I’m back from a flea market whereas a VHS of BLACK BELT JONES starring Jim Kelly so that’s a $2 WIN:) I LOVE looking for props both for our worlds and my own characters within them. We are working hard to get the 70’s drag race film fully fueled up. We had a good meeting with Nate Robertson this week to debrief from the previous shoot and talk about the upcoming. We try to get feedback from people especially concerning people in their departments or just the department as a whole. We always work from the inside out starting with story to script to producers to director to cast and crew and the ripples move across the creative pond until we have a finished film. But I can honestly say that materialistically I get more excited by the VHS find or the Bear recurve bow estate sale take versus all these items whereas YOU are paying for that marketing campaign. Luckily I love a cabin as much as a castle, and a driving a vehicle with character versus high value. I recall as smaller flip phones were the vogue, the jokes in Hollywood about my ‘yellow brick’ Nextel construction phone. The whole CDI group was on walkie talkie. I made some good deals on that phone. I’m not against nice things at all I’m just saying simplify your materialistic wants. Many purchases don’t bring the happiness or added skill. A golf pro could still take most golfers with basic sticks whereas the opposition could be playing with clubs worth several thousands. A car that goes faster than you’ll ever drive. More square feet or acres that you won’t put to use. Many use it (coins, property, stamps, paintings, gold) as an investment to hold or increase value versus some conventional savings. Often it can be a good process. But you just don’t want to get caught overreaching to impress or project an image. Only negative things usually follow that kind of advertising. I like to keep things real and you’ll often find all walks of life at our table. This nice weather had some of the meetings taking place outside. The yard is green and in full swing. I’ve been working to get some trees trimmed and prepping new firewood for the coming winter. The clover in the yard we planted as been really starting to take over and it is beautiful. Irish beauty was one deception of it this week. Do take the time to create your ZEN place. If you live in tight quarters maybe try some plants. Nature is great for balancing one so you can better focus on your TO DO’s.
- I have some PR that will start going out on BESTSELLER this week. It will essentially be talking about my start in the thriller/horror genre and follow my diversifying into more genres. BESTSELLER is one of my most intense roles and I’ve had several. Plus I love the author and this work really captures the haunting and moody atmosphere that is Michigan. Have you seen it? If so please do go to https://www.imdb.com/title/tt16421224/reference/ VOTE and leave us a review.
- BEST YEARS GONE will start rolling out on July 5th both DVD and digital. Providing you still have enough fingers from your drunken 4th bottle rocket / Roman candle war to press play on the DVD or navigate the remote – you need to settle and watch our tale.
- Aug 3rd is the date when we should know the Toronto Film Festival’s decision on acceptance of FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH or not. We would love to hold our premiere there and so we’re remaining optimistic. We should also have our home video dates from Deskpop Entertainment very soon.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – The rough semi-polished first draft is almost done. It will be reviewed and that point by our team and any suggestions will be put forth. We are looking to picture lock in July which will move us to music and sound. Both of those are already in motion as sound FX libraries are being gathered and music beds are being played with. We hope to provide a great behind the scenes of our model and VFX team on board.
- SMOKE & MIRRORS has been submitted to a few festivals and we’ll await response. Once we have word it will be a nice eve with the CDI tribe celebrating this fun endeavor that will develop itself into a feature film.
- WILD FAITH and HASTINGS – the momentum continues and on a few fronts we are so close but sometimes you have to relax and let things work themselves out. If it does well at Peacock perhaps they will work with us to order up the first season.
- LOST HEART aka BIGFOOT, UFOS & JESUS is a great summer film. We are looking at some different marketing campaigns including new poster art for Lost Heart. I still want to do tee-shirts of the BF, UFOS and Jesus artwork. We’re looking into selling iron on sheets so you can put some great artwork on your favorite shirt. That is 70’s and 80’s style right there. I think I had a DARTH VADER LIVES tee shirt that was an iron on.
- I’m waiting on word to see how the HD file of KNIGHT CHILLS is coming along for the upcoming Blu-Ray. We have interest in a digital release from Deskpop Entertainment and we’ll still probably do a DVD of the CDI Classic Collection Double Feature of KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS. And we have the video game which I think I want to call KNIGHT CHILLS: DICE DON’T LIE – what do you think?
- This week I’m set up to record another book chapter for the audio book series FOR GENERATIONS TO COME that I’ve been doing. Look it up on Amazon under author Ronnie Lee.
- This past Friday, I met in person with several CDI folks mainly over FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH. I could have taken the day and likely ended with my first draft of the new script HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE. Instead I enjoyed the beautiful day and spent some time outlining. One of the rainy days this week I’ll finish the first draft. I’ve had a wonderful time working on this amazing story and looking forward to bringing the script to an exciting end.
I will no doubt start working on another script soon after I finish the one I’m working now. If I don’t have a script for hire on deck which I just might, I have a few scripts that were underway. We made more steps on HOT ROD LOVE and we are about to start scheduling work soon. Chipping away at what needs to be done in order to get this film green lit. It was a great week for soccer again and our team brought another win. Either way it is still about the battle that keeps you mentally and physically strong. I do have another bday in a few weeks (23rd) and I’m not sure what I might do to celebrate another journey around the sun.
I’m going to wish you all well. I hope that you have or have had some clarity this weekend, that will allow each of you to have a very productive week ahead. Be good to one another.
So today is the 1st day of my last year in my 40’s. How is that even possible? Time marches on and I’m blessed to say that I’ve almost hit half a century with only modest setbacks. Thanks to my love of the outdoors, soccer and martial arts I’ve managed to stay healthy. A few creaks in the joints on occasion and recovery from soccer battles might take an extra day or so to heal. I try to eat healthy and keep active and so far, so good. It feels like being a senior in the class of 40’s and soon I will be the ‘freshman’ in the 50’s. I was going to have a CDI/bday gathering yesterday but we cancelled when they called for rain. Well, it ended up beautiful outside. We worked the yard with leisure and put up some new lights in the yard that Santa Claus had brought me. It was a good day and much more relaxed. We will do an October Harvest party with more to be thankful for.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – I was getting my special thanks around and the end credits are being worked on. I will be doing a watch through on Weds I believe before any last tweaks and we start to render for delivery to myCinema and Bridgestone. I’m immensely proud of this film and the topics in highlights. We’ll be starting up PR on this film with release dates in July. Congrats to all our artists involved.
WILD FAITH – TOMORROW June 24th is our DIGITAL RENTAL for those that want to take a watch but not own it. BUT if you like what you see the DVD is for sale starting July 2nd at several locations. Family Video, Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Amazon… The larger audience will get a chance to meet these wonderful characters in this late 1800’s world. If things progress along the same lines a sequel and/or TV series could be coming in the not-to-distant future. Congrats to all the artists involved.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – People are continuing to enjoy the three films in our trilogy FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. I’m excited to see these three films continue to expand into more countries and onto new platforms.
LOST HEART – My world has been full of the fictional town of Lost Heart, Michigan. A small, semi-touristy lake town. Birthplace of fictional mega Country star Hannah Sweet. We announced Josh ‘Ponceman’ Perry and Don Most to our cast. We still have a few great artists to announce that will be joining us. Our young female lead is an ex-Michigan native now making her way in Nashville. The other is a SNL alumni who is beyond talented and will bring one of our leads to life. Another talent joining us was in CDI’s very first film and most recently in Wild Faith. So stay tuned for more announcements in the next few weeks leading up to our shoot.
We have a great crew shaping up and this is great development for the possible TV series and more. We are working hard to bring CDI production up under a few studios for future work. The number one thing I look for in cast or crew is the right attitude and of course talent. It is easier to develop talent versus attitude. I’ve had many ask me about “secrets” or “keys” to success and I will share this one tidbit.
LOOK AT THE LONG TERM NOT JUST THE SHORT TERM.
So many people ruin avenue’s for lifetime collaboration and revenue for a short term gain. I have people that I’ve worked with since the late 90’s cast and crew. A shoot is usually only 3-4 week commitment tops. I’ve seen people act as if their entire year is based upon those few weeks. I watch the film challenges, the fan films, the fun festival films and know that these are not paid. I see the hard work, the smiles and the final wrap pics. With some you get immense appreciation and others whatever offered will never be quite good enough. If your other choices during the remaining 48 weeks puts you in a place where a lower paid feature is not acceptable you are doing something wrong. I like those good pay days like anyone else. We have a new roof to put on the house but often it might take several smaller jobs versus one big one to get the needed money. If I like the project, the role and the pay is on level with other’s involved I will usually do it. They grow. The pay grows. It is a lifetime relationship of collaboration, art and pay that is being nurtured. Think on that one.
I am where I am by respecting numerous small relationships and collaborations. I appreciate and value every person who has ever put a dollar in my hand. I appreciate and value those who have helped me tell a good story with their blood, sweat and tears. I cannot speak for all the producers out there and I know some have flawed business models in my opinion. Hell, we are far from perfect in our own but anyone close to us will know how hard we work to try and do things right. But until you are out trying to raise money off an idea put to paper – you don’t know. It might be a corporation but it is still a small group of people working really hard. When you are trying to be fair to everyone some bumps in $ across the board can add up to thousands that producers don’t often have. I hear of lodging nightmares of tents, people sleeping in cars, 10 people in a cabin with one bathroom – but we are just as concerned with living conditions as the camera lenses. Now with your first film you might do what has to be done but quickly you see that the added things you do for cast and crew show up in the final product. I’m excited for this next adventure in part because of the cool lodging that our cast and crew will be able to enjoy. This is because we are a team who cares. We care about our artists. We care about the locations we are allowed to use.
- NOTE: To those companies/projects/films that walk behind CDI films at a certain location I sincerely hope that you manage those locations well. We are always invited back but a poorly ran set can close off a location from anyone using it.
While typing above I was remembering what a mess the original BESTSELLER film was before CDI took over and reshot everything. We had to change the minds of many people and we did. Shame on the management that allows that kind of bad reputation to fall on our industry. So PLEASE don’t just look at what happens in front of the camera. What happens behind the camera is equally important and DOES effect what happens in front of the camera. OK. Enough filmmaking secrets.
I’m going to hop off here and get cleaned up. I’m going out to eat and spending some time with family and friends. Tomorrow it is back to work on the LOST HEART pre-production. Thank you to all the kind people who have reached out with birthday wishes. Here is my hazelnut coffee CHEERS to you all. Have a great Sunday and remember to be good to one another. Keep following those dreams.
Happy Father’s Day! It is a rainy, cold Michigan day. I am lucky that I got to spend some time with my daddy this morning. I enjoyed a little breakfast of cornbeef hash and eggs. Today I feel pretty good having just returned from a whirlwind scout up North with our advanced scout team for LOST HEART. That is our next CDI film that will start filming in July. I’m excited about some of the beautiful locations we discovered and new friends we’ve met. Yesterday I was a touch under the weather due to multiple conditions but I didn’t get my full sleep due to a cabin loft bed that seemed more fun when I was 12 years old. Add in second day of soccer sore, less sleep and perhaps the sip of peach brandy and I was just tired.
A Northern location scout – the team seen here with actress Kim Harsch (2nd from left) who co-stars in MBF. Also from left to right Anthony Hornus, Shane Hagedorn, Melissa Anschutz, Me and director Jesse Low.
As I’ve stated before, getting our daily filmed footage is only one of my goals. The other goal/priority is creating a memorable experience for the cast and crew. I think the latter will help us get the best footage. The cast and crew on Lost Heart should be very happy when they see where they will be housed. Lots to do in their down time also but we’ll be announcing more on that later.
I wanted to announce Mr. Don Most will PR this week but we’re combining that announcement with another exciting one. That is the additional of Josh “Ponceman” Perry to the cast of LOST HEART. If you saw THE CHRIST SLAYER you got to see what an amazing talent he is. I’m looking forward to our time on and off screen. We also announced a young actress Cassie Dean who will be working with us for the first time. We will work to make her feel welcome.
Our cast and crew is lining up and we think this might be one of our best productions yet. The story/script has gotten some great reviews and I look forward to having it brought to life. We always are trying to make the best story with our limited budgets. Many people don’t have any idea how hard it is to raise production funds. I’m sure some of my fellow filmmakers understand that plight. It’s why most all film projects fail to launch. CDI is not some big faceless corporation it’s actually a small Michigan-based production company trying to tell some good stories. I appreciate the artists and it is one of the traits we look at in our hires, appreciation.
This week is going to be working to get the final funds into the account. Getting the commitment and getting the actual money can be a task in itself. Many investors don’t always understand our timelines and that can hurt a production. We will also be announcing a few exciting new sponsors. We’ve been targeting Michigan-based companies and we’re proud to align with them.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This film is now being mixed with a few final audio tweaks being done. We will deliver the film on June 30th and they are already gearing up the theatrical marketing. This week is putting the end credits together and soon we will have another completed film.
WILD FAITH – Our western is building its home video release. The digital rental on Amazon and other retailers will be June 24th. July 2nd is the official DVD release but some faith retailers were given a slight advance on the release. If you’ve seen the film please do leave us a review on IMDB.com or Amazon.com
I’ve gotten word the the legendary Lana Wood will be joining Darby Hinton at the HAPPY TRAILS VA STYLE film event in October I believe it is. I will keep updating everyone as I get more information.
A few of the discussions as of late have been about the WILD FAITH TV series. Once the film fully gets out there we’ll see if the characters in the film are a hit with audiences. If so we’ll be looking at bringing you a full season of the WILD FAITH story.
THE QUEST TRILOGY keeps adding audiences worldwide and I have enjoyed a handful of fans recognizing me from those films. Again if you haven’t enjoyed these films check out FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER on Amazon and other fine retailers.
This rain and cold is causing a postponement of my nephew’s Bday party and I too might have to reconsider a get together I was going to have for my birthday. Thunderstorms are not good for outside yard parties. But we did get the garden in and I also worked in some grass seed where needed. The rain is good for that. So this week will be more cast and crew agreements and working to lock locations. And…learn my lines. Yes. Even when you write the script you still need to work your lines although it is a touch easier.
I will let this end here and I’m going to organize my work from the scout trip so I can start Monday off right. Be good to one another and keep chasing your dreams.