So today is the 1st day of my last year in my 40’s. How is that even possible? Time marches on and I’m blessed to say that I’ve almost hit half a century with only modest setbacks. Thanks to my love of the outdoors, soccer and martial arts I’ve managed to stay healthy. A few creaks in the joints on occasion and recovery from soccer battles might take an extra day or so to heal. I try to eat healthy and keep active and so far, so good. It feels like being a senior in the class of 40’s and soon I will be the ‘freshman’ in the 50’s. I was going to have a CDI/bday gathering yesterday but we cancelled when they called for rain. Well, it ended up beautiful outside. We worked the yard with leisure and put up some new lights in the yard that Santa Claus had brought me. It was a good day and much more relaxed. We will do an October Harvest party with more to be thankful for.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – I was getting my special thanks around and the end credits are being worked on. I will be doing a watch through on Weds I believe before any last tweaks and we start to render for delivery to myCinema and Bridgestone. I’m immensely proud of this film and the topics in highlights. We’ll be starting up PR on this film with release dates in July. Congrats to all our artists involved.
WILD FAITH – TOMORROW June 24th is our DIGITAL RENTAL for those that want to take a watch but not own it. BUT if you like what you see the DVD is for sale starting July 2nd at several locations. Family Video, Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Amazon… The larger audience will get a chance to meet these wonderful characters in this late 1800’s world. If things progress along the same lines a sequel and/or TV series could be coming in the not-to-distant future. Congrats to all the artists involved.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – People are continuing to enjoy the three films in our trilogy FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. I’m excited to see these three films continue to expand into more countries and onto new platforms.
LOST HEART – My world has been full of the fictional town of Lost Heart, Michigan. A small, semi-touristy lake town. Birthplace of fictional mega Country star Hannah Sweet. We announced Josh ‘Ponceman’ Perry and Don Most to our cast. We still have a few great artists to announce that will be joining us. Our young female lead is an ex-Michigan native now making her way in Nashville. The other is a SNL alumni who is beyond talented and will bring one of our leads to life. Another talent joining us was in CDI’s very first film and most recently in Wild Faith. So stay tuned for more announcements in the next few weeks leading up to our shoot.
We have a great crew shaping up and this is great development for the possible TV series and more. We are working hard to bring CDI production up under a few studios for future work. The number one thing I look for in cast or crew is the right attitude and of course talent. It is easier to develop talent versus attitude. I’ve had many ask me about “secrets” or “keys” to success and I will share this one tidbit.
LOOK AT THE LONG TERM NOT JUST THE SHORT TERM.
So many people ruin avenue’s for lifetime collaboration and revenue for a short term gain. I have people that I’ve worked with since the late 90’s cast and crew. A shoot is usually only 3-4 week commitment tops. I’ve seen people act as if their entire year is based upon those few weeks. I watch the film challenges, the fan films, the fun festival films and know that these are not paid. I see the hard work, the smiles and the final wrap pics. With some you get immense appreciation and others whatever offered will never be quite good enough. If your other choices during the remaining 48 weeks puts you in a place where a lower paid feature is not acceptable you are doing something wrong. I like those good pay days like anyone else. We have a new roof to put on the house but often it might take several smaller jobs versus one big one to get the needed money. If I like the project, the role and the pay is on level with other’s involved I will usually do it. They grow. The pay grows. It is a lifetime relationship of collaboration, art and pay that is being nurtured. Think on that one.
I am where I am by respecting numerous small relationships and collaborations. I appreciate and value every person who has ever put a dollar in my hand. I appreciate and value those who have helped me tell a good story with their blood, sweat and tears. I cannot speak for all the producers out there and I know some have flawed business models in my opinion. Hell, we are far from perfect in our own but anyone close to us will know how hard we work to try and do things right. But until you are out trying to raise money off an idea put to paper – you don’t know. It might be a corporation but it is still a small group of people working really hard. When you are trying to be fair to everyone some bumps in $ across the board can add up to thousands that producers don’t often have. I hear of lodging nightmares of tents, people sleeping in cars, 10 people in a cabin with one bathroom – but we are just as concerned with living conditions as the camera lenses. Now with your first film you might do what has to be done but quickly you see that the added things you do for cast and crew show up in the final product. I’m excited for this next adventure in part because of the cool lodging that our cast and crew will be able to enjoy. This is because we are a team who cares. We care about our artists. We care about the locations we are allowed to use.
- NOTE: To those companies/projects/films that walk behind CDI films at a certain location I sincerely hope that you manage those locations well. We are always invited back but a poorly ran set can close off a location from anyone using it.
While typing above I was remembering what a mess the original BESTSELLER film was before CDI took over and reshot everything. We had to change the minds of many people and we did. Shame on the management that allows that kind of bad reputation to fall on our industry. So PLEASE don’t just look at what happens in front of the camera. What happens behind the camera is equally important and DOES effect what happens in front of the camera. OK. Enough filmmaking secrets.
I’m going to hop off here and get cleaned up. I’m going out to eat and spending some time with family and friends. Tomorrow it is back to work on the LOST HEART pre-production. Thank you to all the kind people who have reached out with birthday wishes. Here is my hazelnut coffee CHEERS to you all. Have a great Sunday and remember to be good to one another. Keep following those dreams.
So it’s quiet here on Saturday night and I’ll be releasing this in the wee hours of Sunday. We had a nice family gathering to celebrate several birthdays and we’ve got two more days of more such celebrations. Before we get in too deep – welcome readers from Uganda. It has been a whirlwind of business both development, promotion and post-production.
Grand Rapids, MI appearance with Shane Hagedorn and Melissa Anschutz
It’s been wonderful to first see all the cast and crew from “Wild Faith” and following that – to have audiences enter this world we’ve recreated on-screen. We had a solid run in both Grand Rapids and Lansing. Lansing, Lansing, Lansing… I’ve always been proud of being from Lansing and still call it home to this day. I’ve always felt somewhat that the saying you can’t be a prophet in your own town, applied to me. I understand it. I think it applies to many artists.
But, the power of a story is proving me wrong. We’ve been selling out “Wild Faith” all weekend and so tomorrow Celebration Cinema jumped us from one showing to four. This after several fine folks were unable to attend after the shows sold out in advance online. I went to run errands this morning and heard people talking about the film. Often we as the filmmakers can grow tired of the story after the long post production phase. But I’ve enjoyed the handful of theatrical showings I’ve attended. I’ve enjoyed the laughter most of all. To hear a full theater laugh together at certain moments is priceless.
I think with the last several films I’ve played emotionally heavy characters. It was a pure joy to be Ben Lily. A tribute to a character with more bravery than brains. With my trusty half-native sidekick, or am I the sidekick? Either way, creating with these two characters was special for me because of the humor intertwined in the performance. I also know that my old friend Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty would have approved with a hearty laugh. I do wish old friend Rance Howard could have seen the final film. He loved the trailers and truly loved the genre. The film will continue to move and play. If you want the film call/email your local theater and request the film to play. We’re in talks with several new venues and may announce new screens as early as this week. But if you can – treat yourself tomorrow. 1875 Michigan.
SUNDAY ‘WILD FAITH” SHOWTIMES AT CELEBRATION CINEMA (LANSING)
10:45, 1:05, 6:00, 8:05
In other news, Collective Development Inc.‘s next film MBF/Man’s Best Friend has been given the green light. All funds are committed and being pulled in as we prep the ship to sail. We’re working on setting our schedule and I’m also proud to have ‘Paul’ front and center again. This script is another story I’m extremely proud of. I’m challenged greatly by this next role and I find that exciting. If we’ve spoken to you as cast and crew just be patient as we move down the TO DO lists. We’re working hard to create that environment to create within. I’m excited to share this film next year with audiences. In the meantime…
The Christ Slayer is now in color correction and audio with Nathaniel Nose, director and Dennis Therrian, composer. I like to use that example of kids who get together after school to play. They have ideas, they get excited and they play. Inside the imagination play is what drives the process forward. This film will be a gift to audiences at the Christmas season. Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy will pull it all together.
Working backwards – Chasing the Star is playing the big screen at the International Christian Film Festival up for five awards. It was nice to catch up with director Bret Miller at a “Wild Faith” screening in Grand Rapids. We got to toast a beer to the adventure in the desert we called “Chasing the Star” CTS. This film is moving into more foreign territories and platforms.
“Forty Nights” is being promoted heavily going into the Easter season by our distributor. It is such an inspiring story I can see why it was recently chosen to kick off their Easter promotions. I will admit here, of all the ICFF awards “Chasing the Star” is up for I hope we see another ‘2018 Most Inspirational‘ take home to honor our amazing cast and crew.
I can say I’ve been enjoying experiencing the reaction to this films. I’m appreciative that these stories are giving some entertainment and comfort to audiences. I’ve been writing weekly and plan to get even more focused. Wheels are in motion. Several scripts that have been waiting for their time just might find it. Some exciting developments underway that will lead to many more years of stories been told at CDI. The tribe is on the move to create and we appreciate all your support. We cannot thank you enough.
Be good to one another.
What a week. This was my first week of my new year after my birthday on the 23rd. I have to say I felt blessed by all the kind communications I received. I had a few birthday moments and got to spend it with some of my favorite people. It was a humbling week because of soccer. We’ve won our last five games or so and last week on Father’s Day we had a match. A very good team who came with numbers in the 90 degree heat. We had just enough players to field a team and two of our players were nursing injuries. Since some of the “fathers” absent we played a long, hot, fierce battle and lost. The next day swollen knee which has happened at least one other time. So I felt like I needed a cane like Billy Idol in the 1980’s. But I went with a compression support and today the swelling is gone and aside from stiff – okay. Can I run on it? Don’t know. But wearing a compression sleeve is going to be a regular thing. Almost two hours running, sprinting, stop and start – takes the toll on these traveled knees.
The TOP interesting story and lesson from the week. We do have a commercial division and have done some high end videos for select clients. We were contacted by supposedly a company from the UK opening offices in MI and wanted video work done. Vetting verified the company, emailing party etc… So a quote was given, accepted and they were invoiced. It all seemed very easy – which I’ve had easy deals close before but…”if it seems too good to be true – it usually is”
A priority envelop came with a money order that exceeded the deposit. FLAG. The check looked 100% legit, bank checked out – but…why add INVOICE to the check line? Some vetting and a call to the bank. (No Ph# with the bank on check is a giveaway) the check was signed with the name of an actual former exec from the bank. It was a FAKE. The scam is an overpay and they want you to send the difference back. My guess is that the check is good enough to give the bank pause and they hope you move quick and send off theirs. IF these people read my blog maybe they can pack it in and go on the run before the FBI comes calling. We vet everything strong at CDI and so should you. Respect your time and make sure others do too. Poor guy had his name and company being used in a scam. Now he knows.
This week business kept moving forward. Several of the films #40nights, #donorsthemovie, #bestsellerthemovie, #ashesofeden continue to sell and expand. Please do support these artists and we’re close to foreign roll out on some of these films.
The soundtrack for “Bestseller” will release here soon. The art work is almost done and the paperwork signed. Following will be the soundtrack for “Ashes of Eden” – and I’m excited, cool tunes by cool artists.
More meetings on a slate of upcoming films this week. Camera tests underway and marketing discussions. Re-releases are gearing up their campaigns and the groundwork for taking CDI sales online is happening. New merchandise and licensing opportunities are being opened up.
Keep taking those little steps. Sometimes you can’t see the success that lies right around the corner. How close that next endeavor is – so don’t give up. BUT, if something is not working – make the adjustments.
After a few days of rain and storms we have a beautiful day upon us. I was out and about this morning and found a few great items for the office. Yes, maybe they would be more suited for the Knights of the Round Table, but so be it. Monday is my actual birthday and I’m looking forward to one of our only morning soccer matches Sunday. That night I’ll ring in my Birthday with some of my old school mates. The following Saturday I will have a small gathering to celebrate more properly since my birthday falls on a Monday this year. I’m looking forward to a relaxing day with some good food and family. Now let’s get onto a few entertainment updates…
A reality TV show that I directed a few years ago is finally getting a featured trial run next month. The first three shows will be shown and if the audiences responds well they want the full series. This company will also represent the series to 3rd parties worldwide. There will be a press release on this mid-week once everything is completed. I’m excited to just have this journey shown as it truly was fun and entertaining and I think others will also enjoy it.
Also a PR release will roll out VERY shortly on “Ashes of Eden” that was recently offered a Michigan theatrical deal. That is now in play and the film will start in two cities (Lansing & G.R.) and may expand from there. The showings will start the 2nd week in July – so stay tuned! Meanwhile, we’ve been getting more interest and offers in the worldwide distribution rights of the film. It’s a lot of back and forth but I think we’re making some real progress. I’m excited to see where the film ends up but without a doubt it will end up where you audiences can take a watch. We had a BIG movie producer give high marks on the production value and performances. That in itself could lead to another offer.
The dates on the pick up shoot for “Bestseller” are firming up and we’ve had a few solid meetings to get this ball rolling. It’s only a few small puzzle pieces we need to shoot but they are important in the overall. The first trailer has really sparked some new interest in the film. I’m excited to finish this one up because I think people will really enjoy it.
I also just watched the full screener on the thriller “DONORS” that is about to start making the rounds to distributors. I have some meetings over this completed property next week as well. SPOOKY FILM:)
“The Terrorist” locked picture looks money and I’m excited that the final music and sound design process is now beginning. The director is very happy and wants me to participate in his next feature and TV series. I would be honored to work with him again, BINGO:)
Things have been quiet on “Dead Quiet” front but I’m in hopes that a trailer will be released soon. The movie should be very scary and I know I have several fans out there who appreciate those films.
In regards to acting – I’ve got some really big things developing with my management company. It will be fun to see how that all unfolds but some TV guest spots and appearances in studio motion pictures could soon be at hand. I’ll be ready to look at new acting projects once this “pick up” shoot on “Bestseller” is over at the end of July. Some good developments with my writing projects that could lead to producing/acting work. I’ve got more paperwork to review but I’ve been impressed by the business efforts of a company that wants to do an association with CDI. I like that they are willing to put in the hard work versus just trying to kickstart some free handouts. That usually leads to trying to make a film on a few thousand dollars and mostly ends up looking that way.
So with all this said – I’m off to work in the yard, the office and to do some grilling. I’m close to completing another trip around the sun and I’m okay with that. Life is good with great friends, family and being blessed to do what I truly love doing.
I hope you all have a great weekend.
I’m up early and drinking the hazelnut flavored coffee. What a busy but exciting week. My birthday celebrations have been dragged out due to various schedule issues but they will conclude on Sunday at my father’s with a cook out. A few new items for the office, new soccer gear and many well wishes and wonderful food. I do feel sincerely blessed by all the great people I have it my orbit. I thought orbit would go with my trip around the sun analogy. Let me see what events from last week might allow some of you to gleam a bit of wisdom? Ah yes.
I had a couple of offers that the business of it just didn’t quite add up. When this happens you still want to give total professionalism and grace when you bow out. I also started at square one and I never forget that. My 1st starring role in “In the Woods” was no pay up front. I slept on the directors couch and it was a great first dive into the world of filmmaking. That said, my aged bones enjoy a bed and a quiet place to work lines. And I also need to only consider paid work as my bills don’t take deferred pay or revenue from producer net points:) I know that some of these filmmakers will do their film, grow and move to bigger projects. I encourage them and let them know I look forward to meeting up with them further down the path. It is a small world this business of ours and you should always been polite and professional.
This week we put “Ashes of Eden” in motion on sound, music and color correction. “Supermodel Showdown” is moving along nicely. CDI Distribution that handles CDI and CDI associated properties closed 3 licensing deals on films for release in Germany, Austria, Switzerland. Congrats to “Locked in a Room,” “Darkest Night,” and “Wicked Spring”. We also now have release dates for Parables TV in July for “Figure in the Forest” and “Wicked Spring” so look up the schedule on http://parables.tv/ . This July is also the US/Canada DVD/VOD/TV/Internet release of “Darkest Night”. I’m very proud of all the Philippine artists that will have their talents exposed to US, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and soon many more territories. I’m also proud of our Civil War drama “Wicked Spring” that is finding yet a second life during the 150th anniversary of this horrible war. It truly has moved into the realm of “classic” within the genre. I hope that “Figure in the Forest” will also move to that status in the years to come. I think that is the best compliment any piece of art can get. Reports of spiking sales on “Book of Ruth” are abound and we’re working hard to do more films of this nature.
As the 4th of July weekend comes upon us be sure to use caution. I use to be a fireworks fiend but these days not so much. I made it through my crazy teens and 20’s with all my fingers intact and both eyes so I will call it good. It was brought to my attention that sparklers burn so hot they can melt gold. Who and when did this become the ideal things to give young children. I never liked them because they sparked and burnt your arms. I just find it funny that parents give children these. They do create that cool outline in the air so I will give them that. OK. Well that is all I have for today. It has been a crazy week and I may have some forthcoming news on upcoming projects but nothing ready to share yet.
Have a great weekend!
So today is the cusp of the BIG MOON, the closest full moon of the year. I’m sipping the hot coffee and looking forward to the day hanging with my brother and his girl. Upon finishing this post I’m getting the smoker going and going to have a relaxing day. It was a crazy busy week as many have been lately and I’ve just continued to sail the ship forward. “Donors” http://www.donorsthemovie.com film has moved to Yuma for final sound mixing. “Supermodel Showdown” is looking great as we are chunking in footage on the 3rd show and I’m extremely happy with what I see. “Ashes of Eden” is having the sound/music review meeting next week and also starts color correction. I also might have a few upcoming announcements on projects the start of July. Final approval on German distribution contracts for three of the films underway. “Darkest Night” PR is in full swing next week as we head towards our VOD and DVD/TV releases in July. I want to discuss a few attributes that apply to activity this week. It also ties in to what we discussed last week.
KNOW YOUR ROLE
I’m in a stage of possibly signing onto a couple of films as CDI associated producer and talent. In these situations you must first stand your ground and use your experience. IF someone wants to work with you it is because they are buying your experience. The things you’ve done right and wrong. To avoid pitfalls and follow well-traveled paths whereas they will maximize your chances of repeat success. What I look for always in a partnership is LISTENING. I can tell if the cup is already full of ideas and thoughts often based not on experience but opinions. Opinions are like assh%#%! everyone has one and… You know the saying. I try to base my decisions on reason, common sense and some gut feeling. I always try to fully explain the reasoning. If someone isn’t listening and you can tell – that relationship will be a painful one that will mostly bring frustration and regret. I avoid these situations because if you want to make mistakes or non calculated risk decisions, I would rather not be along for that ride. I’ve been there, seen that and got the T-shirt:)
Now for a film crew to work effectively or any group dynamic – each person must know their role and respect one another. This is even more important with your above the line executive team. I have one project that is close to a go and I’m set to be the ship captain (producer) but before we set sail the ship needs to be ready. First and foremost is for WRITER, DIRECTOR and PRODUCER(s) to know their role, their scope of power and how decisions will be made. I’m very good at this and that is why I do the business I do. I respect and enforce these divisions otherwise chaos will grow. Chain of command is very important and especially where writer and director are concerned. Once the script is handed off the new creative leader IS the director. Business decisions from a producer can trump but only if they are legit and not subjective opinions. I’ve written screenplays and for me it is easy to let go. I think it is because the actor in me surrenders to a creative director and I just focus on my role. As a producer I watch the ship and make sure that the overall vessel stays the course. But as a writer I’m flattered and inspired when someone adapts a story of mine from the page to the screen. A writer too close to the material can become a nightmare and slow a project, killing schedule and budget over subjective topics. I always tell my producers when they get caught line stepping that it appears they are heading for the directors chair BUT this is not your ship. So I address these issues right up front while the ship is in port. I don’t wait until 2 weeks in when so much frustration has built and the tensions are high. I will risk someone saying this doesn’t look like it will work, I will readily agree with them. I’m not getting on a ship that is going to become a floating emergency out at sea. As I stated before too many people will bite their tongue and say nothing because they need the work that bad. I would rather stay and work the garden, brew some beer and sell some films in our library versus going on a nightmare cruise to shit island.
This week I also met some artists with one of my friends filmmaker Nathan Quinn. I’ve actually met quite a few of the artists growing in Michigan after several years of being semi-reclusive. I’ve just been away from the film social scene because honestly I can’t take the fake sincerity and one-up attitudes I often observe. Do you art and be unique. Do so with the least amount of drama save what you put on-screen. Always give more than what you were paid for. Don’t compromise your best and be willing to let a project go knowing the universe will bring to you what is meant to be. Find your faith and hold on to it. Don’t EVER grab for the dangling carrot and become someone’s puppet. Many have wondered why I won’t work with them. If you bullshit you will lose my attention almost immediately and seldom do I revisit these folks. Many act on their best behavior when they want something but it is only a matter of time before their true nature returns. Take a deep look at yourself and see if these traits exist and if they do – sincerely, spiritually purge them from your self and live as the best you that you can be.
I wish you all a great weekend!