Hazelnut coffee cheers! It’s a wet and slightly chilly morning here in Michigan but the birds are chirping and the neighborhood rooster is crowing. I want to welcome all our new artists from France, China, Pakistan and more. Subscribe, and invite a friend to join in and share a few moments with us. I’m so happy Spring is right around the corner. It has been fun to work around the homestead getting ready for the year ahead. At a few of the meetings this week we’ve enjoyed a few of the wines I’ve made in the past. The lilac wine “Royal Lilac” was sampled, as only a few bottles remain. It tasted like Spring in a bottle. I’ve only made one batch of this wine since the plucking of 15 lbs of pedals was labor intensive and my significant other did not like coming home to all the lilacs cut down, but it did come out heavenly. Before I get into film updates I will speak into something that we can all work on.
Understanding and kindness- Like all of you my Facebook news feed randomly brings up all kinds of posts. I saw one where a performing artist was playing at a festival and some young fella likely running late as many people are, stepped in to get a microphone or some piece of audio equipment. It must have been a momentary distraction like a person getting in an actors eye line. This moment had been filmed and the artist posted it with a “look at how rude this person is” type of commentary. What followed is a slew of negativity and insults with at least one person offering to do physical harm to this person. Knowing festivals like I do – this person was surely a volunteer. Obviously not a professional stage hand or band “roadie” but a young person, likely socially awkward, who was just trying to do his job. We’ve all been that guy. I’m that guy every holiday when I stay in the kitchen too long, in the way and messing stuff up. This kid could have just been plugged into his computer with a headset, hidden away in a room playing some video game. But instead, he was likely trying to help and learn from a new experience. To just rip someone apart is just lazy. Take this young man aside one on one after the set and explain to him the right way to do it. Young people need mentors, teachers and people to help guide them. Not highlight their mistakes to embarrass and shame them publicly to draw some sort of sympathy for oneself from the masses.
I work on our films with teenagers and those well into their 70’s and beyond. It works great to combine the old and the young. They learn from each other and learn to respect one another. That is what I really dislike about cancel culture mentality. It either destroys a person vs developing them or it entrenches them deeper into the behavior pattern that is not constructive. Again, that is why we work with all types of people from all walks. Diversity isn’t just about race. It’s about of various backgrounds, customs, traditions and more. Working side by side on positive endeavors having positive experiences creates a new mindset. And if you need to course correct someone the best way is by direct message or behind closed doors. Anything else seems like grandstanding for attention. It’s negative attacks like that which causes people to quit or worse. Yes. Suicide is real and when someone feels the world is against them because someone with a fan base attacks them… You get my point. Many see an opportunity to create a “woe is me” moment versus seeing a chance to help someone grow. I was moved to comment publicly which I seldom do. That kind of group negativity doesn’t usually deserve my attention and energy but I saw a chance for a lesson.
In the same week, I saw a post whereas someone had a personal disagreement with someone privately and in person, yet they presented this to their circle of social media followers along with the persons profile and encouraged “trolls” to go get them. A “Social Media Mob” with torches and pitch forks. But it’s funny how if you just turn it off, it doesn’t matter. Clucking hens, and I already got those here. Which speaking of hens, they’re back up to 4 eggs a day. We have 4 chickens for those that have just recently joined us. It just takes me back to ole Spiderman “Uncle Ben” telling “Peter Parker” that with great power comes great responsibility. If you do carry some influence over the flow of people, use it wisely. Use it to help people grow not tear them down. I just feel for the meek who might be trying something new and not doing a stellar job getting attacked and shamed. No. Shame on you for being part of the problem versus being part of the solution.
Let’s move on to some amazing endeavors where people do work together to do something positive. Let’s do a TOP TEN updates shall we?
TOP TEN UPDATES FROM LAST WEEK
I’m being told that BEST YEARS GONE is an official selection of the 2022 BareBones International Film & Music Festival nominated for BEST COMEDY. This is in Oklahoma I believe and so again nice to see the story and humor translate to so many folks.
The DVD wrap art for BEST YEARS GONE is underway and I think the pre-orders on Amazon and other places will start soon for a June release.
Also preparing for release in May is BESTSELLER, an intense thriller releasing with Deskpop Entertainment. Again pre-order on the DVD will be appearing soon.
The paperwork on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH doc is awaiting counter signature and we’ll start delivering the film. Once all materials are in and approved they will set a release schedule. We are in talks about the premiere showings. We might be doing it in Las Vegas which would be fun.
This week I have to finish review of a few distribution agreements. My printer is not working properly and I like to review paper vs digital so I’m behind. But a KNIGHT CHILLS blu-ray deal is under review as is a full wide distribution deal for DARKEST NIGHT, the CDI associated “found footage” movie shot in the Philippines.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – We are eagerly awaiting the first cut of the film but I might have gotten a peek of a couple of scenes. I can see why our editor has been so excited. The teaser trailer is being worked on as we speak so that will be rolling out likely at the end of the month.
We’ve been starting to meet with potential backers and sponsors for the next CDI film, HOT RODE LOVE. An ‘American Graffiti’ comedy with drag racing at the heart of it. We have the first few stones in the foundation and will be working to put more in place. The fact that this film is in 1975 will give a good challenge to the tribe CDI team but having just tackled 1944 they are ready. Do you have a business that might want to align with this film. Reach out and join many great product partnerships like Hilton, Hersheys, Smithfield Foods, Hormel and more.
I’ve just finished reading a great book that is being looked at as my next scriptwriting project. This would go into production maybe this year or in 2023. If I can get that darn printer working I will send over the paperwork. I really do love the screenplay writing and love to see it come to life on the screen. Do you have a favorite?
CDI is finishing the final touches on a music video we did with the rock band DEEPFALL. The single “Revolution” drops on April 1st, no fooling:) on Spotify and iTunes. They are also about to go on tour with Sevendust. Much like our friends at VERTICAL BRIDGE this venturing into the music video realm is fun. The video was directed and edited by Carl Weyant. He also filmed along with our good friend Travis Hayward.
I need to meet again on merchandise. I really would love to see a BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS tee-shirt. Lunch boxes and even action figures and/or bobbleheads. You can find various CDI merchandise on the http://www.cdiproductions.com page – subscribe and stay up with the CDI tribe. If you have any ideas for CDI merchandise feel free to drop me a communication.
WRAP UP: I’m about to go into the third week playing indoor soccer. This is great training for touch and endurance before outdoor starts in April. Last game I was lucky enough to score the winning goal in the final seconds of the game. It has been fun to run and play with my brother and friends. Speaking of my brother, on our way to Menards to pick up brinks to build a chicken coop foundation, he notified of an abundance of unused bricks. They worked perfect and I got an amazing shoulder work out. We’re also putting a brick foundation down for the new fire pit.
We had a great Friday CDI wrap up meeting to celebrate a few of the wins and to plan the next moves on several of the projects. I’m also getting a new water dispenser in the fort/office greenroom. Soon will be some tree trimming and wood cutting to get the wood boxes full for next year. I hope to make many improvements this year. We are also still working our new adopted Luna Mae into our family pack. What a good dog and she is learning Finn (our other dog) and all his quirks. We’ve had a few muddy dogs that required major wipe downs or a bath. Especially Finn as he’s low to the ground without any mud flaps. I’m going to add a few pictures to this and go have a few eggs for breakfast. I hope MSU, my alumni does well today in their play offs. To bring our talk full circle- look around for opportunities to help others grow with sincere feedback versus angry condemnation or shaming. Be part of the solution not problem and know that at one time you too were likely a knucklehead frustrating someone. Ask my dad:)
Be good to one another and I’ll chat with you next week.
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.