Memorial Weekend – CDI Military Themed Films
Hazelnut coffee cheers-
Welcome this morning to our new readers from Italy, Finland and Pakistan! I want to start by wishing a Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all our veterans out there. At CDI we’ve examined the veteran experience in several of our films. My hope is that you would watch these films. I think I’ll write a little on each of them.
- WICKED SPRING is a Civil War era film that without any political overtones examines the lives of the common soldiers on both sides. This film was a massive undertaking and I’m very proud of the work we put into this story. I’m considering doing a making of book filled with extras celebrating this film. I found a link that had a lot of great information some of which I had even forgotten. You can watch it for free with adds on Encourage TV (Youtube) and several other platforms. It is a deep character study that will move your heart to think about what war does to family’s on both sides. Read more here- https://alchetron.com/Wicked-Spring
- FROM VENUS and AN ORDINARY KILLER are two films from the CDI library that need a full reboot. The first is a comedic romp about two ex-military buddies trying to rescue a young man pulled into a SciFi cult. On the other far end of the spectrum is a based on a true story of a serial killer caught 27 years after the crime. The lead detective is an ex-Vietnam veteran trying to keep his temper in check as his persistence and patience are tested. DVD’s are about from the original release but both of these will eventually undergo an HD upgrade and new release. COMING SOON
- Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town – This Smoky Mountain Western takes place after the Civil War and features many themes and topics concerning veterans. Some of my favorite interactions is between a ex-Union Captain and an ex-Southern General. We get full rights back on this film in 2024 and will be preparing a new release.
- The 3rd film in THE QUEST TRILOGY – THE CHRIST SLAYER – CDI’s biblical adventure series focuses on Roman soldier Longinus who put the spear to the side of Jesus on the cross. Many great themes present themselves even though this examines soldiers from several thousand years ago. It is still best to watch the three films in order. I had someone this week reach out about how much they loved FORTY NIGHTS (Part 1) and part 2 is CHASING THE STAR giving a unique take on the three wise men.
- WILD FAITH is one of CDI’s most popular and focuses on the life of an ex-Civil War soldier with his own nightmares. He has made a promise to a black soldier who saved his life but that promise would challenge the norms of the time. It can be seen on many platforms like NBC’s Peacock TV and Encourage TV where it has recently passed 7 million views. With tens of millions of views this movie has a planned spin off TV show in the works. It is called HASTINGS and will follow the further adventures of the Murphy family.
- MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Also on the same platforms as Wild Faith above is a more current film whose story focuses on a wounded Marine veteran just trying to get by in life while working at an animal shelter. This story about the plight of veterans and dogs is highlighted in this powerful film that will pull on your heart strings. As an actor, I get many people reaching out asking about the future of the lead character ‘Paul’ and if a sequel will ever be seen. Maybe one day is my response. This is a much watch film but bring your tissue.
- ASHES OF EDEN – While the focus is not directly military themed I do play an ex-military soldier who unable to find suitable work has fallen into being a drug dealer. I really loved this role and character because of how complex he is. This film is a good watch that has a wonderful lesson attached.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – This film is strongly military themed as it is based on true events. These events unfold at one of the many German PW camps spread across the midwest during WW2. It is just finishing up a theatrical run that started on Dec 9th. It will be coming out on home video this holiday season my best guess is Oct/Nov but I will let everyone know once I get word. It is a truly inspiring story that people can lean into as an example of humanity at its best. A much needed film in this day and age.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – A beautiful documentary film about the art of Catch-Can grappling presented by the leading historians and teachers of the art. The interviews are led by Army veteran Randy Couture. It showcases some interesting history that includes ole Abe Lincoln and West Point. This was produced in association with the Red, White and Blue Project Inc. a nonprofit for military awareness and assistance.
- Another great documentary done by the non-profit above is OUTSIDE THE WIRE: The Forgotten Children of Afghanistan. This follows donations from churches in mid America to the orphanages and schools high in the mountains of Afghanistan. This is achieved only with the help of the military in a great untold humanitarian mission by US led Coalition forces.
It is good to highlight these stories which give glimpses into the lives of military individuals and families. Even our next CDI film Harsens Island Revenge shooting this year will have a strong military presence. Thank a veteran for their service and watch a few of the stories above. I’m going to wrap things up here and eat a good breakfast before doing some more clean up around the property. For those fans of Austin TwoFeathers, best known perhaps as ‘Buddy’ in MBF – he’ll be joining us on the next CDI film. Only a few most castings to go and we’ll be getting a schedule to approve soon from the AD department. That will allow us to start giving exact dates to our cast so please have patience as that is coming very soon. Have a great relaxing weekend and I’ll talk with you again next week.
NEW (HIR) Teaser Poster and Several Film Updates
(The NEW teaser poster for CDI’s next film ‘Harsens Island Revenge’)
Coffee Cheers on this fine Sunday morning. It is still chilly on these Michigan mornings and the hazelnut coffee is really tasting fine. We will be approaching a few places about sponsorship with coffee during the next CDI shoot. Often when a small army is exposed to a new product they become of fan and a regular user. Some sponsorships help the production directly and some indirectly like when we did jar candles for many years. When you have to stay away from home for several weeks it really does bring comfort. Last week was an extremely productive week on so many fronts. Let’s take a look at some of those developments.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has been delivered to our distributor (BMG) and this week we’ll deliver the last few pieces. The overall film copyright and a few final marketing pieces will be sent over tomorrow and I hope to have release dates by the end of the week. I’m excited for the distributor art to start being worked on we are all so very excited about the 4th quarter of the year release to home video. We still are waiting to see if we are invited out to the Burbank Film Festival. But this movie has been an amazing journey like they all are. If you have not seen the film yet know we are excited to bring it to you. If you did get to see it in the theaters we’re excited to bring you this enhanced version.
- This past week was also the deadline to get all the extra materials in for an upcoming Knight Chills re-release. For those that don’t know this film was the first feature for CDI. It is a tale about bullying but told using role playing games as the setting. With all the renewed excitement over Dungeons and Dragons and such, this film should be well received. It is not a great film by any means but it is true to itself and the subject matter. It is also a good example of doing it yourself – filmmaking. We learned so much and the film is turning 25 years old soon. It got strong distribution during its initial release but also had us as young filmmakers navigating the hardships of low level distribution. Integrity. But the fans have come full circle appreciating the film. My fear with the older films was always – what if this is the first film of mine they see? Everyone starts somewhere and I/we started at ground zero so that really makes the journey more impressive. I’m secure where I am in my life with everything acting/filmmaking and so I’m enjoying the process of getting this films prepped for a new release to new audiences. They want me to be zero PR releases until they present to licensors in a few months so this will be likely the last update on this for a short while. But thank you to those who were willing and/or able to participate in the Behind the Scenes extras. I can say that we have plans with this company to focus on FROM VENUS (CDI’s 2nd film) and IN THE WOODS (My 1st starring role). We learn and build from our past endeavors.
- I mentioned IN THE WOODS above and I am due for an update meeting next week on this re-mastering. I also have some great new information to share. This film is getting a new edit with added scenes and lots of extras. I’ve seen some of the prototypes of the toy line and it is looking good. I need to get my face scan for the Alex Kerwood action figure. This week at one of our meetings I discovered how I might be able to get this scan done faster and sent to the mold makers. In this CDI association, we have a slate of films moving down the line. I emanated prior SHJ, a supernatural thriller and the buzz on IN THE WOODS 2. I also will be excited to talk about new technology that could really help an older project called PALEFIRE. At least I think that is the title. I need another blast of coffee:)
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – This powerful and amazing story is being prepped for presentation and funding to interested parties. This film would shoot in Iowa as a follow up to our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. It is undergoing a final polish with another set of eyes and the presentation package is being finalized.
- WILD FAITH: Hastings is the 8 show spin off from the WILD FAITH motion picture. It continues to gain momentum on many platforms and just surpassed 7 million views on our distributor’s streaming platform. This is a new endeavor and so we’re trying to set it up just right. The most important thing to me is creative control to keep the integrity of the show that was inspired directly from shows like THE WALTONS and LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. By that I mean that every show has a life lesson attached to it.
- HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE is CDI’s next film and we’ve been steady at work each and every day. Last week we met with McGraw Multimedia that will likely be supervisions our visual VFX for the film. This was a great reunion of sorts as John McGraw was an editor for CDI in the early days and his brother Eldon, I’ve known even longer. He has been a producer for many years. We’ve got a handful of ambitious scenes in the film that we’ll be tackling. We also got a great preview of all the capabilities of motion capture which might come into play on another film project. We only have a few cast and crew to still place and most of our efforts are on lodging and catering right now. We’ll start locking down locations once we know exactly how many and what days we’ll need a location for. As noted above- we’re starting to lock in some sponsors to assist the film directly or indirectly. Personally, I’ve been having fun slowly building the character for this new role. I like to learn about all the influences in the time period that affects how they see and exist within the world at that time. I cannot lie, I’m itching to get back in front of the cameras and bring AXEL to life. We’re in a holding pattern on some fronts awaiting the schedule from the AD department. We’ll do a close examination and lock the schedule allowing us to go to agreements on cast, locations and vehicles. So many cool things happening and you can follow along on our Facebook page of the same name.
- We have a handful of other projects in development and several possible associated films. I’ve recently read a script by some peer filmmakers and that might lead to a collaboration. And I have talks this week on development of – let’s say it could have us returning to the deserts of Yuma, AZ. We have many film family and friends in that area.
(Some of the CDI Tribe meeting with McGraw Multimedia over ‘Harsen’s Island Revenge’)
This week I enjoyed battling on the soccer grid once again. We lost our match but it was a good battle and the season is just getting started. I’m getting my conditioning back and feel pretty good. My flat feet are getting use to the running again. I’ve had many good people reach out this week and had a few really special notes sent on MBF: Man’s Best Friend which is a film that if you haven’t seen of ours you really should. I want to give a shout out to my high school classmates who got together for a 35th class reunion, damn. It just seems like yesterday that I was driving the ole Maverick and playing HAIL TO THE CHIEF with the musical car horn. I just had timing issues with this weekends events but I hope all my Sexton Big Red 88′ alumni had a good time catching up. I’m working to tame this yard which is already a seas of green and various colors. I’ve harvested my first rhubarb for wine making and I’m about to make a batch of summer beer done in the Mexican-style. I might add a pepper to each bottle. If you’ve never tried that you should. I’m ready to start making good ole Sun Tea also. I’m going to finish up here and have a few eggs from our girls before heading to the flea market in search of film props.
Keep following your dreams and I’ll chat with you next week.
Happy Mother’s Day and some EXCITING Film Updates
Hazelnut Coffee Cheers and Happy Mother’s Day! I’m up bright and early because we have a full day ahead of us. Plus I have several good updates to give. Today is a special day because we get to spend it with the mothers. In my seeking of something different we are doing a Victorian style tea today with the moms. It is at a historic mansion house and gardens and it should be fun. I have my tuxedo tee-shirt ready to go. I wanted to also speak into something that people occasionally have where their day is just slightly off. Related to, getting out of the wrong side of the bed. Spilling or tripping over stuff or just a general string of mishaps. Comedy of errors is enough term I’ve heard. I had a few days that felt like that but a 20 min shut down and reboot via nap, meditation or just a chill can sometimes reset things. Many will say that they don’t have time for a 20 min reboot but when productivity is poor sometimes you can’t afford not to take it. Sometimes it is related to eating at the proper times. Lack of coffee can have a day slightly off on occasion also, damn caffeine. Sometimes it is just a string of odd occurrences.
Yesterday I spent the morning feeding the chickens clover tops before mowing the lawn which I did on a high setting to still allow many of the wild food plants to thrive. Our yard is full of color and the smell is wonderful with apple blossoms and lilac scent. I also worked on a new fence to contain our row of raspberries growing. I had a breakfast of a few eggs from our aforementioned chickens and some bacon but the work outside had burnt those quite quickly. My legs are also repairing and recovering from our second soccer match which we won by one goal. A quick shower before off to the zoo with my brother and family. I was needing some energy and went to get into the glove box where ’emergency snacks’ are kept. I realized we were in a dealership loaner vehicle while one of the rides was being fixed. We get to the zoo and the first animal is one of my favorite, the otters. I watched as they were doing back flips and gliding back and forth across the little pool. While trying to get a better look my sunglasses fell off my neck strap and splashed into the pool. The otter was playing with them and we swear trying to wear them. Not wanting the otter to harm himself or choke on them I had to seek out zoo staff. So I waited until the kind lady arrived and the glasses were found discarded in the enclosure. Had to bleach those. Everything worked out as they sold bbq pork sandwiches and so the hunger was squashed. Later that day once home we had planned to grill. I had thawed out some venison burger and pork ribs. We went to get them out of the fridge and found BLOOD all over the fridge. They were sealed and in a glass dish but blood was all over and into the veggie tray and what a mess. A few things had to be thrown out and we were wiping down everything that had this sticky blood…wait. Wait a minute. We discovered a jar of gifted pickled beets had spilled in the fridge, not blood but beet juice. The cookout went better from that moment. But sometimes your days just get off slightly. When it does try the time out and sometimes you just gotta roll right through it. Sometimes that is with work and sometimes that is with personal everyday things. It was not fun while we thought we had blood all through the fridge but looking back it is funny when it turned out to be beet juice.
Onto the film and project updates from this week-
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA mastering of the movie for home video delivery was completed. A few adjustments had to be made to the opening credits but otherwise the new enhanced video and audio blended into an amazing film. New end credits were added on with a better layout and smoother scroll. The film is being uploaded tomorrow to the distributor and already they are prepping it for presentation in the marketplace. New DVD and streaming artwork will begin and the sales team will start pitching to platforms and foreign territories. It is gonna be a great upcoming holiday season where folks can sit home with their families and enjoy this wonderful story.
- WILD FAITH is our western era film that has been doing very well for us on most all the platforms. On the distributor’s home video platform ENCOURAGE TV the film has passed the 7 million watches benchmark. This is a wonderful thing because we are working to try and set the TV series up with HASTINGS already having a first season already written. This helps our endeavors to see the TV show launch.
- KNIGHT CHILLS is the second film from the CDI library that we are updating and putting back out to market. The new transfer of the film looks really good. I’ve tried for a few months to wrangle new retro interviews and we’ve gotten a few. I did an interview myself last week and I might try to do a new commentary this week with our composer Dennis Therrian. It will be exciting to see the film in the new enhanced form. After the Blu Ray is finished I will look at getting it prepped to stream. Many interesting extras and fun additions to this early CDI film. Join the Facebook page and follow along.
- HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE – Catering, lodging and location talks continue on the next CDI film to shoot. We’ve been doing more casting and we’ve found our young actress to play the leading ladies daughter and her name is Blu Owens. Also another one of our gangsters was found and his name is Nick Schroeder. I enjoyed talking with him about his early days starting out in this business. Funny how many of our stories have a similar start. I’ll be making intros this week and soon wardrobe can start getting our talent sizes. A cool teaser poster is almost ready to release. It is amazing to see how everything starts to come together. We are awaiting the AD team’s new white script and schedule. From there we can start locking down dates for talent. More sponsorship talks this week as we have many interested in aligning their brands.
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE is getting a polish by yours truly and after I’ll have my amigo Tony Hornus do a second pass. We have some momentum building and will be entering talks with the Spirit Lake museum and we hope we can bring attention and help to their organization also. I was optimistic that the film would shoot in 2024 but it is looking like 2025 since the scope of the project is larger. Funding has to be locked and after locations and casting will take a good part of a year. But we have enough things lining up for 2024 to keep us busy.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 will be the follow up to the documentary we did that showcases the amazing history of the grappling style known as the Catch-Can style. Our next one in the series will go more in depth is about the military history and use in hand-to-hand combat. We will be meeting over this next documentary this week and try to get this one rolling. Thank you to everyone who has watched the first one.
- We have a few CDI “in association” projects being considered for production in 2024 and we’ll see which of those becomes solid as we move forward.
- I need to check in and see where we are with IN THE WOODS which is getting a new edit from a new transfer and from what I hear is pretty amazing. Again this was my first starring role back in the 90’s and it will be exciting to see this new version. I hear a theatrical special play might be in the works before the Blu-Ray and other extras.
We are going to do a stop at the flea market this morning before coming home and getting ready for Mother’s Day tea. I’m excited to spend some time with my momma who was recently on vacation in Las Vegas. As we talked about in the opening of this chat- everyone has off days so sometimes you can hit that reset and sometimes you have to power through it. Sometimes things look ready bad and it turns out to be beet juice. Sometimes things aren’t perfect and you might need to do a little extra work to achieve that near perfection. I say ‘NEAR” because is there any true perfection or is that just a subjective view point?
I’m ready to attack the new week ahead with some great pre-production meetings. Most casting and crewing work along with more lodging and catering talks. Get in the habit of consistently building towards your goals and watch how you suddenly find yourself there. I’m going to get around this morning and do a few things before heading out prop looking. I’m going to refill the old coffee cup and get at it. If your momma is no longer with you light a candle and have some good memories. If your momma is still with you enjoy the day and express your gratitude. My mother brought me into this world and I’m so glad she did. I think life is pretty special. She is credited for everything I’ve done and I love her more than she could ever know.
Happy Mother’s Day and coffee cheers to a productive week ahead!
Awards, Updates and the Rise of ‘AI’
Coffee cheers on a rainy Sunday morning in Michigan. We awoke to the rumble of thunder as a storm approached. I smiled because I had just put down additional clover seed and all the new plants will enjoy the passing rain. This past week was a wonderful mix of desk work and business calls while doing tasks in the yard. The start of prepping wood for next years winter has begun. I was also happy that I was able to get so much done even after my first soccer match of the season. We played the champs we dethroned last year. They beat us by one goal with us having multiple opportunities to take the lead but it was not meant to be. I LOVE that battle on the soccer field and after I was only mildly sore on day two from the amount of running. I trained for this season with the exception of running. I did cardio but wanted to save my knees for the season. My flat feet puts more pounding on the knees but I was really happy with the first game. As I’ve said before, playing is a great meditation too. For 90 minutes it is just teamwork with a singular goal. I’m just happy that I’m healthy enough to play and be competitive. I’m looking forward to our next game. We have many things underway with our film projects so let’s take a look at a few of the updates.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – Last night the film which has been playing theatres since December 9th won the AWARD of ACHIEVEMENT at the 32nd Iowa Motion Picture Awards. Our Algona coordinator Donna Kitzinger was there to receive the award and I hope she had a grand time. The theatrical run will be coming to a close soon just as the film will be delivered to our distributor for worldwide licensing. The film going to home video (DVD/Streaming) will have enhanced audio and visual improving upon small things we noted in the theatrical version that we could tweak before millions around the world get to watch it over the upcoming holidays. Congrats to our director Anthony Hornus and the entire CDI Tribe of artists for their hard work. We might play a few more event festivals before we release to home video. I will keep everyone informed but we are looking to film in the Los Angeles area. We’ll know more this month.
HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE – Following our wonderful scout trips we’ve got things moving on all fronts with this next CDI film. Lodging and catering is being worked out and locations are starting to be locked down with location agreements. Casting and crewing is going great and we’re working to fill in the remaining parts. That will likely be completed at the end of the month. Our schedule is underway and we’ll be feeding the AD department some additional info to assist that effort. Once we know when our talent will be needed we will start to lock down their agreements. We’ll be rolling cameras in Sept/Oct and all this prep time will make things run very smooth.
(Sponsorships and Product Partners) I want to welcome our first sponsor UAS whose support helps us provide those extra added touches to our production. We’ll be announcing many more as we move forward. We tackle some very ambitious projects and could not do it without the community help and our supporters. If you want to align your brand with us and be seen by millions reach out and let’s see if we can make something work.
We’ll be doing some exciting new things with this film and I’m so excited to see this story materialize. We are working on the teaser poster and should have something shortly. Let’s look at some other updates.
- We are starting to have talks over the set up for a future TV series spin off of WILD FAITH. This film has been performing well on several platforms. On our distributors platform (Encourage TV – free with ads) the movie has been leading the pack. We all love this world and will see it return to the screen.
- IN ASSOCIATION – We have our third project that has come to the CDI table to be looked at for a possible “in association” project. In these situations the funding is there and they want the experience of the CDI Tribe to assist in making the film as powerful as it can be. I’m looking forward to a script read maybe today or another day this week. What TV network would you like to see WF: Hastings be at?
- In the next two weeks I need to pull together the final extra interviews for the KNIGHT CHILLS BluRay being mastered. I’ve had some additional talks on the development of the video game which could expand into a few video games for other CDI films.
- I’ve been working on narration for another audio book for which has been fun. I enjoy doing those from time to time and love when they add all the sound design and such to it. I will share when it is all completed.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2: Battlefield – the documentary is finding its way to more platforms and we now have the foundation laid for the follow up sequel that will go more in-depth on the military’s involvement and the inclusion of Catch-Can into their hand-to-hand combat training. Director Curran Jacobs is working on his outline and we’re gathering support for the new endeavor. Again the Red, White & Blue Project Inc. will be the main company with CDI producing.
I’m sure I could muster a few additional updates but you get the picture. We’re working to bring some of the older films back into the spotlight and developing new content for the future. The wheel keeps turning. I smell bacon and beer pancakes so that means it is almost time to get some breakfast in the belly. The storm has passed and we might be able to get some outdoor work done yet. I’ve also been having fun assisting in the search for props for our next film. Above is a picture of me with one of them. Good find Dane DeFord. We’ve come a long way in phone technology.
One question I’ve been asked as of late is my take on AI or artificial intelligence in filmmaking. I don’t worry about it just like I don’t worry about other filmmakers. We have a unique storytelling ability and all our stories are special in their own presentation. I do think AI can assist on some areas of filmmaking. We welcome all aboard the CDI experience so even AI is cool with me. All good tools that we’ll learn to use in our work flow.
Until next week be good to one another.
‘Harsens Island Revenge’ Scout Trip + ‘Silent Night In Algona’ Home Video Prep and More…
(Michigan beauty on our scout trip)
INTRO and HIR SCOUT TRIP:
A Monday morning hazelnut coffee hello! For those loyal followers – most saw my FB post that I was up North location scouting Harsens Island Revenge, with part of our advance team. The trip had a few goals and they were achieved. First, we’ve had good development work and enthusiasm but this weekend we had synergy starting to work. Our director and AD team was shown the many great locations we previously found and got approval. We also have enough of our locations found to put together a first schedule. That is underway and once we have that it will allow to move forward with car and boat needs and also giving cast their scheduled days. We also were able to weave together a few moments/scenes after existing in the locations. Lodging and catering exploration has also started and we’ll be locking that in the coming month. We also have several reads coming in from MI agencies on a few key roles. We are also soon to announce our first sponsors coming on board to help this project get made with more ease and comfort. BIO-CLEAN is once again on-board to assist with the heath and safety on our sets. They have been with us for several projects and we are appreciative to have them with us again. We have some good opportunities to have several products and services promoted with our film. This week we’ll digest all the information and put it into action.
(Dir. Anthony Hornus and composer/sound designer Dennis Therrian at final home video audio mix)
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA: The final film watch on the improved digital effects and color correction was happening this weekend. Last week we also watched/LISTENED to the new improved audio mix for the home video delivery. The theatrical run allowed us to see a handful of things for us to correct. The added sound design and audio mix had us all so excited. The home video audience will see and hear an even better film this autumn. We will be delivering all elements including the wrap book that I have to get digitized this week and all marketing assets. I’ll be looking into our ongoing theatrical to see if it will continue or if we’ll bring it to a close. It was playing last week as folks keep requesting it and the bookers keep booking it. I’m excited to have millions be able to watch it from the comfort of their own home. Yes. DVD’s will be for sale!
Misc. Film Updates:
- WILD FAITH last month was the #1 film on Encourage TV for views per hour. And last week was Encourage TV’s top viewed film being watched 110k times. You can watch Encourage TV or Tubi free with ads or any of the numerous other platforms from Amazon, iTunes, Googleplay and more. We are working on some new positioning to see if we can get season 1 funded and green lit to move forward.
- KNIGHT CHILLS – Blu Ray – The distributor is trying to tie up all the extras for this project mid-month. We have been trying to get interviews where we can. It will be the best version of this film that has ever been to market. We have some cool fan art that we got permission to use either on cover or menu.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2– We are exploring several avenues and individuals for sponsorship on this next doc in our series. We will be doing a sit down soon to see where we are with things. We’ve got the foundation paperwork in place so now we’ll start moving into the next stage.
- My first starring film IN THE WOODS, is getting a new remastered life and to go with it will be some great merchandise and swag. I know a new theatrical will be planned so get ready for that. Blu-Ray, streaming and action figures? Just maybe:) Check out the Making of book and script on Amazon.
(“Harsens Island Revenge” scout team locking up locations)
WRAP UP: This month we’ll be highly focused on getting everything on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA delivered to our distributor. Once they check and accept everything they will set home video release dates and start work on release art. My goal this month on Harsens Island Revenge is to lock all our main cast and get our schedule set. At the same time I’ll be working to get the homestead cleaned up and looking zen. My planted clover is coming up nicely and if we are past any freezing the veggies and plants can be started. I’m excited that this week is our first soccer match and I’m going in as healthy. We have to play the dethroned champs first game out of the gate. We will see how that works out. Last year we lost to them during the season but won in the finals. We are exploring the new deck and some wood splitting for next winter will be on the schedule. I’m also going to talk to our tree folks about a few trims around the office. As the new growth starts also allow new energy and motivation to find its way into your endeavors. I’m looking forward to an amazing Spring and Summer leading up to telling our next CDI story. Until we meet again next Sunday, have a great week.
(A quick photo by the water- putting in the prep work)
SPRING CASTING NEWS and FILM UPDATES
Good morning and welcome our new readers from S. Korea, Bolivia and Norway! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee on a chilly Michigan morning. Our weather has been bouncing between warm (including record highs) and cold. But I’ve gotten some good clean up down in the yard and my clover planted is starting to come up. The new hops are already growing and many flowers have come up adding some color. I’ve got a few things that I would love to do including privacy fencing, tree trimming and lastly a new deck. I think we have an idea of what kind of patio deck design I just need to do a blueprint.
The birds and squirrels have been busy at work and I love to watch them. Our chickens are producing eggs steadily and so that means wonderful breakfast meals. I love watching the interactions between all the birds and watching them has become a fun pastime. As a matter of fact I’ve used ‘birdwatching’ as part of the back story of my character in our next film. Our dogs have been enjoying the Spring allowing them to explore and enjoy the outdoors.
Before the heavy heat of summer I will be working on splitting and stacking wood to prepare for the winter ahead. I also need to rebuild our compost bin which is made of pallets and has seen better days. I’ve also got some plant seedlings germinating but need this cold to pass before planting.
On the personal – I’ve been working steadily while occasionally dealing with a tooth pain. I’m a person who stays up on all that even doing dental cleaning three times a year vs two. I had a few bad days and was happy when the dentist found the crack. It was on the backside of a back tooth. You think you’re tough until you get tooth pain. It can be very humbling but I’m happy to report the fix has happened and all seems well. Just in time for soccer season! Soccer and martial arts have put me on the receiving end of a few blows that could have caused damage. Or less thrilling it could have been a seed or nut. But my service warning to young folk out there is this- do not neglect your teeth.
Before I get into talking about our films I want to mention something as a proud uncle. I’m actually very proud of both my niece and nephew who are just so fun to watch grow and gain new interests. They are both playing soccer together and are into Star Wars, Superheroes and Dungeons and Dragons. They are both into playing and make believe too. At a bowling party recently my nephew was thrilled with a stormtrooper outfit we brought him and he had to wear it immediately. Bowling with a Star War’s stormtrooper. My niece age 9, recently (last night) participated in a short proof of concept film for a filmmaking buddy. It was filmed at a great turn of the century mansion where we shot SMOKE & MIRRORS. She was playing a ghost girl. I went up to visit towards the back half of the shoot not wanting to be a distraction. When I first arrived, I sat away from set and listened to her work for a while. She is confident and fearless. She was asking about backstory and character motivations. She was enjoying working with these adults. My favorite thing I heard her ask the director was, “How many other actresses did you interrogate?” I think she was looking for audition or interview but either way I got a good laugh. At that age we had build our own spaceship cockpit with pillows and such but this was not just free imagination but directed work. I wonder if all that could infringe upon the passion of make believe and just being a kid. Her mom is an amazing actress in her own right so she has it in her blood for sure. But as I’ve stated the artist road is a hard yet rewarding road. I don’t want to encourage or discourage and so this was a nice test run. I saw where she was tired towards the end and losing some focus. But she listened and did what she was suppose to. She has a part where she sings a child’s song and it was downright creepy. We took a great picture together but she was in her ghostly get up so I’m not going to post it unless I get permission from production. NOTE TO TALENT. Anyway, I was a very proud uncle. I also got to see a few old filmmaker friends. Zoie Dye (Best Years Gone) also played a part and Gals and Ghoul’s Dayna Green was doing the awesome make up work. I’ll be curious to see how it all comes together and the hope is that they can turn it into a feature. But either way it was a great experience for my niece and it put a big smile on my face.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – The film continues to play in theaters and even more are requesting it. I think it will keep playing until we are close to the home video release. We’re about to master the new home video version of the film that has greatly improved VFX. It is being being proofed carefully before we marry it to the improved sound design and mix. New credits and subtitles are also being inserted. Just things that we saw on the big screen that we could improve upon and we had the time to do it. This is the difference between CDI and some companies and artists. Good enough is not a term our folks like. We want our best efforts represented on the screen. So if you enjoyed the theatrical showing know the home video version will be even better.
HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE is the next CDI film. We are preparing for our second big scout next week to start locking in our locations and finding the final few. We will have our AD team there to start gathering the info for basecamps and a schedule. Our director, DP and Art Director there to start looking over sets. We are starting to put together lodging and will explore catering but I will say this- the cast and crew will get to work in a beautiful place at a beautiful time of year.
We were going to go Sat and network at a Model T club gathering but had a rain out. We’ll have some cool boats, cars and maybe even a plane in this next film. Props are being gathered and soon with our cast getting closer to being set, wardrobe. We added John Demarco aka Johnny D to the cast as a styling club owner Bob Jansen. We have reads coming in from the various agencies in our state. I would think our cast will be set by the end of May. Crew is also getting closer but we have a few places we are still working. Positive attitudes and a willingness to give BEST EFFORTS is what we look for. Storyboards, teaser poster and more are all being worked on. I’m enjoying working on character development a little bit each day. I truly love that process and will bring a new unique personality to the story and screen.
Speaking of posters, we have one being designed for the upcoming FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 poster. We have some meetings coming up for WILD FAITH: Hastings TV show and I’ll be checking in on the supernatural themed associated film SHJ looking to film in the spring. Next month is also a meeting over the SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE which could move slow or quick pending the meeting’s outcome.
We are working to restore and re-release some of the classic CDI films. WICKED SPRING, a Civil War film we shot in 2000 has had that treatment and is available on Amazon Prime. If you enjoyed WILD FAITH, it might be a good one to check out. It is a lot of time to pull these together when my time is split between the present and future films, but I keep plugging along. I really do love the 1800’s in my storytelling.
This week will be reaching out to some potential sponsors and looking at some incoming reads and reels from actors for HIR (Harsens Island Revenge). I want to acknowledge the loss of a talented photographer from MI film scene who passed away, Dan Irving. I only know him from as the still photographer from the 7 STONES film that you can watch that on Amazon. Way too young. RIP.
I’m going to close this blog up and get a few things done. Maybe a few eggs. We have a birthday late lunch or early dinner today and that will be fun. I’m still trying to set up and get to know my new iPhone but that is all set and good for the next three years. I hear the camera on the phone is amazing so I’ll have fun playing around with that.
We talked about young people exploring their passion for the first time and others having their journey ended too soon. We’ve talked about the work behind projects working their way out to the world and others just coming together. Life is short in the overall scheme of things so don’t wait until tomorrow to start working on yours. Even small steps of progress will have you feeling good. You are heading in the right direction.
In addition to the film development work, I’m going to be seeking someone who can do book layouts in the Lansing, MI area. We might also start explore soundtracks (LP’s) and even audio books along with more movie merchandise. Always something to do. And now that my tooth is feeling better maybe I can return to some creative script writing. I am again thinking of literary representation and maybe talent. I’ve considered a few acting gigs but they have to make sense business and time-wise and most of all-I have to connect with a role. I do appreciate those who have reached out and continue to do so.
The coffee is about gone so I’m going to go get some breakfast going. Until next week-
Past, Present and Future – The Cycle of Creating and Living
(Getting a 2024 re-release – Ghost Town)
I’m sitting here now after having taken a trip down the road to the first Mega Mall flea market. I love going to look for future props either for a character or the film as a whole. I came home empty handed but that is sometimes how it goes. Yesterday we celebrated my niece’s bday with some morning bowling which was fun. I did pretty good for not bowling in several years. I now have soccer on the TV and I’m excited to start playing with our first game the first week of May. I’ve also enjoyed the spurt of warm weather whereas I re-planted some clover seeds and started doing clean up on the yard. The old hop vines cut down which the birds LOVE for nest building. It is nice to see the bees getting busy to work and the birds active with their activities. We are prepping to grow some veggies and such and even the apple trees are looking really good this year. It won’t be long before the yard is full of berries and rhubarb. I do have the materials to make a Mexican-style light beer and some berries from last season to maybe do another multi-berry wine. We drank up most of the other during the long winter. We had a record temp day in Lansing, MI of 85 degrees but now we have a cold front passing that could put snowflakes in part of the state. Only in Michigan.
Last week I had a great meeting with fellow CDI founder Jeff Kennedy. He has been sidelined for several years dealing with some health issues but also has been enjoying retirement. Retirement doesn’t mean not creating art. They have wonderful artwork everywhere inside and outside their home. We shared a beer in his backyard garden and discussed the classic CDI films and their forthcoming re-releases in HD. We were making plans for CDI to march on for another 25 years. Yes. It’s a long ways off but still you have to plan for such things. The new films are doing quite well and we’re very happy about how many people we’ve reached with our stories. We are always looking ahead and we’ve got a lot of great projects developing. CDI is a multigenerational company and we’re proud of all the growth.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA continues to be played in theaters across the Midwest. It will also be playing as part of the Iowa Motion Picture Awards next month where it has been nominated for BEST FEATURE FILM. We are awaiting to see if we’ll be invited to play at a few other events. The new improved home video version of the film is also being pulled together as we start delivering our master and materials to Bridgestone Multimedia Group. The film will be delivered in May and we should have our hard release dates for home video announcement in June. My guess is an Oct/Nov release.
HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE is full speed ahead and we’re still reading talent and interviewing a few remaining crew spots. We’ll be traveling up North to do some location scouting with our team. With directors approval we can start locking in locations and seeking the final few that we need. Lodging and catering are being explored and we should have all the info we need after the trip to get our schedule completed. That allows us to move forward with cast agreements, vehicle and extra breakdowns and more. Excited by all the cool locations, vehicles and props we’ve found so far. It will be a great shoot and so looking forward to seeing some of my artist friends that I only see when filming.
WILD FAITH: HASTINGS, SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE and FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 are among some of the projects in development. We will be having more discussions on these new projects and start to put more pieces in play. After we wrap Harsens Island Revenge in October we’ll be looking to see what project is next up in the Spring 2024. We have a few possible “in association” projects also developing and so we’ll have to see what happens in the coming months.
We also have several projects being prepped for re-release in 2024 with KNIGHT CHILLS being the one we’re focused on right now. The Blu Ray is in the works and we’re all excited about that.
WRITING – I have several scripts that I’ve been working on and I’m going to try and settle into some daily writing. Even working a little each day all adds up. Once we get SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA delivered that will help free up some time.
ACTING – I have been aware of a few projects casting in the area and even saw a breakdown that had a character or two I found interesting. But for me to be invested I like to read the entire script. I considered a few projects but for now have chosen to focus on the next role of AXEL, Ex WW1 officer and now an outdoorsmen just trying to live the peaceful life. I LOVE to create a role layer by layer. I love to watch and read about the time period and to try and adjust my perspective of that time. I do have to say that following BEST YEARS GONE, I am looking forward to more comedy.
THE SELF – Partially for the next role and partially for the upcoming soccer season, I’ve been working to get myself in even better shape. Tai Chi, heavy bag work, meditation and even some weapons (stick, staff and sword) practice. I’m just taking it all up a notch and I’m really enjoying it. Laughter and music also play into my plan of keeping the self healthy. I additionally had some great conversations with some old friends this past week. It is always a pure joy to catch up with people and share stories.
WRAP UP – This coming week we’ll be finalizing plans for the forthcoming scout trip. I’ll be focusing on sponsorship talks this week since we have some great opportunities for cross marketing. I’ll probably put some more clover seeds down this week. I want to explore a few tree trims and still want to explore the building of a new deck. The tree trimming helps refill the wood box for next winter. Cycles. It was just a great week of embracing and celebrating the past while also motivating oneself for the future-thus charging our present endeavors.
I’m going to sign off here and get after a few tasks. We have a cold front coming in and so I’ll likely prep the wood stove for a few final wood stove fires. I’m excited for the seasons and tasks ahead. I’m so appreciative for the path I’m on and work each day to achieve balance and momentum moving into the next endeavor. Until we speak again next week please make an effort to be good to one another. Many good folks out there are dealing with their own issues seeking balance.
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!
APRIL AHEAD – 7 NEW Updates
Hazelnut coffee cheers on this sunny morning in Michigan. Welcome our new readers from Ireland, France and North Macedonia. I will have to look that last one up on a map. We had rain all day yesterday but compared to the storms and tornados others faced we were lucky. I usually like snow vs rain but the rain is nurturing the emerging buds springing up from the ground. I’m humbled this morning as I drink my coffee. A few days ago while eating some bread with seeds, I got a few trapped in a tooth pocket. I’m so good about my dental care and avoid such seeds but I got careless. I got the seeds out so I thought but one must have remained. The result was a multiple day toothaches that reached up into my ear. I’m a relatively tough individual but funny how we can be humbled by something so small. I felt like the lion with a thorn in his paw. It is almost back to normal after lots of salt swishes and pain meds. I usually try to avoid pain meds and tough it out but as I said, I was humbled. So to awaken to birds, sunshine and the tooth feeling close to normal is a true blessing.
I’ve been made aware of many people dealing with tough situations that makes the toothache seem minor. I’m renewing my focus and diligence to stay away from seeds and such. The pain is bad enough to make one want to stay on a diet of applesauce. My thoughts go out to the many people I know having their own issues. But everyone is facing something and if you are not, enjoy that time, embrace those moments. My alumni school MSU finished their basketball season. That last game of theirs was such a nail bitter I’m not sure I’m cut out for watching sports. You have no control over the outcome. Soon soccer season will be starting and that is more to my liking, and I have some control over the outcome.
As we close out this month let’s look at the updates from last week-
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has had continuous theatrical play since Dec. 9th but they are slowing down. Unless a third party engages it could come to an end. We might play a few festivals and events like the Red Letter Awards in TN. Talks with our home video distributor have gone great and everyone is excited about it. Our home video distributor is Bridgestone Multimedia Group. They’ve done a very good job with our previous releases. The plan is to release on home video this fall on the run up to the holiday season. Once I get some paperwork returned we’ll do some PR on the deal. I’m excited to have this story be seen by millions. Thank you to everyone who has reached out with such beautiful words.
- HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE – We’ve been full speed ahead on our next #tribeCDI film. Our cast and crew are filling up fast and we’re 85% there. Last week we announced more cast attached such as Taylor Nichols, Garry Nation and Christine Marie. We’ll be doing a Michigan casting call here soon for some of the remaining roles. Various departments are hard at work and next week a new polished version of the script will be sent around. The opening of the film is very powerful as it starts during WW1 before jumping ahead a few years. We needed a powerhouse German actor to open the film and thankfully SNIA gave us a good selection of excellent talent. Mr. Bejo Dohmen landed that role. Anyone who saw SNIA will immediately understand our choice.
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE is in development and I’ve been doing some breakdowns on that film to present. Like all projects it could move fast or slow. SNIA took almost 15 years to come to the big screen. This project is much larger in scope and so we’ll see how fast or slow it develops. A project seems to happen when it is the story’s time. We will see said the wise man. But it would have us back in Iowa. We have built a family there much like anyplace CDI goes to film a story.
- SHJ– The supernatural thriller is looking to be targeting a Spring start versus Winter since the script needs an update. I watched NOPE, this weekend and I saw some aspects/scope of the film to be akin to what we are looking to do. Prep. Prep. Prep.
- KNIGHT CHILLS Blu Ray- CDI’s maiden film was a low budget film about role players playing a Dungeons and Dragons like game. I’m excited to see the 4k version of this film. We are starting to collect interviews for the upcoming release. It is fun to be preserving these films and putting them back out there. Several CDI films will be getting that treatment. It is just time consuming because of everything else going on.
- My first film I led, IN THE WOODS is also getting this treatment. The film stock was retransferred and a new version is being put together. Director Lynn Drzick is talking about adding a few scenes back in. There is talk of a new anniversary release into the theaters and more. We already had “The Making of ‘In the Woods'” original script released in book form with lots of extras. Look it up on Amazon. Even more exciting to me is the line of collectors toys being put together. Devil Dog, The Tall Creature and even Alex Kerwood, monster hunter. That’s right. I’m going to finally get that action figure. I will be making plans to go get 3D scanned in the near future. I’ve also been working on outlining a sequel script. It will be a while before that comes together but plans are in motion.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2– Director Curran Jacobs is busy working on his outline as we talk with potential backers. The first doc film is really starting to move out into the marketplace. Curran is attending different wrestling events with Mike Chapman, where the doc is being well received. It should be. Here is the history all pulled together into one place. If you have not watched yet do yourself a favor and go to Amazon and watch it. We plan to have a good planning session this week.
This is a nice snapshot of things going on in the film world. I think CDI will make an appearance at our local Capital City Film Festival mixer. They do such a nice job putting that event on. I love the energy of all the young filmmakers and artists. I have a handful of meetings this week as we continue our pre-production work.
Today is the birthday of someone very special to me so we’ll be celebrating today. At least today is warmer, sunny and not raining so we won’t be contained to the indoors. It was nice to wake up to the birds singing and sunshine. I hope you all have a great day and get ready for a good week ahead.
Until next week! Be good to one another.
NEW ‘Harsens’ CAST Announced Plus March Film Updates
After a few mild days where Spring was pushing with little sprouts of green and birds returning. I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and I want to welcome all our readers including our new readers from France, Ireland, UK, Russia and Saudi Arabia. WELCOME! Also thank you for the wonderful comments. It is the season to watch THE QUEST TRILOGY and I’m humbled by the comment that I was someone’s favorite performance of Jesus. That is a compliment as many great performances of the man has been done. If you have not watched them all together, you should. They trilogy is shown below in order and also a few other good watches for a cold snowy day (In Michigan) like today.
Author Nancy Gideon, ordered up the MAKING OF ‘In the Woods’ that we talked about last week. A great recalling of the massive effort that went into making a movie on film with limited experience and funds. This was my first starring role and Co-producing effort almost 25 years ago. The film is getting a new campaign and the book was just a start. A new transfer is underway going all the way back to the original film stock. So a blu-ray and new streaming in HD release could be coming later in the year. Add in some badass merchandise and you got a fun new push. So you wanna see baby DJ fighting monsters, this might be your movie. Buy the book and enter the crazy world of IN THE WOODS. Will the world see Alex Kerwood, monster hunter again? Never say never:)
This film has continued its trek across the midwest theatre to theatre traveling to where the people have called their theatre and requested it. Thank you so much to all those who actually reached out and brought the film to their town. We are booked into April and we’re exploring either expanding with a 3rd party theatrical distributor based off our current efforts. We also might look at a big final event showing just before the home video kick off this Fall. We have a few possible paths to consider. We are already getting theatrical booking requests for December 2023. Crazy. But not really. I think this film will become a Christmas classic. It is a truly unique story based on actual events which is different from most Christmas fluff.
This weekend the film opened in a few new cities. We had a beautiful note last weekend sent to our director, it noted that at one of these showings that audience gave a standing ovation. That’s at a normal showing not a premiere or event. It was very touching and we love that people are connecting with the story. We were nominated for several awards at our first festival/award submission.
We are still looking to showcase overseas and our distribution will license to foreign territories as we get further down the road. Congrats to all the nominated artists and films. This theatrical is just the tip of the spear and wait until we get to the home video making the film available to millions of viewers.
HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE
This film is next up for #tribeCDI and things are really falling into place. Thank you to those who sent their reels DM on the CDI Facebook page. Also thank you to those who got right on their reads. We are closing down roles quickly now This week we welcomed Michael Walton, Martez Moore, Adam Towner and today we’ll be announcing David Gries. We also have been crewing up and this week we welcomed several folks onto the next project. We are moving from department to department and having deep discussions about each. We only have so many crew slots and so I know some will not be able to travel with us. Some folks have other scheduled endeavors and so they will not be joining. We are very excited about this new story. Many departments are getting up and running and we’ll be doing another scouting trip the end of next month.
I actually chopped down the Winter beard and I’ll be looking to get my hair trimmed closer to the period. Plus I have soccer season and getting my hair out of my eyes might be helpful. Our director will start doing reads with some online and we’ll likely do a read through in Michigan, which will be fun. The cars, the clothes and the overall vibe of the era is quite amazing. Also the impact of the war on the soldiers is something to note. Look below at this picture of the soldier before and after the war.
The effects of war on these vets is striking and shows you the damage. Those that did survive WW1 wanted to live peacefully. These were not the men the Purple’s wanted to push. We’ll be reviewing more incoming reels and locking in more roles this week. Thank you to all of you have have put yourself forth for consideration.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE, will be undergoing budgeting work. The response to the script has been strong. We will see how fast it all comes together. This endeavor is larger and requires more production elements with horses and possible builds.
SHJ – This developing project is looking to be moving in a positive direction. Once we get the intent to fund we’ll put the in-association deal in play. CDI will be producing and we have many exciting things lining up for this supernatural thriller.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 – The operational agreement will be in place end of this week. Talks have already started to put the funds in place for this follow up doc film. We hope to have this funded and cameras rolling this Summer.
KNIGHT CHILLS– I’ll be reaching out to co-writers Jeff & Juanita Kennedy about doing an updated interview maybe from the Kennedy ‘Dungeon’ showcased in the film. I also sent out emails and texts to our cast about recording a video interview. It will be cool to have them recall a few memories and let people know what they are doing now. The extras have to be turned in by June. I’m told the new transfer and up Rez is looking great. I want to do a Making of book like what Lynn Drzick did with IN THE WOODS. Maybe a script and a bunch of extras. Thoughts?
WRITING– I’m working on two stories for an upcoming book. I want to finish up a few of the scripts I have in progress. One a comedy ands one a SciFi film. Currently I’m doing a clean up on the Harsens script.
(Dennis Therrian aka Tricky T, will be again doing music and sound design on Harsens Island Revenge)
I’m happy to report the chickens are back to full production on eggs. That might be what is next on my list. Today I think I’ll get at some desk work today to get a jump on the week. Next week is St. Patricks Day and so who knows, green beer could be in order. I’m also starting to reach out to sponsors on the new projects. We have some cool, fun tie in’s that will work really well for our next 1920’s story. If you have a service, product or just want to align yourself with these films and reach millions, reach out.
I hope you all have had a relaxing and recharging weekend. Here is a big coffee cheers to us all having a good week ahead. Make your TO DO lists for the week and get after it. Everything is built brick by brick. I’m sure I missed a few updates but I hit upon many of the major ones. Be good to one another. Have a wonderful Sunday.
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.
NEW Nominations, Updates and Announcements
(Above some of the CDI Tribe supporting the Capital City Film Festival Mixer- almost time again)
Hazelnut coffee toasts to you all on this sunny yet chilly Michigan morning. It has been a very busy few weeks and last week was no different. The best news was the completing all the film taxes and that was submitted. I’m awaiting my personal taxes to finish being prepared. It is important to stay up on all the BIZ with reporting cash movement every year. This year was quite smooth and we had a few bad weather days that are perfect for chaining yourself to the desk to ‘get R done’ and I did. We got an ice storm in Michigan but we were lucky and kept power the whole time. No big tree breakage which is good. We were teased with Spring and we are said to have a few more icy blasts coming but the birds are moving back in and the early signs of Spring are starting to slowly appear. Let’s take a look at some of the updates from the week.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, we’re still in our theatrical phase with several screens playing the film. We are looking at festivals and events. I don’t like these events where you pay to enter every category. I like one fee and look at everything and if it is nominated so be it. One event the Red Letter Awards which recognizes films with faith themes and certain recognitions to individuals. Here is what we were nominated for – BEST FILM -(Everyone!) BEST DIRECTOR – Anthony Hornus, BEST SCREENPLAY – DJ Perry, BEST ACTRESS –Cassie Dean, BEST ACTOR – Curran Jacobs and Bodhi Rader, BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR –Samuel Peterson and Shane Hagedorn. Congrats to all the nominated. It was cool to see the other films/people nominated. Many of the films are from studio and with budgets much higher but our own story rings through with the power of the story, performance and production. Jim Caviezel and Kelsey Grammar are among the other nominated talents. This is the first of a handful of festivals and events we will show at. We’re still filling theatrical play requests from bookers after you the people reach out to your theatre managers and request the film. Home Video talks will continue this week as well as exploring any other major theatrical expansion.
- Harsens Island Revenge, is starting to heat up. We’re getting in some requested acting reads. I did say that actors could post their reels to our CDI Facebook page but none arrived. That is okay. We like to look first within our inner circles of actors who we’ve worked with and had no issues with and were impressed with their performances. One of the actors we attached was Don Most (MBF, Lost Heart) and we’ll be announcing via formal PR in the coming weeks. I will announce today a few more from the tribe. Shane Hagedorn and Dean Teaster will be playing a great onscreen duo. I’m excited to see these roles come to life. On the crew side we’re in multiple talks but I’m happy to report that things have come full circle for us to add an amazing artists to our ranks. Several years ago I worked in Costa Rica on a TV show with the talented GW Burns. Very well known in photography circles not only for his powerful photos but creating amazing sets to capture. He is our new Production Designer, and we give him a major welcome to the CDI Tribe. We’ll continue having talks with proposed cast and crew. I look forward to watching several more reads this week during our production meetings. We are all excited to film this amazing story this Fall.
- SHJ– Supernatural Thriller associated film is developing nicely. We hope to put something more formal together in the coming weeks. A teaser poster is being developed and once this is all locked we’ll be casting and crewing for this. CDI would be the production company.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and II- The first one is out there and expanding its audience. The next film is being pulled together and is looking to film Spring/Summer. More on this soon and also look for our teaser poster in the coming weeks. We’ll be putting the foundation into this project and prepping for another great doc film in our series.
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – The first production draft of this script is done. Now we will start to do production breakdowns to see what it will take to film this. And lastly, we’ll move to the funding stage. Everything is a process of development and we’re excited to move this one to that important next step. The script is in the hands of some Native American associates to read over. Our Iowa historian did not see any mention-worthy, coloring out of the lines historically. This project is larger and will require some additional development, but will make an amazing story told on film. This film will be shot in Iowa.
(Easter ahead- Cool photo from Part 3 of The Quest Trilogy entitled “The Christ Slayer” – The Tomb)
I could go on about DEVELOPMENT of many new projects as the development process starts years in advance. I’m beyond excited to be once again building a team to tell this story. We’re prepping some of the older films in the CDI library to make a new entrance into the marketplace. I’m looking forward to a strong week of meetings and putting more blocks in place.
I’m excited to enter into discussions from various companies looking to align their brands with our upcoming projects. If you are interested in aligning your company as a product partner or sponsor please do reach out. We’ve had some amazing ones over the years and I’m looking forward to many more.
I’m going to work on getting a few things done around here and get ready for the new week, new month and new projects. I’m also very excited that soccer season is right around the corner. Our ‘old man’ team will be defending their last season championship win. I’m looking forward to the running and competition. Our league is very tough and I sincerely appreciate the work out I get win or lose. I’m coming into the season healthier, having worked out issues with a tweaked back. I’ve been training to be ready for battle on the pitch.
Until next week my friends. Thank you to all who stopped by last week and subscribed.
Thoughts on MSU Tragedy- Plus ‘Silent Night in Algona’ and ‘Harsens Island Revenge’ Updates
A hazelnut coffee toast to you all on this chilly Michigan morning. As a MSU alumni, I’ve had a lot of thoughts with the shooter that was on the campus. Once the alert went out I switched to the scanner and I was impressed at how the chaos organized quickly with law enforcement. Base camp at the presidents house- where my memories are chatting up former movie studio president Bill Mechanic and screenwriter Jim Cash. The Union, was a haunt of mine that once had a bowling alley in the basement and it still might be there. Berkley Hall lectures, learning with my fellow students while trying to plan for an eve of fun activities. I hated parking at MSU, but otherwise, I truly did enjoy my time there. Back in the day, they did not have a film program so I cobbled together an interdisciplinary humanities degree, that touched on what I thought I might need in the future.
The shooter, was approached just down the road from our house. He only lived a street away, but ended his own life down the road when confronted by police. Sad on all fronts. Three dead and five injured and many students infected with fear. Plus a troubled young man who pulled the trigger. I still don’t have any answers because it isn’t any one issue but many, that likely led to this horrible situation. So I’m starting my blog with just a little acknowledgement of the pain this community suffered but especially our MSU family.
IN OTHER NEWS-
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– We have theatrical bookings continuing up to March so far. Last week, I had more meetings over the home video and foreign licensing. The box office numbers have been good and there is consideration by the distributor to expand the film with a 3rd party into hundreds more theaters in several states. This is where all those reviews on http://www.imdb.com has helped (So please vote & review if you haven’t) but the attendance at the theaters has been the main push. This week will tell more as we finalize the home video battle plans. The distributor is excited about the project as a whole which they feel will have wide appeal. We’ll deliver the final film on May 1st – with our current plan to see it on DVD/streaming in November. More as we move forward. We will be examining a few select festivals to showcase the film at. We’re in discussions for possible UK and German screenings. Again, our heartfelt thanks to all that have supported this beautiful story.
HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE– The next CDI film is now in active pre-production, which means this film is happening. The account is open and we’ve got the goods to make it happen. We’ve had several production meetings and now can talk with cast and crew in confidence. This is the first in a new slate of CDI films coming down the development line. We’ll be shooting in Sept and into Oct. this year after Labor Day in Michigan. We’ve been reaching out gathering targeted reads by proposed cast. I’m really excited by the powerful cast we’re already assembling and we’ve got much more to come. We’re also slowly starting to put departments in play. Some are already working on breakdowns and prepping for the filming ahead. We were treated to a great read by Don Most (Best known from ‘Happy Days’) for a powerfully dramatic role in the film. He loved the script! That’s been the response from the talent we’ve approached. I hope to start rolling out some of the cast to IMDB soon. We also have a FB page for the film just starting to post updates. Yesterday, I had a good talk with Robert Bradley, our armorer and works transportation department. There are some friends I really only get to spend quality time with when filming. We will have another incredible shoot. This week we’ll be meeting to try and get Camera and G&E departments all set. Travis Hayward (Best Years Gone) is our director of photography for this exciting new story. A new teaser poster is in the works to rally around.
SHJ PROJECT – The in-association supernatural thriller is getting closer to being solid enough for an announcement. The exciting part of this deal coming together is that it could be multiple films. But like I always say, put your everything into one film and it should bring you the next one. This might get split into an EXT and INT blocks of shooting. More discussions on locations and scheduling once the foundation stones (Funding) is in place. But this will likely shoot EXT at the end of the year and the INT first of the new year (Jan/Feb 2024) – There are so many other exciting talks that go with all this but again, let’s get more solid before I spend time discussing.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – The first production draft is complete and has been submitted for approval to move to the next phase of development. I’m getting that approval so the next layers of development work can get underway. This story is pulled from real history which can be more powerful than fiction alone. We blend everything into historic fiction because writers, historians and more are forced to fictionally connect the dots. I’ve been getting some good initial feedback from the story from members of the Native American community. It’s being called an even balanced look at the history of this event. Once moving forward, we’ll do a PR announcement. This year will be some builds and casting for this forthcoming movie. Much like SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA and the German actors, we’ll likely start with the Native American casting, first. I have a few in mind already and several have the script to review. This film will shoot in Iowa! We have so many friends there and it will be nice to return and tell another story.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH II: Battlefields – The first documentary film is out in the marketplace to watch (TUBI if you wanna watch free with ads) and the groundwork is being put in place for part 2. The Red, White and Blue Project and CDI, are once again putting this all together with Curran Jacobs hosting and again directing. Adam Towner will be editing and providing some of the camera work. If you want to explore a write off for your self or business, please reach out. I will be circling around to our previous donors and giving them first chance to get involved. This will be a series of films exploring in-depth, the many topics we touched upon in the first film. This next one explores more of the military history behind Catch Can.
We have many projects and associated endeavors in development, but at this point we don’t need to go in-depth on any of them. We are working a few of the films from the CDI library, bringing their materials up to date for future re-release. We have all the films newly backed up and will be putting in play yet another back up storage device. I’m excited with each new week. I love connecting with many of our artists and getting to know new artists, and examining how they might thrive in the CDI tribe. I’m looking at keys that can travel for multiple pictures ideally. By 2025, I think CDI will be overseeing multiple projects, whereas we can keep most of our folks working pretty consistently. That is a goal.
I know the tribal chiefs at CDI, are almost all actor/producers and would love to have more comedy sprinkled in with the dramas. HOT ROD LOVE was on that comedic track (pun intended) but it had a few temp set backs. You can go back and read on that in my earlier blogs- but we have a great comedic script that will one day – race into production.
I’m going to finish this coffee and work on some writing for a book. I’ve been asked now for several years to contribute stories to several books on animals. I’ve written true stories on cats, dogs, horses and now birds. Yes. I have a few good stories to share that have birds at the center of them. So, I’m going to rough out a few of those stories.
NOTE FOR ACTORS: If you’re an actor and a fan of the CDI films wondering how you can be seen- Go ahead and paste your actor reel link to https://www.facebook.com/cdiproductions/ and I will promise that each and everyone will be watched. I do try and keep up with emerging talent but time wise it can be difficult.
I will end with this thought- while we discuss plans and dreams becoming reality- tragically for some, their journey here has ended. If you are reading this, your journey continues. Appreciate the struggles we all face. Appreciate the people in your circles. Appreciate still being able to dream and move towards a goal. Just appreciate.
Earthquakes, UFO’s and Updates-
Hazelnut coffee is flowing this morning. It is brisk outside but much warmer and the snow has all but disappeared. Sad to see the aftermath of the earthquakes and so much excitement over these “objects” shot down. The described shape and the seemingly lack of any conventional propulsion, is what has my curiosity peaked.
Let’s look at a few updates- The TOP TEN from last week.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA) – As the film continues its march across the USA we’re also prepping for the Fall home video deal. We’ll continue talks this coming week. We’re also working on a few cool marketing angles for the home video release. It is testing well to older and younger audiences and from many circles, military, farmers, Germans, Jewish and history buffs. Several perspectives are explored and all brought together by a true event that unfolded. We’ll be picking a few festivals to showcase ourselves at. I would have loved to do our hometown festival but they want to be the 1st MI premiere and we’ve been in and will be returning to more Michigan theaters. But CDI will go support by attending the opening night mixer. Look above at all the places you can watch the film. Call your local theaters and request the film. If you’ve seen it and enjoyed it, leave us a review on www. IMDB.com on our page.
- Harsens Island Revenge (HIR) – This project has moved into official pre-production. The paperwork all filed and signed and next week we’ll open the account. Last week we had our first official production meeting with our newly announced director Carl Weyant. READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE – https://www.prlog.org/12950648-cdi-announces-director-and-director-of-photography-on-harsens-island-revenge.html
- HIR – CREW – We’ve been starting to just look at schedule and interest in some of the crew returning so we can discuss in our weekly production meeting. We’ve got several projects lining up and so we really are trying to build a solid crew especially with keys. Some keys change with directors, usually the directors of photography. Travis Hayward (Best Years Gone) will be the DP on the film. We’ll be discussing camera and G&E team more in the coming weeks. A few changes in a couple departments mostly due to schedule. But when someone cannot journey with us that provides a great opportunity for someone else. I’ve had people in the wings without a job to assign them, so when some cannot return, opportunity for others. We have several weeks to get this team in line. We have our production dates and soon another location scout with happen. I will be reaching out to some of you from past crews to discuss involvement. If you are a production crew and want to be considered feel free to send me any info.
- HIR – CAST – As I get our director and teams feeling on certain roles within the cast, we’re reaching out. We’ve got some exciting interest already in the story from some amazing talents. We’ll start announcing some of the known cast soon and we’ll be doing more casting moving forward. Again feel free to shoot me a reel or so to the Harsens Island Revenge Facebook site and leave your reel. Last week we watched several acting reels and the work of a few crew members under consideration.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH I and II – This amazing doc film is now available on several platforms including TUBI (free with ads) and we’re going to be doing our second doc this spring/summer. The foundation paperwork will be constructed this week. We are in talks with potential donors to support this endeavor. We had a great end-of-week meeting over this project franchise and the future. If you have not watched the first one, please do.
- SHJ SUPERNATURAL THRILLER – CDI started in this genre with KNIGHT CHILLS, which is its own update. But we’re getting closer to putting pen to paper on a slate of genre films. This is a full circle sort of arrangement since I started my own career within the genre. I do sincerely have more to announce in the coming weeks. If things fall into place we’ll be doing some crewing and casting on this film also.
- KNIGHT CHILLS – I got a report that the new high def version of the film is looking great. They are working to enhance audio with all the new tools they have. We’re looking to do several EXTRAS for the Blu Ray release. We have until June to get all these elements completed. It will be fun to capture and gather a few interviews. Video game. Sequel. All still moving down the tracks.
- GHOST TOWN 2024 – This film’s domestic rights become free first of 2024 so we’re getting everything in line. We’ll be releasing it into the foreign market for the first time also. We’ve been working on new promo materials and getting everything around. This is one of 4 films from the CDI library being prepped for a new release with BMG.
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – I’m still getting this script out to a few folks for notes. But the first version of the script is done. Once we get the nod we’ll start the next phase of development work. The script becomes a blueprint to start our development work from. I’m exciting to keep this moving down the development tracks. It is one of the most powerful and gut wrenching stories I’ve written. History can be brutal and beautiful all at the same time.
- I’m feeling the ‘writing urge’ and I have several scripts in partial form. I plan to finish anywhere from 1-3 this year including my SciFi script, a new comedy and maybe a sequel script. Any guesses? I’m also looking forward to working in the yard this season and making some updates. Life is always a work in progress so don’t stress. Just keep building brick by brick. While others fret, regret, complain or waste time with things they can’t control, be the one who gets things done. I was invited to once again contribute to a national book on animals. I have a few great stories I’m going to contribute to the collection.
WRAP UP THOUGHTS-
CDI is on the path to greater heights and to do that we’ll need a strong team. With every growth there is pruning of dead, dying or diseased – allowing new healthy growth. I want to say that when we make adjustments, it is not always a negative thing. Not all cast and crew are built or prepared for long voyages. Some folks are great for 2-3 days or even a week. But as the weeks go by on set, more focus and endurance are required. Day 11 or 14, 16 can show strain. We’ve worked hard to try and give good opportunity for our cast and crew to achieve success. I recently heard about a successful project that had many of the crew sleeping all in one room on air mattresses and cots. My first starring role I slept on the director’s couch. We’ve worked very hard to develop partnerships with hotels to try and give the best accommodations we can afford. But, there always seems to be someone not happy, despite the hard work. That is a core filter that colors everything that person does, few great things spring from those suffering under such filters.
A small example-
We’ve played with a second meal on sets that many do not provide. We’ve had extra and left over food in Yuma, AZ that we ended up sharing with hotel staff and strangers so not to waste it. Crews sometimes want to go out versus another 30 min on set with a second meal. A per diem has been provided before but the time that establishments closed made it an issue to some. We bought groceries and made food together (Producers) while trouble shooting the days ahead. I got some feedback from different folks which is always welcome. Much of it is subjective or the perspective is because the individuals don’t know the whole story. I’m going to get into this again as we are entering into new talks on this new story adventure-
I encourage my producers/key admin to WORK QUIETLY always. On the inner set, they’re trying to create a bubble of collective imagination and capture it. A distraught looking staff member can distract and/or delay- passing a bad energy along. And 98% of the time it all works out easy-peasy because we have lots of warrior trouble shooters.
I’ve noted over the years how some people enter a set with nervous, frantic- must do ENERGY. Tense faces, biting their lip, cursing to themselves. People in the area notice- are distracted- become concerned. Everything okay? Reassurances- Nothing is wrong, and the performance of stress plays out – the issue suddenly resolved in a call and the issue was really a two NOT a ten on the production issue scale. Often issues are like locating lost keys to a location for tomorrow- misplaced. This is just an example of something logistic alarming for a moment but did it need to filter through a group of people trying to focus on a story?
The chemistry between a director and a director of photography is a beautiful and sacred bond. I’ve enjoyed watching and even participating as a full size stand in to the brainstorming session full of wild and exiting ideas. This obsessing over our story- talking and living a story for a month, THAT is what it’s all about. The storyboarding and building shot list from ideas thrown about- combined is a wonderful thing to watch. It is my job at the end of the day to either create a team with the right chemistry or put a stamp on a presented creative union. From this union, much of the film is nurtured. Love each other as creative brothers and sisters, appreciate when you get a real chance to say something. These creative bonds exist all over a few crew. Respect one another and their place and passion, also to tell the story at hand. The cast of films- like a rock band, on tour, but you have it easier not having frequent moves. But you are on a creative tour of duty. (T-Knox!) I think of it like creative camp and at the end we all told a story. One month a year I see artistic friends for an extended period of time. We all collectively sacrifice our comforts to be ‘at camp’ telling this story.
Communication- Every mistake or error made in our production flow stems from communication. Sometimes I am the one who gave incomplete marching orders. Other times missed communication, understandable in this time of many ways of communicating. But, one thing in our control always, we can all communicate respectfully to one another. I had to recently ponder and realize that people can only speak from their perspective, and speak to their experiences allowing them to speak with truth and sincerity. When people start to speak outside their experience, they will start to talk loudly or more emotionally. It’s important to them that you believe them because they’re eager to believe their own words. They’re filled with doubt because they lack crucial experience – basic life principals. Like Respect.
Blood of Heroes- Jumping from communication- I had some wonderful conversations with some folks full of energy and ready to journey. I’m looking a few movies ahead, and trying to get a team ready for bigger responsibilities and greater rewards. Leadership is a MUST, as departments could expend some in the near future. Organization is a MUST, as we have many operations underway and you have to be up to speed. What people should understand is that I’m not looking forward to achieving new levels so I can replace people with more credited artists. I’m looking to increase resources to our artists in the future so they can make their mark and take their place amongst those artist recognized in a given field. Know what your fighting for-
Until next week my friends!
‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA’ Director’s Screening plus ‘Harsens Island Revenge’ pre-PR Updates and more…
Good morning to you all. I was up past my bedtime a touch yesterday, so the hazelnut coffee is much appreciated. We did a special directors screening kick off showing of SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, our true event WW2 film. We had two screenings yesterday and we all went to an afterglow at Romas, next to the NCG in Owosso. This is back in our home state and while the film had a Michigan premiere at the Celebration Cinema, I was at a funeral. My family finally got to see all our hard work. We had a strong first showing at 4pm and I’ve heard from and seen posts from many friends who went to see the film. I like all filmmakers want a good showing, technically and being outside my area, that raises my temp. We had a super chilly last few days in Michigan, record breaking. I dressed well for outside travel but was too hot for crowds, pictures and such. I even wore a lighter jacket. I should have traded by beanie hat for something less hot. But, enough of the heat talk. It was HOT with enthusiasm, even walking up to the theatre ran into a fellow actor/filmmaker from the Detroit area who had just watched the 4:00 showing. He was sincere in his compliments and that set the tone. Iowa LOVES this story because it is their story. But the greater story makes it ALL OUR STORY. Our history. On the edge of Owosso, MI there is a race track once a PW camp like Algona. Many towns have this kind of history but many are unaware.
This month we’re pulling together the film for home video in the fall. We’re entering the deal phase and we’ll get the enhanced version to the distributor. When we saw it on the big screen, you always can notice things that if you can, you would change. A tweak of color correct here and there. Some enhancements in a few CGI plates. Subtitle tweaks. But these are artistic nuisances that many never see nor notice. Some errors may exist in period – we work hard to achieve this but it is all smoke and mirrors. Many enjoy trying to find these spots. In Star Wars you can see Kenny Baker inside R2D2 in a scene. In GLORY you can see the squib (fake bullet hits) lines running up the legs of some actors. MOVIE MAGIC. We try to transport you to another place and the audience is asked to relax and bring your imagination.
Last night I think people were taken to that time period. People will get to enjoy the film until Thursday and I hope we our powerful attendance last night they will move us into other cites with NCG. I am going to try and bring it back to N. Lansing at the Eastwood NCG. I will let you know. Again people are calling their theatre managers and asking them to book the film. They want your business so call and their bookers will reach out. They are reaching out every week. Also http://www.imdb.com is a place that is used in part to help the expansion of the film. We’ve had hundreds of beautiful comments and the attendance and growth speaks for itself, but many of a certain age do not use the computer much. Or as little as possible and so sometimes the best comments and reviews don’t make it to the official data bases. If you saw it go ahead and go to http://www.imdb.com you can vote (10 best) and leave a review or message about the film, and what it meant to you. I love reading all the stories of grandparents and their interaction and connections to the German PW’s.
We are going to keep the film traveling and hope to play a few festivals. Many of the big ones want a first ever premiere and this film is traveling so that isn’t a fit. But we are looking to play in Hollywood so we can highlight our amazing German cast. I’m damn proud and having a good dose of German in my heritage it’s another thing I’m proud of. This movie is spreading some love, understanding and compassion. I heard many times last night that people loved the story and we need more films like this. I agree. That takes me into-
Above – DJ Perry, Karl Manke, Carl Weyant
HEAR YE, HEAR YE
Harsens Island Revenge – Last night was both a celebration of the present expanding release of our WW2 German PW film but also a toast to the future. We are in official pre-production which means our business paperwork is all in order and we’ll be opening the bank account this month. We will start official pre-production meetings with our director Mr. Carl Weyant. Carl has worked independently and with the CDI Tribe on both sides of the camera. Many will know him from starring as Longinus in part 3 of The Quest Trilogy, entitled The Christ Slayer. I met him in Otty, India in 2008 where we co-starred together in a film there. He has been working several years as a director and director of photography on various projects from music videos to feature film. After months of discussions with the CDI producer team, his stylistic vision and kinetic style will lead the direction and vision of this action-packed film. I, as the writer worked several weeks with Carl, to get a final polished shooting script. This process happens with all our directors. We’ll be discussing many wonderful aspects of this film and casting will take place likely end of the month. We plan to run duel cameras on this project and that will allow us to capture more of the action, more efficiently. Carl and previous director of photography Travis Hayward (Best Years Gone) have been working in tandem on several projects both feature and music video. They were first brought together on the CDI produced music video for ‘Revolution‘ by DEEP FALL. You can watch that here-
Travis Hayward will serve as the Gaffer (cool lighting) and run second camera. I knew they would be a good pairing and I was correct. Our goal, as always, is to have a lot of fun telling yet another great story. Lessons. Always lessons to be illustrated via story, but it a very exciting way. WW1 veterans. Purple Gang. Bootlegging. The CDI Tribe is going into the Roaring 20’s, again taking on a wonderful book written by, Karl Manke. I adapted the book into a screenplay and I’ve very happy with the end product. We have had a positive reaction from a few guest stars who want to participate in this story. It will be a wonderful blueprint for all our artists. We’ll do some official PR in the next two weeks on the project. But, you all get the first drop of developing info just for tuning in and stopping by for a read. We’ve also had several more subscribe join here – so welcome! You can subscribe to our CDI Youtube and http://www.cdiproductions.com is going to be updated so follow us there also.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH: BATTLEFIELDS
The first doc FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is now set up in the market place and just starting what will be a nice long run of being introduced to new audiences. Even those not wishing to rent or buy it can watch it via TUBI and other ad based video on demand. Meaning-you watch for free but you watch with ads and we get paid by advertisers. It is a major rev stream these days. Ground work and talks with potential donors has begun. The Red, White & Blue Project Inc. is the non-profit we are working with. This next project will expand upon part of the original doc. It leans even heavier into the military history and Catch Can’s influence in all of that. Curran Jacobs is directing once again.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – We’re close to moving into the next development phase of this project. I’ve had some good talks about the history of the story and I think we’re on target. Some of the folks involved are not always prepared to read scripts which require imagination and practice. Very unique medium that I liken to poetry and trying to say as much as possible with as few of words as possible. To invoke imagery and to carry the readers (soon to be viewer) through the story. A journey to be sure. I am working to try and keep this on schedule for a 2024 filming. One brick at a time.
BEST YEARS GONE – Now that Covid lock down and virtual festivals have returned to in person – we’re going to enter BEST YEARS GONE into some comedy festivals. We did not want to attend virtual (I spend enough time on a computer) but now it could be a better experience. MAN’S BEST FRIEND, LOST HEART, WILD FAITH, THE QUEST TRILOGY exciting marketing as the films keep growing in audiences. New posters. New trailers. Interviews. Promotional videos. Merchandise. Oh, yeah. It’s all coming.
WRAP UP AND THOUGHTS FROM THE WEEK
Man! I’m still coming down from last night. Again, it was a treat to hug and shake so many hands. We don’t get to meet our vast audiences like live performance. We have 3-5k in social associates and from that maybe 300 that we are in direct contact with. But a film is being viewed by millions to tens of millions that we never meet. We were just talking about the joy we get when someone is surprised and they get to meet someone from a movie that moved them.
We are occasionally accused of being ambitious with our storytelling and we truly are. I’m proud of this last SNIA journey because it was our hardest yet. Harder than most even know. On SNIA, we had our directors mother hit with Covid days before shooting and just days after his best friend died of Covid. Pappy, who passed, was a long-time member of this tribe working several times with CDI on both sides of the camera. A shameful loss. One of our main producers came to set with her own oxygen tanks after her own bout in the hospital with Covid. Simply put, CDI HAS WARRIORS.
I hear of businesses that can’t get employees to show up or stay employed and CDI has folks, so dedicated that it would take – well, a damn lot to keep them away. We are accused of working hard and we do. To make something that might be seen as great by some, you have to work hard. VERY HARD. If hard work and trying to create greatness isn’t for you, CDI isn’t for you. I’ve told folks that something ‘short form’ and not as hard, might better suit some for their talents. Being away for weeks is hard and it’s a sacrifice all our artists have made to help tell that story. We know how special these stories are too many out there, because you’ve reached out to let us know. You are why we sacrifice and do this.
Hey DJ, it ain’t all love:) Listen, the sprinkling of hate and bashing doesn’t provoke hurt in me but actually more sadness. Every negative comment that is tinged with dark emotion cries of dreams unrealized and often never even attempted. They’re afraid to try because they know someone like themselves is waiting, who might throw a stone at their passion or dream. A good example- I don’t love stage musicals as a whole, but I don’t go out of my way to trash them. That is someone’s jam, singing Annie Get Your Gun or something, just not my jam. And that’s fine. I’m just always amazed how little people value their own TIME. IF I enjoyed something I might go out of my way, spend my time, to make my opinion known, because I’m sharing some positive energy. IF I don’t like something – that LAST thing you will get from me is my TIME. I can just scroll on. I can choose something else. I have turn content off but I never ran to a keyboard to trash something. Why? Not worth my watch time not worth my type time. But how others spend their time is their business. But many negative barbs are sadly from fellow artists struggling to the point of collapse and wondering, why not me? My script? Where is my funding? When you put your mind in the wrong place you widen the gap. For when they are manufacturing hate, we create. Which fuels the negative feelings and the cycle continues. One path makes you sicker with the poison you spread and digest. And the other path, it inspires – you think you can do better? Get some of your most loyal, trusted, creative friends and DO IT! Like film itself, SHOW don’t TELL. You will have fun and learn about yourself. Give 100% of your TIME, on your path and see what happens.
MORE FREE ADVICE
I’m amused only slightly in those situations where people lacking the true experience try to speak loudly into something they know nothing about. They become ‘know it alls’ quickly and are unable to take on any new knowledge and experience- their growth stunted. Some opportunities given can inspire maturity, accountability and responsibility and spur personal growth. In others they can be become drunk and delusional with newly gifted power. We’ve had examples of both. I’m always cheering for SPUR versus STUNT but ultimately they control that outcome.
Every project moving forward is living evolution through experience. I work hard to develop people and give opportunities for self growth but sometimes people reach their limit on learning. You always have risk empowering people and when they grow in the right direction – wonderful. Wrong direction- just like the apple tree, it needs to be pruned. Giveth and Taketh Away
POSITIVE. RESPECT. APPRECIATION. SINCERITY. LOYALTY. – these attributes have to already exist within someone and can be nurtured. I often say, I will always work with a slightly less experienced person with the right long term attitude, versus the opposite. We can provide experience and adventure with some of the best artists I’ve encountered on my path. We say at CDI meetings, that a door closing brings us to a new door opening. CDI has grown into a multi generation of artists and we’ve got grand plans to keep moving up the mountain. As I’ve said before, it is not how high you climbed on the mountain it is who you traveled with, that will matter in the end.
I’m a tad tired from being up somewhat late and might need a short cold winter nap. The sunshine is out and that feels good, so maybe time to play cat. Thank you to each and every person who came out last night and to all the shows. It had been a few since I had seen our film play. A touch of distance is nice and gives you a fresh perspective upon viewing again. Having our family and friends there made it special, especially my parents. Both, had funny comments of having created me. They were not so quick to take that same credit after the numerous knuckle headed things I did growing up. I’m already excited for the coming holiday season when SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA will be out on DVD and streaming. We will have just finished filming Harsens Island Revenge and into editing. And so the storytelling cycle continues. Thank you to Karl Manke for trusting us with his story. His book HOPE FROM HEAVEN became BEST YEARS GONE. Read the book. Watch the film. Giddy up as Gil Gilles would say!
I’ll talk to you all next week. I hope you all take giant steps towards your endeavors.
NEW Theaters, Director’s Screening, NEW Development 2023
A beautiful light snow is falling in Michigan. I’m sipping on my hazelnut coffee and reflecting upon the past week. Again, a kind lady, a friends mother that I’ve known since I was 5, passed away. She was 94 and did many great things in her time with her family being her pride. Her son who was one of my oldest friends, passed away unexpectedly when I was out filming THE CHRIST SLAYER. It was nice to see so many people I’ve not seen in many years. It is sad that is often takes a tragedy or loss to bring some folks together. I was happy to hear all these beautiful comments about the films we’ve done. The lady who passed really loved Man’s Best Friend. Several talked about The Quest Trilogy (Our three part biblical adventure). Many wanted to know what the latest and greatest was- that is SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. Some saw it in our home town but the film was extended for two weeks and we were not told. We could have promoted the added two weeks more had we known. But the film did quite well, hence the extended screening.
My own family has not seen the WW2 drama which is marching all across the midwest as people request the film and bookers are reaching out. We’re heading into Nebraska and soon Minnesota – also in the director’s hometown of Owosso, Michigan we’ve secured a run with the NCG theatre. We are pushing to get it into N. Lansing at the NCG in February. Dates TBD. We’ll be starting the Owosso, NCG run on Feb 4th (Sat) with screenings at 4:00 and 7:00 and the film will play until Feb 9th playing at 4:00 and we’re trying to get a second show during the week for those who work. The photo banner will be up on the 4th and our director Anthony Hornus will be welcoming folks to both shows. After the 7pm show we’re going to go to Romas next door to meet and greet with guests. I’m giving the advanced notice here and on Monday we’ll start releasing PR about the showing.
It doesn’t matter what state you are in – contact the managers and request their bookers bring it in. We’re having classrooms of kids, retirement home trips and church groups, all going to the film. Many are seeing the film more than once and we’re getting lots of requests for DVD and streaming which will be 4th quarter of the year after we’ve marched around the country doing screenings. We are trying to get it to a major military base theatre in Germany and are looking at select festivals to play.
BEST YEARS GONE – This is our previous comedy drama and we’re looking at some comedy fest and also a few cool marketing ideas. I still want to look at sponsoring a race – The Gilles Cup:) If you haven’t had a chance to watch this film, please do. I think you will laugh and find some sweet moments in the film.
Harsens Island Revenge – is in full on development and will go into pre-production next month for a post Labor Day shoot. Cast and Crew discussions will begin soon. Location scouting has already begun and another scout trip will be in order soon.
For the Love of Catch: Battlefields is the second collaboration in a series of doc films focused on the grappling arts. We’re in the budgeting stage and talking to potential donations as the project is produced through the Red, White & Blue Non-Profit with CDI supervising the production. If you or your company have interest in supporting this project via donations please reach out.
SHJ – The meeting for the in association film went really well. The biggest issue is schedule which needs to land after Harsens Island Revenge. This film is an action mystery thriller with a supernatural twist to it. I’ll have follow up meeting this week to iron out more details but things are looking very promising.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – The first draft of the script is done and I had a select group looking it over for historical tweaks. It is not a biopic but historical fiction. If the script gets approved, I’ll fine tune the budget and we’ll look at the builds we need done this year before 2024 proposed shoot. The key is not too many cooks in the kitchen. CDI is excited to tell another Iowa-based story. I will be looking to see how many 1800’s cabins exist still in the Algona, Iowa area. Stay tune for more updates.
This week I will continue to feed our accountants the information they need to do end of year taxes. I have started working on personal taxes and will have that material pulled together very soon. I know that the CDI website is about to get a few updates to it. If you haven’t visited our website – http://www.cdiproductions.com
We are going to be discussing merchandise for the lead up to Christmas 2023 but SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, posters could become available for sale in Feb if things go right. They might be for sale at the Owosso, MI afterglow. What CDI merchandise would you like to see?
Lastly, we’re moving towards a SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, final film to deliver to the home video distributor. It’s now like a 4 piece puzzle that needs to be put together. On the big screen we were able to see a few polishes needed either to the color, VFX and subtitles, in a few places.
In addition to all this – I do have a few writing projects I’ll be returning to. One is a comedy and one a Sci-Fi piece, I do love writing. I’ve got many sponsors to touch base with to discuss the home video release of SNIA and also discuss them coming on board Harsens Island Revenge. I’m going to have some company later so I’ll be getting the wood stove roaring. I hope you all have a recharging weekend and prepare for a productive week ahead.
NEW ‘Silent Night In Algona” Screenings, Updates and Improving by Review
Good morning! I hope your 2023 is off to a great start. I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee while reflecting on the very full week I had. We have had a few peeks of sun but it has been bitter. The Christmas tree and decorations are down minus the few outdoor things, but they’re next. I’ve been making great progress getting all the end of year stuff around for the accounting firm.
- These are the most updated list of theaters playing, SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We have more theaters opening this week and a slew in Feb. thanks to all of you reaching out to your theatre houses, speaking with management and requesting our film. Bookers have been reaching out to our FB page and we’ve been processing those. Right now, we’ve got about 40 cities we’ve played and the number will increase. The new theatrical division of CDI is thriving and should provide a nice advance revenue flow. We are working hard to set up a special Owosso, MI screening in the coming weeks. It is the home town of our director, DP (Camera) and young male lead. I’ve got family that has been waiting to see it on the big screen. We are also trying to get it to the Detroit area, where we have many fans. We’re also preparing to pull the film together for the home video release/delivery prior to the run up on the 2023 holidays.
2) FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is now starting to appear on ad based video on demand, also subscription based video on demand. Meaning you can watch it free with ads or with certain subscriptions. TUBI is carrying it as is ENCOURAGE TV and more. WATCH HERE: https://youtu.be/GLjMjIxZuk0
3) Harsens Island Revenge – Next month we’ll be putting the foundation business in place on the project. We’ve started adding this into our weekly meetings. We will be preparing to start looking at actors and keys in the coming weeks. We are all very excited to tell this story right after Labor Day. We have started our search for certain period needed props and vehicles required to make this film soar.
4) Spirit Lake Massacre – The first draft of the script is complete and it is being reviewed by a few historic sources. If the script gets final approved we’ll put the agreement together and start into serious development including some possible builds in 2023 prepping for a 2024 shoot.
5) SHJ-Development Talks – will take place today! The film is to discuss a project that would be an associated film. I’ve said before that the film is a supernatural thriller/mystery. Today, we’ll discuss just how that collaboration would work and discuss timelines and more.
6) FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 – A new documentary direction has been set and we will meet Monday to discuss this project more in depth. It will be done again with the Red, White & Blue Project Inc. non-profit. Fans of the first film will really enjoy as we go more in depth on various topics covered in the first film.
THE CDI TRIBE– I like to say that it is easy to be happy with team performance when things are going really well. But it is how your team handles issues or crisis. At CDI we pay people to solve issues and handle crisis quickly and quietly. Read those lines a few times. In all walks of life/business you have “loud workers,” who work loudly, and often in a distracting manner. Why is that person scowling? Talking loud on a phone. Many think that this behavior demonstrates, look how hard I am working. What it really says to the people who evaluate and hire, might be a totally different thing.
We had a great producer/director debrief on the entire SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, shoot. We look at what can be improved without casting blame. As the supervising producer I take accountability, so now let’s just look at how we can run even more effectively going forward. People. Pressure. We all occasionally colored outside the lines, I had one apology I made on this film, for communicating something poorly. Most issues can stem from communications issues. If you can improve on those issues, everything improves.
I’ve been made aware on a few occasions, because of the “work quietly” policy, that many don’t see the real work we do. It often starts a year or two in advance. We as a team make it look easy, when it truly, is not. CDI, has a very good team and it shows because the proof is in the pudding. But lots of prep and hard work go into trying to provide a smooth production. Many crews don’t even realize the work unless they themselves have tried to do even a short film. 97% right and 3% off and some want to focus on the off. We do, to improve and correct. But, some point out the obvious. If you know of an issue, we usually know. Although, I can only think of one situation whereas the truth on a damaged grip van came to light a few years after. I wish someone would have spoken up sooner on that one. Thing sayings come to mind, Karma is real. You can’t squeeze blood from a stone. And, it’s fear that makes us lose our conscience- it’s also what transforms us into cowards.
This takes my mind to key crew members- soon we’ll be in discussions about various keys to approach. Directors have some input in crew with producer approval. Producers place certain crew because they have become pillars of success. People who really know me, know I like to develop people but they have to want it. Growth. It has been said, I work people hard. I work hard. That is how I got where I am starting from ground ZERO. I’ve dedicated my life to being a storyteller, and I expect dedication to the project while we are working on it. If you don’t work hard you will not be able to keep up with this team. But once the final project is seen, most are happy to have pushed themselves. CDI does historic pieces and so many of our artists need to be on top of their research. That is like an actor, who preps first by immersing themselves in the time period. How did they dress, slang, haircuts…At CDI on both sides of the camera are great artists. I feel as though we focus that energy and collectively create something greater than ourselves as individuals. That is pretty amazing.
One film is fresh out of the gates, playing more and more theaters and we’re starting to plan to produce even more. We have a great library of films to explore by this creative troupe of artists. I’ve gotten a good amount of fan mail over the films. Yes. Paul Landings is still in serving time. Ben Lily is still lost in the woods. Niles Cass is still hunting Bigfoot with Chip. But seriously, I do so appreciate and love how the millions around the world have embraced our little stories. We cannot give enough heartfelt thanks. I’m going to go let the chickens out and start to get ready for my noon meeting. I hope you all have a refreshing and recharging Sunday allowing you to get after the new week.
The Secret of ‘Fire’ ‘Music’ and ‘Know Thyself’ – plus a few film updates…
Good morning my friends. I’m sitting by our new electric fireplace near my chair. Our old one died during the holidays so a new one has replaced it. I’ve got my steaming cup of hazelnut coffee with me as I ponder the past week. I want to thank all the new readers from around the world for stopping by to take a read. I hope there is a few nuggets of wisdom you can pull upon. I had so many good calls this week and 2023 business is underway. I have new goals and already I’m knocking some of them down. I’m sure this year will come with wins and losses as that is the way of life. I’ve reminded a few people, to stop. Turn around. Look at how far you’ve come. Be happy with what you have done, not just fixate on what you have not done.
This week I’ll be gathering up end of year tax stuff to generate any 1099’s for the films. We also do K1’s for all the investors. I was able to get all the check dispersement written and sent out. I only had to resend two as addresses had changed. I’ll also get things around for our company and myself. These are the needed but unsexy parts of the film business. It is so much more than playing with the camera. There is a massive amount of work that goes into each and every film. This is the biz side of show biz.
I’ve been told recently, and not the first time – that I work people hard. I ask artists to dig deep and to put their very best forward. I’ve dedicated my entire life to telling stories, and while we have much fun, we also work very hard. But when the artists finally see the final product, 9 of 10 times, that creative endeavor is one of the best, if not the best, endeavor that artist was involved with that year. They take family and friends to watch the stories and they’re proud to have been part of the stories telling. I’ve got family who have not yet seen our recent film. Our holidays were disrupted by a loss in the family. In my hometown they played the film for several weeks but I still did not get out to see it. But many did! We’re working to set up a special SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, screening in Owosso, MI with NCG. For our Detroit area friends, we’re working to set up screenings there also. Our new theatrical division at CDI Distribution has been launched!
Let’s looks at some of the updates from last week-
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– We had several new theaters open. We had a projection bump at a new theatre screening in Iowa, after they moved the film from the test theatre. Much like home systems, many theatrical houses have different set ups, some older and some newer. They rarely update everything at once likely due to cost. But, I know at the one location it was worked out and the film is playing. People are requesting to managers who contact bookers-who contact us. The film is in 20 theaters and we have another 13 going up. And many more still approaching us from different states. Keep it up, you people are making the film travel. I expect the film to travel theatrically into March or April. We are also exploring a few select film festivals and we want to screen in Germany. Many good plans in action. We are working on a few special marketing deals while moving towards the home video window.
- MERCHANDISE– We’ve done some test marketing of some merchandise but we’re starting to really look at a stronger launch of this division at CDI. I can also say that a MUSIC DIVISION, is developing. That will allow audiences access to the amazing soundtrack scores created by Dennis Therrian. These two areas are on CDI’s 2023 developmental goal list. Do you all have a favorite music score? I would love to actually do some runs of LP records. Any participating record pressing companies? Please reach out. RECORD LABEL? Not there yet:)
- MOVING FORWARD- Harsens Island Revenge – This film exits development and will enter pre-production next month. What does that mean- that means that the film foundation (legal paperwork) will all be executed and the project funded. At that time we’ll be announcing our director and some of the attached cast. The script having undergone several sessions of writer/director polishing, it’s ready to be broken down. I love this stage because you go over every line of action, description, dialog and discuss. In this case I got to perform several scenes with our director, to get the flow ands feel. Most of the tweaks were minor but took strong scenes and made them even more powerful. It is a very cool story and what a time period to play in. Primary casting and crewing discussions will start in the coming weeks. Our producers already did a location scout trip and another one will be planned. We just created 1944 and now we’ll enter the 1920’s, artists are you ready? Next week, we’ll look to set hard shoot dates after Labor Day 2023. Get ready for some new teaser art as well!
- Pen has not yet found ink, but I’m deep into talks on a CDI associated film to be shot late 2023 and early 2024. To recap what a CDI associated film is- it’s a film whereas someone else is bringing the capital $ to the table but want the experience of CDI behind it. As a producer, I remove the ‘supervising’ role and become more or less, a consultant. CDI will bring other assets to help but the main responsibility is on other shoulders. I’ve been asked to co-star in the supernatural action-thriller, and I’m feeling it. I hope to be able to call the film by name and run some PR about the new arrangement, in the near future. It is always best to work out all these details in advance so there is no issues later. This is a KEY to success. Have the hard conversations now and get everything in writing some it’s there. I still have 4-5 films out there in the film post abyss, they might finish one day. I sincerely hope they do. NUGGET: If possible, you actors, pick production teams with a track record of finishing.
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – This week the script will go out to some historians and some friends in the Native American community. I think, I have written a powerful and balanced script, with lessons about loss, revenge, understanding, love and unity. It is not sugarcoated in any way and contains a few scenes that left me shaken after writing them. I had to go immerse myself in some nature and beauty, away from the truth of our shared history. I will be putting the script forth after this round of notes, and we’ll be putting together the Phase 2 plan. Phase 2 will be the development work in Iowa to prep for a 2024 shoot. I’ll also be having some teaser art put together. This will be a great return to the 1800’s storytelling for CDI.
- I want to thank and encourage all of you to keep exploring and watching the CDI library. I’ve had fans reach out and thank us for The Quest Trilogy, MBF, Best Years Gone, Lost Heart, Wild Faith – you can even watch many free on TUBI or Encourage TV. I actually enjoyed The Quest Trilogy, playing while I was doing work. Again, even when not watching I love the music. But the amazing scenery (Yuma, AZ) and the story often gets me distracted for a few moments. More so, when I see friends on screen who are no longer with us. TRIVIA: Who was the voice of ‘God’ in FORTY NIGHTS? You can leave your answer in the comments.
- Speaking of the CDI library, we will be looking to set up several of the old films, in HD at BMG. I had to look up dates for GHOST TOWN, which will be one of the new set up preps. Also AN ORDINARY KILLER, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and KNIGHT CHILLS are all being worked on.
- Animated Division of CDI is in the works. CDI did an “in association” feature THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ, which is being re-rendered and conformed for a release through BMG. But, we’ve got a few shorts and features in development. I’ve always loved cartoons and such, so getting involved in that direction feels natural.
- We’ve got some good interest in creating video games off some of our films. You might know KNIGHT CHILLS, Dice Don’t Lie, video game has been in development. Once the final render is done of Sir Kallio, we might start some 3D printing.
- This week I also plan to meet over the next FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, doc. I’ve already started to talk with a few folks and if all goes well the team will shoot it this Spring/Summer. I think we’ve got a great overall summary of the history in the first film but now we can go into segments and define parts of it even further. Wrestling, grappling fan or not, this film will entertain you and educate you in the rich history.
The holidays were unconventional with the death in the family but the spirit of the season kept on. Aside from the loss, the beautiful snowstorm and the slowing of our day to day for a few days of family and reflection, really helped to recharge my batteries. The finishing of projects and the beginning of new. Again the seasons of our lives as creative artists. And while, sometimes the stories pull me away from my comforts for a time, the stories we tell are timeless.
It is also a time where we artists re-unite. CDI has been a home for some and a stepping stone for others. I like to think we instilled some good qualities into the folks who’ve moved away and into their own respective fields, sometimes in the arts and sometimes not. I tell people, CDI is like any other endeavor, you will get out of it what you put into it. For many, it means being a part of something great that nobody can take away from you. To do that takes hard work. Very hard work. And I only like to work with people who care about what they put their name on. Craftsmanship. Whiskey. Cars. Films. Life is too short to not care about what you work on. The Quakers (Look them up) made amazing furniture and wood crafts because they believe they’re honoring God by their own hands with their craft. I think that is a good mind set and the results are something infused with- love.
FIRE– I’m going to get after a few things today including getting some firewood around for the office stove. I do want to try some lump coal like my buddy uses in his stove. Longer burning and more heat. I’m also on a mission to organize even better this year. I will be putting everything to digital for back ups. I keep being asked about a podcast ‘Around the Fire’ at the fort. I am thinking about it. But I like the fort being a place of low tech and around personal synergy. Knights of the Round Table. Vikings in the Lodge. Monks in the temple. Development at CDI is not just projects, it is people. But people have to want positive change. Self defeating, self associated talk will draw all the negative to you and lower your own personal power. Birds of a feather, flock together. Misery enjoys company. Also believe to achieve. Positive perspective. Creative visualization. The mind is a powerful thing that can assist or hinder. That is why the KNOW THYSELF, rings so powerful. In the new year if you are struggling, fight to take control of the self. Start with your words. What are they? Sounds. Vowels. Symbols. But powerfully attached to our innermost self. MUSIC is a wonderful tool that can lead the mind in the places you want to go. I said, GO – not where you are. If depressed, there are many songs that will not help. But, certain songs help lead our mind. To use a modern term, learn your own triggers and trigger yourself in a positive direction. And DON’T trigger yourself by playing music or putting yourself in a situation, you know, you won’t react well too. Depressed. Don’t play depressing music. Steel drums and island music often puts a big ole smile on my face. Just something that I like to use as a tool. Music puts the mind in a different state and allows you to tune oneself. I use guitar playing the same way. If I’m feeling ‘out of tune’ a few strums can put me not just back in tune but vibrant. I’ve had many great business calls right on the heels of a guitar/energy tune up. FIRE. KNOW THYSELF. MUSIC. Three very primitive and useful tools one can use. I’m not sure if any of this will help anyone, but if it helps one person.
Until next week, coffee cheers!
2023! Goals, Gifts and Growth!
Good morning 2023! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and happy to report no hangovers or such this morning. I had a few drinks yesterday afternoon in a meeting with a few of our artists, picking materials up. We toasted the victories and those lost, no longer traveling. The beverage sipped was some of the Frankenberry Wine, made from all the berries on the property. But in the eve it was just ginger ale and a peaceful welcome into 2023. I can recall many days of my youth of celebrating too much and paying for it the next morning/day. I get up early and have my productive routines that I follow. I don’t regret most of those party days but I don’t miss the aftermath.
I carved out a day this past week and did film disbursements to our backers. I’m so thankful for all the supportive people who love the Tribe CDI stories. I had a sit down with one of them this week and really enjoyed all the positive feedback. We also talked about future endeavors, of which we have many. I’ve been working to get organized and prepped for a highly productive new year. Being organized is one of the secrets to success. I’ve got a series of end of year tax prep stuff for the films but I have a great team and this year should be quite smooth.
It was a year of hard fought victories and some sad losses. My furbaby Daphne, my second mother- baby sitter Marie DeFord, my friend/family and building mentor Dan Chapin, all powerful losses. Also a slew of artists passed on, which leaves us artists to pick up the torch. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, was the most complex film we’ve produced to date. Two languages, 1940’s clothes, props and vehicles. Windy, cold days and nights. Extensive VFX and just a few bumps bringing all the elements together on an advanced release schedule. But, we did it. The Algona, Iowa premiere was so full of good energy and the ongoing energy has had the film hold over four times now and expanded into multiple cities with more emailing about booking every week.
We will be having a producers pow wow this week over the ongoing roll out. A special screening in Owosso, MI is in planning. We will be exploring a few choice film festivals and we really want a few German screenings. We have a few VIP’s awaiting to view the film which could really assist the home video release. We’ve had many people talk about merchandise and swag and we will be addressing that and hope to have that available with the home video release later this year. We’ve already received so many nice emails about the emotions stirred by watching this story based on true events. Some reflected the deep pain and hate that some carried from their own war (Vietnam) experiences and that this film gave them a new perspective that allowed them to let go of that hate. That is powerful. A story made them let go of poison and replace it with understanding. We’ve had many of these notes sent to us. The community is alive with history. They are all talking the stories once told and almost forgotten. The museums in town being part of family trips into Algona, to watch the film. We had a beautiful letter from the museum boards about the quality job CDI did. And the interest has brought a new awareness that will help these places not just survive but thrive. I’m beyond proud.
We will have an amazing 2023 journey with this film and I cannot wait for each and every one of you to experience this story.
Once I get past the state filings, K-1 send outs and any 1099’s for the films- we’ll be forming the new company to produce Harsens Island Revenge. If you liked CDI tackling WW2 and the 1940’s, wait until CDI gets after the roaring 20’s! I plan to get with our director and finish our writer/director draft. We’ll be putting the casting breakdowns together soon and that will be an enjoyable process. We were lucky to do some location scouting and found many great places to use in the telling of our story. Stay tuned to many new updates on this film.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – In 2023 we’ll be doing some passive development which might include the building of a few period cabins. This is a spring 2024, Iowa shoot if everything stays in the right direction.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH (Battlefield) – Working title- Following the success of the documentary film FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, directed by Curran Jacobs, edited by Adam Towner, produced by CDI and The Red, White, and Blue Project Inc.. The film will now have the first sequel documentary going into production this Spring/Summer. While the original was a much needed summary timeline of the history of professional grappling, these follow up films will go more in depth with various aspects of the history. It’s very exciting to continue this journey.
Furthermore, CDI is considering the first “in association” in a while, with an exciting supernatural thriller. An animated feature is heating up and more…
I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but I too, feel that rush of the fresh energy. Every year I write out my goals. Personal goals, business goals, home improvement- It is good to get those out in front of you. You won’t always make all your goals but you’ll be surprised at what you did achieve.
I JUST took a pause for my first 2023 eats. Eggs from our girls, 4H bacon and protein waffles with MI made syrup. If I had the right trees I would be boiling sap. Okay. Goals….bacon…back to goals.
A few of my goals as an example-
- Design and have new deck built – it is getting close to that point of need vs want
- Produce two feature length film endeavors
- Act in one outside CDI project- that said, I MUST connect with the material and role
- Better plant and garden bed growth and harvest
- Looking to increase strength and flexibility training for a good soccer season ahead
- Finish two feature scripts
- …you get the picture.
Even this blog is very helpful in me deeply thinking through my TO DO’s for the week. Communication continues to be a key to success and I find it can always be improved upon. I see or read about several people being overwhelmed by the waves of life’s hardships. Here is to the hope that 2023 becomes an island to get your footage, regain your balance and readjust your sights. I will keep trying to communicate better to serve as an example of respectful collaboration. Preserving history and stories, lessons to be remembered and to grow from.
Cheers to growth in 2023!
SURPRISE Early Post- End of Year Wrap Up (Thank you!)
I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee on a VERY snowy Michigan day. Negative degrees outside and blowing winds. But we will most definitely have a white Christmas. When we all left off, I had the premiere of SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, in Iowa. It has performed beyond expectations with several extensions (Algona until the 29th) and expansions into other theaters. (Follow our FB page) I did not attend the Michigan kick off at Celebration Cinema, as I was attending a funeral and memorial up North. My week stayed very busy with trying to deal with family things. Working with our team on prepping materials for the upcoming releases. It looks like we were able to get the film to a downloadable link for theatre owners. I was reporting and prepping for end-of-year check dispersement on the movies, which will happen next week. Lastly, was trying to get the Christmas stuff around. So, this Christmas is a bit chaotic with the death in our family, the blizzard and our film’s window of release.
Once we have this delivery of the film process set up, we’ll turn to looking at film festivals and a German screening. There is even talk of showing at one of the US military bases in Germany. This film will have an exciting journey ahead of it. The film has definitely gotten the positive response from the people I care about most with this story. I had an opportunity to speak with several elderly people and they gave high marks on the re-creation of the time. The regional people were so proud of this story and it is resonating with people everywhere. The film has already generated some heartfelt fan mail that is just humbling to read. That is the power of storytelling. Thousands have seen the film and many have seen it multiple times, taking friends and family. In Michigan, we’ll be looking at doing a special Owosso, MI screening and also a run around Detroit, MI in the new year.
Our battle plan with SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA), will continue through 2023. I’ve been re-reading a supernatural thriller for a possible CDI associated film. Also in 2023, we’ll get the foundation put in on our next CDI feature film, Harsens Island Revenge. We have already started scouting and we’ll be announcing our director early in 2023, as we enter the casting phase. So again, update those reels. I was able to take a few good meetings while attending the SNIA premiere. I’ve finished the first draft on the SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE, and some development actions will be underway in 2023. If all goes as planned we could be rolling cameras in 2024.
REFLECTIONS AND GOALS –
Every year, I do deep reflection on the past year. Success, failures, trials and tribulations, all equaling growth. This year has had great harvest being the biggest release year I’ve had since 2005. We saw BESTSELLER, BEST YEARS GONE, SMOKE & MIRRORS, FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA release. Has anyone reading here, seen all five releases?
I set business and personal goals. I set goals on home fixes or improvements. I set goals as an actor, writer and producer. I set goals for/with Collective Development Inc. (www.cdiproductions.com) – new projects. New divisions. New endeavors. New collaborations.
This year saw a few music videos release under CDI’s production. As someone who was there when MTV started, I loved working in that medium.
OFF TO THE RACES from the movie ‘Best Years Gone‘ by Vertical Bridge
LOVE these guys. From our state of Michigan! And these gents are also from MI and really, really kick ASS.
REVOLUTION by the band DeepFall
This year full of releases and we did produce and prep several projects. HOT ROD LOVE, the CDI racing comedy set in the 1970’s went back on the shelf this fall. We had some funding. We had some sponsors. We had some participation from track owners. SOME, doesn’t cut it in filmmaking. It is truly one of the funniest ensemble comedy scripts sitting at CDI, with Caddyshack being the tone inspiration. Everything in its own time. I had to finally let go of a look I was developing for my character in that film. I am setting my “acting/producing” sights firmly on 1926 with WW1 veterans going head to head with the Purple Gang mafia.
This past year, I did turn down two different acting roles. I usually do so for one of three reasons. One. Not connecting with the role. Two. Not connecting with the story/script as a whole. Three. I cannot give the project the due attention I put into all my roles. I don’t phone anything in. I take each and every role very serious. That is why once business is out of the way, you get 100% effort, no less. $200 or $200,000 will get you the same performance. With acting performances, audiences got to meet Mark Franklin, Gil Gilles, Mr. Hosworth and Col Lodell. Vastly, different gents. have you met any of them?
The last gent was an honor and a very complex character to play. Let’s talk, Col Lodell. First the name of several characters based on actual camp assigned people, were altered. The events are true cut the characterizations are just that, not meant to be a biopic. That said, the camp commander that I portrayed, took his internal motivation from his faith in ‘The Golden Rule’. To treat others (Captured Germans) as you would want your PW boys treated. The filming was cold and rugged and that plays on everyones face in the film. A grit that cannot be manufactured on a stage or with a LED wall. We’ve been experimenting and will use LED walls in future VFX but there is something about a wild wind in your face, eyes near watering, and experience something closer to what these actual men did. We get to hear CUT and go back home. Every perspective has a story and they all dance closer and closer to a true event that helps to restore a touch of the humanity we all seem to have lost. Unity. Love. Even with a world at war. The fallout. The anguish, shame and soul crushing heartache.
My backstory was after serving in combat in WW1, Lodell, is pulled from academia, back into action as a camp commander. Seeking out Nazi-rot that grows inside the camps threatening lives and a PR nightmare should an escape happen. A majority of the PWs are farmers taken in desperation and forced to fight. Surrender came fast, not willing to fight to the death for Hitler’s war. Real threats. But like a needle in a haystack. The heaviness of supervisions production in many ways mirrored Lodell’s challenges. I channeled much of my real heaviness of responsibly to my performance and it works.
EVERY soldier just like the prisoners of war, missed their own bed, toilet, lazyboy, pet, family. I love a scene in SNIA where Col Lodell is just watching a Christmas scene of Santa and his nurse ‘elves’ giving children presents. He is the man with the most medals and he is as sad and homesick as the lowest prisoner. WAR hurts us all. I think that is why many SPORTS came about so that things could be handled more easily for both parties.
I’m happy that people are enjoying the film. Lodell, had to be the Col Potter of MASH. Leadership on screen or in real life takes many qualities to do it even semi successful. Lodell, has the secret to leadership but you’ll have to watch the film. I got to get more clean cut and play in the world of my dearly departed grandfathers. Burt Swope, in the Navy and Robert Emerson flying cargo in the Pacific, I believe in the Army. Air force was started in 1947. Anyway. This film captures everything that is nostalgic but also makes you feel as if you are living in it. Not some black and white flicker, cold and distant but in living color. If you can see SNIA on the big screen do. Otherwise, after running our theatricals into March or so, we plan to screen in Germany and a few film festivals. It will start DVD and home video around Nov 1st is my best guess. Meeting next year will tell. TRIVIA: On that scene above, my face got so cold I blew a take unable to fully pronounce my words. I asked for a moment, gave the face a rub down and a few good smacks before ACTION nailing it.
I think the performance will open a few new doors. I always tell actors, don’t get frustrated by people because they don’t see what you don’t show them. This is usually followed by, I don’t get a chance. The 14 year old filmmaker in my rolls his eyes. Almost everyones phone is a studio, where you can work a monologue a thousand times. Comedians and magicians work their craft over and over. If you get the slightest bit off when a camera comes close, you need to work on that. That camera should be that old friend, never glanced at- yet always embraced. Being natural leads to comfortable which leads to the environment to make interesting. In 2023, don’t get in your own way with doubts and ‘cannots’ and all that negativity. See dead ends, as paths of the maze mapped and now known. The true path becomes closer.
WRAP UP –
I truly do LOVE winter. I always have. It teaches you a healthy respect for nature. You admire the beauty of pines that thrives under the blankets of snow. Crackling fire, destroys the old leaving nurturing ashes to sprinkle for the spring plantings. Writings and new ideas like to seep into the pondering mind. A season of hardship and helping where you can. When everyone does a little the world is a better place. We here at TribeCDI are resting and rejuvenating with our loved ones. But rest assured the call of the storyteller rides these cold Michigan winds. Tomahawks and Tommy guns. Hot Rods and Painted Horses. I want to thank all our cast, crew, sponsors, supporters, families, friends and FANS. Tom T. Hall use to have a song, I wish I had a million friends – and I’ve complained about Facebook ‘Friends’ vs acquaintances – but with so many of the films being seem by tens of millions and I’ve been blessed to read your notes of encouragement and connection. I do feel like I have millions of friends, because you accepted our stories, our characters, into your homes. You’ve hunted Bigfoot with Niles Cass in Lost Heart. You felt for Paul Landings and his terrible loss in Man’s Best Friend. You’ve laughed with Ben Lily in Wild Faith. You’ve taken comfort during the holidays watching a relatable Jesus, in The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) And I could go on- my point is thank you. Sincerely, from a childhood dreamer who started with my friends and a VHS camcorder, thank you.
Next up New Years Day! So Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
‘Silent Night In Algona’ Theatrical Listings to Date and Forthcoming Venues – End of Year Thoughts
Good morning! It is an absolutely bitter morning here in Michigan. I’ve got my hazelnut coffee by my side to warm and wake me up. It has been a crazy couple of weeks working hard to finish up the SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, film. We’ve been working to remove any glitches from the mastering and encoding. The idea is using the theatrical showings to make a list of any final adjustments before we go to home video next year. Yes, we were fighting for 10 secs or under corrections that most don’t notice but we artists do. We were kind of caught off guard by the amount of people attending. It started with adding extra theaters and extending the playtimes. In Algona State 5, people are attending the Fridley Theater screening and the museums in town that pertain to our film. It is playing until Dec 29th unless they hold over again. In Iowa, it will start playing in Fridley’s Carrol, Waukee, Marshal Town and Pleasant Hill. It is also playing The Forest Theatre in Forest City, Iowa and the Fremont Stuart. In January, The Riviera and the Windsor Theatre along with showings to be announced in Fort Dodge and Mason City. We’ll also be showing in Owosso, MI in the new year but people can see the film now in Granville and Lansing, at the Celebration Cinemas until next Thursday. More are contacting us everyday as far away as Hawaii, so don’t stop reaching out to your local theaters and speaking with the managers. If you’ve seen the film and want to share your thoughts, you can go to http://www.imdb.com search our film and leave a review. The joy and appreciation shown by the Iowa people, has been amazing. I am happy that we’ve brought the film to our home state and on Friday people in Michigan got their first watch. I was not in attendance at the screening as a close family member/mentor passed away two hours before the Algona, Iowa premiere. We had a beautiful service up North with family and did a good send off. I will try to go see the film this week at some point. Please do take advantage of this opportunity to see this film on the big screen. We’re working at setting up a better system for getting theatrical materials out to all the various venues. We have started to be invited to a few film festivals and so we’ll meet over that soon. We’re also going to try and have a special showing in Germany. We have some exciting plans in the works for the home video release next year.
I’m also going to need to get back after the final script polish on Harsens Island Revenge. It will be slowly ramping up development this winter with casting.
There is another project, Project SHJ, on the board that I will be meeting over first of the year. It’s a supernatural thriller, that was written some time ago. I need to take another read on it.
Spirit Lake Massacre – I had some great meetings over this project which we’re looking to film in 2024. But to do so we’re exploring the building of a few period cabins that could be used to film and after will have education and practical uses. I will likely do one final polish before calling it a final first draft. It truly is a powerful story that the CDI Tribe will bring to life on the screen.
There’s always more development underway but these are the front runners.
Location Scout for ‘Harsens Island Revenge’ – shooting in 2023
END OF YEAR & GOALS
This is also the time of year to establish new goals for the coming year. To update materials and organize. I’ve got a new back up hard drive to organize my materials. I’m also working to get disbursements out on several of the films. I’ll be entering into another conversation with our home video distributor. This year came with hard fought victories and some unexpected losses. It is why you should keep living your best life. Laugh with family and friends and focus on the positives not the negatives. Christmas is a little off for us this year but we’ll still make it merry. My next blog will likely be in the evening since it will be Christmas Day. I’m going to get some things done while watching first the World Cup finals and after the Detroit Lions. The Lions, seem to have turned things around and are really looking good.