(Happy Memorial Day – Veteran Paul Landings and Brown Boy)
I want to welcome the new readers from Spain, Egypt and other territories around the world. The mornings have still been chilly and so the hot hazelnut coffee is a welcome treat. Again it was just an amazing week but a few things have sat on my mind. Poisoning wells is a term we use in our producing and it means an individual or company that doesn’t take care in their action and business and it can ruin it for everyone. It happens with locations, investors and business relationships. I’ve been accused of keeping my cards close and that is because many do not treat those relationships as they should. Many people are mindful only of their immediate wants and don’t look long-term. CDI has been built upon many years of trial and error and filtering out the toxic and/or lazy. I really do care about our people and seek to develop them. At CDI fertile grounds exist for tribal loyal to undertake project development but many like to make their own go at things. No experienced overhead and management often results in zero funding even if the creative talents exist. People ask me what “tribal loyal” means and it is quite simple. If you are lucky enough to hunt up a strong opportunity do you bring it to the tribe? The tribe has the success record and gives confidence to investors and new partners. But many would still horde the contact and try to make the best of it, often resulting in failure. In simple terms if you hunted up a deer for food, would you bring it back to feed the tribe or hide out by oneself to horde the kill? We’re fortunate to have developed a solid core of people at CDI that know that a contact/opportunity will be properly used for the good of the tribe. We have some that are “in orbit,” that circle the tribe, enjoying many of the benefits but maintain their…looking for something better to come along. Which of course is a perception and often isn’t better- “the grass appears greener…” you get it.
I had one situation whereas an established, well groomed relationship was approached covertly by one of these “in orbit” tribal members to further a personal agenda versus the tribal agenda that I serve daily. This go-around communication was brought to my attention out of respect for our mutual business by this long-term business associate. I’ve gotten these calls from LA with people using my name as a ‘friend’ because of Facebook but that is another thing. The big table is for those with funding and accountable for the money. This person circumventing was just like thousands of others seeking funds. But they were politely given the same answer I’ve always given. I’m not tech savvy, I’m people savvy (sincere) and so that is what I focus on. Collaboration and deal-making. When I’m successful many artists get put to work. But the process in which this particular individual went about getting their own answers reflected poorly upon them. They made light of it when it was addressed and in the same communication was asking for more from the tribe. So the hard truth is that previous to CDI funding, there wasn’t any funding confidence in this person. This person’s personal agenda pursuit yielded the same answers. Now that their perceived “better” agenda doesn’t look plausible they return back asking for more. But should the “more” be held back and gifted to the loyal and those enthusiastic and appreciative to grow and develop with our tribe of artists? I recall a conversation years ago that “We got all we’re going to get out of DJ Perry, no need to communicate with him anymore.” Harsh but a realism in my world.
A TV series and a continuous slate of films with an increase in size and scope is what lies in store for Collective Development Inc. It is not a boast, a challenge or anything of the sort – it is just a truth if I’m drawing breath.
Within CDI, I do expect a certain behavior from our tribal members and it matches what I expected at summer camp, the martial arts dojo and in soccer practices/games. I try to use the resources we have wisely to do the big 3 – stay on schedule, stay on budget, give high artistic quality. Team formation and management is what I excel at and it starts by recognizing and respected each cast and crew as an artist. And my power to make definitive decisions lies in my accountability no more. Currently we don’t have enough projects active to have every artists working their ideal role via acting or director, DP, etc…but we will. And those hungry for more could undertake in-house development. Done from within it carries the weight of the company and the field of successful endeavors. Outside the tribe, that project stands alone and the same hinderance exists.
I personally could have left the tribe and been a lone wolf as the offers were there. But I realized immediately that separated from the tribe one doesn’t carry the same power. I represent honorably our tribe’s storytelling ability. And it is a TRIBE. Every person involved plays a great role in the success. Know that these examples of missteps are not one person but a few scattered over a span of several years. Some recent and some not. But I will grant you this nugget of wisdom. I see many artists pass up opportunities that they feel are not in line with their own direct dreams. I’ve learned a secret. Often the keys to our own dreams lie in helping someone else achieve their own dream. I’ve watched people selfishly step on and do whatever, compromise whatever, all seeking that elusive key. But what if the key appears only as a reward for helping others? We are all interconnected. The other thing is we cannot always help everyone save by good example. I love as we grow we keep bringing more artists together. In my life when I’ve had external issues I looked internally. Tend the inner fire. Also the path forward is seldom a straight line. That line might go all over the board and that is the journey of life. Live it well and worry less about the final destination. Keep moving in the right direction.
And I want to be clear – the above examples are NOT some passive aggressive lament on personalities of a few. As the counselor, sensei, coach and CEO of Collective Development, I take my accountability. But my decisions won’t and don’t always line up with everyone’s opinions. But even when some feel I got it wrong I think everyone would agree that I’m asserting fairness as I see it. My passion for the stories being told is also unquestionably legit. I tell stories I truly care about. So you have two sides to a coin. Have I failed to open some minds to the collective strength of a tribe of artists? Have they failed to recognize and appreciate the opportunity and benefits of an artistic tribe? Bottom line is we are growing at CDI and I am looking to give opportunities to those tired of the selfish agendas and wanting something more inclusive. We have had some very good crews over the last several years. Our last film really flowed well and all during the break in the Covid surges. We are just getting back to crewing on our next WW2 drama -shall we take a look?
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
A few of the departments include discussions with the keys so we’re going to be focusing on crewing in June. Also our German casting is almost complete so we’ll be announcing them. Sponsorship and brand alignment is launched and I might have our first to announce very soon! Our Facebook site is growing and adding more everyday.
LOST HEART & BIGFOOT, UFOS AND JESUS
The General Market (GM) release of ‘Lost Heart’ has begin and it will start appearing on platforms as early as next week. This movie started in the family/faith market which can turn some viewers off. But this film truly is much more and deserves to be seen by a wide international audience. The GM title will also do better overseas where these three words in the title are more easily understood versus ‘Lost Heart’ but by any name the film is a true joy and we hope you and your family will love it.
Under the title ‘Lost Heart’ the film will be up in June for ‘Best Film of the Year’ at the Crown Awards. Here is a recent review of the film which I really enjoyed.
BEST YEARS GONE – So the film is racing around the post production track. Dialog, sound design and music are underway. We had two of our celebrity judges sound off on their top 3 songs. These videos are on our Facebook page so seek us out. We will be announcing the winner very soon and a music video will be done. We had a meeting on that and we’re quite excited. The actual first official trailer is done visually and is now in post-audio and we are all excited to share it. The trailer and screen captures will travel to our distributor to begin poster work. We have two premiere events in the work. Both in September with one being a theatrical premiere in Owosso, MI and a race/bigscreen event with the Springport Racetrack. We had a great meeting and scout on Friday and it will be another unique CDI experience and we’ll be looking to film it.
Recently FORTY NIGHTS broke the 1 mil viewers on Encourage TV and with TV play around the world this trilogy (Part 2 CHASING THE STAR and Part 3 THE CHRIST SLAYER) is being seen by 10’s of millions. I really enjoy the great fantail from those who keep discovering and enjoying these films.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – The trailer teaser for this documentary will roll out July 4th! We are really excited to be bringing this look and eventually entire documentary on the nearly forgotten art of catch-can be brought back to life by some of the greatest grapplers on the planet.
SMOKE & MIRRORS – I’m looking forward to seeing this project come together and as noted this project was created from a feature script. I think the success of this short showcases what an incredible story could be told as a feature.
MAN’S BEST FRIEND is a title that ties into Memorial Day weekend giving viewers a look at the sacrifice many of the survivors of war made. If you haven’t seen the film please do take a watch. If you have seen it, enjoy another watch.
So yesterday it was yard mowing, trimming, planting and such as we put in our veggies and herbs. Today maybe a bit more of the same plus I might do a version roast in the smoker. I always think about maybe deleting the opening ponderings and stick to just updates but those lessons discussed are what will truly help you succeed. I could just talk about the success we’ve had in our updates but if you’re having issues getting traction with your own endeavors maybe those words will bring you insight. I hope you all have an enjoyable couple of days. Happy Memorial Day! Remember those US troops who dies to give us all the freedoms we have.
Until next week!
Coffee Cheers! Again if you own a coffee roaster and want to get your brand name out reach out and we’ll use your coffee in our upcoming production of BEST YEARS GONE. I’ve been having the same issue with brewery and distillery options. We’ve always made product sponsorship deals with various companies and showcased them in our films. But they are slow to commit on this go-around and I have to guess that its the Covid effect on their businesses. If I don’t make a deal it will become just a created label. So whatever your business is if you want to discuss our sponsorship program reach out to me on here and we can talk.
I got my Covid test back that was super easy at Walgreens from my car. I’m clear. So I will report to the hotel this weekend under our new corporate deal with Tru Hotel/Hilton. Speaking of sponsors I want to thank The Candleberry Company for their sponsorship. Lerma Transportation is onboard to assist with the craft service. And it looks like BIOCLEAN will also be a sponsor again and in these times it’s good to have them on board. We are going to run a very safe set because Covid is not the only enemy. The flu and common cold is also a hinderance so we hope to keep everyone healthy. We have more cast to reveal including my old amigo Terence Knox (St. Elsewhere, Tour of Duty) and another CDI alumni from “Chasing the Star” will be joining us! I’m excited about the team of artists and we’re going to have a great time telling this story.
BUT…we have another movie rolling out as we’re starting to film. LOST HEART had a successful cast and crew screening in New Era at The Double JJ Resort. Music, interviews, food and fun followed by a wonderful film. Weeping, laughter and everything in-between. I was happily surprised by how engaged the audience was. We had a good number of local randoms mixed into our crowd. Bottom line is I think we have another hit. The local, regional and national media is kicking. From smaller reviewers like Noah Kaser below to Mike Huckabee who will be hosting Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson in Nashville. The film is truly funny and has heart warming messages about dreams and family without being heavy handed. Please do tune in Nov. 7th and 21st on ENCOURAGE TV (A Free app) to watch the premiere event and the film. It will start 7pm EST on those two dates (Nov 7, 21). Won’t you please join us? Noah below said he’s reviewed 200 films this year and LOST HEART is in his Top 5! We hope it makes your list also:)
Once we get past the premiere showings on the 7th and 21st of November we should know where the film is headed. Likely an exclusive run on a network before it goes wide. It will also start making its way around the world.
I’ve had a few good meetings over our Mid-Western WILD FAITH turning into a TV series entitled “Hastings”. We have interest on a few fronts and if everything works out we’ll film 8 shows this spring. It will be a wonderful thing to see the beloved characters back in action. Several sites are streaming it but Encourage TV alone is closing on 3 million. Add in broadcast TV and foreign and we have a large and growing audience. I’m excited to put this in motion and to bring BEN LILY back into action.
SMOKE & MIRRORS is just looking awesome and sounds just as amazing. We are having some VFX work done and after credits – Shazam! Done:) Finishing up the feature script is on my things to do this winter.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – We have Veteran’s Day approaching and I’m so proud that this film is making the rounds. Much of the festival and event play got squashed by the lock down but the film itself is growing via word of mouth. You can watch it free via Encourage TV yourself and leave your thoughts. I see that Brazil now has MBF.
I’m also excited as we enter the holiday season to start pushing THE QUEST TRILOGY. This adventure trilogy is shot using the “style” of the original Star Wars films. You can see it in FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. It was filmed in the Yuma desert where RETURN OF THE JEDI filmed. It is a unique series of films and again is not preachy but thought provoking. Watch them all together to get a greater story and enjoy them with your family.
FEW QUESTIONS FOR MY READERS–
- Has anyone read my story in the cat book released this fall? Thoughts?
- Who has seen “The Quest Trilogy” all together and what were your thoughts?
- I’ve got several past thrillers and horror films perfect for the Halloween season, favorites? Scariest?
- Would you be excited for a WILD FAITH tv series? Favorite characters?
- MBF – Who do you agree with? Again a real thought provoker.
- Have you ever used a Candleberry Co candle?
This past week has been getting warmer wardrobe around and a few rehearsals on BYG film. We picked the last of the beans from the garden. The crockpot with beans and additional veggies and a pork roast will be filling the house with good smells. The Autumn Ale has been enjoyed at a few meetings. The chickens are doing good with the coming of the colder weather. We took a nice nature walk with Finn yesterday and I just love this season. I’m just feeling great about the coming week and I will be seeing some close artist friends that I usually only see when filming. Get yourself artists with a positive attitude and that vibe will transfer to the story.
Thank you again to everyone at The Double JJ Resort. It is a wonderful place to visit for golf, horseriding, waterpark and more! I’m going to get back to a few pre-production things today and I’m thinking of doing these next batch of blogs on a Monday since our filming for the next few weeks will include Sunday. So I might be doing a delayed blog OR I might do a video blog recap which might be easier. We will see said the wise man. Be good to one another!
(The Fort – Tribe CDI – 2019)
Welcome new readers from Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, India and beyond. We’re in the final days of 2019 and so far it has just been a great season. This past week I’ve had a few meetings at the fort with the fire burning bright with ideas and friendship. We have some great updates to share with everyone but before that lets looks at someone else’s art.
Star Wars – (NO SPOILERS) – I went to see Star Wars at 7 years old and it was the seed planted in me to become a storyteller. Last week I got to see the final film in a series of interconnecting stories started by George Lucas. My issue with many films these days is just trying to do too much. Instead of one star ship in pursuit there has to be 100. Tension is created in moments. Those can feel stolen when trying to do too much. Character development is still king in my world of viewing hence by love of shows like BLACK SAILS. Bringing together all the ‘Star Wars’ loose threads was surely difficult but overall I really did enjoy the final film. That said, I feel truly like the torch has been passed. I feel like I do a good job of creating characters on the script page with depth. I feel we have stories to tell and we will. The goal is to create a few classics in this lifetime. In 2020 will see more writing, producing and continue to try and captures hearts and minds with our stories.
(WILD FAITH brand – Hastings TV series in development at CDI)
I see a lot of talented artists who spend a lot of time creating in someone else’s world. But the bottom line is you don’t own the brand. There are several filmmakers that do a great job creating fan films from video games or Star Wars and The Mask. That said, all that hard work is building someone else’s brand. I’m a fan of brands also but I let it influence my work but I don’t work with someone else’s brand unless hired to do so.
All three biblical adventures in THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) are all on Amazon. I was given an opportunity to produced these adventures with a ‘Star Wars’ feel. The cinematography and often the music was influenced by the Star Wars style. Star Wars was influenced from earlier works like THE SEVEN SAMURAI. A good reason for your own brand is that you don’t have to ask permission to create your own world. And if you succeed those people are becoming fans of your work. Again instead of the hardships of growing an audience around your brand, if you pick a strong brand with dedicated followers you can get a jump on exposure but…. I mean if you create a great Star Wars fan film you might get millions of hits. But try adding a price tag, although you cannot sell someone else’s brand, and it becomes like buying a knock off cologne. If a non-official derivative of someones brand is offered free you may get a lot of eyes but unless the creators take notice and hire you, you’re just building someone else’s brand. Beware of legal also with others brands. Just my two cents.
So again just like role playing, cos-play or any fun group activities, fan art has a place but film work is really hard work for someone else’s brand. My advice is do your own thing or work WITH an emerging artists to create a shared brand. Again I’m not a “my way is the only way” person at all. But I’m not into fan films or hobby films or anything that isn’t building our brand. Now you can build your skill set (acting, directing, writing) with the previous two mentioned types of films so there is value. I do appreciate anyone who uses their imagination to create. We just have long term goals and so those need to remain in focus for us. It is a hard industry to survive in. Take that from a survivor.
Please do enjoy the holidays with a watch on the trilogy and watch all three in order. Poor ‘Chasing the Star’ sometimes takes a few rocks because someone did not realize they were watching part 2 of 3 films. In time audiences will understand they are a trilogy and a bigger picture will emerge upon watching in order.
I also see a few people who thought the Magi story had nothing to do about Christmas. Maybe I should have added Heat and Cold Miser and a reindeer or two:) But for the few audience members who don’t get it, many DO get it. We don’t dumb down our stories but challenge and encourage people to talk and discuss often hard topics. So ENJOY a watch and discussion. At one of my distribution content meetings we had discussion about more biblical adventures. I might have my next three films and one of them is written. So we will see said the wise man.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Due to the season where many are enjoying family and friends and watching films, I’ve gotten a spike in fan mail. This film has been generating a good buzz and we have some exciting events and showings coming up in 2020. But you don’t have to wait. You can watch on Amazon today! If dogs and/or support of our military touches you, please do take a watch.
LOST HEART – The fine cut is getting close. After a wonderful first cut by editor Scott Magie, welcome to the CDI Tribe, a second final cut is near. This week we had a post meeting with Dennis Therrian (music/sound), Jesse Low (Director) along with Melissa Anschutz, Shane Hagedorn and even John Mashni made a stop by. Come mid 2020 we will have a most excellent story to share with you all.
In the meantime – please watch the CDI Film collection and share your thoughts.
HOPE for HEAVEN – is the script I’ve been working on. It’s been developing in a wonderful fashion starting with some great characters. We’re working development on several properties that could go full green light in 2020/2021. A sequel to KNIGHT CHILLS, perhaps? We’ve had a few screen and camera tests. WW2 drama – coming together. Kids adventure film – might happen:) WILD FAITH TV series:) With some of the new meetings and opportunities before CDI, I promise we will continue to create. Thank you to all of you for your continued support.
Ok. We had a wonderful first Christmas gathering yesterday. Friends tonight and several gatherings in the week ahead, including two more family Christmas gatherings. I am down to just a little bit of shopping. I give thanks to those who sent a card or gave little love gifts, much appreciated. But the most important thing you can give anyone is a bit of your time, laughter and joy.
I’ve been questioned about my verbal non-involvement in politics. It’s because much like the ‘golden rule’ I believe in focusing on what we all could benefit from. When people are drained from endless debates, divided by priority differences and angered by the never-ending shortcomings of each another – I say relax. Sit back and watch a story with universal messages woven within. My friendships with people are more important than trying to convince someone I’m right about an obvious self-opinion. So set aside your differences and focus on what brings us all together. Fellow human beings trying to live a meaningful life with health and joy. Even if it is for a few days, try it and you might find it a better way to live, to cope, to exist, to grow, and to be the better you.
Fear leads to anger, anger to hate and hate to suffering – MERRY CHRISTMAS!
I love this sandstorm picture. The last few weeks I’ve been working on the follow up film in our biblical series with Lightworx Entertainment. It will be announced in some official development PR soon. The script is called “Chasing the Star” (working title).
Casting has been on-going and I have to say I’ve seen some great talent from around the world. This film is gearing up for an early 2016 shoot.
Staying on the topic of development – it’s an exciting and challenging time. I know what follows the casting, financing, scheduling and development work – PRODUCTION. (Battle Drums) I really take these opportunities serious. A successful project brings continued prosperity for all those involved. It’s a team of people making their artistic mark within set business parameters. If you don’t agree our “tribe” is not for you.
We’ve had exploratory talks (J.M.) that yielded good financial news. This week we’ve had several productive talks with certain keys on some of our upcoming projects. These films have their worldwide distribution deals in place. It’s a new experience working with the distribution studios in advance but I like it. It means no shopping required after the fact which increases production flow. With a good deal that means less financing effort and with worldwide rights pre-assigned – it means moving into development on something new sooner.
I’ve had representation of many types from small local agents to Hollywood big 3. I’ve had managers from many different walks – all with their own ideas of how to promote. Many wanted to mold or change you – following some trend. I think most artists fight to be understood and respected in our business. RULE #1 for someone representing – that is they have to believe in what they are selling. You NEED someone who really GETS YOU. Are you a character actor? A lead? Do they understand why you say YES or NO to a gig? Many agencies are shotgunning talent aiming for anything and everything. I recall years ago when starting out, I asked Bruce Campbell at a sit down with director buddy Mike Kallio, “Any advice on finding a GOOD agent?” to which he responded “Good agent? Good luck with that one kid.” I think he meant finding a good agent was like finding Bigfoot. At another dinner I asked actress Lana Wood the same question. “I’m still looking honey” was her response. I’m saying, if you find that person who believes in you treat that like gold. How many actors would be lured by the grass being greener seduced by bigger agents or opportunities? Be loyal if it’s working. Col. Parker, Peter Grant and others played a large part in the overall success. Art and Business.
She recently had my work put before a well known director. I was presented exactly as I should be and without any BS spin. I think in our faced-paced world just getting someone to stop long enough to see your talent is half the battle.
I will be working to get the release dates on “Donors,” “Bestseller” and “The Terrorist” . “Ashes of Eden” is gearing up for the 13th of October US release. I think we might have a theatrical ASHES OF EDEN re-run just before the DVD/VOD release. Stay tuned.
“40 Nights” is now undergoing dialog polishing. VFX work is underway and sound design/music on deck.
I’m very proud of the last three CDI associated films cast and crew. The Michigan reputation has gotten better with west coast executives but the truth is we have been seen as backwoods. Hey, I love the outdoor association to backwoods. We have our pines, birches, oaks – Michigan is full of breathtaking nature. I’m told, We’re Southern Canadians in many ways. They believe that in Canada because it helps soften the blow when the Red Wings kick on them.
Back to the backwoods and how that relates to the former incentives – let’s be truthful, our cast and crew got fed mostly scraps. There exists exceptions and if you’re an exception – GREAT! Only love. But for most – the jobs offered were much below their true skill level.
The State of the State Now
I think we’ve got great talent in Michigan. We produce good players but often bad teams. I think the competitive in-state nature doesn’t always allow the best collaborations.
– To bring this full circle
Kudos to the crews from the previous three CDI features. But if I’m going to do that I can go all the way back to CDI film one. We’ve always taken filmmaking serious. I knew what Hollywood thought of us even then. We often get labeled as inferior but I know we’re NOT inferior. But to say that isn’t the best way. To show them now that’s the way. I’m pleased by what I’ve seen in the wake of the film incentive death. Some cried and left and others are finding their grit again. As the eye of TMZ moves away from Michigan, so does the vast amount of people wishing to be celebrities versus those working to have their art revealed.
I’ve been filled with compliments recently by “Hollywood” insiders on not only the final product but our dependability. That is something that is such a secret to success. If you cannot keep a timely/on-budget production or post a film within a timely turn around -you’ll likely NEVER make it in a studio system where production funds are granted. They are investing into dependability that a marketing team can work with in unison.
CDI – The Brand
We’ve built a BRAND (Collective Development) that represents diversity, quality and dependability. And we’ve been able to do that because we hire people who take great pride in their work. Hire people who are truly talented, accept accountability and maintains a professional respect amongst peers. I’m just very proud because all these films are built largely upon the Michigan talent pool.
DO IT. DO IT RIGHT.
WE WILL ALL WEAR THE FAME OR SHAME OF OUR UNITED ACTIONS
BE THE CHANGE YOU DESIRE
DARE TO BE FAIR
SAY NO VERSUS GO IF THE SHIP AIN’T TIGHT
ONE STATE TO RULE THEM ALL (Sounds Lord of the Rings)
A STATE OF WINNING (Okay this fun exchange just went Charlie Sheen on me – I’m out-E)
Have a great weekend everyone. HOPS are almost ripe. Maybe time for a warm up cup of coffee.