‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA’ Director’s Screening plus ‘Harsens Island Revenge’ pre-PR Updates and more…
Good morning to you all. I was up past my bedtime a touch yesterday, so the hazelnut coffee is much appreciated. We did a special directors screening kick off showing of SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, our true event WW2 film. We had two screenings yesterday and we all went to an afterglow at Romas, next to the NCG in Owosso. This is back in our home state and while the film had a Michigan premiere at the Celebration Cinema, I was at a funeral. My family finally got to see all our hard work. We had a strong first showing at 4pm and I’ve heard from and seen posts from many friends who went to see the film. I like all filmmakers want a good showing, technically and being outside my area, that raises my temp. We had a super chilly last few days in Michigan, record breaking. I dressed well for outside travel but was too hot for crowds, pictures and such. I even wore a lighter jacket. I should have traded by beanie hat for something less hot. But, enough of the heat talk. It was HOT with enthusiasm, even walking up to the theatre ran into a fellow actor/filmmaker from the Detroit area who had just watched the 4:00 showing. He was sincere in his compliments and that set the tone. Iowa LOVES this story because it is their story. But the greater story makes it ALL OUR STORY. Our history. On the edge of Owosso, MI there is a race track once a PW camp like Algona. Many towns have this kind of history but many are unaware.
This month we’re pulling together the film for home video in the fall. We’re entering the deal phase and we’ll get the enhanced version to the distributor. When we saw it on the big screen, you always can notice things that if you can, you would change. A tweak of color correct here and there. Some enhancements in a few CGI plates. Subtitle tweaks. But these are artistic nuisances that many never see nor notice. Some errors may exist in period – we work hard to achieve this but it is all smoke and mirrors. Many enjoy trying to find these spots. In Star Wars you can see Kenny Baker inside R2D2 in a scene. In GLORY you can see the squib (fake bullet hits) lines running up the legs of some actors. MOVIE MAGIC. We try to transport you to another place and the audience is asked to relax and bring your imagination.
Last night I think people were taken to that time period. People will get to enjoy the film until Thursday and I hope we our powerful attendance last night they will move us into other cites with NCG. I am going to try and bring it back to N. Lansing at the Eastwood NCG. I will let you know. Again people are calling their theatre managers and asking them to book the film. They want your business so call and their bookers will reach out. They are reaching out every week. Also http://www.imdb.com is a place that is used in part to help the expansion of the film. We’ve had hundreds of beautiful comments and the attendance and growth speaks for itself, but many of a certain age do not use the computer much. Or as little as possible and so sometimes the best comments and reviews don’t make it to the official data bases. If you saw it go ahead and go to http://www.imdb.com you can vote (10 best) and leave a review or message about the film, and what it meant to you. I love reading all the stories of grandparents and their interaction and connections to the German PW’s.
We are going to keep the film traveling and hope to play a few festivals. Many of the big ones want a first ever premiere and this film is traveling so that isn’t a fit. But we are looking to play in Hollywood so we can highlight our amazing German cast. I’m damn proud and having a good dose of German in my heritage it’s another thing I’m proud of. This movie is spreading some love, understanding and compassion. I heard many times last night that people loved the story and we need more films like this. I agree. That takes me into-
Above – DJ Perry, Karl Manke, Carl Weyant
HEAR YE, HEAR YE
Harsens Island Revenge – Last night was both a celebration of the present expanding release of our WW2 German PW film but also a toast to the future. We are in official pre-production which means our business paperwork is all in order and we’ll be opening the bank account this month. We will start official pre-production meetings with our director Mr. Carl Weyant. Carl has worked independently and with the CDI Tribe on both sides of the camera. Many will know him from starring as Longinus in part 3 of The Quest Trilogy, entitled The Christ Slayer. I met him in Otty, India in 2008 where we co-starred together in a film there. He has been working several years as a director and director of photography on various projects from music videos to feature film. After months of discussions with the CDI producer team, his stylistic vision and kinetic style will lead the direction and vision of this action-packed film. I, as the writer worked several weeks with Carl, to get a final polished shooting script. This process happens with all our directors. We’ll be discussing many wonderful aspects of this film and casting will take place likely end of the month. We plan to run duel cameras on this project and that will allow us to capture more of the action, more efficiently. Carl and previous director of photography Travis Hayward (Best Years Gone) have been working in tandem on several projects both feature and music video. They were first brought together on the CDI produced music video for ‘Revolution‘ by DEEP FALL. You can watch that here-
Travis Hayward will serve as the Gaffer (cool lighting) and run second camera. I knew they would be a good pairing and I was correct. Our goal, as always, is to have a lot of fun telling yet another great story. Lessons. Always lessons to be illustrated via story, but it a very exciting way. WW1 veterans. Purple Gang. Bootlegging. The CDI Tribe is going into the Roaring 20’s, again taking on a wonderful book written by, Karl Manke. I adapted the book into a screenplay and I’ve very happy with the end product. We have had a positive reaction from a few guest stars who want to participate in this story. It will be a wonderful blueprint for all our artists. We’ll do some official PR in the next two weeks on the project. But, you all get the first drop of developing info just for tuning in and stopping by for a read. We’ve also had several more subscribe join here – so welcome! You can subscribe to our CDI Youtube and http://www.cdiproductions.com is going to be updated so follow us there also.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH: BATTLEFIELDS
The first doc FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is now set up in the market place and just starting what will be a nice long run of being introduced to new audiences. Even those not wishing to rent or buy it can watch it via TUBI and other ad based video on demand. Meaning-you watch for free but you watch with ads and we get paid by advertisers. It is a major rev stream these days. Ground work and talks with potential donors has begun. The Red, White & Blue Project Inc. is the non-profit we are working with. This next project will expand upon part of the original doc. It leans even heavier into the military history and Catch Can’s influence in all of that. Curran Jacobs is directing once again.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – We’re close to moving into the next development phase of this project. I’ve had some good talks about the history of the story and I think we’re on target. Some of the folks involved are not always prepared to read scripts which require imagination and practice. Very unique medium that I liken to poetry and trying to say as much as possible with as few of words as possible. To invoke imagery and to carry the readers (soon to be viewer) through the story. A journey to be sure. I am working to try and keep this on schedule for a 2024 filming. One brick at a time.
BEST YEARS GONE – Now that Covid lock down and virtual festivals have returned to in person – we’re going to enter BEST YEARS GONE into some comedy festivals. We did not want to attend virtual (I spend enough time on a computer) but now it could be a better experience. MAN’S BEST FRIEND, LOST HEART, WILD FAITH, THE QUEST TRILOGY exciting marketing as the films keep growing in audiences. New posters. New trailers. Interviews. Promotional videos. Merchandise. Oh, yeah. It’s all coming.
WRAP UP AND THOUGHTS FROM THE WEEK
Man! I’m still coming down from last night. Again, it was a treat to hug and shake so many hands. We don’t get to meet our vast audiences like live performance. We have 3-5k in social associates and from that maybe 300 that we are in direct contact with. But a film is being viewed by millions to tens of millions that we never meet. We were just talking about the joy we get when someone is surprised and they get to meet someone from a movie that moved them.
We are occasionally accused of being ambitious with our storytelling and we truly are. I’m proud of this last SNIA journey because it was our hardest yet. Harder than most even know. On SNIA, we had our directors mother hit with Covid days before shooting and just days after his best friend died of Covid. Pappy, who passed, was a long-time member of this tribe working several times with CDI on both sides of the camera. A shameful loss. One of our main producers came to set with her own oxygen tanks after her own bout in the hospital with Covid. Simply put, CDI HAS WARRIORS.
I hear of businesses that can’t get employees to show up or stay employed and CDI has folks, so dedicated that it would take – well, a damn lot to keep them away. We are accused of working hard and we do. To make something that might be seen as great by some, you have to work hard. VERY HARD. If hard work and trying to create greatness isn’t for you, CDI isn’t for you. I’ve told folks that something ‘short form’ and not as hard, might better suit some for their talents. Being away for weeks is hard and it’s a sacrifice all our artists have made to help tell that story. We know how special these stories are too many out there, because you’ve reached out to let us know. You are why we sacrifice and do this.
Hey DJ, it ain’t all love:) Listen, the sprinkling of hate and bashing doesn’t provoke hurt in me but actually more sadness. Every negative comment that is tinged with dark emotion cries of dreams unrealized and often never even attempted. They’re afraid to try because they know someone like themselves is waiting, who might throw a stone at their passion or dream. A good example- I don’t love stage musicals as a whole, but I don’t go out of my way to trash them. That is someone’s jam, singing Annie Get Your Gun or something, just not my jam. And that’s fine. I’m just always amazed how little people value their own TIME. IF I enjoyed something I might go out of my way, spend my time, to make my opinion known, because I’m sharing some positive energy. IF I don’t like something – that LAST thing you will get from me is my TIME. I can just scroll on. I can choose something else. I have turn content off but I never ran to a keyboard to trash something. Why? Not worth my watch time not worth my type time. But how others spend their time is their business. But many negative barbs are sadly from fellow artists struggling to the point of collapse and wondering, why not me? My script? Where is my funding? When you put your mind in the wrong place you widen the gap. For when they are manufacturing hate, we create. Which fuels the negative feelings and the cycle continues. One path makes you sicker with the poison you spread and digest. And the other path, it inspires – you think you can do better? Get some of your most loyal, trusted, creative friends and DO IT! Like film itself, SHOW don’t TELL. You will have fun and learn about yourself. Give 100% of your TIME, on your path and see what happens.
MORE FREE ADVICE
I’m amused only slightly in those situations where people lacking the true experience try to speak loudly into something they know nothing about. They become ‘know it alls’ quickly and are unable to take on any new knowledge and experience- their growth stunted. Some opportunities given can inspire maturity, accountability and responsibility and spur personal growth. In others they can be become drunk and delusional with newly gifted power. We’ve had examples of both. I’m always cheering for SPUR versus STUNT but ultimately they control that outcome.
Every project moving forward is living evolution through experience. I work hard to develop people and give opportunities for self growth but sometimes people reach their limit on learning. You always have risk empowering people and when they grow in the right direction – wonderful. Wrong direction- just like the apple tree, it needs to be pruned. Giveth and Taketh Away
POSITIVE. RESPECT. APPRECIATION. SINCERITY. LOYALTY. – these attributes have to already exist within someone and can be nurtured. I often say, I will always work with a slightly less experienced person with the right long term attitude, versus the opposite. We can provide experience and adventure with some of the best artists I’ve encountered on my path. We say at CDI meetings, that a door closing brings us to a new door opening. CDI has grown into a multi generation of artists and we’ve got grand plans to keep moving up the mountain. As I’ve said before, it is not how high you climbed on the mountain it is who you traveled with, that will matter in the end.
I’m a tad tired from being up somewhat late and might need a short cold winter nap. The sunshine is out and that feels good, so maybe time to play cat. Thank you to each and every person who came out last night and to all the shows. It had been a few since I had seen our film play. A touch of distance is nice and gives you a fresh perspective upon viewing again. Having our family and friends there made it special, especially my parents. Both, had funny comments of having created me. They were not so quick to take that same credit after the numerous knuckle headed things I did growing up. I’m already excited for the coming holiday season when SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA will be out on DVD and streaming. We will have just finished filming Harsens Island Revenge and into editing. And so the storytelling cycle continues. Thank you to Karl Manke for trusting us with his story. His book HOPE FROM HEAVEN became BEST YEARS GONE. Read the book. Watch the film. Giddy up as Gil Gilles would say!
I’ll talk to you all next week. I hope you all take giant steps towards your endeavors.
The Secret of ‘Fire’ ‘Music’ and ‘Know Thyself’ – plus a few film updates…
Good morning my friends. I’m sitting by our new electric fireplace near my chair. Our old one died during the holidays so a new one has replaced it. I’ve got my steaming cup of hazelnut coffee with me as I ponder the past week. I want to thank all the new readers from around the world for stopping by to take a read. I hope there is a few nuggets of wisdom you can pull upon. I had so many good calls this week and 2023 business is underway. I have new goals and already I’m knocking some of them down. I’m sure this year will come with wins and losses as that is the way of life. I’ve reminded a few people, to stop. Turn around. Look at how far you’ve come. Be happy with what you have done, not just fixate on what you have not done.
This week I’ll be gathering up end of year tax stuff to generate any 1099’s for the films. We also do K1’s for all the investors. I was able to get all the check dispersement written and sent out. I only had to resend two as addresses had changed. I’ll also get things around for our company and myself. These are the needed but unsexy parts of the film business. It is so much more than playing with the camera. There is a massive amount of work that goes into each and every film. This is the biz side of show biz.
I’ve been told recently, and not the first time – that I work people hard. I ask artists to dig deep and to put their very best forward. I’ve dedicated my entire life to telling stories, and while we have much fun, we also work very hard. But when the artists finally see the final product, 9 of 10 times, that creative endeavor is one of the best, if not the best, endeavor that artist was involved with that year. They take family and friends to watch the stories and they’re proud to have been part of the stories telling. I’ve got family who have not yet seen our recent film. Our holidays were disrupted by a loss in the family. In my hometown they played the film for several weeks but I still did not get out to see it. But many did! We’re working to set up a special SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, screening in Owosso, MI with NCG. For our Detroit area friends, we’re working to set up screenings there also. Our new theatrical division at CDI Distribution has been launched!
Let’s looks at some of the updates from last week-
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– We had several new theaters open. We had a projection bump at a new theatre screening in Iowa, after they moved the film from the test theatre. Much like home systems, many theatrical houses have different set ups, some older and some newer. They rarely update everything at once likely due to cost. But, I know at the one location it was worked out and the film is playing. People are requesting to managers who contact bookers-who contact us. The film is in 20 theaters and we have another 13 going up. And many more still approaching us from different states. Keep it up, you people are making the film travel. I expect the film to travel theatrically into March or April. We are also exploring a few select film festivals and we want to screen in Germany. Many good plans in action. We are working on a few special marketing deals while moving towards the home video window.
- MERCHANDISE– We’ve done some test marketing of some merchandise but we’re starting to really look at a stronger launch of this division at CDI. I can also say that a MUSIC DIVISION, is developing. That will allow audiences access to the amazing soundtrack scores created by Dennis Therrian. These two areas are on CDI’s 2023 developmental goal list. Do you all have a favorite music score? I would love to actually do some runs of LP records. Any participating record pressing companies? Please reach out. RECORD LABEL? Not there yet:)
- MOVING FORWARD- Harsens Island Revenge – This film exits development and will enter pre-production next month. What does that mean- that means that the film foundation (legal paperwork) will all be executed and the project funded. At that time we’ll be announcing our director and some of the attached cast. The script having undergone several sessions of writer/director polishing, it’s ready to be broken down. I love this stage because you go over every line of action, description, dialog and discuss. In this case I got to perform several scenes with our director, to get the flow ands feel. Most of the tweaks were minor but took strong scenes and made them even more powerful. It is a very cool story and what a time period to play in. Primary casting and crewing discussions will start in the coming weeks. Our producers already did a location scout trip and another one will be planned. We just created 1944 and now we’ll enter the 1920’s, artists are you ready? Next week, we’ll look to set hard shoot dates after Labor Day 2023. Get ready for some new teaser art as well!
- Pen has not yet found ink, but I’m deep into talks on a CDI associated film to be shot late 2023 and early 2024. To recap what a CDI associated film is- it’s a film whereas someone else is bringing the capital $ to the table but want the experience of CDI behind it. As a producer, I remove the ‘supervising’ role and become more or less, a consultant. CDI will bring other assets to help but the main responsibility is on other shoulders. I’ve been asked to co-star in the supernatural action-thriller, and I’m feeling it. I hope to be able to call the film by name and run some PR about the new arrangement, in the near future. It is always best to work out all these details in advance so there is no issues later. This is a KEY to success. Have the hard conversations now and get everything in writing some it’s there. I still have 4-5 films out there in the film post abyss, they might finish one day. I sincerely hope they do. NUGGET: If possible, you actors, pick production teams with a track record of finishing.
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – This week the script will go out to some historians and some friends in the Native American community. I think, I have written a powerful and balanced script, with lessons about loss, revenge, understanding, love and unity. It is not sugarcoated in any way and contains a few scenes that left me shaken after writing them. I had to go immerse myself in some nature and beauty, away from the truth of our shared history. I will be putting the script forth after this round of notes, and we’ll be putting together the Phase 2 plan. Phase 2 will be the development work in Iowa to prep for a 2024 shoot. I’ll also be having some teaser art put together. This will be a great return to the 1800’s storytelling for CDI.
- I want to thank and encourage all of you to keep exploring and watching the CDI library. I’ve had fans reach out and thank us for The Quest Trilogy, MBF, Best Years Gone, Lost Heart, Wild Faith – you can even watch many free on TUBI or Encourage TV. I actually enjoyed The Quest Trilogy, playing while I was doing work. Again, even when not watching I love the music. But the amazing scenery (Yuma, AZ) and the story often gets me distracted for a few moments. More so, when I see friends on screen who are no longer with us. TRIVIA: Who was the voice of ‘God’ in FORTY NIGHTS? You can leave your answer in the comments.
- Speaking of the CDI library, we will be looking to set up several of the old films, in HD at BMG. I had to look up dates for GHOST TOWN, which will be one of the new set up preps. Also AN ORDINARY KILLER, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and KNIGHT CHILLS are all being worked on.
- Animated Division of CDI is in the works. CDI did an “in association” feature THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ, which is being re-rendered and conformed for a release through BMG. But, we’ve got a few shorts and features in development. I’ve always loved cartoons and such, so getting involved in that direction feels natural.
- We’ve got some good interest in creating video games off some of our films. You might know KNIGHT CHILLS, Dice Don’t Lie, video game has been in development. Once the final render is done of Sir Kallio, we might start some 3D printing.
- This week I also plan to meet over the next FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, doc. I’ve already started to talk with a few folks and if all goes well the team will shoot it this Spring/Summer. I think we’ve got a great overall summary of the history in the first film but now we can go into segments and define parts of it even further. Wrestling, grappling fan or not, this film will entertain you and educate you in the rich history.
The holidays were unconventional with the death in the family but the spirit of the season kept on. Aside from the loss, the beautiful snowstorm and the slowing of our day to day for a few days of family and reflection, really helped to recharge my batteries. The finishing of projects and the beginning of new. Again the seasons of our lives as creative artists. And while, sometimes the stories pull me away from my comforts for a time, the stories we tell are timeless.
It is also a time where we artists re-unite. CDI has been a home for some and a stepping stone for others. I like to think we instilled some good qualities into the folks who’ve moved away and into their own respective fields, sometimes in the arts and sometimes not. I tell people, CDI is like any other endeavor, you will get out of it what you put into it. For many, it means being a part of something great that nobody can take away from you. To do that takes hard work. Very hard work. And I only like to work with people who care about what they put their name on. Craftsmanship. Whiskey. Cars. Films. Life is too short to not care about what you work on. The Quakers (Look them up) made amazing furniture and wood crafts because they believe they’re honoring God by their own hands with their craft. I think that is a good mind set and the results are something infused with- love.
FIRE– I’m going to get after a few things today including getting some firewood around for the office stove. I do want to try some lump coal like my buddy uses in his stove. Longer burning and more heat. I’m also on a mission to organize even better this year. I will be putting everything to digital for back ups. I keep being asked about a podcast ‘Around the Fire’ at the fort. I am thinking about it. But I like the fort being a place of low tech and around personal synergy. Knights of the Round Table. Vikings in the Lodge. Monks in the temple. Development at CDI is not just projects, it is people. But people have to want positive change. Self defeating, self associated talk will draw all the negative to you and lower your own personal power. Birds of a feather, flock together. Misery enjoys company. Also believe to achieve. Positive perspective. Creative visualization. The mind is a powerful thing that can assist or hinder. That is why the KNOW THYSELF, rings so powerful. In the new year if you are struggling, fight to take control of the self. Start with your words. What are they? Sounds. Vowels. Symbols. But powerfully attached to our innermost self. MUSIC is a wonderful tool that can lead the mind in the places you want to go. I said, GO – not where you are. If depressed, there are many songs that will not help. But, certain songs help lead our mind. To use a modern term, learn your own triggers and trigger yourself in a positive direction. And DON’T trigger yourself by playing music or putting yourself in a situation, you know, you won’t react well too. Depressed. Don’t play depressing music. Steel drums and island music often puts a big ole smile on my face. Just something that I like to use as a tool. Music puts the mind in a different state and allows you to tune oneself. I use guitar playing the same way. If I’m feeling ‘out of tune’ a few strums can put me not just back in tune but vibrant. I’ve had many great business calls right on the heels of a guitar/energy tune up. FIRE. KNOW THYSELF. MUSIC. Three very primitive and useful tools one can use. I’m not sure if any of this will help anyone, but if it helps one person.
Until next week, coffee cheers!
2023! Goals, Gifts and Growth!
Good morning 2023! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and happy to report no hangovers or such this morning. I had a few drinks yesterday afternoon in a meeting with a few of our artists, picking materials up. We toasted the victories and those lost, no longer traveling. The beverage sipped was some of the Frankenberry Wine, made from all the berries on the property. But in the eve it was just ginger ale and a peaceful welcome into 2023. I can recall many days of my youth of celebrating too much and paying for it the next morning/day. I get up early and have my productive routines that I follow. I don’t regret most of those party days but I don’t miss the aftermath.
I carved out a day this past week and did film disbursements to our backers. I’m so thankful for all the supportive people who love the Tribe CDI stories. I had a sit down with one of them this week and really enjoyed all the positive feedback. We also talked about future endeavors, of which we have many. I’ve been working to get organized and prepped for a highly productive new year. Being organized is one of the secrets to success. I’ve got a series of end of year tax prep stuff for the films but I have a great team and this year should be quite smooth.
It was a year of hard fought victories and some sad losses. My furbaby Daphne, my second mother- baby sitter Marie DeFord, my friend/family and building mentor Dan Chapin, all powerful losses. Also a slew of artists passed on, which leaves us artists to pick up the torch. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, was the most complex film we’ve produced to date. Two languages, 1940’s clothes, props and vehicles. Windy, cold days and nights. Extensive VFX and just a few bumps bringing all the elements together on an advanced release schedule. But, we did it. The Algona, Iowa premiere was so full of good energy and the ongoing energy has had the film hold over four times now and expanded into multiple cities with more emailing about booking every week.
We will be having a producers pow wow this week over the ongoing roll out. A special screening in Owosso, MI is in planning. We will be exploring a few choice film festivals and we really want a few German screenings. We have a few VIP’s awaiting to view the film which could really assist the home video release. We’ve had many people talk about merchandise and swag and we will be addressing that and hope to have that available with the home video release later this year. We’ve already received so many nice emails about the emotions stirred by watching this story based on true events. Some reflected the deep pain and hate that some carried from their own war (Vietnam) experiences and that this film gave them a new perspective that allowed them to let go of that hate. That is powerful. A story made them let go of poison and replace it with understanding. We’ve had many of these notes sent to us. The community is alive with history. They are all talking the stories once told and almost forgotten. The museums in town being part of family trips into Algona, to watch the film. We had a beautiful letter from the museum boards about the quality job CDI did. And the interest has brought a new awareness that will help these places not just survive but thrive. I’m beyond proud.
We will have an amazing 2023 journey with this film and I cannot wait for each and every one of you to experience this story.
Once I get past the state filings, K-1 send outs and any 1099’s for the films- we’ll be forming the new company to produce Harsens Island Revenge. If you liked CDI tackling WW2 and the 1940’s, wait until CDI gets after the roaring 20’s! I plan to get with our director and finish our writer/director draft. We’ll be putting the casting breakdowns together soon and that will be an enjoyable process. We were lucky to do some location scouting and found many great places to use in the telling of our story. Stay tuned to many new updates on this film.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – In 2023 we’ll be doing some passive development which might include the building of a few period cabins. This is a spring 2024, Iowa shoot if everything stays in the right direction.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH (Battlefield) – Working title- Following the success of the documentary film FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, directed by Curran Jacobs, edited by Adam Towner, produced by CDI and The Red, White, and Blue Project Inc.. The film will now have the first sequel documentary going into production this Spring/Summer. While the original was a much needed summary timeline of the history of professional grappling, these follow up films will go more in depth with various aspects of the history. It’s very exciting to continue this journey.
Furthermore, CDI is considering the first “in association” in a while, with an exciting supernatural thriller. An animated feature is heating up and more…
I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but I too, feel that rush of the fresh energy. Every year I write out my goals. Personal goals, business goals, home improvement- It is good to get those out in front of you. You won’t always make all your goals but you’ll be surprised at what you did achieve.
I JUST took a pause for my first 2023 eats. Eggs from our girls, 4H bacon and protein waffles with MI made syrup. If I had the right trees I would be boiling sap. Okay. Goals….bacon…back to goals.
A few of my goals as an example-
- Design and have new deck built – it is getting close to that point of need vs want
- Produce two feature length film endeavors
- Act in one outside CDI project- that said, I MUST connect with the material and role
- Better plant and garden bed growth and harvest
- Looking to increase strength and flexibility training for a good soccer season ahead
- Finish two feature scripts
- …you get the picture.
Even this blog is very helpful in me deeply thinking through my TO DO’s for the week. Communication continues to be a key to success and I find it can always be improved upon. I see or read about several people being overwhelmed by the waves of life’s hardships. Here is to the hope that 2023 becomes an island to get your footage, regain your balance and readjust your sights. I will keep trying to communicate better to serve as an example of respectful collaboration. Preserving history and stories, lessons to be remembered and to grow from.
Cheers to growth in 2023!
TEN Updates – Silent Night in Algona (trailer), Development Updates, Tips, Advance Notices-
Sipping the hazelnut coffee on this fine October morning. We have had a last spurt of warm and midweek it is suppose to go chilly again. Yesterday, I got my final mow on the yard. We harvested the last of the plants including a few more decorative gourds. I’ve been cutting and splitting wood for the winter ahead. Yesterday afternoon we got to have a nice outside fall gathering with my brother and his family. Pumpkin carving, apple crisp, cider and soccer plus add in a bit of leaf fun. I love this season!
Our development of the film projects continues on. Let’s look at a few of the updates from last week.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is a wonderful feature length doc that fills in the missing history of this grappling art. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. It was presented by the leading authorities in such an entertaining way. The DVD is open to pre-order now for a Nov 1st release and/or you can rent/buy it now. https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/amzn1.dv.gti.3bc38d35-d79e-49e9-82a6-e87ff63b4040?autoplay=0&ref_=atv_cf_strg_wb
- BEST YEARS GONE is another release from this year. An award winning dramedy that will make you laugh, cry and ponder. You can buy/rent from here – https://www.amazon.com/Best-Years-Gone-Lana-Wood/dp/B09R4KDXGJ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2JUJIK4KVPU9K&keywords=best+years+gone&qid=1666530725&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIxLjIzIiwicXNhIjoiMC45OSIsInFzcCI6IjEuMjUifQ%3D%3D&s=instant-video&sprefix=best+years+gone%2Cinstant-video%2C118&sr=1-1 – And…if you want to read an in-depth review, you can do so here – https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fronnielee.rocks%2Fbest-years-gone-movie-review-by-ronnie-lee%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR1AL4lf8DCIxzPwRgU-0p4je7kNIFHj1KfKNw0avyDR25NjxRbbRkvawvM&h=AT0-ucPZlOsNalVICvt7_1cyBe5Gh38thIaNrYSscZu5PfJ70KPxjGT2vokU2piIUPgdERcaa3G2t1PFyH1CpyLmJpbn6c-l00Dv0qMxMNVs3vxrnDIUbiH4CmtNVUP-wVieTKcYrnFuQcaf1SQufAg&tn=H-R&c=AT3LjCNz1EGR425orlMSHaN9h6RT070C39M9yk8LNKiwmb8xkHJ-aw1wuBh55Vu6UebSWPuIOzGWKGvAs1kKXmjL3gsizF9MOoNfAChhLVI9r8o5LkYvVlMzXhTf-aEQ_wsBEqsiKqbs1ySEMZXHpocAEHuNgyPWmrpbF0Xlme0Q-rNUmz6gfir3gikxLQqgJW3Llr1VjV90qkC9YRZs6moJ – We look forward to your reviews too!
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – This is the last project for us to finish and release this year. We’ve sent an email to our cast and crew asking any of the team planning to attend the Dec 9th Fridley Theatre premiere in Algona, Iowa to RSVP by Nov 1st. We’ve got a list going and every ticket will be gone. Once we get RSVP’s on cast and crew we will start looking at extras. For those not part of the Iowa premiere – it will play to the public that night and for two plus weeks pending demand. We will also be setting up a Michigan premiere in the hometown of our director Anthony Hornus. This will be at the NCG theatre in Owosso. We might play the week after the Iowa or jump to after Christmas if we get too close. I know Celebration Cinema will be bringing it to Lansing and Grand Rapids. We will be looking to play the Detroit area and would love to have a Hollywood run. The film is looking and sounding amazing thanks to the hard work of Dennis Therrian. The VFX and color grading is getting close to done. Mid November we’ll be pulling all the elements together into a final film. Some exciting news, I saw the rough cut of the new trailer on Friday. I am so proud of all are artists and cannot wait for people to see.
- HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE – I’m so very excited that the #TribeCDI will be moving from one epic period piece to another. We have been preparing documents to assist in bringing onboard our product partners and sponsors. Our scouting trip was very successful last week. While a few days may be shot on the actual island we need interiors and such that we can control. We also need to not be dependent on a ferry or the few stores on a small island. So movie magic will be happening but it will all be shot in Michigan. We had some great meetings this last week and we’ll be making some exciting announcements soon. One of those exciting announcements just might be our director. I will be starting the writer/director script polish this week. Once I sign off it is up to the director and talent. We will be shooting in October of 2023! We are already hard at work.
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE is in script development. I am happy to say that I’m about 1/3 of the way through the first draft. There is a lot of research with this project and that is something I’ve immensely enjoyed. It has been an intense journey and the drama of it all is brutal and enlightening. I’ve had several times that after writing for a few hours I had to go work my hands in the dirt for a while. I will have my first draft by Jan 1st and from there we will start to look at production development.
- WILD FAITH just passed the 6 million mark on Encourage TV. This will can be found on countless platforms to enjoy. We have many fall themed films from SMOKE & MIRRORS, BESTSELLER, LOST HEART, BEST YEARS GONE and MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND. Enjoy them all with your family! Thank you for all the fan mail about these titles! Amazon Prime has most all of them.
- I had a great call out of the blue about another film project. This call took me back almost to the very beginning. A project that was in development many moons ago has interest and a proposed budget. This film is in the horror-genre with a large dose of mystery/investigation at the heart. Discussions were on how things have changed in the 25-30 years production-wise. I gave my interest in moving these talks forward. It takes time to develop things so the earlier you can start the better. More on this project if it becomes active. By active, I mean funded:)
- That is not the only project that was discussed in development this week. Following the release of FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, our team is discussing both another doc feature and a feature film. In the wake of projects I always get a rush of pitches on scripts and projects. I tell my tribal folks to be ready for this rush. It can be a time killer 95% of the time. People are wanting badly in this industry and it can be truly maddening. Every outsider is a variable that can rock the boat. It is why we are so careful with how we build our projects and with whom. Life is too short to be wasting time. If you have a funded project we might look at it but we are at no lack of stories, scripts or endeavors. I can say with confidence that we’ll be doing more docs in the FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH series. Thank you to everyone who has supported the first one. It is really powerful and informative and I’m proud of it. Take a watch!
- This week I’m going to be sending KNIGHT CHILLS materials off to the Blu-Ray folks and check on the up-rez and progress on the new Ghost Town trailer. Both should be available next year as HD and streaming. After those get underway we will be working on FIGURE IN THE FOREST and AN ORDINARY KILLER. Classics:)
- PONDERING/TIPS/OPINION – This week was interesting due to various conversations. As we start the process of looking towards future projects, sometimes as far ahead as two or three projects, we examine ENERGY. Positive energy manifests in how people are in their day-to-day. There are people who are just always a joy to be around. They make a journey enjoyable. They are CAN DO people not CANNOT do people. They look at the glass half FULL versus half EMPTY. They work hard and EARN the opportunities, by giving their BEST EFFORT. I laugh to myself when I hear some people think they’ve paid enough dues and they are deserving of….it would be like a martial artist telling the sensei when they feel ready to test for a belt. These positive people don’t seek short cuts or to get ahead by stepping on others. That is a VERY common thing is the outside world for sure. While common there, it doesn’t thrive here at CDI. Some people are just not cut out for long form media like movies. They do better with smaller, simple short format endeavors. Or they cannot positively interact with people for that many weeks. I heard someone else make a statement that they will deal with whatever for the sake of using some artists, even if they are negative and a pain. They can have them! I will take a positive, good person with talent and develop that versus drag some negative person along. It is about the journey and not just the art. Ideally you want both but the journey will be long remembered. So work with good people you like. Develop the people who respect and have gratitude for the opportunity. We have big things ahead and so we want to develop our team even stronger. Lots of things happening behind the scenes. Just be that person that producers want to have on board.
I want thank everyone again for stopping by. Subscribe here and perhaps our website http://www.cdiproductions.com and our CDI Youtube channel. I love that you all come from various places around the globe. I’m going to finish up here and do a few more things around the yard and get ready for a busy week ahead. I hope you take all these updates as an inspiration of what a group of artists can achieve when they work together in a positive manner. Have a great week and be good to one another!
CDI Updates Going Into JUNE 2022!
Hazelnut coffee cheers to all of you upon this fine Sunday. In America we are in the midst of a Memorial Day weekend. I hope all of you are having a safe and memorable holiday. Last week was full of moving chess pieces on the board. The work flow is always the same with development, filming, posting, delivering and development again. We’ve grown to a wonderful place whereas things are always in motion. Motion and momentum in the direction of the work flow.
HOT ROD LOVE – Summer fun all wrapped in a nostalgic-style that brings many of us back to a less tense time. Chill and be groovy to one another mi amigo. The script is being sent to a few artists to get their creativity flowing. It is always a balance of not wanting to get too much ahead and focus on what needs to be done now. My goal in June (My bday month) is to get all the ducks in line so we can make some schedule decisions. I’m already in talks with sponsors and hope to bring some new ones aboard.
BESTSELLER – On May 31st this intense mystery thriller is getting its home video release. A CDI collaboration it showcases some of the most intense action on screen. I think once this is widely available it will grow a nice audience. Melissa Anschutz does a great job leading this cast. Ralph Lister, Lana Wood, Terence Knox, Anthony Hornus and many fine Michigan artists bring this story to life. It truly showcases some of Michigan’s incredible natural beauty. Take a watch starting with Amazon Prime and we’ll let you know where it will stream.
BEST YEARS GONE – Start your engines. This unique and quirky romp stems from the book HOPE FROM HEAVEN by Michigan author Karl Manke. The film has Coen Brothers and several influences in a unique mix up directed by Shane Hagedorn (Ashes of Eden). It will release on DVD and digital purchase on July 5th. All the artists who worked on this film during the Covid lock down are elected to see this film speed out to audiences.
GOOD Memorial Day FILMS
WICKED SPRING – a Civil War era film that has something to say about war from the common mans point of view not famous generals. The film is free with ads on Encourage TV and can be found on Amazon and several platforms.
MANS BEST FRIEND – Illustrates the plight of many wounded vets physically and mentally. The power and hope of dogs personal and in service is also part of this thought provoking story.
BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS – Good family fun with a little something for everyone in this fictional tale that takes place in small town Michigan.
WILD FAITH – Another wholesome 1875 film for the whole family. It also is about a former Civil War soldier trying to readjust to life and find his inner peace.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – For some the events of the day have spirits low so maybe a watch on the trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) might bring some comfort. While these films are strongly viewed from Nov-April they are a good watch anytime of the year. I appreciate the folks who left messages of the comfort these film’s stories have given.
I took a watch on a few popular shows and they are faced with huge scrutiny so I don’t try to be harsh when judging. I see things I would do differently as a fan of this or that but the bottom line isn’t I haven’t earned that right nor been given the opportunity. I see protests to try and change art. That is silly to me. I can dislike an artist personally and like their work. I can like an artist and dislike their work. If you took a personally disdained artists in the moment and cast him as a bad guy versus cancelling them is that better? Do you want to see a hero overcome someone …see this is professional wrestling logic. The Paul brothers in boxing have turned their aura of the bad guy into leverage. Maybe I’m pondering the bad guy as I have played the antagonist and that can be something special. Acting-wise this year audiences will see quite the range from Bestseller to Best Years Gone to Smoke & Mirrors and lastly to Silent Night in Algona.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – We are in hopes that we’ll premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. We’ll see in the coming weeks. We should also be getting our home video dates very soon.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – A beautiful thing was watching a few of the rough scenes assembled. The Thanksgiving scene was in the first group of scenes shot in Forest City at a great historic park. I got to witness all these fine actor artists telling this story and bringing to life a period of time. Berdy, Elrick, Shelley and all our artists that created what we saw in front of the camera. Dan Chipman for bringing his camera eye and Anthony Hornus for again seeing the hearts of the human story.
There is new work on a possible theatrical poster and the official theatrical trailer will start to be organized. We will be releasing some more photos and we hope a peek behind the scenes at the VFX work coming out of Canada, eh. We’re still working hard to make a Dec. premiere in Algona, Iowa and we’ve had first talks about doing a full state premiere throughout the five theatrical chains in Iowa. We will continue to explore these options as we get closer.
WRITING – I have been engaged to turn another book into a screenplay and finally a film. The script is almost half done and I love my time in that world. The characters are so rich and the time period is so alike yet different. Transportation. Communication. So many things are different. I was approached about another possible writing adaptation but I don’t want to enter another world in my imagination, until I finish this current script.
ACTING – I’m so close to a breakthrough on a few endeavors that will result in great roles. I recently had two offers to act in films in June and July and politely passed. I’ve been moving my look towards my HOT ROD LOVE 70’s character and don’t want to deviate too much. I’m so grateful for the invitations and expressed that to these directors. It did allow me to explore the work by these artists. Actors don’t be afraid to interview the filmmakers. Time is valuable and you want to make sure the effort has a reward for your audiences and yourself. I’ve got some goals that are close at hand and staying focused was best for me at this time. But every project is judged individually but I am feeling the need to participate in some storytelling.
WRAP IT UP I’LL TAKE IT-
I think I spoke on patience last week. Everything has its season and if you are always tending your garden of creativity things will bloom. I’ve had a wonderful balance of working to get the property in zen form while moving things forward. The hops are high and the apples and mulberry trees are looking to be loaded. The chickens have been keeping a steady flow of eggs and the wood piles are being restocked for winter. We’re about top put veggie and herb plants in the stand up planters but nature has some left over veggies already going. Everything is just so green! For those that have followed for a few years know that our animals are family. Finn our furry boy loves to race the fence every morning with his buddy Jake Leroy. These have worn a track into the ground. Last year brought Finn several busted nails and a few stitches from rocks, roots and such. Well, yesterday we dug and leveled the track out and put weed cloth down with cedar mulch and rubber paving stones. A real race track and today was his first run. He enjoyed it but a few modifications needed on the launch and land pads. My boy has torque in his running. I’m off to eat some breakfast and mow. Tomorrow we are having the moms over for a lunch and to relax. I hope you all have a good weekend and a productive week ahead. Remember those who gave all on this Memorial Day.
‘Happy Easter’ Updates and ‘Movie Easter Eggs’
Good – eve – morning! I have a very busy Sunday with flea-markets, family and friends and so I’m doing my update now. I love this picture above from our upcoming SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA because it shows courage in the face of uncertainty. That is the world that we’ve been living in with its challenges and the tolls it has taken. We’ve managed to stand and face these obstacles and still manage to create our stories and hope and enlightenment. To add some humor and escapism to the lives of millions. Tens of millions and when adding all of the audiences of all of them together the totals are humbling. At CDI we are committed to telling our stories highlighting the best aspects of ourselves. I’ve had fans of THE QUEST TRILOGY, MAN’S BEST FRIEND and WILD FAITH reach out over the last week. I’m reminded of what we do for people and I cannot even begin to tell you the appreciation we as artists have for those who support the arts. Our backers, our sponsors and our audiences – the STORY that needs to be told and YOU are why we take time away from our families to film. I just wanted to take this fine Easter Eve to express our appreciation.
HOT ROD LOVE is a CDI film in active development that has a few great themes woven into a great 1975 small town drag racing world. We’ve been preparing to present this project to several of our past supporters. This is coinciding with the BEST YEARS GONE kick off to the home video campaign on July 5th. We’ve been having a great time looking at different tracks around the country.
We are all seriously excited to see how the world responds to BEST YEARS GONE. The theatrical response was very strong and I was happy to see how the German actors also received the humor well. I hope it translates around the world. We’re nominated for ‘Best Comedy’ in an upcoming –
This week is going to be exciting on many fronts. COLLECTIVE DEVELOPMENT INC. expanding into music videos. We are excited to announce that the OFFICIAL VIDEO for DEEPFALLS first single “Revolution” will premiere on April 19th!
This week will be the SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA teaser trailer post production work on color correction, music and sound design. We’ll also start some theatrical poster designs along with a special VFX featurette. The 1st cut of the movie itself is done and now director Anthony Hornus is working with our editor on the second cut of the film. From there it will be honed down to a final picture in a third cut.
BESTSELLER the dark and moody thriller from the twisted mind of Christopher Knight arrives on home video on May 31st. We’ve been dripping PR out at the films Facebook. We worked very hard making this intense film that showcases absolutely beautiful Northern Michigan.
This past week I had four different meetings over possible CDI associations. An association is where a group has their funding and not the experience. When you are entrusted with funds you need to succeed or the well will go dry. Many films never get finished and when that happens it hurts the artistic market. But I also have to look at all the variables and decide if a collaboration will be beneficial. Sometimes it’s easier to just fund it ourselves controlling those variables but we are open to discussion. I’m proud to say that I’ve secured one of the next screenwriting/producing endeavors. I’m not ready to announce it yet but I will say that I’m extremely excited by the opportunity. We have our TV series based off WILD FAITH being evaluated by a few solid companies. With two new platforms requesting WILD FAITH just this week I’m inclined to feel that this TV spin off project will soon go into production. If it is meant to happen it will!
This week will also start the delivery of the elements on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH documentary to DeskPop Entertainment. We will be meeting this week to further discuss the premiere. We might talk festivals as some of the large ones want to host the premiere. We shall see. We entered SMOKE & MIRRORS into a few fun festivals to go enjoy the spooky season. I got my start as a monster hunter. I will have some exciting announcements on several of the CDI library titles including KNIGHT CHILLS.
I’m going to wrap this up. I’ve been enjoying soccer which has been indoor but outdoor starts next month. But the great news is my running is getting back on point. I’ve done some great clean up in the yard but still have some to go. The chickens have been kicking out the eggs. I’ve had to work with outdoor loving Luna (new doggie) who has a passion for squirrels. I’ve finally got her to stop jumping on the fence. I’m looking forward to warmer breezes so we can do more outdoor meetings. I hope you all have a wonderful day with your loved ones. I am going to recharge and tackle the week ahead with enthusiasm.
Happy Easter! Coffee Cheers!
AND that’s a Wrap on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA!
Well, well, well – we are an official wrap on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee trying to chase away the cobwebs. It has been several weeks of less than perfect sleep. During production you always have so much on your mind. Always trying to look ahead and anticipate issues and needs. Lines. As an actor you are always keeping those in your head until they become living moments on film. I’m happy to say that Col Lodell is wrapped. The high and tight haircut and sharp uniform can now be relaxed and retired. Last night we finished filming in the woods around WILD HAVEN. It was a great joy to have everyone together and to bring the ship in. Now we’re going to prep the camp to break in the morning. It will take a few weeks to get all the business finished. The puzzle will begin to be rough assembled. The footage will be prepped for the edit. What an adventure. One for the books to be sure.
I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. I’ll have to start to prep for winter and get some of the yard stuff stowed in advance of that snowy white stuff. We are having a little Thanksgiving at our house and I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m thankful that we all safely made it through our shoot. I’m thankful for the great group of artists we worked with on both sides of the camera. I’m thankful that we could capture this story so that it will not disappear, lost in time.
I’m not 100% sure what is next but we have many irons in the fire. I’m looking forward to doing some more writing in the coming weeks. Just me, my coffee and my imagination. I would love to talk more in depth but right now I need to let it all seep in and marinate. I will be back to writing on Sundays again starting next week. I’m sure I will have a lot more to reflect upon at that time. Right now I need to go fill the coffee cup and start to pack up my stuff.
BEST YEARS GONE will be playing on Lansing, MI at the Celebration Cinemas the week around Thanksgiving. If you haven’y yet watched the film and live in the area, please do.
Until we speak again next week – be safe.
Beer. Racecars. Murder? Premiere Info and More…
A very good morning to all of you – hazelnut cheers to our new readers from Australia, Philippines, Ireland and more. I’m sitting and feeling – relief, joy, accomplishment…I’m still trying to capture that feeling. Last night was pretty crazy cool. Weds we went to the NCG and set levels for the film and the pre-showing videos which comprised of “For the Love of Catch” movie trailer and the music video for ‘Off to the Races’ featuring Vertical Bridge. In the past I’ve had some events that I primed up well for- one example that jumps into my mind is David Borowicz and I in Burbank, CA before WILD FAITH played the theater. He said let’s stop here and have ONE beer. It was the home of the 1 yard beers so that really started things off relaxed. I went into the premiere stone sober and first the first trailer started playing without the visual. They restarted it and it played great. The music video started way loud and then they turned it too low and finally brought volume back up. The aspect ratio on the feature was off slightly so bottom credits were being cut off. But they quickly readjusted. Visual, audio, aspect ratio- they had moved us to a larger theaters and the adjustments from Weds were not applied. My limited-tech self was wishing I had that yard sized beer in advance. The audience didn’t notice but we did and the second 8:15 show got the much better adjusted showing and this week the showings should be much more dialed in. But the interest and numbers for the showing resulted in us getting our run extended for the week! The kick off gremlins tried to mess with the showing but instead ended up having an amber ale with us after and they liked the film:)
I also enjoyed talking with Karl Manke the book author. The book is called HOPE FROM HEAVEN. It is an interesting feeling when you write a script and it is turned into a film passing by the director and the actors. It has to be another experience to have your book turned to a screenplay turned into a movie. Either way I think he enjoyed the experience but as a writer I know sometimes in your imagination you have it painted differently. But for me it is always a pleasure seeing the words brought to life. We will know this week if NCG is bringing it to other cities in Michigan. We have a few other chains we are in talks with and our goal is to get it to you. It is planned for roughly a Feb 2022 DVD/streaming release with our distributor. We are going out on the distributors general market main stream label. The film checks many of the boxes for a good inspirational story but the hardcore faith buyers seemingly don’t always like to see too ‘real’ of situations. The ‘Brady Bunch’ level crisis is usually what they like to focus on but that is slowly changing. Audiences loved the characters, the humor, the music (Dennis Therrian) and the edit (Nathaniel Nose) – I am going to sneak into a day show this week. Likely 2:45 show and home by dinner:)
This week we’ll be looking to see what could be done with SMOKE & MIRRORS the short we did off a commercial shoot for an audio software company Izotope. It is a precursor to a feature film we want to film from one of my scripts of the same name. We might do a steampunk happy hour fund raiser for the historic house or something online. We will have a few creative pow wows over this but however you see it will be entertaining.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is moving hard. The crew started getting agreements although our prep dates might fall back by a day. The office and AD staff are working on the set schedule which includes what we call a day-of-days that tells us actor start dates, work dates and final date so we can properly book flights and hotels. Transportation in will be a bit harder as all the close airports are small and limited flights. We are driving in with the prep team so we can bring more gear and such with us. The chill in the air this morning whispered “Wait until November.” – DOH! So this week we’re are back at it and with a more singular focus now that several projects have been concluded.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is a feature length documentary produced by CDI in association with the Red, White and Blue Project Inc. a military focused non-profit. We’ll be locking up picture soon and sweetening the sound before we premiere this fine piece of work.
I’m not going to go on much about development this week but we are always in the state of development. Several possible projects are building and growing closer to a production green light. More doors are opening weekly that we are evaluating and looking to see if they make sense and match with our schedule. So please do make the time to go see BEST YEARTS GONE on the big screen and take a friend or two. If you have seen it take a moment to share your thoughts with a review on IMDB.com
We are going to go hit the flea market down the road and look for a few WW2 era props for the November shoot. We might have to get a few pumpkins and maybe even apple cider. I finished the hop harvest and we’ve still been waiting on some of the veggies late maturing like eggplant and Brussel sprouts. Wood cutting with Viking Thursdays might start soon. The days are still getting warm but morning and nights are getting chilly. Good sleeping weather when the window is open.
I also will tell you that some great merchandise made its first appearance at the premiere and will be for sale soon online. Best Years Gone official handkerchief that people really loved featuring a few of the favorite tag-lines from the film. Also Gil Gilles approved lighters, papers, grinders and beverage cozies one with a built in opener. Fun stuff and the start of many as we start to develop the CDI merchandise line. Some ‘For the Love of Catch’ merchandise might also be on deck. Wicked Spring lunch box? maybe:) We also want to start featuring artists and carry their artwork on consignment. I LOVE seeing other artists succeed through hard work. Many expect things to just happen. I am part of a few social media filmmaker groups and I see so many unrealistic expectations. Also folks who wrote something and just think it will get funded if they just post a few messages. I called. Set meetings. Cold pitches in studio boardrooms. Many meetings where many turned up zero but eventually the right fit. But it never dropped in my lap. Do opportunities drop in my lap now? Yes. But that is after many years of struggle. So I just feel like I’m reaping the rewards of seeds planted long ago. So I’m saying even in this digital age you might have to get off your computer/phone, out of your comfort zone and go after it with a well thought out written out plan of attack. Or you can go back to social media funding where 95% of those endeavors fail to fund and if you want larger budgets that takes trust. So go build that trust and make your dreams happen. It also allows you to be pro-active versus passive which is where many like to dwell. But passive usually doesn’t prosper like pro-active.
Off to refill the coffee cup! Great job MSU! Have a great week and thank you to the full house who attended the premiere kick off last night. It was really nice to meet some of you and we’re all glad as the artists that we could give you an enjoyable night. The sign for me was that my face hurt from smiling and laughing and so I’m gonna take that as a good thing.
Exciting Developments – ‘Off to the Races’ Music Video – ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ & ‘Best Years Gone’ premieres, ‘Silent Night in Algona’…
I’m sitting here sipping the hazelnut coffee on this peaceful Michigan morning. I want to welcome the new readers from Italy, India, Pakistan and more. It is so nice to have an international circle of artists here. The last few weeks have been extremely productive and busy. This could not be more true of the film endeavors we’re working so hard on. Past, present and future all moving forward together. Outside of the film world we’ve been working in the yard with the chickens and the veggies and herbs. This past week I harvested the hops and we’ve been enjoying eggplant and other veggies. Today I plan on grilling up a few venison steaks after a late morning run to the flea market. I think the best way to try and organize the updates are with a bullet point list.
- Oct 12th Nationally this book above will release. I have a story in it about our boy ‘Luke’ who passed a few years ago. I love contributing to these books and if you need a good Christmas gift these books make a fine one to give. Pre-Order here http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-dog-who-came-to-christmas/401231
- The short film SMOKE & MIRRORS that will condensed from my feature script is now complete. Our producers were reviewing yesterday and it is really good. That ‘steampunk’ era 1900’s setting is so fun to play in. I’ll be looking at at screening to benefit the Dodge Turner house where we filmed. It will premiere and we plan to let you all enjoy it during the Halloween season. We are even cutting a short promo teaser but I’m very happy with our end result. It was directed and edited by Nathaniel Nose who directed ‘The Christ Slayer’ with us.
- The music video ‘Off to the Races’ by Vertical Bridge the winner of the BEST YEARS GONE battle of the bands is done. We’re deciding between two logos but the video is badass and we’re talking about releasing it this week to fuel the hype of our upcoming MICHIGAN PREMIERE! I think we’ll release the music video tomorrow and also if you attend the premiere you can see it play on the theatrical screen.
- The feature BEST YEARS GONE is complete but the last few days have been working to tweak color correction and remove digital hiccups:) The film will be rendered to a theatrical file (DCP) used by the theaters. It will also get deliver to our distributor so their marketing team can review and they can start playing their home video campaign that will have DVD/streaming release in Feb 2022. The premiere Sept 18th at the NCG theaters in Owosso, MI is next Sat with both a 6pm show that is almost full and the 8:15 show that is filling up. Both will be great to attend with photos and meet and greets plus the afterglow at Romas. We have a lot of details to attend to this week in preparation but next Sat the first audiences will meet the Gilles Boys and the madcap adventure that follows. This was adapted for the screen (by yours truly) from Karl Manke’s book ‘Hope from Heaven’ and so you might want to read the book after you take a watch.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has started assembling crew paperwork which we’ll start dispersing this week. Once our schedule lands in our lap we’ll start doing our cast agreements, travel and such. We’ll be releasing PR on a few more of the German actors plus we’ll be announcing our product partnership with two more major worldwide brands. Those brands being Hormel/Spam and Hersheys, both play into our story. Other sponsors include Smithfield Foods, Lerma Transportation, The Candleberry Company and more in process. It really is great to have these amazing brands working with us. We’re working on a teaser poster along with a hundred other small details. If you want to align your brand with our WW2 Christmas film please do reach out.
- This week I also received a script in the mail (I love that vs electronic) for a future film project to see if I want to act in it. I had a few conversations about upcoming scripts/films to write/produce and we had a good chat at week’s end over the WILD FAITH TV series “Hastings” and we’ll see where that goes.
- In active development is the new VFX division that we’re working to build so that we can enhance VFX shots in our stories and also use this entity to develop our own animated programming.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film is now in fine tuning and I think will be the first of a series of films. I had productive talks this past week about another documentary film to shoot next year that will build upon this current one. But ‘For the Love of Catch’ is more than just a documentary film it will be a brand that we can do many things with including hosting, promoting and live streaming a possible event. The possibilities are really exciting. As I said before, if you love college, professional, or any type of wrestling – you will find this doc entertaining and informative. It filled in so many gaps in my casual knowledge of the grappling arts as a martial artist myself. I think this film will become one of the pillars of the grappling and it really pulls the history together so that its not forgotten. It bypasses the typical competitive nature of the different schools and illustrates the common history they all share. And the love expressed by these instructors for their art is apparent in the heartfelt words that are spoken in each and every powerful interview.
- I need to circle around and look at the CDI Classic Double Feature with Knight Chills and From Venus. New artwork and maybe an entire new campaign that could include Knight Chills HD streaming. I see it:) Do you own the 1st DVD in the CDI Classic Collection? Heaven’s Neighbors and Figure in the Forest– which one or both might also get the HD treatment with a new campaign. We will see – I need to get a few things off my plate first.
- I’ve been having a great time immersing myself in WW2 footage and films. IN HARMS WAY with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas is one I just watched. They had access to so many military vehicles like battleships, but it is John Wayne. My short hair helped me start to see my character in the mirror. The line work has been just awesome. I love the things that are said between the lines. Yesterday was Sept 11th and the tributes brought back many feelings and visions of patriotic unity in grief. I think this script speaks in these ways by looking at the examples of the past and we can apply that to our present. I’m really looking forward to telling this story.
If you are in the Michigan area and want to attend our premiere please do attend one of the two shows and the afterglow at Romas. My schedule keeps me working and recharging more than socializing at film mixers so if you and I haven’t met – feel free to introduce yourself. Leave me with a card or whatnot so I can explore your art. I recall leaving a few past film events with a pile of scripts, headshots and VHS tapes of films and reels. Now a card with a link can do much the same thing. We are exploring additional theatrical play as the distributor preps for home video and foreign sales. So if you are unable to attend the film could play closer to your home or streaming will follow early in 2022. But, if you want to meet some of the cast, crew, band members from “Vertical Bridge” the battle of the band winners – this is the event for you!
(Above is from our Algona scout/prep trip- NOTE the cool car we will be using. One of many classic pre-1944 rides)
Okay. Flea market, lawn mow, venison grill N chill and prepare for a busy Monday! MSU had another great game and I hope our LIONS can do the same! I hope you all had a great weekend and stay safe, be kind and chase down those dreams.
Winter Gives Way to Spring – NEW Updates!
Coffee cheers and welcome to all our new readers and followers from Peru, Ireland, Austria and more! The week actually flow by and we went from unusually warm to cold and rainy and now sunshine is called for later in the week. As of Monday it will mark my week 2 after my second Covid shot. We just visited with a neighbor last night who had a memorial for their 52 year old nephew lost to Covid complications. So for many it is still a very real thing. I’m actually looking forward to getting back at in-person meetings, biz mixers and such. I’m very happy with all the weekly progress on our CDI projects.
(DJ Perry & Erika Hoveland in ‘Best Years Gone’)
BEST YEARS GONE (In Post) has many things happening at once. The film is undergoing color correction, dialog edit with music and sound design up next. I bet we listen to all the cleaned up dialog soon. The Battle of the Bands is giving us a good listen at some of the artists. Merchandise for this film is going to increase which is exciting. But the premiere planning is really cool. We are looking at having “The 1st Annual Gilles Cup” a regional “Best Up&Comer” amongst the “spectator drag” racing participants. This will be followed by the winning music video and the film itself playing on a huge blow up screen inside the in-field of the track.
For the Love of Catch (In Post) This amazing documentary has been filming for a month plus now and will be moving into the post-production phase. We will start to assemble these legends who speak about their exploration into the art of grappling and ultimately the love they have for the sport.
SMOKE & MIRRORS (In Post) – This passion project is a short film adapted from a feature script of mine of the same name. We had a commercial opportunity that needed “demo footage” and so we filmed a condensed short story. I’ve been reworking the feature script for a future production with Nathaniel Nose directing. I’m thinking of playing the short in front of BEST YEARS GONE to start its run. We also want to do a benefit screening for the Turner-Dodge House where we filmed. It is a spooky, fun short with amazing performances from David Gries and Melissa Anschutz.
MAN’S BEST FRIEND enjoyed a new General Market push which started out with a bang as a Latin American license was immediately made. The film is really starting to get out there and I’m so appreciative of all the reaching out by those that love this film. I keep hearing people ask about a sequel and I’m just not quite sure. I like how the film ends. It is not all tied up in a bow. An action/martial arts film? Maybe. I do have a pretty good idea for one. Thank you for all the compliments and it was nice to showcase some of my skills.
LOST HEART continues its march and the general market release will take it even further. Thank you to ICVM for the nominations. I’m proud to have two films in the top 5. This film is up for many nominations this May and I know that Melissa Anschutz and Victoria Jackson will attend. Don Most might attend as well as one of our nominated actors. They will have a great time!
THE QUEST TRILOGY prime season window of Thanksgiving to Easter is now over. We’ll see how we did and we’ll be sending revenue to our supporters.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The movie continues to grow in popularity and the TV series is developing. I had good talks with our distributor and we have a few new opportunities to help launch this into a 2022 series shoot.
With our co-productions – BESTSELLER might get a new release in full in 2022 as well as several of the CDI General Market titles. AMERICAN LIAR and THE ACTOR are both available to watch on Amazon Prime.
Silent Night in Algona we announced the new cast of Shane Hagedorn and Christine Marie. Both are amazing actors who have brought some great characters to the screen. They will do this once again. Our next two announcements will be a great semi-regular talent working with the tribeCDI and one from our “Ghost Town” past. This matching will be incredible and I can already see the magic scenes they will create. MAY will be when we start to officially approach sponsors. If you have interest in aligning your service or product with our WW2 film please do reach out.
The ‘Chicken Land’ is fully operational and the girls love the greens. They have also started giving eggs so that is a great addition to the mornings. I am going to wrap this up and go do some sunny side up with rye toast and 4H bacon. I also purchased a pair of long elevated grow beds so that we can still do some of the garden favorites. Rhubarb and catnip are ready to harvest and I’m about to put the first lawn mow down. Also May 6th starts up soccer season! I’m excited to get back out there. I do strength and stretching daily along with my martial arts practice but running…not a fan unless I’m doing something. So the first few games might be rough not to mention just your ankles and knees getting their first stop/start work outs. Blueberry bushes will arrive soon. The apple trees look like they are going to be full this year. I will also start working to fill the wood boxes again for next winter.
I’m also going to get back to my script writing since I don’t currently have an assignment. I’ve been bouncing between my SciFi script and the feature Smoke & Mirrors rework. I’ve enjoyed the pondering, research and scribbles as I pull these stories together. Carry on with your own endeavors and watch as those daily small steps all add up and take you closer to your goals and dreams.
National Nominations, New Updates and ‘trying to be a Calm in the Storm’
(Chilling at the new post studio – in the pines)
I’m sipping the coffee on this beautiful Sunday. The last couple days have been partially used to start the yard clean up. Some more wood logs got chopped up ready for the next cold day. The garden is going to become the new ‘chicken land’ along with some raised bed veggies and new blueberry plants to join the others we have. Every year different new yard endeavors are put into play. The zip line has not yet been installed.
In the office I started moving pictures and paintings around after I acquired a new painting of an ancient soldier. Once I started moving things around it became an afternoon of trying to get it just right. The nice part is all this can happen while taking business calls. I had one day where I was on the phone 10:30 to 2:30 straight – but lots of good business was done. This is also festival and awards season for us. We’re very selective about our festival selections. You can spend a lot of time and money pushing out to all these tests. Let’s start with the fest updates-
International Christian Film & Music Festival – Lost Heart is up for overall BEST PICTURE, BEST DIRECTOR (Jesse Low), BEST SCREENPLAY (DJ Perry), BEST LEAD ACTRESS (Melissa Anschutz), BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (Don Most), BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (Victoria Jackson) and the PEOPLE’s CHOICE nomination for ACTRESS OF THE YEAR (Melissa Anschutz) and ACTOR OF THE YEAR (DJ Perry)
I’m so happy for the film and the growing response to the film’s story as it makes it way out into the world. A big kudos to Melissa Anschutz who took lead on this film with a career defining performance.
ICVM Crown Awards this year happening at NRB in Dallas Texas in June both “MBF: Man’s Best Friend” and “Lost Heart” have been nominated as one of the 5 finalist in BEST FILM UNDER 250k plus they might result in some personal nominations in the 18 categories.
Again we’re appreciative of the recognition. Many of these festival submissions are done by our distributor but we sometimes do a few select submissions. All the monthly and small online festivals are just revenue gathering models. I’m not against these just not something we chase. If more people become aware and watch the film I guess that is the goal.
BEST YEARS GONE the last set of notes is being sent over this week and those will be implemented and the film will travel to our post studio. The last inserts of footage and such will happen there before music and sound begins. I’m going to try and make the studio hang once a week to review and enjoy this process. The BATTLE OF THE BANDS has been getting some great submissions on the FB page contest. We are announcing another celebrity judge in Mr. Joe Pullin who has worked on all levels of the music industry. His full bio will be posted this week! Merchandise is starting to creep out with a cool auto sticker set and soon iron on Tee shirt logos! Go to http://www.cdiproductions.com and go to the merchandise section. We plan to also start an artist showcase and sell other artists goods for a commission. That is in thew works also!
(Mr. Joe Pullin – our next celebrity JUDGE)
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Tis the Easter season and so we’ll ask that you put your sandals on and travel with us to the desert. Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer can all be watched on various platforms Amazon Prime, Encourage TV, Tubi, Pureflix just to name a few.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS is doing great and now that funding on another project is complete we can pour more effort in the direction of the TV series. We have planned to put the series in the Spring 2022 slot as we’re still getting past Covid and I’m needing more time to put this TV deal together. With eight 44 min shows this is a larger endeavor but one that I think will be coming soon. I have several follow up communications.
IN OTHER NEWS:
A CDI co-production “Locked in a Room” has gotten a new re-issue as AMERICAN LIAR now available on Amazon Prime. It is an R rated thriller with greed being at the heart of it. Shot in Detroit by writer/direction Larry Simmons – congrats to all the artists involved! Take a watch but watch out for “Mr. Creepy” 🙂
Discussions are underway for BESTSELLER to finally get out to a wider market. Knight Chills has multiple opportunities for a new release. WICKED SPRING is being worked on to release in HD.
WRAP UP: Many people are trying to navigate the storms of isolation, financial insecurity, stress, parenting and more. My goal is to work hard to create something stable. People feel “behind” as if a year has been stolen from them and in many ways it was. Now I’ve focused and worked very hard to keep my balance and in turn provide balance to the other artists struggling. I stated this week that I push forward with my “best efforts” daily, always. I try and not put any expectations beyond as it just adds stress because it is out of my control. Everyone is feeling the urge to RUN after the world Covid lockdown and that is creating a ME and NOW vibe rippling through society. Again I feel we make the greatest gains working together but everyone needs to pay attention to their own fire from time to time. You are no good to a circle of people if your own personal fire isn’t burning bright. I’ve tried to change as little as possible save what we had to for safety to give people an experience. In 2020 BEST YEARS GONE was that. This year is getting better Covid-wise but it still shadows over endeavors and people’s moods. But we will again do what we do and that is all we can do. Please be kind to yourself. Don’t hold your progress up to the same non-Covid standards. Don’t lean into what you do not do but what you were able to do. And be good to one another. This has been hard on everyone with some having it better and some worse. Help someone out this week in some way, shape or form and you will feel the joy of it. I’m going to carry on and we have lots of exciting announcements coming in the weeks ahead. Starting with more cast and crew will be announced for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. Also business sponsorships will start this April and that is no joke!
Have a great week ahead.
Stoke the Inner Fire, the Art of Patience, the Circle of Producers
Coffee Cheers. I’m sipping a steaming cup of coffee and sitting here pondering the business from the past week. I’m a person who attacks things in private. You don’t or won’t find my nose stuck in a video game for hours. A five minute time out to play ROBOTRON or JOUST is an occasional occurrence. I fight everyday to gather the funds for new endeavors and to keep the business of all the other films moving forward. I’m feeling good about everything and had a few things happen this week that could be good lessons for whomever reads this.
First – CDI is not a company that pays just a few and seeks out free help in places that require highly skilled individuals. We hire as wide as we can afford which has been limited in the past few years. Increase in days expands costs across the board. We do things that others do not like lodging. Commuting when reasonable is okay but long trips on each side of a shoot day can burn someone out quick. Actors in the day before helps them to settle and focus before entering the ‘world’ we’ve created to film in. These are all costs. Over the years I’ve learned to simplify my life so that I could focus on the stories. Our money negotiated to the max with the help of many who love stories, including our sponsors, makes this possible.
Along these lines, we only can hire so many people. The producing staff often works much harder for less when and if hours are broken down. Often the effort is not worth it if the accumulation of shells and beads is the only measuring stick one has. Producers sport a point of two from the back end which is like a lottery ticket bought just in case the universe wants to reach out. It also is a badge of honor that they were part of a the “officers” who made the film happen. At CDI even an “associate producer” title is honored. Other outfits may throw around titles but at CDI is means something. For us at CDI is means representing the company. Attitude. Motivated. Experienced. As one who has coached here in the USA and overseas and as a martial arts sensei and still always a student – when someone is deemed ready they are approached. Filmmaking with tribeCDI is just that- a team, a community and a group of film warriors ready to problem solve daily to win the pieces of the puzzle.
My budgets restrict how many artists I can develop with a paycheck. Even the ones who would PA (Production assistant) free the costs are still additional with each person. We like to try and really feed people. I recall one set in Nashville in the 90’s that had a few loaves of white bread, a pack of lunch meat, mayo, mustard, ketchup and a stack of paper plates. This was for a large cast and crew. I ate it without any issues but I could see what certain actions did for a project. That one 15 min producer call that gets a sponsored meal from some great establishment is so worth it. My mind often is filled with ways to give our cast and crew a better experience. In return I just ask for their very best at their task on either side of the camera. The cast and crew can see the care and work we’ve put into our productions. Bottom line is we do care.
So in summary -I never once could demand to be on a team. I had to show my skills, develop my mind to the game and make them want me to start by my performance. In martial arts I focused on my skills and tried to effectively communicate to students below me. In time you become so valuable that they want you representing their tradition or organization. I see many lack the patience for many things of worth. It is a hard skill and one that I deal with still daily. Don’t let past failings or short-comings hold you back. That is your earned experience. Don’t be looking ahead too soon in hopes of being seen as more important. Be in the present. Be excited to learn the new lessons. Get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. 2020 was a year to test that discipline and practice what I preach. Be present. Be patient. Become the best version of you.
Another example that provides me with a nice lesson to share is – When life gets you frustrated with all the external issues turn within. If I’m out-of-tune inside, everything I try to do fumbles. I don’t see the pokey dog bone which I kick. I can’t get a software to work right (I can’t get me to work right)…you all know what I mean. Meditation. Prayer. A nature walk. Thirty minutes on a heavy bag. Tai Chi – tend your inner fire. I DON’T HAVE TIME, some will scream. But you must or time will be wasted. Like in healing there is treating the symptoms and treating the source. Focus on that inner-fire and watch how everything starts to turn around. BALANCE is achieved and by stoking the fire of the internal the external starts to change. I’ve used all this solo time to really increase that fire stoking. Take 15 or 30 minutes to change your frequency and watch what happens.
BEST YEARS GONE – The second pass now with director Shane Hagedorn‘s refining is underway. A few notes we’re passed from the circle of co-producers to our director. I’m more inclined that maybe the first look should have came after the second pass where the director is now engaged. A rough cut is built from director notes and editor’s eye. Now a large % of my notes would be stuff that our director will address. After the director and editor do their cut I will give it another look. I look for mistakes but recognize subjective versus a mistake. I have to have confidence in my directors. Their own subjective choices play strongest – the too many cooks in the kitchen issue can exist. I’ve seen it happen but if I respect the boundaries, it sets a standard. Sometimes the closer the role is the farther I might want to be from nuisance choices in editing. That is why you take the time to match the right script to the right director. The writer and the director work through the story fully. Do not underestimate the pairing of the right story and the right director. It is a skill unto itself.
As the edit moves along we’ve made progress on upcoming merchandise and the Battle of the Bands! Exciting stuff. More stills are being batched to release. Our own Dan Chipman is working a BTS so our cast and crew can remember the crazy year of 2020. Our fellow producer and AD Nate Robertson also has a special video being worked on. We’ll be having a story/interview coming out on all that very soon. This movie is heartfelt and extremely funny. In my talks this week with our distributor I was told how much they all enjoy the humorous offsets CDI scripts have gotten known for. Meaning serious topics are discussed and when it gets a little uncomfortable it gives us humor. They used the end of the Wild Faith trailer with Ben Lily and Hester hoping they don’t need God’s help today. I was happy to report that BEST YEARS GONE will have humorous moments. Yeah. maybe a couple;)
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND I’m told has a new marketing campaign they are discussing. They want to get this film more into the mainstream. They feel it’s a great film that has a lot of play in it. The release was going to include theatrical and fest events but the Covid mucked that up a tad. But the film is being well received and has been seen by maybe a million of so people. It will find a much larger audience it just needs a bit more time.
THE QUEST TRILOGY is being treated as a series as it readies its run at Pureflix. I’m so proud of these films and I think general audiences will enjoy them. It’s a distilled down parable trying to remove all the white-noise and paint something where the dots are actually connected. Whatever your walk of life take a watch and I think you will find them vastly different from anything else you’ve watched/heard on this subject.
LOST HEART – If you want to read more on the actors from Lost Heart, see some BTS and read a few PR links please visit the new pages on http://www.cdiproductions.com – thank you David Gries. And if you still haven’t seen this film do yourself a favor. Have a laugh. Have a cry. It is truly a ray of light. Light? Strange lights in the sky? Watch the film and it will all make sense.
In wrapping this up – my week was spent doing end-of-he-year tax stuff for CDI and the films. Thank you to Dean Teaster, Melissa Anschutz, John Mashni and all the good folks at Davison & Associates. We also are working development hard. We only have a few final funding pieces to arrange on the WW2 film before full green light. We also have had more great talks on the Wild Faith spin off HASTINGS. Again it is not IF it is WHEN. We’ve been doing casting for our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA German’s and our young lead. Are you 8-12 who plays young shoot me a reel it will get looked at. Speak fluent German? Send me a reel. We’ve been having internal casting talks and we’ll be announcing as soon as we move into pre-production. I’m also looking at portfolios for paint on glass or digital matte artists. Fun, fun stuff! Beautiful falling snow. Time for some more coffee. Have a great week.
Be good to one another!
COLLECTIVE JOY – Merry Christmas and Cheers to a Better 2021!
Good morning. Coffee cheers. Well, today would have been one of the first holiday family get-togethers but alas we are not due to the lock down in Michigan. I have a good amount on my mind this week plus several good film updates on several of the projects.
I’m beyond happy that the stories we tell are being seen by millions and I’m receiving such uplifting fan mail that tells me what we do has a positive purpose. What WE do. That is an important word WE. We’ll address that more soon. The new CDI release is LOST HEART which is truly a ray of light filled with laughter and tenderness gifted to whomever takes a watch. I believe that the lessons inside our stories can be taken to heart for ALL people. From the negativity I’ve seen fly, EVERYONE can use a little story to remind us of the goodness in us all.
Lost Heart has 3 leads in it. Melissa Anschutz, to know her is to respect her dedication and love to the character’s she becomes. This film is a crown gem in her growing list of roles and stories. It is also deeply personal because of losing her husband to cancer and her own personal struggle with the disease, all while putting this movie together. Victoria Jackson who is a true comedic genius and is a tad outspoken in her political lean has drawn some praise and fire. Now add Don Most, who recently was heavily criticized by some and applauded by others for attending a ‘Happy Days‘ fundraiser for Biden. FOX took a PR piece on Lost Heart and really played the political slant almost like a TMZ piece. While it has added thousands of views it has angered some and so the days after the FOX story posted anger responses erupted from a few and the VOTE score on the film 1-10 dropped from mid 8’s to 3-4 over politics.
Political or not, it happens to all the children (movies) and while I wanted this child to be safe from bullies/trolls – people will vent their frustrations before taking accountability or accepting differences. Conservative MAGA or Cancel Culture Liberals – EVERYONE can use a good story with lessons about being good to one another and the value of kindness. I’ve been around long enough to know the drill. Friends, family, peers drive the score UP and the haters arrive and it goes down and fans start to bring the score back up and it will settle into a final score in a few years. Older audiences, myself included are not as savvy with computer reviewing so that is often not reflected. CDI works with respectful artists period from across the spectrum. I personally don’t ride the rollercoaster of hi’s and low’s. I try to live each film as a “drop the mic” moment and enjoy each day.
BEST YEARS GONE – The edit is coming along great with over 40 scenes cut. We’ll have a first edit in a couple weeks and the goal is to lock picture end of Jan. 2021. Let’s talk about that film in light of what we just discussed above.
Our motion picture has been adapted from a self-published book entitle “Hope from Heaven” by author and small-town barber Karl Manke, who by challenging state law during the Covid lock down earned himself the moniker of ‘America’s Barber’ whatever good or bad that name might bring. One man’s personal actions put him in line with the theme or agenda of others and against state law, an outlaw or patriot was born unto the media depending on the opinion piece. But I can say that Karl did not ask for the media circus and was not trying to be a flag bearer for anyone.
(One of several projects I was honored to work on with Dan Haggerty)
Enter our CDI (www.cdiproductions.com) a Michigan-based motion picture company since 1996 that has produced various films over the years and has found a niche of positive, well-told stories that often include a few life lessons woven within. CEO DJ Perry, often the screenwriter these days, gives credit to the early TV shows like The Waltons, The Life & Times of Grizzly Adams and Little House on the Prairie. These were shows strong in character development and story. Often with a treasure of a lesson buried at the heart of the story for the audience to dig up, leaving them with something to ponder beyond the screen.
“We believe that our stories speak to the entire spectrum of audiences – it doesn’t matter where you stand politically, our stories are for everyone.” – DJ Perry
The story seems simple enough, a young woman raising twin teen daughters as a single parent falls in love with a less than perfect man and conflict ensues. Also said, less than perfect man is an ex-race car driver who had a team and a dream with his cousin. This relationship ends due to the poor decisions whereas the thin threads of family are broken. These characters while extreme, are still relatable to most either in shared qualities or as the worst versions of ourselves in some alternate universe.
This political year combined with the Covid situation made filming plans even worse. CDI had originally planned to begin filming in April 2020 on ‘Best Years Gone’ the adapted film name. The well-written book was full of colorful characters and a nice blend of realism and mystery. The book and script both speak to imperfect relationships and the importance of forgiveness to the self. In the public arguments the means by which many communicate shows no desire to really be heard, understood or to find common ground. Most remarks are inflammatory and meant to injure the other party by slandering things they hold dear and sometimes sacred. This story had greater messages that can be applied to anyone.
CDI has a strong reputation for staying on schedule, on budget and creating exceptional quality stories within business guidelines. This quality is by gathering talented artists and uniting them behind a story. UNIFIED BY A STORY! So is the way of the TRIBECDI. What is the tribe you say? The creation of a sacred artist space whereas the art of storytelling can be told unhindered by differences and distractions. A philosophy that demands respect towards one another as artists and only asks for your best efforts to be put forth without any added drama.
CDI has diverse, artistic individuals from all over the spectrum of beliefs and affiliations. In some those beliefs can be polar opposite and in other examples just differing priorities on taxation, spending or any of the various topics debated around dinner tables. The issue is that in a growing culture that becomes more inclined to try and gather to only like-minded groups finding that singular group at the larger level of inclusion is near impossible – you WILL end up working with diverse people and that is a good thing. At CDI we don’t endorse or support any one life path save the path of telling a good story. I think that many could learn from the environment we work to nurture and grow. We continue to refine and grow ourselves and the key is to keep the story in sight. While others flounder due to poor communication we are still able to speak to the audience as a whole. We create great little stories with powerful topics- often softened slightly by humor. The story a gentle reminder not to take life too serious as we only go around once and life is too short a ride to do it mad or with a chip on your shoulder.
Okay now my Top UPDATES
- According to our distributor Wild Faith is still growing an audience with the film ranking in BMG’s Top 5 on most platforms. We had HASTINGS talks and progress is being made.
- I’ve started doing the writer/director polishing passes on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We are close to a full green light. We just have a few units to still assign in the project. Once we do expect some big PR announcements.
- I’ve been doing some writing on the new updated draft of the SMOKE & MIRRORS featured script. CODE NAME: ASH – I’ve had a wonderful time researching and writing and the short film will be done and released in 2021.
- The Quest Trilogy is being licensed for the season and I’ll notify as I find network and such featuring it. If any of you see it playing let me know.
- MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – If you enjoyed this film the dog who played Brown Boy is named Big Papa and he needs surgery. It is the same kind that a few of our own furry family had to have. If you enjoyed the film and want to help out a great guy Robert Ash, is needing help with the costs so if able think of donating at the link provided. https://www.gofundme.com/f/big-papas-surgery?fbclid=IwAR1g6JR1Kz8lDcM7laYtwgXU_Oz5N4EAAyhDlJQtJxGlhuMnQQWIXFrc7VA
- The doc “For the Love of Catch” will start rolling cameras again start of the new year!
- NEW merchandise is coming so that is quite exciting to me.
SPOILERS SO IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FINAL ‘THE MANDALORIAN” SEASON 2 FINALE STOP READING
(My bro and I are intergalactic bounty hunters in our spare time)
The POWER of storytelling. I’ve been a lifelong Star Wars fan and give much credit to A NEW HOPE for me wanting to be an actor/storyteller. I was and still am a big Han Solo fan. Luke was always somewhat secondary for me. But in this time of hardship, stress and frustration for many Luke Skywalker is just what the world needed. The odds look to be just too much. The battle appears to be a losing one when “one X wing” how is that going to…wait a minute. Was that R2D2? Is that? Glove? Green lightsaber! I like millions had imagined scenes like what we saw unfold in our childhood imaginations. I loved seeing the JOY that overcame so many watching this unfold. I cried and I’m not even sure why. The need to through back to another time. To truly escape back to a Far, Far Away Galaxy. To have Luke Skywalker come and save the day – to save 2020. It again showed me the power that can come from storytelling. Now to bring it all full circle the haters will come for this show also. Maybe Mark Hamill will say something that offends someone or just going against the grain is what some need to do to get noticed. But for me it was collective joy. Seek a Collective Joy in 2021 and by our individual actions lets make 2021 the year we all want. Appreciate people as you get to spend time in 2021 even if they have different priorities versus yourself. Communicate respectfully and as if that person were in the room with you. If you want a better 2021 you need to do your part – actions. We will circle back and talk next Sunday for the last time before 2021. Be good to one another and have a Merry Christmas!
Last Note: These films are made with collective love by diverse artists who share the sincere hope each of our stories will bring you some amount of joy. A person drowning in negative filters will not ever see joy in anything and will actually want to destroy the experience of joy others may experience. But those icy haters should know we don’t EVER give up on you. We create and await that one day that our one story made you crack a smile, laugh aloud or shed a tear. We immerse ourselves in a made-up world and tell a story. All while giving up precious time with families and friends. As artists, we’re called to reach out with a story and try to melt the icy negativity that stretches across the hearts and minds of so many. To give them a chance to find some joy. To feel a story of Collective Joy. Here’s wishing JOY to you.
Full Debrief On CDI Films
Good morning everyone! I want to welcome and thank all the readers from around the world. I’m sitting comfortably in my Lazy-Boy chair with my hazelnut coffee. Below is just a partial list of where all our fellow artists friends stopping by last week were from. The entire world is pretty united by what we’ve all been facing. I always said it might take an ‘Independence Day’-like alien attack to unite everyone but instead we got a virus. I was disappointed to see the issue weaponized politically over the last couple months. But there is no political spin to the actual science. I have friends that like to look at the stats and minimize the impact. But right now the death toll in the USA is as if our city of Lansing, Michigan was just destroyed or disappeared pending how dramatic you want to be this morning. Now this large nation has many cities and hey it’s just one BUT if it was your city that becomes an issue. And we might lose a few more cities worth of people before this passes. So if we can unify our actions and if this new batch of vaccines rolls out we might find our way back to something resembling normal.
But…we should remain aware of health and safety. We should plan for future unified responses. Federal, state even down to local we were not quite prepared and life accountability was being placed on officials. That’s different than leaning for or against taxes or new laws. So political affiliation aside I don’t fault officials for doing too much. Too much is often better than not enough but in this case every bit of over-cautious (a good thing normally) is causing economic hardships. It is a no-win situation because you cannot manifest a perfect. And on both sides politically they await for each other to misstep so they can blow that up into the next headline. Needless to say I’ve been personally disappointed in how much conflict we’ve participated as a nation. “I told you so” and “cancel” culture mentality is not helpful in growing cooperation. Information is often given with insult that results in the passing of knowledge falling on deaf ears. Most people don’t know that part of my college degree was communications at MSU. Most people are just horrible communicators and don’t even know it. They rush to social media lobbying trying to build support for or against a person’s words or action versus privately and respectfully communicating behind closed doors. With nobody else to hear there is no temptation of grandstanding. Given feedback is exchanged in an environment of respect where the person is respected enough that the meeting happened privately.
EXAMPLE: At CDI over the years, the need to meet with someone for course correction on set has arisen. If you respect that person which you should, you address any issues in private. I’ve seen way too many sets where problems are addressed loudly with finger pointing and throwing people under the bus. How do you think that effects that person and their respect for the company? How does it ultimately effect performance?
These are the things that people fail to grasp. When they want to achieve the same success at running a set as CDI it is done based on principals that starts at the top. A loud mouth, insulting CEO, producer, director or what-not will bring toxic devastation to a project. I’ve seen way to many production companies getting along by using up passionate volunteers and trading them up for the next batch. You are always starting over. Your quality is not increasing as your people’s experience and confidence grows. DEVELOPMENT is a key to success. Not just YOUR development but the development of a tribe of people. Look beyond ME to WE and you’re starting out on the right path.
OK. Film updates. Hmmm…do we have any? Maybe a few:)
BEST YEARS GONE – Much of the writing above could be applied to the above writing. We had been funded and ready to shoot this film since March. Much like some of the world leaders in government and business, I was faced with hard choices about when to set sail, safely with the best chance to succeed. Nothing save possibly experience gave me any added insight but like everyone else this Covid was/is a new variable. But I was the last one held accountable for the ship, cargo and crew. We started months earlier reading, studying and developing our safety protocol. The producers including Nate Robertson who is also our 1st AD took this job very serious. I appreciate him because a failure on his part is personal and painful but a failure to me is more direct. I’m responsible for everyone’s actions including his. So to have Nate and all the producers work so hard to prep a safe project meant the world to me.
Beyond that 75%+ of the crew are returning warriors with maybe another new 25% coming on board their first CDI film. I want to thank all the cast and crew for playing by the rules which included masks and face shields, sanitizer, distancing, morning check in’s and individually catering and craft. Over the years I’ve been on projects that were hindered by colds, flu and such. So the idea was no matter your individual feelings about Covid this was about WINNING. Note the goal of “winning” was getting safely to port with all our cargo (film pieces) safely. We also did pre-test and weekly test between our shoot blocks that we spaced slightly to give time to adjust and rest crews a touch more. There are many things we did not like with the added spacing but it worked for this film. We did manage to keep two positive Covid folks from bringing that on set. Two crew members had to await test results when they were exposed on off days between blocks. I’m happy to report the positives are now healthy and the caution hold on two crew came back negative. But our battle plan worked and we have the entire film IN THE CAN. We use to really use that term when we shot film.
Congrats to Shane Hagedorn our director for his calm leadership through it all. Travis Haywards led his department with a friendly demeanor knowing a few short years ago he was the young artists. I remember taking him as 2nd AC with our FORTY NIGHTS camera team a handful of years ago and now he was the DP. Another example of CDI development priority. Every crew member was truly a joy and that is rare as many of you will find out. We’ve found new artists that I’m sure will be ready to roll with the TRIBECDI when the time comes. Check out http://www.cdiproductions.com and SUBSCRIBE TO THE TRIBE. The film is exciting filled with humor and heartfelt relationships. The movie is about family, dreams, love and faith and has an automotive race car theme running throughout it. We’ll be announcing this week the addition of the films editor which is Nathaniel Nose, best known for his directing and editing on Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy, The Christ Slayer. The film will surge forward in post-production and we will look forward to bringing it to you in 2021!
We’ll follow the lead-in above to THE QUEST TRILOGY. A new campaign is launching for the holidays that puts the series in the proper order. The series is much more enjoyable when you watch in the proper order of FORTY NIGHTS (#1), CHASING THE STAR (#2) and THE CHRIST SLAYER (#3) and there is a NEW OFFICIAL “THE QUEST TRILOGY” trailer we’ll be highlighting this coming week.
Our #2 film CHASING THE STAR was listed as Pureflix’s second recommendation for Christmas films. I’ve heard people say that did not like how dark the film was. But under King Herod those were the times. The Magi order as depicted is the order seeking a celestial messiah to save mankind. No elves, jingle bells or snowman but an honest look at a possible internal conflict the three wise man faced. We know the nativity statues worldwide but what do we really know about these men? Very little. So we work to put a face to those men and their quest. Here Pureflix has invited you to watch-
And The Quest Trilogy will also be coming to Pureflix as a series in Feb 2021 running to Easter 2021. Enjoy the NEW trailer here – please share it with family and friends.
IF you enjoy these films do drop us a review at http://www.imdb.com, Amazon.com or anywhere you can. I hope your family enjoys this trilogy of films.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film keeps growing an audience. I was at the bank doing some business deposits when the teller told me she had cried watching MBF. She noted it was such a beautiful film and she had been telling friends and family about it. If you’re proud of our military brothers and sisters and love dogs this film might be just what you are looking at.
WILD FAITH – This fun and powerful film has been seen by millions of people. Those millions love the world seen at a simpler time with a story of love and faith amongst the Murphy family. Right now we have a handful of companies interested in seeing this film roll out next year as a series. The first right of refusal partner has the proposal and I’m looking to get a green light before the 1st of the new year. If so cameras could roll in Feb./March on HASTINGS. These stories will follow the same tone as the feature and we’ve got a good gameplay forming up. PS: Happy Birthday today to director Jesse Low!
LOST HEART – This amazing film is our new 2020 release. On Nov 7th and 21st we streamed our filmed cast and crew premiere event as well as the film itself for two nights free. After some great national PR topped off with our stars (Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson) traveling to Nashville for the Mike Huckabee show, the film will start its licensing run and roll out. The event was filmed and edited by Nathaniel Nose who did a wonderful job capturing the beauty of our state. It continues to highlight Collective Development Inc. as a Michigan company and Lost Heart as our new release. We will plan to stream the event perhaps on the CDI website and CDI’s FB site next week. I would also like to see the event end up on the DVD. IF you watched the film one of the two nights please do go VOTE and leave a review on the LOST HEART http://www.imdb.com page and feel free to request it from networks and retailers. Thank you for allowing us to do a special premiere and share with all of you. Another great film that I’m so proud of. I watched last night with my mom and I will call my dad who also watched the film last night. I’m happy they are both here to see it.
WRAP UP – I’m going to wrap all this up. We’re having the first light snow here in November and yesterday I did some winterizing. I have a few more things to get taken care of. We harvested the last of the ground veggies from the garden. I might bottle up the new wine next week. I finally have almost all my stuff unpacked from filming. We’re going to do pie-drops this week but just gonna lie low with Thanksgiving. We don’t want to get any family sick. I had a pair of close family come down with Covid. One said, he would rather have the flu four times over and said if he had been less healthy I might have been carrying a coffin. This victory of getting BEST YEARS GONE shot and into editing leaves me feeling satisfied. I was looking forward to the holidays and will still work to make it as special as possible but like our film set, safely.
Be good to one another and we’ll talk next week. Have a great Thanksgiving by being thankful you have your loved ones with you. Stay safe and be kind to one another.
PS: I spend a good part of an hour trying to delete copied blocks of text and was too afraid to add photos. I need to roll this WordPress back to non-blocks. I thought I lost this morning’s update so you are getting no pics or corrections but you’ll get the info.
Horses, Hot rods, Roosters, Rockstars and more…
I’m back in my lazy-boy for a few with my coffee at hand. I’ve been at my second stay with our crew at the Hilton thanks to one of our new CDI sponsors. These kind of deals really help filmmakers create the best environment to create within. The journey of a film is so important to how it comes out. I have to say that once again we’re working with such a great group of artists. Again I’m proud of how everyone is united in following safety practices because together we want to exit 2020 with a high note. The TribeCDI troupe is once again doing what we do best. That is telling a story and BEST YEARS GONE is methodically getting it done. We the Covid about we’ve been limiting any outside visitors and testing weekly. Shooting this time of year can bring cold and flu issues so the added precautions have been helping protect from all these.
Hospitality and Health is our position for craft plus. And by that I mean having a health professional on board to not only safely disperse craft for preventative measures. I even heard of work-out, stretching sessions in the morning although I have not participated. I have my own daily routines but it is a valuable role which has been making a noticeable difference. Meals have been prepared by another sponsor that being Sparrow Hospital. Again we have been working to make this shoot a safe and fun shoot.
Horses, hot rods, roosters, rockstars and more – I’m home to rest with family, do payroll, Covid Test and prepare for the last run. All this is excited but really its so we’ll have something exciting top talk about with you in 2021. We do have something exciting to talk about now!
LOST HEART – So on November 7th we had our first public premiere watch of the Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson led film. This film was shot in Michigan and is a wonderful blend of humor, drama and intrigue. I’m waiting on full numbers from ENCOURAGE TV but we know at least 20,000 tuned in to enjoy the story. That is easily the largest premiere we’ve had. Usually it’s theaters numbering 600 at max capacity. This was safer and reacher MANY more people. Melissa, Don and Victoria are off to Nashville today for The Mike Huckabee Show promoting the film.
This movie will play again Nov 21st free on Encourage TV. If you’ve seen the film please post your vote and review on our http://www.imdb.com page for “Lost Heart” – pass it along.
Once we get LOST HEART full launched past the premiere we’ll evaluate the offers to carry it exclusive for a while and I’ll let you all know. Further down the line will be streaming and DVD. It is exciting to see audiences finally get to travel to Lost Heart Michigan. How beautiful does Michigan look in the film? I know. It’s a place of great beauty.
THE QUEST TRILOGY is getting a new campaign to make audiences aware of these biblical adventures produced by CDI. They are meant to be watched in the order of FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER (Present, Past and Future) – I know these films are expanding into many more countries. If it is in any of the 80+ countries that are part of our reading circle here please send me a picture. I love watching them in other languages.
WILD FAITH – I had some very nice fan mail this week that thanked CDI for making a film like WF. Both were from African American ladies who watched the film with their daughters. They really related to Grace and Haddie and it gave them conversation after the film. I’m happy to say that the strength behind the TV series is growing. We have multiple interested parties and we’ll look to put the deal in motion once we finish the endeavor at hand. But thank you so much to those that take time to send those messages. I sincerely am so happy that the film is being a bridge of understanding. Love over hate.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – this movie continues to grow an audiences via word of mouth and I hope this Veteran’s Day we can get some kind of watch party going. I’ve had a chance to meet a few of the fans of this movie in person. These men and woman were service folks so that made it all the more special.
I’m having a few issues with the new layout with WordPress. I lost part of my typing here so I’m going to wrap this up. I need to do some unpacking and about to eat some lunch. I want to thank everyone for stopping by.
Be good to one another!
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
Covid-Free and What’s Up With ME (And CDI Updates)
Coffee Cheers! Again if you own a coffee roaster and want to get your brand name out reach out and we’ll use your coffee in our upcoming production of BEST YEARS GONE. I’ve been having the same issue with brewery and distillery options. We’ve always made product sponsorship deals with various companies and showcased them in our films. But they are slow to commit on this go-around and I have to guess that its the Covid effect on their businesses. If I don’t make a deal it will become just a created label. So whatever your business is if you want to discuss our sponsorship program reach out to me on here and we can talk.
I got my Covid test back that was super easy at Walgreens from my car. I’m clear. So I will report to the hotel this weekend under our new corporate deal with Tru Hotel/Hilton. Speaking of sponsors I want to thank The Candleberry Company for their sponsorship. Lerma Transportation is onboard to assist with the craft service. And it looks like BIOCLEAN will also be a sponsor again and in these times it’s good to have them on board. We are going to run a very safe set because Covid is not the only enemy. The flu and common cold is also a hinderance so we hope to keep everyone healthy. We have more cast to reveal including my old amigo Terence Knox (St. Elsewhere, Tour of Duty) and another CDI alumni from “Chasing the Star” will be joining us! I’m excited about the team of artists and we’re going to have a great time telling this story.
BUT…we have another movie rolling out as we’re starting to film. LOST HEART had a successful cast and crew screening in New Era at The Double JJ Resort. Music, interviews, food and fun followed by a wonderful film. Weeping, laughter and everything in-between. I was happily surprised by how engaged the audience was. We had a good number of local randoms mixed into our crowd. Bottom line is I think we have another hit. The local, regional and national media is kicking. From smaller reviewers like Noah Kaser below to Mike Huckabee who will be hosting Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson in Nashville. The film is truly funny and has heart warming messages about dreams and family without being heavy handed. Please do tune in Nov. 7th and 21st on ENCOURAGE TV (A Free app) to watch the premiere event and the film. It will start 7pm EST on those two dates (Nov 7, 21). Won’t you please join us? Noah below said he’s reviewed 200 films this year and LOST HEART is in his Top 5! We hope it makes your list also:)
Once we get past the premiere showings on the 7th and 21st of November we should know where the film is headed. Likely an exclusive run on a network before it goes wide. It will also start making its way around the world.
I’ve had a few good meetings over our Mid-Western WILD FAITH turning into a TV series entitled “Hastings”. We have interest on a few fronts and if everything works out we’ll film 8 shows this spring. It will be a wonderful thing to see the beloved characters back in action. Several sites are streaming it but Encourage TV alone is closing on 3 million. Add in broadcast TV and foreign and we have a large and growing audience. I’m excited to put this in motion and to bring BEN LILY back into action.
SMOKE & MIRRORS is just looking awesome and sounds just as amazing. We are having some VFX work done and after credits – Shazam! Done:) Finishing up the feature script is on my things to do this winter.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – We have Veteran’s Day approaching and I’m so proud that this film is making the rounds. Much of the festival and event play got squashed by the lock down but the film itself is growing via word of mouth. You can watch it free via Encourage TV yourself and leave your thoughts. I see that Brazil now has MBF.
I’m also excited as we enter the holiday season to start pushing THE QUEST TRILOGY. This adventure trilogy is shot using the “style” of the original Star Wars films. You can see it in FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. It was filmed in the Yuma desert where RETURN OF THE JEDI filmed. It is a unique series of films and again is not preachy but thought provoking. Watch them all together to get a greater story and enjoy them with your family.
FEW QUESTIONS FOR MY READERS–
- Has anyone read my story in the cat book released this fall? Thoughts?
- Who has seen “The Quest Trilogy” all together and what were your thoughts?
- I’ve got several past thrillers and horror films perfect for the Halloween season, favorites? Scariest?
- Would you be excited for a WILD FAITH tv series? Favorite characters?
- MBF – Who do you agree with? Again a real thought provoker.
- Have you ever used a Candleberry Co candle?
This past week has been getting warmer wardrobe around and a few rehearsals on BYG film. We picked the last of the beans from the garden. The crockpot with beans and additional veggies and a pork roast will be filling the house with good smells. The Autumn Ale has been enjoyed at a few meetings. The chickens are doing good with the coming of the colder weather. We took a nice nature walk with Finn yesterday and I just love this season. I’m just feeling great about the coming week and I will be seeing some close artist friends that I usually only see when filming. Get yourself artists with a positive attitude and that vibe will transfer to the story.
Thank you again to everyone at The Double JJ Resort. It is a wonderful place to visit for golf, horseriding, waterpark and more! I’m going to get back to a few pre-production things today and I’m thinking of doing these next batch of blogs on a Monday since our filming for the next few weeks will include Sunday. So I might be doing a delayed blog OR I might do a video blog recap which might be easier. We will see said the wise man. Be good to one another!
NEW Casting, Premiere and Development Updates
Good morning everyone. WOW! Lots of new international readers from around the globe. Coffee cheers. This month has been a kick into a new gear as we’re preparing for a cast and crew premiere this weekend followed by two virtual premieres via ENCOURAGE TV (Nov 7th and 21st) and the start of filming end of this month on BEST YEARS GONE.
We’re looking at filling the new holes we have in our cast and crew. I know this environment has some people cautious and rightfully so but good communication is still a must. I had situations where I was chasing a few people down to try and get answers on availability. At the same time we had others (and still do) awaiting an opportunity to join the Tribe CDI on this next journey. My reminder is just for all of you to use good communication. I do NOT want artists I have to kick in the butt – CDI is full of aggressively passionate artists and that is what we are looking for. That said, many communicated very timely and I thank you. We are still looking at a few camera support and grip & electric roles. A few castings are still being discussed but the schedule is about done now and will start getting dispersed this weekend and start of the new week.
Along those lines I want to announce the additional of a humble Hollywood legend who is joining BEST YEARS GONE. My dear friend Lana Wood (Diamonds are Forever) will be playing a very funny part in the film. We’re all looking forward to seeing her and creating another wonderful story.
Our sponsors are starting to roll in also and with CDI films getting millions of eyes of exposure. This is becoming a great way for our partners to showcase their brands. I want to thank Lerma Transportation Inc. again for traveling with us again with their generous sponsorship. More to follow!
The LOST HEART project is so exciting as we get ready to show the world our next story. The cast and crew premiere has opened up some restriction-wise which is now allowing a few more to join. Our outside premiere will have a large drive-in like screen which will be a unique viewing. I go up there this Thursday to start the planning. After this event the national PR will continue and the film could play a few theater chains. I know they are hurting and we would love to help them if we could.
WILD FAITH and HASTINGS TV Series is gaining traction as the film keeps bringing 100,000’s of views a week and the 1st season of the TV series is almost planned out. I have a few meetings over the series in the coming weeks. We hope to roll cameras in the spring. Make the time to meet the WILD FAITH characters and enter into the world of 1870’s Michigan.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – Thank you to all the good people reaching out after watching this film. The best thing I can say is leave a review and recommend it to friends and family. And the on-going question is will I showcase my martial arts in another film? If the right story calls for it is my best answer.
Speaking on that – I do have some new discussions about representation on outside films. My schedule is a bit busy but I do love the joy of just going off to act in a powerful story without the producer responsibilities. We will see this year is about full. Playing Gil Gilles in this next film will take me right to the holiday season.
One of my favorite things about the family and friend holiday season is THE QUEST TRILOGY. We did a unique trilogy of biblical adventures part 1 being FORTY NIGHTS, part 2 CHASING THE STAR and part 3 is THE CHRIST SLAYER. The distributor is doing a new trilogy trailer and I’m excited to see it! I think you will find these films different than many of the other films out there on this subject matter. So take a chance and take a watch this holiday season.
Also if you like the spooky and the haunting stories of the season I’ve done my share in my days. A few of the more frightening might be The 8th Plague, GPS, Deadly Renovation, Darkest Night, Bestseller, Darkest Night and if cheesy monster movies are your thing my first starring film IN THE WOODS might be your cup of tea.
An early CDI film that has a great fall look is FIGURE IN THE FOREST starring Dean Teaster and Mary Jo Cuppone and can be purchased on DVD with HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS (Aaron Jackson/DJ Perry) in a limited run double feature. This is part of the CDI Classic Collection and will make a great stocking stuffer.
I want to do the same thing with CDI’s 1st and 2nd films KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS next year. I will start having it authored over the winter and will release it next year. If you haven’t seen the film KNIGHT CHILLS a good read and watch go hand in hand so consider buying the book.
Talking of books and stocking stuffers – the Cat book I participated in can be purchased now.
I’m going to wrap this up. I will say that the AUTUMN ALE has made an appearance at some of the meetings and was met with approval. It has a NEWCASTLE like taste if anyone is aware of the beer. We’re still harvesting from the garden and it’s about time to harvest another round of green beans. Who knows with the tomatoes a new batch of The Green Goblin? Maybe:)
SOON WE WILL SET SAIL! I’m going to update my master TO DO list and get things rolling for this coming week. I hope each and everyone of you enjoys the new season. I’m prepared for some hard work to get this next story in the can as we use to say when shooting film. Stay safe and be kind to one another including folks that have different opinions and perspectives than you. I will keep doing what I do and who sits in the White House will not change that for me.
Until next week. Coffee cheers! Coffee Sponsors?
Reflections on Time & Film Updates
Photo by Graham Turner
I’m sitting here sipping my hazelnut coffee. I have lots on my mind. Artist or those who follow the dream of being an artist as a career start young. Many fail because the endeavor is hard. Not that many other things aren’t difficult but many just don’t fully “get” the artist mindset. As a young person it can be you against the world with little to lose and everything to gain. That is why many make their run at it by often moving away or by making personal sacrifice in hopes of gaining a foothold.
As you get older that dream may still persist but also life may lead you in other directions. People fall in love, become parents and sometimes they cannot keep up the battle financially. The significant others brought into this circle often battle to understand and be supportive. I’ve said before, when I get an opportunity to do what I love it creates a hardship of sorts for my significant other. Domestic tasks usually handled by two now fall upon the shoulders of one. But living with a frustrated artist can also be a detrimental state.
That is why you always see so many ‘special thanks’ in the end credits of a film. The “others” help a film get made usually by holding down the fort. Everyone has an artistic side to their nature but it’s those of us who are truly driven by it like a compulsion, an addiction to create who take a special someone. Many artists live in isolation of being truly understood. But there exists those who recognize and respect and love these traits in an artist and support them despite the hardships. These people are special and deserve to be recognized.
One of our close producer/actors at CDI just lost their special other. An intelligent and practical man whose art manifested through his cooking. Some cook and some make it an art and this gentlemen made it art. He actually did some craft service duties for us last fall on an upcoming short film. The director loved how positive and helpful he was and I think he finally was really getting it. It can be hard for the significant others to not be in that bubble. To see but not share in that enthusiasm that radiates from artists doing what their heart calls them to do. But on this occasion he was part of it. He felt it. The TRIBE. He enjoyed the experience so much that further talks followed whereas this might become more of a norm but alas it was not meant to be.
Saturday night just before the big lightning and thunder storm he went home, a tragic victim of an aggressive cancer. His last words were “you always think you have more time.” How profound and true these words are and they should be a wake up call to some and a reinforcement to others. These words inspired and haunted me but ultimately encouraged me to cherish the time we have here. To appreciate the people we share our time and lives with. So quit that miserable job and run that charter fishing business if that is what you always wanted to do. Don’t put off writing that book that has been in your head since college. Embrace the now and know time is fleeting. I think I have always tried to follow my passions and use my time wisely. Because one day our own sands of time will trickle down the hourglass and the journey will be done.
Let’s talk my favorite passion – storytelling and my favorite medium film.
BEST YEARS GONE – This story has been in heavy development with casting, costuming and consulting. We are looking at going old school by breaking the shoot up into a few shorter blocks grouping together scenes that require less and more. This is more like filming in the earliest days but will allow us to better control the size of the crew on certain days and damage control should we have any virus issues. I’ve just about got a handle on my character and others have been doing the same. It is now almost time to start getting those puzzle pieces/scenes. I think audiences will love this film again a powerful mixture of serious issues wrapped in humor. Life can be tragic but it can also be funny and sometimes both. This film captures that and we will once again be proud to bring that to audiences worldwide.
WILD FAITH – Worldwide this film has been expanding and is being viewed by millions of people. I think this is a great film again serious and humorous and is proving to be enlightening. I’ve read just some amazing fan mail about this movie. I’m so proud to say that all this attention and appreciation is building our audience to the TV series. We will be working hard over the winter to put the pieces in play. A spring 2021 shoot schedule would be ideal and I think it might all fall together. While it might not be everyones cup of tea (as if anything is) it is loved by many. Thank you to all the fans worldwide.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – I had several people reach out having finally got around to seeing this film. I’m guessing maybe it had something to do with National Dog day. This film is a bit more intense than some of the other CDI fare that has a good dose of humor but the subject matter required it. If you love animals and want to see a powerful drama please do take a watch.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – We’re prepping this trilogy for the holiday window fast approaching but you can watch at anytime. Part 1 FORTY NIGHTS, Part 2 CHASING THE STAR and Part 3 THE CHRIST SLAYER – enjoy!
LOST HEART – Our distributor has approved the EPK kit and so PR will start rolling soon. We have several of our stars doing national spots and the planning for our cast and crew screening is full on. Our goal is to have millions tune in for a one-night only event via ENCOURAGE TV. This will be an event with pre-show interviews and well wishes. Following that event the film will move to an exclusive window with one of the many interested networks and finally home video streaming and DVD. I was speaking with Josh “The Ponceman” Perry who is one of our stars yesterday. He absolutely owns the screen but I could say that about so many of the cast. I’m excited to show our artists and after that – the world!
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – Our in association documentary film about the origins of wrestling is underway. If you have an interest in wrestling and want to see how you could get involved feel free to reach out. We are gathering interviews and will make a great entertaining and informative film.
WRAP UP – The film work keeps moving forward. This weekend has been busy as we know have a coop with our “golden girls” getting adjusted. We fired up the new stand up freezer and stocked it with the pig and transferred over the venison. I also bottled the dark “Autumn Ale” and will likely rack the wine in the next week or so. The garden is growing with the fall veggies and even the hops are getting close. So I’ve felt a bit like a farmer as of late but I find it all very relaxing. I will leave us again with that powerful truth that we always think we have more time. So if you have things you want/need to do don’t keep pushing it off. DO IT.
Be good to one another and I’ll see you all in September:)
An Amazing Week ‘Stay on Target’ – Focus and Place Your Energy Correctly
I’m sitting and sipping hazelnut coffee as a gentle rain falls outside. The morning started with bacon and eggs and that can’t be bad. I’ve had a very rewarding week and have been basking in a glow for much of it. Lots of good business unfolded this week but the highlight was a producers watch on the film at the media center on the big screen. It was epic and Michigan looked just incredible. It was the first time all us producers had been together in a good long while. And it was a watch full of laughter, tears and joy.
We’ve had a few ‘outsiders’ to the production circle watch the film and I really believe this film has something for everyone. We will use the next few weeks to set up as many theatrical, drive-in and other such event screenings as possible. I feel as we’re evaluated by several TV networks that someone will take an exclusive window before the streaming and DVD home video rolls out. UpTV, Lifetime, Hallmark, ABC – battle of the network stars. Just joking although we use to love watching that TV special.
If you want it to play in your area you need to reach out to the venue and get the name/contact info for mgt. We will be doing a few premieres and I really want it to play LA deeper into the year. Not sure with the state of things it will happen but we will see. I know we will be playing in the area we filmed in White Hall/New Era and would love to play Muskegeon too. So LOST HEART is about to be on the move and whether you see it on the big screen or your personal big screen we hope to bring you a few smiles.
Onto other film news…
THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) will be getting a powerful new trailer showcasing all three of the films. The idea is to really start to promote the three together. When seen out of order or not seeing all three does effect the overall understanding of the story. As the window for these films (Thanksgiving to Easter) starts I’m excited. I love all the fan mail from around the world these movies have brought. These biblical adventures are a good watch at any time.
WILD FAITH – So exciting developments continue – apparently the film was nominated in 2019 for several categories at some Red Letter Awards. Nominated for BEST ACTOR (Shane Hagedorn), BEST ACTRESS (Lauren LaStrada), BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (Darby Hinton), BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (Christine Marie), BEST SCREENPLAY – (That DJ Perry guy), BEST DIRECTOR and EDITOR (Jesse Low) and BEST PICTURE. Their announcement went unseen and so…just more people feeling the power of this story.
HASTINGS the TV series is under active development and I have a series of talks and proposals that need to go out. As I told our team with the TV series it is WHEN not IF. Stay tuned and some of your favorite characters may be coming back to tell their on-going story.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – So for the first time since all this virus lock down I went for my dental clean. The receptionist is married to the dentist and they have seen all the films for several years now including his daughter. I got my temp taken and they gushed on how much they LOVED MBF and that it was their new favorite. She admitted that tears were shed watching the movie. I have to say this little exchange made my day because it reminded me that daily our stories are having an impact on people. The receptionist was former military and said usually she is yelling at the screen because of the things they do wrong in military films. She exclaimed that we really did our research because it was spot on. Again I’m so happy the military community respects the performance and the film.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – MBF director Anthony Hornus will be directing this WW2 era drama. We’re still in the development phase but things are coming together nicely. We are still looking for German and/or German speaking actors. Also we will be doing a national casting for the young boy lead in the film this fall.
SMOKE & MIRRORS – This is shaping up to be a great little show piece for the forthcoming development of the feature. Directed and edited by Nathaniel Nose (The Christ Slayer) this 12-15 min piece is another great CDI period piece. Early 1900’s – great location, car, clothes and a cast of quirky characters. I have some post discussions this week. David Gries is the lead in this short and again shows the amazing and talented folks we have the honor of working with. The poster art is also being worked on and we’ll release that once completed. A new CDI page will be coming to http://www.cdiproductions.com (Subscribe to the Tribe)
Victoria Jackson returning to the Tribe in ‘Best Years Gone’
BEST YEARS GONE – Were going to be meeting to identify the VFX shots and such that can be filmed before the main circus. We are still targeting end of Oct pre-prod and Nov shoot. Lots of talks with sponsors and such about this film that will be a great addition to the TribeCDI films. We have more cast and crew to announce and we’ll be doing that starting this week where we’ll meet the ladies from Gal’s & Ghouls:)
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – CDI is helping produce a documentary film about the history of catch-can wrestling. We’ve got a lot of great people appearing in the doc to discuss their passion for this old fighting art finding a new golden age. More meetings before cameras start rolling. With my love of martial arts this is a pure joy project for me.
I could go on about other projects either getting new releases or new development but I think you have a good picture of the situation. CDI is on the move and will just keep doing what we do. Music, Animation and many other exciting things will be happening at CDI in the near future. We keep adding to the tribe and the projects keep growing in number and scope. I saw a few posts this week about and from a MI company having all kinds of issues with one of their “producers” whose job should be to eliminate issues not create them. But once I saw who they were talking about it all made sense. Again just be careful who you create with. It should be a wonderful experience and not marked by drama and nonsense. As I watched all the LOST HEART cast and crew names scroll down the big screen I was deeply moved. From organizing after-school video camera shoots to where I am now is just…amazing. I am so thankful to be on this journey and with such amazing artists. If you like the style of storytelling CDI has gotten known for you will not be disappointed in CDI’s new offering LOST HEART. We’ll see you soon:)
Stay safe and be good to one another! Have an amazing week. Stay on target. Focus. Direct your energy to what you can control, enhance, organize and don’t forget to laugh daily.
‘Lost Heart’ – Are you Ready? Also the Forgotten Art of Respect, Communication and Listening
Hello my friends and good morning to you all. I’m sitting here sipping coffee on a Sunday and reflecting with all of you on the past week. In Michigan we unfortunately saw some violence over mask wearing. Lives changed and ended over a simple mask. My buddy who works in China on occasion was in Singapore when the outbreak first hit. He was the first to predict that Americans are not going to do well because of too many defiant folks. I know that practically everything is being weaponized during this election time but again the virus should be a ‘net health’ concern for all not political. I witness people not taking it serious until it effects their circle. I think the issue not being addressed is the term “recovered” which implies has left the hospital but doesn’t truly mean recovered. Life can be cruel and as with many illnesses, death is a release but illness can include long-term suffering. As you get older you realize how important it is to keep a balanced system. Small issues can result in life hindering conditions as we age. Bad back, knees, digestion…and so having something that can linger on for a lifetime is not truly recovered. I don’t want any virus and I don’t want to put that upon anyone else. So I do my part and pretend I’m a member of GI-Joe (Snake Eyes or Storm Shadow) anytime I go out to a public business gathering/business. The hospital can be a miserable stay for anything and incubated coma sounds anything but fun. I like mom’s saying of better safe than sorry.
Life as a storyteller is fulfilling because I think it allows for the best communication possible. I recently had someone while angry try to tell me that I was an ass-kiss because I won’t jump on the crazy, angry way of communicating with passive aggressive or equally nasty mudslinging comments that can lead to stabbings and shootings but little change. I believe that the way we communicate via movies and storytelling to have a stronger reach. What do I have to say on Veteran and dog rights – watch MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND. Race Relationships watch WILD FAITH. The Quest Trilogy (FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER) is full of good life lessons. Those lessons can be applied and it doesn’t matter what, if any, religion you follow – you can still take something good away from it. I like to speak with my stories and that allows me to not live in a stressful and angry place like so many do. I live in a place of love and listening. My simple response was that if ass-kissing is caring and listening, I guess I am. I’ll sit down and have a drink to share words with anyone no matter what box they decide to check in November. (Or no box)
I do know that to get respect you have to give respect and that often means listening despite you agreeing with them or not. But many cannot keep their mouth shut long enough to listen. They are waiting for someone to stop talking so they can spew their regurgitated response. When you respect enough to listen they often return the favor.
After some sit-downs, I still believe we went to the moon and I don’t believe the Earth is flat and 5G doesn’t have anything to do with the virus…but I’ll listen to someone speak their opinions. If I don’t agree, I often state that but not by being louder, interrupting and surely not by belittling and name calling on someone who’s opinions differ. People met with that poor communication get angry and return to their protective echo chamber where everyone sounds off the same. Nothing is solved. But watch a movie with a deeply written messages and sometimes views can be altered or changed sometimes profound and sometimes only slightly. I don’t claim to know all the answers and I go into every conversation knowing I could be wrong because I’m a student of life everyday. But I see frustrated and stressed people with a need to be 100% right and know that their way of communicating is not my way.
I want to thank everyone out there for the beautiful film reviews and fan mail that I continue to receive. I often share those notes with my fellow producers to illustrate that the hard work we endure to finish these projects will help many people upon their completion. Thank you.
LOST HEART is complete. The visual master came in last week after some amazing color correction from Jesse Aragon our DP. Our director Jesse Low and composer/sound designer Dennis Therrian have finished the final audio. The mixing for stereo and 5.1 is completed and will be married together with the visual for delivery this coming week! We are starting to explore premiere and theatrical possibilities before our home video release. (I hope to have dates soon) We will be doing a PR release next week that highlights not only the amazing musical work of Dennis Therrian that can write music in all genres but a few featured artists on the soundtrack. The band Roanoke and The Cash Collective will be highlighted in our film having made a few great contributions. More on that soon. I’m looking forward to a producers watch and toast before audiences get to travel to our LOST HEART. Congrats to our entire team! TribeCDI on the move!
Good development work on several fronts which will have their own PR releases in good time. I’m excited about the new history of Catch-Can documentary we’re putting together. Also BEST YEARS GONE has some exciting developments as we’re talking with upcoming sponsors. CDI is ready to keep moving forward. I do hope we can get some distance from this virus but only time will tell. But know we are continuing to work on putting together 2021 feature films and maybe a TV series:) I hope everyone has a good week and we’ll chat again soon.