Casting and Crewing Updates- Improving Communication, Time Filters, and Iron Sharpening Iron
I’m sipping on the hazelnut on a sunny but still chilly morning. We had a snow storm hit and start to melt the next day. Spring and Winter are in a wrestling match with one another. It won’t be long before CDI meetings will also include some outdoor hanging. I want to welcome all our new readers from Spain, UK and more. It has been a nose-to-the-grindstone week and I’m happy to report it was very productive. On the broad view – I got all the CDI film taxes done and thank you to our amazing team. My own taxes are submitted just need to review and send when completed.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– The film is still opening new screens based on fans calling in and requesting the film is booked. We even have some new April bookings forthcoming so stay tuned and keep calling your theatre. We’re also starting to put our home video deal together for later in the year. We’ll be delivering the final film for home video on May 1st. I’m excited because it will open the film up to millions.
Harsens Island Revenge – This is the next #tribeCDI film and it is in full pre-production mode. We had some great meetings last week that included our director and DP. We discussed crew on the next film focusing on camera and G&E. (Grip & Electric) We already have a few of those people falling in place. #1 GOAL is to have fun and really appreciate the rare opportunity that we get to engage in with our storytelling. We have a new department leader for Production Design and we’ll likely be announcing an Art Director next week after a few final talks. CAST – We’re awaiting a dozen reads from folks CDI has worked with on different projects. We review these each week and will be making some hard choices on casting soon.
After many reads we think we’ve identified our film leads. This is such an important part of the process. You want people that are truly dedicated to the story, the process and appreciate the opportunity. These two have been developed inside the CDI Tribe. This film requires actors to not only appear natural in their moments (scenes) but in 1926. This is a world where Civil War vets were still alive. Cars were replacing horses for transportation. So many “time filters” to put into ones performance. We know that you can’t get it perfect out the gate but it is something you work into. My role in this next one is not camera ready yet. I will work on his look, attitude and his time filters. I’ve done a lot of digging into the period as the screenwriter. But, you put these filters into play to create a complex and rich performance. In the past we’ve done PR on individual or pairs of actors with promo cards but I think we might do something different. Like what? Like a group mug shot or…
I want our proposed lead talent to hear first from our director. If I hear back while doing this blog I will make a BREAKING NEWS update:) But we are looking forward to seeing many new reads this week. I see a few have direct messaged on the CDI FB page and we’ll be reviewing those. Every week we’ll be pulling for cast and crew onto the film. I’m looking forward to watching more reads this week and solidifying more of the cast.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – The script is now a first draft lock allowing me to start to rough budget and make a production plan. 2024 was the shoot plan but it will all depend on how fast it all comes together. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA only took 14 years so I think we can beat that in less development time. I’ve had the film out to several Native American friends and associates to get their perspective. I also want to thank Lynn Kueck for his historic input. More as this develops.
MISC. UPDATES FROM THE TRIBE
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 is being outlined and groundwork is being laid. We’re talking to interested parties to once again help us tell this more in-depth follow up doc.
2) THE MAKING OF ‘IN THE WOODS‘ – I’m awaiting this book that is suppose to arrive today. It was delayed by the storm but it details the journey of my first starring role. This ambitious film by two young and rather in-experienced filmmakers will entertain you. The film got strong penetration into the domestic and foreign markets being a favorite at Blockbusters, Hollywood Video and more. Released on VHS and it made its way into many foreign territories. It is a fun romp and this book is the start of a new campaign that will be coming together. This film made me a B-Movie star in the late 90’s and while some critics tried to kill it – the film has a loyal audience. Drinking games have been formed around the movie and soon we might have a new 4k enhanced movie with lots of merchandise extras. I could even see a Con appearance or two to celebrate the 25th anniversary. Click and buy it below.
3) KNIGHT CHILLS – The first CDI film is also getting a new enhanced version. I am going to be collecting some interviews from people to include on the new release. I need to get extras around by June so I’m guessing an end of year Blu Ray release. In 2024 we’ll go to DVD and streaming plus start licensing foreign. If you are a fan of fantasy role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, this might be for you. We were back to the original source without any film-look filters that were all the rage. I’m excited to be re-releasing some of these classics in new format that will allow them to survive moving forward.
4) GHOST TOWN, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and AN ORDINARY KILLER will be getting the updated treatment but it takes time. It has been really interesting to walk back and work on these projects.
5) I’ve been working on a few new stories for those national books on animals, that I have contributed too for the last several years.So far, so good. We will see if the editor likes them once she takes a read. One of the books I contributed to his above. I believe that one has a story about my boy Luke Brown. I really do love doing these side stories and I might get more involved at some point but for now film script, producing and acting keeps me busy enough. Look up “Callie Smith Grant” and any of the books from the last few years will likely have stories contributed by me.
6) This week I’ll be starting work on another chapter of an audio book series I narrate. The book author Ronnie Lee has several works for sale in this book series. The audio version is coming right along and will be available soon – https://www.amazon.com/Generations-come-Book-Classroom-Copy/dp/B09RM7LBWV/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2H09KBLP4QV3V&keywords=Ronnie+Lee&qid=1678029492&s=books&sprefix=ronnie+lee%2Cstripbooks%2C161&sr=1-4
7) While waiting for Spring, it is a great time to re-watch your favorites. BEST YEARS GONE, WILD FAITH, LOST HEART, MBF, ASHES OF EDEN, and as Easter is upon us – take a watch on The Quest Trilogy. Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer all deserve a good watch even if the faith isn’t your path. The films can speak direct to your faith or as a parable tale with messages to ponder. I’ve said before, that the trilogy, was shot with a Star Wars heroes-myth style at the heart of it. The translation between the two works quite well. It really is noticeable in the photography and the music. PLEASE DO take a watch. I promise you it is a fresh take on what can often be confusing stories.
My personal goals going into these new projects is to try and make the communication even more efficient. We have some really large opportunities looming on the horizon in the not to distant future. I’m trying to develop our team so they will be ready. Positive Problem Solving attitudes. Clear Communication. Respectful Communication. Gratitude. I want to develop our team for that next level. I want to work with good folks that I truly enjoy. That is the journey.
I’m looking forward to soccer season. I’m looking forward that that weekly competition you get doing battle on the pitch. I have really learned to appreciate our opponents because iron sharpens iron.
Once this snow goes away for good it will be time to get the yard cleaned up. Tree trimming and planting clover again this year. Soon the yard will be full of hops, berries, veggies and herbs.
The chickens are back laying eggs steady so we are now rich. Rich with eggs:) The birds are returning. The squirrels and rabbits are about. I love all the wildlife about.
CDI will probably look to support the Capital City Film Fest by attending the mixer kick off. Several years ago ASHES OF EDEN was the closing film to 600 people. That was a great night. We would have played SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA there but they wanted only MI premieres and the film has its theatrical run underway. I love that our home town has two festivals. The ELFF is still running after many years also.
That is all I have for this morning. I’m going to drink my last cup of coffee and get on with my day. Until we gather again next Sunday – have a productive week. I think I will watch Manchester United play while getting a few things done.
Sails UP, FULL Ahead- Picture Locks, Post Updates and NEW Releases
The hazelnut coffee is flowing and we’re getting the morning rolling. Welcome to the new readers from Colombia, Ireland, France and more. It’s a small world after all over here at our ‘clawing our way to the middle’ blog. This past week was nice weather mostly and the little rain we had was well received by the plants. Our soccer game was a good one adding another win but its really about the awesome workout. The berries are still kicking in full fashion. I eat handfuls each day and the animals have also been enjoying them. The hops are starting to form and the garden plants are starting to have blooms and a few even fruit.
TEN TOP UPDATES:
- BEST YEARS GONE had a great first week trending and giving us a great kick off. You can watch it at any of the places above and more each week. Leave us a review also and let us know if you had any favorite parts. We’re going to keep releasing a few actor videos every few days talking about their characters and the experience of filming with CDI. Here is the most recent a pair of talented young ladies – https://www.facebook.com/Bestyearsgonemovie/videos/1516086865477412
- BESTSELLER – the lake and the haunting sounds of loons. A crackling fire and…this great adult fiction by Christopher Knight aka to the children as Jonathan Rand, is available to rent or own. Shot in beautiful Michigan it is R rated for language and intensity. A great watch, not alone. Many of the same platforms as listed for BEST YEARS GONE above.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – A wonderful community who opened their hearts and trusted us in telling the story of their town. We will be showcasing some beautiful new poster art here soon. And next week the first edit of the film will be watched for any final suggestions. Once any last changes are done it will be a locked picture. Music and sound design have been prepping for weeks. Playing with compositions and building the sound library. VFX continues and we will have more videos showing this amazing process. A new theatrical trailer will start to be cut after our showing next week. They have been outlining ideas for a while and so we have lots of exciting things ahead for this movie. We are targeting a first theatrical premiere Dec 10th, in Algona, Iowa. We hope to expand the theatrical across the midwest where most of these camps were for several weeks. We’ll look at a few festivals maybe even one in Germany, Italy and a few other countries. Too early to announce anything but it looks like CDI will be making more travels to Iowa to bring more stories to the screen.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – We are still waiting to see if we get into Toronto Film Festival. There is a great wrestling tradition throughout Canada and so it would be awesome to premiere there. But it will be coming to living rooms and phones this fall. I don’t want to announce yet until these dates are locked. But let’s just say that the ‘Great Pumpkin’ might also be making an appearance in this same month. The awesome releases for CDI keep coming and this one is still forthcoming. The wait will be worth it and I’m proud to have been a part in filling in this history.
- July 30th, be in your seat at 5:00 pm to be ready for the festival/convention premiere of SMOKE & MIRRORS at the Motor City Nightmares in Novi, MI. I’ve been to Comic Cons (Thank you Nathan Quinn) but never a horror festival. I have gotten a kick out of the collector’s talk of looking for ‘Dead Alive’ VHS titles like IN THE WOODS and KNIGHT CHILLS.
- Speaking of KNIGHT CHILLS. I just got the full rights from author David Hayes (Thank you David) and we might look into a small form reprint and an audio book. You all know a video game is in development. The BluRay deal is signed and will be coming. We are doing some cool things for the packaging. The sequel (funny I’ve written three) is still in development. I’ve had multiple creative groups (fans usually) of the movie present various ideas to incorporate. I’m keeping myself open- Knight Chills itself was us trying to make a movie (our 1st) and was a loving nod to all the cool stuff that Jeff & Juanita Kennedy and I were inspired by. I think for the sequel you could go too polished and perhaps miss what made the first one so special. It needs to be a nod, but stand on its own two feet. It is all fun. That is the secret to Knight Chills, fun. And could a Knight Chills TV series be as cool as Stranger Things? More storytelling potential versus a feature film.
- HOT ROD LOVE working hard to get the last of the funding in place so this can film in our favorite fall/end of the year spot. It works for the story and I like the temps versus humid. Had some great communication with some of the targeted talent. Mister Terence Knox, will have a great role in this film that really showcases his humor. He is playing my father, the track owner. Oh, hell. The clothes, the music and the groove, CDI is gonna go to the 70’s. Seek out our FB site and post some of your favorite 70’s photos. We have some classic images there.
- WILD FAITH: HASTINGS – We just might have our first backer interested. Still a bit to work out concerning details, but we’ve done previous business, so that helps. That just might allow us to start the engines and start planning the first few shows of the eight part season one.
- HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE – The first draft of the script is done. I will collect some feedback and do a second draft. After that we’ll start with active development. Broad location scouting as already begun. This will be a fun film to make fall of next year.
- Thank you to all the CDI FANS. I really want to thank everyone, especially those who have taken the time to express via a post, emails…(a million other ways) how our films spoke to you. Often beyond a few sit-in theatrical showings, we don’t get to hear the giggles or see the tears. With several CDI films with views in the 10’s of millions, I often tell our people, we’re not making these films to appease the 3-5k social circle associations, but for the millions globally that we will never meet. They don’t all know us but they sure know our characters, our stories. We are storytellers. We tell the stories to be seen, heard, and experienced. We do them for YOU. So thank you. Two of my favorites.
I just thought I would take that moment to really thank you all fans. I get caught up in my own little world of trying to hatch the next story. Maybe because I know you are out there waiting? Some of you have been with me since the early days when I was still trying to get my footing. Because of you, I get to do what I love. To do what I feel that I’m good at. My performance is subjective but I’ve always had an undeniable ability to pull people together and direct their effort all while getting the best out of them. Often a best that they did not see until challenged to bring it forth. The effort becomes a gift to us. A gift to themselves. A gift to you all, the story watchers.
I’m going to go “beat a few eggs” like my buddy Dean would say. A flea market down the road might reveal a treasure or two or just an hour of people watching. I might put a mow on the lawn and get a few outdoor things done. A recharge before I jump into the new week ahead. I hope all of you take the time to get a recharge, even if that is only in mindset. Be positive and go at your dreams knowing each step, small or large is taking you closer, giving you valuable experience.
COFFEE CHEERS! Until next week.