience had always been positive and furthermore they didn’t think their company was a good fit to collaborate. This is smart vetting and is often harder when people are trying to say all the right things. This person just tried to “throw rocks at a train” – like how I brought that back:)

I know another local storyteller has had “shade” issues and sometimes our words or actions can accidentally trigger someone’s toxic traits. Sometimes just a person doing what they love while others took an easy road and are not unhappy – that can also set people off. My advice was to just carry on and don’t let it occupy your time, mind and efforts. Write that next great story. Some people get angry at on-going posts that advertise. For me, PR is a scheduled thing. Every project has phases and it all serves a business purpose not tied to any ego. I recall on a high school alumni site people unhappy about a local bar restaurant doing on-going postings of food and drink specials. Ads are everywhere and if it doesn’t apply – move on. My advice is control your own environment and stop trying to control everyones environment. Anyway, I shared because I thought maybe a lesson could be found within. Be good to others and you never have to worry about what is being said. Those that know you – KNOW. It also brought a smile to know that this person receiving such toxins stood up with their own truth and likely avoided a bad journey with very questionable individual. How many people do you wish you had not gotten involved with business wise?

Tally-Ho Onto the MOVIE updates!

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – We’ve started to bring more crew members onto the new project. We had a few more castings which will be announced in time. Most of the departments are getting up and running. I’m excited that the German actors will be announced starting in July! A good amount of work has also been put towards bringing some national sponsors on board. Many had brands thriving in the 1940’s during WW2 and our story.

LOST HEART aka BIGFOOT UFO’S AND JESUS – The general market release is underway and the film in both incarnations is doing really well. I’ll get a better report this week when I have my meeting with our distributor. Have you seen the film? You should:)

MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film had an amazing premiere and after it ran afoul of the Covid crisis. Several of the theatrical and event showings were cancelled and never regained their footing. The film quietly was nominated at the NBR Convention in Dallas, Texas for a Crown award in ‘Best Narrative’ and overall ‘Best Picture’ at the convention. The film WON the Gold Crown for ‘Best Narrative’ and took SILVER (2nd) overall at the festival. I hope this gives the film an added boost because it deserves it. Directed by Anthony Hornus who is prepping for his next directorial ‘Silent Night in Algona’.

WILD FAITH and HASTINGS TV series – The film is growing by leaps and bounds approaching 5 million on Encourage TV and playing worldwide. The TV series was the subject of two meetings at the NRB and I will find out this week how that played out. The hope is to roll into production next year with the TV series.

BEST YEARS GONE – The music and sound design with Dennis Therrian is almost complete on the feature film. We will be having a race and outdoor showing on Sept 11th at Springport Raceway. We will promote this more as we move forward. Another theatrical premiere is being planned in Owosso, MI where the book author Karl Manke lives. On my birthday this week we released the first official trailer.

WRAP UP

THE QUEST TRILOGY keeps growing as my fan mail keeps coming from people who enjoy the perspective of these three films. BESTSELLER has a new campaign coming. Same with WICKED SPRING now that we have an HD file. We’ll discuss what others from the CDI library to move ahead with. SMOKE & MIRRORS is almost complete. Our documentary FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is in editing and we’ll be releasing the first official trailer on July 4th! Our soccer match this week was rained out which my recovering knees are happy about. I’m going to go make a few eggs from chicken land here. I hope you all have a great week. Save your time and sanity and try to associate daily with positive, polite and productive individuals. Don’t sweat the negative folks as their actions have likely eroded any worth from their words.

Have a great Sunday and week ahead!

DJ


Driving from Development Toward Pre-Production

It’s once again a morning where we awoke to big flakes of falling snow. We are suppose to have several such days this week. I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking the state of the Union. My feeling is that once we get to the other side of this Covid and political election, we can start the healing. I’m happy that the vaccine is rolling out and that the most vulnerable are starting to get their first shot. I’m excited to gather in groups again to laugh, share and create. We’ve continued to move forward against all the opposing forces at work and I’m excited about where we’re going. I’ll leave the politics by saying I sincerely wish for a peaceful transition. I wish this new administration only the best just like the previous administration. As a life-long team-sport playing individual I hope that the sportsmanship between the parties gets better. When politics fixate on just tearing down the other party, the people lose. Coffee cheers to unity as we move into 2021.

The last two weeks I’ve worked with our upcoming director Anthony Hornus (director of MBF) on the transfer of script. By this I mean the transfer of understanding of each character, description and dialog. Many scenes were re-worked, tweaked and polished. We use that time to discuss production aspects, casting ideas and more. This is a development phase activity bordering on pre-production. The difference is funding and while we are almost a full ahead we’re also not quite there. But, I think by the end of this month we’ll be making that announcement. We’ll go full into locations, casting and key crewing at that point. This project will shoot in Iowa and so it’s looking at flights vs drive in’s and such. We’ve got some good experience at bringing the show as we did to Yuma, AZ three times. It takes a supportive community to tell a story at these smaller budgets. But I’m happy to report that is exactly what we have. Between our backers, distributor, the Iowa community and our on-going sponsors, once again we’ll tell a powerful story. This one made better because it’s based on a true event. The script will likely start going out to producers today or tomorrow.

Also coming at the end of the week just as I hit my limit for the day was the 1st rough edit of BEST YEARS GONE. Monday morning, I plan to watch the edit in full with good audio Real audio work doesn’t start until we lock the picture. This cut will start to be worked by editor and director to work toward that lock. I did watch the film in pieces on my phone with low audio. It’s exciting as the writer to see the characters and story come to life. As an actor it’s amazing to see a character you lived with come to life with all the other characters. My co-star Erika Hoveland, is so powerful and it was a real joy to tell this story with her. But the other quirky characters Mandy, Tinker, Jed, the Pats in our story, really make it for me. Dean Teaster had me laughing out loud watching. You all will see later this year when the film releases. We’re also going to start rolling out some of the official screenshots. Also we’ll be launching some fun merchandise dealing with this fine film. This project gave me confidence in what our great team can do even when faced with new challenges.

LOST HEART keeps rolling out and the fan mail keeps coming in thanking CDI for bringing some a heartwarming story to the screen. Launching this film in 2020 is also something we’re very proud of including the event filming. Here is the PRE and POST party if you have not seen them yet. They give some great insight to what the #tribeCDI is all about. Watch below and if you have not seen the film please do – would you believe it deals with BigFoot, UFO’s and more?

THE QUEST TRILOGY – As Easter lies ahead, many are enjoying the unique and fresh approach to these biblical stories. Here is a trailer for the trilogy of films. These parables are meant to tell a story and encourage us to live treating one another better. You can take these films as gospel or as just a good story with a lesson. Either way, they are an honest, respectful look at these stories minus any agenda save to tell a good story. The Bible is full of good stories and I appreciate all the fan mail from the worldwide audiences who took something from them. Watch them. You just might enjoy the story.

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The pilot feature film Wild Faith and the developing TV series ‘Hastings’ – we have some great battle plans being drawn up on this TV series. A few of our proposed directors and returning cast are reading the scripts for season 1. We have our ideal window to shoot but if we can pull this all together in that ideal window is unknown. We are undertaking something new and we’re also dealing with a world dealing with new challenges. But, the prep remains the same and at this point all development strengthens the endeavor. Each week that passes Wild Faith grows a larger audience. Just using our distributors streaming platform ENCOURAGE TV – Wild Faith has grown 80k viewers per week for 11 months now totaling over 3.5 million viewers. That is if only one person watched the film. My point is that as every week passes, the audiences are helping us to launch. I know that all the artists involved would love to revisit Hastings and the stories of Emmett and his family.

Thank you to all the fans out there. I could share more updates but I want to get after a few things today. The fans of MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND have also been letting their voices be heard. I’m thrilled that everyone is enjoying the stories and we’ll be working hard to make sure that continues. Every day work on the stuff you can control and don’t let your mental or physical time be wasted on what you cannot control.

Happy Sunday to you all. Be good to one another.

DJ


Seven Updates and Some Past Week Pondering

(Last day on ‘Lost Heart,’ I was wrapped and spent the night working with craft service)

Ahhhhhhhh….chilly Michigan morning coffee sip. I’m enjoying the hazelnut coffee as I prepare to make some sort of attempt to describe this past week. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Last week I wrote on UNITY and that was a big hit. I’m a storyteller who loves to enrich audience’s life by entertainment and sometimes enlightenment. I have found that the story is one of the most effective ways to communicate. When people have conversation following a good piece of art it invokes meaningful dialog. People from all walks of life can come together and discuss the final show of The Mandalorian and debate themes, topics and differences. But they’re all united in their common love of Star Wars. In politics they should all be united in their love of our American system.

My belief is that both parties for decades now have drifted further from highlighting, promoting and pushing their party platforms and closer to no-holds barred character assassination. This includes trying to control how things are framed, presented and digested by the public. The reporters of days gone became known because they did not try nor want to be the stars, the story. But some due to their humble-approach, did become stars. Now we live in a time when people want to be “influencers” – what? We influence daily with our actions, words and deeds. I’ve seen the thirst for fame in these people and so the stories drift towards their opinions hammering the narrative to meet their goals. And where is the faith in the respected platforms? Faith that the masses will see the good in the endeavors and chose to back this person, party, platform. But some don’t have confidence in their platform and so they try to pitch, readjust, reframe a platform attempting to catch as much support as possible.

Example: Why is John Deere tractor better than Brand B

Just highlight the positives of what you are selling. No need to hammer brand B’s product customers will see this difference if it truly exists in terms of quality and performance.

Why should politics operate any differently? If you create the better product, better price point, better performance – you will never need to engage in cutting someone else’s rope short.

When I set out to make a movie, I don’t waste energy trashing anyone’s film – I just work towards making a successful story of quality. If I was running for an office I would not waste time tearing down an political opponent, I would just draw people to my platform.

Brand B tractor is a fine tractor but we at John Deere feel that we offer the better product and here is our list of why… but the cheap shots I’ve seen from both parties firing back and forth over the years, shows weakness in their stance. This weakening is what allowed a businessman with no real political experience to land in office. Running a corporation is very different because the power aligns with accountability. Our government is a system of checks and balances. It requires respectful communication and cooperation between the parties. This lack of – created a vacuum for someone from the outside to step in. Things happen much different in the two worlds and we saw many attempts at actions over four years that were deemed not legal in their process. Courts knocked it down and PR blame games took over. I joked we needed a good UFO attack to unify the world. We got a virus instead. This put the old HEALTH VS PROFIT question front and center. They need to flow together as one and not be positioned in confrontation. Healthy, long-living people can spend longer creating more on-going profit. But the medical system in the west has been reactionary vs preventative for a good long time. It is slowly changing and the unified collaboration of data and research is what allowed a quick ramp up on a vaccine. It was done quickly because PROFIT was set aside although the companies will profit. But best was the shared data to help deal with a health crisis facing us all. Can the world please tackle cancer next and be done with that horrible disease? If the cancer numbers had been highlighted and the spirit of collaboration embraced maybe it too would be a thing of the past.

Let’s focus on collaboration. What I see with social media and wall-debates is everyone feels a need to win vs lose and to gloat on that win. Lobbying to try and gather unanimous support vs same side of the table negotiations, talks, understandings.. Harsh ridicule used to drown out or squash any outside opinions but with no discussions. Unwilling to listen is the greatest form of disrespect. This also sounds like many organizations in their unwillingness. In science they have a process to drive towards truth but many outsiders have also been silenced by academic arrogance. Religion? Too many times to count. When I speak on religion I don’t cast any stones at divinity but at man-made institutions. Man-Made – If women want to jump on that bandwagon of also corrupting their institutions, please have at it. BALANCE should be the goal. We all have shared needs and concerns and we have different needs and concerns. I always think that the concerns of a person living on the Southern boarder of Mexico in Yuma, AZ will be very different from someone in Michigan. To find those common things that provide a mutual foundation and to take turns addressing concerns. I have seen HATE, not just dislike but HATE from people. Every time I see hate even pointing out something meaningful, I feel sorrow because that person is sick. Hate is a sickness. It starts with self-hate and preys on all the fears within us. If you hatefully denounce hate, you are still poisoning yourself. I see sickness all around which is why the positive fan mail from our stories have been rays of light. Our stories combat hate with love and leave some temporarily healthy, free of poison. This is only until the next projection of hate from that person and it builds. Unless habits are changed…HOPE.

For the record, I think protests often breed poison if the leadership is weak. They start with words crying of unjust but often turn to poison in one’s own mouth. Watching a group of extremists who wanted to win their position at all costs, clearly demonstrated their uncaring position about balance. I’m still greatly saddened to see the way sacred halls were turned into a scene like ‘Cedar Fest’ after MSU lost a big game. These turned into mobs of people burning things and being unruly. Again, someone lost the big game. And by their actions we all lost, because our character was tarnished. But our character on the world stage was being tarnished by those we elected with their on-going actions. We all have much in common and if the elected people cannot find those bridges and take turns making each other’s priorities something to discuss and enhance, maybe the wrong people were elected. But people can change…

I saw the political bodies House and Congress united in fear and renewed purpose finish their work. Even the most ambitious-party minded politicians had to ask themself what was/is their real “purpose” in service. Now I was looking for that UFO invasion but what we got was an invasion on our process of democracy. I watched some of the most sincere words come from the mouths of people where I had only heard negativity and blame previously. I saw a unity that did not exist 24 hours earlier. Now this unity was not the intent I’m sure but it will likely be the result. It has caused all Americans to sit back and re-examine much like the Covid virus. I think that many never slow down enough to truly ponder and Covid did that. Now we can ponder the past week’s actions. I hope that I never witness such poisoned individuals rabid with hate but I know that is unlikely. It will only get better when we all get tired of the taste of poison hate and seek the sweetest of love and listening.

All this writing and I have not yet got into any film updates. I know that many don’t want any views from their entertainers and I’m often one of those people. As a screenwriter and artists I like to observe, seeking to experience the event from all sides. To question why things happen. I cannot say what tomorrow will bring. But I can control my thoughts, action and deeds and keep the poison from my mouth. I feel bad for the sick wrought with hate. Start a change with what you can control – YOU.

  1. BEST YEARS GONE – The 1st edit is done and it’s being polished so we can take a watch end of this coming week. The reports from editing has been very encouraging with the story, acting and execution of the story being hailed. This all done in a small break during the Covid lock downs.
  2. We are going to launch a ‘Best Years Gone’ Battle of the Bands to give one artist(s) a chance to have their song in the soundtrack plus be involved in a music video.
  3. Merchandise for CDI films has been in development and will be making a big jump in 2021. Stay tune to http://www.cdiproductions.com for updates – SUBSCRIBE TO THE TRIBE!
  4. As LOST HEART continues to expand in viewership here is an other PR article that I’m proud of because it really highlights the script. That is the issue with so many projects is they lack a powerful script that says something. http://m.digitaljournal.com/entertainment/entertainment/happy-days-star-don-most-opens-up-about-lost-heart-film/article/583626
  5. I love the time and process put into doing the final WRITER and DIRECTOR polish on the ‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA‘ script. Tony Hornus (MBF) and I spent 4-5 hours each day last week to go through every line of the script. To discuss each and every scene and motivation. We get to have advance discussions about what will be needed in production. We likely have one more day of work on it – maybe two.
  6. HASTINGS Tv show which is a spin off from WILD FAITH is being read show by show by some of the actors and proposed directors. Those reading the shows are expressing their joy in them. Shane Hagedorn star and one of the series directors said, “The shows are about being good to one another.” Sounds like something we could use. I’m in talks with several parties and I think this series is a matter of when not if.
  7. As we start the drive towards Easter season I hope people will take the time to watch THE QUEST TRILOGY. These are not preachy and propose an interesting perspective for seekers who might not align with the mainstream organized religious bodies. That is not to say that the various organizations haven’t enjoyed them as they all were nominated as ‘Most Inspirational’ winning twice but they were not created in a bubble. They relate very well to the world and I think the films have as many fans coming from a non-religious place. I’ve said it many times that you could be from a totally different faith from Christianity and still enjoy the films. Take a watch and see for yourself (Part 1 Forty Nights, Part 2 Chasing the Star, Part 3 The Christ Slayer)

Okay I could go on about a few more updates but it is noon and I have things to do. Several of the films can be seen free on Amazon Prime, Encourage TV: Youtube and more so enjoy a few of the stories and please do let me know what you think.

Be good to one another.

DJ


Welcome 2021! Hazelnut Coffee Cheers

Happy 2021! Hazelnut coffee cheers.

Outside this morning is a winter wonderland. We had a cold front move through Michigan that first put ice on everything -followed with a heavy dash of snow. Now it looks like a beautiful Norman Rockwell picture outside. This has been perfect weather for all the indoor activities I’ve had to undertake. I’ve always worked to enter the new year more prepared than the previous. Just by the addition of the previous year’s experience I’m better prepared. But I also find Santa Claus most always want me to stay in step with the changes in technology. I’m still a PAPER person. The trees! I LOVE trees and would be fine with paper made from hemp. I hear a leather is being made from cactus. Even with my love of paper I still need to evolve. I just start to get the hang of something and they change it. But it really is quite amazing – we are living closer and closer to a Star Trek world.

I should be doing product reviews-

I was due since last year for a cell phone update and finally I did. My phone went from a model iPhone 7 to 12 PRO and so I had to migrate all my data over. I also had to learn the new this and that – the camera got more complicated but takes great pictures. Also I got two new audio devices. One is a JBL Echo 3 I believe which is a wireless speaker but this one has a microphone and can be used in group conference calls. You can set it in a room and talk from around the room and it sounds great. It also jams out in a most excellent way in between those biz calls, Lastly was pair of Apple ear buds and I pray I don’t lose them. Like sunglasses – if you buy expensive ones even if a fix it plan – you will lose them. But a cheap gas station pair and 30 years they will still be around. So my business tools are being updated and I’m thankful.

Our industry use to shut down for several weeks during the holidays and still does. But with social media mixing with our business does it ever really shut down. During these times are when I enjoy doing my writing. I have writing goals lined up for the year. I’m doing my official page by page this week on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA with our director Anthony Hornus. Our last writer/director collaboration resulted in MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND which is a powerful story. If you have not watched it hop over to Amazon, Tubi or any numerous platforms and take a watch. This next story is just wonderful. I wrote it a handful of years ago about actual events at a WW2 German PW camp in Iowa. Rance Howard was my consultant on matters of the WW2 era and farming doing that time. The scout trip had me speaking with all manner of people in the area who all had stories to tell. We are very close to a full GREEN LIGHT. That means funded and moving forward to those unaware. We are starting to look at locations, casting and more but again that moves to high gear once fully funded. But the timing between getting the script locked and getting green lit should be perfect. I’m very much looking forward to telling this story. I will be getting a traditional WW2 haircut on the run up to filming this one.

The other project playing front and center is the spin off TV series from WILD FAITH. As our audience grows by the millions, we’re looking to do something we have not yet done. We have interest from several sources and its just looking at all the possible combinations and options. I’ll have a few conversations about the TV show later today and into next week. Like above, if you haven’t seen WILD FAITH due yourself and favor and return to a simple time. It is quality watching for the whole family. John Hughes asked to read the script several years ago and left a message that the film has all the charming qualities of the old Disney films and TV. I think he was right on the money and that Wild Faith will turn into a memorable series. And yes that will have ole Ben Lily returning.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH will resume filming this year. That is the doc film we started end of last year. It is about the history of catch-Can wrestling and the passion of a handful of martial artists bringing it back.

SMOKE & MIRRORS will be completed this year. VFX and credits are all that need to be completed. The feature film script is something I’ve been working on. I had a nearly finished script before we did the short. Now I am doing a page 1 rewrite having gotten to know the characters even better. This is a great ‘Steam Punk’ early 1900’s world and the characters are amazing especially those played by David Gries and Melissa Anschutz but no surprise there.

(Finn visualizing – more walks, more treats, more…)

I hope that everyone is ready to visualize their goals and get after them. I’m going to enjoy doing some writing on this beautiful day. I plan to go stoke the wood stove in the office and make a few calls. After I want to sink into some script writing. I hope you all have a safe start to your new year – work hard and be kind to one another.

DJ


A Few Days ‘Shore leave’ Before Back to Sailing the High Seas! Weekly Top 10 CDI Updates

Good afternoon. By the time this gets posted it will likely be almost eve but better a tad late than never:) I’ve been coming down off an “acting high” from the current project we are working hard on. All I will say is “magic” and leave it at that.

I think what will best for me today is to do a TOP 10 updates

  1. The BYG ship is launched and sailing strong on the high seas. I’m so appreciative of the cast and crew and we will continue the strong tradition of storytelling:) Follow us at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11808308/reference
  2. Today ‘Lost Heart‘ star Melissa Anschutz was on The 700 Club and will be on Mike Huckabee next week. https://www1.cbn.com/melissa-anchutz-produces-and-stars-lost-heart
  3. I haven’t watched this yet myself but here is an interview I did with my friend Isaac at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc8roA3CkN0 talking about the CDI films.
  4. If you have not downloaded the ENCOURAGE TV app please do. It will allow you to watch many of the CDI films streaming including the 2 night special event Nov 7th and 21st that will be LOST HEART with the EVENT premiere also! Thank you to Double JJ Resort again for all their help.
  5. I saw a sneak peak of the new trailer for THE QUEST TRILOGY campaign about to launch. It was so exciting to see all three of the films put together into one powerful trailer. Watch FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER with your family.
  6. In our national PR campaign this week we’re focusing on the amazingly talented Taylor Dupuis who played the young lead in LOST HEART. Also check out her music in her band Roanoke.
  7. Some very encouraging meetings have been happening regarding the TV series spin off from WILD FAITH. I have to put a few things together on our end but we have some strong interest and that is growing as our numbers keep climbing. If all goes well we will film 1st half of 2021.
  8. Once we wrap the current film project we’ll be also finalizing the funding on the WW2 project to be helmed by Anthony Hornus. That is a touch down the line but like everything else, it’s here before you know it.
  9. We recently gave out the deliciously scented sponsor candles from The Candleberry Company. If you have not explored this company and candles are your thing, check them out. Hmmm…honey is my favorite but I love many of them. Our cast and crew love them and look forward to them every time. If you want to expand your brand via sponsorship and/or production placement – reach out. https://www.candleberry.com
  10. I’m looking forward to a winter season of writing. One of my endeavors will be to finish SMOKE & MIRRORS. The short proof of concept piece will be done by the end of the year. VFX work is underway and I think people are really going to enjoy this tale directed by Nathaniel Nose director of The Christ Slayer.

I’ve landed back at home for a few days before off again but as I hinted at above – the current project is following the same path as previous. Get good, positive, hard-working artists attached to your story and you’ll create something special. I hope everyone is having a great start to their November. This will be the busiest month of my year followed closely by the October we just left behind. I’m looking forward to the holidays in whatever form this Covid environment allows. I’m going to unpack and unwind for a few and I’ll talk at all of you again next Monday.

Coffee cheers!

DJ


Books, Premieres, Post-Production, Future Plans – CDI’s TOP 10 Updates!

Coffee cheers to our new readers/followers from Taiwan, Romania, Kenya and more. I love that we are a world group of artists – a collective of sorts:) If you are not subscribed to the tribe please do add yourself to our Collective Development Inc. http://www.cdiproductions.com

It has been a great week and by great I mean productive. On a personal productive the chickens are doing great with their new home. The new fence is solid and doing its job. I’ve started to cut up wood for the winter wood stove in the office. And we had our first wood stove fire at our end-of -the-week CDI meeting.

I’m going to rack the wine, harvest the hops and slowly start getting things around for winter. I’ve been organizing the office and I’ve enjoyed all the treasures I’ve discovered.

BIZ TOP TEN UPDATES

  1. I’ve got the book Second-Chance Cats that I was a contributing writer for releasing Sept 15th at various stores and online across the country such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Baker Book House, Books-a-Million – and more!
  2. We announced our VIRTUAL PREMIERE INFO for Lost Heart on Nov 7th – https://www.prlog.org/12837497-encourage-tv-offers-the-world-tickets-to-the-red-carpet-premiere-of-lost-heart-nov-7th.html
  3. We are moving on BEST YEARS GONE with a new updated schedule almost approved. It will film closer to mid-Michigan around the Jackson area and be broken up into a few smaller shooting blocks so we can adjust and pivot as needed. Location scouting has been going great and I advise anyone interested (cast and crew especially) to join our BEST YEARS GONE Facebook page.
  4. WILD FAITH has been doing great in the marketplace with just our distributors AVOD site racking up views approaching 3 million! All this is great news for our ‘HASTINGS‘ (Wild Faith TV series). We had some wonderful talks on this new project and we just might have this up and going by Spring 2021. If you have not seen this film please do:)
  5. The poster art for SMOKE & MIRRORS is almost complete. Also the music and sound design is underway and should be finished soon.
  6. For the Love of Catch‘ documentary film has started rolling cameras and we’ll be getting ready to film phase 2 of interviews. IF you have an interest in getting involved with this project please reach out to me.
  7. I’m looking at doing some additional VO (Voice Over) work on musician/author Ronnie Lee’s audio book ‘For Generations to Come‘ and will provide a link when available. The paper and digital book(s) will be available soon.
  8. We just about have our documents together on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA the WW2 drama to be directed by Anthony Hornus that we’ll shoot in fall 2021. We have a few investment units left on this project that we’ll offer to our previous backers. We only have a few left to offer after the participation from a Foundation.
  9. We’re planning our LOST HEART CAST & CREW SCREENING which will be filmed and be part of the virtual online premiere. We have some great national PR underway and I think this will be a fun and unique event for an undeniably unique year. If you are a PR source and want to be invited to the media part of the event, again reach out.
  10. CDI as a company is about to embark on a new journey and I feel absolutely wonderful about our new direction. At CDI we always work hard to give the cast and crew the best possible experience and that is going to get even better. We often have to overcome obstacles that should be assistance. We’re forced to deal with jumping through hoops that don’t actually help the project nor the artist. We’re taking control back and looking forward to the next decade of storytelling. COFFEE CHEERS!








I’m going to wrap things up here. We’re going to a flea market see if I can find a few more cool props. We’ll do a few things around the homestead and tonight I get to visit with some family and friends. I hope each and everyone of you are finding success as you navigate the day to day. Until next week – be good to one another.

DJ


TOP TEN UPDATES AS WE FINISH THE MONTH STRONG!

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Me, T Hornus, John Saxon, T Turner and David Borowicz in Lone Pine.

Good morning and welcome to all our new readers from Denmark, Spain, China and more…coffee salute. I’m a bit later this morning getting to my blog because I was enjoying a larger breakfast. I also was putting some paperwork together for delivery this week to our distributor. First before jumping into film let me ponder to see if any events this week trigger any discussions. I want to offer up a RIP to John Saxon who was a great actor in movies like ENTER THE DRAGON. I was lucky enough to meet John in a honey stand in Lone Pine, CA at a festival market. He was a nice man and we chatted for a few and took a few pictures. I wish I had gotten to act with him but meeting him was a joy. So RIP to this fine actor for a lifetime of storytelling. Also Regis from the morning TV scene passed on. The circle of life keeps turning and it makes me feel blessed to be doing what I love. I had many conversations this week both business, personal and in-between. Maybe we’ll do a TOP TEN updates.

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  1. LOST HEART will arrive Monday at the distributor and as previously mentioned we’ll be delivering some paperwork behind it. It is very exciting and we’re having a producers watch and theatrical/premiere planning meeting this week. We are looking for venues so if there is one near you that wants to play the film let us know. Home Video release is looking like Oct but I will know more end of the week.
  2. The short SMOKE & MIRRORS is in editing and we’ll have that rolling out this fall just in time for Halloween I do think. It was a short film taken from my feature script. The footage was used in a demo for a well known sound design company izotope. We’ll be finishing it up and use the short to launch a feature in the near future. Nathaniel Nose director/editor on THE CHRIST SLAYER was the director and is also editing. It was a fun period piece and I think it will lead to the full feature.
  3. We’ll also be announcing that CDI has entered into an association with The Red, White & Blue Project Inc. to produce a feature length doc entitled ‘For the Love of Catch‘ with our own Catch-Can World Champion Curran Jacob. We have some exciting people getting involved in the film.
  4. With LOST HEART done we will also be looking more at the 2021 line up. In active development is the WILD FAITH TV series ‘Hastings‘. I had numerous productive conversations on this project and I think it is WHEN not IF. If you have not watched WILD FAITH please do so. It will film in Michigan and could include the creation of a mini-studio.
  5. We are about to make some presentations on the WW2 Christmas project CDI will produce next year entitled SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We have over half the budget being covered by a foundation and we’ll be bringing on investors for the balance. Some great talks with the distributor also over this powerful story. It will be directed by Anthony Hornus as his follow up to MAN’S BEST BEST. If you have not seen this film please do.
  6. Three CDI Associated films will be getting a new release with ITN Distribution. Deadly Renovations, Darkest Night and Donors. These are films that CDI helped with and I co-star in all three. They are for those who like things that go bump in the night.
  7. BEST YEARS GONE is the next film up for CDI with a planned shoot window in November finishing before Thanksgiving. We had another great meeting and the film will have lots of exciting firsts for CDI. Shane Hagedorn is directing and those who enjoyed ASHES OF EDEN will be excited to see him directing again.  We are planning to start shooting beauty shots and B roll soon as well as a few VFX sequences. Stay tuned! We’ll also be announcing a few more cast and crew soon!
  8. I need to turn some attention back at CDI Merchandise, CDI Animated and CDI Music Division developing. Having Lost Heart finished will give me some added time to work on these emerging divisions of CDI.
  9. I’ve got a batch of beer and wine ready to go. I just need to kick the process off.
  10. I’ll keep pushing ahead with my writing. In a few short weeks the new book that I was a contributing author on will by Callie Smith Grant. It be releasing nationwide with Revell Publishing. You can pre-order here – https://www.amazon.com/Second-Chance-Cats-True-Stories-Rescue-ebook/dp/B087RTPCT4/ref=sr_1_9?dchild=1&keywords=Second-Chance+Cats&qid=1595775817&sr=8-9  – I’ve also got a story in the book after that about DOGS and features a story with my ‘Luke Mr. Brown’ in it. I so appreciate being involved in these books and I’m actively seeking more book writing work.

SecondChanceCats copy

PRE-ORDER NOW!!! My story involved ‘Lulu’ our little princess:)

As you can see it has been busy, busy with another dose of busy. If anything we are going to come out of this virus crisis with projects lined up to be filmed. I can work with that. Thank you as always for all your notes and fan mail I do read it and appreciate it. Control what you can control and keep moving forward!

Be good to one another!

DJ

 

 


The Virus of Hate and CDI Updates

In thought

Welcome to July! I’m sitting here sipping my hazelnut coffee and just finished watering the garden and yard. I’ve harvested some additional rhubarb and the berries are starting to pop. I’m going to make some ‘ROTHGA WINE’ short for “Return of the Hoppy Grape Ape” which was very popular. I’m also going to do a run of dark beer which I’ve never done. We’ve had several days of grilling and today we’re having a bday gathering at my father’s for several missed and upcoming bdays including his own. This week we’ll also celebrate my momma’s bday with a cook out. The outdoor goal for the week will be to put down some cedar mulch.

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I’m a true optimist so I’m sincerely wishing we start a truck back to being a healthy state? nation? world? I’m a tad concerned because so many want to just ignore the situation and I get that. But for every person I talk with who thinks things are overblown I hear about another death due to the virus effecting some family. No they are not all elderly but even so how does that make it any better? But what makes it worse is the virus of hate. I’ve seen so much nasty attitude being thrown about which seems to be a combination of  highly stressed people needing to vent off and tribal anger. The political system has weaponized nearly every platform of life. People plugged into 24/7 news are living in a “Breaking News” state of panic. People in SOP (State of Panic) are offended easily and over-reaction has become the norm. With the virus where people could be accountable for lives over-cautious can be a good thing. But over-reaction to partial, incomplete or the pushed message has created something greater than the virus it has created hate. When you start hearing people wishing people of another stance of thought dead, something is wrong. As I said before and I’ll say it again – in the process of condemning hate don’t join the ranks as one who also hates.

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Again after getting a dose of the news (this includes social media) I would recommend putting some music on or escape into a nice movie. Put on the Steve Miller Band and write that book or script. Speaking of…

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BEST YEARS GONE – Recently we announced more cast for our next CDI film. We have moved primary filming into that last window before Thanksgiving. We will be doing some VFX, B-Roll and beauty exteriors prior. We met recently with our DP Travis Hayward and I’m excited about some of the ideas we have. We have engaged in talks with various companies about sponsorship and have some great partners lining up. We’ll be making a few more cast/crew announcements as we get closer to rolling cameras.

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LOST HEART – This film is just about complete. A few of the color corrected shots need a quick tweak and we’re wrapping up the last few things biz-wise. The credits have been gone over and gone over and it’s agonizing because with all the effort still some mistakes are made. When I see a studio film and all those names I cringe as that is a huge task. This will be a big week and as badly as I want to share some exciting news I’m going to wait until the ink is dry. Please do follow us on Facebook and of course the CDI website at http://www.cdiproductions.com

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THE QUEST TRILOGY: FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER – In the often confusing world of biblical storytelling apparent by the multitude of denominations that all claim some sort of pedigree over the others – we distilled the parables to the heart of a teaching. We tried to fill in the gaps to have it make sense to those who require logical connection. A good story can enlighten us to new lessons, ideas and actions within our lives. These films don’t participate in the “our denomination is better than yours” mentality. These are stories that anyone can take something away from if they have never stepped foot in a church or cracked a bible. I listed to a bit of a mainstream podcast that for the most part made fun of the films. But he kept encouraging the other reviewer to watch it so they could make fun of it together. They watched them out of order and went into the watch with their cup full. That is a term we used in martial arts and refers to the zen idea of emptying your cup so you are open to learn and listen. Not to what the other person tells you is true but what you “discover” and “feel” to be true for you. Anyway I get the “rip it apart” mentality trying to be funny (I was 20 before) but these films have a good dose of “CIRCLE OF IRON” to them. That was a film of a spiritual journey written by the late, great Bruce Lee. If you are picking apart small things you are missing the story. Bruce said something about focusing on the finger instead of where it’s pointing to the moon. What is missed is all that heavenly glory. Something to that effect. If you like films that make you think you might enjoy these historic fiction films.

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WILD FAITH – This week brings me back to the develop of the ‘Hastings’ TV series. Of our distributor’s films WILD FAITH was again the top viewed on several platforms. I’m speaking with possible TV networks to commit and have several more to explore. If you have not seen this film please do and see what everyone is talking about. The TV series will have many of your favorite TV stars from past years. This type of family programming is in demand and we hope to help fill that void.

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MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film continues to engage and create discussion with audiences. I’m so proud of this film and I hope we get to showcase it in LA this fall. I want to thank all our men and woman who proudly serve.

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SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – A handful of years ago I worked with Rance Howard (Ron’s father) as my consultant on a powerful story about WW2 German POW’s in one of the many small mid-west prison camps. The project had many up’s and down’s that can happen when too many cooks are in the kitchen. I left the project and it stalled out but now several years later with our script, plans are being made to shoot this in 2021. MBF’s Anthony Hornus will direct. We have over half the budget officially committed as of last week and we’re putting together our presentational packages. I’m excited to see CDI tackle the WW2 era. We’ll be doing some upcoming PR on this but like always you get it first here.

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THE HISTORY OF CATCH-CAN WRESTLING – As a lifelong student of the martial artists I’m fascinated by all the warrior arts. From ancient times to present day the art of wrestling has continued. Now CDI in association with The Red, White & Blue Project is helping to produce and distribute a documentary film with current world champion Curran Jacobs as the host. Some will remember him from MBF as the young defense attorney for Paul Landings. If you have any interest and want you or your company to support this doc-film please do reach out. I’m excited for this collaboration!

I’ve gotta refill the ole coffee cup and get something to eat. Keep working on your art, your dreams and be kind to your fellow humans. I hope July is a kind month to us all and I’ll look forward to speaking with you all next week.

DJ


Mother’s Day Wishes and Stacking the CDI Slate

Hazelnut coffee cheers and welcome to all our new readers from the France and the European Union. Let’s also start by wishing all the mothers out there Happy Mother’s Day. I sent my momma good wishes this morning and will drop off a gift later and spend a few moments with her. We’re now several weeks into this stay-at-home order and I’ve been extremely productive. My entire neighborhood has been working on their yards building, trimming, raking, grooming and it’s a good use of energy. When I get my fill of computer and calls I go work the yard. I’ve been prepping the garden. A few potted plants are already in and the first rhubarb stalks have been harvested for upcoming wine making. I need one more things before I can make a batch of beer. Funny thing is I haven’t had anything with alcohol since our shut down of state a few months ago. But I will look forward to raising a few glasses once we can socialize again. Let’s see…

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Momma tribute – I’m so appreciative to have had the attentive mother I had, unless is was General Hospital time:) She was active in all our school activities and taught us many life lessons. Love and appreciate any of your mother figures in your life.

FILM UPDATES:

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BEST YEARS GONE – This ship is fully financed and sitting in the harbor waiting to sail. We’ll make an assessment on Friday and communicate with our cast and crews. I believe our targeted window to shoot will be August but that depends also on the state of things. But our director Shane Hagedorn and DP Travis Hayward can work on their shots. We producers are working on setting everything up including some final casting and crewing. The character prep has been great fun and I’m so looking forward to telling this funny and heartfelt story – soon:) We will be announcing a few more actors and crew in the coming weeks. We’ll be ready to move ahead soon using common sense and safety as our guide.

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LOST HEART – This amazing tale filled with humor and heart is nearing the finish line. The music, sound design, VFX are all coming together and very soon we will have a finished film. I love comedy and I’m excited that this film We’re in talks to add some additional drop music to Dennis Therrian’s incredible score. Also have a fun cameo from another star. I will know more about the release roll out very soon.

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MAN’S BEST FRIEND keeps expanding and the reaction by the fans has been humbling. If you have not seen this film make the effort. It is a good representation of the challenges many of our military veterans deal with. And dogs:)

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THE QUEST TRILOGY – FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER – I did a great in-depth interview for ‘Faith on Film’ due out this month. These films are good watching at anytime but our strongest window is Thanksgiving to Easter. These films are expanding into more foreign territories. If you see them in your country send me a pic of the poster art of DVD covers, trailers. It is great to see them in all different languages.

WILD FAITH – This mid-western just keeps growing an audience. We’re in talks on the TV series with many entities and even in discussions about starting a western studio. The TV show HASTINGS will follow the on-going adventures of the Murphy family and friends. I’m excited about this TV series and I think we’ll have more to report soon.

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ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENT 

We have a 2021 WW2 project that is coming together nicely. I had talks with a foundation that is going to be financing part of the budget. I’ve already had a few people step up and want to be involved as an investor and we haven’t even approached them yet. I will be doing the writer (me) and director (Anthony Hornus) process in the coming weeks. This is another beautiful story and will allow the CDI artists to play in yet another time period.

A documentary film and a few other features are in development. The animation division is being geared up and we are evaluating our scripts and looking at teams of animators. If you have strong animation skills feel free to drop a line. I’m moving forward in my writing on the developing SciFi film and maybe a few other pieces:)

I wanted to also put a shout out to musician/writer Ronnie Lee whose book ‘For Generations to Come’ will be releasing later this year. I gave some feedback while working on the audio book version and endorsed this artist. I’m reading an authors copy and it is such a great read. It make you feel like your are there. It has lots of pictures that helps bring things to life.

Our merchandise part of CDI will be growing this year also. Looking into drop-shipping on eBay and more. I’ve even got a call this week with a puzzle company to talk collaboration with CDI product. I’ve used all this time to get caught up, organized and prep to move ahead. We’ll have a few film projects lined up and ready to go.

I’m going to get on with my day. As always I’ve enjoyed my time with all of you. Again much love to my mother and to all the mothers out there. Stay positive and lean on love vs hate.

Coffee cheers!

DJ


Coffee Cheers – Wine Making, Lost Heart, Best Years Gone…and more

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Welcome new readers from France, China and South India – welcome to our circle of artists. I’ve got my hazelnut coffee here beside me and I’m ready to discuss some activities from the week. For starts I’ve been exploring an upgrade to my account so that I can have some control over the ads. If they are going to be here they might as well be things that pertain to what we all do. I’m also looking at reviewing a few items here and there and such. But let’s look at some of the highlights of the week.

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NATURE – This is something that most artists already know but a healthy connect to nature is a secret. The property is a natural garden of sorts. We are prepping to start the garden up with strawberries and rhubarb already showing. Apple blossoms and mulberry buds starting. I planted a hill of beans and some onions. I see the first of the ink tip mushrooms but no morels as of yet. Last night I did my first cooking of dandelions. If you read up they are all edible and full of nutrition. I cold washed and in a pan cooked them down in red cooking wine and garlic. I stirred in a few almond slices also and…bitter. I ate a few good bites and you could get use to it and I think longer cooking could reduce bitterness. Also different spices may help.

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I harvested the roots that I like for tea but I will need to work on my cooking of the greens. I’m reading on the wine process. I’ve drank dandelion wine but never made it. I might try dandelion, rhubarb and black raspberry wine. Add a little home grown hops which is already going gangbusters. The last wine the GRAPE APE was well received so I’m planning the next wine. Same with beer as I’ve got a new Irish Porter I think to try and make. The beer always goes fast (vikings:) but the wine does also pending the company. So my days find balance with some yard work. Try it and you will find that your days will be much more balanced.

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NEW ADDITION TO THE OFFICE – WHO IS HE?

OFFICE ZEN – I’ve been using this time to deep clean and organize the office fort. It’s been great fun to walk down the lane remembering all the trials and tribulations of the artistic journey. I’ve noted that our endeavors have paid out millions to artists on both sides of the camera and the support industries. I’ve found great pictures and promotion from films past.

I think in light of everything in the world virus-like – I will be adding an outdoor pergola and seating/meeting area to the office. I’ve been looking for a while. A few more tree trims and maybe an improved property fence.  For my fellow producers I will likely be installing a boost, extender…to enhance office internet. I like it low tech as that is where minds meet before going off into our tech-ridden world. I’ve been having lots of phone meetings and much has been getting done. We have some exciting projects in development and others about to be completed. Let’s talk movies.

90014352_10157767726050306_8951653001047572480_n The fan mail keeps coming and the films continue to sell deeper and deeper into the world market. Mexico, Brazil and much of Latin America has gone on a ‘quest’ watching THE QUEST TRILOGY.

Audiences young and old are traveling to 1870’s Michigan with Emmett, Haddie, Grace, Henry and Uncle McKinney in WILD FAITH.

Viewers have cried and cheered with Paul Landings in MAN’S BEST FRIEND. And the cautionary tale of ASHES OF EDEN pushes out an important message.

During these times our artists are proud to give you inspiration, hope, distraction and direction. Thank you so very much!

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LOST HEART  – VFX, Color Correction, Credits and sound design are underway. The music is nearly done and marketing with the distributor is being conducted. Long time collaborator Dennis Therrian is again composing a wonderful soundtrack. We might have a few guests joining the band Roanoke.  DVD artwork is almost complete and we’re all very excited to share this story with you.

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I will discuss one thing I’ve seen a ‘trend’ with and that is minimizing front credits. I’ve had multiple directors push to get to the story unhindered by credits. I don’t agree. While directors have gotten more powerful in Hollywood and can push for such things we play in the indie world where I stand by the fact that I’ve never paid an artist what they are truly worth. I can’t because some of them, most of them are beyond a price tag. What we can do is honor some of the main artists contributing and complete that journey with end credits. I don’t like on TV when they speed those end credits up but networks are dealing with time slots only. I see the opening of the film as a slow slip into our created world. The kudos of credits that slide across the screen give added appreciation. So my taste in music, my style of dress and my general interests may never be ‘trending’ or trendy but I am okay with that. I’m a touch old school and I admit it. I love the slower pacing of classic films. I enjoy black and white classic Hollywood films that played at my grandma’s pretty much 24/7 save when Law and Order was on:)  Maybe one day those like me holding onto a non-trendy, through-back storytelling will be GONE WITH THE WIND (My other grandma’s favorite) but until that point – stay classy.

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BEST YEARS GONE – I’ve had some interesting talks with our next project. This week we chatted with actress Cindy Williams who did a small bit for LOST HEART. We were looking to bring her in a bit more to the CDI family and will if scheduling permits. Once the storm lifts and productions can move ahead it might be like the wagons in the gold rush. Or some endeavors may have suffered from the economic hardships. Luckily, our ship sits in the harbor stocked up and ready to sail. STORM: 45 is what we’ve been calling this operation. Someone suggested it was a good name for a WW2 film. Simply it means that 45 days from the storm of regulation passing we’ll move forward with a safe game plan. Like many we’ve already been focusing on all this as well as doing prep work. Scheduling, shot lists and soon zoom actor reads will be enacted.

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NEW CAST ANNOUNCEMENT 

This week we’ll be announcing a few more of our actors. We’ve got a pair of twins co-starring in the story. For those roles we’ve looked at reads from across the country. I’m happy to say that we found our twins and they are going to be wonderful collaborators in our film. You can see them up above. To find out who they are join our BEST YEARS GONE Facebook page tomorrow.

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and remember to ‘Subscribe to the Tribe’

at http://www.cdiproductions.com

It is funny that someone mentioned WW2 film in reference to STORM 45. The big 2021 film is going to be a WW2 film directed by Anthony Hornus. It will be his follow up to MAN’S BEST FRIEND. We’re about to launch a national casting for the young lead in the film. We’ve been putting the business together behind the project and it looks like the first half of the financing is about to fall into place. I’m looking forward to storytelling in this time period. Maybe our secret code word will be Storm 45. Ok. That’s already taken so for now ‘Untitled Anthony Hornus WW2 film‘ will just have to work. We are also looking for German actors and actors capable of speaking German. Be honest with those resumes and special skills;)

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This TV series is gaining momentum. We had talks with our distributor and a few 3rd parties either about finance or licensing. Every month our fans of the Murphy family and the zany characters of ‘Hastings’ grows. Some of the larger licensors of WILD FAITH will be approached on pre-licensing commits but I think it will only be a matter of time. In a perfect world this would land after BEST YEARS GONE and before the WW2 film. This is not a perfect world but we have a lot of creative folks and will adapt as needed. The first season will be 8 shows. I think audiences will really love to learn more about these deeply evolving characters in a changing world.

In thought

We have development on animated features, documentary films and several features in development. I personally am also excited that I’ve gotten to do some writing on my SciFi script. We’ve got a few great ‘space/technology’ consultants and some concept art is being working upon. Merchandise of various sorts and expanding services will be developing as more artist join the CDI Tribe. I’ve been using this time to plan the next 10 years for CDI. We have a clear path and I’m excited to see what is produced under the flag. I’m going to wrap this up and get to some outdoor tasks.

Be good to one another! Coffee Cheers.

DJ


Secret of the 3 A’s, Virus Effects and More…

It is a sunny beautiful day in Michigan. I’m sipping at the coffee and reflecting on the week. Welcome to the many new readers and followers from France, Finland, Netherlands and more. We welcome you to our little weekly space to enjoy a few moments. Let’s talk first about the worldwide issue that is uniting the world in many ways. I’ve joked in the past that it would take an alien invasion to make us realize we are all one tribe. Or maybe a new virus? It did not bring out the unity as much as the panic in the USA. The toilet paper thing is crazy as if you used every square of paper you could still work your way through tissues and many paper products. The Sears catalog back in the outhouse days was tissue and reading. And lastly the cloth or jerseys of your least favorite sports team.

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We are a “want it” generation and people are afraid of being without their “favorite” this or that. How many of us eat right down to the last handful of rice or beans? Some do and would be fortunate to have a few handfuls. So eating what we had versus what we want and we could survive a year or so without shopping. Also if Americans lost a little extra body fat that could only be a good thing. I think the impulse or fear shop is just an interesting observation. I think part of it is the hustle mentality of many who survive in a capitalistic society. I saw where someone had made a fast 70k off disinfectant supplies. People flip houses, cars and just about anything with a mark up so that doesn’t surprise me. I don’t think it is polite and could have consequences but it is what we’ve been taught. Survival instinct runs off fear. Fear is a powerful instinct to help keep us alive.  When fear is controlled and channeled it can be a great motivator. Use fear but don’t let fear use you. There is a difference.

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The science behind it seems simple enough. If mass groups interact and infection happens all at once it can overload a medical system. In another light – if only one month a year people came together to procreate in nine months you could have a maternity overload. But spread out across the zodiac with babies born all year – order can be maintained. This is worse because a pregnant woman knows why she is there. With illness they have to identify and take precautions not to join the infected. It is all about spreading the flow out so that sick folks can get the best treatment by rested medical people with the right equipment. If you want a fictional peak at crisis medical watch MASH on TV. Always understaffed, under-rested, under supplied trying to save lives best they can. It is often imperfect and sloppy and the best they can do with the situation. So we the people can help by limiting our social interactions for a bit and help our medical teams. I see people really going out of their way to help others but also we see the fist-fights over groceries. So much to be ashamed and to be proud of – choose your path.

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Outside of the health aspects is the financial aspects. Many cannot avoid some social interaction and sharp declines in attendance will devastate some small businesses. One of the ways you can help our small business is when inside your self imposed sanctuary take a few days to watch the CDI films. I’ve got family and friends who haven’t seen the entire collection. This is a good time to catch up. In the film and TV production world many are getting hurt as projects take a pause. I have seen some producers make bold claims and I’m brave and honestly not afraid of the virus and myself. Do I want to be day 8 on a 15 day shoot whereas we have crew spiking fevers left and right? No. So what is the plan?

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CDI officially moved into pre-production last week on BEST YEARS GONE. This comedy/drama has been coming together and our casting and crewing talks are underway. We have WINDOW 1 shoot dates in May and two weeks out from our on-set pre-production week we will evaluate. We already have a second WINDOW worked out and we’ll move to that pending our first evaluation. Beyond that we’ll likely go up (start) 30 days after we declare that we’re moving ahead. Evaluation and caution is not about “lack of balls” as I read from one producer but a responsibility to the money people. If this person is financing his own project, risk away. So the fine line is knowing our cast and crew could use the paycheck but don’t start something you can’t finish properly.

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That said, we’re moving ahead in strength. More cast announcements this week and more to come. Yes. We are a tribe/troupe and you will find many familiar faces on a CDI film but the circle is always getting wider.

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We also just concluded a major weighing of options for another key crew member. At CDI we evaluate many attributes in our keys.

ATTITUDE is #1 – I’ve heard that so and so is the cranky piss and moaner but they are so good…don’t care. Next. To have a fighting chance at a good product you have to have a good attitude overall on set. That starts with the top and goes down. Do you just point out problems or do you contemplate and contribute solutions?

ARTISTS – Being an artists comes pride in the work, passion and not being there just for the paycheck.

ACCOUNTABILITY – We also work off accountability. If we allow a key 1st to bring a 2nd there is accountability. We want people who work smart but if they make an error they see the power of accepting that. I have to take the accountability for what everyone does on set. Even people I won’t re-hire for quite some time I see as a failure on my part…in part. I can try to create an environment to succeed within but some will still sabotage themselves.

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The 3 A’s is a good start. With a TV series looming we’re starting to increase the depth of team. All these cruiser weight films are preparing our crews for the bigger steps. I reinforce development of people versus pointing out someones flaws or bad learnt behavior. If you are a KEY development is part of what you’re teaching by example or by direct influence. I’ve allowed a few to be promoted to keys who proved by their actions they were not ready. PLEASE GO HOME, like in the Shaolin Temple:) This development is so important and also relies on good communication. Patience and a willingness to learn is another great trait to work on. I see a LOT of false confidence which screams the opposite. I try to empty the cup and learn everyday. Try it.

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We spent a good amount of time on the world situation. I will bullet point a few other notes from the week.

  • MBF was accepted into the Capital City Film Festival and that has been pushed to Summer. Our festival run might get janky with all these cancelled events.
  • MBF was up for several nominations at the ICFF in FL ‘Most Inspirational’ and People awards for the script, lead actor and filmmaking – status of fest unknown
  • Wild Faith viewing has been spiking at various AVOD sites which you watch for free and the advertisers pay. It is like streaming old school TV with commercials. Tubi I think works on this method also so if you want to watch some CDI films free by watching commercials – we still get paid:)
  • The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) – I’m looking to have a ‘Trilogy Trailer’ done next.
  • CDI continues to look at film 2 for 2020 and some of that depends on launch date of film 1 – BEST YEARS GONE.
  • LOST HEART – Need to jump into end credits – we have lots going on here but most important is music and sound design. We are focusing on landing a few “exclusive windows” vs pushing theatrical. First with Goodrich Theaters filing bankruptcy last I heard and major studios holding films back, theatrical schedule is gonna be tight for the independents after all this blows over. But we have a wonderful film coming at you this late summer/early fall.
  • Want to see the film where I first met Melissa Anschutz watch “7 Stones,” my first starring role watch “In the Woods,” A found footage film shot in the Philippines watch “Darkest Night,” Shane’s first directorial feature with CDI watch “Ashes of Eden”…explore and enjoy.
  • We are about to start talks with partners and product sponsors for our next film. We’ve always appreciated the shared marketing so if you have a company and want to be involved in a CDI film reach out.

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I think I hit all the main points. I’m enjoying cleaning up the yard and office and getting ready for this year’s garden and get togethers. We’ll be restocking the wood bins to season up for next winter. The old wood stove kept the office toasty. I hope when we sit down to chat next week that things have moved in a positive place. But use this time away from the hustle and bustle to look inward. You might be wonderfully surprised by what you find. Or you can lie in your baby pool full of Purell surrounded by an igloo of toilet paper rolls in your root cellar listened to the ‘Breaking News’ – sun is shining:)

I hope everyone has a great week ahead. Be good to one another.

DJ


Purpose and Persistence – Movie Updates

My name is Paul Landings

I’m told it is national coffee day, so my hazelnut coffee is to be recognized, cheers! The past week and the days leading up to it have been jam-packed with activity. On a personal level I’ve had a fill of loved ones facing health struggles including a dear Uncle of mine. Last weekend we got to visit and share a few laughs as he was always that family storyteller I looked up to. Sitting in his chair or around a fire up in Harrison we were always treated to mysterious and exciting stories. His tales of Bigfoot and strange lights in the sky can be seen as an influence in my writing like ‘Lost Heart’ which sadly he will not see. He is nearing the end of this journey and soon to start a new one.

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Others who have not lived the same full life are facing challenges that make us ponder our purpose and value while living our relatively short time. I’m proud that I outlasted all the slings, arrows, naysayer and doubters to do what I love to do. If my time here were to end early, I’m happy and doing what I always dreamt of doing. I work with some amazing people and I think in our own way we are helping.

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The Movies

I’m not a person who puts high value to trophies and awards knowing that some are just vanity. But the awards that recognize the team work are the awards that matter most. The ‘Inspirational’ and certain individual awards to others like Josh Perry, stepping outside the limited views of society to be nominated for “Best Supporting Actor” makes my heart sing. Filmmaking is NOT an individual thing but a collective thing, hence Collective Development. Being that we’re not submitting to these festivals our distributor is, we have surprises every handful of days. Lets look at a bullet point of some of the updates.

FILM UPDATES

  • Hollywoodivine International Film Festival will happen next weekend and we have (3) films MAN’S BEST FRIEND, WILD FAITH and THE CHRIST SLAYER nominated for ‘Best Film’ – two of those for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Most Inspirational’ – All three of our film’s leading men were nominated being yours truly, Shane Hagedorn and Carl Weyant – just incredible. Lauren LaStrada again for “Haddie” in ‘Wild Faith’ – Josh Perry as mentioned above ‘Best Supporting’ – All three films nominated for ‘Best Cinematography’ – two nominations for Jesse Aragon and one for Patrick Dowdle. Lastly the amazing score of ‘Wild Faith’ by Dennis Therrian.
  • Wild Bunch Film Festival will be happening on the same weekend. Ben Lily, Hester Thickett and Emmett will all be in attendance with Darby Hinton, who is my ‘Best Supporting Actor’ competition from another western film. I LOVE the genre and I’m looking forward to representing the film that garnished 13 nominations including again Dennis Therrian’s score. Other nominations include Best (Film, Faith Film, Produced Film, Best Lead Actors (Shane and Lauren), Best Supporting Actors (Melissa Anschutz and I), Best Narrator Trace Adkins, Best Children Actors for both Joe and Xylia and Best Director. If we win anything or nothing it will be a good moment representing the CDI TRIBE!
  • In Randolph, VT the 1st Green Mountain Christian Film Festival will take place Oct 18-19. I think all three films MBF, Wild Faith and The Christ Slayer will play. Among the nominations announced thus far I was granted a ‘Best Supporting Actor’ Nomination for ole Ben Lily in ‘Wild Faith’ – along side Burt Young from ROCKY fame who is an Oscar Nom and whom I met a handful of years ago at Norby Walter’s Night of 100 Stars. ‘The Christ Slayer’ is nominated for a ‘Most Inspirational’ with more nominations to come this week.
  •  LOST HEART editing is underway and we should be climbing to the 30 min mark and we’ve had some PR from Creative Motion and a few other publications. Look for PR to really hit hard 1st of the new year.
  • I’ve had such powerful and heartfelt responses from those watching ‘MAN’S BEST FRIEND‘ and I cannot express how much that fills me with joy. I took a moment this week to read some of the wonderful reviews on our IMDB and Amazon page. I know that you can’t please everyone but overall I think the film is finding its audience. Thank you.  The DVD is suppose to arrive this week on Amazon and once it does we’ll be sharing that with all of you.
  • The book THE HORSE OF MY DREAMS by Revall/Baker Publishing is now out and you can read two of my stories in there. You can get online or at your favorite bookstore. It will make a great Christmas present. Mom no need to get one Santa might have you hooked up this year:) I might do some book store readings or some other PR we will see. I have more books coming that will feature a few of my stories.
  • BUY HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Horse-My-Dreams-Stories-Horses/dp/0800727185
  • We are almost done with a second abridged version of a ‘book video promo’ we did for a publisher. It has been a lot of coordination but in the end it will be worth it.
  • Development talks continue as we prepare for 2020 and what CDI will produce in the years ahead. We have some collaborative meetings in the weeks ahead and we will be charting a course soon.

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I’m going to wrap it up here. Again if you haven’t seen the films in our library please do take a watch. You can also look at more of the film details on http://www.cdiproductions.com

Have a great end to your weekend and a wonderful week ahead.

DJ

 

 


‘Man’s Best Friend’ Screens to First General Audience…

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And where do I even begin to describe last night? If you are not up to speed we had our Michigan premiere for our recent CDI film “Man’s Best Friend” at the NCG theater in Owosso, MI the home turf of our director Anthony (Tony) Hornus. In all my years I’ve been to premieres where after a showing people have all kinds of polite things to say. What I’ve found is that the screening itself doesn’t lie. With 270 people in each show you had a sea of viewers. The crying, laughter and even the occasional murmur such as “Shits about to go down now” give truth. We sit in our little studio mixing and watching with our small producers group but to witness a full theater absorb and react is…an artists dream.

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In many ways I am living my dream. I’m doing what always made me happy and what I feel confident doing. Last night I got to see many old friends and fellow artists. It was a joy to get beyond positive feedback from folks in the military and the general audiences. Nov 11th is the target date for theatrical in N. America. So if you have a film chain in your area reach out to their management and ask them to book the film. We will be pushing to get it to all the places that are being requested. It is a wonderful film to see on the big screen and kudos to our tech team for doing such a wonderful job. I’m still in morning coffee bliss after meeting so many of you last night. I’ve had several people tell me this was our best film to date and my best performed role to date. I will let all of you be the judge of that. I love them all but recognize the power in this role. I put in the work. I watched and communicated with many actual wounded warriors to create an ‘everyman’ like Paul Landings. All I can say is that I will never forget last night. It was truly special for me and to share it with all of those who came just made it that much more special.

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IF this is your first CDI film please do work your way backwards through our catalogue and watch the growth and development of our company. Once again I’m just so proud to have worked with all the artists in front of and behind the camera.

http://www.cdiproductions.com

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WILD FAITH will ride into Wilcox, AZ this October. We just found out that another Hollywood festival (Hollywood Divine International Film Festival) invited Wild Faith, MBF and The Christ Slayer to participate after being submitted by our distributor. I will get more info out on that event soon. IF you like to stay up on the developments please seek out and join our Facebook pages for these films.   I just opened an official folder at the MAN’S BEST FRIEND facebook site for the MI premiere pictures. In the next day or so the pictures will start being posted. So join us at our FB site and follow the CDI films as they rolls out across the nation.

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Aside from all the film work we’re doing final music with the amazing Dennis Therrian on a CDI commercial project. We’ll finish that up and deliver to the client. I’m almost done with LOST HEART clean up. We’re about 15 minutes into the rough edit of the film. Jesse Low has given his adjustments and so this week will be refining and digging into the next handful of scenes. This film will be under wraps being worked on while we promote the finished projects.

One of the biggest questions asked of me last night was what is next? Development is underway – rest assured. Stay tune. I’m going to make this a shorter blog today. I’m going to let all this positive energy soak in. I so enjoyed seeing everyone last night. I was up past my bedtime:) Thankful for 11:30 pm coffee:) Speaking of coffee, time to refill the cup.

Have a wonderful morning.

DJ

 


Making Yourself A ‘Must Re-Hire’ and other CDI Updates

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I’m sitting here sipping some hazelnut coffee from my Double JJ coffee mug. (See above) As of yesterday I’ve just about got all my gear from my last film adventure settled back in. Like I said before, when I go off I’m packing for myself personal, business and the character I played. I had almost as much stuff for ole “Niles Cass’ the role I played in LOST HEART.

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I’ve been playing clean up on the project. A bit high on expendable costs and damages. It is funny how people think that everything is tied to a faceless corporation when it is not. It is a small group of hardworking actor/producers working to tell a story. We will be installing a policy ‘CDI welcome book’ for future projects. We had a few damages that were not reported as they should. So you get to the end thinking everything was smooth and you find a damaged walkie talkie here and a broken clamp there. That responsibility, accountability is what makes a true KEY in filmmaking. You can know the gear and how to set it up and break it down but attitude (A #1 CDI requirement) and pride in your work (A CDI goal) are so important.

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Hard working CDI team in the desert of Yuma, AZ

I see the difference between someone who works with their own gear and someone working with rental gear unless they are a complete professional. By that, I mean treating others gear as yours and making sure that great care is taken because it is your name as accountable. Now I’m now talking about billing people for damages which would only be mildly satisfying. I really care about people and their development.  At least in our area there are only so many professional outfits creating content under the proper insurance and conducting proper business. If you are lucky enough to get these opportunities you should always work to leave the best impression. I know that rule as talent. So few regional companies are paying for narrative feature film and if you get that opportunity you want to shine. That means repeat work and if you think that we don’t ask for and get recommendations, it happens all the time.

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I was recently disappointed in a friend who does some work for us and must have misrepresented themselves. I got a call about his producer work on a certain project. The problem is that he wasn’t on the producer team. So when I got the call I was just honest but you could hear what the words did. It shot holes all in the credibility of this person and his words. What did it do to my opinion of this person?

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CDI Crew working on set of WILD FAITH

So someone who comes up short might just need more development under a more experienced KEY. But poor communication and lack of taking accountability can end the possibility of something long term. It can also add the dreaded “but…” along with your name. Such as “He’s got all kinds of talent but…(insert the short coming here). I’ve also had to deal with gear with pre-existing damage that the responsibility is put upon production. It is why honest and long-sighted vendors are a must. Overall we had an amazing crew and some are on their 3rd or 4th+ films with CDI. Having a handful of those great relationships will assist cast or crew in maintaining a good career. These lessons go for cast too. If you get known for being late, bad attitude or being unprepared – your future is in jeopardy. So always give your best. Take accountability for mistakes. And always strive to increase communications.

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LOST HEART is ‘in the can’ and editing is about to begin. You can read back on the previous posts to get all the gushing. It will be a heart touching and funny movie full of fun. I again thank all our cast, crew, investors, sponsors and supporters for making this story happen.

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WILD FAITH is rolling out hard to Wal-Mart and other retailers. We had many people reaching out having gotten their copy of the film. It will play Sunday Oct 6th at the WILD BUNCH western festival in AZ. 3:15 is the start time and so if you are in the area you can see our film and many others in the genre. It is also being recognized at the upcoming CONTENT 19 festival for its themes and set design. If you have not watched this film yet – rent it. Buy it. Enjoy it.

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Anthony Hornus our director of MBF: Man’s Best Friend is busy working to try and set up the premiere screening in Sept in his home town of Owosso/Corunna. Our tech teams are working to polish the film even further before the theatrical and home video release. The film is really powerful and if you have a soft place for our wounded heroes and/or dogs, this film will be for you.

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The Quest Trilogy: Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer. I like to say most people get more holy around the holidays but these films are adventures. You can enjoy them at any time. The reports and checks from the distributor tell me that you all are enjoying the films. I am looking forward to having all three in the marketplace for the upcoming holidays. More people are discovering these hidden gems. Go ahead and take a watch and see if they are something to share with your family during the holiday season.

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DEVELOPMENT: We are looking at various projects and discussing the best way to bring them to life. I’m about to take a nice 5 day break from the movies and clear my head. When you are filming you are going 100 miles an hour. Once in post things start to slow quickly to a nice steady pace. When I return we’ll have our in-depth debrief where we discuss all aspects of production. What worked well. What did not. What can be improved upon. Much of this crew building is for future projects including a TV series. We are looking for the right people to move forward with. Money does not buy the qualities and traits we are looking for – those come from within. Production doesn’t really decide if a crew member is a rehire or not. Their own attitude and actions does decide that. If someone is so positive and hardworking and cares about what they are doing you always want that person on board. We just look at what they gave us and make decisions based on that. We know who are the crew people working to be directors. We keep an eye on their development and one day…you might land in a directing chair.

Well, my lawn is finally back under control and things are running smooth. While doing some banking yesterday I stopped at a small garage sale on my way home and left with a couple Blu-Ray copies of ENTER THE DRAGON, KING KONG and the MATRIX trilogy for $2.00 – nice.

“It is like a finger pointing a way to the moon…Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.” – Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon)

Have a great week and as long as I don’t get eaten by a bear on my retreat we’ll chat next week. Be good to one another.

DJ

 


FOUR Secrets of Filmmaking – Plus CDI Updates

Good morning from HOME! Yes. I’m sipping some coffee after a few puppy cuddles and now I’ll be sharing with all of you some updates and insights. First I want to talk about LOST HEART. What a ride we had. First it was just amazing to go from just a blueprint with the script to capturing magic. This script has been hailed as one of my best pieces of writing. I know that writing is much like a film in that it’s subjective. But the story did a great job of painting interesting characters in unique places and situations. It was my first script with Melissa Anschutz in the lead and she performed beyond all my expectations. Much like Shane Hagedorn in Wild Faith, it was great that my scripts could be used as starring vehicles for my friends/peers.

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While we were filming LOST HEART, WILD FAITH was rolling out across the nation. Wal-Mart’s and other retailers around the country starting carrying the film DVD and the fans responded. I had so many people approach me the last few weeks who had watched several of the CDI films. One day in prep – Shane Hagedorn (Emmett) got stopped by a maintenance guy who had seen Wild Faith. Already thrilled to met Emmett, he was further thrilled to be led into a room where Melissa Anschutz and I worked accounting. His eyes got big and his smile wide as he got to meet Ben Lily and Hester Thickett. This meeting of fans played out several times during our multi week stay. All around town – handshakes and kind words. I’m so proud of both Shane and Melissa – they are true leading talent. Everyone sits around and wishes for a starring role but only a select can really ‘lead’ a film. It’s not easy physically, mentally and keeping that arc requires constant adjustments. These two along with my ole workhorse buddy Anthony (Tony) Hornus made up my senior producing team. We have a great associate producer team that helps us do what needs to be done.

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Jesse Low made his third film with CDI (Forty Nights & Wild Faith) and now Lost Heart. Nate “The General” Robertson led a great production campaign. One of his very best to date. We had Nancy Oeswein and Witney Wagner working with CDI for the first time in our office. I think it was a great collaboration and while they had to jump into a very existing system they adjusted and brought some new ideas to the table. I look forward to another future collaboration. Now it cannot be all rainbows so what were some of the issues. Now before addressing that I will again say that prep is so important because it allows a production to aim all its efforts at the immediate problem solving. I see too many businesses run in reactive mode putting a bandaid on something but that in turn causes three issues. Put in the hard work in advance – it pays off. We did this and it was apparent on set and in the final footage.

  • Communication – making better communication is always the goal. While we are VERY good we always strive for better. Most small issues arrive from assuming and not knowing. We are all guilty of that at times and work hard to correct that.
  • Focus – when we are at work people need to set aside their personal relationships aside and focus on the goals of the day. From Call to wrap a film crew works to get its puzzle pieces (Footage). Time is the essence each day and focusing on task will result in earlier days, less mistakes/damages and make a better final product.
  • Representation – When you work for a company you not only represent the film company but the craft as a whole. One of our major locations had someone call and warn them before shooting about “filmmakers” because of a bad experience they had. When asked if it was our company they replied NO. CDI was defended by the owners by telling them their experience had been 100% positive. It is why I am so protective and communicate with locations that all companies are NOT equal. I’m not even comparing subjective final films but how we conduct ourselves while working. I’ve had people try to “drop” my name or our company to gain access to a place. Location owners all know to call us first if approached because if your operation is ‘slash and burn’ meaning getting footage by whatever means possible, that is conveyed. Or at the least letting them know we are not connected. Our team was raking up mulch at one location after the shoot. Pride in how your company/work is looked upon as a fine quality.
  • Positive Attitude – This is something especial required of KEYS. You set the department tone.  For example at CDI vulgar or aggressive outbursts are not tolerated without being addresses. Those examples again show poor communication and tells others that you’re not in control of your department. We always have a few that rise to the new challenge and fly while a few perhaps need more time under an experienced key. Skillset is only part of the equation – being able to motivate, inspire and lead a team with positive enthusiasm is the sign of a great leader. CDI is about developing leaders.

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Once things are running smooth I get to sit back and watch everything. I get to ninja about and observe. I see who treats their gear proper. You should always treat gear as if you own it. Watch someone who does own the gear care for their gear. This is much like the care given to our locations. I can see when outside personal issues intrude upon someone’s focus. I see when personal interactions interfere with work flow and cause distractions. I see when people rush versus moving quickly with care. I see when people are not fully conditioned for feature length shoots either due to lack of rest, poor nutrition and/or lack of prep. I’m proud to say our production only had a few occasions where these things happened. But it is easy to spot on a film set that runs smooth. It is the job of management (producers) to sit back after and evaluate performance. This leads to rehiring or perhaps realizing someone needs more development. Sometimes it was a person was used in the wrong place and would be better suited elsewhere. But applying the 4 principals listed above will improve any production.

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MBF: Man’s Best Friend – This film is about to heat up! A premiere in the director’s home town is being explored first. The film will be releasing into select theaters and home video in the next few months. We got to do a small private screening in pre-production and…(SMILE) – I cannot wait for people to see the film. It showcases beautiful performances by wonderful actors. The hardworking crew made this story flow and it shows. So get ready for this story that showcases the plight of military vets and adoption dogs to come to the big and small screen.

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The Quest Trilogy – The films are continuing to produce even in the non-holiday season. These are adventure films set in biblical times and so they can be enjoyed at anytime. So as we prepare to market for the holiday season ahead – enjoy now. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER.

I’m going to do final wrap up this week on LOST HEART. We’ll meet next week over post process again and to evaluate the shoot. I have a few acting reels to update – one with Ben Lily (Wild Faith) and one for Jesus (The Christ Slayer). I additionally need to work the final paperwork on the new agent collaboration for my screenwriting/producing. Lastly, I have a week-long vacation in the U.P. coming up. But right now it is about unpacking and also getting the yard/house caught up from week’s away. I hope you all enjoy your weekend and the week ahead.

Be good to one another. Doh! The coffee cup is empty.

DJ

 


Week B4 Location Pre-Production, MBF and More…

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Good morning to everyone out there. The week has been a busy one for sure. Where to start? Before doing this I was working down my list of TO DO’s nearly 20 items deep trying to get a jump on tomorrow. We are very close to on-set pre-production on LOST HEART. We’ve been meeting on cast, crew and various vendors and sponsors.  Tomorrow we’ll be announcing two of other female actresses joining the cast. One is an amazing musician/actress and the other a SNL alumni, so stay tuned for that tomorrow. You can follow our FB site for LOST HEART at

https://www.facebook.com/lostheartmovie/

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We’ll also be announcing another major sponsor this week – which I can say enough how much that helps independent filmmakers. Some of our sponsors are already listed on the FB site and see http://www.cdiproductions.com where another LOST HEART page will be going up. Friends old and new will be coming together to tell a Michigan story.

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WILD FAITH – I’ve started getting some fantastic emails from people who have watched and enjoyed the film. It is now for DIGITAL RENTAL on Amazon Prime and many platforms. On July 2nd it will release to DVD. Thank you to those who have pre-ordered. We’ll look at the TV series or sequels once the worldwide audience has spoken. I would love to do a Michigan based TV series. It would provide some great opportunities to showcase the talent here. Rent/Buy but I would love to read your reviews either on here or better yet posted to amazon.com, IMDB.com or wherever you have rented/purchased it. Giddy up!

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MBF: Man’s Best Friend – We’ve been quietly prepping this film for distribution 1st to theaters with home video to follow. I had the pleasure to watch the film through this past week and I was just amazed at the powerful performances made stronger but the score by “Tricky T” 🙂 We’ll have a premiere after we get done filming LOST HEART. It will likely be in the Owosso, MI  area where our director hails from. The themes of military vets and adoption dogs will touch the heart’s of many. Get ready for another wonderful Michigan story brought to you by the tribe at CDI.

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The Quest Trilogy ( Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) – If you are enjoying CDI films and want to watch a trilogy of adventure films set in the biblical times- The Quest Trilogy. Take a watch and join the viewers from around the world experiencing these stories.

I am not going to wax on about any subjects today simply because I have a long TO DO list as noted that I want to chip away at. The garden is growing nicely and this week we had a new roof put on. It took about 3 hours and I admired their work flow. The roofers and the clean up support staff. EAGLE EYE ROOFING in Mason which was recommended after they just did a roof job for fellow CDI producer Anthony Hornus. OK. I hope you all have a wonderful week. When I write next week I will be preparing to leave for on-location pre-production for a week before cameras roll.

Have a great day!

DJ

 


LOST HEART – Scout Trip and More

Happy Father’s Day! It is a rainy, cold Michigan day. I am lucky that I got to spend some time with my daddy this morning. I enjoyed a little breakfast of cornbeef hash and eggs. Today I feel pretty good having just returned from a whirlwind scout up North with our advanced scout team for LOST HEART. That is our next CDI film that will start filming in July. I’m excited about some of the beautiful locations we discovered and new friends we’ve met. Yesterday I was a touch under the weather due to multiple conditions but I didn’t get my full sleep due to a cabin loft bed that seemed more fun when I was 12 years old. Add in second day of soccer sore, less sleep and perhaps the sip of peach brandy and I was just tired.

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A Northern location scout – the team seen here with actress Kim Harsch (2nd from left) who co-stars in MBF. Also from left to right Anthony Hornus, Shane Hagedorn, Melissa Anschutz, Me and director Jesse Low.

As I’ve stated before, getting our daily filmed footage is only one of my goals. The other goal/priority is creating a memorable experience for the cast and crew. I think the latter will help us get the best footage. The cast and crew on Lost Heart should be very happy when they see where they will be housed. Lots to do in their down time also but we’ll be announcing more on that later.

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I wanted to announce Mr. Don Most will PR this week but we’re combining that announcement with another exciting one. That is the additional of Josh “Ponceman” Perry to the cast of LOST HEART. If you saw THE CHRIST SLAYER you got to see what an amazing talent he is. I’m looking forward to our time on and off screen. We also announced a young actress Cassie Dean who will be working with us for the first time. We will work to make her feel welcome.

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Our cast and crew is lining up and we think this might be one of our best productions yet. The story/script has gotten some great reviews and I look forward to having it brought to life. We always are trying to make the best story with our limited budgets. Many people don’t have any idea how hard it is to raise production funds. I’m sure some of my fellow filmmakers understand that plight. It’s why most all film projects fail to launch. CDI is not some big faceless corporation it’s actually a small Michigan-based production company trying to tell some good stories. I appreciate the artists and it is one of the traits we look at in our hires, appreciation.

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This week is going to be working to get the final funds into the account. Getting the commitment and getting the actual money can be a task in itself. Many investors don’t always understand our timelines and that can hurt a production. We will also be announcing a few exciting new sponsors. We’ve been targeting Michigan-based companies and we’re proud to align with them.

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MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film is now being mixed with a few final audio tweaks being done. We will deliver the film on June 30th and they are already gearing up the theatrical marketing. This week is putting the end credits together and soon we will have another completed film.

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WILD FAITH – Our western is building its home video release. The digital rental on Amazon and other retailers will be June 24th. July 2nd is the official DVD release but some faith retailers were given a slight advance on the release. If you’ve seen the film please do leave us a review on IMDB.com or Amazon.com

I’ve gotten word the the legendary Lana Wood will be joining Darby Hinton at the HAPPY TRAILS VA STYLE film event in October I believe it is. I will keep updating everyone as I get more information.

A few of the discussions as of late have been about the WILD FAITH TV series. Once the film fully gets out there we’ll see if the characters in the film are a hit with audiences. If so we’ll be looking at bringing you a full season of the WILD FAITH story.

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THE QUEST TRILOGY keeps adding audiences worldwide and I have enjoyed a handful of fans recognizing me from those films. Again if you haven’t enjoyed these films check out FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER on Amazon and other fine retailers.

This rain and cold is causing a postponement of my nephew’s Bday party and I too might have to reconsider a get together I was going to have for my birthday. Thunderstorms are not good for outside yard parties. But we did get the garden in and I also worked in some grass seed where needed. The rain is good for that. So this week will be more cast and crew agreements and working to lock locations. And…learn my lines. Yes. Even when you write the script you still need to work your lines although it is a touch easier.

I will let this end here and I’m going to organize my work from the scout trip so I can start Monday off right. Be good to one another and keep chasing your dreams.

DJ


Persistence eventually wears down failure.

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Good morning! Usually in the morning I’m treated to sunshine but with the rain/wind storm rolling through and the time change, springing ahead, it is darker. I’m sipping my (enter sponsor coffee here) * yes I’m still looking:) and I’m going to share some of the updates from a very busy week.  But before that let’s see if I can pull any lessons from the past week to share with you all.

CASTING

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(Talented artists – surround your pictures with them)

I will comment on something that I’ve commented on before – casting. I’m reviewing close to our final cut of MBF: Man’s Best Friend and I’m just so damn proud of all the actors. It takes good words, scenes, story and interweaving to allow such performance. I do want to work in other people’s worlds and stories. But it is always a task because a good strong blueprint/script is required. I’ve noted before of hearing filmmakers brag about ‘no script’ or ‘winging it’ and it always SHOWS. I recently read a script that I was considering involvement with and I asked about the campy humor. I was embarrassed slightly when the response was that it wasn’t humorous it was 100% straight and meant to be intense and gritty. Um…okay. It was a pass on my part. I’ve been there. Done that. Got the tee-shirt. Spend 99 cents and watch it on Amazon Prime with my 1st starring role in a feature film. IN THE WOODS is a fun film and cult junkies love it even playing drinking games to it. But it was meant to be like ALIEN and the monsters when shown in the light, we thought a novel idea, come off…watch it:)

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(Note my costar Jim G who can also be seen in upcoming ‘MBF’ )

IN THE WOODS link

https://www.amazon.com/Woods-D-J-Perry/dp/B07P267H6T/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=In+the+woods&qid=1552228192&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Back to casting. I’m reviewing MBF and so proud of the performances by so many of my peers are excellent. And to the crew who worked so hard and harmoniously, you will be proud to be associated with this Collective Development Inc. film. I’ve been enjoying watching new reels. We consider all our past performers who brought great performances and were not any sort of issue. You cannot tolerate nonsense when doing something as hard as making a feature and trying to keep quality at a certain level. But every film only allows us a few players.

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(Greg Mason on set MBF with Duncan from Animal Planet)

To finish the MBF update, this week dialog work will begin once the picture is officially locked.

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THE CHRIST SLAYER – The DVD is becoming available at more places. Amazon had some glitch for a few days. It seems like that happens quite often. I saw that we were moving units nicely. I still like the DVD/Blu-Ray format. Digital can disappear, it happens. The April 19th Easter event screenings in theaters will be exciting.

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Speaking on that as we start the run up to myCinema‘s WILD FAITH theatrical. I’ve fielded hundreds of requests for what states? What theaters? I hope to have answers soon. This is my first run with these films and this theatrical outfit. I see others who like to overstate news but with so many set backs over the decades I almost always take the modest path. If we show in more than 2 states and 8-10 screens I will see it as progress. Now the myCinema is in 1000+ screens but I don’t want to get myself too excited or disappointed. It is a beautiful story as many of our story’s are and we just want to entertain. So I hope we do capture a large audience with these releases. I do hope to have info for everyone this coming week.

Also some of you were treated to a DOVE family review and some new artwork. You can read about it here.

PR RELEASE WITH DOVE REVIEW:

https://www.prlog.org/12758326-wild-faith-reveals-new-artwork-for-theatrical-and-dvd-release.html

If you have enjoyed any of these films please do leave a review on amazon, imdb or any social media sites that would apply. I know a few reviews that are in the works as we speak.

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(Mr. Robert Bradley on set ‘MBF’ with our Brown Boy)

LOST HEART 

We’ve been moving right along on bringing on investors, scouting locations, finalizing the shoot script and such. We’ve been announcing some of the players and this week we’ll announce a few more. Mr. Robert Bradley and Mr. Anthony Hornus will be playing roles and assisting with production.

This week we’ll be sending the new script around to some of the team. We’re also talking to many sponsors to participate in our Northern Michigan telling. If your company service or goods wants to consider sponsorship with us please reach out to perrydj@aol.com and I’ll discuss with you. We’ve had many companies participate and love adding to that family.

Misc Final Biz

I had a few great meetings with filmmakers this past week. We discussed some collaborations on a few films. If you are bringing something from the outside in most likely you will also have to bring the money. Our CDI funds are being directed at in-house projects that have distribution blessings. The idea of not spending the time, energy and money shopping is really nice. I’ve had other interested studios discussing possible production/distribution of non-family/faith material. As I noted to a friend recently the secret is ‘One step in front of the other. Balance. Focus. Persistence eventually wears down failure.’ Choose your associates and collaborators carefully or you’ll always be off-balance and having your focus pulled away from you. And the final product will reflect all those issues. 

Have a great Sunday!

DJ

 

 

 

 


C3 = Communicate, Collaborate and Compromise…Happy Easter

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I see that several new readers have joined us from India. Namaste my friends. A handful of years ago I co-starred in a great spooky thriller in India entitled “Karma: Crime, Passion, Reincarnation” – what fun. It played in theaters but did not make it here. When we get the streaming part of CDI up I want to try to get that film on our platform. It stars Carl Weyant that others will see this Christmas in our third film in THE QUEST TRILOGY, “The Christ Slayer”. Speaking on this film, I’ve seen the first music draft of the trailer and now color corrections and final tweaks are underway. It is exciting to have this film preparing to meet the world around Christmas with a large targeted release next Easter. We also just had a bday for my co-star Josh ‘Ponceman’ Perry! (Fist Bump)

GREEN LIGHT. I’m also proud to announce all funds are committed and MBF (Man’s Best Friend) was announced in Official Pre-Production. It will film in May/June in Michigan with an amazing team gathered around Anthony Hornus as director. I’m playing a title role in this film and I’m EXCITED about being able to watch the performances. We have a tech scout this coming week and I’ll be reaching out to possible crew.

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In a matter of days the music video I participated in entitled ‘My Ghost’ by musician Trey Connor will release around the 14th. I am trying to see if I can arrange it to play before “Wild Faith” on one of these special screenings. I’m very happy with their work and the story put forth in those few minutes is really powerful.

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Let’s talk about “Wild Faith” for a moment. I always knew if this film could ever be made it would be powerful. I’m so glad I stuck to my guns all those years ago. I feel bad for the dishonest folks in CA who almost killed this project. I’m so very happy that the power of the story would not die. It’s a different movie from the original screenplay which you can read via the novelization. In many ways things in the story changed but the heart of the story survived the transplant. Budget is the #1 reason why we had to go from page one through the script. Names were also changed to fit the new players of our story. I’m so proud that the story made it into existence. The response is more than I could have asked for. Sold out shows. Listening to people laugh and cry in the theater has been touching. I love that people are now understanding it is a FAMILY movie. A history class full of middle school children set up a special screening at Celebration Cinemas. How amazing is that.

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If you want the film in your area you need to 1) Contact your local theater and request “Wild Faith” and 2) Get an email/name of the manager of that theater. 3) Get us that contact info. The film is now moving to Novi, Michigan near Detroit thanks to our friends at Emagine Theaters. It starts playing on April 6-12th and if that first weekend is good we’ll likely get another week added. We’re in talks to try to bring it to Hastings area where we shot. Also we’re in talks with theaters in West Virginia and South and North Carolina. I can see Texas and maybe GA in our future. We’ll bring the film wherever the demand is and the business makes sense. I do know that it will be traveling to Florida to play for audiences at the Christian International Film Festival. We’ve been nominated for several awards and many of our nominees will be present.

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One of the main films “Wild Faith” is up against is part 2 of THE QUEST TRILOGY – “Chasing the Star” which also has Dennis Therrian up for Best Score, myself for Best Screenplay and the overall ‘Most Inspirational’ which “Forty Nights” took last year. If you have not seen these two films both can be found on Amazon Prime, Christian Cinema and many other platforms. With this being Easter weekend both these films are a wonderful watch. “Chasing the Star” is more adventure and can be watched at anytime. There was no snow, jingles bells or Christmas carols. I know “Forty Nights” is playing Parables TV tonight I believe at 8:30pm not sure if that is EST or what so check your listing.

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“Wicked Spring” is a beautiful Civil War era drama that our team produced many years ago. It can now be watched on Amazon Prime or the DVD has a great 44 min making of for those aspiring filmmakers. Joining this classic is “Ashes of Eden” which is now also on Amazon Prime. I really do appreciate all the fans that are now enjoying our past library.

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ASHES OF EDEN

I could go on about development and such but I will leave that to next week. I’m just going to again talk about collective compromise. Every great endeavor is usually the result of mixed collaboration. Led Zeppelin 12 years of compromise and collaboration. Individually or paired Page and Plant are still not the same as Zeppelin. I think too many people want/need to win so absolutely that it comes at the expense of the whole. Same side of the table negotiation. Whereas both parties walk away with some degree of satisfaction. These same ideas can be applied in all areas of life personal and professional.

Poor communication usually leaves both parties unable/unwilling to look for that common ground. Good communication starts with respectful communication EVEN if the opinions differ. Most people fail right out the gate with condescending communication which just says that they never entered with an attempt to collaborate. Many want to be heard but don’t care if they’re understood. That is failure. When I see people shouting at one another or vicious text communications – I just see venting. Good maybe for the person unable to cope but it does little to advance any understanding.

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T Rex and DJ Perry (Moses & Jesus) on set “40 Nights”

So now I try to see with compassion that people are so under their own self-inflicted negative rage. High blood pressure, anxiety attacks – people build their own prisons emotionally. So to bring this full circle – take yourself out of crisis-mode. Empty your cup of opinions and learn the art of good communication. Learn to collaborate with others and you’ll see amazing things happen. Life is too short to be angry all the time and for many this is just a phase in their lives. Whomever you are – be that someone in your actions and words that inspires others to be like you. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Try treating and speaking to others in the respectful manner you would like to be addressed.  Before letting that “Conservative POS” or “Snowflake” comment fly from your irrational angered mouth or key board – STOP. Take a deep breath and be open to communicate, collaborate and yes, compromise.

Be good to one another. Happy Easter.

DJ

 

 

 

 


Thank you – Family, Friends and Fans

The sun is out and the hazelnut coffee is flowing. WHAT A WEEK! First I want to welcome our new readers from Romania. Our international group of artists is expanding with each week. For a few weeks now I’ve managed to stay a step or two ahead of the sick bugs striking people down. Family and friends with children and those working around large groups have been fallen ill. I’ve managed to stay the course and not get full-blown sick but my energy level has been tapped. Add the amount of business and the ‘Wild Faith‘ premiere kick off events and…walking a thin line.

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Family and friends make the day extra special.

Our cast and crew premiere at Studio C was a wonderful event. I had one of those days I could not get warm all day. Body aches wanted to set in but I managed to pull it all together. Warmth was my fashion and so a nice warm sweater was just what the doctor ordered. It was this showing that meant the most because it was for everyone you see in the end credits. It was our investors, sponsors, cast and crew and I wanted them to be as proud of the work as I am. To say we had a positive reaction is a modest statement. This industry is hard with many projects that implode before take off or never get finished. The ones that do get completed often suffer from not being able to consistently keep the quality on-screen. That could be said about our earliest work but we always did the best we could with what we had. So many came in for the event which made it extra special.

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We have a great CDI producer team and we would be unable to achieve what we have without these three – post supervisor Dennis Therrian and co-producers Melissa Anschutz and Anthony Hornus helping lead the charge.

The very next day was our public premiere with showings kicking off in Lansing and Grand Rapids. That was also just incredible and these are not the biased artists these are the paying public. The feedback from people I knew and did not know was overwhelming. I was happy I felt a touch better on Friday but Saturday was spent chilling and recovering. I even got to do some yard work which after our cold winter was enjoyable. “Wild Faith” will play twice a day 4:30 and 7:00 in both Grand Rapids (Woodland) and Lansing until Thursday unless they hold it over. It has been selling out the nighttime performance so we’ll see. We have even been getting members of the Living History community coming out in full period garb. How cool! Here is one of my favorite quotes from a Owosso Community reporter “The acting, location, and music causes a person watching this movie, made on a tight budget, to have the same experience as if they were watching an $80 Million-dollar movie.” – we try is all I can say on that.

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Developing new directors is something I enjoy and this makes #2 with Mr. Jesse Low

NEWS PICKS

http://www.thedailyreporter.com/news/20180316/little-river-railroad-featured-in-film-opens-tonight

https://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/entertainment/movies/2018/03/15/locally-made-movie-premiers-celebration/32919247/

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As noted last week “Wild Faith” is up for 4 awards at the International Christian Film Festival in FL. Best Film, Lead Actor/Actress and Director. Right beside it is Part 2 of ‘The Quest Trilogy’ “Chasing the Star” with 5 nominations – Best Film, Most Inspirational, Best Actor, Best Score and Best Screenplay. This film and Part 1 “Forty Nights” is a great holiday watch for the Easter season. The screenplay nod is nice as I’m working to take on a few work-for-hire and also sell off a few screenplays I don’t plan to produce. If you’re looking to buy a script or hire a writer – let’s talk.

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Music Video ‘My Ghost‘ Directed by Tomaki Boaz 

The day before the cast/crew premiere I was given an opportunity to play a part in a music video for artist Trey Connor with a song entitled “My Ghost” that will release mid-April. I had a great time working with everyone. With this music video and the recent promotional before Christmas I’m opening myself to hiring out on things that interest me. My feature film work keeps me quite busy but always will work to try to make a schedule work if the art entices.

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Like a sleeping giant “The Christ Slayer” part 3 of the trilogy is moving ahead. Work on the next trailer and the film itself are underway. Just know something special is in the works and will be heading to theaters 4th quarter this year.

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MBF (Man’s Best Friend) is CDI’s next film and we’re so very close to closing up business on this powerful story. More “fuel” came in and more next week. The ship is getting close to launch and we’ll work hard to bring audiences again, a very special story. Many ways to get involved with your businesses too. Our partners at the Red, White and Blue Project are taking donations into their non-profit for their educational side of the film. I’m working hard with our team to complete funding by month’s end and move into official pre-production. This will be another great film in the CDI fleet.

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For those who want more 1800’s please do watch our “Wicked Spring” playing Amazon Prime now. Also if you’ve seen “Wild Faith” or any of the films take a few moments on Amazon or IMDB to vote and leave a review. I’m going to leave all this right here. I want to thank the huge outpouring of support for these films. I loved each and every conversation I had with people after watching “Wild Faith” – thank you again. We had general audience members come in from other states to see this film. Also people driving in and making it an event. The story is greatly needed in this day and age and we hope that we entertain and bring a little fresh air into the conversations. Love over hate.

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Meeting supporter Kim Harris at the public premiere

I was proud to have my family and friends join me in the send off for this newest film. As film artists we don’t always get to see all our fans. To cite an example one title has sold over 300,000 DVD’s and I likely don’t know 298,000 of them. So I’m excited for all the people I do not know who will enjoy the film(s). But it also makes it that much more special to shake a hand and hear about your favorite character/scene/part of a film. Know that each and every one of you we don’t know are appreciated. To our fans around the world – thank you.

DJ

 

 

 


Circle of Life – Saying Goodbye and Looking Ahead (New Poster Release)

I’m sipping on the hazelnut coffee and enjoying the sunshine this morning. Welcome readers from Finland – happy to have you here with us. So I returned on Thursday from my trip to LA. I had been wanting to return to LA to see one of my dear friends who now has a little one and wife. Several times I had debated taking the time to go visit but I’ve been in production or post-production for a few years now. Busy does not stop it just keeps going. Well I received an invite to a private family memorial for my friend, mentor and co-star Rance Howard. Rance has always been that voice of truth in an industry that often moves on lies and half-truths. He was a mentor/friend that often felt like a grandfather. He was a script consultant on a WW2 Christmas film I wrote. He was my co-star on several films including THE CHRIST SLAYER that will release to theaters on the run up to Christmas this year. I know that EVERYONE who met Rance loved him. I did not plan on any invite and knew nothing of the planning. I felt fulfilled and secure in the memories of the beautiful relationship we had shared. When working on a role Rance and I were like two ten-year olds playing. His wisdom was always a guiding force and I was content with my quiet prayers to a friend who passed. Weeks later I was surprised to get an invite from his sons to attend a private service. I did not want any stress/expectations around this event as the purpose was to celebrate a friend passing not business. So I quietly left in the middle of a massive snowstorm to say goodbye to an old friend and to visit another friend with new child. Circle of life.

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To say that is was a nice tribute would be an understatement. It was a true look back at a farmer’s son who had an undeniable urge to be storyteller. The odds of this small town young man finding success in the industry were very small. I was his friend for a dozen years but I met many who had that gentle guidance for a lifetime. I realized just how blessed I was to have Rance in my life. One after another – family and friends stood up to speak of the qualities of this great man. To hear sons, grandchildren, directors and fellow actors tell their stories of how Rance touched them was beyond moving.

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Tony Becker, myself (Slightly Beat up) and Rance Howard on “Ghost Town

To have an opportunity to speak with his family and friends and share my stories of Rance and our relationship was beautiful. I know that Ron posted some pics and video of the tribute on his official Facebook so you can visit there. That’s what the family felt like sharing. It was interesting to hear the “family story” behind stories I heard from Rance and Judy directly. Johnny Depp retold the story Judy Howard had told us of her trying to convince Rance not to jump from a train at 80+ years old.  She tried to get Johnny to talk with Rance but the long/short is Rance did it anyways. To be able to tell the family directly what their father meant to me was powerful. That day remembering Rance is one I will remember for the rest of my life. I got to hear some wonderful comments on our art. The family all knew about our films because Rance had grown a beard, which they lovingly teased him according to Judy. He kept that beard until the end of his life telling me he hadn’t had one in many years but he was enjoying the freedom of it. I was pushing him to go play a Jedi Master.   I’m sure his family was also aware of the management/rep craziness when Rance told the X Files producers that a certain shoot date would not work because of Forty Nights. Knowing agents like I have – I bet that was one giant rant of “What the @$#@#% is Forty Nights and who in the hell is DJ Perry?” – He ended up doing both because he stuck to his commitment with us (never in question) and that was that. A free lesson for all of you out there. Don’t have someone’s back only until something better comes along. The “trade up” mentality is a common thing to starving talent who will climb at all cost. But as Rance once said, “if the cost is your integrity – you can’t afford it.” Free advice from one of my great teachers. I will miss my friend and I’ll be always grateful for the stories we told together.

 

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Dean Teaster and Shane Hagedorn in “Wild Faith

Now two days prior to my travels, our final film of WILD FAITH had been completed. Over the past year I depleted energy like everyone else in this hard industry. Often taking three steps forward and getting knocked back two. Raising money is always hard and executing with ever-growing expectations is even harder. But at that memorial I took stock of my own path and journey. I turned around and looked at where I started and where I’ve been. Who I’ve worked with and what we created together. And the most exciting revelation is looking ahead visualizing what I will work to create in the next dozen years. I spent the balance of the trip visiting with friends laughing, recharging and reflecting. I came back home ready to do what I do. Create. So I’m working hard to widen our investor base so we can create more often. The demand is there for our content and so we’ll work hard to fill that demand.

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We’ve signed our first theatrical deal on “Wild Faith” at Celebration Cinema and we’ll release the show dates in the next few days. I’m very excited to see this play in the theaters and I’m just so damn proud of all the artists. The talks on home video and TV series are in full swing. I would love to have the TV show move ahead because many Michigan talent would get to be part of this beautiful world.

Forty Nights” and “Chasing the Star” enjoyed a great Christmas season and I’ve been working with BMG on paperwork for additional foreign sales. BMG entered “Chasing the Star” into a few select festivals. I’m a person who likes to just target a few festivals. They take time and energy and often I just choose to direct that energy towards deal making.

So our distributor plans to make part 3 of Collective Development Inc.’s THE QUEST TRILOGY “The Christ Slayer” their flagship release at the upcoming markets. They got the sneak peek at the soon-to-release theatrical trailer and poster art. Additionally the hype over Mel Gibson‘s development of a sequel to The Passion of the Christ has been encouraging. That proposed film focuses on passover and the days that follow Jesus rising from the tomb. That is exactly the time period and event we focused on with THE CHRIST SLAYER. A final story filled with incredible performances by everyone including Rance Howard shining in one of his last feature films. So I agree this “piece” of the Jesus story is unique and audiences will be able to see our take a good year plus before the other film is set to release. I will be excited to see their take on the story as Jim does an awesome job as Jesus and Mel is one of my favorite directors. Audiences will be able to enjoy our film in theaters leading to this Christmas and home video leading up top Easter 2019. I’m going to let all of you see the theatrical poster HERE before the PR release this week.

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Judy and Rance Howard, Anthony Hornus and myself on set “Forty Nights

I want to also wish a happy birthday to Shane Hagedorn and Anthony (Tony) Hornus – two tribal amigos who share a special day. I’ve created much with both of them and look forward to many more. MBF is growing with more support and I’ve got a few talent I want to approach once all funding is locked. I’ll be back to that this week. We’re getting close but do not start anything you cannot finish. Exert patience and get everything  proper with your ship before taking it out to deep waters. So to proposed cast and crew know we’re working hard to allow us to tell another great story.

 

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Myself and Shane Hagedorn in “The Christ Slayer

I also want to take this moment to thank Shane Hagedorn. I’ve been very busy the last few years. And you filmmakers know the films are like your children. So the films have gotten strong marketing but I have not really pushed my own acting. I’ve had no time to cut any character reels. Shane was kind enough to Christmas gift me with a ‘Jesus’ reel cut from “Forty Nights”. Now when you’re in 70+ min of an 88 min film picking the best 2-3 min can be hard. I’m appreciative that he did that for me. Now if you have not yet watched “Forty Nights” DON’T WATCH the reel. Go to Amazon and watch the film first. But I will use this reel to discuss future work on other projects.

 

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DJ Perry as ‘Jesus’ in “Forty Nights

http://www.imdb.com/videoplayer/vi1002682393

I’ve recently had a few west coast projects in my orbit picking up speed. I had a few new updates on C.U.J.O and the western RIFLE development. I cannot speak on these publicly but I hope they both launch. They will be great fun. A few other projects with Reel Frog (Book of Ruth) are advancing on the development board also. An animated venture is coming together piece by piece. Overall 2018, the Year of the Dog (My sign) is upon us. I will keep my tail wagging and trotting along.

 

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OTHER MISC RE-RELEASES

WICKED SPRING should appear for streaming on 3/1/18 like VUDU, Amazon Prime, Hoopla and more. Please do check out this powerful film that we produced 18 years ago.

THE ACTOR – I’m hearing April release.

PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ (Animated for Children) – On Vimeo On Demand and coming to Amazon.

ASHES OF EDEN – has a new market push with a new distributor. INFO SOON

I’m going to sign off and go pour a last cup of coffee. It feels great to be back in my home state and I’m ready to show audiences our new films this year. I’m ready to work hard as usual to make new content. I tip my hat to all of you out there working hard. Do good business. Make an environment to create great art.

ENJOY THE FIRST RELEASE OF THE THEATRICAL “THE CHRIST SLAYER” POSTER

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Be good to one another.

DJ