It is a peaceful Sunday morning and I’m sipping the ole hazelnut coffee and about to give some updates on our film endeavors. First, I want to note the earthquakes that are hitting multiple areas around the globe. Also with the new wildfires erupting in the N.C. mountains. I hope my friends there stay safe. Earthquakes and wildfires and that could also describe the political shake up here in the USA. I’m not a politician and as a storyteller I want to enrich the lives of all people. My only note as of late is I’ve never seen positive communication between parties when the volume becomes LOUD and the EMOTION sets in. Ears close and frustration mounts as people feel unheard. Talking is always better than yelling. Trying to hear both sides and seek compromise will always beat out yelling in someones face. I think a majority of people who felt unheard just went silent and let their vote speak. Also as a former soccer coach I’ve noted that many people do not know how to lose. I saw a climate of “everyone wins” grow over the years and many of us know that is seldom the case. Now I’ve had immense amount of set back in my life and I try to waste as little energy as possible on things I cannot change. I try to accept situations and make solid moves from that stance. I hope that the divide which is now more in the open creates good communication, understanding and compromise. Time will tell.
The Quest Trilogy
I hinted at a deal that is going done to take these films and other CDI properties to the next level of distribution and production. We have our first paperwork and are reviewing. I plan to put pen to paper this forthcoming week. I’ve been also prepping the other projects for presentation.
40 Nights – the beautiful comments continue and the new marketing teams will start work to prep for the new 2017 release push. I cannot discuss this too much until we have concluded the deal.
Chasing the Star – we’re entering the final phase of post-production. The first look trailer is being polished up and will be released soon. Audiences will be in for a great journey with this second film in our trilogy.
The Christ Slayer – this film is now moving into active development. We’ll be announcing new developments on IMDB.com and via new PR releases. I will be returning to my role as Jesus in this film. I look forward to completing the trilogy with this heart-moving, thought-provoking film.
Wild Faith – the editing is underway and approaching the half way point. We’re also prepping for one last pick up day that will be flashbacks of our main character. It is a return to shooting some Civil War footage and so fans of “Wicked Spring” will be happy.
I plan to roll out several of the classic CDI films from the library but I’m holding while we work out this new deal. But I assure you we will see several of the films re-release. Some will see their 1st Blu-Ray or streaming/digital deals.
I’ve had several people ask howe they can be considered for CDI films. The first thing I always say is get that showcase reel together. GAME FOOTAGE. On the CDI site http://www.cdiproductions.com we do post what we’re currently seeking. We do sometimes use IMDB Casting, Backstage or other casting notices but as a company of actor/producers we keep our eyes and ears open. When new talent is found that fits – they are brought into the discussion. Also if you’ve worked with CDI with no issue that puts you to the front of the list for consideration. I’ve talked about being ready for opportunity in past blogs but it is important. If you work a day job get one with flexibility. I use to live, and still do, quite conservative. I don’t spend money I don’t have on flash. I try to stay on top of my personal so when duty calls I can transition into business as needed.
I did have one good conversation with an actor aspiring to produce at a certain level. I gave my honest advice which essential was about taking steps. If you’ve only done 5k shorts what experience says you’re ready to manage 2 million dollars? If you’ve never done the 50k or 500k project you’ve missed so many lessons. I liken it to the martial arts whereas you learn in phases. Nobody jumps belts or degrees without learning the lessons at each new phase. I don’t see where people in film think that is a good idea. And if you lack that experience it is easy for outsiders to run amuck with your project. And team building is so important. One bad “player” can damage/kill a project so the team is so very important. If you can make a solid 50k film you will be in better shape to do that 75-100k film. The learning curve is so very important. So if a project, passion or not is too big for you – set it aside and do something smaller. BUILD.
I’m going to go do a few things in the yard to stay ahead of the snow which will find us. Embrace the differences amongst us and communicate calmly. Less shouting. More listening. Smile. Work towards real change. I will keep influencing people with a story. A STORY can change the world.
Be good to one another.
So one of those inspiring movies to me growing up was the original CONAN the barbarian. I also would love to do a fantasy movie – sword and sorcery at some point. But first, Arnold, I read his bio from his soccer playing teen years into body building – to America…pretty inspiring. Also the film had edge and lessons seemed to be buried in there. (The Riddle of Steel) Add one of my favorite musical scores of all time by Basil, and you have a classic film.
As young filmmakers we loved the barbaric wisdom spewed – CRUSH YOUR ENEMY, SEE THEM DRIVEN BEFORE YOU, HEAR THE LAMENTATIONS OF DA WOMAN.
Who was the enemy? Hollywood? The Man? Corporate Studio? The struggle is fun when you’re climbing. Many get stuck in the mud and frustration builds. As the middle age filmmaker to the young filmmakers out there – look within. See your enemy – YOU, your lack of confidence, your insecurities, your jealously, your frustration – DRIVE IT BEFORE YOU – do not let it rule you, blind you, corrupt you and bring out your worst traits. Now I’m not sure how the last part fits in:) If you rid yourself of your worst character flaws I don’t think anyone will lament that.
This week was full and I felt a touch behind all week despite paddling as hard as I could. Sometimes you have to let the current take you. Let me see if I can hit upon some of the weekly highlights.
KNIGHT CHILLS book/film deal is done. Also they are on board with the idea to participate in the sequel film. It is very close to having a first draft I’ve just been pulled in various directions.
AN ORDINARY KILLER – We’re about to do a high quality run of this film that has been newly remastered. I was prepping it for 2016 VOD release and likely BluRay. New ART WORK is done.
WICKED SPRING is also heading the same direction. I picked a different direction for the film which delayed our new release a bit.
FIGURE IN THE FOREST will be the Dec. 17th film showing at our artist mixer at Sanctuary Spirits in Grand Ledge, MI. We have an event page just opened today. We have a good time watching some of the older films and talking about the challenges we faced at that time.
Release dates nationally
DONORS (Feb 2nd)
ASHES OF EDEN (April 1st UplifTV, Parables TV) April 5th national)
BESTSELLER (May 3rd)
This week I’ve had a couple scripts to get through and another is on the way. I often have to use my writing time to read so my writing progress slows slightly.
40 NIGHTS – The film should have the VFX and intro in this week. We watched the entire film with the dialog and sound design work done. It was moving and I love how nature plays so strongly into the film. The music is underway and soon we’ll start color correction.
CHASING THE STAR – We’re organizing the business entity. We’ve got our first official script that will start to be sent around this week. Our revised schedule is done and this will help me finish what I need to do. Casting has been in full swing. We announced Logan and Anthony (Tony) as part of our cast this week. I’m excited to bring together this group of artists.
WASTELAND released Part 1 for FREE! WASTELAND: Tales from the Desert, Pt. 1 is now online and we’re giving away five official WASTELAND posters in honor of it! Just share this post and you’re automatically entered to win! https://vimeo.com/146707702
This work while only taking up a few lines of text has been a boatload. But when I see a finished project it always makes the climb worth it. We’ve got a final Thanksgiving like dinner with family up North. After that the early Christmas gatherings start. So in between the family gatherings it is work, work, work but soon…we will be toasting another finished film. It is time to get into some hot soup and prepare to watch MSU win their big game tonight. Go GREEN! Go WHITE! Spartans to WAR!
Happy Saturday everyone. The sun is out but the freeze it still in full force here in the Michigan. As many of you now know we announced the next film “40 Nights” shooting next month. For fans of the biblical/drama films like “Book of Ruth,” ‘Ashes of Eden,” or “Wicked Spring” you will enjoy this news. If more intense films are your cup of tea you will have “Bestseller,” “The Terrorist,” and “Dead Quiet” coming at you later this year.
I’m excited about “40 Nights” because it takes a very simplistic look at a very complex character. I can say that I don’t think any other film has approached this story in this way. Behind the scenes we’ve had a lot of excitement and interest. So we’ve been making strides in development for a while now and finally everything has lined up. So next month we are going out west to tell this story. We are taking some of our keys but unfortunately can’t take the entire army. We will be joining with artists out there. Several artists that I’ve worked with previously on projects. The issue is that only so many cast and crew and I’ve worked with a lot of talented people. If I’ve worked with you before and had a positive experience you are always considered. Sometimes with talent I’ve submitted you to our director and you don’t even know it. Often when you get a call from out of the blue offering a role that is exactly what happened. I also sometimes feel at blame if people don’t get a role but truth is that either the role didn’t fit or the creative director had a different idea. But that said, I do love all my co-stars and always put you forward when I see a right role. We are mostly cast save a few smaller roles and one of those is a child actor. If you like these kind of films the good news is that we have been approached about doing several. So we will focus on this story for now but in the future many more of my friends and associates could be getting calls.
“BESTSELLER” is sounding great as we get ready to start the score with the amazingly talented Dennis Therrian. We just had our Director of Photography in town and had a great color correction discussion to get things rolling. We saw almost all the FX work placed into the film and I can say great work by DNA Design. This film is being slated for 1st showings in May around author Christopher Knight’s stomping grounds. From there it will start playing various locations theatrically.
I’ve seen the artwork on “Donors,” “Ashes of Eden” and “Wicked Spring” as we prepare to release those films this spring and summer. “Wicked Spring” is looking at getting some Michigan theatrical play before the Blu-Ray and PPV/On Demand release in June. Happy Birthday month to me:)
This coming week will be FULL of final off-location prep work and packing to leave for our home away from home. Our destination has been between 72-83 degrees so that will be a nice change. On-going sales discussions on the CDI library are continuing and possible projects are lining up. I may take on a script writing assignment when I return. I’m finishing a few personal scripts as we speak. We also have a commercial project that is in the works to do this spring. Aside from all the work I’m ready to pour my everything into this next role and after that…outdoor SOCCER SEASON!
I hope you all have a great Saturday!
It’s been a sunny yet chilly day in Michigan but the coffee and good company keeps it all warm. The past week was extremely busy for me but from all the work comes great results.
Let’s take a look –
This past week we had a great meeting over marketing of the thriller “Bestseller” with our E.P./author Chris Knight. We discussed how we would roll the film out via the various distribution channels. I can say unofficially here that we are looking to premiere the film in May. First to the media and after to the locals of Northern Michigan. From there it will start playing theaters in lower Michigan and perhaps other states. We will continue to roll out the film in various formats ending likely with Pay-Per-View and video-on-demand this fall. The sound design and FX work is done and next up is the color correction and music. We visited the studio to have Mr. Knight see the film with the sound placed in. It’s a movie that really grabs your attention and the music score by Dennis Therrian is only going to enhance that experience.
Mystery Film X
Our CDI film that is about to enter official Pre-production has taken up a good amount of time in development. We were finalizing the script with our director the last two weeks. Look for some big announcements soon as this project fires up all thrusters.
Artwork on ASHES OF EDEN, WICKED SPRING and DONORS is almost complete and prep work for the spring/summer distribution roll out has begun. DONORS will announce its release date this coming week with Winters Film Group.
Our SciFi film “WASTELAND” has a 1st teaser that is almost done. Editing on the film itself is moving along with first talks on one of the space ships underway.
THE TERRORIST feature is almost complete. I thought I might have to replace a line on this thriller but lucky for me the line was found and I did not need to replace it. I’m excited for people to see this thriller that will be having a few NYC showings before heading out to the world audience.
The “Knight Chills II” script is moving along and soon we’ll announce some new updates concerning crew. Also the book for the original is being written and a new mastering of the original film will be forthcoming. It might possibly get a BluRay release also, we will see.
Additional TV and foreign distribution talks are happening on several films. We had some really good feedback this past week that I believe will lead to licenses being made. Theatrical talks on some of the CDI films has also advanced and a CDI showcase is coming. I think the films heading to the local big screen first will be “Wicked Spring,” before its new national release. Our Smoky Mountain western “Ghost Town,” Our faith film “Figure in the Forest” and the very popular based on a true story crime drama- “An Ordinary Killer”. Stay tuned for more big screen news.
I’m guessing we will hear something soon on the upcoming horror film “Dead Quiet” which I played a fun part in. I’m thinking a trailer might release sometime soon.
So you can see that between prepping new projects, pushing out the current films and selling films from the library – I’ve been busy like a bee. I’ve also managed to keep at a few of my hobbies. The BLOOD MOON CIDER was jarred up a few weeks ago and is tasting good. A touch tart but the berry taste really adds to it. Today I’m bottling a Blonde Ale that I’m calling “Be My Valentine Blonde Brew” since the ideal day to start drinking it will be next Saturday. I might have to try an early one tonight:)
I hope you all are having a great weekend!
Coffee, snow and here we go! The last few weeks have been focused as we worked to stay on a developmental timeline for a film project. It is a project that we’ve only spoken about on a TV interview a few weeks ago. I don’t like to blow the trumpets on a project until full money is locked up in the bank. Our account opens on Tuesday and by the end of next week all funds deposited. This is a project that I was compelled to write and that really resonated with investors, actors and distributors. But even more important it resonated with me. I have to feel a connection to a role/film.
I often see films that make me wonder why they are lackluster in their execution but I think it starts with the core people. If you’re making a film only for projected profits or even just to make “something”… I think the special qualities never become fully realized. Think of some of your favorite films, even little films and they have heart. Now I’ve gotten on my soap box many times over the business aspects which we are also doing but the artistic is also important. When I see a project asking for volunteers in important artistic functions I know there is a good chance that the opening credits might be the best part about a project. I’ve also made sub par product in the beginning of my career but I can say it usually boiled down to budget, or lack there of. But even a few highly skilled artists with vision can do amazing things. Anyway, I’m not quite ready to fully announce this next project but at least I explained why. I will say that it is entitled “40 Nights” and is a period piece. We have some amazing talent on board and are still bringing a few more to task. It will shoot in Yuma, AZ in March so we will be departing this cold for a few weeks. Now let’s look at a few new film updates.
This weekend the FX and opening credits are being dropped into BESTSELLER. Next week we will have a marketing meeting with Chris Knight over the roll out of the film. Dennis Therrian is working on scoring the film as he does a final pass on sound design. The film may also be releasing another trailer soon. The film has really come to life and with so many distributors asking about it I’m confident it will please the masses.
WICKED SPRING new DVD artwork was released as well as the June 2nd release date. The distributor has begun talks with retailers and I am planning a few theatrical showings to kick off the PPV, VOD, BluRay-DVD re-release. I’ve had many fans reach out already to share their excitement. Thank you so much.
ASHES OF EDEN is rolling out nationally in May and we are all excited to promote this title. The reviewers are enjoying this film and I think audiences will also. I know that at least a 1st draft of a follow-up project with Mr. Hagedorn may be in his hot little hands.
A slew of films were sent over for review by a couple of TV networks. I expect a couple of titles to be picked up. I have to follow-up on several foreign sales deals underway.
KNIGHT CHILLS II also released some 1st artwork and that script is moving right along. A shoot time has not yet been set but I would guess autumn 2015. The interest is there and I’ve even had some 1st distributor talks. Beware!
WASTELAND teaser should be getting close to done. The movie poster is being painted, yes I said painted. And the film edit should be about half way. We have also started some 1st talks with a CGI individual about the Sky Marshal ship. All very cool stuff!
DONORS – Official release next week with release dates and other information!
I have a 9:30 am coffee meeting with our director on the yet to be fully discussed film. So I’m going to wrap it up here and refill the old coffee cup.
Enjoy your weekend!
– Happy 2015 everyone! I was up early and had the coffee flowing so I could travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan to do a film commentary for the 15th anniversary release of IN THE WOODS. I awoke to a flurry of white that is supposed to change to freezing rain and back to snow. So we decided to reschedule the session. So you get my blog early and now we’ve got BBQ ribs in the crock pot and I’m going to get some office work and such done today. The holidays had me tired and some cold tried to get me but I beat it back. I don’t got the time to be sick! It was a great holiday filled with family and friends and I’m so ready to attack the new year.
We are close to announcing a couple of new film projects. Art work is underway on several films releasing and in development. Post production work keeps chugging along. We’ve been updating the http://www.cdiproductions.com website and I was stunned to see both the company site and this site had visitors/readers from over 70 countries. Let’s look at some updates in no real order.
– “Knight Chills II” script is underway and new artwork is underway. The book novelization to go with the re-release of the original will be underway this year also. I’m excited to re-visit this film. The 1st run moved 26,000 domestic units whereas much of that revenue did NOT come back home when the company went belly up. It was a major disappointment and set back at the time. This franchise is going to rise from the ashes.
– “In the Woods” 15th anniversary re-release is coming on Blu-Ray, PPV, VOD with the book by Nancy Gideon re-releasing also. There is some chatter about a sequel and a few ideas have been passed about but nothing solid.
– Assigned to Winters Film Group by CDI Distribution – 3 films. “Ashes of Eden” will lead the charge with an early release. “Donors” and the “Wicked Spring” re-release will follow. I’m told next week release dates will be set.
– CDI Releasing is also looking at directly releasing two of its earlier films “Figure in the Forest” playing multiple TV networks and “Heaven’s Neighbors” both directed by CDI’s Jeff Kennedy.
– CDI is looking at releasing more of the library into theaters in 2015.
– Foreign sales could really start picking up. We know the fans are out there and we want to get more of these stories out to them. Deals are underway and we hope to have some exciting announcements on this front.
– “Bestseller,” “Dead Quiet,” “The Terrorist” and “Wasteland Part 1” are all in post production and should all see releases in 2015.
I’ve had several projects approach me to consider acting in. One recently came from a studio head and is a pilot film that could spin-off into a series. The distribution is all set up and I’m looking forward to hearing more on this project. Also I might have a new work-for-hire script writing project which would be fun. I’m also working on a CDI commercial project which will shoot for a client this year. Overall I can say that 2015 will be a busy and productive year. I hope this holds true for each and every one of you that has put in the hard work. It doesn’t just happen but when you work smart and work hard the results will come.
Welcome December! I’ve got the hazelnut coffee brewed and I’m ready to have a little chat with the “Clawing My Way to the Middle” readers. First I want to say it is an honor to have each and every one of you take the time to read my journey. I try to present lessons that can help others on their own journey. I wanted to let you all know where many of our readers are from. Of course the USA, Brazil, Mozambique, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Norway, Thailand, Australia and Netherlands. How great is it that we all reside within our boarders of our country but we are all on this planetary journey together. Storytelling as been helping to shape society and artistic expressions while various all share common traits. I’ve always been drawn to culture that is different. I think that is what is uniquely special in all of us. That is why I could never get the concept of unifying. No one art is better – it is uniquely different. My mind even goes to food and drink when I look at that list of countries. I know all the unique traditions that surround great meals prepared in all those lands. USA is the hodgepodge for sure and that is our thing. But I’m deeply appreciate of food, song, culture, religion (as an expression) and storytelling. I’ve been honored to have worked with a handful of international filmmakers and I plan to work with more. I think my interest in ancient history, martial arts and even the culture of futbol/soccer has driven me to explore and enjoy the diversity we have on this planet. I want to thank all of you readers for your precious moments. I also will make it a goal to get more and more of our films into your territories. Some of them already are but with distribution growing as they say at Disney world “It’s a small world after all.” True words:)
I’ve had a great week both personal and professional. The Thanksgiving family time is past us and now the Christmas tree is up. While not yet decorated it has been a welcome sight each day. The tree will become the fuel of the transformation fire (Fire pit) that will help burn up the winter clutter once spring arrives. I’ve been gathering gifts for family since I will be gone the week before Christmas week. I’ll be in Nevada playing space cowboy in the Valley of Fire. I was informed that as a young child I went there and even saw a few old photos yesterday. I look forward to gathering with these artists and performing with a few actors I admire and have not yet worked directly with. I’m ready save my packing so soon it will be time to shoot in the WASTELAND.
2015 Distribution Updates
ASHES OF EDEN – Feel free to read a great review of the film. More of these will be releasing leading up to the 2015 national release. I have a goof vocabulary but I had to look up the word they associated with my name. I thought it might mean “Loud and Opinionated” Ha! But I was happy to see that it meant “marked by outstanding strength and vigor of body, mind or spirit.” So please do take a read on the review and we will be getting the film on the market and out to you very soon.
DONORS – Also will be releasing nationally in 2015 – more on this in the weeks to come
WICKED SPRING – produced under Lionheart Filmworks when that was our southern sister company. The companies split ways a handful of years ago and now “Wicked Spring” is under the CDI banner and is getting a 2015 spring special edition release. Also on BluRay!
We will see a 2015 re-release of KNIGHT CHILLS with a novelization release. Likely fall 2015. Also work on a sequel script has begun.
HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS and FIGURE IN THE FOREST rights are back at home here at CDI and a domestic release set up will also happen. “Figure in the Forest” can be seen on TBN and Parables TV.
BESTSELLER – Early look at FX work is very exciting! I know music work is in full swing. We are looking at a 1st test showing of this film early in 2015. We are getting some early interest from distributors. It is going to be another film that proudly showcases Michigan filmmaking at its finest.
NON-CDI RELEASE INFO
I have a few co-starring/supporting roles in THE TERRORIST & DEAD QUIET and make appearances in DIVISION 19 and SMALL TOWN SANTA (Released now).
Several VERY exciting projects are in development some with partial funding. We’re hard at work with some script work and prep that will lead to more production in 2015!
My last advice pulled from recent events. ALWAYS, ALWAYS give more by way of effort than what you are paid for. NEVER be one of the people who does just the absolute minimum. Maybe at some boring desk job but in an industry that moves on passion you never want to be seen as just a functional piece. Your passion is what makes you an artistic contributor. It is what will get you re-hired. A great example taken from BESTSELLER film shoot. I like to ninja about and just observe people at work. I came up to the grip truck one day to find our key grip Paul Burt busy organizing. Most people were just trying to stay warm and get the shots as this was a wet, cold day on a remote dirt road. I watched him move and arrange. Wipe down and clean C stands and such. When I revealed myself to his surprise – I was met with a smile and asked if I needed anything. My response – “I need an entire crew with an attitude like yours.” I said, hot coffee was ready and he explained that he would go up in a few minutes. This was HIS responsibility. HIS grip truck for this shoot and HE wanted to make sure it was clean and orderly because it was a reflection on him. WOW! I want people like that on our team. That is a reflection of us as a company. That is a reflection of us as an industry. Character is what you are when you think nobody is looking. Pride starts with yourself and extends outward like a pebble thrown in water. Paul Burt’s phone will ring again. Will yours? With only so many people making narrative features and with the way producers get referrals on performance. How many times can someone give just the bare minimum before one of your peers with passion takes that hire away from you? Let me answer that for you – not many. This goes for actors. This goes for vendors. I’ve had companies mad because I continued to get my gear over the years from LOWING LIGHT & GRIP. I even had a trash talking vendor from Detroit once ask how she could steal my business. Her choice of words alone made me say, NEVER. David (Lowing) was there when I first stepped up to fight monsters in IN THE WOODS. He has always been there for me. Like I said about cast/crew, he always gave more goods or service than the dollar amount on the check. That intangible is where loyalty lives. The actor who gives every ounce of themselves – I immediately think of Melissa Anschultz freezing in a warehouse under rain machines while filming “7 Stones”. I already spoke about Paul Bert and David Lowing as examples of crew and vendors. If you desire loyalty from people you better give them a reason. I know people out there get mad (of course at someone else) if they get passed over. We know sometimes it’s just a casting thing or a key crew position that was already in play – but look at yourselves. Are you respectful to those above and below you? Do you give your best effort, always? Do you spread positive energy in your wake? Would you be an example for others to follow? If you can’t answer YES to all of these your time could be limited or your advancement may stall. Stand accountable and watch your career and life experience amazing growth.
Happy Full Moon!