Tomorrow we welcome Spring, and it cannot come quick enough. The sun is shining here and that helps but it’s still bitter in Michigan. We had a few blowing snow storms pass through yesterday. I want to welcome all the new readers from the Philippines, Kenya and Poland. I’m very proud that our circle of readers is from around the world. So many things happening both in the CDI film world and in life. St. Patty’s Day came and went without the fanfare of past years. I had meetings and such which superseded any drunken ballyhoo. I did get to enjoy some corn beef and cabbage but no cheap food dyed beer for me.
Soccer season is right around the corner so I hope the weather gets warmer soon. I’ve limited most of my outdoor work to just keeping the wood going for the stove in the office. There is nothing like sitting my those flaming logs and glowing coals. We’ve had some great Harsens Island Revenge, pre-production meetings around the table. It is around that table and on those calls that amazing plans all start to come together. We’ll discuss some of those here first let’s look at how some of the other films are doing.
The Easter season is upon us and because of that I’ve had several pieces of fan mail expressing their enjoyment watching the trilogy. These films can be enjoyed no matter what your path is in life. FORTY NIGHTS is part 1, CHASING THE STAR part 2 and THE CHRIST SLAYER is part 3. Have you watched them all? Have you watched them in the proper order? Amazon, Tubi, Dove and more all carry these titles. Thank you to those who have made the films a yearly watch with their families. But if you need something thought provoking and uplifting these three films might be for you.
On the writing front, I’m proud to announce that I had one of my stories on “birds” was accepted for an upcoming national release of a collection of stories. I’ve contributed to books on cats, dogs and horses and now birds. It will be released via Baker Books. Thank you Lonnie:)
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has more home video meetings this week. The film roll out is still opening in more theatres now expanding into Minnesota and Nebraska. Again, it is because people are calling and requesting the film be booked. We are still exploring a 3rd party expanding the film into many more states. If you’ve seen the film and it moved you, please do go to our page on http://www.imdb.com and put a review. The home video will reach millions but right now the theatrical is still going with some theatres asking about Dec 2023 bookings. We have been playing theatres since our premiere Dec 9th.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE– I’ve been getting some great feedback on this script and I’m doing advanced development breakdowns. If this proceed correctly this could be our next project we film in Iowa. This is an extremely powerful piece of history and we plan to bring it to the big screen.
SHJ – I’m likely to have a call today or tomorrow to discuss progress on this upcoming supernatural thriller. Until ink and paper meet I will be a bit vague on this project but it is creeping closer to a possible green light.
Our own Curran Jacob was in Iowa promoting our documentary film FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH. He was selling and signing DVD’s with our historian Mike Chapman. All this is the foundation for our second film in the series ‘Battlefields‘ that will explore our branches of the military using Catch techniques. It will be housed again by The Red White & Blue project, a non profit that focuses its efforts on military needs and awareness. CDI will once again be the production company. If you have an interest in donating to the non-profit to make the second film go, please reach out.
Harsens Island Revenge – pre production is full steam ahead. This past week we announced several cast and crew (IMDB) including the additional of Terence Knox and Jim Greulich to our cast. We have requested reads start coming in and even more folks are starting to send their reels and pics for consideration. I can say we’ve seen some good prospects. Our crew is starting to fill up as we have talks with certain departments. The art/transportation departments are already hard at work doing breakdowns of props, guns, boats, cars, planes- I’m doing a new polish on the script to bring the opening scene more in line with our meetings. We start the film in WW1 and advance a handful of years with our story. We like some folks and are awaiting updates to their schedule. NUGGET OF WISDOM– Lower budget films MUST schedule around locations NOT actors. If you cannot commit, we have to consider casting someone else. We do have some castings we will be putting out to our Michigan agencies – EXAMPLE: A young girl (Italian look best) 7-10 who plays younger. So a casting call to agencies will be happening but right now we are awaiting several reads to examine this week. We will be working to fill the few remaining crew members. EXAMPLE:We are looking for an experienced wardrobe person to work under our supervisor. Next month we will have a second location scout trip to have hotel discussions and showcase the locations for schedule building. We have brought our AD team back (Nate, Michael and Ian) on board, and now we’re working on the office. These two departments work closely with our producer team.
Is that Cocaine Bear in BEST YEARS GONE after ole Gil?
I could go on about more minor updates such as our sponsor hunt. We are looking at companies and brands that fit the 1920’s film we are making. I’ve reached out to a few brands close to production to give them the first chance to get involved. First right of refusal we call it. Being that it is a prohibition film we are exploring beer and liquor brands. Merchandise is being explored for several of the projects, which is always fun.
I just took a break to devour some of our eggs and 4H bacon. When I finish up here I’m going to do some work organizing and getting ready for a productive week ahead. I am looking forward to seeing my brother and few friends later today. Many have been watching the March Madness basketball but I have not. But I hear my alumni MSU had a good game and they play again today. I enjoy football over basketball but it can be fun to watch. Watching soccer is getting me excited for our season.
I hope you all have a great week ahead of you. Remember, if you are in a place you don’t like, you need to change. Change your words you speak to others and yourself. Change your mindset and your efforts. We talked about that this past week. Hard work that isn’t smart work will just drain you and not get you closer to that goal. You have to work smart. And work…that word, work. If you are having issues are you working as hard and as smart as you can? Some focus on the fun parts of a task but often that is placing a cart before the horse.
In film, I’m glad to see that fewer people are leaning into social media funding endeavors, and putting actual business plans together and presenting. Funding is hard, always. Casting is fun. Crewing up can be fun. But, I occasionally see casting and crew calls and at the end you see they’re launching some crowd funding endeavor of which 97% fail. People like to jump to starts 8, 9 and 10 before doing 1-7. Brick by brick. Layer by layer. Film projects are built by order of business. The hard part is usually the steps 1-7 while 8-10 are more fun. But if the foundation steps are not done, it’s just doing the fun stuff first and hoping the other will fall in place. Don’t waste your time or others and follow the proper order of business. Your results will be much better.
Okay, I’m back at it for a few. Be good to one another and work smart.
Coffee cheers to our new readers/followers from Taiwan, Romania, Kenya and more. I love that we are a world group of artists – a collective of sorts:) If you are not subscribed to the tribe please do add yourself to our Collective Development Inc. http://www.cdiproductions.com
It has been a great week and by great I mean productive. On a personal productive the chickens are doing great with their new home. The new fence is solid and doing its job. I’ve started to cut up wood for the winter wood stove in the office. And we had our first wood stove fire at our end-of -the-week CDI meeting.
I’m going to rack the wine, harvest the hops and slowly start getting things around for winter. I’ve been organizing the office and I’ve enjoyed all the treasures I’ve discovered.
BIZ TOP TEN UPDATES
I’ve got the book Second-Chance Cats that I was a contributing writer for releasing Sept 15th at various stores and online across the country such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Baker Book House, Books-a-Million – and more!
We are moving on BEST YEARS GONE with a new updated schedule almost approved. It will film closer to mid-Michigan around the Jackson area and be broken up into a few smaller shooting blocks so we can adjust and pivot as needed. Location scouting has been going great and I advise anyone interested (cast and crew especially) to join our BEST YEARS GONE Facebook page.
WILD FAITH has been doing great in the marketplace with just our distributors AVOD site racking up views approaching 3 million! All this is great news for our ‘HASTINGS‘ (Wild Faith TV series). We had some wonderful talks on this new project and we just might have this up and going by Spring 2021. If you have not seen this film please do:)
The poster art for SMOKE & MIRRORS is almost complete. Also the music and sound design is underway and should be finished soon.
‘For the Love of Catch‘ documentary film has started rolling cameras and we’ll be getting ready to film phase 2 of interviews. IF you have an interest in getting involved with this project please reach out to me.
I’m looking at doing some additional VO (Voice Over) work on musician/author Ronnie Lee’s audio book ‘For Generations to Come‘ and will provide a link when available. The paper and digital book(s) will be available soon.
We just about have our documents together on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA the WW2 drama to be directed by Anthony Hornus that we’ll shoot in fall 2021. We have a few investment units left on this project that we’ll offer to our previous backers. We only have a few left to offer after the participation from a Foundation.
We’re planning our LOST HEART CAST & CREW SCREENING which will be filmed and be part of the virtual online premiere. We have some great national PR underway and I think this will be a fun and unique event for an undeniably unique year. If you are a PR source and want to be invited to the media part of the event, again reach out.
CDI as a company is about to embark on a new journey and I feel absolutely wonderful about our new direction. At CDI we always work hard to give the cast and crew the best possible experience and that is going to get even better. We often have to overcome obstacles that should be assistance. We’re forced to deal with jumping through hoops that don’t actually help the project nor the artist. We’re taking control back and looking forward to the next decade of storytelling. COFFEE CHEERS!
I’m going to wrap things up here. We’re going to a flea market see if I can find a few more cool props. We’ll do a few things around the homestead and tonight I get to visit with some family and friends. I hope each and everyone of you are finding success as you navigate the day to day. Until next week – be good to one another.
I want to welcome our new readers from the Netherlands, Brazil and Austria! It was a busy yet productive week. I wanted to start with a cool giveaway on the new book that I’m a contributor on. I want to once again thank Callie Smith Grant for allowing me to participate. This book has a fun story dealing with our queen ‘Lulu’ and I hope you all will check out this and the many other stories.
LOST HEART – We had several great meetings over this next CDI film. We have something unique planned. We’re excited that it got approved by our distributor BMG. Now the planning will start in earnest this week with a planned CAST & CREW premiere. This one will be different but such is the way and I think it will be fun for everyone. October will be a big month! We’re also exploring several drive-in’s and theaters to play the film.
We’ll be wrapping up the last few delivery pieces and the short BTS promo will be assembled this week perhaps to share next. We are also looking at a few merchandise options so fans can support the film.
BEST YEARS GONE – Our development here is full speed ahead with sponsors and camera tests on deck. We’re about to comb through the script and see what scenes can be pulled off the main schedule and shot. This includes a few VFX shots and sequences that might need or benefit from added attention. I will say that as my ‘Gil’ as a character, is coming along nicely. I cannot wait to share him. We are still looking at end of Oct pre-prod and shoot in November.
The cast of ‘Smoke & Mirrors’
SMOKE & MIRRORS – David Gries stars in this short film that is a precursor to the feature. We’ll have a locked picture this week and music discussions with Dennis Therrian have begun. We plan to develop this into a full feature. The short was shot by Jesse Aragon and he’ll be color correcting it. We also hope to have something to show in October.
Wild Faith has been seen by millions of viewers and the powerful story has created an interest to see this continue. The groundwork is being laid to shoot a season 1 (8 shows) all set in the Wild Faith world. The TV show is currently titled ‘Hastings’ and may shoot in 2021. If you have not seen the film please do. It is inspired by of course ‘Little House’ but also the old Disney movies like “The Apple Dumpling Gang” which is reflected in the humorous moments.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – After filming the trilogy I kept my full Jesus garb save the sandals which were borrowed. When I was looking at character shirts for our new film at the thrift shop I found the same make of sandals in my size. Heaven sent or good luck? But I think my Jesus days are done save if a film was ever done about a return. I think we have some other great biblical tales if we want to return top that genre. I’m excited to see the new trailer for the trilogy which will launch likely in October. Did I say Oct might be a busy month?
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Our event/theatrical/festival showing of this film was hampered by the virus. We will continue to seek a few events to play the film at even into 2021. But the response to the film has been great. We just need to get more visibility for it so if you watched it and enjoyed the story, share it. I was asked recently if I had any plans to play Paul Landings again and the answer is not right now but never say never.
We are about to go walk another flea market. I have grilling to do later today along with a few yard tasks. I’m happy to report that I got both the batch of AUTUMN ALE and the ROTHGA (Return of the Hoppy Grape Ape) started. They started fermenting yesterday and so the fall will have a nice harvest. I was sad that last week I posted a picture of the MSU Spartan helmet and later that day the BIG 10 cancelled their football season. That leaves the LIONS as our only hope. Come on LIONS!
The garden is growing now with fall cold weather plants in which include beets, carrots, beans and more. I’ve been doing some caulking in the office getting ready for winter and to help keep even more heat inside. Soon the wood stove will be kicking again. Viking Thursdays with wood cutting will also begin in a few weeks. I’m going to leave all this here. Time to fill the coffee cup and get some oatmeal. I hope you all have a great week ahead. Be kind to one another!
Welcome back my friends. I hope each and everyone of you had a good Christmas time with family and friends. I’ve had a wonderful week of just eating, drinking, laughing with our family. We had several celebrations and I’ve had a nice time touching base with people. I’ll be spending time with some family and friends this eve which has me missing a really cool event. On Christmas Eve I received notice that I was selected to be recognized for ‘Producer of the Year‘ for the 2nd Annual SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE Media Mingle. Also ‘MBF: Man’s Best Friend‘ is being recognized for Feature Film of the Year. I’m beyond grateful for the recognition and I wish I could have attended. I did take the time to film two acceptance speeches and sent those over. I wish I could have been there in person but I need more than a week notice especially during this busy holiday season. But I am humbled and ever so appreciative to SOE and Skeeter Murray for this honor. Speaking of MBF…
MBF: Man’s Best Friend will also be playing Bedias, Texas Feb 9 at the Christian Film Festival. A film that plays awesome on the big screen.
One of my 2020 goals is to be a bit more out-going on attending events/film functions. I am going to be in-person Jan 11 at 1:00-3:00 in Grand Rapids at Baker Book House event. I will give address next week but I’ll be reading one of the two stories I have in the book THE HORSE OF MY DREAMS. Come out and buy a book and I’ll sign it. I’ve had others ask and yes, bring any other ‘DJ Perry’ swag DVD, poster and I will be happy to sign that also.
So again I want to thank Skeeter Murray who does a great job highlighting mid-west talent. Congrats to all the recognized artists and I’m truly sorry to miss the ‘media strut‘ – gotta love it! When I saw the awesome awards poster I had to laugh because they chose a pic from our “Wild Bunch” film fest adventure in AZ. Of course I’m the only one on the poster with sunglasses on. It’s my Snoopy “Joe Cool” tribute. (See pic at the TOP)
But seriously, being from the middle of the state I don’t keep up with the social film scenes in Detroit or the Grand Rapids area. This being a Detroit area event means even more to me. We are all Michigan. We’ve pulled a lot of great talent from the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas, so I know the talent here. Happily, I’ve watched the artistic communities grow in Michigan, from the UP of Michigan to the small remote towns around the state, all due to technologic advances. To be given recognition with a Lansing zip code is a great honor. Making it happen in the LA (Lansing Area) was our joke back in the day.
I had an unpopular opinion of the film incentives only from a filmmaker stance. Those giant studio films can drive up rental expectations to the smaller outfits. More Michigan artists opportunities needed to be present vs the import of casts and crews. A film grant fund would be my choice. Qualified companies who have a track record of existing in the state for several years, eliminating the rush of new companies wanting to bite on the fund. Plus make the filmmakers come pitch their projects to a committee vs all this social begging. Help them learn to exist in real business environments vs seeking the short cut or easy path. As we know, those who use short cuts or take the easier path usually rob themselves of their experience education. Don’t shy away from the hard work you will need that grit later in your career. I HAVE SPOKEN. Guess who got Disney Plus for Christmas?
Did anyone watch all 6 of these films this holiday season? I had a steady stream of beautiful fan mail from many of you over the holidays. I had many contact me over the biblical adventure trilogy to thank us and tell how their family really enjoyed the stories. I had Ben Lily fans reach out and number one question was about the TV series. And of course ‘Paul’ from MBF has a growing fan club out there. I enjoyed hearing from so many veterans and their families. The pleasure and honor is all ours.
I had one rather amusing communication that a fan of one of my actor/producers was supporting them. She had watched several of the CDI films and she saw I was also into film. She recommended a few films I should watch made in OUR state. One was WILD FAITH and the other MBF, both feature great actors she said. I decided to have some fun and asked her about her favorite scenes. She replied that she loved all the rich characters in ‘Wild Faith’. In MBF she loved ‘Paul,’ especially the “bar scene” and thought the female prosecuting attorney was a real b@%$!. Yes, Melissa Anschutz, did bring it as the prosecutor.
Overall it was fun to have someone recommend our films and give a few of her favorite scenes. I don’t always get such open and honest feedback. She tickled me when she replied she’ll stop telling her favorite scenes so she did not ruin these two great movies for me:) If I come across that communication again, I will have to let her off the hook. But she did make me smile. So during these winter months, please do take the time to watch our films and share your thoughts with me. I hope we make some of you smile.
Talking about smiling – LOST HEART – We’re closing in on what will likely be our locked picture cut. We had a good meeting over the work flow to post sound just before the holidays hit. It will be really exciting to see music and sound sweetening begin. I’m extremely happy with the progress of this film. The story is dramatic with humor set within being told by a great group of quirky characters.
Onward to 2020!
I talked about development quite a bit last week. Things haven’t changed much on that front. We’re going to have fun evaluating some new projects. My screen writing assignment will continue as I close in on the first 1/3 of the script. So much great work to be done in 2020. I’ve been organizing everything here and prepping for the next wave of stories to be told. This is when you make those goals. Write them down. Look at what you achieved and what fell short. Look again at how you spend your time. Whom you spend your time with. Keep those toxic elements afar. Don’t be distracted by shiny objects. You would be surprised what even one day full of focused work, not scrolling FB, can create. Remember it is the journey not just the destination my friends. Be brave. One foot ahead of the other. As you encounter one another – Be good to one another. I’ll see you all next year!