“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ― Sun Tzu

Posts tagged “CDI

CDI Turns 25 and ‘The Tribe’ is Evolving.

I’m sipping a nice hazelnut coffee out of a Sea World cup I found in my travels. I have fond memories of the Easter break trips we often made to Florida to see my grandparents. Always such a good time in the community park riding three wheel bikes and catching lizards. We would often go to Disney, Bush Gardens (A favorite) and Sea World. Although I am glad to see the whales set free as they are a big animal to keep so contained. I’ve been in busy mode with the next shoot in under three weeks now. When we go into the last few weeks all projects have a certain amount of shuffle and settle. Cast and Crew are people with lives and sometimes that can get in the way. We’ve had a few cast and crew adjustments due to these circumstances. But once the film plays out with all the pieces in place you almost could never imagine anything different.

One thing we really do here at CDI is develop people. Some want to get by producing with whom they can until they can hire other people with a better resume. We are truly trying to develop people for the long haul. It is a two way loyalty. There are people who have lost their place in line by not making our few weeks a year, a priority. Others have followed their heart and dreams elsewhere and that is understandable. I’m excited because what I see is a 3rd generation of CDI stepping up into the ranks. It really makes me proud as we started as an organized but rag tag bunch of filmmakers. It is 25 years that CDI has been around and creating content. Coffee Cheers to 25 more!

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA

We are all so excited as we do our remaining off location prep. Tomorrow the cast and crew will get our schedule, official white script and we’ll dive into our actor agreements and arrange transportation. Most of the crew/producer team is driving into the town. A handful of flights that funnel into two small airports. We’ll start locking in the vendor gear this week and likely fire up the production insurance. I’ve got a uniform fitting tomorrow and that will be fun. I’m only in military dress in this film. A bit more formal than Gil Gilles in our last film. I want to welcome in advance another company aligning their brand with our film The Iowa State Bank, thank you!

BEST YEARS GONE – Speaking of ‘Gil Gilles’ our Owosso, MI premiere was an outstanding success and it gave us a great audience reaction. The premiere led to a week-long run and now the film is coming to Lansing, Michigan – my home town. This coming Saturday the 16th at 6pm and 8:15pm the film will playing at the NCG theater. It plays great on the big screen and the film was remastered after our first run. Sometimes you can hear improvements in the theater and we found a handful of places to sweeten and remix. We will watch a test Tuesday! The film will travel some I’m sure. We have many wanting it to play in Grand Rapids and the Detroit area. We’ll talk about screenings in other states as we go.

The CDI Library – Our distributor has us across many streaming, on demand and TV channels but I like to watch the distributors ENCOURAGE TV YouTube channel stream as a meter of how a film is moving. Both FORTY NIGHTS (part 1 of 3) and MAN’S BEST FRIEND have views that shot over a million and approaching 1.5 million. Thank you for all your support. You can leave a VOTE and review for any of the films at our http://www.imdb.com pages. This past year the distributor started advertising The Quest Trilogy together which should help. We are thinking of doing a few Sunday showings of all three in the theaters. Again part 1 is Forty Nights, Part 2 is Chasing the Star and Part 3 in The Christ Slayer. WILD FAITH with over 5 million views on the one site is driving the TV series train. The first season is written and we have some very strong avenues to work this series down. An HD version of WICKED SPRING is suppose to be moving out into streaming. If you like WILD FAITH take a watch on WICKED SPRING and you’ll see where we honed our craft of 1800’s storytelling. BESTSELLER has been delivered and will get a new campaign. I really like this film as a thriller and I’m happy it is finally getting a bigger push. We are looking at several films getting the new campaign treatment.

WRAP UP…

I’m about to eat some eggs from our chickens and we might stop out at a flea market so I can look for more props. I will likely do some pre-production work while watching the Lions. My alumni MSU had another great game yesterday. My momma is suppose to stop by to say hello. And I’ll get organized and ready for a very busy week ahead that will end with my home town getting a chance to see BEST YEARS GONE. I know the sayings of “You can’t be a prophet in your hometown” and I’m not putting any expectations out there but it is a chance for family, friends and fans to see it on the big screen and to me that is awesome. You can get tickets online at the NCG Lansing site.

Have a great week!

DJ


10 Awesome #TRIBECDI Updates to Kick Off Autumn!

Good morning to all of you and I hope your foray into Fall has been great thus far. I want to welcome the new readers from Russia, Ireland, UK, China and the Philippines. Coffee (or tea) cheers to you all and thank you for stopping by. I LOVE this time of year and I’ve been beyond thrilled to work on the films as the leaves turn and fall. I’m feeling like just shotgunning out some of the updates.

  1. The NCG Owosso premiere showing of ‘BEST YEARS GONE‘ is over and word has it that it is coming next for a Lansing NCG premiere on Oct 16th with two shows – a 6pm and 8:15pm I believe. You heard it here first. This week an event page and some PR will begin so some of the home town folks can enjoy the film. It has been remixed from the first premiere for delivery to our distributor and for our future premieres. I got a peek at some of the DVD/release artwork our distributor is working on. I think they are planning on a Feb 2022 home video release. Until that release we’ll keep at the theatrical premieres. If you’ve seen the film feel free to visit our IMDB.com page (also has a premiere video there) and leave a few words about your favorite scenes.
  2. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – pre-production is on the final run up. With a home office I get that great privilege of a short daily commute – about 30 or so stone steps. We’ve been doing more in-depth meetings with departments making sure they have questions answered. I was happy that one of my estate sale finds – a $5 military trench coat was the correct period and matched the photo I had. The office has been reaching out and getting crew agreements in line and this week cast will follow our set “day-of-days” coming from the AD department. We’ve had a few changes in cast and crew that happens when life happens. But I’m excited to see many of the Tribe and tell one last great story before we call it a year.
  3. WICKED SPRINGS HD release should start rolling out this month. That was an epic shoot back when we were rather young. I’m excited to see this rolling out to streaming platforms so folks can enjoy the story in HD.
  4. LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFO’s & JESUS – is starting to really pick up steam as the alternate title works into the marketplace. I had the chance to talk with many who have really enjoyed this film. The laughter and heartfelt messages play well with audiences and that is why we do it. This is true for MAN’S BEST FRIEND which again brought questions of a sequel which I’m not ruling out but it’s not on deck at this time. I was made aware of it playing on various TV stations like Charge TV. WILD FAITH just broke the 5-million views mark on Encourage TV and I’ll be taking more meetings on season 1 of the TV spin off. THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) is about ready to start its run once the ghosts and ghouls have their Halloween.
  5. As we follow the tradition of setting up new campaign runs for older films in the CDI library like BESTSELLER and THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ will be getting 2022 release dates soon. We just got everything submitted for one and the other is in the works. We are working to get several more prepped to release. Our distributor now has a general market label which is opening many doors of opportunity.
  6. SMOKE & MIRRORS our concept short is done. I was exploring how to help the location house with our film. We will look at some festivals also just for fun. The feature script is being retooled and will be great as an extended story.
  7. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the first in a series of CDI in association with The Red, White & Blue Project Inc. documentary films. The locked cut is about done and so we’re going to master record the narration and do a once over mix/check at the studio with Dennis Therrian to prep the film for delivery. This brand we’ve created has a lot of growth possibilities. We also might look at a December premiere release likely at the NCG Owosso. Why? Curran Jacobs our director/host is from Owosso, MI. A lot of creative individuals from that area.
  8. I’ve had my second business opportunity in the past two months approach me over screenwriting. When I write to assign to one of our productions I work discounted knowing that the film employs many of our artists. I also produce and often act so there is much more involvement. On these “work-for-hire” projects I’m raising rates and even doing something like a writer/option whereas the script is written for X amount w/ a 50% copyright hold until the script is financed and the balance paid in return for the remaining 50% copyright. So they end up with complete ownership and have to go less deep financially to be able to shop. I still try to work under the minimums suggested by the WGA which I’m not part of by choice, and my cost of living can handle this. That again is what I love about Michigan. You could have a small crap box in LA or a country kingdom in Michigan for the same price. Part of the secret of productivity is being somewhere you like and that gives you peace between your often hectic dealings. I will pick up where we left off on negotiations this week and what is meant to be will be. But I do enjoy all the new writing opportunities. I am still looking at possible representation for the writing and still might try something out for the foreign market.
  9. As we discuss writing, one of my loves, I must mention a new book coming out. A few years back when WILD FAITH was moving and grooving in the theaters across several states, an author/book running that writes under Callie Smith Grant saw our film. She enjoyed the story/script and that led to an offer to submit stories. That has led to my participation in several of these books. This is the most recent one. Pre-order/order here – https://www.amazon.com/Dog-Who-Came-Christmas-Stories/dp/0800741250 a great Christmas gift!
  10. Producing, writing and preparing daily to play a new character on screen. I’m playing Lt. Col Lodell a fictional character based loosely on the actual camp commander in one major way. The ‘Golden Rule’ is the basis/foundation used during the operation of the PW camp. This character fit so perfect when I cracked the script back open to look at it. It feels close to where I’m at in my life with setting an example is the easiest way to inspire. Words can be wasted be the speaker or the listener if no action follows it. I just like to keep plugging away each and every day. I don’t feel in competition with anyone or anything. I feel like I’m just flowing like water (Thanks Bruce) doing my best each day. I’m doing the projects I’m suppose to do. So many stories to tell – I’m just very grateful to be able to. I don’t take that for granted. I try not to take any of it for granted. I’m just happy that I evolved to where I am. A place of good balance of mind, body and spirit. Learn to laugh at yourself. Forgive yourself. And wisdom that comes with ‘know thyself’…

(Above ‘Tricky T’ has been working with CDI since film #1 ‘Knight Chills’)

I’m going to wrap this up and maybe go make another cup of coffee. I’m looking forward to the week ahead. Also the old suitcase is going to have to come out. I like to slow pack over a couple weeks. I also have CDI stuff to gather also. This week we touch base with our Algona team. I’m going to go enjoy another soccer game with my niece and nephew playing. An art department meeting that I’m looking forward to. So many good developments on that front. As you study the time period some things seem very old although I’m convinced the black and white photos and footage makes it seem older. Other pictures could have been shot today. How we captured history has a lot to do with how we see it now. Just like old Civil War pictures. Once colorized – man! They really come to life. I love history and the stories that have carried down collectively to all of us. I will continue to try and put some of these wonderful stories to the medium of motion picture. Have a great week and be good to one another!

DJ


Beer. Racecars. Murder? Premiere Info and More…

A very good morning to all of you – hazelnut cheers to our new readers from Australia, Philippines, Ireland and more. I’m sitting and feeling – relief, joy, accomplishment…I’m still trying to capture that feeling. Last night was pretty crazy cool. Weds we went to the NCG and set levels for the film and the pre-showing videos which comprised of “For the Love of Catch” movie trailer and the music video for ‘Off to the Races’ featuring Vertical Bridge. In the past I’ve had some events that I primed up well for- one example that jumps into my mind is David Borowicz and I in Burbank, CA before WILD FAITH played the theater. He said let’s stop here and have ONE beer. It was the home of the 1 yard beers so that really started things off relaxed. I went into the premiere stone sober and first the first trailer started playing without the visual. They restarted it and it played great. The music video started way loud and then they turned it too low and finally brought volume back up. The aspect ratio on the feature was off slightly so bottom credits were being cut off. But they quickly readjusted. Visual, audio, aspect ratio- they had moved us to a larger theaters and the adjustments from Weds were not applied. My limited-tech self was wishing I had that yard sized beer in advance. The audience didn’t notice but we did and the second 8:15 show got the much better adjusted showing and this week the showings should be much more dialed in. But the interest and numbers for the showing resulted in us getting our run extended for the week! The kick off gremlins tried to mess with the showing but instead ended up having an amber ale with us after and they liked the film:)

I also enjoyed talking with Karl Manke the book author. The book is called HOPE FROM HEAVEN. It is an interesting feeling when you write a script and it is turned into a film passing by the director and the actors. It has to be another experience to have your book turned to a screenplay turned into a movie. Either way I think he enjoyed the experience but as a writer I know sometimes in your imagination you have it painted differently. But for me it is always a pleasure seeing the words brought to life. We will know this week if NCG is bringing it to other cities in Michigan. We have a few other chains we are in talks with and our goal is to get it to you. It is planned for roughly a Feb 2022 DVD/streaming release with our distributor. We are going out on the distributors general market main stream label. The film checks many of the boxes for a good inspirational story but the hardcore faith buyers seemingly don’t always like to see too ‘real’ of situations. The ‘Brady Bunch’ level crisis is usually what they like to focus on but that is slowly changing. Audiences loved the characters, the humor, the music (Dennis Therrian) and the edit (Nathaniel Nose) – I am going to sneak into a day show this week. Likely 2:45 show and home by dinner:)

This week we’ll be looking to see what could be done with SMOKE & MIRRORS the short we did off a commercial shoot for an audio software company Izotope. It is a precursor to a feature film we want to film from one of my scripts of the same name. We might do a steampunk happy hour fund raiser for the historic house or something online. We will have a few creative pow wows over this but however you see it will be entertaining.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is moving hard. The crew started getting agreements although our prep dates might fall back by a day. The office and AD staff are working on the set schedule which includes what we call a day-of-days that tells us actor start dates, work dates and final date so we can properly book flights and hotels. Transportation in will be a bit harder as all the close airports are small and limited flights. We are driving in with the prep team so we can bring more gear and such with us. The chill in the air this morning whispered “Wait until November.” – DOH! So this week we’re are back at it and with a more singular focus now that several projects have been concluded.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – is a feature length documentary produced by CDI in association with the Red, White and Blue Project Inc. a military focused non-profit. We’ll be locking up picture soon and sweetening the sound before we premiere this fine piece of work.

DEVELOPMENT

I’m not going to go on much about development this week but we are always in the state of development. Several possible projects are building and growing closer to a production green light. More doors are opening weekly that we are evaluating and looking to see if they make sense and match with our schedule. So please do make the time to go see BEST YEARTS GONE on the big screen and take a friend or two. If you have seen it take a moment to share your thoughts with a review on IMDB.com

We are going to go hit the flea market down the road and look for a few WW2 era props for the November shoot. We might have to get a few pumpkins and maybe even apple cider. I finished the hop harvest and we’ve still been waiting on some of the veggies late maturing like eggplant and Brussel sprouts. Wood cutting with Viking Thursdays might start soon. The days are still getting warm but morning and nights are getting chilly. Good sleeping weather when the window is open.

I also will tell you that some great merchandise made its first appearance at the premiere and will be for sale soon online. Best Years Gone official handkerchief that people really loved featuring a few of the favorite tag-lines from the film. Also Gil Gilles approved lighters, papers, grinders and beverage cozies one with a built in opener. Fun stuff and the start of many as we start to develop the CDI merchandise line. Some ‘For the Love of Catch’ merchandise might also be on deck. Wicked Spring lunch box? maybe:) We also want to start featuring artists and carry their artwork on consignment. I LOVE seeing other artists succeed through hard work. Many expect things to just happen. I am part of a few social media filmmaker groups and I see so many unrealistic expectations. Also folks who wrote something and just think it will get funded if they just post a few messages. I called. Set meetings. Cold pitches in studio boardrooms. Many meetings where many turned up zero but eventually the right fit. But it never dropped in my lap. Do opportunities drop in my lap now? Yes. But that is after many years of struggle. So I just feel like I’m reaping the rewards of seeds planted long ago. So I’m saying even in this digital age you might have to get off your computer/phone, out of your comfort zone and go after it with a well thought out written out plan of attack. Or you can go back to social media funding where 95% of those endeavors fail to fund and if you want larger budgets that takes trust. So go build that trust and make your dreams happen. It also allows you to be pro-active versus passive which is where many like to dwell. But passive usually doesn’t prosper like pro-active.

Off to refill the coffee cup! Great job MSU! Have a great week and thank you to the full house who attended the premiere kick off last night. It was really nice to meet some of you and we’re all glad as the artists that we could give you an enjoyable night. The sign for me was that my face hurt from smiling and laughing and so I’m gonna take that as a good thing.

DJ


Sept 18th ‘Best Years Gone’ Premiere, Pre-Production on ‘Silent Night in Algona’ and more…

I’m sipping my coffee and thinking about what a beautiful week it has been. It has been busy and will continue to be as we move towards the premiere of BEST YEARS GONE (Sept 18th tickets can be bought for that date 6pm and 8:15pm at the Owosso, MI NCG – Come Join the Fun!) and we also keep prepping on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. (Shooting in November) We will explore a few theatrical opportunities with the film but we’re looking at Q1 2022 likely Feb for the streaming/DVD home video release. We have all kinds of important work being done as we look to finish end of this new week. As huge amounts of data is being moved about for credits and thank you’s I also worry a touch. Because almost without fail we miss someone or have a name misspelled. It is the worst part of the final process. And changes are not easy and once delivered near impossible to change. Please know that on the rare occasions where this happens it has never been intentional. I know director Shane Hagedorn is excited as is our composer and sound designer Dennis Therrian. The daily updates are growing with excitement and enthusiasm. We want to bring this story to you. If you want to read the book that the film was adapted from you can google up and purchase “Hope from Heaven” by author Karl Manke.

Last night was special because I got to celebrate the wedding reception of Jackson Kennedy. He is the son of my business partner Jeff Kennedy, who directed several of the early CDI films. He was the young boy in KNIGHT CHILLS (CDI’s 1st feature film). Jackson was only like 3 but a bigger kid more the size of a 5 year old. Later it was discovered he was dealing with some hearing loss. Audiences even back in the day could be cruel with their words in reviews. He never asked for any of that so I’m so happy to see how well he has done in school and life by getting his Masters degree and working for a university and now married. Actually he and his wife Abby married a year ago during Covid and this was the anniversary. They had a wonderful reception for family and friends. For people who don’t know, my partner in CDI Jeff Kennedy, has dealt with severe back issues since before even his work on ‘Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town’ which would be his last CDI film he was directly involved with. It was good to see both he and Juanita so proud of their son Jack. I too was so proud of this young man and what he has become. Looking at him as a grown man illustrates again for me that indeed CDI has been storytelling for 25 years this year!

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA

Here is an interview piece from our scout trip to Algona, Iowa.

This week we’ll announce a few more of the German actors and we’ll also be announcing some of the amazing product partners and sponsors joining us in the telling of this powerful story based on true events. We are starting to put paperwork under our cast and crew. We will also start more intense work with various departments in the coming weeks. The 1st steps towards the production insurance is underway as of Friday. We will need it for locations, picture vehicles and more. Aside from all the business I’ve been working my lines and I’m excited to start reading off a few of my fellow actors.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – We had the pleasure of watching the 1st cut of the documentary on the history of wrestling. It was informative, entertaining and really educates anyone interested or curious about the history of the grappling arts. I’m very proud of the entire team and I think it could be the first of many. Director Curran Jacobs is also the lead actor in our upcoming WW2 film. He previously had roles in WILD FAITH and MBF but this will be his biggest challenge.

SMOKE & MIRROR – Our VFX artists had a few delays but this funny and hauntingly moody short film will be done mid month. I’ve also been working on re-tooling the feature film that were looking to have Nathaniel Nose direct. This will give audiences a good peek at the world we intend to create with the full feature.

WILD FAITH is a branding and I’m considering WILD FAITH: Hastings Season 1 as the more official title for the TV series. The interest is there now we just need to pull all the business together and look to a season 1 shoot likely 2022 if all goes smooth. I might get some artwork underway during this 4th Q of the year.

The window for THE QUEST TRILOGY will kick in after we get past Oct 31st – speaking of that spooky month – BESTSELLER the dark thriller by author Christopher Knight and starring Melissa Anschutz as literary agent Anne Harper will be getting a new campaign soon. I think most of the business has been delivered so I will keep you updated. Also an HD version of THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ is suppose to release in a new campaign. It was our first CDI associated animated film but will not be our last! The new special FX division is in the planning stages and I’m excited by where that can take us. LOST HEART aka BIGFOOT, UFO’S AND JESUS is growing a nice audience and WICKED SPRING HD version is about to get a new release. And we’re also looking at what films in the CDI library could also be introduced to a new larger audience.

I smell the bacon and eggs almost done so I’m going to wrap this up and get a fresh coffee. After breakfast I’m going to go put a mow on the lawn. We are having the mom’s over for a late lunch that will have me manning the grill. I’ve been grilling with hickory chunks vs charcoal and that has been a switch. It burns much faster and hotter it seems. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your extended holiday weekend. Our MSU football team started off the season with a great win Friday night. Now if only the Detroit LIONS can do the same.

Be good to one another and have a great week ahead!

DJ


Screenings, Schedules and Staying Focused!

Welcome to all our new readers from Germany, Uganda, China and several others from around the globe – coffee cheers! Watching the storm approach New Orleans and hoping for the best for whomever stayed behind. We all know of the tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan and Covid is continuing to be an issue in some areas of the country. This humidity has been brutal yet I got the lawn mowed up one day and even had our last soccer match for the season in this heat. I’m ready for wood stove, chili, Lions/MSU football and everything that comes with that. It has been a very active time here at CDI and with me personally but that means good things are happening. Lets look at a few of the top updates-

  1. BEST YEARS GONE – the film is being polished up with some color correction tweaks and a few music beds to be worked in. The tickets are open for anyone to buy for Sept 18th at the NCG Owosso theatre with shows at 6:00 pm and 8:15pm with an afterglow at ROMAS patio starting after the first show and will continue after the second showing. Get your tickets now as they are going fast! No charge for the afterglow/cash bar and we’ll be doing pictures and such so come on down and meet many of the cast and crew.
  2. Also a just finished shooting the music video for ‘Off to the Races‘ the song by Vertical Bridge that will appear in the film as winners of the ‘Battle of the Band’ – we plan to show the music video either before or after the film. It depends on what film footage is used/shown in the video but we’re excited to see this premiere also.
  3. SMOKE & MIRRORS our short concept film is almost done. We had a slight delay in the VFX but I hope to get the finished film so we can look at maybe a small premiere as a fund raiser for the Dodge Turner House we shot at. I’m excited to finish the retooled feature script that we plan to shoot in the near future with Nathaniel Nose directing.
  4. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film about the history of wrestling has a first full cut which we’ll review this week. Once BEST YEARS GONE has moved out of post we’ll move this film in once picture is locked to have an audio mix done on the project.
  5. WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – as the feature film keeps climbing in views via the numerous streaming sites that means good things for the TV spin off series. This coming week I have more meetings over this project. I’m excited about what this could mean for so many cast and crew in the Michigan area. CDI has been building a strong team for a while now and this project could mean some consistent work. Giddy up!
  6. New release campaigns will be underway for a newly up-rez’d THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ, which was CDI’s first animated feature collaboration but I will say it won’t be our last. Also Christopher Knight’s BEST SELLER based on the book of the same name has been delivered and will be rolling out in the near future. This R-rated (language and intense situations) feature is the closest to a Hitchcock like thriller that we’ve produced. I’ll be in talks this week on a few other projects from the CDI library.
  7. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has most of the cast and crew in place minus a few still being discussed. We will be getting ready to go to paperwork this Sept for cast, crew and vendors. Most of our crew is driving in so we can take more equipment and gear. Some flights for west coast folks will be needed so those will be arranged. Wardrobe is starting to gather sizes (don’t lie actors:) * A famous story with my dear departed actor costar Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty who might have fibbed on his waist size. This led to a frantic last minute adjustment on set. We’ll be having some round table discussions with art including guns with our armorer Mr. Robert Bradley. The town of Algona is so appreciative they don’t want CDI to be just coming to work in Algona they want the crew to be their guests. Once you meet the kind people of Iowa you realize why a story like ours actually happened. I’m excited and ready to tell what we hope will become a holiday staple along with your other favorite classics.
  8. We are having some great success with our product partners on our upcoming WW2 Christmas film mentioned above. We have another great brand joining us in our endeavor and their history/story plays into the script in a few places. Stay tune for some announcements and if you have a brand and want to align it with our story please do reach out. Smithfield Foods is our newest joining Lerma Transportation and The Candleberry Co. We are appreciative of all our product partners.
  9. I had a call last week about a film I was approached about a few years back and it seems they have momentum and wanted to resend the script and see if I was still interested in the role. I LOVE that they offered to send a paper script to me. Things always get read faster by me when they come to me in paper form.
  10. KNIGHT CHILLS – I’m just going to set this right here. This was CDI’s first film. It was both a test of ‘could we’ tell a story. We were too ambitious, under experienced, under funded but had a boatload of passion and enthusiasm. This story has stayed with audiences for many of the nostalgic reasons we love it. There is a world at play here and with the surge in fantasy role playing including new D&D movies, it might be the time for SIR KALLIO to arise. If you go and watch Part 3 of THE QUEST TRILOGY, The Christ Slayer…well watch all 3, imagine that world building applied to Knight Chills. The story exists in two places – the fictional here and now and the fictional inside fictional world of the imagination. This 2nd film is a transitional piece to get us into the world we always wanted to do but were unable to. This second film will be an EVIL DEAD 2 to Evil Dead 1 with the 3rd being the Knight Chills (Army of Darkness) – No. I’m not saying Knight Chills is on par with Evil Dead, I’m just pointing out the story arc. The second brings back some nods to the past and sets up for its future. We’ve had so many people interested in the story and this RESTART not REBOOT will draw some artists into our story on subject matter alone. Just something developing in the dark of the night as the cold wind starts to blow…

I’ve given a good run down of some of the happenings over here at CDI. I’ve been watching my hops which are close to harvest. The rhubarb needs another cut. The chickens are kicking the eggs out. Veggies are ripening weekly and we’ve been storing some tomatoes. The plants are doing well with water but the humid just has it feeling like Jurassic Park around here. And the mosquitos are the true beasts around here. Although the bats are trying to keep them in check there are just so many. I think the mosquito should become the new Michigan bird:) Okay. I hope everyone has a great week ahead. Keep focused on what you can control and don’t let static and noise steal your attention and time. In many endeavors you must believe first. Click on Owosso links BELOW to go to BEST YEARS GONE premiere ticket site or just google it up. See you there.

Coffee Cheers.

DJ


July Summer CDI Updates

This Sunday morning is a near perfect temp with a touch of cool and low humidity. I want to welcome our new readers/subscribers from Ireland, Turkey and more. I’m sipping some coffee and this morning will include some eggs from our ‘girls’ laying almost daily. I’ve had a relaxing weekend that started with Shepherds Pie at Pizannos a bday gift from my good friend Johnny D. Saturday had us run some fun errands including a stop at the Blue Gill for a wonderful Perch sandwich. Today will likely be a bit of grilling after the flea market. I’ve got venison steaks ready to go – steak and eggs? Maybe:) While I might take a relax physically my mind is always working. Last week we had many great moves on the chessboard. I’m so very happy about the way things are progressing and I’m excited for what lies ahead.

As for life lessons or insights that apply to our artistic endeavors- enthusiasm. A skill set is needed but how you apply that skill set is what really counts. I’ve encountered a lot of jaded artists in my journey and it doesn’t matter how qualified if they cause people to always walk on eggshells. It’s easier to give an opportunity for growth to someone who is enthusiastic and excited to participate. As we get closer to locking up cast and crew on the next CDI endeavor SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – I’m thrilled by our team. We producers will work hard to give everyone a great experience in return for their hard work and skill set. It all shows on the screen when the final story is complete. Our scout trip for next month is set. I was organizing our lodging and transportation needs and also made several steps trying to open certain product placement deals. Our film gives several opportunities to highlight great products that were in use in the 1940’s and are still in use now. IF you have a product you would like to align with our WW2 Christmas film don’t be shy. I’ve started working my character in the film and I’m thrilled to play such a stabilizing role. I play the camp commander and while many characters have arcs that drastically change due to circumstances, my role is the steady backbone. My hair grows like a weed and even with my recent haircut it its again starting to look long. Trust me I’m appreciative that I have a full head of hair. I will be getting the Robert Conrad haircut soon and I’m enjoying hunting up a few good props. We will be announcing a few new actors this week. We’re working on filling a few new departments and soon we’ll be working vendors. Aside from the prepping for our next adventure lets look at some of the top updates from last week.

  1. I started the week with a belated bday hang with dad who was homebound with his ‘Sadie’ who had recently been fixed and was recovering.
  2. I had a great call with a literary management company over properties. I’ve had projects in the Hollywood development system which can be slow and if the execs in charge move on your project can also get swept. I’ve also had a script given the “Hollywood rewrite” and it was gutted of much that made it special. But it also paid a few years of option payments. I use to call these properties “sacrificial scripts” but I have seen good studio/indie hybrids that were very good. So I’m going to comb through the scripts and see what I don’t plan to produce and sign them over for sale. In the days gone by I would try to keep actor/producer attachments and that makes it too heavy. These properties will be free and clear and we’ll see if they sell. I’ve had a few script sales and it’s not an easy process but with some of the awards the writing has brought – maybe.
  3. Speaking of writing I did work on the SMOKE & MIRRORS feature script some. The short film is about done and we’ll be rolling that out soon. It is a humorous/spooky steampunk-type story. I’m excited to show folks and it will make a great extended feature film.
  4. I had a meeting for HASTINGS, the Wild Faith tv series planned for midweek but had to reschedule. But I did get a bit of feedback on the interest level of the parties evaluating the series. I’m smiling. Let’s leave it at that for now.
  5. Thursday was a good day of business calls and also had a great soccer match. My slight injury from game one has improved greatly and my strength and conditioning is now almost where I want it.
  6. BEST YEARS GONE sound design is about done and music is close behind. Our winners of the battle of the bands will be shooting a music video in the near future. I have to go in Friday and do some Voice Over work which will be a blast. The deal for the Sept 11th event is being passed back and forth but it is happening. We hope to release some PR end of the month once we put pen to paper. Also an Owosso, MI two showing theatrical premiere is in the works. The trailer has been getting great feedback and I cannot wait for people to experience the entire story.
  7. MANS BEST FRIEND fresh off our Crown Award win has been getting some additional attention. I want to thank all the fans again who take the time to reach out and tell me how the film has affected their lives. With all the unfortunate animal abuse and uncared for veteran stories in the news this film hits home for many.
  8. THE QUEST TRILOGY has its own share of fans. The biblical time period is a great world to weave a story within and I think at some point we will return to this genre. We do have a few great stories to tell it just is about time and funding. Do you have a favorite biblical era film we’ve done? Do you have one you think we should consider?
  9. BESTSELLER is coming to audiences via BMG general market and I’ll be having more conversations about other films in the CDI library being released. Ashes of Eden? Figure in the Forest? An Ordinary Killer? The Patchwork Girl of OZ? We will see…
  10. I’m about to start work soon on another audio book in a series that I’ve been narrating. You can take a listen to book 1 and if you are a Civil War or history buff you will really enjoy. https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Diary-and-Memories-of-a-Civil-War-Soldier-Part-1-Audiobook/B09237FGF8?ref=a_pd_The-Re_c13_moreAuthors_0&pf_rd_p=722bd3f0-0234-421b-a023-824edcd1a86b&pf_rd_r=1QFZM61E421TDVR7TGY5

So as you can see I’ve been just moving right along. This week ahead will consist of meetings, in studio Voice Over and more. Several big developments underway but until they blossom no need to go into it all. The doc ‘For the Love of Catch’ released the trailer where over 20k saw it in a few days. The feature length doc is in full edit mode and we hope to have a cut soon. The 2nd half of our soccer season starts this Thursday and I’m looking forward to that. To all my artistic friends keep planing seeds and nourishing ideas. The harvest awaits those who put in the work and so get out there and start creating. Again we thank all of you friends, families and fans who have helped us get this amazing stories out there. I’m going to wrap up here and in a short while it will be time to fire up the grill. Until we get together next week. Coffee cheers!

DJ


Happy Father’s Day and Sunday Updates on CDI Film Projects

I’m sipping the coffee but in the early eve of the 19th. I have another busy day tomorrow with some family activities and such but I wanted to give you a few thoughts. I just read something about Chadwick the Black Panther actor not getting the part of Drax in a Guardians of the Galaxy film but it exposed him and opened the ‘Marvel’ doors for the future casting. We are getting down to the last few castings in SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. This is hard because you are trying to build the right chemistry. We’ve had some requested reads that just didn’t make the grade. Sometimes it is nerves. Sometimes it is too much confidence, perhaps they don’t fully commit or make interesting, unique choices. I recall when we were casting WILD FAITH we were reading many actresses as Hester the half Native American tracker. Some good attempts but the mark kept being missed. Melissa Anschutz who is an amazing actress, could have played any of the roles because of her commitment level. She is the only one who found the bullseye. But convincing her to take a role where she says a dozen or so phrases was…interesting:) But the pay off was most excellent. You can get tired when casting but the focused work will show in the end product.

WILD FAITH (Free with Ads)

Almost 5 million viewers on Encourage TV. We are in a few conversations about the HASTINGS TV series. So if you have not watched the film please do. If you’ve enjoyed it before show your support for this film. If you would love a TV show based on this film let your voices be heard.

WICKED SPRING – We got some great practice at reproducing the Civil War era with our 2000 film. This was done when CDI has a sister company Lionheart Filmworks. The feature is now managed by CDI and Lionheart went to the films director Kevin Hershberger. I’ve been proud of all the TV work he has done. He LOVES history and it shows. Anyway, for streaming we now have an HD version of the film. The distributor did a high res version and from what I’ve seen it looks really good. It is just amazing what new technology is allowing us to do. This success could give new life to some of the pre-HD films.

Speaking of pre-HD much like last year when we released the CDI Classic Collection Double Feature #1 Heaven’s Neighbors and Figure in the Forest. This year my goal is to do Knight Chills and From Venus. Also I might explore a full HD campaign with Knight Chills. We have had two great companies approach about a special BluRay release and so I will be circling back to those discussions.

BESTSELLER is not from as far back as the classic collection but a few moons ago. It will be rolling out with a full campaign this fall.

NEXT week we have two of the films, MANS BEST FRIEND and LOST HEART, of 5 finalists in the Crown Awards in Dallas, Texas next week. They announce on my Bday (June 23rd) the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners. I love both films like children. I just hope whatever attention the films garnish pushes more audiences at these two powerful and heartfelt stories. This month also saw the beginning of the ‘Lost Heart’ roll out under the name ‘Bigfoot, UFOs and Jesus’ for the General Audience. I love the enthusiastic response that I received from so many of you. So it doesn’t matter what title you watch the film as – just enjoy it. Both of these films can be watched. Which is your favorite?

BEST YEARS GONE team has been putting the final touches on the first official trailer. The plan is to drop the trailer on Tuesday or perhaps Weds, perhaps. We are going to start having Travis Hayward start planning the music video once the trailer color correction is done. We are in the process of setting up a couple of premiere events for September. The films sound and music is roughly half done. I will be meeting with Dennis Therrian this week and get a better update.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – This awesome doc film will be releasing its official teaser July 4th and I’m proud of all the hard work that has been going on with this project.

DEVELOPMENT

I’ve been doing some script work on a few projects that I’ve been meaning to get back to. Even just a little creative writing a day can be really refreshing. We discussed HASTINGS previously and there is some development happening with the post work on SMOKE & MIRRORS. I’ve been doing a lot of scene work on this feature script. We have several great things developing but they are not ready to be spoken about. Somethings are left best for when the deal is done.

WRAP UP

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and I’m so thankful to still have both my parents here to love and guide me. I know my father worked very hard and that is where I must get some of that tenacity. I got to see my dad yesterday and I hope to see him tomorrow. If I don’t it is because he has a funeral for a classmate. Unfortunately, even at our age we are starting to see the occasional alumni obituary. This can only get harder as you travel down the path and lose more friends. It pains me to even think of that so I’m just appreciate them all. Even now I still owe a few calls. I do try to stay up and check on people. I look forward to a few nice sit downs and catch ups this week around my bday. For those asking I will likely pick a patio on Tuesday for a few hours in the afternoon/early eve and on Weds celebrate more chill with family.

Aside from this the chickens are producing eggs although we’ve had two Finn escapes whereas he chased the chickens. He seems to have shown restraint having caught two but not bit them. I’ve been harvesting some herbs and rhubarb and the berries also are ripening. So I need to bottle up the aging ‘berry’ wine into bottles and prepare to put another 5 gal in motion.


Rolling Into JUNE! CDI’s TOP 10 Updates from Last Week!

Morning has recently left us for afternoon and now after some reheated grilled chicken and salad I’m ready to blog with you all before I go give the yard a mow. When soccer season started about a month ago I overused my tendons outside me knees. It is the back and forth motion without having them conditioned for that strain. With weekly games it has been hard to get a full recovery but they are getting stronger. That Covid time off did not do me any favors.

We have had a few days of heat but luckily some storms have blown cooler air in on several days sparing us humidity. The raised garden beds now have the veggies and herbs planted. The chickens have been kicking out the eggs allowing almost daily egg breakfasts. I’ve had a great week of productive moves on the board. Maybe we should do a TOP 10 Updates on this fine Sunday.

  1. Our sponsorship program for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is being looked at by several major brands for alignment. If your brand feels like exploring marketing with our Christmas Homefront WW2 drama please reach out.
  2. Last week we had a great SNIA meeting with art department and looked at all the challenges that lie ahead. This week will be calls with Jesse Aragon our director of photography. We will look to start locking in our camera, grip and electric team in the coming weeks. Our first schedule is being looked at and soon we’ll pow wow over that and start to make moves. It is so interesting how it all starts to gel and come together.
  3. This week I’ll be seeing the polished draft of the teaser trailer on our doc FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH. It will release on July 4th and give audiences a glimpse at the amazing grapplers we have assembled to discuss their passion.
  4. Speaking of trailers, the official trailer for BEST YEARS GONE is in sound and music with Dennis Therrian and it will release soon. Rumor has it might be on the run up to June 23 someones bday;)
  5. The BEST YEARS GONE film itself is in serious music and sound design. We’ve started assembling the end credits. Color correction should be almost complete. We’re already looking at two premiere events in Sept. One a race and showing at the Springport Speedway Sept 11th and the Owosso, MI premiere date TBD.
  6. The General Market ‘Lost Heart’ release (BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS) is underway appearing on amazon and several other platforms. I love the new poster, trailer and movie as a whole. Released to the faith market ‘Lost Heart’ is up for ‘Best Film’ at the Crown Awards this month.
  7. Also one of the 5 ‘Best Films at the Crown Awards is MANS BEST FRIEND. A uniquely powerful film which feels like pineapple to a beet when you put the two films next to one another. Vastly different tone but proud to have both recognized.
  8. I want to give a congrats to VERTICAL BRIDGE who won the ‘Best Years Gone: Battle of the Bands’ and will have their song OFF TO THE RACES in the film. Additionally CDI will be shooting a commercial with the band with Travis Hayward directing, shooting the video. I’m excited for all the artists involved.
  9. We have some interested people looking at the WILD FAITH/HASTINGS TV series pitch this month. That would make a great bday present. If we get the green light we will be shooting next year.
  10. I’m starting to work into some creative script writing. I had a great call about the possibility of writing a screenplay for hire. We will see how that turns out. I have lotta possibilities and the things that are meant to be will come to be.

I’m going to wrap this up without a lot of chit chat because I have quite a bit of yard work to attend to before I have people arriving this eve. The berries and hops are getting closer to fruit. The catnip, rhubarb and several other things are already giving. We’ve been enjoying getting into the wines granted to us from previous harvests. I hope you all enjoy some time with family and friends. We had another out of town family get-together seeing some family we have not seen in over a year. Tomorrow I’ve got a big list of things to get through and I’m excited to get after it. I hope you all have a good weekend followed by a productive week.

Be good to one another.

DJ


Winter Gives Way to Spring – NEW Updates!

Coffee cheers and welcome to all our new readers and followers from Peru, Ireland, Austria and more! The week actually flow by and we went from unusually warm to cold and rainy and now sunshine is called for later in the week. As of Monday it will mark my week 2 after my second Covid shot. We just visited with a neighbor last night who had a memorial for their 52 year old nephew lost to Covid complications. So for many it is still a very real thing. I’m actually looking forward to getting back at in-person meetings, biz mixers and such. I’m very happy with all the weekly progress on our CDI projects.

(DJ Perry & Erika Hoveland in ‘Best Years Gone’)

BEST YEARS GONE (In Post) has many things happening at once. The film is undergoing color correction, dialog edit with music and sound design up next. I bet we listen to all the cleaned up dialog soon. The Battle of the Bands is giving us a good listen at some of the artists. Merchandise for this film is going to increase which is exciting. But the premiere planning is really cool. We are looking at having “The 1st Annual Gilles Cup” a regional “Best Up&Comer” amongst the “spectator drag” racing participants. This will be followed by the winning music video and the film itself playing on a huge blow up screen inside the in-field of the track.

For the Love of Catch (In Post) This amazing documentary has been filming for a month plus now and will be moving into the post-production phase. We will start to assemble these legends who speak about their exploration into the art of grappling and ultimately the love they have for the sport.

SMOKE & MIRRORS (In Post) – This passion project is a short film adapted from a feature script of mine of the same name. We had a commercial opportunity that needed “demo footage” and so we filmed a condensed short story. I’ve been reworking the feature script for a future production with Nathaniel Nose directing. I’m thinking of playing the short in front of BEST YEARS GONE to start its run. We also want to do a benefit screening for the Turner-Dodge House where we filmed. It is a spooky, fun short with amazing performances from David Gries and Melissa Anschutz.

DISTRIBUTION TITLES

MAN’S BEST FRIEND enjoyed a new General Market push which started out with a bang as a Latin American license was immediately made. The film is really starting to get out there and I’m so appreciative of all the reaching out by those that love this film. I keep hearing people ask about a sequel and I’m just not quite sure. I like how the film ends. It is not all tied up in a bow. An action/martial arts film? Maybe. I do have a pretty good idea for one. Thank you for all the compliments and it was nice to showcase some of my skills.

LOST HEART continues its march and the general market release will take it even further. Thank you to ICVM for the nominations. I’m proud to have two films in the top 5. This film is up for many nominations this May and I know that Melissa Anschutz and Victoria Jackson will attend. Don Most might attend as well as one of our nominated actors. They will have a great time!

THE QUEST TRILOGY prime season window of Thanksgiving to Easter is now over. We’ll see how we did and we’ll be sending revenue to our supporters.

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The movie continues to grow in popularity and the TV series is developing. I had good talks with our distributor and we have a few new opportunities to help launch this into a 2022 series shoot.

With our co-productions – BESTSELLER might get a new release in full in 2022 as well as several of the CDI General Market titles. AMERICAN LIAR and THE ACTOR are both available to watch on Amazon Prime.

DEVELOPMENT

Silent Night in Algona we announced the new cast of Shane Hagedorn and Christine Marie. Both are amazing actors who have brought some great characters to the screen. They will do this once again. Our next two announcements will be a great semi-regular talent working with the tribeCDI and one from our “Ghost Town” past. This matching will be incredible and I can already see the magic scenes they will create. MAY will be when we start to officially approach sponsors. If you have interest in aligning your service or product with our WW2 film please do reach out.

WRAP UP

The ‘Chicken Land’ is fully operational and the girls love the greens. They have also started giving eggs so that is a great addition to the mornings. I am going to wrap this up and go do some sunny side up with rye toast and 4H bacon. I also purchased a pair of long elevated grow beds so that we can still do some of the garden favorites. Rhubarb and catnip are ready to harvest and I’m about to put the first lawn mow down. Also May 6th starts up soccer season! I’m excited to get back out there. I do strength and stretching daily along with my martial arts practice but running…not a fan unless I’m doing something. So the first few games might be rough not to mention just your ankles and knees getting their first stop/start work outs. Blueberry bushes will arrive soon. The apple trees look like they are going to be full this year. I will also start working to fill the wood boxes again for next winter.

I’m also going to get back to my script writing since I don’t currently have an assignment. I’ve been bouncing between my SciFi script and the feature Smoke & Mirrors rework. I’ve enjoyed the pondering, research and scribbles as I pull these stories together. Carry on with your own endeavors and watch as those daily small steps all add up and take you closer to your goals and dreams.

Happy Sunday!

DJ


New Nominations, Post-Updates and Prepping for a WW2 Story

Hazelnut coffee cheers! I see new readers/followers from Jamaica, Ireland and Ecuador, welcome. It is a beautiful day that started with having my niece and nephew over to visit ‘chicken land’ before we all went down to the local flea market. I did not find any treasures but that is how is goes, sometimes yes, sometimes no. But this weekend has been mainly yard work clean up. The lawn garden bags are by the curb for pick up and I also shored up the raspberries. The rhubarb is growing strong and the apple blossoms are full which might mean hard cider this fall. I’ve shared the brown ale with the few meetings we’ve had. To me it taste like NEWCASTLE. Just amazing what fruit, veggies and/or grains can become with a little fermentation magic.

This week went by quite fast with the main tasks being making moves on BEST YEARS GONE post work. SMOKE & MIRRORS post work is also finishing up. (Almost complete) And we’re entering post with the documentary ‘For the Love of Catch‘ which is exciting. Additionally, we’ve been busy with the pre-production tasks associated with our WW2 drama SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We’ll keep announcing new cast and crew over the next several weeks. Everyone is excited about storytelling in this time period. many of us have been immersing ourselves it the 1944 culture. I’ve enjoyed digging more into my grandfather’s WW2 service.

This week we’ll have talks with our art department over the script. They will break down props and we’ll address more major challenges. Period films are a great endeavor that requires artists to be at their best and research is a key. I’m going to do a new photoshoot soon showcasing the new look I’m moving towards. I have a great WW2 coat that was a find last year. Preparing for a role can be a bit like preparing for Halloween at least by way of look. More on this fine film as it develops.

Proud to announce that two of our films both qualified as one of the five finalist in the prestigious ICVM awards given on June 23rd (My bday) in Texas. MBF got much of its theatrical and festival run squashed by the Covid outbreak but it has been gathering momentum. The two films are both very different in tone but I feel like we won just by having two of the five films. Congrats to all the CDI artists involved and thank you to the audiences accepting these stories. We are all very appreciative and thank you to ICVM.

Final 5 Random Updates

  1. BEST YEARS GONE – battle of the Bands still ongoing on our FB page. We added the bio for Celebrity Judge Joe Pullin and we might have more to announce. We are loving all the submissions – thank you!
  2. BEST YEARS GONE auto stickers are available and soon we will have more. I think shirts and hats are next up!
  3. BEST YEARS GONE trailer is being worked on by Nathaniel Nose. We should have something in a few short weeks.
  4. https://www.tudosobreseufilme.com.br/2021/04/melissa-anschutz-7.html?m=1 a great interview with Melissa Anschutz on her career and ‘Lost Heart’ (You can look it up in English)
  5. FORTY NIGHTS which plays with CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER on Encourage TV is also creeping towards its first million views. If you did not watch these three films, which should be watched in order, enjoy.

A great pic of Erika Hoveland and I filming on BEST YEARS GONE. Seen here in Dane Deford’s boat. As the cold gives way to warmth and Michigan is defrosting, I’m looking forward to gathering again. I’m happy to say I’ve had both doses of my super serum and feeling just dandy. I look forward to some cookouts and such in the near future. Enjoy the rest of your day and the week ahead. Every day has been full of emails, calls and meetings but all worth it as the projects keep moving down the line. We have some very exciting things developing at CDI and I know that steady ahead can get you there.

Keep channeling your energy into steady ahead and soon you’ll find things happening.

Be good to one another. Coffee Cheers!

DJ


‘Best Years Gone’ Moves Into Music & Sound – CDI Updates and Sunday Rocking Chair Ponderings

Good morning partners. Hazelnut coffee cheers! We had a good rain last night and everything is becoming lush and green. Later today will be our first flea market visit to see if I can find any treasures. I love to look for personal props for certain characters. I was looking pretty close to ole Ben Lily as we moved forward developing the WILD FAITH Tv series spin off. I have a string of biz calls to do about the 8 show spin off. With our WW2 film a full go we’ve decided that the series HASTINGS will go up after SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. So I’ve had a full shave and a hair cut as I prepare for the next role. We announced two more actors last week with Dean Teaster and Samual Peterson joining the cast.

This week we’ll announce more cast and crew as we move through pre-production. We’ve almost cast our Germans which is so exciting. Just incredible talent and I’m again happy to say that about all our castings. So many exciting announcements that will be forthcoming.

Our holiday window of Thanksgiving to Easter is now complete. It will be fun to see how THE QUEST TRILOGY did with audiences this year. We keep growing our audiences each year and I truly do love getting all the fan mail. CDI will eventually do another trilogy of biblical films. One of the scripts is being studied for future execution and we hope to return to the desert in the near future.

MANS BEST FRIEND is starting its general market roll out. I have to say I loved the previous poster art but this poster captures ‘Paul’ in the eyes. And what a noble pic of Paul’s MBF. I think this film that got caught up in the Covid breakout deserves that renewed push. For a beat everyone was holding on licensing as the whole world adjusted. I’m so happy that it is getting its second wind. I was already getting LOTS of fan mail (NOTE: My silly spell check tried to turn ‘mail’ into ‘tail’ and that reads totally different. I’m happy to say this coming June at NRB the 5 best finalist films under 250k will compete for gold, silver and bronze. Both MBF and LOST HEART are finalists. So having 2 of the 5 nominated films feels good. It makes me proud of our artists and I do take pride in having written those scripts.

‘WRITING’ is a love that I hid for a long time only because I wanted to be seen as an actor first. The actor ME became frustrated at the lack of deep, powerful films. I’m comfortable now being considered a screenwriter along with an actor and ultimately producer. I’ve enjoyed writing short stories as part of my book contributions to this wonderful book series by Callie Smith Grant. (Revell/Baker) Each book focuses on animal relationships and sometimes centers around a holiday. Cats and Christmas is up next and so I’ll polish up my story and see if it makes the grade. The fun fact here is I was approached after WILD FAITH was seen in the theaters. From there I’ve contributed to three books now. The one coming out later this year (09/21) is on dogs. I like dogs:)

This morning as the rain storm passed, our team on the documentary ‘For the Love of Catch‘ hit the road. This is for the last filming segment of the doc. We’re set up to start editing and dialog clean up immediately after. They have been getting some great interviews from the world of grappling to discuss what they love about it. We’ll be doing a PR release and talking more about this in the coming weeks. It is being directed by our own Catch-Can World Champion Curran Jacobs. Big congrats to Dan Chipman and his mobile production home for capturing some amazing interviews. Adam Towner has been signed on to edit and work post. Stay tuned!

LOST HEART has been just playing so well to the family/faith audiences but as pointed out by fans, the film is so much more. Hence the upcoming general market release, but we’ll wait until I have more to report. But let’s address that term? market? We are all storytellers.

At CDI we don’t make “faith” films – but create stories with strong character development. In ANY story character development is king. And knowing the ‘faith’ of the character is the seed. Some seek faith, lack faith or try to hold onto faith. Maybe they lost all faith in mankind, themselves or their path to God. All these characters come from a different place. Those carrying status in religion might struggle with their faith while the downtrodden might live in appreciative faith. I have many ask about religion which has helped to build great civilizations but unfortunately usually is tied to conflict and war. I also think that someone’s seeking to understand divinity is a personal and private relationship, unique to each person. In my opinion it also doesn’t require any fancy study, conversion, certification, validation etc…to me DIVINE is a constant like gravity. Only mankind’s understanding changes but anyone actively seeking DIVINE is getting closer and closer to THEIR truth of understanding the constant. Many of my deep pondering are reflected in ‘The Quest Trilogy,’ historical fiction examining overlooked events or perspectives to try and gain a new insight.

A nice example in Forty Nights is the showing ‘Jesus’ working to put the words of the heart on the tongue. Some watchers following along with their scripture wait to jump on the words and claim their superiority in finding supposed flaws. The purpose was to show human flaw in Jesus. That mighty things like LOVE are hard to put into the perfect words. The purpose was to show the journey to those final words. It still makes me chuckle when I see people upset about John and Jesus seemingly not knowing each other….the post baptism conversation and later flashbacks between John and Jesus obviously showing a pre-existing relationship. The baptism was a ritual passing of the torch but their casual talk away from the masses was meant to show they knew one another well.

Later in the desert, we see Jesus struggling to find the perfect way to teach what he knows. Some of the greatest minds in certain fields cannot teach what they know. Being a teacher is not easy because you have to paint a picture to enlightenment for another persons imagination and intelligence to grasp onto. Those three films are full of contemplative gems and many have discovered some personal truth by watching them. For some they just miss the point – I like the Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon I think) scene whereas Bruce tells a student not to just focus on the pointing finger alone or you’ll miss all that heavenly glory. I think the old saying of ‘the Devils in the details’ is another funny way to say this. Some people are so worried at hoping to increase their “religious” status by winning some ‘Bible Jeopardy’ that they miss the lesson of the parable all together.

And so scholars continue to debate and the facts alter and change as new “experts” appear. Science and Religion have more in common then they think and to me it’s fascinating that they don’t always co-exist well. Anyway, I think that the trilogy was my “Noah. I want you to build an ark.” moment. You want to know my feelings – watch the films. I tried to connect the dots in a way that made sense to people who cannot truthfully function on blind faith alone. You will find a deep sincere reverence that permeates all three stories. The trilogy conjures all the right emotions and feelings because in the medium of film it’s show me versus tell me where you can. It’s when the story rises beyond just show and tell to actually allow one to FEEL the story. It’s an art. I’ve gone on a while here. I could and have filled books with my thoughts on these matters. But your relationship with divine or choice to not interact or accept is deeply personal. I like to speak with the stories to those still seeking their personal truth and maybe help clarify aspects of things for those who feel to have found divinity yet still seek to fully understand it. I have a suspicion that only on our final walk will we fully understand.

Okay let’s shift gears!

BEST YEARS GONE – based upon the wonderful and quirky writing of Karl Manke in his book ” Hope from Heaven” (You can buy it:) comes the story of unconditional love, dreams gone awry and generational communication issues. We now have the film after a wonderful edit by Nathaniel Nose (Dir./Editor The Christ Slayer) and has now landed at Dennis Therrian’s studio. We’ve had two post sessions so far and what a lift to the spirits. While this film will have all the trademark emotional beats it truly marks what I feel to be a big step comedically. It is for me for certain. Now growing up I thought I was going to be a stand up comedian with strong observational humor like George Carlin. In my personal life I would say I have a healthy sense of humor maybe too much. (I have been known to pull a prank or two) I have to say I had such a wonderful time filming this. It was the adventure that unfolded in the Covid storm and we were appreciative to have all our precautions rewarded with a safe journey. Now we’re into talking music and the dialog is also popping better than ever due to innovative software, gear and the growing experience of our sound team. The deal with BMG is signed. Next week we’ll start feeding them marketing deliverables. Poster art will be underway as we deliver choice screen captures. Additionally the first official trailer is being cut and so maybe end of May we can rock that out.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS!!!! It is still underway and we are getting some KICK ASS music submissions. Keep them coming and you just might end up in this film. We’ve really enjoyed listening to all the great original music. Kudos to all of you. Keep on rocking!

I want to get back on path with my writing. I want to finish my new SMOKE & MIRRORS feature script. You’ll get to enjoy the short film likely this fall. I saw some of the VFX work and I’m smiling. My SciFi script is another goal to at least get my first draft. The 1st season of HASTINGS is being edited for missed commas and such. I think we had a nice chat and I gave you all a good update on the films. In short – it has been busy. But I’ve also been getting some great moments observing the new hens in our “chicken land” enclosure. Some major wood chopping against a few mighty logs that I swear were made of iron. I will soon bottle up some of the berry wine that has been aging. We recently toasted off Best Years Gone will some lilac wine aged several years. It was enjoyed by all. Amazing what the natural world has to offer. Until we speak next week. Be good to one another.

DJ


ARTISTS Around the World, Updates and Award Nominations

Good morning my friends – coffee cheers. (Above: Movie lunch pails – one day:) I loved seeing all the readers that dropped by last week and from so many different countries. Interesting talk recently that the artists in all countries likely exist in an alike mind space. This started from watching the live action Mulan. I really enjoyed it. Of course I’m a martial artists and I also love the history and traditions of the asian countries. The media backlash was over some of the film being filmed in areas of China where the treatment of some people there has been in question. My point is that I can assure that most of the artists in China are not the ones committing these actions. Politicians and corporations are where the differences often lie. Again I think that art is one of the best forms of communication still working. I think it is through storytelling and art that people try to change things by changing the hearts of the people. Iran. That was brought up and I am sure that there are many wonderful Iranian artists and many are likely not in step with their government. Artists have been persecuted in many places over the corse of history for illuminating people in a way that often goes against the agenda of politics. Don’t get me wrong, artists have their issues and running a country of diverse people is never easy. But the film Mulan had beautiful locations and maybe that is why certain things were filmed at certain locations. Story-first we call it. In telling our story we try to do what is best for the story not politically motivated. Also I do understand financial reasons for location choice. I just like to look at the sum of the parts. In any endeavor using many people – having a story to focus upon brings out the best in each person. Their best artistic qualities end up showcased. Again that’s why we embrace the ‘collective development’ of individuals versus a ‘cancel’ mentality. On our sets a respectful attitude is required and any course corrections to transgressions would be attempted and often the flow is resumed. In a few situations we’ve let people go but when that has happened I’ve owned that as a miss or a loss. A kid who had to be sent home from summer camp because a staff couldn’t nurture the good kid within. A student who quits never to return to the dojo is on the sensei – he failed to nurture the student properly. An athlete who has to be removed from a team shares that failure with his coaches. Just a few thoughts. I’ve had beautiful fan mail and invites to visit their countries from people all over the world. Those places I would be honored to visit but being honest, some places have me nervous. The nervous apprehension is not stemming from the artists. So in conclusion, if a group of people geographically create something in an area where some in power have misstepped should all the people, all the artists be held accountable? And yes. I’m sure the artists in some of these places object to things they don’t agree with, much like here in the USA. But many elsewhere are met with bullets in response to their objections. So let us praise positivity in story wherever it’s told.

Onto some film updates. First this week we starting to announce some of the ICFF 2021 Nominations which is for films of faith, family and inspiration. Positive stories:) We were fortunate enough to again be chosen for several nominations with LOST HEART. First is my favorite award nomination next to ‘Most Inspirational’ which THE QUEST TRILOGY garnished. BEST FILM – I love this because again as mentioned earlier it represents the collective artistry of the tribe.

On a personal level I’m enjoying the collecting of these screenwriter nods. When acting was my main push and I guess I would say it still is. I use to downplay the screenwriting not wanting to be seen as a screenwriter who acts. But these days I’m 100% confident is just being the artist I am with multiple avenues to create. As an actor, I’ve had the pleasure of trying to utter some pretty bad dialog in some questionably written scripts. Often by some good directors who’s art of screenplay wasn’t on the same level. But that means a director directing and actors acting with a poor blue print. To have a chance at executing a good story you need a strong blue print. This is why I’ve done less and less outside work. I KNOW great material is out there and good teams to execute production but getting those circles to all align can be difficult. There is so much that can hinder a film production the script should not be one of them. So I’ve been poking about and having a few discussions on literary representation. I would like to see a few stories go be created by others. To have other artists and tribes make a go at telling a great story because of a solid blue print. We can only create so many stories as a company. So I look forward to creating a few wonderful vehicles for actors and teams out there in the world.

Congrats to Jesse Low. One of the other instinctual things a producer(s) have to do is try to marry the right story to the right director. It is an art. Just like management. Casting. Crewing. If working as many with a zero budget it’s making the best hand with what you have. On the low budget you do have choices. In a way the best choices, because you will only attract artists who love the story and/or filmmakers. Also development – after several features – the relationship flow with Jesse Low has become tight. Coffee Cheers to many more!

A film will LIVE or DIE but the leads. So many wish the opportunity but it is not easy. It is why I cringe when someone says, “I might try acting, sounds fun.” Acting is more a calling (or a disease) versus a fun thing to try. The medium of film requires even more focus as things are often in random order and the multiple takes can be draining. Many actors and actresses don’t have the endurance to do it. That is why shorts are a good build for cast and crews. Features are a longer journey and requires pacing, prep and hyper-focus.

Melissa Anschutz went above and beyond – allowing audiences via her national PR appearances to hear about her personal battles immediately following filming. This reached, touched and helped many people with alike tragedies in their lives. She is very deserving of both these awards so a big congrats to Melissa and thank you for all you do to help the tribe of artists. You’re an inspiration to many out there.

CDI has been blessed to have many very successful artists join our tribe and storytell with us. These folks have such great projects behind them that when they branch out to work with anyone they take a real chance. At CDI we don’t play ‘star’ that is for the red carpet for those who wanna play that – this is storytelling. I’m so appreciative of the artists who bring their very best. No phoning it in. They BRING IT. I do love how Tarantino brings great names from previous successful stories that maybe haven’t been seen in a while and showcased fresh, powerful new performances. We do that. We work hard to provide the most professional experience and to encourage the best set to create. I’m so happy for Victoria Jackson and Don Most for their nominations in the supporting roles. If you watch the film LOST HEART you will realize how deserving them are. Often a fest might give a nod because of the star power it brings but these nominations are right on. They both give performances that audiences will remember for years to come. It shows that Happy Days and SNL were just early stepping stones and they are still the artist they ever were and with experience, even more talented now. Congrats.

Now we come to this. I want to say that I have to get better about accepting such things. I truly enjoy other people getting recognition so that they will want to come out and play next time asked. Last year I was nominated for ‘Paul Landings’ as the Best Actor in MBF and took great pride in that since Paul represents our wounded military vets. Now ole ‘UFO Worldwide’ Reporter Niles Cass doesn’t seem as dramatic or deserving but I am still deeply honored. Two different tone films which is made more interesting since at ICVM at NBR (Crown Awards) in June (Texas) they have narrowed down to 5 top films nominated for Best Film and MBF and Lost Heart are going head-to-head because of the Covid lockdown last year. Proud of both stories just very different.

I wanted to share another special recognition that LOST HEART received. Congrats to my brother from another mother Ponceman. Working with Ponce a second time was just a pure joy. Might have to make it three times;)

I could do some additional updates but it is getting late and I need a shower after waking up and pushing myself in the strongman contest. This coop was MUCH heavier than I thought but the Amish don’t play. This is not like the previous coop which was nowhere as heavy duty. New chickens arrive next weekend.

Casting and crewing talks have been going great on the WW2 drama. This week we’ll announce two more leads in the main family joining actors Curran Jacobs and Cassie Dean. One is a beloved tribal member and the other a wonderful actor who will work with CDI for the first time. Our German reads have been exciting! We have other roles locking in and many to still explore.

BEST YEARS GONE is going to be traveling this week to our post studio with Dennis Therrian. Nathaniel Nose has done a wonderful job. We’ll know this week if he’ll be cutting the trailer. The Battle of the Bands runs until the end of April and we’ve had some great submissions. I plan to announce another judge this week joining Joe Pullin and John Two Hawks. I’m so excited to get onto this next phase. I look forward to spending some time at the studio in the pines. I think I might have to be on grill duty also.

I’m going to wrap it up here. I know I likely missed a few updates but I think we hit upon enough. I was a bit behind last week on emails, calls and even contract review (Monday:) But this week will be a good catch up. I hope each and everyone of you have a productive week. Be good to one another.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ


Actor Questions, Advice and Top 10 Weekly Updates!

The coffee is a welcome treat on this snowy Sunday. I’m happy to see so many people joining us from around the world. Barbados, Ireland, Vietnam and the lists go on. I’m proud that our circle here is from all corners of the world. Fun stuff this week with the Mars landing and the new pictures. To see such a vast new place and the countless planets of various types that might be open to explore in the years to come. I’ve always been in love with outer space and I’m happy to see so many advances underway. My SciFi script will get finished this year. I’ve already got some plans to test film some of the model shots. We’ll be addressing some of the needed VFX in the next two projects that will help us with that film.

I often ask for questions – this was asked on FB by an aspiring actor from our state. I don’t know the individual but he was asking a group “Do actors truly go out of their way to help other actors?” First you’ll find that I don’t engage in wall conversations often if ever. I come here to discuss things and to pose questions and give information. I guess you first have to define HELP. I saw people debating, lamenting and offering insights. Is help giving advice on resume, pics, cover letters? Is it offering encouragement after rejection? I think people are hesitant to recommend people because in a way they too become accountable. Actor X who has been a positive contribution in past projects recommends actor Y who is late, unprepared, bad attitude or any other negative and both X and Y can have their relationship affected. So I think people are hesitant to risk their few good contacts.

I can put this situation in a producer realm. We at CDI use a location and we take it very serious and take precautions. If another haphazard production comes in with the owners thinking oh, they are like CDI. And they discover the new filmmakers are not careful like CDI, it can poison a well. These lessons can be applied anywhere. I’m careful about my recommendations. So back on topic – do actors help other actors? I think actors who have a role want the best around them so they might recommend. Actors still trying to land a role usually don’t push anyone because they don’t want to be seen as having demands. But as an actor, I feel I’m selling a unique interpretation so I’m not worried of others. You should have faith in what you bring to the table. I’m a person who never feels like I need to worry about the other talent and I’ll tell the stories I’m meant to tell.

To finish this topic. What does the actor do to help themselves? Are they prepared for an opportunity? Are their materials strong and prepared? Are their websites and actor links updated? Do they reach out with cover letters to create new opportunities or just wait for an agent with 8,000 actors to get you that job? Do you work to network and to better your own presentation? You can only help someone so much and they need to HELP themselves by doing what they can do. I can promise you that I’ve gotten to where I am by lots of sacrifice and work when others played. KINKOS was my office back in the day. So after reading all the other opinions on the subject I decided to give this individual my attention. What I want to see is GAME FOOTAGE. I saw a link for a video reel, clicked it and…VIDEO NOT FOUND! This was me in my own state with a few other film folk but many casting folks have only seconds. OK. Good face. Reel? Deactivated. Move on. So someone is asking why doesn’t anyone help me with his subtext but they are not helping themselves by fixing broken links, updating materials and so on. So how many actors are helping themselves to the fullest? I could again add up the wasted time people spend lamenting and in that time a few business proposals could be sent out. Just stuff to ponder.

This week has been full of updates so maybe I’ll do a Top 10 today-

  1. https://www.prlog.org/12858547-curran-jacobs-versatile-talent-man-with-many-missions-career-goals.html is the link announcing our first actor to SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. He also had a World Champion Catch-Can match at the end of the week. Read all about it here.
  2. Here is Don Most talking LOST HEART and MBFhttps://www.facebook.com/TotallyDrivenTV/videos/487883575704988
  3. Here is a great ‘Faith on Film’ interview with Shane Hagedorn on our CDI films – https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR0em9rnQtrgfSwhpTIB_Pa79fgpTHK6CyvGirYPS9Npv1Lhsa7bZGpapHA&v=pHFKX60JQ4U&feature=youtu.be
  4. Here is a great story about our BEST YEARS GONE film that is in editing with our director and editor. You can also see a Behind the Scenes video embedded in the story. – https://www.prlog.org/12857968-passing-through-the-storms-of-covid-unified-in-telling-story.html
  5. Again with our last film BEST YEARS GONE here is a fun video on ‘Masks’ by our fellow associate producer and AD Nate Robertson. – https://www.facebook.com/nathan.k.robertson.7/videos/10226043446822881
  6. We have had a lot of development work on the Battle of the Bands which I hope to launch March 1st, 2021 – original songs will have a chance to have a music video shot and be included in the film.
  7. The parent site http://www.cdiproductions.com has been undergoing updates with a new LOST HEART page and a new BEST YEARS GONE page will be going up. Be sure to stream any of your favorite films and be sure to check out the ever-growing merchandise pages.
  8. I’m excited about the new MBF campaign. On Encourage TV we are closing in on our first million views. WILD FAITH is likely going to cross over to 4 mil + views this week. LOST HEART is continuing to grow also and I had some wonderful fan mail so once again – thank you.
  9. I missed an opportunity to join some fellow cast/crew mates from ‘Book of Ruth‘ which was a nice remembrance to singer/actor Carman who passed away. https://youtu.be/7ogLfumsPNY It was great to see everyone and listen to the stories.
  10. This week the filming continues on the next phase of our documentary ‘For the Love of Catch‘ which is exciting. I hope to cut a teaser trailer for this soon.

I’m looking to wrap this up. This week was severely cold and at least on one day the cold gave the office wood stove a run. But yesterday we had the fire roaring and the last of the logs split into kindling. I’m not sure if the amount of wood will get us through. We have some additional logs that can be cut to size and split, so we’ll see if that is needed. I have to say that ‘axe days’ help keep you in great shape. Speaking of…I’m trying to get some info on our soccer season that was cancelled last year. I sure do hope it starts up this year as I need to run. And I hate to just run run so I need a reason to run. Soccer provides that great reason to run. I hope you all have a productive week. I plan to end the month strong and just maybe we’ll announce another SNIA casting.

Have a great week. Be good to one another.

DJ


First Looks at ‘Best Years Gone’ – Development Updates! Feel the Music & Laughter

Good morning everyone! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee watching the snow fall. Michigan is at its coldest point with overnight going into the negatives. I want to welcome the new readers from Vietnam, United Arab Emirates and more from around the world. We so enjoy the ever-growing circle of artists who stop by to take a read. This week was very productive on many fronts and so let us look at a few updates.

BEST YEARS GONE – This week we have had many updates on our film now in post-production. Below is a link to Nathan K. Robertson, our 1st AD and Associate producer put this fun video together on MASKS and safe protocol while shooting end of 2020. Please do take a watch – if you grew up with 80’s Sat morning cartoons you will enjoy this. Thank you again Nate.

This is followed by a story and ‘behind the scenes’ look about our company CDI (http://www.cdiproductions.com) and our mission statement. The cool video was done by Daniel G. Chipman who has worked with CDI on and off since 2002. The music was by the incredible Dennis Therrian. The next cut of the film will be done this week and our director will make any tweaks from there. We’re also looking at the VFX shots and soon the locked picture will move to music and sound design. We had great talks this week on upcoming merchandise items. Also the ‘Battle of the Bands‘ details are getting worked out and the distributor is excited. We are talking about a unique premiere at a racetrack with bands, the film and a race! How cool would that be? Have you followed our IMDB.com or Facebook pages? Seek them out:)

LINK BELOW TO THE STORY AND BTS VIDEO! (I’m very happy with how the story came out)

https://www.prlog.org/12857968-passing-through-the-storms-of-covid-unified-in-telling-story.html

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS talks and development continue. The 8 shows are being polished up for presentation and we’re working with our distributor to develop this TV series spin off. We’ve got the script to a few of the proposed directors and we’ve started to look at who would return and who would not for the series. I stated how thrilled I was by the Darby Hinton endorsement of the season 1 scripts. Our distributor is helping pull together marketing “impressions” for us to use in our development business. They reported 15 million impressions for 2020 which if you multiple that X 8 shows that is a lot of zeros. Talks with several networks will continue. With THE QUEST TRILOGY playing as a series on Sony/Pureflix platform under a new Easter campaign maybe Sony/Pureflix will be a good partner. We will see where the journey takes us but we’re pulling everything together. But to the millions of fans – thank you!

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – This week we made some great steps towards pre-production. We had more financial commits to this Christmas WW2 film. We’ve also have had some great actor reads from around the country. I’m happy to say that we’ve settled on casting for a handful of roles. I’m really impressed by some of the talent especially the reads that came from the outside. We usually have to go through hundreds or thousands of casting choices but it is beyond cool when you find someone you love in the first couple reads. We are discussing a teaser poster, PR title font and other things before we start announcing. I like to wait until we are moving into pre-production for casting PR but we are so close. Only a few more pieces to align and we’ll also be bringing on several sponsors via product placement. We know from WILD FAITH that 15 million + impressions are what sponsors can expect. So this week we might see our first cast announcement and I’m really excited. It is fun to see the script come to life by artists. This is a based on a true event and is a powerful story with themes that will ring true today. It is cool to note that Rance Howard was my WW2/farm script consultant. I got to hear stories for hours. I wish Rance could be playing with us on this one.

If you go to the http://www.cdiproductions.com website you can read lots of updates. The merchandise is slowly getting its feet underneath and the streaming links to ENCOURAGE TV are active whereas you can watch our films free with ads. Watch. And leave us your thoughts/vote on sites like Amazon.com and or IMDB.com if you would. LOST HEART is now starting to hit high in the BMG charts on sites like TUBI, joining WILD FAITH and MBF also growing a fine audience. MBF will be getting a new campaign push as the film was forced out during the transition when Covid first hit. We’re working on the 1st UPREZ and conforming of older film titles to HD/widescreen. My plan is to also do a run of CDI’s first two films in another CDI CLASSIC COLLECTION – Double Feature. KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS will join FIGURE IN THE FOREST and HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS available now on the CDI Merchandise page. We are proud of our humble beginnings and happy to be bringing these titles forth for the hardcore CDI collectors. I love physical media and so will you if any companies go out of business in the near future. VHS, VHS, VHS – just kidding. Although I do collect my favorites classic VHS as art.

I did get some tinkering work done this past week at the office. Keeping a fire hot to fight off the cold was a constant battle. I can tell the swinging of axes will have to happen this week. We’ll work this week on finding our last few ‘Algona’ partners so we can move to the next phase. Our first cast announcement will be this week and no I’m not the announcement. I am going to participating in this film in a good solid supporting role. I have lots of duties on this next endeavor and so it will be good to not be so deep in a role that I’m shooting every day. I shot everyday on the last film as the star and it takes endurance. Not all artists are cut out for that and that’s perfectly okay. Many memorable characters have been made with relatively small screen time. I just need to be connected to the role. I’m really loving this new role. The characters attributes not far from my own but the character exists in a world that is a vastly different time and place. That is the exciting part to try and get inside their perspective. What news did they hear daily? What did they talk about daily? Fears? Dreams? Technology? Music? I really do love period pieces.

I’m going to wrap this up maybe make a few biz calls. Sushi is on deck for tonight. Do support your favorite local restaurants or they might disappear. I think with our Covid numbers getting better, vaccines rolling and politics fading from center stage we can all get back to our passions. How many hours have been stolen? Glued to the TV News, emotional mudslinging and just anxiety of the future. You’ll get there. After touching base with news that delivers with your garnish of choice – turn it off. I recommend pulling out those old albums. Blue Oyster Cult, Public Enemy, Bowie, Rolling Stones, KISS, Led Zeppelin, Tom Jones, Grand Funk Railroad, Heart, Beastie Boys, Moody Blues, Bob Marley…MUSIC! And create…

Also make sure 1-2 of your calls daily, yes calls, not texts. This last year I hated the lockdowns but I caught up with and spoke to all kinds of old friends. I’m still working my way down mental lists. Laughter is the key and I have great laughs daily. Sometimes hearing funny new stories and other times talking of past funny situations. But make those calls and laugh. I see so many people angry about what they cannot, and in some cases, should not, try to control. MUSIC + FRIENDS+ LAUGHTER = BALANCE. Try it! You’ll be happy that you did. Until we speak again next week be good to one another.

DJ


Power of ‘Purpose’ PLUS the TOP TEN CDI Updates

Hazelnut cheers! A beautiful snowy morning here in Michigan. I want to welcome all the new readers from Germany, Sweden, Germany and China. I appreciate you stopping by to take a read and apply what you can – where you can in your own personal journey. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the unity topic we’ve had for a few weeks. My fireside meditations led me to the analogy of a spending train. We’ve got so much developing here at CDI we’re thundering down the track. The occasional hater throwing rocks out of boredom or a need for attention. If a few people threw rocks at a speeding train what would happen? They would bounce off the steel hull and be gone down the tracks. The train had places to go, people to see and things to do. They would never stop the train to debate or waste time – they would stoke the fire and full speed ahead.

In this time of Covid it’s a great time to stoke the fires of passion within. Build up your reserves of energy and get yourself in your best shape. Do all those things that often get neglected because you have others things to do. How many hours saved by not spending two hours in a car commuting back and forth to work places. More time to read. More time to update. More time to plan. From March 2020 I have been putting this into practice. While I could list so many things missed in 2020 I could also make a list of the things I got done using the extra time. Again as I write on such topics of motivation and such I say again that I am not better than anyone. You have the ability to make changes in your situation and it starts with a thought. Thought powered by the imagination, focused by the will, held strong by faith in yourself and your life purpose.

This week was very productive against a backdrop of ice and snow. Let’s see if we can do a TOP 10 updates from the week. Refill your coffee and let’s take a look.

  1. Additional “end of year” tax materials supplied for the fun part of filmmaking. We’re streamlining this process all the time to try and better the overall process.
  2. Our WW2 Christmas drama Silent Night In Algona is now formed as a corporation. We’ll open the account soon and start bringing on the funds. We still have a few units to assign but within 60 days of entering into pre-production. Casting has been full speed ahead with a national casting for our young lead. We’ve also been doing a lot of casting within the tribe of talent we’ve used before. The audition reads have been great to see the words ALIVE! I’m excited that we’ve almost got our lead family cast. We’ll announce that in a few weeks likely dripping them out or in pairs. This project will be a great story of love and unity set in small-town USA in 1944.
  3. I had a wonderful call from Darby Hinton, an actor best known for playing the young lead on the Daniel Boone TV show but has reoccurred or guest starred on many of the great shows of Hollywood. He was our ‘Gerald’ the shopkeep in WILD FAITH. He was one of the folks I offered a read on season 1 of ‘Hastings‘ the Wild Faith TV series. He called to tell me he wasn’t blowing smoke – he has read and been part of shows with great writing and THIS (tv series) is great writing. He said he reads at night (like myself) and to his wife’s regret he had to keep reading. He asked if I had writers meetings, other writers…to which my response was just me and the voices in my head:) I would ponder and spill notes out onto paper. From those legal pad notes I just dive in and start writing. I’m going to get the 8 shows edited up and ready for outside presentation. If you haven’t seen the pilot feature do yourself a favor. A fun film with a powerful message.
  4. Best Years Gone – So this week we prepped the new audio studio and I’m beyond thrilled that it is amongst the pines and forested fields that we’ll breath the audio and music into these stories. We will be rolling some new still photos out this week. I just might have a Valentine’s Day gift for our cast, crew and fans and I think we’ll give it to you on Sat. the 13th on the BYG Facebook page. Are you already part of that? If not come on over. We have some exciting things still in store including merchandise that is coming and the BOTB. (Battle of the Bands) I’m working to get that launched. We are also soon to have the next draft of the film edit now that Shane (our director) has given his new round of notes and adjustments. This film is heartfelt and will be funny for sure.
  5. The CDI website http://www.cdiproductions.com is undergoing updates. First you can now subscribe to the tribe which will become a center of updates. I even thought of my blog existing as a weekly send out. But the film pages are updated. Streaming is now connected to our distributor’s ENCOURAGE TV. Merchandise is slowly coming together with a few new items. This will explode by year’s end. We will also be doing artist spot lights and have some of their work on consignment. If you have any ideas feel free to drop a comment. From those subscribed we might start looking at pre-orders and that could allow some larger piece orders. Lunch box? Bobble heads? Posters?
  6. LOST HEART & MBF are the most recent releases. Both are growing their audience nicely and I so appreciate all the fan mail from folks. We’re not big festival folk at CDI but like to select a few. In my experience and opinion the festivals best serve if someone from your team can attend. But with everything going virtual you are essentially paying to have them do a free streaming of your work. But new circles of exposure and if people are truly impressed you can have lifelong fans. I’m a person who in the last handful of years I’ve not attended industry mixers and such. But with the absence of even my few – I’m looking forward to talking film and the arts not by phone or zoom. Again get up to speed with the CDI stories with a watch on these two films. Do you have a favorite CDI film? Comment and let me know.
  7. THE QUEST TRILOGY – The CDI Tribe earned their desert stripes with this trilogy of biblical adventure stories. I’m excited that PUREFLIX (Sony) is going to do a big push as a series to their viewers. Now with ad based Video on demand everyone can take a watch and experience the CDI films. These films have the trademark style and quality that you’ve come to expect from our storytellers at CDI. The bible is full of stories many untouched because of the R or X rated material suggested within. We haven’t tackle those stories but did find “unexplored territory” to address with our speculative storytelling. I think this is more interesting versus retelling the same handful of stories. I do have my next trilogy of stories to tell back in the sands but that is a way down the path.
  8. This year we will have SMOKE & MIRRORS finishing. This has no deadline so it got moved down the release line. But this decision allowed us to make some more aggressive choices on VFX work. I LOVE this short and I’m excited to see it develop into a full feature. I am retooling the feature based on the short film. Knowing locations really helps in planning the story. David Gries and Melissa Anschutz are MUST SEE in this film. But those that know their work will not be surprised in the least.
  9. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH‘ – the CDI associated with Red, White & Blue Project doc will start shooting again this month. I think we’ll have some sort of promo video for this documentary in the coming weeks.
  10. We also have something special coming from one of our crew/associate producer Nate Robertson. Nate was our foreman on the last film that set sail through the storm of Covid. Nate took a job that already had pressure and had it magnified by Covid procedural pressures. As a show of how our system at CDI is strengthening. The producers create a bubble of harmony for the set to exist within. Inside the set, the flow is controlled by the AD. The flow was there, time was managed and Nate was able to express some of his artistic self via a BTS video of sorts. I know we’re excited to see it. I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg.

If I forgot anything it will have to wait until next chat. I’m going to make some good food and watch the football contest and the commercial creativity. I have a few emails/calls I might make to get a jump on my week. That is another good secret – work with people you truly enjoy. I never roll my eyes or stress over phone calls. They are always good touching of bases between fellow adventurers in life. We discuss our separate ventures, our shared ventures, and those yet to be made. I don’t have a close relationship with everyone as time won’t permit. But those who do know me truly, I think would speak well of my intent. My intent is to see dreamers win. I want you to break poor patterns and do better by yourself. If the artistic path is a true calling that calling grants faith in yourself and a purpose. The latter is priceless and exactly what is missing from many people. People who check many ‘success boxes’ yet still are unhappy. To me it’s like the moment when Obi-Wan puts the helmet on Luke to further test him against the remote droid. Reach out. In those moments of sensory deprivation if the calling is heard – have faith. If you don’t know ‘Star Wars’ you are now assuming I have had a stroke.

If storytelling is a great road winding up a mountain – many people are at various places some higher and some lower. What I’ve always prided myself on is being in good company at wherever place I’m at on the road. Climbing higher only changes the view but it’s still about the laughter and fellowship that accompanies the climb. And when my time comes to leave this world where I’m at is where I’m at. Always a work in progress. So the secret is enjoying the early struggles of beginning filmmakers or the challenges of the mid-road struggles – have friends on the journey of storytelling. Have friends outside the journey of storytelling. Have these things and your journey while unsure at times will not eat at you with stress. Living by ‘Best Efforts’ will allow one to laugh off the failures (with friend), toast the wisdom learned (with friends) and forever be the better person. Getting along with a little help from my friends.

Be good to one another.

DJ


The ‘Sacred Set’ of Unity and Non-Judgment – ART for the Save!

Another Michigan Sunday and another day of beautiful blowing snow. I think we’ll only get the fringes of this new storm. I had planned to jump right into the movie updates but I’ll discuss a few things here that I see as important. Not only to our endeavor but to all endeavors. I’ve noted that on our productions we have cast and crew from all parts of the spectrum. But this spectrum can be in ethnicity, religion, political or even the disabled. In the off time these artists go off to their own circles of living. Some feel the need to shout their stance about everything, lobbying their point to the masses on their social media walls. These opinions are often in opposition to one another which leads to child-like spats.

My sight of this banter is brief as I scroll to post our PR on various film projects. PR is really the only use I have for social media along with keeping up on a few cousin’s day-to-day lives. I’m disheartened by what I see which is a slew of people communicating beyond poorly. WHEN CONDEMNING HATE MAKE SURE YOU DON’T GO TO THE SAME PLACE. Social Media often misused becomes a poison. By reading lots of angry statements I see the poisoned people. People all sipping from the same cup of poison. As I work hard daily to develop, launch and fund projects, stories and parables whose goal is to cast positive light upon all people, others are busy ripping each other down.

I had some great meditations this week on politics since our country is still working to find its balance. I’m a moderate when it comes to governing. I don’t want total supremacy of any extreme stance. I don’t want to have everything my way. I will try to explain a bit better but it’s more about sharing my curiosity on the subject. If I have a group of priorities that is important to me, I’m happy to have some of my ‘wants’ met and to concede some priorities to others. If you have school children your priorities could be very different than a childless couple. But you know even while some of the priorities while not yours, helps others – and so you should be happy to give. Extreme people seem eager to win everything and after a while, at any cost.

In business, we call it same side of the table negotiation. So everyone walks away feeling like they got something they wanted or needed it is a WIN-WIN. If one party has everything and the other party has nothing, it’s not good for the balanced whole. But many people still so want it all. For you to have all others have nothing. Who does conflict serve? I cannot control the world or how individuals treat one another. A world where people are forever pointing out the perceived wrongs by the other party. People trying to remake the world into a place where two wrongs make a right. The one place I can control balance and unity is on a film set. I can say that the stories we tell are built onto the ancient chassis of tragedy and comedy.

I believe, again I say ‘believe’ in the restrictive age of dangerous opinions – that communication via storytelling is one of the few remaining ways of collectively, effectively communicating amongst people. And so by us leading by example – by putting stories of laughter and tears forth and pushing lessons to try and make everyone a little more kind and understanding. Our stories show us where we’re alike and illustrates the often toxic results of leaning too heavily into our differences. So we will continue to tell our stories with a vast array of artists without boxes. I did recently have someone say they might not want to participate in something if the people involved don’t align with their views. No such nonsense will prevail here. I’m accountable for good size chucks of money. I hire the best artists available to us. I work to unify and bring out the best in each artist and it manifests on the screen.

While shooting on ‘Best Years Gone‘ (Now we’re talking movies!) we had talented artists that come at things differently in their personal lives. That was all moved to the background as we told our story of imperfect love, loyalty and dream chasing. All this happened during heavy political and Covid times and yet our artists remained focused. In 10 to 20 years these stories will still be influencing while the politics of today become a notational blip in history. Be skilled. Give the Tribe your best efforts. Be respectful on set at all times to everyone. These are the things I care about. So our storytelling will never have strings attached or walls restricting people save maybe laziness, dishonesty and negativity. A CDI film is a manifested place of creativity, imagination and ingenuity. The outside world with all its A or B is not something I participate in. I choose to try and understand and develop people versus cancelling them and not listening. Participate in that game and nobody wins and eventually it will turn on you.

All the crazy seems to be over one person’s right to check a voting box. Their box checked is based on their own opinions but unsure people often feel the need to over-explain or justify why they check this box or that. You don’t need to explain your view or tear down the opposing view. Just check your box and move on. Why the need to justify with insults to people not listening? PEOPLE don’t listen if they don’t RESPECT. Start with that- I can’t heal people of their insecurity, or need to gather support for their opinions and viewpoints. But I will not get into the judge game as so many do. As I stated before, I don’t want nor need to have everything my way. I’m willing to concede some to create a better balance for the whole. When you walk up the plank boarding a TribeCDI ship you’ve willing come on board for a greater adventure. To tell a meaningful story that will enlighten for decades to come or maybe more. Black, white, brown or green – Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Pagan or Spaghetti Monster- Gay, Disabled, Conservative, Liberal, Moderate will all become ONE TRIBE of STORYTELLERS. This is the way:)

Forty Nights (The Quest Trilogy Part 1)

CHASING THE STAR (The Quest Trilogy Part 2)

The Christ Slayer (The Quest Trilogy Part 3)

THE QUEST TRILOGY above is getting ready to play as a series on PUREFLIX (SONY) on the run up to Easter. I think these films are 100% unique in that they were made with no agenda except exploring, distilling and speculating with a certain teaching at the heart of it. In these films we also chose to tell the story in a style akin to the Original ‘Star Wars‘ films. Please do take a watch on the three films in their proper order. Even if religion is not your thing or even Christianity, take a watch. The films are for everyone and again explore many of the questions that people have pondered for thousands of years.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND is getting a new 2021 campaign with BMG. WILD FAITH and LOST HEART are continuing their trek out to worldwide audiences. With home video up 40% we’re getting tens of thousands of new fans per week. If you keep an eye on the parent http://www.cdiproductions.com site you will see many updates coming including streaming and merchandise.

DEVELOPMENT

The Hastings TV series is being packaged to sponsors and potential financiers. The show scripts are being reviewed by possible directors and returning talent. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has been incorporated and we’re working to put the last financial pieces in place but it is so very close. We’re started the hard -casting in earnest and we’re starting to lock in some of the talent. Once we move from development into pre-production we’ll start rolling talent PR announcements out. We’ve been doing a national casting on our young lead 8-11 that plays young. Blond hair preferred. I’m always amazed at the young talent making it happen. I can say I’ll be playing a supporting role on this one. It will allow me to go clean cut for a role.

BEST YEARS GONE is now being worked on by the editor and director to get us a locked picture. This coming week we’ll be helping to set up the new post studio. It’s in a beautiful pine forest and I’m looking forward to our upcoming film work there for years to come. I’m going to start to wrap this up. I’ve been getting a new story synopsis out of my head and onto paper. I have a few business proposals I might try to get a jump on for the week ahead. Be kind to one another. Erase those hateful thoughts. Spit out that poison and do something constructive, productive and meaningful. I see so much wasted time. If you’re in the arts and failing look at your allocation of time. If you waste thousands of words and hours throwing stuff back and forth arguing with no real goal or possibility of change, don’t complain as others pass you by in productivity.

I have said it before, I don’t consider myself special. I’m not anymore special than anyone else. I just focus and hone my craft and basically outwork others. End of the week I had a nice development talk with a younger filmmaker that I had not spoken with in a few years. He has traveled the country in the various film communities and encountered the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY of our biz. You can’t move away from it. It exists. You can learn to recognize and avoid these pitfalls and quagmires. He was pitching me on an idea I had pitched 15 years ago but I think the environment is now better suited. This filmmaker was on the right track with a mindset adjusted by the world situation. To dream with realistic short goals that can lead to greater rewards. Wait! Was this individual a conservative? Liberal? What religion? Was he gay? Straight? Does he like McDonalds or Burger King? I have no idea. We didn’t talk about such things and they were not important to our discussion. We were two artists with experiences talking about how to move ahead and keep telling stories. Different groups of people doing vastly different things with their time. Which team do you want to be on?

With that, I’m doing to bid you ‘good day’ and get to some other domestic Sunday business. I do have some wine that could be bottled. Maybe a bit more office work. I got a lot of caulking done this week. Thankfully the wood piles are full from a few ‘Viking Days’ at the fort. Keep that fire burning!

Have a great week!

DJ


Stoke the Inner Fire, the Art of Patience, the Circle of Producers

Coffee Cheers. I’m sipping a steaming cup of coffee and sitting here pondering the business from the past week. I’m a person who attacks things in private. You don’t or won’t find my nose stuck in a video game for hours. A five minute time out to play ROBOTRON or JOUST is an occasional occurrence. I fight everyday to gather the funds for new endeavors and to keep the business of all the other films moving forward. I’m feeling good about everything and had a few things happen this week that could be good lessons for whomever reads this.

First – CDI is not a company that pays just a few and seeks out free help in places that require highly skilled individuals. We hire as wide as we can afford which has been limited in the past few years. Increase in days expands costs across the board. We do things that others do not like lodging. Commuting when reasonable is okay but long trips on each side of a shoot day can burn someone out quick. Actors in the day before helps them to settle and focus before entering the ‘world’ we’ve created to film in. These are all costs. Over the years I’ve learned to simplify my life so that I could focus on the stories. Our money negotiated to the max with the help of many who love stories, including our sponsors, makes this possible.

Along these lines, we only can hire so many people. The producing staff often works much harder for less when and if hours are broken down. Often the effort is not worth it if the accumulation of shells and beads is the only measuring stick one has. Producers sport a point of two from the back end which is like a lottery ticket bought just in case the universe wants to reach out. It also is a badge of honor that they were part of a the “officers” who made the film happen. At CDI even an “associate producer” title is honored. Other outfits may throw around titles but at CDI is means something. For us at CDI is means representing the company. Attitude. Motivated. Experienced. As one who has coached here in the USA and overseas and as a martial arts sensei and still always a student – when someone is deemed ready they are approached. Filmmaking with tribeCDI is just that- a team, a community and a group of film warriors ready to problem solve daily to win the pieces of the puzzle.

My budgets restrict how many artists I can develop with a paycheck. Even the ones who would PA (Production assistant) free the costs are still additional with each person. We like to try and really feed people. I recall one set in Nashville in the 90’s that had a few loaves of white bread, a pack of lunch meat, mayo, mustard, ketchup and a stack of paper plates. This was for a large cast and crew. I ate it without any issues but I could see what certain actions did for a project. That one 15 min producer call that gets a sponsored meal from some great establishment is so worth it. My mind often is filled with ways to give our cast and crew a better experience. In return I just ask for their very best at their task on either side of the camera. The cast and crew can see the care and work we’ve put into our productions. Bottom line is we do care.

So in summary -I never once could demand to be on a team. I had to show my skills, develop my mind to the game and make them want me to start by my performance. In martial arts I focused on my skills and tried to effectively communicate to students below me. In time you become so valuable that they want you representing their tradition or organization. I see many lack the patience for many things of worth. It is a hard skill and one that I deal with still daily. Don’t let past failings or short-comings hold you back. That is your earned experience. Don’t be looking ahead too soon in hopes of being seen as more important. Be in the present. Be excited to learn the new lessons. Get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. 2020 was a year to test that discipline and practice what I preach. Be present. Be patient. Become the best version of you.

Another example that provides me with a nice lesson to share is – When life gets you frustrated with all the external issues turn within. If I’m out-of-tune inside, everything I try to do fumbles. I don’t see the pokey dog bone which I kick. I can’t get a software to work right (I can’t get me to work right)…you all know what I mean. Meditation. Prayer. A nature walk. Thirty minutes on a heavy bag. Tai Chi – tend your inner fire. I DON’T HAVE TIME, some will scream. But you must or time will be wasted. Like in healing there is treating the symptoms and treating the source. Focus on that inner-fire and watch how everything starts to turn around. BALANCE is achieved and by stoking the fire of the internal the external starts to change. I’ve used all this solo time to really increase that fire stoking. Take 15 or 30 minutes to change your frequency and watch what happens.

FILM UPDATES

BEST YEARS GONE – The second pass now with director Shane Hagedorn‘s refining is underway. A few notes we’re passed from the circle of co-producers to our director. I’m more inclined that maybe the first look should have came after the second pass where the director is now engaged. A rough cut is built from director notes and editor’s eye. Now a large % of my notes would be stuff that our director will address. After the director and editor do their cut I will give it another look. I look for mistakes but recognize subjective versus a mistake. I have to have confidence in my directors. Their own subjective choices play strongest – the too many cooks in the kitchen issue can exist. I’ve seen it happen but if I respect the boundaries, it sets a standard. Sometimes the closer the role is the farther I might want to be from nuisance choices in editing. That is why you take the time to match the right script to the right director. The writer and the director work through the story fully. Do not underestimate the pairing of the right story and the right director. It is a skill unto itself.

As the edit moves along we’ve made progress on upcoming merchandise and the Battle of the Bands! Exciting stuff. More stills are being batched to release. Our own Dan Chipman is working a BTS so our cast and crew can remember the crazy year of 2020. Our fellow producer and AD Nate Robertson also has a special video being worked on. We’ll be having a story/interview coming out on all that very soon. This movie is heartfelt and extremely funny. In my talks this week with our distributor I was told how much they all enjoy the humorous offsets CDI scripts have gotten known for. Meaning serious topics are discussed and when it gets a little uncomfortable it gives us humor. They used the end of the Wild Faith trailer with Ben Lily and Hester hoping they don’t need God’s help today. I was happy to report that BEST YEARS GONE will have humorous moments. Yeah. maybe a couple;)

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND I’m told has a new marketing campaign they are discussing. They want to get this film more into the mainstream. They feel it’s a great film that has a lot of play in it. The release was going to include theatrical and fest events but the Covid mucked that up a tad. But the film is being well received and has been seen by maybe a million of so people. It will find a much larger audience it just needs a bit more time.

THE QUEST TRILOGY is being treated as a series as it readies its run at Pureflix. I’m so proud of these films and I think general audiences will enjoy them. It’s a distilled down parable trying to remove all the white-noise and paint something where the dots are actually connected. Whatever your walk of life take a watch and I think you will find them vastly different from anything else you’ve watched/heard on this subject.

LOST HEART – If you want to read more on the actors from Lost Heart, see some BTS and read a few PR links please visit the new pages on http://www.cdiproductions.com – thank you David Gries. And if you still haven’t seen this film do yourself a favor. Have a laugh. Have a cry. It is truly a ray of light. Light? Strange lights in the sky? Watch the film and it will all make sense.

In wrapping this up – my week was spent doing end-of-he-year tax stuff for CDI and the films. Thank you to Dean Teaster, Melissa Anschutz, John Mashni and all the good folks at Davison & Associates. We also are working development hard. We only have a few final funding pieces to arrange on the WW2 film before full green light. We also have had more great talks on the Wild Faith spin off HASTINGS. Again it is not IF it is WHEN. We’ve been doing casting for our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA German’s and our young lead. Are you 8-12 who plays young shoot me a reel it will get looked at. Speak fluent German? Send me a reel. We’ve been having internal casting talks and we’ll be announcing as soon as we move into pre-production. I’m also looking at portfolios for paint on glass or digital matte artists. Fun, fun stuff! Beautiful falling snow. Time for some more coffee. Have a great week.

Be good to one another!

DJ


Driving from Development Toward Pre-Production

It’s once again a morning where we awoke to big flakes of falling snow. We are suppose to have several such days this week. I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking the state of the Union. My feeling is that once we get to the other side of this Covid and political election, we can start the healing. I’m happy that the vaccine is rolling out and that the most vulnerable are starting to get their first shot. I’m excited to gather in groups again to laugh, share and create. We’ve continued to move forward against all the opposing forces at work and I’m excited about where we’re going. I’ll leave the politics by saying I sincerely wish for a peaceful transition. I wish this new administration only the best just like the previous administration. As a life-long team-sport playing individual I hope that the sportsmanship between the parties gets better. When politics fixate on just tearing down the other party, the people lose. Coffee cheers to unity as we move into 2021.

The last two weeks I’ve worked with our upcoming director Anthony Hornus (director of MBF) on the transfer of script. By this I mean the transfer of understanding of each character, description and dialog. Many scenes were re-worked, tweaked and polished. We use that time to discuss production aspects, casting ideas and more. This is a development phase activity bordering on pre-production. The difference is funding and while we are almost a full ahead we’re also not quite there. But, I think by the end of this month we’ll be making that announcement. We’ll go full into locations, casting and key crewing at that point. This project will shoot in Iowa and so it’s looking at flights vs drive in’s and such. We’ve got some good experience at bringing the show as we did to Yuma, AZ three times. It takes a supportive community to tell a story at these smaller budgets. But I’m happy to report that is exactly what we have. Between our backers, distributor, the Iowa community and our on-going sponsors, once again we’ll tell a powerful story. This one made better because it’s based on a true event. The script will likely start going out to producers today or tomorrow.

Also coming at the end of the week just as I hit my limit for the day was the 1st rough edit of BEST YEARS GONE. Monday morning, I plan to watch the edit in full with good audio Real audio work doesn’t start until we lock the picture. This cut will start to be worked by editor and director to work toward that lock. I did watch the film in pieces on my phone with low audio. It’s exciting as the writer to see the characters and story come to life. As an actor it’s amazing to see a character you lived with come to life with all the other characters. My co-star Erika Hoveland, is so powerful and it was a real joy to tell this story with her. But the other quirky characters Mandy, Tinker, Jed, the Pats in our story, really make it for me. Dean Teaster had me laughing out loud watching. You all will see later this year when the film releases. We’re also going to start rolling out some of the official screenshots. Also we’ll be launching some fun merchandise dealing with this fine film. This project gave me confidence in what our great team can do even when faced with new challenges.

LOST HEART keeps rolling out and the fan mail keeps coming in thanking CDI for bringing some a heartwarming story to the screen. Launching this film in 2020 is also something we’re very proud of including the event filming. Here is the PRE and POST party if you have not seen them yet. They give some great insight to what the #tribeCDI is all about. Watch below and if you have not seen the film please do – would you believe it deals with BigFoot, UFO’s and more?

THE QUEST TRILOGY – As Easter lies ahead, many are enjoying the unique and fresh approach to these biblical stories. Here is a trailer for the trilogy of films. These parables are meant to tell a story and encourage us to live treating one another better. You can take these films as gospel or as just a good story with a lesson. Either way, they are an honest, respectful look at these stories minus any agenda save to tell a good story. The Bible is full of good stories and I appreciate all the fan mail from the worldwide audiences who took something from them. Watch them. You just might enjoy the story.

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The pilot feature film Wild Faith and the developing TV series ‘Hastings’ – we have some great battle plans being drawn up on this TV series. A few of our proposed directors and returning cast are reading the scripts for season 1. We have our ideal window to shoot but if we can pull this all together in that ideal window is unknown. We are undertaking something new and we’re also dealing with a world dealing with new challenges. But, the prep remains the same and at this point all development strengthens the endeavor. Each week that passes Wild Faith grows a larger audience. Just using our distributors streaming platform ENCOURAGE TV – Wild Faith has grown 80k viewers per week for 11 months now totaling over 3.5 million viewers. That is if only one person watched the film. My point is that as every week passes, the audiences are helping us to launch. I know that all the artists involved would love to revisit Hastings and the stories of Emmett and his family.

Thank you to all the fans out there. I could share more updates but I want to get after a few things today. The fans of MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND have also been letting their voices be heard. I’m thrilled that everyone is enjoying the stories and we’ll be working hard to make sure that continues. Every day work on the stuff you can control and don’t let your mental or physical time be wasted on what you cannot control.

Happy Sunday to you all. Be good to one another.

DJ


Seven Updates and Some Past Week Pondering

(Last day on ‘Lost Heart,’ I was wrapped and spent the night working with craft service)

Ahhhhhhhh….chilly Michigan morning coffee sip. I’m enjoying the hazelnut coffee as I prepare to make some sort of attempt to describe this past week. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Last week I wrote on UNITY and that was a big hit. I’m a storyteller who loves to enrich audience’s life by entertainment and sometimes enlightenment. I have found that the story is one of the most effective ways to communicate. When people have conversation following a good piece of art it invokes meaningful dialog. People from all walks of life can come together and discuss the final show of The Mandalorian and debate themes, topics and differences. But they’re all united in their common love of Star Wars. In politics they should all be united in their love of our American system.

My belief is that both parties for decades now have drifted further from highlighting, promoting and pushing their party platforms and closer to no-holds barred character assassination. This includes trying to control how things are framed, presented and digested by the public. The reporters of days gone became known because they did not try nor want to be the stars, the story. But some due to their humble-approach, did become stars. Now we live in a time when people want to be “influencers” – what? We influence daily with our actions, words and deeds. I’ve seen the thirst for fame in these people and so the stories drift towards their opinions hammering the narrative to meet their goals. And where is the faith in the respected platforms? Faith that the masses will see the good in the endeavors and chose to back this person, party, platform. But some don’t have confidence in their platform and so they try to pitch, readjust, reframe a platform attempting to catch as much support as possible.

Example: Why is John Deere tractor better than Brand B

Just highlight the positives of what you are selling. No need to hammer brand B’s product customers will see this difference if it truly exists in terms of quality and performance.

Why should politics operate any differently? If you create the better product, better price point, better performance – you will never need to engage in cutting someone else’s rope short.

When I set out to make a movie, I don’t waste energy trashing anyone’s film – I just work towards making a successful story of quality. If I was running for an office I would not waste time tearing down an political opponent, I would just draw people to my platform.

Brand B tractor is a fine tractor but we at John Deere feel that we offer the better product and here is our list of why… but the cheap shots I’ve seen from both parties firing back and forth over the years, shows weakness in their stance. This weakening is what allowed a businessman with no real political experience to land in office. Running a corporation is very different because the power aligns with accountability. Our government is a system of checks and balances. It requires respectful communication and cooperation between the parties. This lack of – created a vacuum for someone from the outside to step in. Things happen much different in the two worlds and we saw many attempts at actions over four years that were deemed not legal in their process. Courts knocked it down and PR blame games took over. I joked we needed a good UFO attack to unify the world. We got a virus instead. This put the old HEALTH VS PROFIT question front and center. They need to flow together as one and not be positioned in confrontation. Healthy, long-living people can spend longer creating more on-going profit. But the medical system in the west has been reactionary vs preventative for a good long time. It is slowly changing and the unified collaboration of data and research is what allowed a quick ramp up on a vaccine. It was done quickly because PROFIT was set aside although the companies will profit. But best was the shared data to help deal with a health crisis facing us all. Can the world please tackle cancer next and be done with that horrible disease? If the cancer numbers had been highlighted and the spirit of collaboration embraced maybe it too would be a thing of the past.

Let’s focus on collaboration. What I see with social media and wall-debates is everyone feels a need to win vs lose and to gloat on that win. Lobbying to try and gather unanimous support vs same side of the table negotiations, talks, understandings.. Harsh ridicule used to drown out or squash any outside opinions but with no discussions. Unwilling to listen is the greatest form of disrespect. This also sounds like many organizations in their unwillingness. In science they have a process to drive towards truth but many outsiders have also been silenced by academic arrogance. Religion? Too many times to count. When I speak on religion I don’t cast any stones at divinity but at man-made institutions. Man-Made – If women want to jump on that bandwagon of also corrupting their institutions, please have at it. BALANCE should be the goal. We all have shared needs and concerns and we have different needs and concerns. I always think that the concerns of a person living on the Southern boarder of Mexico in Yuma, AZ will be very different from someone in Michigan. To find those common things that provide a mutual foundation and to take turns addressing concerns. I have seen HATE, not just dislike but HATE from people. Every time I see hate even pointing out something meaningful, I feel sorrow because that person is sick. Hate is a sickness. It starts with self-hate and preys on all the fears within us. If you hatefully denounce hate, you are still poisoning yourself. I see sickness all around which is why the positive fan mail from our stories have been rays of light. Our stories combat hate with love and leave some temporarily healthy, free of poison. This is only until the next projection of hate from that person and it builds. Unless habits are changed…HOPE.

For the record, I think protests often breed poison if the leadership is weak. They start with words crying of unjust but often turn to poison in one’s own mouth. Watching a group of extremists who wanted to win their position at all costs, clearly demonstrated their uncaring position about balance. I’m still greatly saddened to see the way sacred halls were turned into a scene like ‘Cedar Fest’ after MSU lost a big game. These turned into mobs of people burning things and being unruly. Again, someone lost the big game. And by their actions we all lost, because our character was tarnished. But our character on the world stage was being tarnished by those we elected with their on-going actions. We all have much in common and if the elected people cannot find those bridges and take turns making each other’s priorities something to discuss and enhance, maybe the wrong people were elected. But people can change…

I saw the political bodies House and Congress united in fear and renewed purpose finish their work. Even the most ambitious-party minded politicians had to ask themself what was/is their real “purpose” in service. Now I was looking for that UFO invasion but what we got was an invasion on our process of democracy. I watched some of the most sincere words come from the mouths of people where I had only heard negativity and blame previously. I saw a unity that did not exist 24 hours earlier. Now this unity was not the intent I’m sure but it will likely be the result. It has caused all Americans to sit back and re-examine much like the Covid virus. I think that many never slow down enough to truly ponder and Covid did that. Now we can ponder the past week’s actions. I hope that I never witness such poisoned individuals rabid with hate but I know that is unlikely. It will only get better when we all get tired of the taste of poison hate and seek the sweetest of love and listening.

All this writing and I have not yet got into any film updates. I know that many don’t want any views from their entertainers and I’m often one of those people. As a screenwriter and artists I like to observe, seeking to experience the event from all sides. To question why things happen. I cannot say what tomorrow will bring. But I can control my thoughts, action and deeds and keep the poison from my mouth. I feel bad for the sick wrought with hate. Start a change with what you can control – YOU.

  1. BEST YEARS GONE – The 1st edit is done and it’s being polished so we can take a watch end of this coming week. The reports from editing has been very encouraging with the story, acting and execution of the story being hailed. This all done in a small break during the Covid lock downs.
  2. We are going to launch a ‘Best Years Gone’ Battle of the Bands to give one artist(s) a chance to have their song in the soundtrack plus be involved in a music video.
  3. Merchandise for CDI films has been in development and will be making a big jump in 2021. Stay tune to http://www.cdiproductions.com for updates – SUBSCRIBE TO THE TRIBE!
  4. As LOST HEART continues to expand in viewership here is an other PR article that I’m proud of because it really highlights the script. That is the issue with so many projects is they lack a powerful script that says something. http://m.digitaljournal.com/entertainment/entertainment/happy-days-star-don-most-opens-up-about-lost-heart-film/article/583626
  5. I love the time and process put into doing the final WRITER and DIRECTOR polish on the ‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA‘ script. Tony Hornus (MBF) and I spent 4-5 hours each day last week to go through every line of the script. To discuss each and every scene and motivation. We get to have advance discussions about what will be needed in production. We likely have one more day of work on it – maybe two.
  6. HASTINGS Tv show which is a spin off from WILD FAITH is being read show by show by some of the actors and proposed directors. Those reading the shows are expressing their joy in them. Shane Hagedorn star and one of the series directors said, “The shows are about being good to one another.” Sounds like something we could use. I’m in talks with several parties and I think this series is a matter of when not if.
  7. As we start the drive towards Easter season I hope people will take the time to watch THE QUEST TRILOGY. These are not preachy and propose an interesting perspective for seekers who might not align with the mainstream organized religious bodies. That is not to say that the various organizations haven’t enjoyed them as they all were nominated as ‘Most Inspirational’ winning twice but they were not created in a bubble. They relate very well to the world and I think the films have as many fans coming from a non-religious place. I’ve said it many times that you could be from a totally different faith from Christianity and still enjoy the films. Take a watch and see for yourself (Part 1 Forty Nights, Part 2 Chasing the Star, Part 3 The Christ Slayer)

Okay I could go on about a few more updates but it is noon and I have things to do. Several of the films can be seen free on Amazon Prime, Encourage TV: Youtube and more so enjoy a few of the stories and please do let me know what you think.

Be good to one another.

DJ


2021 Hiring Advice – Casting Updates, Film Progress – Development

I’ve awaken to the foggy chill rolling over a Michigan morning but have the hazelnut hot coffee to combat the cold. I see that many more circles of people are suffering losses from the Covid. Again the toll that it’s taking on all fronts will cement this year into the minds of many. I hope the that year ahead brings comfort and better fortune to many who suffered. But the losses of family and friends gone will be more apparent. Businesses that collapsed will have to be re-tooled and for many that means starting over. I hope we can get politics to disappear into the rear-view mirror as the energy between parties and people has been downright shameful. But for the many times whereas I turned off any news and turned on music = JOY. I’ve rediscovered or introduced myself to lots of new music. I’ve pulled myself away from the world of digital text/email communication and enjoyed phone calls again. That has effected my personal and professional relationships in a very positive way. I hope that what we all bring forward is a deeper appreciation for one another. Kinder communication is needed and will enhance all endeavors.

One form of communication that has become popular is grandstanding and lobbying. If a person gets an answer they don’t like or that goes against their desired result they are in essence a poor loser. Now I know the example that leaps into many people’s mind. Accepting that our efforts or the acceptance of our ideas has fallen short is hard for many to take. Often these people might seek to vent their issues to others to gain sympathy and in some cases empathy. I use to marvel in Hollywood at the number of artists flocked together in the cheapest drink joint to loudly complain about all the external forces keeping them from their dreams. Seldom did I hear about sub-par materials, motivational issues and the blame always seemed to fall on someone else. To someone not in this ‘trap’ it feels like you’re standing on the banks of a river watching people swirl hapless and pinball down the river. Who walked into the river? Why? Did someone say it was a shortcut? Get out. Dry yourself off. Get your direction straight and set off towards your goals.

I wanted to think of other examples to help folks. I recently read a huge rant from a crew person in our industry. It proclaimed their willingness to work without pay with people or projects they found fun because of friendship. They also ridiculed someone who had offered them a low paying gig. And it was grandstanding at its finest and it worked to grab attention. Did it get the desired result? The friends of this person who had this person often work free were in agreement. But they did not see themselves as part of the problem. The venter also did not see the issue. A person has so many days a year they can earn. Giving up an unhealthy amount of those days can create a financial strain. This frustration stems from giving too much to an unpaid source (friends?) and creates a desperation when bills come. Now said associate(s) come with a paid offer that doesn’t meet the expectations of individual because of their poor time managing. AND so they are basically saying they cannot manage their work to recreational time. And they like to blame others. And they’ll loudly vent their self made frustrations to anyone who will listen. Usually the only ones who will comfort these people are the non-paying friends. And those with resources to pay realize they don’t want to buy that person at any price. They don’t take accountability and they poorly manage their lives – is that what you want to bring onto a project? But people truly think they are doing something positive by claiming justice and righteousness but really they are saying DO NOT HIRE ME. Don’t be one of those people. I’ve seen so many just take themselves out of the game. Maybe that is what they wanted all the time. They believe they need an excuse to bow out making it someone else’s fault. The reasoning is someone gathering funds to pay cast and crew, standing accountable to investors, is gonna evolve and grow faster than a bunch of friends playing. That has always seemed obvious to me but the logic utilized by many people is very strange.

We live in a melting pot of beautiful people in this world. All biologically more or less the same but wrapped with different customs, food, dress, culture, beliefs and music. With most projects or artistic endeavors – the artists involved are from all ends of the spectrum and therefore cannot be rendered into one group. They can be inspired to focus on one story but still all have various backgrounds to be respected. One of the best respectful practices one can give is to listen. Real listening allows real dialog. This becomes healthy communication. In all walks of life and in all endeavors I hope that in 2021 healthy communication becomes a practice. Good storytelling is not condescending, preachy or judgmental and when done proper is one of the most powerful forms of communication. I will continue to practice this form of communication because I believe it most effective and leading by example is best in my opinion. Maybe a year of less talk more action will influence others and the world can shift. Shift to a place of beautifully differences but none-the-less all the same.

Much of this stems from the masses of people wanting 2021 to be very different. Some things are outside your control but are you doing your best with what you can control? I certainly would get an A for effort. Now by the nature of who I am and what I do I’m a self starter. Others are learning this as they are forced to work from home. Work when you decide to work and relax when you decide to relax. Know thyself. Learn to shift gears cleaning. At rest be at rest do not let the mind spin with regret of the past or anxiety of the future – relax. In the present get the recharge and rebalance you need and with a new day adventure forth. You cannot stop age and death but you can control what you do on your journey. Appreciate yourself, others and this life adventure. I try to remain modest in the light of success and view loss and setback as a learning experience. I know of some fighting battles to stay on this journey of life – do not take it lightly. Think through your stresses and remove their hold on you and watch certain binds disappear with a thought. We can imprison or set ourselves free. We have that ability. 2021 set yourself free and be the best you.

OK – enough of the deep ramble… I’ve refilled the coffee cup and the smell of bacon fills the house so let’s get on with this. Onto the movies and other endeavors-

Let’s talk about THE QUEST TRILOGY. The three stories are unique because of the glimpse into how these important and overlooked events in films 1-3 effected or were effected by angels fallen and faithful. Because they are the thread between all three stories and time, space and dimension are powerful aspects of existence slowly being revealed to us, the stories go from PRESENT (Forty Nights) to the PAST (Chasing the Star) and land in the FUTURE (The Christ Slayer). As the new campaign rolls out for the holidays I had to enlighten parties to the fact that the lack on linear was intentional and part of the greater story. So many little nuisances to discover. I had a fan last week talk about with each viewing they discover a new gem. Something they missed prior and so I’m thankful that some are studying the trilogy. If you have not seen these three films please do in the proper order and leave a review for THE QUEST TRILOGY as a whole. I look forward to seeing those reviews so peel the onion and enjoy.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND

Available on many platforms – on ENCOURAGE TV we’ve topped 700k viewers with millions overall watching. Now you can watch FREE with ads.

WILD FAITH – As this film makes its way around the world it’s always interesting to see how other countries view a story. Humor is different from place to place as is the general acceptance or sex or violence and just “grasping” the story as a whole. It is interesting because the ‘Civil War’ was the American Civil War although several countries were involved. Here is a pretty good review from the UK that I enjoyed.

Also funding and distribution talks on HASTINGS the spin-off TV show is underway. Season one is written and the budgeting and production flow is being examined. The first round of proposed directors are looking at the scripts for assignment. I have several more talks to have but this next endeavor is coming together and what a win it would be for Michigan. I think we’ll be starting a Hastings FB development site. Also I think my clean face is going away as I let Ben Lily slowly start to creep forward.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA The end of 2021 will include the filming of CDI’s 1st WW2 era film. We are gathering our commits before forming the business entity in early 2021. We have almost all our funders in line. We had additional funders jump on board last week and the final few should be on board by year’s end. In the new year we’ll also be talking with various sponsors to travel with us on the film. Right now we’re looking at German or German-speaking actors as several of the leads are German POW’s. If you fit the bill feel free to reach out with a reel on the http://www.cdiproductions.com website (Subscribe to the Tribe) or right here.

SMOKE & MIRRORS – the final VFX work is underway and we’re taking our time and we’ll hit some festivals and a special showing at the Dodge Turner once this virus passes. The full feature is in development with me revisiting the feature script. This is a great turn of the century based story that will star David Gries from the CDI tribe.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – this project has completed some early filming but is now preparing to go full steam ahead into 2021 with a series of interviews. We will premiere this later in 2021 another great thing to look forward to.

LOST HEART – This film is like a lighthouse casting its positive light out into the darkness giving laughter and hope to many out there. This is a feel good, thought-proving film and audiences are responding in kind. I’ve been just elated by some of the wonderful pieces of fan mail. What makes its even more exciting is when it comes from peers I’ve never met. I had a nice note from an actress who has watched it twice after it was referred to them by a friend who illustrates for the Jim Henson company. I’ve said it before, I think this is the closest to a feel good Spielberg movie that CDI has done. I’ve gotten lots of compliments on the script but I want to say that without the great performances the writing would not be enough. If you are in need of a smile, laugh and uplift please do watch the film. It is available on most platforms!

I might have missed something but I think it’s time I get on with my day. I have a week of investor dispersement ahead and more development work. Plus each day playing elf wrapping up some love presents. I will end with this tidbit from Nathaniel Nose who is editing BEST YEARS GONE. He reached out one day after reviewing all the footage and complimented me and the cast on performances. He was excited to see me doing comedy (Mike Deeney:) and he thought this was the best performance of my career. Okay that is subjective but it still made me feel good. I left it all on the table as Gil Gilles and I’ve brought some wonderful characters to life (Jesus, Ben Lily, Paul Landings, Stan Reed, Buddy Colt, Lynn Kendall…) so I’ll just take it for what it is – it tells me that if you’ve enjoyed my other roles you might enjoy this one. He also gave very high marks to my co-star Erika Hoveland and that is part of the key. Having great artists to co-exist with and create so thank you Erika/Sylvia.

Have a great week. Lead by example. Seek accountability. Control what you can. Be good to others.

DJ


Event Links, Interviews, Film Updates and Seasonal Thoughts…

Good morning. I’m sitting here sipping the coffee and writing to all of you. I want to thank all our readers from around the world stopping by to touch base. I appreciate all the artists out there taking the time to stop by and share a few moments of their Sunday. I’ve been still doing lots of film work on the developing, post flow and and release and PR aspects. I have a few podcast interviews I’ve agreed to do. Here is a recent one. Isaac has been a long time friend and his “mission” is positive content.

What I try to explain is that at CDI we are not tailoring any film to FIT any particular audience save the age rating that we keep in mind. You don’t want to F-BOMB all over your PG film. I’m a lover of colorful language at times and I enjoy R -Rated entertainment. Sometimes it helps the story and sometimes it is just too much for my taste. Despite my start in horror films which I still love, I’ve always been more about atmosphere and mood vs slash and gore. I have several friends who that is their passion. I’ve reached a place where I enjoy the consistent flow of fan mail that says how this film or that film has helped them. As a writer I’ve really grown to enjoy those moments that ultimately teach us something good, bad or ugly. So bottom line we’re beyond grateful for the acceptance by the “faith film genre” but our films about faith – “those strong in faith, those lacking faith, finding faith, seeking faith, losing faith and holding on to what they have.”

Our films are for everyone to invoke tears, laughter and offer a different perspective through filters we all share. Moments of entertainment and escape from our own lives and to have a few message gems hidden within. The 50 year old me also loves not being up all night in a dirty location, covered in corn syrup (blood) which bugs LOVE by the way. Showing up on a western town set with a cup of coffee wearing a low hanging gun rig is a lot cooler to my body clock. I truly enjoy that after years of bringing other peoples stories to screen I’m finally getting my own stories told. And they are touching people and giving them hope and new understanding. I told someone in a meeting yesterday I’ve never been more proud to be a storyteller. I use to say that if we made a bad scene nobody dies on an operating table but we do have the ability to help many, many people. We’re still trying to pull the numbers in from our 2 day showing of LOST HEART on Encourage TV. We know it exceeded 30k views maybe as high as 100k and the beautiful notes followed.

I’m not so much into “shocking” people these days. If there is any shock I want to give fans/audiences is that person who watches Paul Landings in MBF: Man’s Best Friend and says “Is that DJ Perry?” that feels good. That film on Encourage TV (This is a paid by ads site where audiences can watch free w/ ads) but MBF is climbing to 700k watches and this is one stream. Our distributor monetizes dozens of streams and foreign territories. I’m excited to see all these films travel. The holidays are exciting because that is when families and friends watch films. And in these times of few recreational choices these stories are being watched more and more. I guess I just want to say thank you. To all the fans that have been with me since I was running bloody IN THE WOODS (Me as Rookie firefighter with Jim Grulich – fighting monsters) * Amazon Prime – to my newfound fans from playing Jesus in The Quest Trilogy, Ben Lily, Niles Cass, Paul and most recently the character study known as ‘Gil Gilles’ in BEST YEARS GONE now in post-production.

I’m going to ask you all to explore our films. Each one is truly hand crafted. You can tell the artists care about the stories. That has been true since the early days. You can see so much heart in Jeff Kennedy’s HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS – a beautiful PG-13 film that we placed too heavy of swearing into for our audience. I told you I like colorful language at times. A live and learn in many ways. Followed by FIGURE IN THE FOREST also directed by Jeff Kennedy which was a beautiful story led by Dean Teaster who many know from our recent films. These have been pressed into a 2 DVD “Classic CDI Collection” and I’m exploring talks of uprezing as these were made in the SD (standard def) days. For next year we do plan on releasing KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS the first two films from CDI that was our playing with the horror and comedy genres. It is nice to have existing copies of these films. Thank you to those that have purchased.

PICK THIS UP AND SEE WHERE WE STARTED FROM-

https://www.ebay.com/itm/DVD-DOUBLE-FEATURE-Figure-in-the-Forest-2002-Heavens-Neighbors-2005-movie-/363016656566

But lets give a run down on a few of the current films-

ASHES OF EDEN – If you’re excited about BEST YEARS GONE recently filmed – directed by Shane Hagedorn – check out his first collaboration w/ CDI. It stars Melissa Anschutz and you’ll see many of the #TribeCDI – I play a lovable drug dealer named Donnie:) It is a great story that premiered to a 600 person crowd at the CCFF to a standing ovation. Shane is great at weaving emotional scenes and it shows in this earlier effort. Check it out free on Amazon Prime, Encourage TV likely Tubi and Pluto TV. Here is the teaser!

I LOVE the new campaign underway for THE QUEST TRILOGY – they are told in this 3 fold story that starts in the present, falls back to the past and leaps to the future. The thread in the three films is the Devil and the Angels which makes this a unique story. It explores the possible effect of all these events from the perspective of the angels serving and fallen. Please do take a watch on FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. Happy Holidays! Leave your comments on the IMDB, Amazon pages and/or to me here.

WILD FAITH – We are aggressively in talks with a few parties about bringing back the Murphy family and friends from WILD FAITH in a TV series currently titled HASTINGS. I have written the first season consisting of eight forty-four minute shows. I’m looking at a few ways to put this together business-wise. I had a few “first right of refusal” situations not legally but by using good business fairness. I had a very productive talk this weekend that might give us the results we are looking for. The pilot feature WILD FAITH shows what a powerful world was created and these ongoing stories strengthen and carry forth the evolution of these beloved characters. The bad news is that I’ve been enjoying the lack of facial hair and soon I might have to start that walk back towards Ben Lily. I guess I could do that.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – To answer a few fan questions – there is no immediate plan to do a sequel to MBF but never say never. Someone else asked if I had my eye on any action films. I still like films that are heavy on character drama and include action vs an action genre film. But do I have a Bruce Willis DIE HARD like movie in me? Giddy Up!

PS: There is a chance that MBF might play at the Capital City Film Festival Drive In Event since it was scheduled to play before the shut down and was nominated.

LOST HEART – A beacon of light and laughter that has been expanding across the USA and the world. I think the UK is getting to travel to Lost Heart. Our beautiful state of Michigan is giving a wonderful peek to the world. I haven’t gotten any real ‘Niles Cass’ fan mail, shadowed by that Josh Perry, love you buddy:) …but I’ve received many messages from viewers expressing their love of the story and characters. It brought them some comfort in these different and for many difficult times.

A few asked about the EVENT on ENCOURAGE TV. They are also playing the Cast & Crew Event – Enjoy!

PRE-PARTY FOR ‘LOST HEART’

The AFTER GLOW

The thing is I feel blessed by all the good things abound. I’ve always worked diligent and consistent as I find that gets bests results. Starting, Finishing and everything in between. I’m starting to develop a need for some breakfast although lunch is creeping up too.

WRAP UP:

We’ll be back in action finishing the filming on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH doc film first of the year. We have some exciting merchandise conversations happening. We’ll be pulling the paperwork together on the WW2 film SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA early in 2021. Just take this time of holiday reflection to plan the upcoming year. What did you do that you want to repeat? What did you do that you want to remove? We’re all a work-in-progress and we can change our course with a handful of decisions. Be the change you want to see. Don’t worry about changing others just allow yourself to be a living example. Show people you are not lip service by leading by actions. Less talk and more self action. This holiday season be mindful to people and animals less fortunate and in need.

Enjoy the season.

DJ


A Few Days ‘Shore leave’ Before Back to Sailing the High Seas! Weekly Top 10 CDI Updates

Good afternoon. By the time this gets posted it will likely be almost eve but better a tad late than never:) I’ve been coming down off an “acting high” from the current project we are working hard on. All I will say is “magic” and leave it at that.

I think what will best for me today is to do a TOP 10 updates

  1. The BYG ship is launched and sailing strong on the high seas. I’m so appreciative of the cast and crew and we will continue the strong tradition of storytelling:) Follow us at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11808308/reference
  2. Today ‘Lost Heart‘ star Melissa Anschutz was on The 700 Club and will be on Mike Huckabee next week. https://www1.cbn.com/melissa-anchutz-produces-and-stars-lost-heart
  3. I haven’t watched this yet myself but here is an interview I did with my friend Isaac at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc8roA3CkN0 talking about the CDI films.
  4. If you have not downloaded the ENCOURAGE TV app please do. It will allow you to watch many of the CDI films streaming including the 2 night special event Nov 7th and 21st that will be LOST HEART with the EVENT premiere also! Thank you to Double JJ Resort again for all their help.
  5. I saw a sneak peak of the new trailer for THE QUEST TRILOGY campaign about to launch. It was so exciting to see all three of the films put together into one powerful trailer. Watch FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER with your family.
  6. In our national PR campaign this week we’re focusing on the amazingly talented Taylor Dupuis who played the young lead in LOST HEART. Also check out her music in her band Roanoke.
  7. Some very encouraging meetings have been happening regarding the TV series spin off from WILD FAITH. I have to put a few things together on our end but we have some strong interest and that is growing as our numbers keep climbing. If all goes well we will film 1st half of 2021.
  8. Once we wrap the current film project we’ll be also finalizing the funding on the WW2 project to be helmed by Anthony Hornus. That is a touch down the line but like everything else, it’s here before you know it.
  9. We recently gave out the deliciously scented sponsor candles from The Candleberry Company. If you have not explored this company and candles are your thing, check them out. Hmmm…honey is my favorite but I love many of them. Our cast and crew love them and look forward to them every time. If you want to expand your brand via sponsorship and/or production placement – reach out. https://www.candleberry.com
  10. I’m looking forward to a winter season of writing. One of my endeavors will be to finish SMOKE & MIRRORS. The short proof of concept piece will be done by the end of the year. VFX work is underway and I think people are really going to enjoy this tale directed by Nathaniel Nose director of The Christ Slayer.

I’ve landed back at home for a few days before off again but as I hinted at above – the current project is following the same path as previous. Get good, positive, hard-working artists attached to your story and you’ll create something special. I hope everyone is having a great start to their November. This will be the busiest month of my year followed closely by the October we just left behind. I’m looking forward to the holidays in whatever form this Covid environment allows. I’m going to unpack and unwind for a few and I’ll talk at all of you again next Monday.

Coffee cheers!

DJ


Covid-Free and What’s Up With ME (And CDI Updates)

Coffee Cheers! Again if you own a coffee roaster and want to get your brand name out reach out and we’ll use your coffee in our upcoming production of BEST YEARS GONE. I’ve been having the same issue with brewery and distillery options. We’ve always made product sponsorship deals with various companies and showcased them in our films. But they are slow to commit on this go-around and I have to guess that its the Covid effect on their businesses. If I don’t make a deal it will become just a created label. So whatever your business is if you want to discuss our sponsorship program reach out to me on here and we can talk.

I got my Covid test back that was super easy at Walgreens from my car. I’m clear. So I will report to the hotel this weekend under our new corporate deal with Tru Hotel/Hilton. Speaking of sponsors I want to thank The Candleberry Company for their sponsorship. Lerma Transportation is onboard to assist with the craft service. And it looks like BIOCLEAN will also be a sponsor again and in these times it’s good to have them on board. We are going to run a very safe set because Covid is not the only enemy. The flu and common cold is also a hinderance so we hope to keep everyone healthy. We have more cast to reveal including my old amigo Terence Knox (St. Elsewhere, Tour of Duty) and another CDI alumni from “Chasing the Star” will be joining us! I’m excited about the team of artists and we’re going to have a great time telling this story.

BUT…we have another movie rolling out as we’re starting to film. LOST HEART had a successful cast and crew screening in New Era at The Double JJ Resort. Music, interviews, food and fun followed by a wonderful film. Weeping, laughter and everything in-between. I was happily surprised by how engaged the audience was. We had a good number of local randoms mixed into our crowd. Bottom line is I think we have another hit. The local, regional and national media is kicking. From smaller reviewers like Noah Kaser below to Mike Huckabee who will be hosting Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson in Nashville. The film is truly funny and has heart warming messages about dreams and family without being heavy handed. Please do tune in Nov. 7th and 21st on ENCOURAGE TV (A Free app) to watch the premiere event and the film. It will start 7pm EST on those two dates (Nov 7, 21). Won’t you please join us? Noah below said he’s reviewed 200 films this year and LOST HEART is in his Top 5! We hope it makes your list also:)

Once we get past the premiere showings on the 7th and 21st of November we should know where the film is headed. Likely an exclusive run on a network before it goes wide. It will also start making its way around the world.

WILD FAITH/HASTINGS

I’ve had a few good meetings over our Mid-Western WILD FAITH turning into a TV series entitled “Hastings”. We have interest on a few fronts and if everything works out we’ll film 8 shows this spring. It will be a wonderful thing to see the beloved characters back in action. Several sites are streaming it but Encourage TV alone is closing on 3 million. Add in broadcast TV and foreign and we have a large and growing audience. I’m excited to put this in motion and to bring BEN LILY back into action.

SMOKE & MIRRORS is just looking awesome and sounds just as amazing. We are having some VFX work done and after credits – Shazam! Done:) Finishing up the feature script is on my things to do this winter.

MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – We have Veteran’s Day approaching and I’m so proud that this film is making the rounds. Much of the festival and event play got squashed by the lock down but the film itself is growing via word of mouth. You can watch it free via Encourage TV yourself and leave your thoughts. I see that Brazil now has MBF.

I’m also excited as we enter the holiday season to start pushing THE QUEST TRILOGY. This adventure trilogy is shot using the “style” of the original Star Wars films. You can see it in FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. It was filmed in the Yuma desert where RETURN OF THE JEDI filmed. It is a unique series of films and again is not preachy but thought provoking. Watch them all together to get a greater story and enjoy them with your family.

FEW QUESTIONS FOR MY READERS

  1. Has anyone read my story in the cat book released this fall? Thoughts?
  2. Who has seen “The Quest Trilogy” all together and what were your thoughts?
  3. I’ve got several past thrillers and horror films perfect for the Halloween season, favorites? Scariest?
  4. Would you be excited for a WILD FAITH tv series? Favorite characters?
  5. MBF – Who do you agree with? Again a real thought provoker.
  6. Have you ever used a Candleberry Co candle?

This past week has been getting warmer wardrobe around and a few rehearsals on BYG film. We picked the last of the beans from the garden. The crockpot with beans and additional veggies and a pork roast will be filling the house with good smells. The Autumn Ale has been enjoyed at a few meetings. The chickens are doing good with the coming of the colder weather. We took a nice nature walk with Finn yesterday and I just love this season. I’m just feeling great about the coming week and I will be seeing some close artist friends that I usually only see when filming. Get yourself artists with a positive attitude and that vibe will transfer to the story.

Thank you again to everyone at The Double JJ Resort. It is a wonderful place to visit for golf, horseriding, waterpark and more! I’m going to get back to a few pre-production things today and I’m thinking of doing these next batch of blogs on a Monday since our filming for the next few weeks will include Sunday. So I might be doing a delayed blog OR I might do a video blog recap which might be easier. We will see said the wise man. Be good to one another!

DJ


Delayed Update – Cast & Crew ‘Lost Heart’ Premiere and more…

As I sit down by the fire with hazelnut coffee in hand I want to thank our new readers from Iceland, Austria and all around the world. This is one of those few times that I had to push a blog release to Monday. I do have a series of Sunday shoot days so I might have to post a few Monday’s but I will try to keep it as consistent as possible. I was just so tired after our weekend up in New Era with our cast and crew premiere for ‘Lost Heart’ the movie.

First I’m excited about the edited event show that will play around the Nov 7th and 21st Encourage TV showings. I will get a time for the event this week but I’m guessing a 7 pm start with event and film coming in at 3 hours. The film is roughly 2 hours and we had a great time with Nathaniel Nose (The Christ Slayer) directing and shooting the event. Many of the CDI tribe had extensive interviews. This week we’ll have our few call in interviews sent in for editing. It was all very exciting.

We producers were on the ground trying to gauge the weather. we went with a smaller screen than the outside drive-in inflatable giant because we would have had a Macy Day balloon which could have been cool but-no. We had music performed from Roanoke and Greg Hillebrand on sax, interviews, food and drink. The dance hall had giant barn doors and allowed us to keep air moving through there without being in the wind gusts.

The actual showing was great. Even speaking with director Jesse Low after the film we were surprised at the amount of crying, laughing and clapping during the climax of the film. Now we’re all extremely excited to bring this film into your homes for you to share. We have many more interviews and national media for this story. I think the film is really connecting with people with themes on family, love, small-town with big dreams and more. It was great to see so many of the other artists and I was even gifted an owl coffee mug from Josh Perry. Thank you my friend. And thank you to the CDI team that worked hard to put this event in play.

On a quick note before I move on to other updates but the 1st AD Sebastian Nanya on a project I did in NYC called THE ACTOR (Amazon Prime) unexpectedly died over the weekend from a heart attack I heard. He spent many years trying to get a film called BUDZ made and wanted me to play this character named ‘Cowboy’ 🙂 My point is that you need to keep at your dreams. He was in his 40’s and much too young to leave. It is all a lesson not to put off your passions until tomorrow. Engage your passion now.

Back to the films. I had a chance to meet with some fans of MBF: Man’s Best Friend and Wild Faith. One former vet was so appreciative of the film for bringing light to the plight of the wounded soldiers. THAT is why I love doing these films. Not the awards and accolades which are nice but the way these stories touch and help people. That is such an award in itself. Many audience members love the impact of MBF but several wish for a different outcome at the end. To know what I’m talking about tune in and see what I’m talking about. Encourage TV, Tubi, Amazon, Google, Pluto TV and more…

WILD FAITH TV spin-off HASTINGS talks are in high gear. I have a call tomorrow and I have info to send off to interested parties this week – what this all means I hope is that ‘Hastings’ could go early next year into production. It would mean putting the buckskins back on and giddy up.

SMOKE & MIRRORS is the short that we did with Nathaniel Nose and WOW! What a cool world and this short version is a great proof of concept. We watched with all the color correction, music and sound design and it is quirky and wonderful. Some CGI work is being done. I will finish the feature script this winter as we develop the full feature. This will be another great story for CDI to tell.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – This doc needs a string of interviews still but it is moving along. We have a new poster design and we’ll continue our hunt to find enthusiast of the grappling arts.

THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) – This powerful three part story is getting a big marketing push this holiday season including a quest trilogy trailer. As a life-long fan of the original Star Wars films we used them as a template for look – so if something seems akin in the look of the films, now you know where that comes from.

I’m sure I might have missed a few things. I need to get back on prep work for our next film BEST YEARS GONE filming soon. We gotta prep the future stories to share with the world. I hope you all tune in on Nov 7 and/or 21st for LOST HEART. I think you will truly enjoy it. Have a great week and be good to one another!

DJ