Casting and Crewing Updates- Improving Communication, Time Filters, and Iron Sharpening Iron
I’m sipping on the hazelnut on a sunny but still chilly morning. We had a snow storm hit and start to melt the next day. Spring and Winter are in a wrestling match with one another. It won’t be long before CDI meetings will also include some outdoor hanging. I want to welcome all our new readers from Spain, UK and more. It has been a nose-to-the-grindstone week and I’m happy to report it was very productive. On the broad view – I got all the CDI film taxes done and thank you to our amazing team. My own taxes are submitted just need to review and send when completed.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– The film is still opening new screens based on fans calling in and requesting the film is booked. We even have some new April bookings forthcoming so stay tuned and keep calling your theatre. We’re also starting to put our home video deal together for later in the year. We’ll be delivering the final film for home video on May 1st. I’m excited because it will open the film up to millions.
Harsens Island Revenge – This is the next #tribeCDI film and it is in full pre-production mode. We had some great meetings last week that included our director and DP. We discussed crew on the next film focusing on camera and G&E. (Grip & Electric) We already have a few of those people falling in place. #1 GOAL is to have fun and really appreciate the rare opportunity that we get to engage in with our storytelling. We have a new department leader for Production Design and we’ll likely be announcing an Art Director next week after a few final talks. CAST – We’re awaiting a dozen reads from folks CDI has worked with on different projects. We review these each week and will be making some hard choices on casting soon.
After many reads we think we’ve identified our film leads. This is such an important part of the process. You want people that are truly dedicated to the story, the process and appreciate the opportunity. These two have been developed inside the CDI Tribe. This film requires actors to not only appear natural in their moments (scenes) but in 1926. This is a world where Civil War vets were still alive. Cars were replacing horses for transportation. So many “time filters” to put into ones performance. We know that you can’t get it perfect out the gate but it is something you work into. My role in this next one is not camera ready yet. I will work on his look, attitude and his time filters. I’ve done a lot of digging into the period as the screenwriter. But, you put these filters into play to create a complex and rich performance. In the past we’ve done PR on individual or pairs of actors with promo cards but I think we might do something different. Like what? Like a group mug shot or…
I want our proposed lead talent to hear first from our director. If I hear back while doing this blog I will make a BREAKING NEWS update:) But we are looking forward to seeing many new reads this week. I see a few have direct messaged on the CDI FB page and we’ll be reviewing those. Every week we’ll be pulling for cast and crew onto the film. I’m looking forward to watching more reads this week and solidifying more of the cast.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – The script is now a first draft lock allowing me to start to rough budget and make a production plan. 2024 was the shoot plan but it will all depend on how fast it all comes together. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA only took 14 years so I think we can beat that in less development time. I’ve had the film out to several Native American friends and associates to get their perspective. I also want to thank Lynn Kueck for his historic input. More as this develops.
MISC. UPDATES FROM THE TRIBE
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 is being outlined and groundwork is being laid. We’re talking to interested parties to once again help us tell this more in-depth follow up doc.
2) THE MAKING OF ‘IN THE WOODS‘ – I’m awaiting this book that is suppose to arrive today. It was delayed by the storm but it details the journey of my first starring role. This ambitious film by two young and rather in-experienced filmmakers will entertain you. The film got strong penetration into the domestic and foreign markets being a favorite at Blockbusters, Hollywood Video and more. Released on VHS and it made its way into many foreign territories. It is a fun romp and this book is the start of a new campaign that will be coming together. This film made me a B-Movie star in the late 90’s and while some critics tried to kill it – the film has a loyal audience. Drinking games have been formed around the movie and soon we might have a new 4k enhanced movie with lots of merchandise extras. I could even see a Con appearance or two to celebrate the 25th anniversary. Click and buy it below.
3) KNIGHT CHILLS – The first CDI film is also getting a new enhanced version. I am going to be collecting some interviews from people to include on the new release. I need to get extras around by June so I’m guessing an end of year Blu Ray release. In 2024 we’ll go to DVD and streaming plus start licensing foreign. If you are a fan of fantasy role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, this might be for you. We were back to the original source without any film-look filters that were all the rage. I’m excited to be re-releasing some of these classics in new format that will allow them to survive moving forward.
4) GHOST TOWN, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and AN ORDINARY KILLER will be getting the updated treatment but it takes time. It has been really interesting to walk back and work on these projects.
5) I’ve been working on a few new stories for those national books on animals, that I have contributed too for the last several years.So far, so good. We will see if the editor likes them once she takes a read. One of the books I contributed to his above. I believe that one has a story about my boy Luke Brown. I really do love doing these side stories and I might get more involved at some point but for now film script, producing and acting keeps me busy enough. Look up “Callie Smith Grant” and any of the books from the last few years will likely have stories contributed by me.
6) This week I’ll be starting work on another chapter of an audio book series I narrate. The book author Ronnie Lee has several works for sale in this book series. The audio version is coming right along and will be available soon – https://www.amazon.com/Generations-come-Book-Classroom-Copy/dp/B09RM7LBWV/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2H09KBLP4QV3V&keywords=Ronnie+Lee&qid=1678029492&s=books&sprefix=ronnie+lee%2Cstripbooks%2C161&sr=1-4
7) While waiting for Spring, it is a great time to re-watch your favorites. BEST YEARS GONE, WILD FAITH, LOST HEART, MBF, ASHES OF EDEN, and as Easter is upon us – take a watch on The Quest Trilogy. Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer all deserve a good watch even if the faith isn’t your path. The films can speak direct to your faith or as a parable tale with messages to ponder. I’ve said before, that the trilogy, was shot with a Star Wars heroes-myth style at the heart of it. The translation between the two works quite well. It really is noticeable in the photography and the music. PLEASE DO take a watch. I promise you it is a fresh take on what can often be confusing stories.
My personal goals going into these new projects is to try and make the communication even more efficient. We have some really large opportunities looming on the horizon in the not to distant future. I’m trying to develop our team so they will be ready. Positive Problem Solving attitudes. Clear Communication. Respectful Communication. Gratitude. I want to develop our team for that next level. I want to work with good folks that I truly enjoy. That is the journey.
I’m looking forward to soccer season. I’m looking forward that that weekly competition you get doing battle on the pitch. I have really learned to appreciate our opponents because iron sharpens iron.
Once this snow goes away for good it will be time to get the yard cleaned up. Tree trimming and planting clover again this year. Soon the yard will be full of hops, berries, veggies and herbs.
The chickens are back laying eggs steady so we are now rich. Rich with eggs:) The birds are returning. The squirrels and rabbits are about. I love all the wildlife about.
CDI will probably look to support the Capital City Film Fest by attending the mixer kick off. Several years ago ASHES OF EDEN was the closing film to 600 people. That was a great night. We would have played SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA there but they wanted only MI premieres and the film has its theatrical run underway. I love that our home town has two festivals. The ELFF is still running after many years also.
That is all I have for this morning. I’m going to drink my last cup of coffee and get on with my day. Until we gather again next Sunday – have a productive week. I think I will watch Manchester United play while getting a few things done.
Exciting Developments – ‘Off to the Races’ Music Video – ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ & ‘Best Years Gone’ premieres, ‘Silent Night in Algona’…
I’m sitting here sipping the hazelnut coffee on this peaceful Michigan morning. I want to welcome the new readers from Italy, India, Pakistan and more. It is so nice to have an international circle of artists here. The last few weeks have been extremely productive and busy. This could not be more true of the film endeavors we’re working so hard on. Past, present and future all moving forward together. Outside of the film world we’ve been working in the yard with the chickens and the veggies and herbs. This past week I harvested the hops and we’ve been enjoying eggplant and other veggies. Today I plan on grilling up a few venison steaks after a late morning run to the flea market. I think the best way to try and organize the updates are with a bullet point list.
- Oct 12th Nationally this book above will release. I have a story in it about our boy ‘Luke’ who passed a few years ago. I love contributing to these books and if you need a good Christmas gift these books make a fine one to give. Pre-Order here http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-dog-who-came-to-christmas/401231
- The short film SMOKE & MIRRORS that will condensed from my feature script is now complete. Our producers were reviewing yesterday and it is really good. That ‘steampunk’ era 1900’s setting is so fun to play in. I’ll be looking at at screening to benefit the Dodge Turner house where we filmed. It will premiere and we plan to let you all enjoy it during the Halloween season. We are even cutting a short promo teaser but I’m very happy with our end result. It was directed and edited by Nathaniel Nose who directed ‘The Christ Slayer’ with us.
- The music video ‘Off to the Races’ by Vertical Bridge the winner of the BEST YEARS GONE battle of the bands is done. We’re deciding between two logos but the video is badass and we’re talking about releasing it this week to fuel the hype of our upcoming MICHIGAN PREMIERE! I think we’ll release the music video tomorrow and also if you attend the premiere you can see it play on the theatrical screen.
- The feature BEST YEARS GONE is complete but the last few days have been working to tweak color correction and remove digital hiccups:) The film will be rendered to a theatrical file (DCP) used by the theaters. It will also get deliver to our distributor so their marketing team can review and they can start playing their home video campaign that will have DVD/streaming release in Feb 2022. The premiere Sept 18th at the NCG theaters in Owosso, MI is next Sat with both a 6pm show that is almost full and the 8:15 show that is filling up. Both will be great to attend with photos and meet and greets plus the afterglow at Romas. We have a lot of details to attend to this week in preparation but next Sat the first audiences will meet the Gilles Boys and the madcap adventure that follows. This was adapted for the screen (by yours truly) from Karl Manke’s book ‘Hope from Heaven’ and so you might want to read the book after you take a watch.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has started assembling crew paperwork which we’ll start dispersing this week. Once our schedule lands in our lap we’ll start doing our cast agreements, travel and such. We’ll be releasing PR on a few more of the German actors plus we’ll be announcing our product partnership with two more major worldwide brands. Those brands being Hormel/Spam and Hersheys, both play into our story. Other sponsors include Smithfield Foods, Lerma Transportation, The Candleberry Company and more in process. It really is great to have these amazing brands working with us. We’re working on a teaser poster along with a hundred other small details. If you want to align your brand with our WW2 Christmas film please do reach out.
- This week I also received a script in the mail (I love that vs electronic) for a future film project to see if I want to act in it. I had a few conversations about upcoming scripts/films to write/produce and we had a good chat at week’s end over the WILD FAITH TV series “Hastings” and we’ll see where that goes.
- In active development is the new VFX division that we’re working to build so that we can enhance VFX shots in our stories and also use this entity to develop our own animated programming.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film is now in fine tuning and I think will be the first of a series of films. I had productive talks this past week about another documentary film to shoot next year that will build upon this current one. But ‘For the Love of Catch’ is more than just a documentary film it will be a brand that we can do many things with including hosting, promoting and live streaming a possible event. The possibilities are really exciting. As I said before, if you love college, professional, or any type of wrestling – you will find this doc entertaining and informative. It filled in so many gaps in my casual knowledge of the grappling arts as a martial artist myself. I think this film will become one of the pillars of the grappling and it really pulls the history together so that its not forgotten. It bypasses the typical competitive nature of the different schools and illustrates the common history they all share. And the love expressed by these instructors for their art is apparent in the heartfelt words that are spoken in each and every powerful interview.
- I need to circle around and look at the CDI Classic Double Feature with Knight Chills and From Venus. New artwork and maybe an entire new campaign that could include Knight Chills HD streaming. I see it:) Do you own the 1st DVD in the CDI Classic Collection? Heaven’s Neighbors and Figure in the Forest– which one or both might also get the HD treatment with a new campaign. We will see – I need to get a few things off my plate first.
- I’ve been having a great time immersing myself in WW2 footage and films. IN HARMS WAY with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas is one I just watched. They had access to so many military vehicles like battleships, but it is John Wayne. My short hair helped me start to see my character in the mirror. The line work has been just awesome. I love the things that are said between the lines. Yesterday was Sept 11th and the tributes brought back many feelings and visions of patriotic unity in grief. I think this script speaks in these ways by looking at the examples of the past and we can apply that to our present. I’m really looking forward to telling this story.
If you are in the Michigan area and want to attend our premiere please do attend one of the two shows and the afterglow at Romas. My schedule keeps me working and recharging more than socializing at film mixers so if you and I haven’t met – feel free to introduce yourself. Leave me with a card or whatnot so I can explore your art. I recall leaving a few past film events with a pile of scripts, headshots and VHS tapes of films and reels. Now a card with a link can do much the same thing. We are exploring additional theatrical play as the distributor preps for home video and foreign sales. So if you are unable to attend the film could play closer to your home or streaming will follow early in 2022. But, if you want to meet some of the cast, crew, band members from “Vertical Bridge” the battle of the band winners – this is the event for you!
(Above is from our Algona scout/prep trip- NOTE the cool car we will be using. One of many classic pre-1944 rides)
Okay. Flea market, lawn mow, venison grill N chill and prepare for a busy Monday! MSU had another great game and I hope our LIONS can do the same! I hope you all had a great weekend and stay safe, be kind and chase down those dreams.
‘Best Years Gone’ Moves Into Music & Sound – CDI Updates and Sunday Rocking Chair Ponderings
Good morning partners. Hazelnut coffee cheers! We had a good rain last night and everything is becoming lush and green. Later today will be our first flea market visit to see if I can find any treasures. I love to look for personal props for certain characters. I was looking pretty close to ole Ben Lily as we moved forward developing the WILD FAITH Tv series spin off. I have a string of biz calls to do about the 8 show spin off. With our WW2 film a full go we’ve decided that the series HASTINGS will go up after SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. So I’ve had a full shave and a hair cut as I prepare for the next role. We announced two more actors last week with Dean Teaster and Samual Peterson joining the cast.
This week we’ll announce more cast and crew as we move through pre-production. We’ve almost cast our Germans which is so exciting. Just incredible talent and I’m again happy to say that about all our castings. So many exciting announcements that will be forthcoming.
Our holiday window of Thanksgiving to Easter is now complete. It will be fun to see how THE QUEST TRILOGY did with audiences this year. We keep growing our audiences each year and I truly do love getting all the fan mail. CDI will eventually do another trilogy of biblical films. One of the scripts is being studied for future execution and we hope to return to the desert in the near future.
MANS BEST FRIEND is starting its general market roll out. I have to say I loved the previous poster art but this poster captures ‘Paul’ in the eyes. And what a noble pic of Paul’s MBF. I think this film that got caught up in the Covid breakout deserves that renewed push. For a beat everyone was holding on licensing as the whole world adjusted. I’m so happy that it is getting its second wind. I was already getting LOTS of fan mail (NOTE: My silly spell check tried to turn ‘mail’ into ‘tail’ and that reads totally different. I’m happy to say this coming June at NRB the 5 best finalist films under 250k will compete for gold, silver and bronze. Both MBF and LOST HEART are finalists. So having 2 of the 5 nominated films feels good. It makes me proud of our artists and I do take pride in having written those scripts.
‘WRITING’ is a love that I hid for a long time only because I wanted to be seen as an actor first. The actor ME became frustrated at the lack of deep, powerful films. I’m comfortable now being considered a screenwriter along with an actor and ultimately producer. I’ve enjoyed writing short stories as part of my book contributions to this wonderful book series by Callie Smith Grant. (Revell/Baker) Each book focuses on animal relationships and sometimes centers around a holiday. Cats and Christmas is up next and so I’ll polish up my story and see if it makes the grade. The fun fact here is I was approached after WILD FAITH was seen in the theaters. From there I’ve contributed to three books now. The one coming out later this year (09/21) is on dogs. I like dogs:)
This morning as the rain storm passed, our team on the documentary ‘For the Love of Catch‘ hit the road. This is for the last filming segment of the doc. We’re set up to start editing and dialog clean up immediately after. They have been getting some great interviews from the world of grappling to discuss what they love about it. We’ll be doing a PR release and talking more about this in the coming weeks. It is being directed by our own Catch-Can World Champion Curran Jacobs. Big congrats to Dan Chipman and his mobile production home for capturing some amazing interviews. Adam Towner has been signed on to edit and work post. Stay tuned!
LOST HEART has been just playing so well to the family/faith audiences but as pointed out by fans, the film is so much more. Hence the upcoming general market release, but we’ll wait until I have more to report. But let’s address that term? market? We are all storytellers.
At CDI we don’t make “faith” films – but create stories with strong character development. In ANY story character development is king. And knowing the ‘faith’ of the character is the seed. Some seek faith, lack faith or try to hold onto faith. Maybe they lost all faith in mankind, themselves or their path to God. All these characters come from a different place. Those carrying status in religion might struggle with their faith while the downtrodden might live in appreciative faith. I have many ask about religion which has helped to build great civilizations but unfortunately usually is tied to conflict and war. I also think that someone’s seeking to understand divinity is a personal and private relationship, unique to each person. In my opinion it also doesn’t require any fancy study, conversion, certification, validation etc…to me DIVINE is a constant like gravity. Only mankind’s understanding changes but anyone actively seeking DIVINE is getting closer and closer to THEIR truth of understanding the constant. Many of my deep pondering are reflected in ‘The Quest Trilogy,’ historical fiction examining overlooked events or perspectives to try and gain a new insight.
A nice example in Forty Nights is the showing ‘Jesus’ working to put the words of the heart on the tongue. Some watchers following along with their scripture wait to jump on the words and claim their superiority in finding supposed flaws. The purpose was to show human flaw in Jesus. That mighty things like LOVE are hard to put into the perfect words. The purpose was to show the journey to those final words. It still makes me chuckle when I see people upset about John and Jesus seemingly not knowing each other….the post baptism conversation and later flashbacks between John and Jesus obviously showing a pre-existing relationship. The baptism was a ritual passing of the torch but their casual talk away from the masses was meant to show they knew one another well.
Later in the desert, we see Jesus struggling to find the perfect way to teach what he knows. Some of the greatest minds in certain fields cannot teach what they know. Being a teacher is not easy because you have to paint a picture to enlightenment for another persons imagination and intelligence to grasp onto. Those three films are full of contemplative gems and many have discovered some personal truth by watching them. For some they just miss the point – I like the Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon I think) scene whereas Bruce tells a student not to just focus on the pointing finger alone or you’ll miss all that heavenly glory. I think the old saying of ‘the Devils in the details’ is another funny way to say this. Some people are so worried at hoping to increase their “religious” status by winning some ‘Bible Jeopardy’ that they miss the lesson of the parable all together.
And so scholars continue to debate and the facts alter and change as new “experts” appear. Science and Religion have more in common then they think and to me it’s fascinating that they don’t always co-exist well. Anyway, I think that the trilogy was my “Noah. I want you to build an ark.” moment. You want to know my feelings – watch the films. I tried to connect the dots in a way that made sense to people who cannot truthfully function on blind faith alone. You will find a deep sincere reverence that permeates all three stories. The trilogy conjures all the right emotions and feelings because in the medium of film it’s show me versus tell me where you can. It’s when the story rises beyond just show and tell to actually allow one to FEEL the story. It’s an art. I’ve gone on a while here. I could and have filled books with my thoughts on these matters. But your relationship with divine or choice to not interact or accept is deeply personal. I like to speak with the stories to those still seeking their personal truth and maybe help clarify aspects of things for those who feel to have found divinity yet still seek to fully understand it. I have a suspicion that only on our final walk will we fully understand.
Okay let’s shift gears!
BEST YEARS GONE – based upon the wonderful and quirky writing of Karl Manke in his book ” Hope from Heaven” (You can buy it:) comes the story of unconditional love, dreams gone awry and generational communication issues. We now have the film after a wonderful edit by Nathaniel Nose (Dir./Editor The Christ Slayer) and has now landed at Dennis Therrian’s studio. We’ve had two post sessions so far and what a lift to the spirits. While this film will have all the trademark emotional beats it truly marks what I feel to be a big step comedically. It is for me for certain. Now growing up I thought I was going to be a stand up comedian with strong observational humor like George Carlin. In my personal life I would say I have a healthy sense of humor maybe too much. (I have been known to pull a prank or two) I have to say I had such a wonderful time filming this. It was the adventure that unfolded in the Covid storm and we were appreciative to have all our precautions rewarded with a safe journey. Now we’re into talking music and the dialog is also popping better than ever due to innovative software, gear and the growing experience of our sound team. The deal with BMG is signed. Next week we’ll start feeding them marketing deliverables. Poster art will be underway as we deliver choice screen captures. Additionally the first official trailer is being cut and so maybe end of May we can rock that out.
BATTLE OF THE BANDS!!!! It is still underway and we are getting some KICK ASS music submissions. Keep them coming and you just might end up in this film. We’ve really enjoyed listening to all the great original music. Kudos to all of you. Keep on rocking!
I want to get back on path with my writing. I want to finish my new SMOKE & MIRRORS feature script. You’ll get to enjoy the short film likely this fall. I saw some of the VFX work and I’m smiling. My SciFi script is another goal to at least get my first draft. The 1st season of HASTINGS is being edited for missed commas and such. I think we had a nice chat and I gave you all a good update on the films. In short – it has been busy. But I’ve also been getting some great moments observing the new hens in our “chicken land” enclosure. Some major wood chopping against a few mighty logs that I swear were made of iron. I will soon bottle up some of the berry wine that has been aging. We recently toasted off Best Years Gone will some lilac wine aged several years. It was enjoyed by all. Amazing what the natural world has to offer. Until we speak next week. Be good to one another.
NEW Casting, Premiere and Development Updates
Good morning everyone. WOW! Lots of new international readers from around the globe. Coffee cheers. This month has been a kick into a new gear as we’re preparing for a cast and crew premiere this weekend followed by two virtual premieres via ENCOURAGE TV (Nov 7th and 21st) and the start of filming end of this month on BEST YEARS GONE.
We’re looking at filling the new holes we have in our cast and crew. I know this environment has some people cautious and rightfully so but good communication is still a must. I had situations where I was chasing a few people down to try and get answers on availability. At the same time we had others (and still do) awaiting an opportunity to join the Tribe CDI on this next journey. My reminder is just for all of you to use good communication. I do NOT want artists I have to kick in the butt – CDI is full of aggressively passionate artists and that is what we are looking for. That said, many communicated very timely and I thank you. We are still looking at a few camera support and grip & electric roles. A few castings are still being discussed but the schedule is about done now and will start getting dispersed this weekend and start of the new week.
Along those lines I want to announce the additional of a humble Hollywood legend who is joining BEST YEARS GONE. My dear friend Lana Wood (Diamonds are Forever) will be playing a very funny part in the film. We’re all looking forward to seeing her and creating another wonderful story.
Our sponsors are starting to roll in also and with CDI films getting millions of eyes of exposure. This is becoming a great way for our partners to showcase their brands. I want to thank Lerma Transportation Inc. again for traveling with us again with their generous sponsorship. More to follow!
The LOST HEART project is so exciting as we get ready to show the world our next story. The cast and crew premiere has opened up some restriction-wise which is now allowing a few more to join. Our outside premiere will have a large drive-in like screen which will be a unique viewing. I go up there this Thursday to start the planning. After this event the national PR will continue and the film could play a few theater chains. I know they are hurting and we would love to help them if we could.
WILD FAITH and HASTINGS TV Series is gaining traction as the film keeps bringing 100,000’s of views a week and the 1st season of the TV series is almost planned out. I have a few meetings over the series in the coming weeks. We hope to roll cameras in the spring. Make the time to meet the WILD FAITH characters and enter into the world of 1870’s Michigan.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – Thank you to all the good people reaching out after watching this film. The best thing I can say is leave a review and recommend it to friends and family. And the on-going question is will I showcase my martial arts in another film? If the right story calls for it is my best answer.
Speaking on that – I do have some new discussions about representation on outside films. My schedule is a bit busy but I do love the joy of just going off to act in a powerful story without the producer responsibilities. We will see this year is about full. Playing Gil Gilles in this next film will take me right to the holiday season.
One of my favorite things about the family and friend holiday season is THE QUEST TRILOGY. We did a unique trilogy of biblical adventures part 1 being FORTY NIGHTS, part 2 CHASING THE STAR and part 3 is THE CHRIST SLAYER. The distributor is doing a new trilogy trailer and I’m excited to see it! I think you will find these films different than many of the other films out there on this subject matter. So take a chance and take a watch this holiday season.
Also if you like the spooky and the haunting stories of the season I’ve done my share in my days. A few of the more frightening might be The 8th Plague, GPS, Deadly Renovation, Darkest Night, Bestseller, Darkest Night and if cheesy monster movies are your thing my first starring film IN THE WOODS might be your cup of tea.
An early CDI film that has a great fall look is FIGURE IN THE FOREST starring Dean Teaster and Mary Jo Cuppone and can be purchased on DVD with HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS (Aaron Jackson/DJ Perry) in a limited run double feature. This is part of the CDI Classic Collection and will make a great stocking stuffer.
I want to do the same thing with CDI’s 1st and 2nd films KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS next year. I will start having it authored over the winter and will release it next year. If you haven’t seen the film KNIGHT CHILLS a good read and watch go hand in hand so consider buying the book.
Talking of books and stocking stuffers – the Cat book I participated in can be purchased now.
I’m going to wrap this up. I will say that the AUTUMN ALE has made an appearance at some of the meetings and was met with approval. It has a NEWCASTLE like taste if anyone is aware of the beer. We’re still harvesting from the garden and it’s about time to harvest another round of green beans. Who knows with the tomatoes a new batch of The Green Goblin? Maybe:)
SOON WE WILL SET SAIL! I’m going to update my master TO DO list and get things rolling for this coming week. I hope each and everyone of you enjoys the new season. I’m prepared for some hard work to get this next story in the can as we use to say when shooting film. Stay safe and be kind to one another including folks that have different opinions and perspectives than you. I will keep doing what I do and who sits in the White House will not change that for me.
Until next week. Coffee cheers! Coffee Sponsors?
A Morning Reflection on ‘Mr. Brown’ and Updates From the Films – Casting/Crewing
Hazelnut coffee is toasty warm goodness on a chilly Michigan morning. Welcome my new readers from Vietnam, Indonesia, China and more. I suspect some of the new films are releasing to our friends in Asia. I know Poland, S. Korea and more have been licensing. Let’s start by talking about 10-4 two years ago. On a very different day which was warm and windy we said goodbye to Luke Brown (Mister Brown). He was our furry boy that we spent several years fighting his illness until we finally had to let him go. We did it at home and it was sad but beautiful and peaceful and not under any duress and for that I am thankful. Shortly their after we brought the “dog-faced gremlin” Finn McCool into our family and with him came happiness again. Today I awoke thinking about my boy and a glance at the date let me know why. I know many of you have lost those special family members and they always bring out the best in you. If you have been thinking of enhancing your life with a furry family member do so. And I encourage you to adopt and let the joy enter your life. Our old Daphne is still kicking it no longer quite the spitfire starting the play fights. She is enjoying her winter years for sure as is our remaining cat Lulu. You can read about Lulu as my contribution to the book-
My next contributing story is in a dog book and is about Luke Brown and his encounter with a reindeer. I will surely let you know when that is available in the next year. Yes. Lonnie (Book editor) we were at the Jackson hidden raceway.
Raceway? What am I talking about – well, BEST YEARS GONE! Our next CDI film is full speed ahead. We will gather to start filming at the end of the month. We will be looking at resumes and talking with recommendations for a few crew roles but also looking ahead to 2021 where we have a TV series HASTINGS coming together and a WW2 film. If you have strong office experience we will be looking at coordinators. On this film we also have a few crew spots in G&E and camera support. Feel free to reach out direct if you have the experience and/or interest in joining the tribeCDI. We have some incredible cast, crew, sponsors and a funny yet inspiring story to tell.
I mentioned WILD FAITH‘s growing audience giving spark to the TV series. I really want to bring this to Michigan and it looks promising. This winter I will make the push to get this fully greenlit (financed). This will require adding more artists to the CDI team. We might start working with a casting director just to help bring options to the table. We producers are mostly actors and enjoy taking the time and care to make sure the chemistry is proper.
Speaking of chemistry – I think audiences are about to be in for a treat with LOST HEART. This is week #2 of our national campaign and it’s exciting to see the build up. I know that the reaction has been great. Mike Huckabee saw our EPK (Electronic press kit) and watched our trailer and has invited Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson onto the show. We are getting ready to have our cast and crew premiere screening at the Double JJ Resort on the 17th of October. We are filming the pre-party and afterglow as part of the event premiere screenings via Encourage TV on Nov 7th and 21st. I will be having family and friends for the Nov 21st showing since I will be back from filming BEST YEARS GONE. We’ve been posting other interviews and PR that our artists have been participating in. Many of these are being posted on our Lost Heart FB page @lostheartmovie
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Anytime is good to take the adventure and watch FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER but the holidays make it even more special. Our distributor is doing a new campaign which includes a trilogy trailer. I’m excited but if you wanna get the jump on watching them – go right on ahead.
Okay I’ve spent the last 10 minutes trying to figure out these insert blocks vs writing – technology. I’ve had several fans reach out over MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND and I want to thank you. This pandemic had interrupted and killed some of the PR/festival/event roll out for this powerful film. That said, people in their own time are finding, watching and being moved by the film. As I noted in the opening Luke Brown was my inspiration and was beside me while I wrote the script. It is a great tribute to my furry buddy and I think it is connecting with many audiences out there. Take a watch free with ads on Tubi or Encourage TV and of course on Amazon and many of the other platforms.
SMOKE & MIRRORS – the music is done and our director Nathaniel Nose LOVED it. We’ll start to put the credits together as the color corrected footage comes to us from DP Jesse Aragon. I’m excited to finish this feature script over the winter for forthcoming production.
We’re currently attaching sponsors onto our Lost Heart premiere, our ‘For the Love of Catch‘ documentary film and onto Best Years Gone so if you have a company, product or service needing millions of eyes please do reach out. This week was also prepping for winter. This week wood was cut but some needs to be split on our Viking Days:) I racked the wine to the secondary this weekend. We brought out all the fall decorations. Our chickens are doing great getting to know their new home. We’ll do some more work around the homestead today and next week (tomorrow) -it’s back to the business! Coffee cheers. (LOOKING FOR A COFFEE SPONSOR!)
I apologize for losing my flow of words trying to figure out all this new block stuff on WordPress. I might have wanted to throw my laptop once this morning. Be kind. Be safe. And keep at your creative endeavors!
Talk with you next week.
GIVEAWAYS, Premiere Updates and More…
Good morning – hazelnut cheers!
I want to welcome our new readers from the Netherlands, Brazil and Austria! It was a busy yet productive week. I wanted to start with a cool giveaway on the new book that I’m a contributor on. I want to once again thank Callie Smith Grant for allowing me to participate. This book has a fun story dealing with our queen ‘Lulu’ and I hope you all will check out this and the many other stories.
RETAILERS carrying the book!
Barnes & Noble –
Baker Book House –
LOST HEART – We had several great meetings over this next CDI film. We have something unique planned. We’re excited that it got approved by our distributor BMG. Now the planning will start in earnest this week with a planned CAST & CREW premiere. This one will be different but such is the way and I think it will be fun for everyone. October will be a big month! We’re also exploring several drive-in’s and theaters to play the film.
We’ll be wrapping up the last few delivery pieces and the short BTS promo will be assembled this week perhaps to share next. We are also looking at a few merchandise options so fans can support the film.
BEST YEARS GONE – Our development here is full speed ahead with sponsors and camera tests on deck. We’re about to comb through the script and see what scenes can be pulled off the main schedule and shot. This includes a few VFX shots and sequences that might need or benefit from added attention. I will say that as my ‘Gil’ as a character, is coming along nicely. I cannot wait to share him. We are still looking at end of Oct pre-prod and shoot in November.
The cast of ‘Smoke & Mirrors’
SMOKE & MIRRORS – David Gries stars in this short film that is a precursor to the feature. We’ll have a locked picture this week and music discussions with Dennis Therrian have begun. We plan to develop this into a full feature. The short was shot by Jesse Aragon and he’ll be color correcting it. We also hope to have something to show in October.
Wild Faith has been seen by millions of viewers and the powerful story has created an interest to see this continue. The groundwork is being laid to shoot a season 1 (8 shows) all set in the Wild Faith world. The TV show is currently titled ‘Hastings’ and may shoot in 2021. If you have not seen the film please do. It is inspired by of course ‘Little House’ but also the old Disney movies like “The Apple Dumpling Gang” which is reflected in the humorous moments.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – After filming the trilogy I kept my full Jesus garb save the sandals which were borrowed. When I was looking at character shirts for our new film at the thrift shop I found the same make of sandals in my size. Heaven sent or good luck? But I think my Jesus days are done save if a film was ever done about a return. I think we have some other great biblical tales if we want to return top that genre. I’m excited to see the new trailer for the trilogy which will launch likely in October. Did I say Oct might be a busy month?
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Our event/theatrical/festival showing of this film was hampered by the virus. We will continue to seek a few events to play the film at even into 2021. But the response to the film has been great. We just need to get more visibility for it so if you watched it and enjoyed the story, share it. I was asked recently if I had any plans to play Paul Landings again and the answer is not right now but never say never.
We are about to go walk another flea market. I have grilling to do later today along with a few yard tasks. I’m happy to report that I got both the batch of AUTUMN ALE and the ROTHGA (Return of the Hoppy Grape Ape) started. They started fermenting yesterday and so the fall will have a nice harvest. I was sad that last week I posted a picture of the MSU Spartan helmet and later that day the BIG 10 cancelled their football season. That leaves the LIONS as our only hope. Come on LIONS!
The garden is growing now with fall cold weather plants in which include beets, carrots, beans and more. I’ve been doing some caulking in the office getting ready for winter and to help keep even more heat inside. Soon the wood stove will be kicking again. Viking Thursdays with wood cutting will also begin in a few weeks. I’m going to leave all this here. Time to fill the coffee cup and get some oatmeal. I hope you all have a great week ahead. Be kind to one another!
TOP TEN UPDATES AS WE FINISH THE MONTH STRONG!
Me, T Hornus, John Saxon, T Turner and David Borowicz in Lone Pine.
Good morning and welcome to all our new readers from Denmark, Spain, China and more…coffee salute. I’m a bit later this morning getting to my blog because I was enjoying a larger breakfast. I also was putting some paperwork together for delivery this week to our distributor. First before jumping into film let me ponder to see if any events this week trigger any discussions. I want to offer up a RIP to John Saxon who was a great actor in movies like ENTER THE DRAGON. I was lucky enough to meet John in a honey stand in Lone Pine, CA at a festival market. He was a nice man and we chatted for a few and took a few pictures. I wish I had gotten to act with him but meeting him was a joy. So RIP to this fine actor for a lifetime of storytelling. Also Regis from the morning TV scene passed on. The circle of life keeps turning and it makes me feel blessed to be doing what I love. I had many conversations this week both business, personal and in-between. Maybe we’ll do a TOP TEN updates.
- LOST HEART will arrive Monday at the distributor and as previously mentioned we’ll be delivering some paperwork behind it. It is very exciting and we’re having a producers watch and theatrical/premiere planning meeting this week. We are looking for venues so if there is one near you that wants to play the film let us know. Home Video release is looking like Oct but I will know more end of the week.
- The short SMOKE & MIRRORS is in editing and we’ll have that rolling out this fall just in time for Halloween I do think. It was a short film taken from my feature script. The footage was used in a demo for a well known sound design company izotope. We’ll be finishing it up and use the short to launch a feature in the near future. Nathaniel Nose director/editor on THE CHRIST SLAYER was the director and is also editing. It was a fun period piece and I think it will lead to the full feature.
- We’ll also be announcing that CDI has entered into an association with The Red, White & Blue Project Inc. to produce a feature length doc entitled ‘For the Love of Catch‘ with our own Catch-Can World Champion Curran Jacob. We have some exciting people getting involved in the film.
- With LOST HEART done we will also be looking more at the 2021 line up. In active development is the WILD FAITH TV series ‘Hastings‘. I had numerous productive conversations on this project and I think it is WHEN not IF. If you have not watched WILD FAITH please do so. It will film in Michigan and could include the creation of a mini-studio.
- We are about to make some presentations on the WW2 Christmas project CDI will produce next year entitled SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We have over half the budget being covered by a foundation and we’ll be bringing on investors for the balance. Some great talks with the distributor also over this powerful story. It will be directed by Anthony Hornus as his follow up to MAN’S BEST BEST. If you have not seen this film please do.
- Three CDI Associated films will be getting a new release with ITN Distribution. Deadly Renovations, Darkest Night and Donors. These are films that CDI helped with and I co-star in all three. They are for those who like things that go bump in the night.
- BEST YEARS GONE is the next film up for CDI with a planned shoot window in November finishing before Thanksgiving. We had another great meeting and the film will have lots of exciting firsts for CDI. Shane Hagedorn is directing and those who enjoyed ASHES OF EDEN will be excited to see him directing again. We are planning to start shooting beauty shots and B roll soon as well as a few VFX sequences. Stay tuned! We’ll also be announcing a few more cast and crew soon!
- I need to turn some attention back at CDI Merchandise, CDI Animated and CDI Music Division developing. Having Lost Heart finished will give me some added time to work on these emerging divisions of CDI.
- I’ve got a batch of beer and wine ready to go. I just need to kick the process off.
- I’ll keep pushing ahead with my writing. In a few short weeks the new book that I was a contributing author on will by Callie Smith Grant. It be releasing nationwide with Revell Publishing. You can pre-order here – https://www.amazon.com/Second-Chance-Cats-True-Stories-Rescue-ebook/dp/B087RTPCT4/ref=sr_1_9?dchild=1&keywords=Second-Chance+Cats&qid=1595775817&sr=8-9 – I’ve also got a story in the book after that about DOGS and features a story with my ‘Luke Mr. Brown’ in it. I so appreciate being involved in these books and I’m actively seeking more book writing work.
PRE-ORDER NOW!!! My story involved ‘Lulu’ our little princess:)
As you can see it has been busy, busy with another dose of busy. If anything we are going to come out of this virus crisis with projects lined up to be filmed. I can work with that. Thank you as always for all your notes and fan mail I do read it and appreciate it. Control what you can control and keep moving forward!
Be good to one another!
Updates from On-Location – Lost Heart
Good morning from the Double JJ Resort in beautiful Rothbury, Michigan. If you have a family that loves waterparks, mini-golf, arcades, horse riding and such this is a wonderful place. Also if you are one of the people who like to knock a ball into a hole with a stick (golf) they have a beautiful course here. Such friendly service from everyone here. How they handle 50-70k people here for their music fest I do not know. But that said, our small army of artists is no problem for them.
I was a bit under the weather the 1st day and a half of pre-production but most likely due to the stress of the transition from home to location. Trying to remember to pack everything personal and business and making the move. But several breaks overseeing the golf course with deer prancing about and such put me right back on track. It is amazing to see everything fall into line but it happens through hard work and communication. I’ve very proud of how this production is coming together. I also want to announce two more amazing cast members joining us. Sherryl Despres and Michael Walton will be coming to LOST HEART🙂
While we have been here we’ve had the great joy of talking with several people who have seen our previous release WILD FAITH, which released on DVD nationally July 2nd. It is always a thrill to actually get to speak with your audience about the film. I sincerely hope that audiences continue to connect because a TV series might be around the corner. That would be great for our state and give lots of opportunities to weekly guest star talent. If you have not watched WILD FAITH please do. I know it can be purchased at Wal-Mart and many online retailers.
The Quest Trilogy is also out there and it is NOT just a holiday trilogy. And while it is pulled from the lesser known corners of the bible and the lore surrounding it – they are adventure films. As an influence we also got to go for a STAR WARS look with the three films. So if you decide you want to catch up with CDI’s biblical adventure films FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER, check your TV stations or rent/purchase the film via Amazon Prime or other participating platforms.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – We’ve been getting marketing materials out to NAGRA/MyCinema who is booking our theatrical. I’m excited to see this film roll out to theaters followed by a home video launch in the fall. If you support our wounded warriors and/or love dogs this film will pull at your heart strings. Follow us on Facebook or at http://www.cdiproductions.com
Aside from all this I recently completed two new stories for my contributions to an upcoming book. The book on horses that I have two stories in will be out this September I believe. Pre-Order here-
All this ties into the push with my literary work. I’m in hopes of announcing some new partnerships this fall. I’m going to get back to film work here but wanted to stop in and say hello. I appreciate all of you following along and supporting this endeavors. Cheers! Back to the hazelnut coffee:)