NATURE, MUSIC, FELLOWSHIP and More – Happy Easter!
Hazelnut coffee cheers. Happy Easter! Today truly feels like a first spring day. I started cutting all the old hop vines and cleaning up the deck. I might explore again the building of a new deck. I found a great spot to just meditate and listen to the various birds calling and wooing each other. Some mates loved the cut vines and are using them to build their new nests. I spent some time the day prior to fix our windmill that the storms blew down. I think it got going so strong it tried to take flight. But I’ve enjoyed being able to take part of my day outside. This week I’ll be doing much more of that clean up. NATURE really does bring a peace of mind so make sure to get yours. I’m 3% Danish/Swedish and love my Viking roots and even the ice and snow but I’m ready for the other seasons. We have buds of flowers coming up and a few have bloomed. Soon the violets and the morel mushrooms. I’ll be prepping the ground soon for the sprinkling of more clover seed. We are now using prairie type seeding which produces food for the chickens when they free-range and gives us a beautiful carpet of clover. I’m going to construct a new compost bin. We have a plastic bin that rotates a good amount of compost into rich soil. The garden beds will be the home to new herbs and veggies. I might get a new batch of beer and wine going although my consumption of such has decreased greatly. Wait! Is this a gardening blog? It is about balancing your inner garden your work and dreams moving together until they become one. It becomes a balance of the external manifestation of art and the balance of the self. The self can be brought into balance but what you feed it physically, mentally and spiritually. Sleep is the big imbalance I see in many people and when mine is off, I am off. Diet and what and when you feed your temple body can greatly affect your balance. Spiritually I try not to fill myself too much with the negative things of this world. Not only do people lose hours mindlessly scrolling on their phones they fill themselves with others negativity. These can be hours of productivity lost. Even a nap is more productive to your body. MUSIC. I have always been into music as a powerful tool of tuning oneself as you would a guitar. I find when I take a few moments apart from whatever might be trying to put me off balance to play or listen to music, I can restore the balance and give myself a recharge.
(Maybe 1/5 of the main crew for CDI’s upcoming Harsens Island Revenge)
I’m a person who is quite content with much of my time being alone allowing me to focus on my tasks. But we all enjoy the visits and the FELLOWSHIP of others. This past week I had some great conversations with old friends by phone and in person with friends stretching back to 1st grade. I also enjoyed a few hours at the local Capital City Film Festival party with several #TribeCDI members. It was great to be around so many artists and to see their art also displayed about. We are in pre-production on our next project so it was nice to gather in-person and chat over a drink. We do many meetings by phone but there is an energy that arises from people together working on an idea. I’m a strong believer in that – Knights of the Round Table versus Knights of the Zoom or Teams. My humble opinion is that you might experience greater strides if you actually meet with your circle in person. Brainstorming. Accountability. And setting down a definite TO DO list will help your projects to grow. Great things require great planning. Thank you CCFF for allowing us to have artistic fellowship because of your great planning.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – Our box office run continues and we’re preparing to deliver the film for home video prep in May. In May, we’ll have someone from our team representing the film at the 32nd Annual Iowa Motion Picture Awards. We are up for BEST FILM, which we’re appreciative for. The new home video version of the film will have enhancements not seen in the theatrical version. A few things enhanced we just needed more time for and a few things are corrections from what we saw on the BIG screen. I’m just beyond excited to bring this film to so many more folks now that BMG will be representing it worldwide. Here is a good read on this new development – https://www.prlog.org/12958246-silent-night-in-algona-signs-with-bridgestone-multimedia-group.html
Harsens Island Revenge – The pre-production is going great. As mentioned above many departments are up and working already on breakdowns and gathering of needed items. We have a scout trip at the end of this month and I’ll be setting a few other key meetings. We are starting to look at the office now that works directly under the producers. A two person team that manages and coordinates the day to day business on set. We are in talks with various parties and will be looking to put a team in motion that can journey with us into the future. Cast and Crew are getting close to full with only a few we’re still working on because we have some time to do so. But it is also nice to have all that set up in advance. This week I’m excited to get back at it all. We have the new polished script and so I’m going to be re-doing my actors breakdown for my role of AXEL. It is fun to start building a role. He is a WW1 ex-officer who now resides on Harsens Island. I discovered something new about the character yesterday – he is a bird watcher. I’m excited to discover new things about Axel as we go along.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2– Documents are being signed up on the new chapter of the series. If you have not watched the first one rich with history you are missing out. I love the part about the big match Abraham Lincoln had before his political days. We are in talks with sponsors on this project that we hope to film this Summer.
KNIGHT CHILLS 4k 25th Anniversary – CDI’s first film was ironically about role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. The film had competing offers to put out a BluRay edition. I plan to do a PR release about this soon. We have been reaching out to cast and some crew about doing interviews reflecting back upon filming. Some have moved on from acting and others we are still trying to reach. Others might not wish to participate but I will say that that little film made with with less money than our hotel cost now was an achievement of pure will. I think we are going to do a 25th anniversary poster. More on this soon.
We are prepping a few other projects for a new re-release. Also a slew of ideas on merchandise and such. I need to find a few artists that have the skillset we require and we can put them to work. As I type, I hear the egg song of our hens. I think I might need to go have a few eggs. We are having just a small Easter meal and I plan to do some things in the yard. The office needs a real spring cleaning and so I might do that. Whatever your faith is, allow this to be a day of renewal. Renewal of vows to take care of yourself thus allowing you to help take care of others. I’ve spent the week asking people who want to embrace the season to watch CDI’s trilogy of biblical adventures FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. I will add BOOK OF RUTH, that I helped produce years ago to that list. Some will be playing on TV or have been to celebrate the passover weekend. I hope you all have a wonderful day. A wonderful week. And I’ll see you next Sunday for another coffee chat. The pot of coffee is now gone and I’m going to get a few things done on this beautiful day.
Be good to one another!
Casting and Crewing Updates -Plus Talks on Seeking Balance in an Unbalanced World
(In 2023 Tribe CDI will be storytelling in the 1920’s)
I’m happy to report some sunshine this morning in the mid-Michigan after several days of clouds and rain. It is still chilly but the warmth is coming and I see birds making nests and buds starting to sprout. The cloudy cold and on-going rain was conducive for my desk work I needed to get done. We concluded a few weeks of polishing on our Harsens Island Revenge script. It was adapted from a book of the same name and the difference is a more condensed version where you try to show more versus tell more. Dialog was strengthened, removing lazy or lingo that wasn’t befitting the time period. The opening of the film that starts in WW1 was adjusted to match talks with the art department and our director.
I also was able to finish some developmental work on an epic 1800’s tale that tells of the conflict between the Iowa settlers and the resisting Lakota Sioux. We are now starting finance talks and we’ll see if we can get this story off the ground. I just finished watching a mini series on Amazon Prime called THE ENGLISH that had some of the same tone in beauty and brutality. The last Iowa-based project took North of a decade to bring to the screen. Our hope is that this one might be a little sooner.
(SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – COMING to home video later this year!)
Speaking of that last Iowa-based film, SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– it has played theatrically non-stop since it premiered Dec. 9th and this past week we had even more theaters reach out to book the story. But even more exciting news is that our home video deal is signed with Bridgestone Multimedia Group, who has done a wonderful job getting our other films out to the world. We’ll do some PR on this in the coming week. We’ll have until the beginning of May to get all our materials delivered and once approved they will assign hard release dates for the fall release to DVD, TV and streaming. Foreign sales talks will start even sooner and we are excited to share this story will millions around the world. In the meantime, if you get a chance to see it on the big screen do treat yourselves. I’m thrilled to hear that classrooms of children are watching the film. There are many lessons that history can teach us.
(The power of casting – much care was taken in the casting of our Germans)
Back to our Harsens Island Revenge film – we’ve added several great actors to the cast. Randy Spence takes on a dynamic role. Ian Griffin will once again loan his talents to our story and this week we’ll be adding Josh “the Ponceman” Perry who is always a joy. We also started reaching out to a few MI agencies looking for a few roles. A wheelchair bound stroke victim, a young lady 7-10 who plays young and a few others. We’ve also received some great reach out reels from some actors and we’ll be discussing them more. While the actual island will be featured, we will be shooting most of the scenes at another small coastal town that fits our needs on set and off set. We’ll be going on our second location scout end of this month to lock in locations we found and seek that final locations required.
(Scouting in Iowa for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA)
Last film had us aligned with several great sponsor and partnerships, some worldwide like Hershey, Smithfield Foods and Hormel. We have started talks with some new potential local sponsors. I love to see local, regional, National and worldwide companies all come together. If you want to have your company or business included please do reach out.
Our crew is getting close to a full boat only missing a few folks which we’ll find in good time here. I’m beyond excited to tell this story and the enthusiasm of our team makes it all the better.
- We will be doing a PR announcement about the Knight Chills 25th Anniversary Blu Ray release. We are going to have some new interviews from some of the main cast about this experience long ago. A few have been hard to track down. And some might have gotten a red rose and won’t be participating. Damn Sir Kallio!
- IN THE WOODS, is also going to get the anniversary Blu Ray release. This was my first starring role in a feature film and this new release might contain some new scenes. The film was re-transferred from the film stock (Yes, we use to shoot film:) and will be remastered. I think I mentioned that in addition to new swag like the cool Making of ‘In the Woods’ book on Amazon- other cool things are in the works like action figures.
- I have another Ron Knauss audio book from his FOR GENERATIONS TO COME series to record narration for and this week I’ll look to get that done. If you love history, this is a great series of books and audio books.
- We do have a few other films from the CDI library being prepared for new releases. It all just takes time.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 foundation paperwork is almost complete. Director Curran Jacobs is working on the outline. Also a new teaser poster should be coming soon. Exciting stuff!
I feel so bad for the people this past weekend affected by the tornado and storms. Some lost their lives and others all their belongings and homes. Mother Nature can be brutal. I’m looking forward to gathering with some of the #tribeCDI at the Capital City Film Festival mixer later this week. It is a great time to stop and just be in the presence of artists and filmmakers working towards their dreams. It is such a great event to have for those struggling to have their work seen. It has really grown over the years and some congrats to all their staff.
I’m going to finish this up here and get to a few other Sunday activities. With the sun shining outside and it getting warmer, I look forward to some yard work this week. As the cold gives way the need for firewood is lessening. But that means more splitting and letting it season for next winter’s chill. I want to replace the compost bin which is in bad shape after several years duty. I’ll be looking at quotes for a few projects around the premises. I saw a small greenhouse yesterday that I just loved.
In our meeting last week I think will drank the last of the Frankenberry Wine. I have the needed materials to do a run of beer and I might even have enough random rhubarb and berries for another wine run. Our chickens have been back to egg producing which is what I just ate in my small break in my writing. I love doing all these side things in nature as they help give balance.
(Rance Howard – he saw much change in his lifetime – I miss our talks)
Balance – That was a main discussion in one of our meetings this past week. That should be the goal everyday for everyone. Extreme ideology has people thinking that you need to dominate others to win. To me that is a miss. We all have things important to us, our priorities. Just like others have their priorities, important to them. For one group to have everything, means another will be at a loss. But good citizenship is giving up some priorities for the good of others. Your fellow Americans. To strike a balance, whereas you may have a different ordering of your priorities compared to your neighbor, friend or family. In love you can support things outside your priority list.
I think more of us are moderate and hold middle ground with our beliefs. I don’t think you can put people in a box and call them just one thing. We all have those things/priorities that mean something to us but that doesn’t solely define us. I go into every conversation knowing I could be wrong. Knowing if I listen, I might learn something new. The emptying of the cup allows this. There’s a great strength in that ability. The loudest voices in the room seldom reflect the wisest voices. Sometimes the quiet one, who will not shout or yell over someone, has the truest point of view. They listen. They discuss in a friendly, open manner not an aggressive condescending tone. Respectful communication breeds new understanding and ultimately balance. Seek balance and you will find happiness.
Be good to one another. Disagree. But be good to one another. I have things I agree and/or disagree with but none are worth losing the laughter and cherished friendships I have. The world is changing and we cannot stop that. But we can control how we live and act during a time of change. Women now can vote and show off more than their ankles in public. Segregation had its day and is now gone. Military animals such as horses and dogs were once deemed only Govt. property and destroyed once service ended. Change is inevitable and can be good. Change is hard, but many things worthwhile are. I can barely keep up with technology on a good day. I miss things from the good ole’ days but I’m proud that some good ole’ ways we’ve moved past.
I have no real point to all this reflective pondering only to ask you to ponder these things on your own. Not what anyone tells you to believe but your own sincere thoughts. I’m aware of all the wild speculations out there and some contain a grain of truth inflated to unbelievable levels. Conspiracy was a fun thing we pondered as kids but to see it everywhere in everything becomes a sickness. It takes away your balance. If you have balance you can respond to actual events and regain your balance when something effects it. But to live in fear is an imbalance. What is the old saying that anticipation of death is worse than death itself. The human race has been brutal and beautiful to one another. That is likely why people are afraid of AI – if our actions and deeds are evaluated and judged that could be scary because we fail as often as we succeed. I will seek to live in balance. I will seek to know thyself and understand others. We’re not a perfect nation because the human race is not perfect but we are a good example of a society striving for balance. We have a long way to go but it starts with individuals.
Happy Sunday to you all!
Event Links, Interviews, Film Updates and Seasonal Thoughts…
Good morning. I’m sitting here sipping the coffee and writing to all of you. I want to thank all our readers from around the world stopping by to touch base. I appreciate all the artists out there taking the time to stop by and share a few moments of their Sunday. I’ve been still doing lots of film work on the developing, post flow and and release and PR aspects. I have a few podcast interviews I’ve agreed to do. Here is a recent one. Isaac has been a long time friend and his “mission” is positive content.
What I try to explain is that at CDI we are not tailoring any film to FIT any particular audience save the age rating that we keep in mind. You don’t want to F-BOMB all over your PG film. I’m a lover of colorful language at times and I enjoy R -Rated entertainment. Sometimes it helps the story and sometimes it is just too much for my taste. Despite my start in horror films which I still love, I’ve always been more about atmosphere and mood vs slash and gore. I have several friends who that is their passion. I’ve reached a place where I enjoy the consistent flow of fan mail that says how this film or that film has helped them. As a writer I’ve really grown to enjoy those moments that ultimately teach us something good, bad or ugly. So bottom line we’re beyond grateful for the acceptance by the “faith film genre” but our films about faith – “those strong in faith, those lacking faith, finding faith, seeking faith, losing faith and holding on to what they have.”
Our films are for everyone to invoke tears, laughter and offer a different perspective through filters we all share. Moments of entertainment and escape from our own lives and to have a few message gems hidden within. The 50 year old me also loves not being up all night in a dirty location, covered in corn syrup (blood) which bugs LOVE by the way. Showing up on a western town set with a cup of coffee wearing a low hanging gun rig is a lot cooler to my body clock. I truly enjoy that after years of bringing other peoples stories to screen I’m finally getting my own stories told. And they are touching people and giving them hope and new understanding. I told someone in a meeting yesterday I’ve never been more proud to be a storyteller. I use to say that if we made a bad scene nobody dies on an operating table but we do have the ability to help many, many people. We’re still trying to pull the numbers in from our 2 day showing of LOST HEART on Encourage TV. We know it exceeded 30k views maybe as high as 100k and the beautiful notes followed.
I’m not so much into “shocking” people these days. If there is any shock I want to give fans/audiences is that person who watches Paul Landings in MBF: Man’s Best Friend and says “Is that DJ Perry?” that feels good. That film on Encourage TV (This is a paid by ads site where audiences can watch free w/ ads) but MBF is climbing to 700k watches and this is one stream. Our distributor monetizes dozens of streams and foreign territories. I’m excited to see all these films travel. The holidays are exciting because that is when families and friends watch films. And in these times of few recreational choices these stories are being watched more and more. I guess I just want to say thank you. To all the fans that have been with me since I was running bloody IN THE WOODS (Me as Rookie firefighter with Jim Grulich – fighting monsters) * Amazon Prime – to my newfound fans from playing Jesus in The Quest Trilogy, Ben Lily, Niles Cass, Paul and most recently the character study known as ‘Gil Gilles’ in BEST YEARS GONE now in post-production.
I’m going to ask you all to explore our films. Each one is truly hand crafted. You can tell the artists care about the stories. That has been true since the early days. You can see so much heart in Jeff Kennedy’s HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS – a beautiful PG-13 film that we placed too heavy of swearing into for our audience. I told you I like colorful language at times. A live and learn in many ways. Followed by FIGURE IN THE FOREST also directed by Jeff Kennedy which was a beautiful story led by Dean Teaster who many know from our recent films. These have been pressed into a 2 DVD “Classic CDI Collection” and I’m exploring talks of uprezing as these were made in the SD (standard def) days. For next year we do plan on releasing KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS the first two films from CDI that was our playing with the horror and comedy genres. It is nice to have existing copies of these films. Thank you to those that have purchased.
PICK THIS UP AND SEE WHERE WE STARTED FROM-
But lets give a run down on a few of the current films-
ASHES OF EDEN – If you’re excited about BEST YEARS GONE recently filmed – directed by Shane Hagedorn – check out his first collaboration w/ CDI. It stars Melissa Anschutz and you’ll see many of the #TribeCDI – I play a lovable drug dealer named Donnie:) It is a great story that premiered to a 600 person crowd at the CCFF to a standing ovation. Shane is great at weaving emotional scenes and it shows in this earlier effort. Check it out free on Amazon Prime, Encourage TV likely Tubi and Pluto TV. Here is the teaser!
I LOVE the new campaign underway for THE QUEST TRILOGY – they are told in this 3 fold story that starts in the present, falls back to the past and leaps to the future. The thread in the three films is the Devil and the Angels which makes this a unique story. It explores the possible effect of all these events from the perspective of the angels serving and fallen. Please do take a watch on FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. Happy Holidays! Leave your comments on the IMDB, Amazon pages and/or to me here.
WILD FAITH – We are aggressively in talks with a few parties about bringing back the Murphy family and friends from WILD FAITH in a TV series currently titled HASTINGS. I have written the first season consisting of eight forty-four minute shows. I’m looking at a few ways to put this together business-wise. I had a few “first right of refusal” situations not legally but by using good business fairness. I had a very productive talk this weekend that might give us the results we are looking for. The pilot feature WILD FAITH shows what a powerful world was created and these ongoing stories strengthen and carry forth the evolution of these beloved characters. The bad news is that I’ve been enjoying the lack of facial hair and soon I might have to start that walk back towards Ben Lily. I guess I could do that.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – To answer a few fan questions – there is no immediate plan to do a sequel to MBF but never say never. Someone else asked if I had my eye on any action films. I still like films that are heavy on character drama and include action vs an action genre film. But do I have a Bruce Willis DIE HARD like movie in me? Giddy Up!
PS: There is a chance that MBF might play at the Capital City Film Festival Drive In Event since it was scheduled to play before the shut down and was nominated.
LOST HEART – A beacon of light and laughter that has been expanding across the USA and the world. I think the UK is getting to travel to Lost Heart. Our beautiful state of Michigan is giving a wonderful peek to the world. I haven’t gotten any real ‘Niles Cass’ fan mail, shadowed by that Josh Perry, love you buddy:) …but I’ve received many messages from viewers expressing their love of the story and characters. It brought them some comfort in these different and for many difficult times.
A few asked about the EVENT on ENCOURAGE TV. They are also playing the Cast & Crew Event – Enjoy!
PRE-PARTY FOR ‘LOST HEART’
The AFTER GLOW
The thing is I feel blessed by all the good things abound. I’ve always worked diligent and consistent as I find that gets bests results. Starting, Finishing and everything in between. I’m starting to develop a need for some breakfast although lunch is creeping up too.
We’ll be back in action finishing the filming on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH doc film first of the year. We have some exciting merchandise conversations happening. We’ll be pulling the paperwork together on the WW2 film SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA early in 2021. Just take this time of holiday reflection to plan the upcoming year. What did you do that you want to repeat? What did you do that you want to remove? We’re all a work-in-progress and we can change our course with a handful of decisions. Be the change you want to see. Don’t worry about changing others just allow yourself to be a living example. Show people you are not lip service by leading by actions. Less talk and more self action. This holiday season be mindful to people and animals less fortunate and in need.
Enjoy the season.