This morning was in the negative degrees outside but the sun is out and that is nice. I’m sipping on the hazelnut coffee and I’m thinking over last week. I have to admit with the cold outside my energy gas tank was running low on Thursday. I had a big meeting on Friday but it was rescheduled due to illness on their end. This new strain of Covid has been really making the rounds and I know various parties and people dealing with it. The vaccinated folks I know have had a mild go of it but I have at least one relative who is in the hospital after foregoing any vaccination. I’ve also followed a few folks who have been really having a struggle with ventilators and such. I’m not going to grandstand either way but I do wish you all a healthy week ahead. Do your part, whatever that is so that we can get past all this. It has been a point of concern now for the 3rd year as we plan our new artistic endeavors.
ACTOR ADVICE- I know at least a couple individuals who work in our circle that also state they have a passion for performance/acting. The issue comes when perhaps they are great workers behind the camera but in front of the camera is not as strong. Acting for film can also consist of how you break down and learn the script. Taking tidbits from the script and use that to add layers upon layers of character complexity. To play larger roles you need to really know, KNOW the character inside and out. Dreams, hopes, fears and more all play into a character arc that can have many changes throughout a story. If you are an extrovert and like the socializing, an acting/improv class might help you get comfortable with a crew. If you are more “keep to your self” you could do your own scene study. You could keep recording and working a monologue until you can make someone watching it laugh out loud or opening cry – all good signs in your performance. So if your peers have never seen you push a moment, a scene to that level – you need to show them. You also will get stronger as you show yourself you can mine out these feelings and put them to camera. Some people are good without the camera but add that amazing device and some freeze like it is a pointed gun. So to the few out there who want to evolve from extras or featured extras into larger roles, follow that advice. Put those reads down and work it (keep doing it) until it truly moves people watching it. To want something is great but if you are not there you NEED to put in the work.
BEST YEARS GONE – The final delivery pieces have been uploaded to our distributor which means I should have home video dates soon. In the meantime we will explore a few more theatrical runs and festivals. Our director is picking a few select festivals that would be fun or align with the festival’s audience. One of the first to respond is a 19 year old London festival and so the UK will be getting an early look at ‘Gil Gilles’ and gang. I have not released the distributors poster yet as I was waiting on those home video dates. But we have some fun and special things lined up for the home video release. How many out there have a “Gil Gilles Survival Kit”? See http://www.cdiproductions.com where G$ is handling our growing merchandise section. 2022 Lunch boxes? Action Figures? Coloring books? Who knows but man are we having fun with it all.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – First I want to say how sorry we are that DP Dan Chipman just lost his father to this Covid. Our hearts go out to Dan and his family. Speaking on a happier note we’ve been rolling out still photos of the film chosen by and color corrected by Daniel G. Chipman (his professional name) and man are they beautiful. I also will announce that Adam Towner will be reaching out to cast and crew to collect captured memories from on set and put together a behind the scenes. As he is doing this our director will be crafting ideas for the first teaser trailer. It was a wonderful experience and it will be nice to have something for cast and crew to remember fondly that CDI adventure. So the future months will bring us some great updates.
I had someone reach out last night saying their family watched WICKED SPRING for the first time and loved the camera work and the themes presented. CDI once had a sister company Lionheart that I part owned and we produced VA area projects under. When we separated we took Wicked Spring as part of our deal. Since we’ve kept is active and I’m so happy that they’ve brought the resolution up to HD for new and old audiences. Decades later and fans are still being moved by this simple story of men at war. Take a watch and leave a review and let us know your thoughts. Too many enthusiasts it is a top film for them. Others who don’t appreciate as much pacing and character development find the start slow but I love it. I’m proud of our director Kevin Hershberger who has carved out his own niche with TV docu-series and working costume and B unit are larger films. He is a good example of how far passion can take you and he loves that 1800’s time period too.
Several other older films in the CDI library are being evaluated for new release campaigns. What one would you love to see streaming in HD? Heaven’s Neighbors? Knight Chills? An Ordinary Killer?
Talks were had this week with a TV show runner of sorts about WILD FAITH: Hastings and it was met with strong enthusiasm. This was another great perspective on how strong a property we have with a feature film proof of concept and tens of millions of views. I think we’ll be back to the 1800’s with the Murphy family it is a matter of when. I’ve started a FB page where we’ll track the development of the series. @WildFaithHastingstvseries
Also looking at a Spring shoot, I’m in the final stretch on scriptwriting a new story that I’ve had in my head for a while. My best pitch of it is “A 1975 American Graffiti” with a few great influences film-wise. What influences? Cannonball Run, Caddy Shack and a few others. It is an ensemble comedy with a few great themes written throughout it. The 1970’s will be fun for our artists to tackle. I’m already growing out my hair for that 70’s feathered look:) And wardrobe will be fun to find and we all likely have some already. HRL is the initials to the script, can you figure it out? I will be done with the script this week with a good polish to it also. From there the producers will get a read and we’ll discuss the next steps of bringing on our funding and start casting. See: ADVICE TO ACTORS UP ABOVE
I have two other possible scripts to write and I’m evaluating which project to take on in February. Both are work-for-hires and CDI would likely produce both as films. I do have two other personal scripts underway which I’ll return to and plan to finish in 2022. I love to write especially on these cold days.
I’ve been playing phone tag in trying to connect with a few new contacts. Some are casual contact to get to know one another and share war stories. From that foundation sometimes endeavors are born. I’m really excited about one opportunity that just recently came about. This opportunity comes on the heels of a conversation I had last week, about how much I enjoyed working on the music video “Off to the Race” – so there is your hint. I LOVED growing up in the MTV music video golden age. It was a great collaboration platform between musicians and filmmakers as both are storytellers. Above is a pic of the MSU party bus the band “Vertical Bridge” came in to the premiere of “Best Years Gone” in Owosso, MI.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the documentary of the history of grappling is having the EPK put together and a screening link for the few business folks to review. We’ll plan a premiere for the near future and will look to put a deal together in Feb for home video/worldwide. It takes several months to a year to put a full home video campaign together. But we might do a series of event screenings leading up to home video. All in steps. Follow us @fortheloveofcatchdoc
SMOKE & MIRRORS – is being loaded to film freeway to submit to a few fun festivals. This is one of the two personal scripts I’m working on. I love the time period and it also has a tinge of steampunk to it all. The short will become a great feature film and audiences will enjoy this fun and spooky romp. Follow our progress on @Smokeandmirrorsmovie
As I’m typing I received messages praising The Quest Trilogy and Lost Heart aka Bigfoot, UFO’s and Jesus. Last week I had a nice note on MAN’S BEST FRIEND. These films are really helping people and that is truly priceless. If the films aren’t your cup of tea I understand, although there are many different flavors to choose from. But try something outside your norm and give it a chance. I’ve found so many gems and seldom are they the most advertised films.
I’m going to wrap this up and I might even work on some script writing for a few. I want you all to stay safe, warm (especially those being hit by the big storm) and keeping working to make 2022’s kick off great! I’m going to go get a fire kicking in the office and prepare for a productive week ahead. Maybe another coffee fill up although it is close to noon. I switch to water or tea usually in the afternoon.
Be good to one another!
We have all made that move into 2022 and for most of us it means just wanting the new year to be a bit smoother than the previous. This new world of social distancing and masks comes on top a world that was already distancing via technology. I see more young people who’s interactions are on headsets only or choosing to shotgun social media posts versus socializing in person with friends. With only so many hours in the day and days in the week social media has allowed some people to stay in touch that normally would not have that option. Also for the elderly and those lacking mobility it can help make them feel connected to the world. I had a fan club for many years ran by a kind woman “Pepper” in a wheelchair. But she also got out and about as she often appeared at premieres. She became fans of many of the fine actors in our troupe and loved to do interviews and reviews. After a while she was given the VIP treatment at CDI events. To be fair I have to say that she was first the Terence Knox fan club president. I went off topic a tad but I think what I was trying to say was that while technology can make many things easier it can also rob you of some in-person interaction. I’m happy that while we still use technology we also make the time to meet around the table. Many great things have been hatched first as ideas and later as operations around the table. So in the new year don’t let technology steal all your personal interactions. Spend time with and appreciate one another. Even with the amount of face-to-face meetings I have I still miss many people. During the 1st Covid lockdown I got in the habit of picking up the phone everyday and calling someone to catch up. Daily laughter really helped the situation.
2021 set many good things in motion. Seeds were planted and in 2022 we harvest. A lot of casting and development work finally allowed us to film our WW2 home front Christmas drama, SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA in November 2021. It is now in post, our editor just finished marrying the audio and visual together. Model building in Canada is also underway and just as a nice tease here is a text I got from our editor on Friday –
“Been through all the footage now. Really good performances…excited and this weekend we’re going to really get going.” – N. Nose
And we are going – strong. We’ve been rolling still photos out and we’re about to get a Behind the scenes video with Adam Towner. Following that we’ll be cutting our first teaser trailer. We are all very excited about this film and so stay up to date on all the developments.
Just prior to the Algona shoot we finished, premiered and have done a few regional theatrical runs with BEST YEARS GONE. This film was really amazing to watch play in the theaters. So much laughter and you could feel the room when the drama hit. When I was going to do that film and play the Gil role many questioned if you could sell him a protagonist. Like you’ve heard – we are all the protagonist of our own life drama. Even the bad guy or antagonist often looks at themselves as the hero. Either way with the good direction by Shane Hagedorn and the amazing cast, it all works. I’m awaiting the streets days for release from our distributor and want these dates before we do a PR release. But I do have the DVD/streaming poster art to share.
I hope that during this cold months whereas people turn to the storyTV to help pass the time – you will sit a spell and watch a few tribe CDI projects. The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) have been getting a nice push over the holidays. I did my traditional watch and I really enjoyed it. It is an amazing amount of work in three feature films. The Yuma DESERT stripes. WILD FAITH continues to do very well climbing to almost 5.5 million on Encourage TV and countless millions worldwide.
These numbers are helping our endeavors to launch the TV spin off. WILD FAITH: Hastings will be launching a development FB site for fans to follow the development from an official source. I will say with our new pitch deck things are looking good. I’ve had several good talks with interested parties but it is about creative control. If you want to repeat success you can’t change too much. I will say that fans of the film will be fans of the TV series. The same magic is there. We will know in a few months if that series will go this year or have to be pushed into 2023. If that happens a second feature film will go up in the 2nd half 2022. We plan to shoot a funny, cool “1975 American Graffiti” in the Spring in Michigan. The name of the film is…we have a logo title being worked on so you’ll have to wait. Also we are in active development on the 1st CDI animated feature. This is another extremely exciting project for me and something we’ll talk about more as it comes together.
Goals for 2022 – Stay Healthy. Stay and Promote Happiness. Create meaningful art
This morning started with a wonderful breakfast sandwich thanks to our hens. The hazelnut coffee is still hot and I’m gonna go get a refill. I need to look at fixing a few of the axes. We had a day of wood chopping on a very cold day and we loosened a few axe heads and splintered a hickory handle. So repair and replacements are needed. I’m going to do some screenplay writing while watching the LIONS. It’s their last game of the season and I hope we get a win. I hope everyone has a good week ahead. I’m just trying to leave 2022 closer to the present. It is hard to try and look ahead too far with so many uncertainties looming. But at the same time it’s my job to try and look ahead. I’ve found a good balance of not focusing too much on what I cannot control. Have faith. Having faith in your path can also give you comfort. I feel like I’m doing what I was suppose to do and that is a blessing.
Have a great week!
Welcome new readers from Bulgaria, Netherlands and more. Our viewership has been growing in great numbers. Thank you to all the new people stopping in to visit. I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and reflecting on a busy week. Maybe 2022 will be the year of the coffee sponsor. Maybe I’ll start a coffee review section? My thoughts are with all those dealing with the terrible tornado damage in the South. We had high winds in Michigan but it seems once again the surrounding Great Lakes helped us to avoid any major storms. I’m under a week before our first Christmas gathering and a week after that is Christmas Eve/day. I’ve loved having the Christmas tree and the festival vibe about as I tried to play catch up from our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA) film shoot. Let’s talk about that-
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA–
I’ve almost got everything caught up on this project. Final catering, port-a-johns and more – the budget dwindles but as we move towards zero the film will get closer to being complete. The drive has arrived to our editor and the supply check for the model building was also sent off. Our VFX team from THE CHRIST SLAYER (part 3 of The Quest Trilogy) will bring some exciting work to our feature. Once we get past the clean up phase from principal photography we’ll move into promotion. Our DP Dan Chipman is color correcting the first batch of photos. I’ve only released one still previously featuring one of our amazing period vehicles at one of our amazing locations. It was the car driving down the “tunnel of trees” so here is that same picture now color corrected. We also have a logo that will adorn the upcoming stills. Here is an example of a color corrected still from the actual film.
As we move down the road of post production we plan to start releasing stills and also will work on both a BTS (beyond the scenes) video and a teaser trailer. This year we’ll continue to have some great announcements for all of you.
In the meantime enjoy the Christmas season. Recently Melissa Anschutz and I did a promo for our distributor’s EncourageTV that allows people to watch our films for free whereas we get paid by ads. So if you don’t mind the ads take a watch for free. Click below to see the ad and please do help make The Quest Trilogy a holiday tradition. All three tell a greater story and I hope your families enjoy the experience watching FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. If you watch/subscribe to ENCOURAGETV please do travel over to the film pages on http://www.imdb.com vote and leave us your thoughts on the trilogy.
Once you watch the trilogy feel free to watch the other CDI films including our recent LOST HEART or BIGFOOT, UFO’S and JESUS which is really doing well for us.
BEST YEARS GONE and BESTSELLER will both be getting a home video launch in the near year. Shane Hagedorn our BYG director has been selecting a few comedy festivals to submit us. The thriller BESTSELLER had a theatrical premiere run but now will see a new campaign push from our distributors general audience label DESKPOP ENTERTAINMENT. I should have those dates soon plus we’ll be releasing the new DVD/Poster art for BYG. More on these dates very soon and we might have word on a few other CDI films getting a new push. Some have never really enjoyed a streaming release. So in our last meeting with our distributor we discussed several of these titles. What ones would you love to see come back strong to the marketplace?
2022 LOOKING AHEAD
So I’ve spent some good time contemplating, meditating and focusing on the future CDI endeavors. We are planning a Spring feature to shoot in the March/April timeframe. I’m not yet ready to talk about the project but this one would be a Michigan shoot. I’ve also been working on the rewrite of the OF SMOKE & MIRRORS the feature length version of SMOKE & MIRRORS. This cool turn of the century short assembled from a commercial project will get some festival release in 2022. I would like to shoot the feature at the end of 2022 or early 2023 pending our schedule. In that back half of the year we’re working hard to launch the WILD FAITH: Hastings TV series. It would bring 8 more ongoing stories of some of the endearing characters audiences met in the feature. Tens of millions of fans can’t be wrong. I just need to make the best deal for the project. Saying yes to something that ultimately could hurt the story is not what we want to do. How many Michigan, 1800’s expert executives are there in Hollywood? Exactly my point. Script notes should come from a sincere place not just someone trying to contribute. Sometimes the best thing you can do is NOT contribute. Anyway, we have some great meetings ahead on this TV series.
We’ll be watching the surround sound mixed version of FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH very soon. It has been getting the clean up and mix treatment from our post audio master Tricky T also known as Dennis Therrian. We are looking at doing another documentary film in 2022 as well as a CDI animated feature film. Overall 2022 will be a busy year as is every year. This year has been a year of wins and losses. Several of the losses come from friends and loved ones no longer with us, no longer to struggle in the world. Our time here is beautiful, wonderful and it moves at a good clip. It all makes me more determined and appreciative of my path. I love being an artist and storyteller. I feel as I will continue to do so until I become the sad news, no longer surviving, striving, thriving and creating. Keep doing you and never give up your dreams. With hardworking, patience and persistence you will make your mark.
I’m sitting and sipping hazelnut coffee while admiring the Christmas tree from last week’s harvest. I just realized when cleaning out my email messages that I missed a Christmas event/party I had planned to attend. DOH! I’m finally well-rested and attacking my TO DO’s with strength. It took a good part of a week to get caught up on my rest. I got most of the production totes stored and everyday we work hard to tie up the production loose ends from our previous SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA) film shoot. This week will also be full but I hope to get some more winterizing done. Several things in the yard need to get put away for winter. One of the nice refreshing things from last week was spending an afternoon with my dad and meeting my cousin for lunch. We meet so that I can pick up venison which is one of the main meats I eat. I actually made some venison steak chili yesterday that turned out great. My cousin and his boys are avid hunters. I enjoy nature and have hunted but I don’t find enjoyment in it. It is a very lean meat and healthy, something that the midwest hunters have enjoyed forever.
As we finish all the wrap up business on SNIA we’re prepping for post. One of the production drives have landed with the editor. We have established a production flow between editor and director. Our DP is doing a first batch of stills to help establish the color palette. He’ll be working with our director and editor in finding certain shots. Meanwhile a few VFX pick ups need to be looked at for a really cool sequence in the film. Dennis Therrian is being prepped on the film as he’ll be doing our sound design and composing our film’s score. Some VFX model work will begin soon in Canada with one of our amazing artists. Anyway the course for the film is being set and I’m excited for everyone to start looking at it.
At CDI we’ve been looking ahead to the future. I’ve been working on the next script for ‘OF SMOKE & MIRRORS‘ my working title on the reworking of the feature script. A short film SMOKE & MIRRORS was finished just as we started filming SNIA. A wonderful commercial piece that we used to do a proof of concept short. I think it does just that- gives a great look at what the full feature will be like. Nathaniel Nose directed the short and he is who we’re eyeing for the feature. The script is the key to everything. This will be a late 2022 or early 2023 shoot from my best estimates.
WILD FAITH: HASTINGS – For those who have seen the feature film “Wild Faith” you’ve been treated to a story for the whole family. Inspirational without preachy just good lessons from a more simple time. Now we have the first season (8 shows) ready to film. It will be part of several talks I will have in the coming weeks. The key with this is CREATIVE CONTROL. We are being selective at how we finance this property so we don’t have strings that will hamper the integrity of it. It will happen and our perfect timeline would be the second half of 2022.
The Spring is always an exciting time coming out of winter. We’ll be doing a feature or two this first half of 2022. We’ve been doing a heavy evaluation of properties and some of these will be included in my distribution talks ahead. But I really think I’ve landed on the right property. It will showcase all your favorite CDI troupe in a great story.
As a side note – this previous news made me think of a recent discussion. The story/script is the most important part of the process. For many filmmakers this is just an afterthought. We need a script and some actors and we’ll get to shoot all this cool stuff. CDI evolved in part because of how poor the scripts/stories were out there. I say this 100% from an actors perspective. That is why I’m always floored by the actors who will emotionally commit before reading a script/story. Anyone can be excited from a good pitch but having that translated to a tightly woven script is another thing. I know many actors who only read their parts and that too is having ‘blinders’ on. I also have told actor friends that you can glean information about their characters sometimes from what other characters say about them. EXAMPLE: You might find out your character has a wife, children or a pet from other character’s dialog. Perhaps gossip reveals that a character previously worked construction before their white collar job, all in the script. The whole story needs to be absorbed from the outside and the inside- internally and externally.
So perhaps a good rule of thumb is A) Evaluate content fully, quietly B) Don’t sign on to anything without reading the entire story and vet the production’s reputation C) Once attached learn the entire story before focusing on just your role’s world/words – important information might exist within the script.
Just my two cents from my experiences. There is a great word EXPERIENCE.
The great GOOD, BAD and UGLY as I like to call it. The goal is to take this accumulated knowledge (Remember Bruce Lee’s – the best way to learn a technique is to get hit by it) EXPERIENCE and translate it and apply it to your situations allowing it to become WISDOM. Now I’ve had my fill over the recent years from some individuals severely lacking experience in certain areas. Yet that want to present from a point of assured confidence that dances in arrogance. Arrogance usually follows someone who has experienced and learned a little yet thinks it gives them license to talk down to someone. A teacher who forgets that he is also a student will be humbled.
From my associates in business I get many complaints about the youth in several areas. (never their use of technology) But I always point out that most of us who have found some success have done so with the assistance of good mentors. For some that starts with a father but not for everyone. It is those special people who come in your life and help shape you. I have had a handful of these people and I’m happy that I recognized by lack and their gain. I emptied my cup and showed patience, listening and learning. I am fond of the old KUNG FU (David Carradine classic) TV show where all the boys have gathered at the Shaolin Temple. They wait and are being watched. Each day they are asked to go home and as time advances and patience is lost – most leave. In the rain those few who remained seem to have the potential for sincere growth. They are invited into the hospitality chamber and served tea. The unmindful who gives into their urges and drinks immediately are asked to “please go home” – shocked the few get up to leave. One is stopped – “Not you, please sit.” When asked why he did not drink he responds that he was respecting the opportunity. He was waiting to drink- being mindful and appreciative of being there. My soccer player/coach, martial arts lifelong student and teacher and a camp counselor all influence how I live. To the frustrated elders know you can influence and guide the youth. To the youth, empty your cup of your perceived absolutes and learn. The journey is a two way street and the glue that binds it all together is RESPECT and LOYALTY. The latter cannot be taught save by example. Those few who observed loyalty and the benefits of the practice and decide to give in to this practice. It is hard for many to give up selfish ambitions mixed with a lack of patience – it often leads to isolation, frustration and hardship that lasts until mindsets change.
“Getting deep, Shaolin Monks, kung fu and drinking cups…What? What?” – Gil Gilles
BEST YEARS GONE has recently finished a second run in Lansing, MI over the Thanksgiving week. We might explore a Detroit area and Grand Rapids showing. Also we’re exploring a few key festivals mainly based on places we would like to visit. I’m in hopes that after my next conversation with our distributor that I’ll have some updated info on our home video release. I’m glad that the films are being met with enjoyment and laughs. I loved one review that likened it to STEP BROTHERS and JOE DIRT which I love Step Brothers but Joe…okay I see it:)
THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer)- is now in season with the passing of Thanksgiving. Our distributor BMG wanted myself and Melissa Anschutz to do a promo inviting folks to subscribe to Encourage TV and watch. We were going to use a few places in Algona, Iowa as the back drop when filming but got too busy. We were going to shoot something at the office by the wood stove but decided we might save that for WILD FAITH promo. We shot in front of the Christmas tree, 3 takes- all funny and DONE. While doing some work last week I did play Forty Nights in the background. It was fun to watch and recall all the shooting we did in the deserts outside Yuma, AZ. Take a watch on all three and make it part of your holiday tradition.
I could rattle on about watching all the CDI films…but I’m sure you will get there in your own time as the nights grow longer and the outside colder. A good night to light a candle or fire and watch a good story unfold. I’ve got some yard clean up and some holiday shopping to do so I’m gonna wrap this up here. It was a pleasure to spend this time with you. Until next week. Be good to one another.
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.
I’m sitting here sipping some hazelnut coffee and pondering the great week we had. We celebrated our second week’s success with a bit of laughter, discussion, drink and music at our guest house. I will try to put a few of the recaps down here for everyone to enjoy but again I will have to keep it brief as we have a wonderful sponsored meal today on our day off by Smithfield Foods. Following that is a theatrical screening of BEST YEARS GONE (BYG) for our cast, crew and guests. While the films are very different in tone, style and content it shows the attention to quality our artists give while storytelling. BYG will always represent “that film” we did between Michigan’s two Covid lock downs. It was an added little thing we were able to gift our tribe of artists on their day off. In hindsight we did realize that the showing did create a lot of additional communication work for our office folks but we’re happy that we are able to share the story. It was directed by our own Shane Hagedorn and features some of the usual suspects in the CDI tribe. Several cast and crew here shooting now on ‘Silent Night in Algona,’ also worked on BYG and will get to see it for the first time. I love the cameo scenes with Jim Greulich and Victoria Jackson and also Lana Wood and Terence Knox. Jim and Terry are here on location so they will get to see it for the first time. The others get to see a CDI film on the big screen.
My random updates –
- A BMG promo starring Josh Perry promoting our ‘BIGFOOT, UFO’S and JESUS’ was filmed. It was so much fun to watch and get to be back with Josh again. Josh is such a natural but he has a very challenging dramatic role in this film.
- This week I’m suppose to film a BMG promo promoting THE QUEST TRILOGY that consists of our three biblical features FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER shot in a very ‘Star Wars’ looking way. Now that I’ve mentioned it you might be able to see the influence. This is the season for these films all the way up to Easter and I love the fan mail I get every year as families enjoy these stories on TV and streaming. We might do a theatrical marathon one Sunday in Michigan.
- Thank you to all the fans of MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND who took a watch on the film in honor of Veterans Day. I’m so happy that I’ve gotten to shake some of your hands. Our sponsored meal today is at the VFW which also provided us with the two locations used in our ‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA’ and so if military/veteran films are your thing you might enjoy a watch. I still find it fitting that when the RV broke down on the way here to film it was a Marine that went out of his way to help us. Semper Fi!
- With the large amount of extras and community helping us all the CDI films have been getting a good watch. WILD FAITH, LOST HEART (also known as BUJ), ASHES OF EDEN, WICKED SPRING all getting love. I enjoy the daily comments I get from new folks discovering our stories. Everyone has a personal favorite but I think they are really enjoying our overall style as storytellers. You can leave a review on our Amazon Prime page and/or the http://www.imdb.com movie page. On behalf of all the artists we thank you deeply.
- We do have a Facebook page for ‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA’ (SNIA) so please join us and follow along for more pictures and updates.
- This week we really got to see the German actors start to tell their part of the story. Our first week focused on our Tietz family story and introduced some of the town folks. But now we are moving into our camp scenes and the scenes have been beautiful, moving and even frightening at times. We examine the good, bad and ugly of the war, but also show how ultimately love, compassion and forgiveness can win the day. In this true event piece those attributes did outshine the darkness.
- We had to plan, pivot and work with a few spots of rain and even some snow but we did and created some amazing art. Some of the stills are so beautiful they look like a painting. That is kudos to the entire team.
- BEST YEARS GONE will be playing the Celebration Cinema in Lansing, MI over the Thanksgiving week. So another great opportunity for people visiting home to watch the film.
I’m wanting to expand upon the great scenes I saw unfolding this week but I have to get ready to shower up for this sponsored lunch. MSU plays again today and so I hope they get back on track. It would be great to see them play in a good holiday bowl. My next blog will be posted at the conclusion of our filming. Once back in Michigan and I go back to Sundays for releasing my blog and have more time to reflect and post more pics and we prep them. Until we sit for another coffee chat have a safe and productive week and be good to one another.
Good morning from WILD HAVEN in Algona, Iowa! I want to thank you all for understanding my move to Saturdays for our little chat and update. I’m waiting on the coffee maker to kick out our Kona Blend Coffee which has to have a splash of Hazelnut for good measure. I will try to brainstorm some of the top highlights of mine from the week. It will also paint a nice picture of the amazing endeavor we are undertaking.
- Our friends at Heritage Park made the first four days enjoyable and productive. Also thank you to the Winnebago folks for allowing us to store our vehicles in their garages. We were thankful to Robert Bradley who immediately knew how to start and drive many of these older clutch vehicles. But they looked pretty amazing on camera so again thank you to these owners helping us capture history.
- Our staging area/base camp (Ranger Station) is quite the sight to see with all the period clothes, props and period vehicles. Our artists in these departments are doing such an incredible job. I have loved seeing the civilian clothes and the military and PW outfits. The job is not easy under any circumstances but this film challenges them to give their very best. We appreciate them so much.
- It was so great to reunite with some great actor friends that I’ve not seen in a good while. Charles Powell and I worked together on “The 8th Plague” and later CDI’s “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town,” makes his return to the CDI Tribe with a powerful role. Charles was quiet and polite until it came time for ACTION! David Reardon (MBF) also returns with a brilliant character that will surely thrill his fans. Garry Nation came ready to play and it’s always fun to see him work. We actually have some scenes together in the days ahead.
- Today MSU plays football again and we’re looking for another win. Speaking of MSU, I’m excited to have Carl Gilliard, a fellow MSU alumni with our cast. He and I have some great scenes together. I plan to do a little PR shoutout to share around the MSU news outlets. Go Green!
- The German actors all hit the scene and WOW! We have such a great group of actors overall but these German’s help tell a good amount of our story. They were really all so appreciative of the script and are here because of the story. I got to have a short chat with all of them. I was really taken by our PW antagonist Ben Schnau who’s isolating on-set process resembles some of my own process when on a shoot day. When I have intense work to do on camera I tend to get quiet and lost in myself/my character. I have had fellow actors be quite shocked to find me very personable off set. It’s because I always have so much going through my head either as talent or as a producer. But catch me at the fort for an informal meeting and you get a very different DJ.
- I’m so happy with our young lead ‘Samuel’ in from Texas. He found our midwest cold bitter but he’s getting thicker ‘midwest’ blood now. It’s a joy to watch someone at that age who is getting to ‘make believe’ on such a grand scale. At his age we had couch cushions and our imaginations. His parents were both actors at one time and his mother Stephanie, still acting, will be participating on this story as well.
- Speaking of mother and sons, we have my brother from another mother Josh Perry in with his momma Connie. We are so excited to have Josh back again with us and this role will be a challenge to see him lean into his anger. I know he will do a great job and I’m excited for the cast and crew who haven’t worked with him to be given that opportunity.
- The excitement and assistance of the community has been wonderful. The other day we had to stop at the Dollar General which also serves as a mail center and as a flatbed went by with our troop transport truck everyone rushed to the windows to watch. This story is this area’s history and once we finish this the story, the event will never be forgotten.
- On Sat the 13th on our day off we are doing a specially sponsored Smithfield Foods BBQ and a screening of BEST YEARS GONE in the local theater. A great thank you to our hard working cast and crew.
- We had a couple of VIP guests from our on-going distribution company visit. They loved seeing everything in action and the visit gives them an idea of the hard work that goes into the films they market. It makes the circle stronger and allows us to more easily tell these stories.
Speaking on the BEST YEARS GONE we have another Lansing, MI theatrical run at Celebration Cinema Lansing starting Nov 24th – 28th so people returning home for Thanksgiving can catch the movie. We were laughing putting together some promo – “Funniest Movie since Earnest Goes to Camp” – the film is funny and heartfelt. So far audiences have enjoyed the film theatrically and in a few months it will release worldwide. I’m going to wrap it up here as we have a tech scout at a few locations for next week. For those who don’t know what that is – you are not only looking at where to film a scene but where to stage a small army. I look forward to sharing more reports with you next Sat. Thank you for your support and know we are working to capture the powerful scenes so that next year we will have another great CDI release for you.
(One of the locations for the forthcoming week)
Be kind to one another.
We are at the end of our pre-product week here in Algona, Iowa. We have the MSU vs U of M game on the TV which we work away. Saturday is our day off during the shoot but as you know us producers don’t really get a “true” day off. So from now until Thanksgiving I’m going to be doing my blog post on Saturdays. We started doing Saturdays off several shoots back since it allows crews to have more options open to take care of day to day things like mail, laundry and such.
Our pre-production caravan hit a small snag about 4 hours from Algona when the main RV filled with wardrobe and props had a belt break. The ‘Rambler’ was brought to rest in a parking lot of a grocery store. We had a friendly ex-Marine mechanic who agreed to meet us there in the morning. We sent our director and UPM ahead and I stayed in the RV with our Transportation Captain and Armorer. The Rambler lost power and so after an improve guitar jam fest we slept in the freezer, I mean RV. I got cold but after putting a few WW2 wool blankets over me, I was not going to freeze. Our Marine came to our rescue on a day that started pouring and continued all day. He really saved the day and we got to Algona the next day a bit sleep deprived but safe and sound.
BEST YEARS GONE which was just delivered to our distributor is prepping for their home video release campaign in early 2022. Meanwhile we have more opportunities to play the film theatrically and are working on those dates now. We also might have a special screening one night here on a day off for the cast and crew. Some really great news coming on that front.
WRAP UP – This morning was the last day of pre-production and the morning started with a haunting fog over the lake and now we have some beautiful sun. We had three days of rain but now for filming we’re suppose to have a week stretch of nice weather. Jeeps, trucks, extras and more all coming together to help create our world. We had first airport pick ups with actors flying in from all over the country last night. The remaining crew will also be rolling in today and prepping for an exciting day 1. We are filming our first 4 days in a historic park with a period farm. I’m so proud of all the departments which are all now humming along. This is going to be another great story. Fans of Anthony Hornus’s MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND will love this new film. He has been working hard to pull the vision together. I will update you all for the next couple Saturday’s versus Sundays on the filming. I know this journey in storytelling will bring new friendships together that will last forever. Speaking on friendships – cherish them just like family because sometimes you don’t know when some will leave us. This week we found out our good friend Pappy, David Papenfuss passed away. Mere hours later I found out that one of our childhood neighbor’s husband, also passed. He use to work for an airlines and if I’m not mistaken he might have given me a flight voucher back in the day for one of my early Hollywood trips. Either way, both passed away from Covid and so while things are getting better please do be careful. I saw Pappy at an afternoon get-together on my birthday. He once again brought me a musical card as that was his thing. I have Star Wars, Superman and Indiana Jones cards from him. Little did I know that the last one was the last one.
Cherish your loved ones.
Hazelnut cheers on a nippy Michigan morning. I’ve got the fire going by my chair as I sit and reflect on a very busy week of life and work. Last night we gathered at the NCG theaters in Lansing to debut our new CDI film BEST YEARS GONE, directed by Shane Hagedorn. We had a strong crowd for the 1st show which they moved into the bigger screen to handle our sales. Also they extended the theatrical run until Oct 21st, so have day out going to see a movie. It really did play great there and I was happy to see so many family, friends and fans of the films. I love that every day more folks will get to see the story we told. The feedback has been strong ands I know the ‘haters’ always find their way but so do those who appreciate the stories. And at a kick off event I get to shake hands, take pictures and meet some of these fine people.
(Shane Hagedorn and DJ Perry greeted and chatted with many folks at the Lansing premiere)
My dad still wonders how I’m able to weave the story and all the dialogue into a script. I told him all those times of being assured of not paying attention or having my head in the clouds – THAT – whatever it is – IMAGINATION – it allows me to get lost in the story and manifest it. I’m awaiting word on another deal that would have me writing a script this winter and produce it next year with CDI. Add in the TV series of HASTINGS that is gaining momentum and 2022 could be a fun year of storytelling. Here are the Lansing showtimes- https://www.showtimes.com/movie-times/best-years-gone-156830/lansing-mi/
But before we get to 2022 we have a very exciting and important story to be told – SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA! I cannot believe that the pre-production caravan will depart next Saturday. Producers, director, art, AD, office and transportation will be doing final prep for the shoot that kicks off on Halloween. I had a wardrobe fitting last week and between the scene study which is feeling on point and the dapper WW2 uniform – game on.
We have some additional sponsor support from the Iowa State Bank so we want to thank them. This past week we filled several of the few cast and crew spots remaining. Just one or two cast/crew to go and that will work itself out. We had a few changes from illness or unexpected commits but our team will go and end the year with one great story. This week I need to pull together final props and production stuff traveling with me. I have to finish packing my clothes which needs to include cold weather gear. The nice part is this film I have like one uniform and a few hats unlike the multiple wardrobe pieces worn as Gil in BEST YEARS GONE. I am going to enjoy this final week of prepping things. There are several friends I only get to see while filming so again I’m excited to tell this story with our artists.
I know that this is the perfect season to release BESTSELLER, our thriller getting a campaign reboot but I do not have dates yet. My favorite film of the season is the animated ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and Hitchcock’s PSYCHO, which I’ll be watching to this week. WICKED SPRING HD is heading out to streaming and might be playing on certain platforms. I need to circle up with our distributor on a few projects but I’ve been quite busy with one film releasing and one going into production in under two weeks. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH feature-length doc is in the post-mixing phase and I was thinking of premiering SMOKE & MIRRORS with it at the same time. Like the cartoons you use to get before a show.
I’m putting the coffee away this morning because of the chill. I just poured the last cup and I’m going to finish this up. My next update will be from Algona, Iowa! Today we might hit the flea market seeking prop items and a stop at Tractor Supply to get some food for the chickens. They are putting on winter weight and still giving the eggs out. It is nice to always have that abundance of eggs and you do taste a difference. My alumni MSU had another good game yesterday but our Lions still struggle. I want to again thank each and everyone of you who attended our showings. If you want to leave a review you can go to our BEST YEARS GONE page on http://www.imdb.com and vote and leave your thoughts. I hope you all have a productive week ahead. Be good to one another.
I’m sipping a nice hazelnut coffee out of a Sea World cup I found in my travels. I have fond memories of the Easter break trips we often made to Florida to see my grandparents. Always such a good time in the community park riding three wheel bikes and catching lizards. We would often go to Disney, Bush Gardens (A favorite) and Sea World. Although I am glad to see the whales set free as they are a big animal to keep so contained. I’ve been in busy mode with the next shoot in under three weeks now. When we go into the last few weeks all projects have a certain amount of shuffle and settle. Cast and Crew are people with lives and sometimes that can get in the way. We’ve had a few cast and crew adjustments due to these circumstances. But once the film plays out with all the pieces in place you almost could never imagine anything different.
One thing we really do here at CDI is develop people. Some want to get by producing with whom they can until they can hire other people with a better resume. We are truly trying to develop people for the long haul. It is a two way loyalty. There are people who have lost their place in line by not making our few weeks a year, a priority. Others have followed their heart and dreams elsewhere and that is understandable. I’m excited because what I see is a 3rd generation of CDI stepping up into the ranks. It really makes me proud as we started as an organized but rag tag bunch of filmmakers. It is 25 years that CDI has been around and creating content. Coffee Cheers to 25 more!
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
We are all so excited as we do our remaining off location prep. Tomorrow the cast and crew will get our schedule, official white script and we’ll dive into our actor agreements and arrange transportation. Most of the crew/producer team is driving into the town. A handful of flights that funnel into two small airports. We’ll start locking in the vendor gear this week and likely fire up the production insurance. I’ve got a uniform fitting tomorrow and that will be fun. I’m only in military dress in this film. A bit more formal than Gil Gilles in our last film. I want to welcome in advance another company aligning their brand with our film The Iowa State Bank, thank you!
BEST YEARS GONE – Speaking of ‘Gil Gilles’ our Owosso, MI premiere was an outstanding success and it gave us a great audience reaction. The premiere led to a week-long run and now the film is coming to Lansing, Michigan – my home town. This coming Saturday the 16th at 6pm and 8:15pm the film will playing at the NCG theater. It plays great on the big screen and the film was remastered after our first run. Sometimes you can hear improvements in the theater and we found a handful of places to sweeten and remix. We will watch a test Tuesday! The film will travel some I’m sure. We have many wanting it to play in Grand Rapids and the Detroit area. We’ll talk about screenings in other states as we go.
The CDI Library – Our distributor has us across many streaming, on demand and TV channels but I like to watch the distributors ENCOURAGE TV YouTube channel stream as a meter of how a film is moving. Both FORTY NIGHTS (part 1 of 3) and MAN’S BEST FRIEND have views that shot over a million and approaching 1.5 million. Thank you for all your support. You can leave a VOTE and review for any of the films at our http://www.imdb.com pages. This past year the distributor started advertising The Quest Trilogy together which should help. We are thinking of doing a few Sunday showings of all three in the theaters. Again part 1 is Forty Nights, Part 2 is Chasing the Star and Part 3 in The Christ Slayer. WILD FAITH with over 5 million views on the one site is driving the TV series train. The first season is written and we have some very strong avenues to work this series down. An HD version of WICKED SPRING is suppose to be moving out into streaming. If you like WILD FAITH take a watch on WICKED SPRING and you’ll see where we honed our craft of 1800’s storytelling. BESTSELLER has been delivered and will get a new campaign. I really like this film as a thriller and I’m happy it is finally getting a bigger push. We are looking at several films getting the new campaign treatment.
I’m about to eat some eggs from our chickens and we might stop out at a flea market so I can look for more props. I will likely do some pre-production work while watching the Lions. My alumni MSU had another great game yesterday. My momma is suppose to stop by to say hello. And I’ll get organized and ready for a very busy week ahead that will end with my home town getting a chance to see BEST YEARS GONE. I know the sayings of “You can’t be a prophet in your hometown” and I’m not putting any expectations out there but it is a chance for family, friends and fans to see it on the big screen and to me that is awesome. You can get tickets online at the NCG Lansing site.
Have a great week!
The first sips of the hazelnut coffee taste so good on this chilly Michigan morning. Yesterday the sinus were a bit stuffed due to the weather changes but this morning I’m feeling good. We watched my alumni school Michigan State University put another win up for the season. If only our Lions could start doing the same. Either way, football, hot cider and the harvest has been a great welcome to Fall that is now officially here.
This past week was great for tying up loose ends on BEST YEARS GONE that played Owosso, MI NCG all week. I was able to sneak into a day show on the last day with my dad. It was nice to have no pressure or expectations to meet and greet. It was nice to just relax into the story and just enjoy. The story is well put together with such great comments on the camerawork (DP Travis Hayward) the creative editing (Nathaniel Nose) – the music (Dennis Therrian and all our great guest artists). We know all of this includes the entire crew and cast. I heard lots of compliments on how the film walks the line with strong drama and outrageous comedy. And big kudos to Shane Hagedorn our director who kept the vision and created the fine blend story. NOTE: A BTS of the premiere event is on our IMDB.com page and we’ll go up on our FB page soon. Great job Dan Chipman.
We started with a two show screening premiere and that went great! We’ve been dripping out pics from that night on the BYG Facebook site. What a wonderful night and it was great to see the story on the big screen. The film was granted an extension playing all last week in Owosso, Michigan. Now we are looking at other cities both with NCG and other theatrical chains. We hope to bring it to our home town of Lansing, Michigan. Possibly Grand Rapids and the Detroit area and even Nashville, TN is being considered. This week after the theatrical we made a few adjustments to our mix and we’ll do a final review Weds before uploading the master to our distributor. I’m excited for people around the world to enjoy this story.
Today we are having a meeting for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA to review our schedule and lock that so that cast agreements and flights can be booked. We’re working hard to get all our ducks in a row so that many things are done before our pre-production week on set. Algona is not a big city so we’re working with all the resources we have. The best resource is the people of Algona who are excited to have this story of theirs told, keeping it from being forgotten. This week I’ll do some PR about our product partners and we’ll announce a few more cast. I had a few great conversations with folks this week and that is what is nice about these adventures. I get to see some dear friends that I usually only see when filming. But today is a big day as we lock up the schedule and collectively look for problem/issues in advance. We have some of the best problem solvers working to tell this story so I feel very confident.
WILD FAITH is about to hit 5 million views on Encourage TV taking us even deeper into the tens of millions who have watched the film. I had a few more conversations with parties that could assist in getting the TV series launched. Creative Control has been the main goal for me as I’ve had a few projects derailed by “experts” on what a story needs or doesn’t need. We have several paths we could take to production and as I’ve always said it is not IF it is WHEN. Have you seen WILD FAITH? If not, please do.
MANS BEST FRIEND is playing new TV channels such as Charge TV which seems to be targeted at action and macho films by Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal and DJ Perry, what? I have continued to encounter many more folks who love that film. I’m very proud of the film and the action sequences which are modest. I’ve had several people ask about ‘Paul Landings’ outcome and could there ever be a sequel. You never know and yes, I’ve thought about it. I have a good story in my head but we’ll see about that some other time. I’ve got a full plate.
LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFOs and JESUS – I had the pleasure of hearing from many who saw CDI’s last release under two different titles. I love this film and it always leaves me feeling good. Feeling down or just needing a boost of ‘feel good’ take a watch. Melissa Anschutz commands the screen and folks like Josh Perry turn in performances that will have people talking for years. This is the perfect time of year to watch this film.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Once we get past the beloved Halloween-fare it will be the holidays. I’m excited to continue the tradition of our trilogy. I again at the recent premiere got to hear from the fans of these films. Many are still learning about them and learning that there are three films in the series. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. See them in order. See them all.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the final polished cut is getting close. This weekend the audio narration was being done. A pre-mix and a final mix and we’ll be ready for a premiere. Maybe just before Christmas but after Thanksgiving for sure.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS – Our short concept film that sprung from a commercial endeavor is completed. We’re in discussions about the various possible premieres for this film using it to also help the historic Dodge Turner House. We are exploring a virtual premiere also but getting together and seeing this on a big screen would be fun. It is roughly 14 minutes so not a long film. A few festivals could be in the future for this short film story. I have been working on the feature script which I’m calling ‘OF SMOKE & MIRRORS’ to add a slight difference between the two.
ODDS & ENDS
This week I got to throw some of my dialog off Curran Jacobs who is playing the lead in our next WW2 film. I’ve been having such a great time emerging myself in the 1940’s and preparing to tell this great story. We also had a great meeting with our director and the VFX supervisor and we identified all the VFX shots or shots that would utilize CGI additions or subtractions.
I had an offer for a lead in a short which I don’t typically consider but offered to look at the script and the details which I asked for. I got a script with no details and had to pry any info out. But to be honest when I saw the email with just the script (poorly formatted) and no information – it was a polite pass. I had another call about engaging as a work-for-hire writer. On the other end of the spectrum from the no detail communication mentioned previously- this email came with a great pitch/breakdown. Success will follow the hard work. One person did the bare minimum and the other had spent some real time in organizing and preparing for their endeavor. I will likely enter negotiations this week for a wonderful writing endeavor that I’ll do over the holidays. I’ve had a handful of these opportunities approach me which is what led me to consider representation. In time I may explore the representation aspect but for now I’m happy to handle the details.
I’m going to bring this to a close. I have a few yard tasks to accomplish and I need to get ready for two groups of folks today. The ‘schedule’ meeting this afternoon and later my brother and few amigos will visit. I think the first fire might have to be lit today. I hope each of you have a wonderful day and good week ahead. I’m excited for all the developments happening and also happy to be enjoying the Fall with the family. This shoot will be the only extended leave I took this year. But it will put us into post-production on another beautiful story. This story is built on the real history of Algona and we’re proud to be telling it.
Be good to one another and coffee cheers!
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.
I’m sipping my coffee and thinking about what a beautiful week it has been. It has been busy and will continue to be as we move towards the premiere of BEST YEARS GONE (Sept 18th tickets can be bought for that date 6pm and 8:15pm at the Owosso, MI NCG – Come Join the Fun!) and we also keep prepping on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. (Shooting in November) We will explore a few theatrical opportunities with the film but we’re looking at Q1 2022 likely Feb for the streaming/DVD home video release. We have all kinds of important work being done as we look to finish end of this new week. As huge amounts of data is being moved about for credits and thank you’s I also worry a touch. Because almost without fail we miss someone or have a name misspelled. It is the worst part of the final process. And changes are not easy and once delivered near impossible to change. Please know that on the rare occasions where this happens it has never been intentional. I know director Shane Hagedorn is excited as is our composer and sound designer Dennis Therrian. The daily updates are growing with excitement and enthusiasm. We want to bring this story to you. If you want to read the book that the film was adapted from you can google up and purchase “Hope from Heaven” by author Karl Manke.
Last night was special because I got to celebrate the wedding reception of Jackson Kennedy. He is the son of my business partner Jeff Kennedy, who directed several of the early CDI films. He was the young boy in KNIGHT CHILLS (CDI’s 1st feature film). Jackson was only like 3 but a bigger kid more the size of a 5 year old. Later it was discovered he was dealing with some hearing loss. Audiences even back in the day could be cruel with their words in reviews. He never asked for any of that so I’m so happy to see how well he has done in school and life by getting his Masters degree and working for a university and now married. Actually he and his wife Abby married a year ago during Covid and this was the anniversary. They had a wonderful reception for family and friends. For people who don’t know, my partner in CDI Jeff Kennedy, has dealt with severe back issues since before even his work on ‘Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town’ which would be his last CDI film he was directly involved with. It was good to see both he and Juanita so proud of their son Jack. I too was so proud of this young man and what he has become. Looking at him as a grown man illustrates again for me that indeed CDI has been storytelling for 25 years this year!
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
Here is an interview piece from our scout trip to Algona, Iowa.
This week we’ll announce a few more of the German actors and we’ll also be announcing some of the amazing product partners and sponsors joining us in the telling of this powerful story based on true events. We are starting to put paperwork under our cast and crew. We will also start more intense work with various departments in the coming weeks. The 1st steps towards the production insurance is underway as of Friday. We will need it for locations, picture vehicles and more. Aside from all the business I’ve been working my lines and I’m excited to start reading off a few of my fellow actors.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – We had the pleasure of watching the 1st cut of the documentary on the history of wrestling. It was informative, entertaining and really educates anyone interested or curious about the history of the grappling arts. I’m very proud of the entire team and I think it could be the first of many. Director Curran Jacobs is also the lead actor in our upcoming WW2 film. He previously had roles in WILD FAITH and MBF but this will be his biggest challenge.
SMOKE & MIRROR – Our VFX artists had a few delays but this funny and hauntingly moody short film will be done mid month. I’ve also been working on re-tooling the feature film that were looking to have Nathaniel Nose direct. This will give audiences a good peek at the world we intend to create with the full feature.
WILD FAITH is a branding and I’m considering WILD FAITH: Hastings Season 1 as the more official title for the TV series. The interest is there now we just need to pull all the business together and look to a season 1 shoot likely 2022 if all goes smooth. I might get some artwork underway during this 4th Q of the year.
The window for THE QUEST TRILOGY will kick in after we get past Oct 31st – speaking of that spooky month – BESTSELLER the dark thriller by author Christopher Knight and starring Melissa Anschutz as literary agent Anne Harper will be getting a new campaign soon. I think most of the business has been delivered so I will keep you updated. Also an HD version of THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ is suppose to release in a new campaign. It was our first CDI associated animated film but will not be our last! The new special FX division is in the planning stages and I’m excited by where that can take us. LOST HEART aka BIGFOOT, UFO’S AND JESUS is growing a nice audience and WICKED SPRING HD version is about to get a new release. And we’re also looking at what films in the CDI library could also be introduced to a new larger audience.
I smell the bacon and eggs almost done so I’m going to wrap this up and get a fresh coffee. After breakfast I’m going to go put a mow on the lawn. We are having the mom’s over for a late lunch that will have me manning the grill. I’ve been grilling with hickory chunks vs charcoal and that has been a switch. It burns much faster and hotter it seems. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your extended holiday weekend. Our MSU football team started off the season with a great win Friday night. Now if only the Detroit LIONS can do the same.
Be good to one another and have a great week ahead!
Welcome to all our new readers from Germany, Uganda, China and several others from around the globe – coffee cheers! Watching the storm approach New Orleans and hoping for the best for whomever stayed behind. We all know of the tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan and Covid is continuing to be an issue in some areas of the country. This humidity has been brutal yet I got the lawn mowed up one day and even had our last soccer match for the season in this heat. I’m ready for wood stove, chili, Lions/MSU football and everything that comes with that. It has been a very active time here at CDI and with me personally but that means good things are happening. Lets look at a few of the top updates-
- BEST YEARS GONE – the film is being polished up with some color correction tweaks and a few music beds to be worked in. The tickets are open for anyone to buy for Sept 18th at the NCG Owosso theatre with shows at 6:00 pm and 8:15pm with an afterglow at ROMAS patio starting after the first show and will continue after the second showing. Get your tickets now as they are going fast! No charge for the afterglow/cash bar and we’ll be doing pictures and such so come on down and meet many of the cast and crew.
- Also a just finished shooting the music video for ‘Off to the Races‘ the song by Vertical Bridge that will appear in the film as winners of the ‘Battle of the Band’ – we plan to show the music video either before or after the film. It depends on what film footage is used/shown in the video but we’re excited to see this premiere also.
- SMOKE & MIRRORS our short concept film is almost done. We had a slight delay in the VFX but I hope to get the finished film so we can look at maybe a small premiere as a fund raiser for the Dodge Turner House we shot at. I’m excited to finish the retooled feature script that we plan to shoot in the near future with Nathaniel Nose directing.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film about the history of wrestling has a first full cut which we’ll review this week. Once BEST YEARS GONE has moved out of post we’ll move this film in once picture is locked to have an audio mix done on the project.
- WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – as the feature film keeps climbing in views via the numerous streaming sites that means good things for the TV spin off series. This coming week I have more meetings over this project. I’m excited about what this could mean for so many cast and crew in the Michigan area. CDI has been building a strong team for a while now and this project could mean some consistent work. Giddy up!
- New release campaigns will be underway for a newly up-rez’d THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ, which was CDI’s first animated feature collaboration but I will say it won’t be our last. Also Christopher Knight’s BEST SELLER based on the book of the same name has been delivered and will be rolling out in the near future. This R-rated (language and intense situations) feature is the closest to a Hitchcock like thriller that we’ve produced. I’ll be in talks this week on a few other projects from the CDI library.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has most of the cast and crew in place minus a few still being discussed. We will be getting ready to go to paperwork this Sept for cast, crew and vendors. Most of our crew is driving in so we can take more equipment and gear. Some flights for west coast folks will be needed so those will be arranged. Wardrobe is starting to gather sizes (don’t lie actors:) * A famous story with my dear departed actor costar Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty who might have fibbed on his waist size. This led to a frantic last minute adjustment on set. We’ll be having some round table discussions with art including guns with our armorer Mr. Robert Bradley. The town of Algona is so appreciative they don’t want CDI to be just coming to work in Algona they want the crew to be their guests. Once you meet the kind people of Iowa you realize why a story like ours actually happened. I’m excited and ready to tell what we hope will become a holiday staple along with your other favorite classics.
- We are having some great success with our product partners on our upcoming WW2 Christmas film mentioned above. We have another great brand joining us in our endeavor and their history/story plays into the script in a few places. Stay tune for some announcements and if you have a brand and want to align it with our story please do reach out. Smithfield Foods is our newest joining Lerma Transportation and The Candleberry Co. We are appreciative of all our product partners.
- I had a call last week about a film I was approached about a few years back and it seems they have momentum and wanted to resend the script and see if I was still interested in the role. I LOVE that they offered to send a paper script to me. Things always get read faster by me when they come to me in paper form.
- KNIGHT CHILLS – I’m just going to set this right here. This was CDI’s first film. It was both a test of ‘could we’ tell a story. We were too ambitious, under experienced, under funded but had a boatload of passion and enthusiasm. This story has stayed with audiences for many of the nostalgic reasons we love it. There is a world at play here and with the surge in fantasy role playing including new D&D movies, it might be the time for SIR KALLIO to arise. If you go and watch Part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY, The Christ Slayer…well watch all 3, imagine that world building applied to Knight Chills. The story exists in two places – the fictional here and now and the fictional inside fictional world of the imagination. This 2nd film is a transitional piece to get us into the world we always wanted to do but were unable to. This second film will be an EVIL DEAD 2 to Evil Dead 1 with the 3rd being the Knight Chills (Army of Darkness) – No. I’m not saying Knight Chills is on par with Evil Dead, I’m just pointing out the story arc. The second brings back some nods to the past and sets up for its future. We’ve had so many people interested in the story and this RESTART not REBOOT will draw some artists into our story on subject matter alone. Just something developing in the dark of the night as the cold wind starts to blow…
I’ve given a good run down of some of the happenings over here at CDI. I’ve been watching my hops which are close to harvest. The rhubarb needs another cut. The chickens are kicking the eggs out. Veggies are ripening weekly and we’ve been storing some tomatoes. The plants are doing well with water but the humid just has it feeling like Jurassic Park around here. And the mosquitos are the true beasts around here. Although the bats are trying to keep them in check there are just so many. I think the mosquito should become the new Michigan bird:) Okay. I hope everyone has a great week ahead. Keep focused on what you can control and don’t let static and noise steal your attention and time. In many endeavors you must believe first. Click on Owosso links BELOW to go to BEST YEARS GONE premiere ticket site or just google it up. See you there.
Good morning from Algona, Iowa! I’m sitting looking over a small private lake with an abundance of wildlife. This state on the other side of the big lake is not so different from Michigan save being more flatland and corn. Our director and main producer team from our upcoming SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA film has been here on a scout. Our trip in was hampered by delays and a few mishaps that are almost worthy of a comedy film. But once we arrived our stay has been incredible with so much support from the community. Tonight we are having a special BBQ by an award winning chef with the mayor and area dignitaries. We have been also getting incredible support from the area businesses all excited to have us here. Smithfield Foods is one of our international sponsors and our host on this trip. I’ve learned a few new pork grilling techniques that I’m excited to try when I get back home.
We were curious as to the availability of props in the area and we were happily surprised that almost all the props required- right down to WW2 wheelchairs and more will be available to us.
Even the period vehicles are all falling into place. I’m going to keep this short as we are about to go scout more locations today.
BEST YEARS GONE is racing around the track and heading for the checkered flag and finish line. Here is your advanced notice that if you go to NCG Owosso website and your buy a ticket for one of the two shows. Tickets are just standard pricing. The afterglow party will be free for every ticket holder. We’ll be doing PR on all this when we return this coming week but I wanted to give you all the first announcement. We’ll be doing a producer watch soon and after will be the final mix.
As noted we’ve been all over this area of Iowa and meeting so many people that either have seen our films or after meeting us are excited to watch our films.
WICKED SPRING – the HD campaign is about to roll out. I saw an early draft of the thumbnail poster art and had some comments on it including incorrect rifles and clothes that appeared a touch modern. Some alternations were made but they rolled with the wrong rifles and such and I told them the re-enactor/living historian crowd would hammer that poster and they are. To the casual Civil War enthusiasts it might fly but to my friends that live and breath the era – not. So my apologies for the inaccurate guns but that distributor marketing is not all under my control. But I do hope that you watch and enjoy the HD enhanced film. It is still a favorite of mine to this day.
Next week I should also be seeing a first cut of our documentary ‘FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH‘ and our short concept film ‘SMOKE & MIRRORS‘ and I’m excited to see these both drive towards a finished film.
I might be missing a few updates but I’m going to wrap it up. I need to eat something quickly before hitting the road. But this is an exciting time and we’re very happy with the progress we’ve made every day preparing to give our artists the support needed to tell this amazing WW2 story.
Have a great week and we’ll chat next week.
Good morning and welcome to all our past readers and new readers from Italy, China, France and more. I’ve not gotten into the coffee just yet but might have to take a pause to do that. It has been a whirlwind of activity as we work to finish a few projects and start a few new ones. I have had much to ponder the last week some positive and some negative (for others). Much of it stems from communication and professionalism and timeliness. If you get an email as part of a work flow process you should confirm that the communication was received. If you receive an offer and you are busy you should touch back and let the sending party know that you are busy but can address their communication shortly or at a certain date. If anyone is offering you work even if it (schedule or rate) doesn’t meet your current expectations, politely pass. Adding attitude or commentary that is negative is also foolish as a person could ruin any future opportunities and in several circles. It’s again why we at CDI are all about development of good attitude people. Feature film isn’t for everyone and some work better in short format. Anyway we are almost all crewed up. The cast is also getting down to our last few actors. We’ve started rolling out announcements on the German actors and we’re about to go scout in Algona with our main producer team and director. Let’s do a TOP TEN updates this week.
- As noted cast and crew on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is close to being a full boat. Also scout trip ahead next week and it will be exciting to start locking some of this in.
- We had a first day of filming on the ‘Off to the Races’ music video for VERTICAL BRIDGE getting racetrack and B roll of the smoking fast cars at the track but still need to shoot the performance of the band. That is set up for later this month.
- The premiere for BEST YEARS GONE is set for Sept 18th at the NCG with two shows 6pm and 8:15pm with an after party at ROMAS patio right after the first show and past the second. It will be a fun night and we’re excited to show the film that is getting closer every day to being done. We have a FB event page to keep people updated and tickets will go on sale in about a week I’m told. A premiere poster is also being worked on so that will be forthcoming for the theater.
- SMOKE & MIRRORS should be complete. I’m reaching out to get an update as the final VFX was being added. Our director recently became a daddy again so their household is adjusting.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH documentary should have a 1st edit next week and I’m excited to see it. I’ve been in a few discussions over this amazing piece and it will find a great home. Anyone will interest in grappling will enjoy this history lesson right from the mouth’s of some of the greatest in the art.
- WICKED SPRING which was a film we shot back in 2000 is getting a new campaign release now that the distributor has converted it to HD for streaming. It is all done by cloning pixels, pretty amazing. But this film is over two decades old and still finding audiences. I will let everyone know where the HD film is streaming once I’m informed.
- I had another great meeting over the WILD FAITH TV spin off HASTINGS and our next steps is to have a 3rd party discussion with the studio. The plan is 2022 filming so we will see!
- MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This past week or so I’ve had no less than a dozen people in conversation tell me how much they enjoyed MBF. It is a touching and emotional film and I’ve also been surprised that many of the comments are from burly, tough guys. Dogs are a man’s best friend. Girls can keep their diamonds. I jest as several of the people saying how much they loved the film were also women.
- These week we spent some time working to get BESTSELLER materials to the distributor with author Christoper Knight. I’m excited to see this film move out into the market – beware it is a bit scary.
- LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFO’S and JESUS and our biblical trilogy THE QUEST TRILOGY keep gaining new audiences. If you’ve seen any of the films and enjoyed the story consider leaving us your thoughts at the film’s IMDB and Amazon pages.
This week also included a great soccer match, some yard zen, hops are almost ready to harvest. The garden has been putting forth veggies and the egg laying ladies are keeping at it. We had a Perry reunion this weekend and it’s nice to touch base with folks and we had some great food. This cooler weather is so much nicer than the humid heat. I know what lies around the corner. Today we’re going to the flea market and see if I can take a few items off the ‘Algona’ prop list.
This week will be a short pack for the ‘Algona’ scout trip and also resume talks with sponsors, vendors and final castings. End of the month I want to see paperwork start to go under cast and crew. We are almost ready to begin doing that. Once we get back on the 23rd from scouting we’ll start that process in earnest. I’m going to tag this up and upload it – I hope:)
Until next week when I update you all from Algona, Iowa – be safe and work hard.
Ah…those first sips of the hazelnut coffee taste so good. I stayed up a tad past my bedtime watching the final Olympic Games on TV. Yesterday was a trip up North to deliver some of the 4H pork to some family. We stopped at a few produce stands and got carrots, cabbage, green beans and more. Also stopped and got a cherry cider slushy and it was good. So Saturday was a fun productive day.
BEST YEARS GONE – We’ve been working hard on the finish line with final music and sound design being laid in. The color correction is done and will be replaced as the master this week. Speaking of music lets talk video – music video with our Battle of the Bands winner VERTICAL BRIDGE. So Friday we were over to Onondaga Dragway to capture some B roll along with a few picture cars captured screaming down the track. Later this month we will get the band rocking out. We had to do a two part shoot thanks to the unpredictable nature of Michigan’s weather but that is how it rolls. It can go from nineties and balmy to snow, you just never know.
We were trying hard to set up a racing premiere event at Springport whereas we provided the ‘purse/prize’ and get to name the race, ‘Gilles Cup’ a 200 car spectator drag followed by an outdoor drive in like screening. But final concerns over insurance led to a postponement. I think we would all like to return and try something but in our tight timelines we had to fall back to more traditional. So Sept 18th at the Owosso, MI in NCG we’ll be doing a one night, two show premiere at 6:00 and 8:15 I believe. Also this week we’ll be setting up a premiere afterglow at ROMAS like we’ve done in the past. Owosso is also the home of the book writer Karl Manke, who penned ‘Hope from Heaven’ and I adapted it into a screenplay. We are excited to show everyone this next tribeCDI story! From there we might do a few more theatrical and a few select festivals. But we’re going to keep working hard to lay in the final pieces and mix it up nicely. Once all that is done we’ll be OFF TO THE RACES! (The name of the winning song)
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is ON DECK and preparing for a scouting mission to Algona, Iowa mid month to put in play lodging, catering and location options. We had Lerma Transportation come on board this past week as a sponsor. We’re in talks with some other great brands from that region and several that we’re in operation during WW2. I’m excited because we’re only a few crew and cast short from being fully locked and loaded. This week we’ll be announcing more crew and cast. Our agreements have come over from legal and so soon we can start putting paper underneath the crew and start looking at transportation. It is all very exciting! On deck here soon is the gathering of props, personal wardrobe and gun wrangling that will again be handled by Robert Bradley working as armorer under art department. We’ll also be starting to look at vendors for gear and such that we might need. Aside from the producing aspects I’ve been working on my character development. The hair cut has really helped me turn the page and work my lines while seeing the character more in the mirror. I plan to go visit several of the flea markets this month including one today. Happy prop picking:)
LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFO’s & JESUS has been increasing in sales along with the others that are also expanding audiences. We’ll wait another quarter and do another disperse. WILD FAITH, THE QUEST TRILOGY, MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND I’ve appreciated the fan/emails and the kind works and handshakes mainly from military friends over MBF. Our goal is to create some classics that will be playing for years.
Speaking of classics – WICKED SPRING has a newly uprez’ed HD stream that will be making its way to steaming platforms. The new art they are using makes it look a bit more like YELLOWSTONE TV show in my opinion but I hope everyone will enjoy seeing this more brilliant version of this film that has been showing to Civil War and history fans for 20 years. I need to circle back and check into some things (Art & DVD Menu) for the second CDI Classic Collection Double Feature with KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS. A new HD version of THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ the 1st CDI associated animated feature is getting a new campaign. BESTSELLER, also a CDI associated project is getting a campaign. We need to finish getting all the deliverables to BMG. Several of the others are being pitched to prep for a new campaign release. A few of the associated films had opportunities previously but could not pull all the deliverables together. I have to focus on what I can control and not what I cannot. But it is exciting to see some of the classic films get new life!
Things I’ve seen this week that would make good conversation. I did see whereas a crew person was announcing some new series project they were working on but they were complaining as they announced. Now even big studios and networks are ran by people who care about the product and they do monitor social media. To see people complaining before working day 1 would have me seriously reconsidering that hire. You want positive people who take pride in their work and in the story they have signed onto help telling. First, few of these crew people and cast for that matter have ever gone through the painful trials and tribulations of raising funds to tell a story. I’m not talking about the donation based projects but investors or funding studios whereas you have accountability. I’ve stated several times that I’ve never been able to pay an artist what I think they are worth. But we do create stories that most are happy to put their name on. I just find it such a different place from where I started to be gifted an opportunity yet you are going to flaw find. Just politely pass and move on if it doesn’t meet your standards. Again not our project but it still made me take a second look. Burn enough bridges and your opportunities will dry up and that is the way of things. I’m happy to say I think we’ll have several opportunities for years to come. I’m already excited about what 2022 could bring. Stay positive, stay focused and keep moving forward. I will talk with you all next week!
The rain has stopped after storms last night. The air was cooler but the humidity was/is still high. I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee and enjoying these quiet moments with you as the Olympics play on. I had a very busy week but also had a very enjoyable one. We are in the final run to finishing BEST YEARS GONE our next feature film to release. I got to go spend six hours or so doing some narration which also allowed me to see some of the sound design and music. Just amazing work by Dennis Therrian and once again just excited to bring this project everyone. We are putting the final plans together on the premiere event we will be doing at the Springport Racetrack. It is something new and exciting with a ‘Gilles Boyz’ spectator drag. You got a fast car? Got a need for speed? You can show it off at the Sept 11th event! Maybe win a huge trophy and some cash. We are also looking to finalize and start promoting the Owosso, MI screening also. We started uploading assets to the distributor BMG as they prepare to start artwork and such.
I’m also told that our short concept film SMOKE & MIRRORS will be done here in August and we’ll look at some places to show that including maybe a fall premiere at the Dodge Turner house where we filmed. It is worth noting that I’m reworking the feature that we will look to produce with Nathaniel Nose (dir. The Christ Slayer) directing. Our ‘For the Love of Catch’ documentary is in full edit mode and we’ll have a first cut to review soon. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is coming together in grand fashion. Our crew is almost full as is our cast but we have a few more to lock in place. I’ll be reaching out to more folks this week. But we will be announcing two more cast this week – one is an old friend/co-star from 2002 and many of you will know him from his famous TV series that was also set during a war. And the other is a VERY recent co-star – perhaps in a film not yet released. Can you guess who they are? The German talent will be our August kick off and we have some amazing talent coming on board. I’ve been in talks and climbing up several major companies with Smithfield Foods being one of the first major brands onboard. We’ll be announcing some great brands that will soon be joining us! In Augusts I want to start putting paperwork under folks and prepare travel arrangements. November will be here soon enough!
Looking to take the rescheduled meeting over HASTINGS the Wild Faith TV series this week. If this comes together it will be a great thing for the MI film community. Everything from the feature film “pilot” to the 8 written shows are being evaluated. I got feedback that the interest is there and so now to see if we can land the deal. Speaking of writing, having written the 8 shows, I’m looking at my literary collection to see if I have scripts to sell. I had a good talk with a literary management company to sell off scripts I don’t plan to produce. I also have a few possible work-for-hire writings but they are just in the talk stages. SciFi, more biblical and a few highly charged social issues have been brought to my table to consider. I believe what is meant to become, will become.
I’m looking to have a good update conversation with our distributor. They are doing new campaigns for a few of the films and I want to keep that rolling. So I’m going to discuss several other films that would do wonderful in these streaming environment. If you are looking to see what you’ve missed at CDI feel free to look over the http://www.cdiproductions.com website. Subscribe to the Tribe!
Balance is the key and even I can get off keel once in a great while. Your mind can follow your health and so good health and sleep are large factors in keeping balance. I had one night where I had a stomach ache from the wrong mix of food which likely was brought on by a high protein mango mega body building shake a gift at a meeting. It set up like cement which kept me from getting a good sleep. A fuzzy head worried if I’m missing something on my ‘To Do’ list – luckily an intense soccer battle which I considered missing for a beat but I’m always willing to battle even at less than 100%. It was exactly what I needed. Strong exercise is sometimes exactly what you need to get everything right again. So again I’ve found my balance and I’m ready to move into the week with strength. But I did have two days where my balance was not quite perfect. I know a lot of people deal with sleep issues and I too use to be a night owl but getting great sleep is a must for success. I don’t use technology on the run up to bed and create a routine to rest. I do some reading at thew end of each night. Soothing music and peaceful meditation on the day’s events and what is to come tomorrow. But after that I turn the switch off and allow my mind to rest. I’m also on a no eat from 9:30 PM to 9:30 AM which puts the body in rest and repair versus digestion. All things that help balance the body and mind. Focus on your sleep and watch how productive all your other activities become.
I also had a great couple days of catch up with a dear friend from 1st grade on who was here to visit his mother. It was almost 2 years since I’ve seen him due to Covid. It was a great time and we even made it out to another school buddies house for several games of pool. Now both of them have or have had pool tables growing up and are good players. I actually came out on top with games won which was a first. I credit some of my new zen mediations on free mind and avoiding fixation. It is close to my views on pulse versus ray with our energy. The mind can overthink (fixate) and cause us to (in this case) miss the shots. Or you can ‘be the ball Danny’ by not fixating and flow to a positive outcome. So maybe the SLEEP = BALANCE and trying to remove FIXATION can greatly enhance everything. I do see all the time people trying to impress others with how hard they work to the point of exhaustion… this is not impressive but loudly illustrates someones lack of time management skills. So if you feel burned out and like you’re not getting things done try resting. I don’t have time to rest I hear. You often don’t have time to NOT rest. A well rested 3 hours will likely be more productive than 7 hours of stressed unfocused work.
I’m going to bring this to an end. Today we will go pick up our meat from our 4H purchase. This year we’ll likely add another deer to the freezer as well. We’ve finally been using some of the meat while entertaining. We did BBQ ribs early this month for a mom bday and we’ve enjoyed venison steaks and pork chops as well as grilling veggies from our raised garden beds. The chickens are turning out wonderful eggs which I just enjoyed. I’ve been harvesting rhubarb and herbs but not the mulberries. I’ve been leaving those for the birds including the chickens that LOVE them. I should be doing more paid product endorsements but my new Ryobi battery 40w push mower works great. I might have to put it to use again today or tomorrow as the rain is making a jungle of the yard again. Until we chat again next week keep chasing those dreams but make sure your are rested and focused.
This Sunday morning is a near perfect temp with a touch of cool and low humidity. I want to welcome our new readers/subscribers from Ireland, Turkey and more. I’m sipping some coffee and this morning will include some eggs from our ‘girls’ laying almost daily. I’ve had a relaxing weekend that started with Shepherds Pie at Pizannos a bday gift from my good friend Johnny D. Saturday had us run some fun errands including a stop at the Blue Gill for a wonderful Perch sandwich. Today will likely be a bit of grilling after the flea market. I’ve got venison steaks ready to go – steak and eggs? Maybe:) While I might take a relax physically my mind is always working. Last week we had many great moves on the chessboard. I’m so very happy about the way things are progressing and I’m excited for what lies ahead.
As for life lessons or insights that apply to our artistic endeavors- enthusiasm. A skill set is needed but how you apply that skill set is what really counts. I’ve encountered a lot of jaded artists in my journey and it doesn’t matter how qualified if they cause people to always walk on eggshells. It’s easier to give an opportunity for growth to someone who is enthusiastic and excited to participate. As we get closer to locking up cast and crew on the next CDI endeavor SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – I’m thrilled by our team. We producers will work hard to give everyone a great experience in return for their hard work and skill set. It all shows on the screen when the final story is complete. Our scout trip for next month is set. I was organizing our lodging and transportation needs and also made several steps trying to open certain product placement deals. Our film gives several opportunities to highlight great products that were in use in the 1940’s and are still in use now. IF you have a product you would like to align with our WW2 Christmas film don’t be shy. I’ve started working my character in the film and I’m thrilled to play such a stabilizing role. I play the camp commander and while many characters have arcs that drastically change due to circumstances, my role is the steady backbone. My hair grows like a weed and even with my recent haircut it its again starting to look long. Trust me I’m appreciative that I have a full head of hair. I will be getting the Robert Conrad haircut soon and I’m enjoying hunting up a few good props. We will be announcing a few new actors this week. We’re working on filling a few new departments and soon we’ll be working vendors. Aside from the prepping for our next adventure lets look at some of the top updates from last week.
- I started the week with a belated bday hang with dad who was homebound with his ‘Sadie’ who had recently been fixed and was recovering.
- I had a great call with a literary management company over properties. I’ve had projects in the Hollywood development system which can be slow and if the execs in charge move on your project can also get swept. I’ve also had a script given the “Hollywood rewrite” and it was gutted of much that made it special. But it also paid a few years of option payments. I use to call these properties “sacrificial scripts” but I have seen good studio/indie hybrids that were very good. So I’m going to comb through the scripts and see what I don’t plan to produce and sign them over for sale. In the days gone by I would try to keep actor/producer attachments and that makes it too heavy. These properties will be free and clear and we’ll see if they sell. I’ve had a few script sales and it’s not an easy process but with some of the awards the writing has brought – maybe.
- Speaking of writing I did work on the SMOKE & MIRRORS feature script some. The short film is about done and we’ll be rolling that out soon. It is a humorous/spooky steampunk-type story. I’m excited to show folks and it will make a great extended feature film.
- I had a meeting for HASTINGS, the Wild Faith tv series planned for midweek but had to reschedule. But I did get a bit of feedback on the interest level of the parties evaluating the series. I’m smiling. Let’s leave it at that for now.
- Thursday was a good day of business calls and also had a great soccer match. My slight injury from game one has improved greatly and my strength and conditioning is now almost where I want it.
- BEST YEARS GONE sound design is about done and music is close behind. Our winners of the battle of the bands will be shooting a music video in the near future. I have to go in Friday and do some Voice Over work which will be a blast. The deal for the Sept 11th event is being passed back and forth but it is happening. We hope to release some PR end of the month once we put pen to paper. Also an Owosso, MI two showing theatrical premiere is in the works. The trailer has been getting great feedback and I cannot wait for people to experience the entire story.
- MANS BEST FRIEND fresh off our Crown Award win has been getting some additional attention. I want to thank all the fans again who take the time to reach out and tell me how the film has affected their lives. With all the unfortunate animal abuse and uncared for veteran stories in the news this film hits home for many.
- THE QUEST TRILOGY has its own share of fans. The biblical time period is a great world to weave a story within and I think at some point we will return to this genre. We do have a few great stories to tell it just is about time and funding. Do you have a favorite biblical era film we’ve done? Do you have one you think we should consider?
- BESTSELLER is coming to audiences via BMG general market and I’ll be having more conversations about other films in the CDI library being released. Ashes of Eden? Figure in the Forest? An Ordinary Killer? The Patchwork Girl of OZ? We will see…
- I’m about to start work soon on another audio book in a series that I’ve been narrating. You can take a listen to book 1 and if you are a Civil War or history buff you will really enjoy. https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Diary-and-Memories-of-a-Civil-War-Soldier-Part-1-Audiobook/B09237FGF8?ref=a_pd_The-Re_c13_moreAuthors_0&pf_rd_p=722bd3f0-0234-421b-a023-824edcd1a86b&pf_rd_r=1QFZM61E421TDVR7TGY5
So as you can see I’ve been just moving right along. This week ahead will consist of meetings, in studio Voice Over and more. Several big developments underway but until they blossom no need to go into it all. The doc ‘For the Love of Catch’ released the trailer where over 20k saw it in a few days. The feature length doc is in full edit mode and we hope to have a cut soon. The 2nd half of our soccer season starts this Thursday and I’m looking forward to that. To all my artistic friends keep planing seeds and nourishing ideas. The harvest awaits those who put in the work and so get out there and start creating. Again we thank all of you friends, families and fans who have helped us get this amazing stories out there. I’m going to wrap up here and in a short while it will be time to fire up the grill. Until we get together next week. Coffee cheers!
Good morning my friends. Coffee cheers. I want to welcome all our new readers from Brazil, Norway, Sweden, Russia, China and more. I love that this is a place where artists of the world can come together. I hope my words can inspire, inform and/or assist each of you on your own journey. It was a productive week with my mind grinding a bit on several things. Last weekend brought the news of several people who’s travels here have ceased. The week brought more news of pets, parents and friends who passed. That is the other side of social media and up to the moment news. It use to be a random encounter with an old friend or associate would reveal news from the past few years or months. But now we deal with news daily that can remind us that our time alive and living is finite. Our minds are trying to learn to compensate for this daily bombardment of unsavory news. I feel bad for people who cannot moderate that and self feed themselves more sadness than they can healthily handle.
I have pondered activists of various causes and I think that is a hard road. There is little rest – their minds fixated on the cause without rest. Politics, racial injustice, domestic violence, animal cruelty and poaching…the list could go on and on. If you try to take a rest -others could accuse them of slipping, losing focus leading to overall judgement. Good intentions can quickly turn to near madness. That person(s) can quickly become part of the problem contributing their own hate. This is like a passive mob mentality that while not as intense can be a slow peer pressure burn. “I don’t see you upset, do you still care?” – I’ve dealt with that years ago in some of the film business. My composure was taken for lack of caring and that was not true. I just know when emotions take over (Oh look how passionate someone is) that they don’t always make the best (efficient) choices. I often agree with causes but not the process of pushing an agenda. I’ve recently talked about how I like to speak with my art. I feel I can reach more people with the medium of film and don’t have to live in a manic state. Tell a story with a lesson and drop the mic and go boating or grill out with family and friends. Just because you don’t live in some unbalanced state of mind doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means you have learned to work smarter versus harder. Smarter for the health of the self and smarter for the cause you are trying to enlighten people to. So self evaluate and see if you are working in a way that is best for you and ultimately for your cause. Life is a marathon and so don’t burn yourself out. I’m also going to note my parents both had a birthday one day apart. I’m just blessed to still have them both here on this journey. My furry boy Luke who passed a few years back would have had a bday and several people had some nice things to say. Appreciate each day and try to lay your head on the pillow each night having done good deeds and a sleepless night will be rare. Except where dogs and fireworks exist a few less restful nights might follow.
Let’s stay with MANS BEST FRIEND, which after the wins at the Crown Awards seems to have brought even more viewers. I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to watch the film and either send me your beautiful comments and/or posted reviews on IMDB, Amazon or whatever streaming platform. My cousins in Detroit finally got around to a watch on the film and sent me these pictures. I love them because it shows that our audience is not just you humans.
Thank you. If you want to watch yourself – please do.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS has some exciting developments underway. In the sake of not getting ahead of myself I’ll leave this project for now. But this film which has endeared so many to the Murphy family just might launch in 2022.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
While ‘Wild Faith’ is storytelling in the 1870’s our upcoming WW2 drama will take us to the 1940’s. Our producers scout trip is booked and our team will go in August to lock in the infrastructure of our next film. Our casting and crewing is about 85% in place with a few departments ands castings still to be set and announced. Our German actors are going to start being announced soon. Here was last weeks cast announcement.
We also hope to start announcing some of the sponsors very soon. I’m just loving this entire era but the hardships endured are pretty amazing. I’m excited that one of my past co-stars will be joining us. Another opportunity to “Watch and learn!” – some of you know exactly who this amazing actor is. You can see all the cast and crew here and follow along as more are announced.
BEST YEARS GONE released the first trailer and the reaction has been great. You can see it here:
We have two September premieres coming together. Sept 11 will be the race and outside premiere event and we’ll also be announcing an Owosso, MI premiere soon at the NCG. Plans for the music video shoot with Vertical Bridge are underway. The film has had the first pass on sound design and the music is almost there. I will be going in at the end of the month to add voice over. I’m excited for audiences to see this film and I think many will enjoy it. I’ve had several say it had a FARGO vibe to it. I’ll take that as a compliment.
LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS – This film continues to march forward gathering audiences who love this story. It matters not if you watch the family/faith or general market release – just watch it. I love that both the A and B story are getting their own pushes in marketing.
Same film that has all this within it. It was smart for the distributor to go at both these angles of marketing. Which marketing do you like better?
Speaking on trailers – how many of you saw the July 4th release of the trailer for our documentary ‘For the Love of Catch’ ? If you missed it here it is along with the PR. 20k+ views is just a few days tells us the audience is there.
The steampunk, turn-of-the-century tale SMOKE & MIRRORS is also closing in on being complete. I’ve also been reworking the feature script for future production. BESTSELLER should be looking at a new fall release with BMG Global. We’re looking at several films to re-release with a new campaign. Which films would you like to see? FIGURE IN THE FOREST? KNIGHT CHILLS? AN ORDINARY KILLER? ASHES OF EDEN? With BMG opening a general market division it opens up possibilities for more films to release.
OK. I’m going to wrap this up. We’re going to go visit one of the Sunday flea markets where I love to seek out curiosities and WW2 props. I’ve got a busy week ahead of meetings and such so I’m going to relax and get ready to attack the week. I’ve been having fun slowly rehearsing and building more character for the WW2 film. I’m currently reading a book written by the actual PW camp commander that my character is loosely based upon. I seem to be past my slight knee injury from soccer after a fun game Thursday. It feels good to be able to walk stairs without issue. That means might kicking drills on the new outside heavy bag can start in full. I’ve enjoyed doing my heavy bag punching outdoors. The mosquitos are making my punches even faster. I should be trying to catch them with chopsticks. I hope you all have a safe weekend and a productive week ahead.