NEW Theaters, Director’s Screening, NEW Development 2023
A beautiful light snow is falling in Michigan. I’m sipping on my hazelnut coffee and reflecting upon the past week. Again, a kind lady, a friends mother that I’ve known since I was 5, passed away. She was 94 and did many great things in her time with her family being her pride. Her son who was one of my oldest friends, passed away unexpectedly when I was out filming THE CHRIST SLAYER. It was nice to see so many people I’ve not seen in many years. It is sad that is often takes a tragedy or loss to bring some folks together. I was happy to hear all these beautiful comments about the films we’ve done. The lady who passed really loved Man’s Best Friend. Several talked about The Quest Trilogy (Our three part biblical adventure). Many wanted to know what the latest and greatest was- that is SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. Some saw it in our home town but the film was extended for two weeks and we were not told. We could have promoted the added two weeks more had we known. But the film did quite well, hence the extended screening.
My own family has not seen the WW2 drama which is marching all across the midwest as people request the film and bookers are reaching out. We’re heading into Nebraska and soon Minnesota – also in the director’s hometown of Owosso, Michigan we’ve secured a run with the NCG theatre. We are pushing to get it into N. Lansing at the NCG in February. Dates TBD. We’ll be starting the Owosso, NCG run on Feb 4th (Sat) with screenings at 4:00 and 7:00 and the film will play until Feb 9th playing at 4:00 and we’re trying to get a second show during the week for those who work. The photo banner will be up on the 4th and our director Anthony Hornus will be welcoming folks to both shows. After the 7pm show we’re going to go to Romas next door to meet and greet with guests. I’m giving the advanced notice here and on Monday we’ll start releasing PR about the showing.
It doesn’t matter what state you are in – contact the managers and request their bookers bring it in. We’re having classrooms of kids, retirement home trips and church groups, all going to the film. Many are seeing the film more than once and we’re getting lots of requests for DVD and streaming which will be 4th quarter of the year after we’ve marched around the country doing screenings. We are trying to get it to a major military base theatre in Germany and are looking at select festivals to play.
BEST YEARS GONE – This is our previous comedy drama and we’re looking at some comedy fest and also a few cool marketing ideas. I still want to look at sponsoring a race – The Gilles Cup:) If you haven’t had a chance to watch this film, please do. I think you will laugh and find some sweet moments in the film.
Harsens Island Revenge – is in full on development and will go into pre-production next month for a post Labor Day shoot. Cast and Crew discussions will begin soon. Location scouting has already begun and another scout trip will be in order soon.
For the Love of Catch: Battlefields is the second collaboration in a series of doc films focused on the grappling arts. We’re in the budgeting stage and talking to potential donations as the project is produced through the Red, White & Blue Non-Profit with CDI supervising the production. If you or your company have interest in supporting this project via donations please reach out.
SHJ – The meeting for the in association film went really well. The biggest issue is schedule which needs to land after Harsens Island Revenge. This film is an action mystery thriller with a supernatural twist to it. I’ll have follow up meeting this week to iron out more details but things are looking very promising.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – The first draft of the script is done and I had a select group looking it over for historical tweaks. It is not a biopic but historical fiction. If the script gets approved, I’ll fine tune the budget and we’ll look at the builds we need done this year before 2024 proposed shoot. The key is not too many cooks in the kitchen. CDI is excited to tell another Iowa-based story. I will be looking to see how many 1800’s cabins exist still in the Algona, Iowa area. Stay tune for more updates.
This week I will continue to feed our accountants the information they need to do end of year taxes. I have started working on personal taxes and will have that material pulled together very soon. I know that the CDI website is about to get a few updates to it. If you haven’t visited our website – http://www.cdiproductions.com
We are going to be discussing merchandise for the lead up to Christmas 2023 but SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, posters could become available for sale in Feb if things go right. They might be for sale at the Owosso, MI afterglow. What CDI merchandise would you like to see?
Lastly, we’re moving towards a SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, final film to deliver to the home video distributor. It’s now like a 4 piece puzzle that needs to be put together. On the big screen we were able to see a few polishes needed either to the color, VFX and subtitles, in a few places.
In addition to all this – I do have a few writing projects I’ll be returning to. One is a comedy and one a Sci-Fi piece, I do love writing. I’ve got many sponsors to touch base with to discuss the home video release of SNIA and also discuss them coming on board Harsens Island Revenge. I’m going to have some company later so I’ll be getting the wood stove roaring. I hope you all have a recharging weekend and prepare for a productive week ahead.
Tis the Season: surviving, striving, thriving and creating
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.
ARTISTS Around the World, Updates and Award Nominations
Good morning my friends – coffee cheers. (Above: Movie lunch pails – one day:) I loved seeing all the readers that dropped by last week and from so many different countries. Interesting talk recently that the artists in all countries likely exist in an alike mind space. This started from watching the live action Mulan. I really enjoyed it. Of course I’m a martial artists and I also love the history and traditions of the asian countries. The media backlash was over some of the film being filmed in areas of China where the treatment of some people there has been in question. My point is that I can assure that most of the artists in China are not the ones committing these actions. Politicians and corporations are where the differences often lie. Again I think that art is one of the best forms of communication still working. I think it is through storytelling and art that people try to change things by changing the hearts of the people. Iran. That was brought up and I am sure that there are many wonderful Iranian artists and many are likely not in step with their government. Artists have been persecuted in many places over the corse of history for illuminating people in a way that often goes against the agenda of politics. Don’t get me wrong, artists have their issues and running a country of diverse people is never easy. But the film Mulan had beautiful locations and maybe that is why certain things were filmed at certain locations. Story-first we call it. In telling our story we try to do what is best for the story not politically motivated. Also I do understand financial reasons for location choice. I just like to look at the sum of the parts. In any endeavor using many people – having a story to focus upon brings out the best in each person. Their best artistic qualities end up showcased. Again that’s why we embrace the ‘collective development’ of individuals versus a ‘cancel’ mentality. On our sets a respectful attitude is required and any course corrections to transgressions would be attempted and often the flow is resumed. In a few situations we’ve let people go but when that has happened I’ve owned that as a miss or a loss. A kid who had to be sent home from summer camp because a staff couldn’t nurture the good kid within. A student who quits never to return to the dojo is on the sensei – he failed to nurture the student properly. An athlete who has to be removed from a team shares that failure with his coaches. Just a few thoughts. I’ve had beautiful fan mail and invites to visit their countries from people all over the world. Those places I would be honored to visit but being honest, some places have me nervous. The nervous apprehension is not stemming from the artists. So in conclusion, if a group of people geographically create something in an area where some in power have misstepped should all the people, all the artists be held accountable? And yes. I’m sure the artists in some of these places object to things they don’t agree with, much like here in the USA. But many elsewhere are met with bullets in response to their objections. So let us praise positivity in story wherever it’s told.
Onto some film updates. First this week we starting to announce some of the ICFF 2021 Nominations which is for films of faith, family and inspiration. Positive stories:) We were fortunate enough to again be chosen for several nominations with LOST HEART. First is my favorite award nomination next to ‘Most Inspirational’ which THE QUEST TRILOGY garnished. BEST FILM – I love this because again as mentioned earlier it represents the collective artistry of the tribe.
On a personal level I’m enjoying the collecting of these screenwriter nods. When acting was my main push and I guess I would say it still is. I use to downplay the screenwriting not wanting to be seen as a screenwriter who acts. But these days I’m 100% confident is just being the artist I am with multiple avenues to create. As an actor, I’ve had the pleasure of trying to utter some pretty bad dialog in some questionably written scripts. Often by some good directors who’s art of screenplay wasn’t on the same level. But that means a director directing and actors acting with a poor blue print. To have a chance at executing a good story you need a strong blue print. This is why I’ve done less and less outside work. I KNOW great material is out there and good teams to execute production but getting those circles to all align can be difficult. There is so much that can hinder a film production the script should not be one of them. So I’ve been poking about and having a few discussions on literary representation. I would like to see a few stories go be created by others. To have other artists and tribes make a go at telling a great story because of a solid blue print. We can only create so many stories as a company. So I look forward to creating a few wonderful vehicles for actors and teams out there in the world.
Congrats to Jesse Low. One of the other instinctual things a producer(s) have to do is try to marry the right story to the right director. It is an art. Just like management. Casting. Crewing. If working as many with a zero budget it’s making the best hand with what you have. On the low budget you do have choices. In a way the best choices, because you will only attract artists who love the story and/or filmmakers. Also development – after several features – the relationship flow with Jesse Low has become tight. Coffee Cheers to many more!
A film will LIVE or DIE but the leads. So many wish the opportunity but it is not easy. It is why I cringe when someone says, “I might try acting, sounds fun.” Acting is more a calling (or a disease) versus a fun thing to try. The medium of film requires even more focus as things are often in random order and the multiple takes can be draining. Many actors and actresses don’t have the endurance to do it. That is why shorts are a good build for cast and crews. Features are a longer journey and requires pacing, prep and hyper-focus.
Melissa Anschutz went above and beyond – allowing audiences via her national PR appearances to hear about her personal battles immediately following filming. This reached, touched and helped many people with alike tragedies in their lives. She is very deserving of both these awards so a big congrats to Melissa and thank you for all you do to help the tribe of artists. You’re an inspiration to many out there.
CDI has been blessed to have many very successful artists join our tribe and storytell with us. These folks have such great projects behind them that when they branch out to work with anyone they take a real chance. At CDI we don’t play ‘star’ that is for the red carpet for those who wanna play that – this is storytelling. I’m so appreciative of the artists who bring their very best. No phoning it in. They BRING IT. I do love how Tarantino brings great names from previous successful stories that maybe haven’t been seen in a while and showcased fresh, powerful new performances. We do that. We work hard to provide the most professional experience and to encourage the best set to create. I’m so happy for Victoria Jackson and Don Most for their nominations in the supporting roles. If you watch the film LOST HEART you will realize how deserving them are. Often a fest might give a nod because of the star power it brings but these nominations are right on. They both give performances that audiences will remember for years to come. It shows that Happy Days and SNL were just early stepping stones and they are still the artist they ever were and with experience, even more talented now. Congrats.
Now we come to this. I want to say that I have to get better about accepting such things. I truly enjoy other people getting recognition so that they will want to come out and play next time asked. Last year I was nominated for ‘Paul Landings’ as the Best Actor in MBF and took great pride in that since Paul represents our wounded military vets. Now ole ‘UFO Worldwide’ Reporter Niles Cass doesn’t seem as dramatic or deserving but I am still deeply honored. Two different tone films which is made more interesting since at ICVM at NBR (Crown Awards) in June (Texas) they have narrowed down to 5 top films nominated for Best Film and MBF and Lost Heart are going head-to-head because of the Covid lockdown last year. Proud of both stories just very different.
I wanted to share another special recognition that LOST HEART received. Congrats to my brother from another mother Ponceman. Working with Ponce a second time was just a pure joy. Might have to make it three times;)
I could do some additional updates but it is getting late and I need a shower after waking up and pushing myself in the strongman contest. This coop was MUCH heavier than I thought but the Amish don’t play. This is not like the previous coop which was nowhere as heavy duty. New chickens arrive next weekend.
Casting and crewing talks have been going great on the WW2 drama. This week we’ll announce two more leads in the main family joining actors Curran Jacobs and Cassie Dean. One is a beloved tribal member and the other a wonderful actor who will work with CDI for the first time. Our German reads have been exciting! We have other roles locking in and many to still explore.
BEST YEARS GONE is going to be traveling this week to our post studio with Dennis Therrian. Nathaniel Nose has done a wonderful job. We’ll know this week if he’ll be cutting the trailer. The Battle of the Bands runs until the end of April and we’ve had some great submissions. I plan to announce another judge this week joining Joe Pullin and John Two Hawks. I’m so excited to get onto this next phase. I look forward to spending some time at the studio in the pines. I think I might have to be on grill duty also.
I’m going to wrap it up here. I know I likely missed a few updates but I think we hit upon enough. I was a bit behind last week on emails, calls and even contract review (Monday:) But this week will be a good catch up. I hope each and everyone of you have a productive week. Be good to one another.
SPRING Updates – Looking Ahead!
I’m sitting here sipping my hazelnut coffee in my Oswald’s Bear Ranch cup. We were planning another UP Michigan trip when all this virus stuff erupted. Now we spent a good amount of time discussing that last week and so I’m not going to hammer that this week. In Michigan we have had our stay extended for two weeks. I’ll just call it confinement for all the things in my youth I got away with. Again it was a wonderful week of organizing, personal and biz calls and getting things done. Let’s start with our next film up – BEST YEARS GONE.
This week we’ll load in the last financial piece and we’ll be all ready to sail once the storm passes. We’ve got a new schedule to review and I’m putting some fine tuning to the budget now that our day-of-days is more defined. We’re announcing more of our crew and cast and preparing to do a few ZOOM script reads. Shot lists are being prepared and I for one will be ready to get out and tell another story.
I had some productive talks with our distributor and we’re already looking at marketing for the immediate and the year ahead. The Quest Trilogy has been playing strong during the holiday window which runs after Halloween on the run up to Thanksgiving through Easter. Many new countries like Mexico, Brazil and more have enjoyed our three biblical adventures. We spoke of them cutting a great TRILOGY trailer for the next ‘holiday’ season.
NOTE: I also had the pleasure of watching Douglas James Vail’s new film 40: The Temptation of Christ – that also imagines the 40 days of Jesus in the desert. I enjoyed their beautiful locations, camera work and the unique way they handled the temptations. Take a watch if you enjoy these stories.
LOST HEART is just finishing up music and will be turning to sound design this last month before we mix, master and deliver. There is going to be a big need for new content so I think we’ll get a good push with this story. We might have a few other surprises when it comes to this film. This week ahead the distributor is working to lock up DVD wrap art. I would guess we’ll see pre-sales start after a while but we’ll see if we do any exclusive TV runs first. I’m excited to put this fun, heartfelt movie out into the marketplace. – Soon.
WILD FAITH / HASTINGS TV SERIES
The film is gathering fans as the distribution keeps getting deeper. Meanwhile we continue to have promising discussions on the TV series. If you have not seen the film please do and let me know your thoughts on a TV series. Like all the films, I had some fan mail on this film talking about the power of the themes and how nice it was to spend time in a world more simple.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND is also making the rounds thanks to all you fans out there. The reviews and word of mouth keeps growing our audience. I’m so excited that this film is making people ponder and discuss the topics. So watch with your family including the furry ones. As with any of the films just google the film in quotes and it will show where you can buy the DVD or watch the film. Again a big salute to all our service men and women who serve.
At this time my thoughts are with all our family and friends and we all look forward to sharing a few in-person laughs. Soccer season is approaching and I’m in hopes that we can still enjoy that. The blossoms are starting to bloom on the newly trimmed apple and mulberry trees. The hops and rhubarb are also starting to get some size and that is fun to watch. I’m going to use this nice day to get some more outdoor tasks completed. I hope you all have a wonderful week and be safe!
Weighing In on Feature Film versus Commercial Production. Release Dates!!!
New York Time Square – I’ve had success and setbacks. But taking a group of sailors/artists out to sea is always an adventure. Every great thing ever done started as an idea. I’ll tell you something that I see around me that I really like. And this kudos centers on my state of Michigan but extends beyond that. I see DOERS. I see people finishing. I see people reaching. I’m not a better artist. We’re all artists who either create or derive some pleasure from the art of others. Active is always more conditioned than observer. The football player will always be in more condition versus the watcher of football. The artists who stretches his imagination, cooperation and does will always be more conditioned than he/she that watches.
It is hard to make any movie. A bad movie requires lots of work. Try organizing four of your family or friends to go bowling. Scheduling. This happens because of passion and compensation. Being compensated for something you would do for free is golden as a goal. When someone is required for a lengthy stretch of time/days/weeks compensation with agreement is better than free even when you can get it. Bad cold. Flu. Fever. I’ve had it on sets before. But everyone of those artists is working towards the common goal. You take a vitamin C packet. Rest, best you can and wait to be called to set. People not fully committed can and do flake. But I carry a zero tolerance for that. Too much benefitting too many artists at stake. I’ve missed a grandma’s funeral being on set. She encouraged me all through my career, she can and did understand. It is a total commitment to process. I hear horror stories of crew attitudes and walk off’s. I’ve only dealt with those issues in the easiest of days where the rigor of “war/filming” can test everyone’s limits. We at CDI try to be a fertile creative ground to grow within. Not perfect but we strive individually and collectively. Negative folks can allow the positive flow to align them or they are removed from the circuit of energy.
I’ve recently seen a few debates between film producers I know and commercial crew members who dog his hiring practices. Both tried to argue their points while the negative slings and arrows flew. Producing commercials (production service) is very different than film production (investment). Again with said producers, I disagree with his model of business creatively and otherwise BUT he might also disagree with mine. I’m okay with that. I think that producers who produce for profit – narrative story in a VERY competitive field, are entitled to set an offer however they wish. I think compensating will draw more experience to the project. That in turn effects the timeliness, quality or both. But getting that experience is the catch 22 for crew and talent. Who is going to trust a 500k film on the back on a first time actor? How hard is it to land in the director or DP chair of a financier feature film? Sometimes these smaller projects help develop people for the path ahead. You can star in a story without the stress. You get to shoot a film versus being the clap board 2nd AC.
Some productions are in that middle ground because of budget. Yes. I’ve done 4 min automotive commercials with larger budgets than a feature film. Meetings, notes, tweaks…not as exciting as a narrative story. When you mix experience level the goal is to raise people up and not have it brought down. This requires the right leadership in the right place. All this? Maybe bowling would have been easier:) So if you’re making good money in commercial production don’t try to apply that to narrative filmmaking. LOYALTY is what brings crew into the bigger game. It is a two way street. They work to help tell a beautiful story with audience changing power. Those few filmmakers that grow are smart to take their team with them. Some producers do sell out and take this composer who did this or that…this designer is more…they worked on…TRUST ME on this one. Stay with the team that got you there. Now they might need to keep growing with the collective. Soldiers all gotta march. But if someone likes what you’ve built they should respect the builders.
I’ve had a strong week of film business mixed with good times with the new puppy Finn and family. I made beef jerky for the studio and worked on dehydrated apples now. This week I’m going to rack the GRAPE APE wine to the secondary. I put a deer worth of venison into the freezer. Wood cutting for the office stove will continue this week. Let’s do some bullet point film updates.
- The Christ Slayer artwork is just truly beautiful. We’ll be announcing Feb streaming purchase, March DVD, April EVENT SHOWINGS on the big screen across the country. Post work is full steam ahead for the next couple weeks.
- Wild Faith artwork for the theatrical and DVD has begun. Wild Faith will be hitting theaters across the US in 3/1/19, TV cable 4/1/19, digital purchase 5/6/19, DVD 5/27/19
- MBF is now re-focused on the film edit and we’re working to have a first cut by end of the year. The trailer has been getting a great response. Please follow our Facebook site and watch the trailer. https://www.facebook.com/pg/MBFthemovie/videos/
- Tis the season and feel free to take a watch on our other films. FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR are the two previous films in The Quest Trilogy.
- LOST HEART is slowly moving down the tracks and will start to pick up steam 1st of the year. Stay tune for more opportunities. Also follow http://www.cdiproductions.com
Okay. It’s time to cap off the hot hazelnut coffee. Make some breakfast and get ready for a good day. Yesterday we went up North for a belated Thanksgiving fest and today is a family bday party. Go Lions!
October Coming to a Close – Updates
I hope everyone is having a good week. It was a long week filled with sadness, laughter, success and set back. But with my trusty hazelnut coffee I get to sit here and reflect back on some of it with all of you. First, our household has been much quieter with our reduced pack. Two sisters Lulu and Daphne are spending lots of time together. We will be getting another dog for Daphne to help train. She did such a wonderful job with our Luke. We really want to have a new guardian by the time LOST HEART shoots this coming spring. It might happen on the lead up to Thanksgiving since we will both have lots off time to make a new pack member feel welcome and loved.
Speaking on loved ones, cherish them because our shared time is finite. One of our neighbors from our childhood passed away unexpectedly after a brief illness. We got to catch up with childhood friends but unfortunately it came at a visitation. New childhood memories were made with the nice and nephew one night with pizza, pumpkin carving and seed roasting. This coming weekend we’ll have another reunion with my Uncle and cousins but also at a cost. My Aunt lost her short battle with cancer. She was the sun which everything went around and so they’re rightfully having issues adjusting. I am looking forward too sharing stories and laughter with my cousins.
This week I spent a good amount of time communicating with our film distributor as they prepare for AFM. For those not in the knowing it’s the American Film Market. A version of our MBF teaser is going to travel to AFM. The DVD/poster art for THE CHRIST SLAYER is being prepared. WILD FAITH deal is also in the works and I need to find out the details of the theatrical deals.
Part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY – The Christ Slayer is in post sound and music. Also we engaged our colorist for the film’s color correction. That is now underway. We had both Carl Weyant (Longinus) and Melissa Anschutz (Mother Mary) into the studio. A few lines had to be fixed and that process went smooth. We also were treated to some opening music that shows carpenters building wood crosses on the hilltop as Mary watches. With the opening music it is so POWERFUL. I’m excited to have audiences go on this final adventure. Again if you have not watched part 1 or 2 (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star) buy the DVD or stream it from Amazon. Also many other great platforms are carrying them.
WILD FAITH is also heading back into the theaters as the strength and power of this film is being noticed. Our celebrity narrator is looking at availability and paperwork has been sent across. We’ve had various outlets contact us directly over wanting this film. All those communications are being forwarded and soon the entire distribution flow will be announced. Once everything is in their hands we’ll turn our attention back to the TV series.
Also with MBF our military vet/adoption dogs film, I’ve seen about 30 min of the rough film and I’m rather happy with it even in the rough state. It’s a powerful and moving film and something else to look forward to next year. We keep adding more official stills to our Facebook page. Please do stop by to see pics and get updates.
LOST HEART has gotten its first feedback from one of our proposed stars and it was everything I had wished for. We will start moving it out to others to read. I really do love the story and again it is filled with powerful themes.
Speaking of scripts – this past week I wrote a PSA (Public Service Announcement) script and the client loved it. Now I have to prepare a budget because we also might produce it with CDI. Again, we do some commercial work at CDI but it’s selective. I’ve also returned to doing some writing on my first SciFi script, which is beyond fun. I’ve also started to look at a few possible literary agents to help sell a few scripts that I don’t plan to produce.
I also was encouraged to submit to a film shooting in fall 2019 as the bad guy. I sent my materials and if I am what they’re looking at I will read their script and do a short read. I am ready to get back in front of the camera again but it has to be the right project. This year audiences can see me as Jesus again, mountain man Ben Lily and injured marine Paul Landings. I thought maybe the DEAD QUIET film might release this year but it doesn’t seem like it will. This year I did do a commercial gig for “Our Daily Bread” and a music video for musician Trey Conner. I’m about trying something outside my box if the business is good and the project professional. What else will 2019 bring?
One thing I like to do at the end of each year is do a self-evaluation. Look at projects and project your goals for the new year. Look at what goals from the previous year were met and which ones were not. Writing this down so you can actually review next year is a very useful tool. From seed to harvest. Goals, destinations and such are all good but remember to enjoy the journey.
Have a great week and a safe Halloween.
Week’s Top Eight Updates
Good morning to all of you out there. I’m happy to see all the readers from our Canadian neighbors, Germany, China, Australia and more… if you think someone might benefit from a read please do share our blog site. I’ve been sipping the coffee this morning as I ponder what I should discuss. The holidays are now truly behind us. The beautiful Christmas tree is now seasoning by the woodpile to give fire starting material as the last years tree does now. We had a touch of warm yesterday that melted some of the snow and had all the animals out enjoying the day and gathering food. I’ve been sharing some old peanut butter holiday cookies with the squirrels each day. Now they look in my windows as if to say – hey now.
So this week has been full of steady work and so I think I will random a few of these updates out there.
- End-of-the-year tax work on the movies. It’s not the most fun you’ll have in film but it comes with the territory. If you aren’t doing that work you’re likely a hobbyist and aren’t accountable for anyone’s money. Hobbyist is fine but when you do start working in film professionally do your required work. I see people who want to just play and I understand that but paying people (which requires tax work), union, insurance, state filings… the biz of showbiz. I want to thank my hardworking team. I’ve said it before, it is not easy to do things right and even with best efforts we make mistakes. But when people don’t even try…
- We’re banking more capital on CDI’s next movie MBF (Man’s Best Friend) and still in talks to assign the final units. We’ve got several projected plans pending what happens in the next few weeks. People think raising money is easy and it is not. Even when you stay on budget, schedule, assured distribution to the marketplace, talented artists – it can still be difficult. I think with the tax change it had many pausing until the new year. But we’ll lock it up soon.
- So “Chasing the Star” has been submitted to ICFF and the Crown Awards by our distributor. It was a strong Christmas season and we’ll start to feel that in the next few months. The biblical adventure is a worthy watch at any time of the year. As Easter approaches BMG will keep pushing both “Forty Nights” and “Chasing the Star” we also are expanding into more foreign territories. I think Germany was most recent. Also what a great fan responses over the holidays. Thank you for all the communications.
BREAKING – So a good case point/example. I was sipping coffee and typing to all of you when I got a communication from one of my producers asking for additional info for our tax reporting. Forty minutes later – I’m back. But it’s why I don’t run the streets hard like I did as a younger man. Business pops up and you have to try to be prepared to keep the train a rolling. More coffee vs whiskey and more tea versus wine but I do still enjoy the sip with company. Being well rested is another key. Many people openly brag about how run ragged they are and how little sleep and such. It’s worn proudly like a badge of honor. But I don’t see a badge nor honor. I see a person admit that their time management is not good and likely most of their endeavors are wrought with mistakes and oversights due to being “tired”… put a spin on tired if you want but it still just plays as tired. Look how hard I work! Maybe look how smart I work is better. It’s the angst of the living artist. Look at me I’m suffering. Yes, when dreams are just outside your reach there is suffering. Usually self-induced suffering because we look at what we want and don’t have versus what we have and use that as steps to a new place. So in 2018 if you’re one of those who takes on too much – do less and do it well versus more and tired. I think you will like the changes it makes around you.
4. The Christ Slayer is locking up VFX and will move into studio for sound and music. The trailer will get a mix before releasing in a couple of weeks. The first poster is also looking to release next month. I’m excited to bring the last chapter of the trilogy to audiences and let them enjoy them individually or together.
5) Wild Faith. Yes. Quite the buzz building over this powerful 1800’s story. That time period is a favorite of many of us at CDI. We watched the most recent pass of the color correction with the theatrical 5.1 surround mix. WOW! Meetings this week about the premiere opportunities and theatrical roll out. I’ve had a few more talks on the TV series and I’m feeling good. Good about the fact that once people are brought into the town of Hastings, Michigan in 1875. Once they meet and grow close to the lovable characters in Wild Faith, that a TV series will happen. I am going to talk to broadcast sponsors also. I would love a MI based series as it would allow us to work with many artists in our state. If this is the first time hearing about this film look up the trailers, Facebook page or website.
6. WEBSITE – Collective Development Inc. is revamping its website to take us into the new years ahead. http://www.cdiproductions.com is still under construction but it will be a place for a) better casting info for people b) A streaming community with interviews, film advice, BTS and a movie watching club. c) Merchandise. I’ve been asked over the years about merchandise. I LOVED it as a kid, okay and as an adult. We will be seeking to enhance this area. Lunch box? Action figure? Posters?
7. The animated division is going to get more attention. Why? As a kid I loved cartoons and so why not. “The Patchwork Girl of Oz” is on Vimeo On Demand and will be releasing to Amazon. We’re also in talks on another collaboration that will be animated. More soon.
8. I’m reading a few scripts and I have several to get back to that I started before Christmas. Most are from past collaborators bringing new projects forth to see if I/CDI would be interested in involvement. Yes. I do enjoy going to work on other’s projects – it really is about the role and compensation is also a factor. I’m also trying to do my daily script writing but actually it’s been only a few times a week. Organize that time. I try to take my own advice.
This is me returning a handful of hours later. That business work can take over that fast. I’m sure I might have missed a few updates but some of the deals are highlighted here. I hope you all have a productive week.
Be good to one another.
Casting, Crewing and Charting the NEW YEAR!
A beautiful morning it has been to kick off 2017. The sun is shining and the coffee is flowing and we just had a modest meal of bacon and eggs. Last night we rang in the new year with some family. I got to share some samples of white whiskey made by wonderful traditional distillers. Also a touch of Sanctuary Spirits HOP TONIC and a few crafty beers. Shepherd’s Pie made sure to soak up most of the bite from the libations. We just stepped outside into the glorious sunshine that is radiating. The dogs played a bit and we reminded ourselves here in Michigan what the sun looked like. Yesterday I completed some organizing getting ready for the new year. Let’s look at a few of the final developments in our film work.
The ACTOR was represented by Adler Ent. and I’m told they will have some news very soon about where this cool NYC based drama can be seen.
I still do not have any updates on DEAD QUIET – things have been dead quiet about the status of this film:) Maybe 2017 will be the year.
WILD FAITH is in editing and on the social media Facebook site we’ll start releasing some actual STILLS from the movie versus behind-the-scenes. We’ll be closing in on a first cut in the weeks to come. The interest is there in a series so those materials will be developed. I will be looking for more key crew members should this series start to take shape. So AD’s, coordinators and other such keys feel free to start sending me a resume to have on file to firstname.lastname@example.org – also if you’ve worked with any of our other crew members please note that. The feature will be done this summer and start showings this fall.
The QUEST TRILOGY
This amazing set of stories starting with FORTY NIGHTS will be releasing this year with our new partners at BMG. The release for FORTY NIGHTS will be around Easter 2017. Look for new artwork and the film is getting a remastering before the new release.
CHASING THE STAR the second film in the trilogy released a powerful trailer at the end of the year. The film is close to be done as we move into credits, color correction and complete the VFX work. We’ll be doing some event showings leading up to the Sept 2017 general release. I’ve seen this film at various stages and I’m excited for us to share this story.
THE CHRIST SLAYER is the third film and as we speak the business paperwork is being pulled together. We’re going to once again travel to AZ in March to film this final chapter. We’ve settled on our director and we start story meetings on Tuesday. We’ll be doing a PR announcement this coming week once they have their bio materials around. We’re looking for a few crew members to fill in on this film and if you are an actor we’ll be doing a casting call soon. West coast talent is actually better on this film due to limited flight budget. We also might be announcing a few cast members soon since we’ve been casting internally for a year plus. I’m really excited about filming this third piece of the story. It should release around Easter 2018.
We’ll be looking ahead at other projects in development. Change in the new year can come from changing old patterns, especially patterns that have had negative consequences. Last year we had many positive things happening and I can only hope to build off those advances. We have a wonderful team of artists and I’m looking forward to creating with them again in the new year.
Happy New Year to all of you!
Charting the Course and Preparing to Move!
I have friends in AZ excited that they are having their first under 100 degree day. Here in Michigan we have enjoyed a true fall complete with a nice chill. MSU is on TV and a good cup of coffee is beside me. It has been a week full of good hard work peppered with some great meetings. As I noted last week I was back and forth on some important decisions. Most of these have to do with scheduling. Our follow-up film to “40 Nights” is moving to advanced development. A rough schedule is being worked on so I can break the budget down. Location talks and such have started out west. Our casting call has been listed on IMDB Casting for a few months and we’ve looked at hundreds of reels. We’re looking more at west coast AZ & CA actors on that film due to transportation costs.
Conversely we are looking at Michigan for this western project which will shoot in November or post April 2016 pending some talks later today and tomorrow. We had a good sit down and discussed the two films. It’s exciting to look ahead as we examined the pros and cons connected to each shooting option. Next week we will roll some PR out that talks about our upcoming slate of films.
I had some good talks with management and they are moving into talks with casting on a few TV series. I do like several of the TV series out there and the mini series offer a chance to really develop characters.
Speaking about TV:) We might have an exciting announcement next week on one of our films. You will have to wait to find out if final approval goes through but a TV deal is looming.
“Bestseller” and “Donors” have been finalizing their delivery of materials. We are excited about the Nov. 1st showing of “Bestseller” in Owosso, MI. Also “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” will kick off a filmmaker mixer at Sanctuary Spirits in Grand Ledge, MI on Oct. 15th. They make their own booze and I have enjoyed their bloody Mary’s and gin and tonics. See you there!
I’ve put a call out on “The Terrorist” but need to actually connect. I’ve got no new updates on “Dead Quiet”…
On the “40 Nights” FB site we’ve been adding BTS pictures each day. The distributor also has me doing a video vlog. Check it out! Follow! Share!
I’ve also been writing every day – usually first thing in the morning with my coffee. I finished the 2nd script in our biblical-era 3 picture deal and the ideas we’re flowing so I just kept going. I’m half way done with the third script. I love when it’s just flowing.
I need to catch up over the “Knight Chills: book/film deal and I’ll be sure to let everyone know the most recent updates.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the season!
Production, Play Offs and Pre-Buys
It is half time of the MSU game and we’re teaching the Air Force team a thing or two about football. It has been rainy but we are getting back to the nice fall weather. We’re still pulling good from the garden and BLT sandwiches have been great. Tomorrow we have our first round of soccer play-offs. Last week we had a tough game but beat the team 6-4 after losing to them prior by a goal I believe. I had my first goal of the season which was great because I play defense. So we will hit it hard tomorrow and see what happens. We play a very good team. Beatable but very good.
This week was very productive. First, I’m very happy to announce my official first draft of “Chasing the Star” is done. It is the 2nd film in our 3 film deal with Lightworx Entertainment. The 1st movie in the series is “40 Nights” it’s now in post sound. I’m going to start doing some video updates at our distributors request.
The “Chasing the Star” script has the same depth and power that I loved about the first one. And I’ve almost got the third one mapped out. I thought they might be stand alone films and they are BUT…they do connect. I’m excited for a few people from “40 Nights” who might bring roles back in this second film.
A couple of actors who had small parts might be given larger roles in this follow up. We’ve also been looking at and discussing many actors for this film. We are looking mainly in the AZ and CA area whereas talent can drive to our location. Many more crew people will get a 1st look at the script this coming week. Anyway, I’m happy this draft is complete and now some scheduling/budget work can be done.
“Bestseller” is gearing up for an event showing in Owosso, MI take a look here please.
We also have an October 15th event showing of “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” in Grand Ledge, MI just outside Lansing. An event page will be forthcoming. We will be doing a movie a month and use the time to interact and meet some of the local film community.
“Ashes of Eden” releases nationally Oct. 13th and we should have word on some of the foreign territories we will be releasing to. Here is one retailer releasing it Oct. 20th
I hope to have home video release dates for everyone on “Donors” and “Bestseller” but we don’t have those yet. “40 Nights” would like to welcome THE GARMAX GROUP for their platinum sponsorship.
You will see their logo in front of the film. We might seek one other promotional sponsor for that opening billing. We are starting to look at some marketing. The licensing management deal is done. Also trying to lock distribution on soundtracks. Always something that needs to move forward on the TO DO list.
We also are closing in on finalizing the financing on a western era script. We have to get it done within a certain timeline or else we have to move it to the other side of “Chasing the Star” but we are pushing. I would love to be playing a rugged role in the fall/winter here in Michigan. It just might happen. We are prepping to play as we speak.
I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend and proceed on to a great week ahead.
Westerns, Weekend and Writers Advice
It is a rainy Saturday morning and I got up special to knock out my blog for the week. I found my domain expired and failed twice to get it reactivated. So I’m writing on a document and I’ll copy over later. It has been quite a week and I’m drained. Many decisions can fall back upon me to choose a direction. There are no guarantees usually on a direction so you have to trust your self and make the best one you can.
The EGO of an artist is a powerful thing and often has to be balanced by knowledge. The decision to be made was – should we push ahead with filming this fall or put it next fall behind our upcoming “Chasing the Star” film. Also some changes creatively were being looked at with budgetary advantages.
Change can be hard to swallow when talking about scripts. I think for the most part certain changes are subjective. Is a revised draft different or better? People like to use that word better – EXAMPLE “I like this draft better.” – But that is subjective. Format. Page count. Many things can truly make a draft better. Scenes, locations and # of actors can make it BETTER for production. It is just an interesting world of ART meeting BUSINESS.
Two Cents of Advice-
Now this is GOLD. For aspiring screenwriters – So you’ve written your script draft and you’re shopping. You may encounter those who will say if X, Y and Z changes were made we might be interested to option/buy the script. You can spend much time and energy chasing your tail. Now if you counter with option/buy and I will give you 1-2 rounds of revisions free. Now that is a much better situation. Now you are both involved in the real process of development. You both have skin in the game. This way they won’t give you the run around. Many will turn up their nose but do your self a favor and walk away. It happens a lot. Also sometimes it’s done so that someone can simply put a fingerprint on it.
Now as mentioned prior in this blog, revisions can be made for just reasons. It is a sensitive fine line with writers and often why after they assign the script to an LLC they are not welcome. Writers can be a pain in the ass. Productions can bastardize scripts. It is a game of collaborative artists and at the end of the day. Choose your collaborators carefully.
“Ashes of Eden,” “Donors” and “Bestseller” delivery is underway. “40 Nights” has gone through dialog clean up and ADR is next where required.
Our “40 Nights” licensing deal is about finalized and other good news from a few early retailers who LOVED the trailer.
A deal on soundtracks is happening which will bring all the CDI and CDI associated scores to audiences.
We are concluding a CDI Commercial project for the client to use in Washington DC to represent their industry. We do handle some larger accounts (Not doing used car commercials) and so feel free to reach out if you have a project.
I recently turned down a film role acting because if everything happens orderly we will be shooting a CDI western this fall/winter ending just before the holidays. There are many exciting updates happening with this project. Lightworx Entertainment will distribute the western worldwide. They’re also handling our biblical series and “Ashes of Eden”.
We’re back to battling on the soccer field tomorrow and I think this week I’m going to explore making some more hard cider. The garden is doing great and giving us fresh veggies which is always nice. Enjoy your weekend and week ahead and I’ll blog with you next week.
Bestseller Deal, Ashes Theatricals, 40 Nights/Casting Updates….
Another beautiful Michigan Saturday seems a great way to top off a productive week. The last couple days have been much cooler (Good for grilling/smoker) and brings to mind thoughts of fall football. Go MSU. Go Lions. That said, I will try to recap some of the past week updates.
“Ashes of Eden” may get a few more theatrical showings prior to the October 13th national release. I’m very proud of this film and the folks who participated in it. Shane Hagedorn and I have had many development talks as of late. I have a sit down with him this week and a new course may be plotted. Hold tight:)
“Bestseller” – we are in talks on some other theatrical locations but more importantly we signed a domestic US/Canada deal. These are the deals that get the film to your Wal-Mart brick and mortar retailers and to your Netflix and VOD rental sites. The movie will also be available through Mr. Chris Knight’s (Johnathan Rands) Michigan Chiller Thriller store. We will be looking at a few sales to foreign territories also as we more forward.
“40 Nights” has been a wonderful experience. We released our 1st official trailer which was exciting. Just to give people a first look and from all the feedback it has been well received. I know everyone worked very hard in the desert of Yuma, AZ to make that film happen. I’ve had communications of support start to come in from all over the world. I’ll say again, the film is so much more – versus what you see in the trailer. The talent involved on both sides of the camera really brought it and it shows. I was reviewing our most recent cut of the film which had also been sent to our distributor. I was waiting to see what they had thought about the naked film. (No music/sound) They had loved the trailer and so now we had to see if they also…AH! satisfaction! They loved it.
I’m excited by the growing buzz over the film. Having multiple watches of the film under me I can say, I’m very happy with our translation from script to the big screen. I was so inspired by the responses that my writing on our follow-up biblical film (“Chasing the Star”) is close to having a first draft.
We are working some FX/credits and this week we plan to finalize the edit. From there it move to full music and sound design. Other business surrounding this film is moving right ahead – like licensing. This is now moving forward with a deal- our distributor will manage these licensing rights. What would you like to see with 40 Nights branding? T-Shirt? Lunch Box? I can see this on a coffee cup.
So, I let you blog faithful in on my writing progress with my new “Chasing the Star” script. I will say that we’ve also been working development on a western film. First step – the schedule and budget, both are almost done. We’ve also done some location scouting. We’re getting ready to launch a few new CDI film projects and I’m ready. Are you?
“Donors” is working DVD artwork with the new distributor for the national release. I’m still waiting to hear something on “Dead Quiet” as I know the haunting season is approaching.
We are also finishing up a CDI Commercial project for use in Washington DC. We do take on select commercial projects so feel free to reach out if you have a budget and want professional work.
I also want to welcome CDI Associated directors Anthony Hornus (Standing Post/Outside the Wire) and Tom Norton (7 Stones) for recently joining the ranks of Jeff Kennedy (Figure in the Forest) and Kevin Hershberger (Wicked Spring) on the Parables Network.
This week I had some great in-depth conversations with several business associates. I love that many of the talks I have are also framed by discussions of life. The journey has to have meaning and the business needs to evolve. This week was a mix of highly focused computer work on the hot humid days and a smooth mix of yard work and business talks on the fall-like cool days. As I work all this business I have started to look ahead to characters and roles. Some projects are finishing and so new ones must begin.
I hope each of you are enjoying your summer. I hope you are spending time with some loved ones.
Wrap, Distribution & What’s Next…
Yesterday we wrapped yet another motion picture. The term “in the can” doesn’t apply any longer but “on the drives” or some term would. We rolled in here three weeks ago from Michigan and with the collaboration of many artists both sides of the camera we once again did what we do. We finished on budget, on schedule and with this particular film the distribution deal is signed. “40 Nights” will be distributed by Lightworx Entertainment. The faith-based company is operated by Randy Maricle, the former VP of Operations & Marketing at Pureflix. I got to know him over the last few years and I was impressed by how he helped push “Gods Not Dead” into the marketplace. We had a couple of offers on “40 Nights” and while Lightworx not only offered the best deal – they also sweetened the pot. They have entered into a deal for me to write and produce two additional biblical era movies. I think I already know what the second one will be and have a few ideas on the third. But one step at a time. This film will immediately move into post and we have an aggressive release schedule ahead. Our distributor made a trip to the set on one of our big market days and got to see all the extras at work plus the animals. It is the kind of film that both my grandma’s would have truly loved. I think this film will find its way into the hearts of many and be a favorite for years to come. It is EPIC.
So now we wrap up the circus. We are having a wrap cook out today provided by the community who has been extremely supportive of our efforts. I think they saw the magic of what was happening. This film is the second I’ve had shot in this area and I think when it gets cold in the Michigan this might become a destination. I also saw a few great locations for our westerns. So I’m certain that we will be returning to film here in the future.
BESTSELLER music should be getting close to done. I can’t wait to return home to do a watch/listen through that film and get ready for our 1st showings in May. May also looks like it will be the month of the special WICKED SPRING showings in Grand Rapids, Michigan. May is also the National release of ASHES OF EDEN. This stretch into Summer is going to be busy with film releases and premieres. I also heard that DEAD QUIET is making its way through post production looking at fall showings.
We have a commercial project to shoot when I return and otherwise just overseeing all this film flow will be the focus. I also had a couple of acting offers present themselves. Right now I’m thinking about home, family and my own bed:) I’m also in negotiations to write a script for a company later this year so that is always fun. I like writing – just me and my coffee on the patio.
So that is the short recap. I’m very proud of the hard work by all our cast and crew here. Only a pair of longer days due to the desert sun which was our biggest monster. I think when we shoot here next time a month or two earlier will allow things to run even smoother.
Stay tuned for lots of more exciting updates in the weeks ahead!
NEW FILM ANNOUNCEMENTS AND PROJECT UPDATES
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!
Crowd Funding Space Stations & Clowns Killing Our Industry
I’m sitting here sipping my hazelnut coffee before starting my day. I will be up North without my computer tomorrow and so I thought I would write my weekly blog update in advance. I want to thank all those who follow the blog on here from 13 countries. I enjoy using this as a way to praise, inform, vent and offer insights to our entertainment industry. The lessons discussed can be used in various industries but I speak about what I know best. Let see where to begin…
Let’s talk about our local entertainment media, not all, but some of them. I find it absolutely crazy that some projects get immense spot light when they have no chance of launching. You don’t see someone wanting to open a new steak house begging for donations so they can first buy the building (For 175k) and after that beg for an additional million plus dollars to put the… (business?) (venture?) I’m not even sure what to call it so let’s call it a pipe dream, in motion. This approach is so unreasonable. Since when is a begging venture worthy of being spotlighted in the media? Sadly that defines what is happening in our area. With so many newsworthy projects due attention someone deemed a begging project, that won’t even achieve the 1st goal, worthy. Thankfully I saw that this project doesn’t take any money if it can’t raise all of it. It only has a few days left and is not even close. But why was this even attempted? Did these people honestly think that they would be successful? No accountability to perform. Unreasonable budget. No real track record. I had a better chance of digging up Templar buried treasure in my back yard. Despite that some media got behind it as did various industry people. It must have been on the off-chance it succeeded those people might get considered for work. It makes those people look as film uneducated as those trying to do something way beyond their reach. Are all these folks just playing ass kiss – being too afraid to just speak it plain? If you’re factoring business logic into it all – it’s no different from community theater. As I’ve said, there is a time and place for that but these people are in hopes that someone will plop down hundreds of thousands of dollars on a whim. When was the last time someone wanted to do Shakespeare at the local theater raised a hundred thousand dollars plus for their show? Exactly.
I’m so thankful that a handful of filmmakers in the area are doing good business! Real honest to goodness film business. I hope these filmmakers help define us as a film community. Because anyone in the business who reads an article like I read will just shake their head with disbelief – “Ah silly little Michigan wanna be filmmakers.” This is what others do say about us when they read that nonsense. I’ve fought almost two decades against the backwoods mentality people assign to Michigan filmmakers. I feel proud when I see “Gods Not Dead” or any of the distributed films from a small handful of filmmakers. But as for the media – I ask you to embrace these projects that celebrate good art within a business framework. These projects with good management & business plans have earned the right to be recognized. But don’t support silliness.
I swear I am going to start a social funding campaign to do something crazy like build a space station or beg for someone to support me financially so I can try to earn a place on the Olympic soccer team at forty plus years old. I mean if I posted campaign people would say, “Come on DJ” or “That’s unreasonable” – BUT raising a million plus dollars by begging – sure SUPPORT. LIKE. SHARE. Please…if you can do that UNICEF, The Red Cross or any number of legit organizations would love to have you as a fundraiser. Now nothing personal as I don’t know most of these people and they likely would not appreciate my honesty BUT I would be the one person truly giving them helpful information. Or I could just LIKE something and once the time expires and the campaign fails I’m still just fine. Just a small waste of my time and credibility supporting something that was never going to happen. But when this happens we as a community are not fine. We are just that much more a joke to certain professional circles who are really working in the career field. And people ask why my production circles consist mostly of business-art doers from all over the world and not just from my local area. There is your answer.
I got a good response a few days ago because of a posting about clowns needing to get out of our business. Now many the people I mentioned above are NOT clowns but just misguided artists but we also do have our fair share of clowns. One popped up for a second this week on a project only to spout some nonsense in a voice mail and unfortunately remind us that you are still around. Investors must VET out your management staff. Let’s say that you actually have a business plan. You get investors to back your film plan. You seek out experience to help assure your project is successful but instead you hire a fast talking joker. The blame goes both ways with BUYER BEWARE. I always say, 2 weeks of vetting can save two years of litigation. Now this person doesn’t deserve any communication save from the legal department. This clown is just lucky he wasn’t sued for major damages. In my opinion he should stay under his rock and hope nobody comes after him.
Why DJ are you so unhappy about this? Good question –
If you actually have a person or group that would like to see a film made (maybe the first of many) and they get burned…what happens? Right. That well dries up and furthermore at every gathering of those with income to invest – IF film investment comes up – likely the response will be A) Stay away from film investment B) Hire someone outside the state because locals are not experienced. So you can see how one film screw up can have a run down effect on your (You aspiring filmmakers) projects. Still those hindered by these screw ups in our area will still endorse, LIKE and accept every move some of these folks make. It reminds me of a saying about SHI#@%# where you sleep. So when there is a lack of work in your region you can partially thank those who helped ruin it. You can’t blame everything on film incentives. Being positive, professional, passionate, hard-working people who turn out good product is what will bring more work to the area.
BACK ON TRACK
Let’s get back to talking about actual business. “Ashes of Eden” finished its 1st theatrical run and we will soon be announcing more theatrical play dates. We also are entering into domestic (US/Canada) talks and I can say we are targeting 1st quarter 2015. Look for additional theatrical and TV play prior to that national release.
“Bestseller” is about to enter medium GRIT editing. If you’ve ever polished rocks you know you have ROUGH, MEDIUM, FINE and POLISH. That pretty much sums up editing work. We’ve captured our required puzzle pieces and now the Medium edit begins. Test audience after that followed by a fine edit. Lastly, we polish up with color correction/CGI and such. It is going to be a very suspenseful film. This film rose above the initial issues and will be the first of a series of great films.
Music work on “The Terrorist” is underway and sounding great from my talks with director Jon Osman.
In talks with a few foreign territories on “Donors” so stay tuned…
Our recent development talks have gone great on at least one project that could have us filming at year’s end. I’ve also been in talks to possible play the bad guy in a Mad Max like film. We will see. Overall I’m just really enjoying working around here on post work, wine making, office organizing and such. I don’t work to just work – it has to be the right project and with the right people. Speaking of such – the yard/garden is looking good and I’ve got to prepare for my short trip North. An old-school soccer buddy will be getting hitched next month and the posse of amigos will be off to a cabin for a few. I do have another soccer match on Sunday so I will be back to do battle.
Have a great weekend and week ahead.
Project Updates and Possible New Year Direction
I’m sipping down the hazelnut coffee and getting ready to go out and about to a few estate sales. We went last weekend and got a few cool things for the house/office. So we are going to do that today since we are supposed to have more cold and snow. It was a full week between all the movie business and yard work that consisted mainly of the raking many, many leaves. I’ve had a chance to enjoy with my amigos a few of the Autumn Amber beers I brewed up. I’m going to do some wine over the winter I’m just not sure what as of yet.
This week while sipping that Amber beer with Shane Hagedorn and Dennis Therrien we watched/listened to the sound design on “Ashes of Eden”. The tweaks were being made last week and this week music kicks into high gear. We had some deep discussions on character themes and direction on the music. We should have a finished film by Jan. 1st and we will look at plans to showcase it at that point.
“Donors” is on the last % of sound design and the music there (Also composed by Dennis Therrien) is done. I’m thinking this film will be completed at about the same time as “Ashes of Eden”. They are two very different films in scope and subject matter.
“Bestseller” – The accounting is full updated and I’m happy to say we are right on budget. We have some great plans for this film marketing wise and E.P. Christopher Knight and I have been discussing that. The film will truly stun people with the intensity. I’m very proud of the work put forth by all the artists on this film and they will be proud to be part of this film.
I’ve noticed that on other sets – people walking about as if that is the last place they want to be. I’ve seen the looks on their faces that people get when they are at a JOB. Yes. It is a job but when you are passionate about what you are doing it FEELS less like work and more like an OPERATION. OPERATION STORYTELLER – I want to always try to hire passionate people. If you are in it only for the money – get out. There is easier ways to make a paycheck. If you are in it for 15 minutes of fame – get out. Go do a reality show or be involved in a police chase down a major national highway with news choppers flying overhead. Our work is hard but so rewarding because as the movie rolls out we will always remember what we went through to capture that footage.
OK. I told myself that “Bestseller” was my last film for the year but I was wrong. I came home and had four different opportunities present themselves. I wasn’t looking to tackle anything large as I value my holidays and my family time. I did agree to appear in a film shooting in-state because a friend of mine is playing one of the leads and the filmmakers have a track record of good work. I will talk more on this once I get my paperwork signed. So more to come…
I’ve been trying to have a few more international talks with distributors. We just had our Civil War film release last week into Germany, Austria and Switzerland and it will be followed by two more with that company. I’m ready to really hit this hard in 2014 and have some great contacts opening up. Also pushing to see what the deal will be on our TV Reality show “Supermodel Showdown – Costa Rica” that has the first 3 shows complete. Say it with me, more to come…
One of the most interesting things that happened this week I can only partially speak on because of good NDA type business. NDA for those scratching your head is “Non-Disclosure Agreement” but I can give a rough idea. A former major studio was recently acquired by the founder of another major studio. One of their people reached out to me after following my career since 2005. I was told that it is their job to monitor the young blood and that people there are impressed by what we’ve done. They said, “I” and I corrected them to say “we” because everything has been done by many artists) I will take credit for a leadership role but that has been the way since we first got our neighborhood/school friends around with a video camera to make little skit movies. So I had a 3 hour conversation that had insightful stories and answered many questions I’ve had over the years on studio development. I have to say my head was spinning but I think they felt the same way. I’ve discovered that I’ve been doing things very similar to some other very successful people but on a smaller scale. Also in a world that is becoming more and more compartmentalized – broad range thinkers are growing scarce. If nothing happened from this point I would feel as if I’ve already been gifted great insight that will carry me further. That said, I’m now suppose to communicate with the big honcho next week. He’s pretty direct, brutally honest and no bullshit. I was told that I was somewhat hand selected because I might be a good fit for working with this studio. I will put no expectations on the meetings because either something works out and we do business or I’ve gained a new mentor – maybe both. It was funny to hear a clinical review of me as an actor – “Not strikingly attractive but very pleasant on the eyes and all your characters draw audiences in.” I had to laugh but it was a cool example of how the business/creative minds look at things. It was discussed that I produce stuff I want to act in and that I’m not just a producer-for-hire…wait how much $? Just kidding. We did discuss what we had going over here – informal pitching. We talked about my potential willingness to produce their material in the future and just participating as talent. So again we will just wait and see but it could be a new avenue.
OK. I’m off to travel into this beautiful snow fall and do a little shopping. Ho! Ho! Ho! Wait! Thanksgiving first:)
Advice, Ashes, Apples, Adventures and Ales
I’m sitting on the couch with the pack (dogs) and sipping the morning java. I have soccer on the TV as I send around the morning emails locking down some casting on our upcoming thriller “Bestseller”. Advice for young filmmakers and for actors. First working a schedule around an actor on lower budget is a kiss of death. When working with limited funds you MUST work the schedule that is best for your production. Only a very experienced crew can make a few adjustments to schedule and it better be for a good reason. Talent that sells you in a certain territory is a good reason but you still have to be so careful. OK. Other end of the spectrum is talent. Now if you are trying to make a career in film and are not yet established giving hard limits on your schedule availability is a fast way to being replaced. I do understand that some people have BIG life events and those things should come first and so accept the consequences. I’ve had aspiring actors miss out on roles because they couldn’t miss a day of class (film). That is funny because I know as someone who went to college (MSU) that class could be skipped for any number of reasons and seldom had any real redeeming reason save friends, beer, girls. Another actor may have a conflict with a play and again nothing against that but you have to know where your career path lies. So don’t expect a production to move all around your best schedule because what is best for you might not be best for a film. The film’s needs must come first.
I had a great chat this morning with an actor friend who has had quite the career and that is Mr. Terence Knox. Terry and I have done a couple of films together, “An Ordinary Killer,” “Ghost Town,” and “Deadly Renovations” and we may add another to that mix. I know I’ve spoken about mentors before but they really are so important to have. I’ve been blessed to have many starting with my own father who was and still is my first mentor. As I get older I use more and more of his lessons. I had another great talk with Rance Howard this week who is another mentor and dear friend of mine. He is always the N. star of good movie business advice. I’m happy to give an advanced announcement that it looks like he and I will be working together again here soon. I’ve been asked to saddle up and star in another western. Rance will be playing my grandfather in the film and together we are supposed to go shoot some camera tests and promotional shots in New Mexico this December. I’m looking forward to a return to the genre and to working with old friends.
For those loving the season of fall like myself I did a promotional push on a “Triple Dose of Terror” highlighting “Locked in a Room,” “Deadly Renovations” and “Darkest Night”. I want to thank Robert Gwinn for the promotional artwork I truly appreciate it. I know that “Donors” is almost complete and I saw a great new cut of “The Terrorist” formerly “Benjamin”. I’m excited about both of these projects. Speaking of the horror films feel free to check out some of the older ones like “GPS,” “The 8th Plague,” or “Blood Ties”. If you are braver still you can go back even further to our micro-budget “Knight Chills” and “From Venus”. Everyone starts somewhere and these were some of the building stones upon my path.
“Ashes of Eden” has been undergoing sound design and composing while Shane and I look at numerous drop songs for the soundtrack. The premiere has been put into hold until we know when the film will be finished. Everything is a negotiation and I will not show some “work in progress”. We all want to show the finished film at its BEST! The trailer is exciting folks and we might have some exciting news once we do get to a premiere.
A handful of years after filming in Costa Rica the TV show “Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” has some real legs. The first three shows are done and being looked at by several interested distribution parties. I don’t want to jinx anything but I do think you will see this zany adventure on the small screen sometime in 2014. Staying with the TV theme I’ve been getting my feet wet with development on another TV series. It is funny how lots of talk on development is leaning in that direction. I think with cable making better and better film properties and the continued rise of reality TV – CDI will continue to develop some TV properties.
Yesterday between some prepping and packing we made a stop at the local zoo which was a nice side trip. Today we are having the mom’s over and some family to enjoy some pork loin roast in the smoker with apple glaze and apple chips. Tomorrow a breakfast with my father and after that I’m ready to go tell this next story. What a great team of artists being brought together to participate in storytelling. I’m blessed to be able to do what I love for a living and give thanks every day. It wasn’t always so and I know the struggles many of you have out there following dreams. You might as well keep chipping away at it until you reveal what was meant to be within.
Let me see – the people who have tried the new AUTUMN AMBER beer have really enjoyed it. Nice complex flavors and has a nice little kick to it. More of the wine has been shared and some great comments from people. I wanted to do another batch of hard cider but we will see. Maybe something upon my return in a few weeks. Some time was spent freezing some tomatoes and last night some wonderful venison steak fajitas. It will soon be time to perhaps restock the venison. Today we will be enjoying pork from our 4H purchase. Okay, I’m off to get some stuff done around the house and I hope you all have a great Saturday.