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

Posts tagged “CDI

Actor Advice and New 2022 CDI Endeavors!

This morning was in the negative degrees outside but the sun is out and that is nice. I’m sipping on the hazelnut coffee and I’m thinking over last week. I have to admit with the cold outside my energy gas tank was running low on Thursday. I had a big meeting on Friday but it was rescheduled due to illness on their end. This new strain of Covid has been really making the rounds and I know various parties and people dealing with it. The vaccinated folks I know have had a mild go of it but I have at least one relative who is in the hospital after foregoing any vaccination. I’ve also followed a few folks who have been really having a struggle with ventilators and such. I’m not going to grandstand either way but I do wish you all a healthy week ahead. Do your part, whatever that is so that we can get past all this. It has been a point of concern now for the 3rd year as we plan our new artistic endeavors.

ACTOR ADVICE- I know at least a couple individuals who work in our circle that also state they have a passion for performance/acting. The issue comes when perhaps they are great workers behind the camera but in front of the camera is not as strong. Acting for film can also consist of how you break down and learn the script. Taking tidbits from the script and use that to add layers upon layers of character complexity. To play larger roles you need to really know, KNOW the character inside and out. Dreams, hopes, fears and more all play into a character arc that can have many changes throughout a story. If you are an extrovert and like the socializing, an acting/improv class might help you get comfortable with a crew. If you are more “keep to your self” you could do your own scene study. You could keep recording and working a monologue until you can make someone watching it laugh out loud or opening cry – all good signs in your performance. So if your peers have never seen you push a moment, a scene to that level – you need to show them. You also will get stronger as you show yourself you can mine out these feelings and put them to camera. Some people are good without the camera but add that amazing device and some freeze like it is a pointed gun. So to the few out there who want to evolve from extras or featured extras into larger roles, follow that advice. Put those reads down and work it (keep doing it) until it truly moves people watching it. To want something is great but if you are not there you NEED to put in the work.

BEST YEARS GONE – The final delivery pieces have been uploaded to our distributor which means I should have home video dates soon. In the meantime we will explore a few more theatrical runs and festivals. Our director is picking a few select festivals that would be fun or align with the festival’s audience. One of the first to respond is a 19 year old London festival and so the UK will be getting an early look at ‘Gil Gilles’ and gang. I have not released the distributors poster yet as I was waiting on those home video dates. But we have some fun and special things lined up for the home video release. How many out there have a “Gil Gilles Survival Kit”? See http://www.cdiproductions.com where G$ is handling our growing merchandise section. 2022 Lunch boxes? Action Figures? Coloring books? Who knows but man are we having fun with it all.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – First I want to say how sorry we are that DP Dan Chipman just lost his father to this Covid. Our hearts go out to Dan and his family. Speaking on a happier note we’ve been rolling out still photos of the film chosen by and color corrected by Daniel G. Chipman (his professional name) and man are they beautiful. I also will announce that Adam Towner will be reaching out to cast and crew to collect captured memories from on set and put together a behind the scenes. As he is doing this our director will be crafting ideas for the first teaser trailer. It was a wonderful experience and it will be nice to have something for cast and crew to remember fondly that CDI adventure. So the future months will bring us some great updates.

I had someone reach out last night saying their family watched WICKED SPRING for the first time and loved the camera work and the themes presented. CDI once had a sister company Lionheart that I part owned and we produced VA area projects under. When we separated we took Wicked Spring as part of our deal. Since we’ve kept is active and I’m so happy that they’ve brought the resolution up to HD for new and old audiences. Decades later and fans are still being moved by this simple story of men at war. Take a watch and leave a review and let us know your thoughts. Too many enthusiasts it is a top film for them. Others who don’t appreciate as much pacing and character development find the start slow but I love it. I’m proud of our director Kevin Hershberger who has carved out his own niche with TV docu-series and working costume and B unit are larger films. He is a good example of how far passion can take you and he loves that 1800’s time period too.

Looking Ahead-

Several other older films in the CDI library are being evaluated for new release campaigns. What one would you love to see streaming in HD? Heaven’s Neighbors? Knight Chills? An Ordinary Killer?

Talks were had this week with a TV show runner of sorts about WILD FAITH: Hastings and it was met with strong enthusiasm. This was another great perspective on how strong a property we have with a feature film proof of concept and tens of millions of views. I think we’ll be back to the 1800’s with the Murphy family it is a matter of when. I’ve started a FB page where we’ll track the development of the series. @WildFaithHastingstvseries  

Also looking at a Spring shoot, I’m in the final stretch on scriptwriting a new story that I’ve had in my head for a while. My best pitch of it is “A 1975 American Graffiti” with a few great influences film-wise. What influences? Cannonball Run, Caddy Shack and a few others. It is an ensemble comedy with a few great themes written throughout it. The 1970’s will be fun for our artists to tackle. I’m already growing out my hair for that 70’s feathered look:) And wardrobe will be fun to find and we all likely have some already. HRL is the initials to the script, can you figure it out? I will be done with the script this week with a good polish to it also. From there the producers will get a read and we’ll discuss the next steps of bringing on our funding and start casting. See: ADVICE TO ACTORS UP ABOVE

I have two other possible scripts to write and I’m evaluating which project to take on in February. Both are work-for-hires and CDI would likely produce both as films. I do have two other personal scripts underway which I’ll return to and plan to finish in 2022. I love to write especially on these cold days.

I’ve been playing phone tag in trying to connect with a few new contacts. Some are casual contact to get to know one another and share war stories. From that foundation sometimes endeavors are born. I’m really excited about one opportunity that just recently came about. This opportunity comes on the heels of a conversation I had last week, about how much I enjoyed working on the music video “Off to the Race” – so there is your hint. I LOVED growing up in the MTV music video golden age. It was a great collaboration platform between musicians and filmmakers as both are storytellers. Above is a pic of the MSU party bus the band “Vertical Bridge” came in to the premiere of “Best Years Gone” in Owosso, MI.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the documentary of the history of grappling is having the EPK put together and a screening link for the few business folks to review. We’ll plan a premiere for the near future and will look to put a deal together in Feb for home video/worldwide. It takes several months to a year to put a full home video campaign together. But we might do a series of event screenings leading up to home video. All in steps. Follow us @fortheloveofcatchdoc

SMOKE & MIRRORS – is being loaded to film freeway to submit to a few fun festivals. This is one of the two personal scripts I’m working on. I love the time period and it also has a tinge of steampunk to it all. The short will become a great feature film and audiences will enjoy this fun and spooky romp. Follow our progress on @Smokeandmirrorsmovie 

As I’m typing I received messages praising The Quest Trilogy and Lost Heart aka Bigfoot, UFO’s and Jesus. Last week I had a nice note on MAN’S BEST FRIEND. These films are really helping people and that is truly priceless. If the films aren’t your cup of tea I understand, although there are many different flavors to choose from. But try something outside your norm and give it a chance. I’ve found so many gems and seldom are they the most advertised films.

I’m going to wrap this up and I might even work on some script writing for a few. I want you all to stay safe, warm (especially those being hit by the big storm) and keeping working to make 2022’s kick off great! I’m going to go get a fire kicking in the office and prepare for a productive week ahead. Maybe another coffee fill up although it is close to noon. I switch to water or tea usually in the afternoon.

Be good to one another!

DJ


Getting After That ‘TO DO’ in 2022!

We have all made that move into 2022 and for most of us it means just wanting the new year to be a bit smoother than the previous. This new world of social distancing and masks comes on top a world that was already distancing via technology. I see more young people who’s interactions are on headsets only or choosing to shotgun social media posts versus socializing in person with friends. With only so many hours in the day and days in the week social media has allowed some people to stay in touch that normally would not have that option. Also for the elderly and those lacking mobility it can help make them feel connected to the world. I had a fan club for many years ran by a kind woman “Pepper” in a wheelchair. But she also got out and about as she often appeared at premieres. She became fans of many of the fine actors in our troupe and loved to do interviews and reviews. After a while she was given the VIP treatment at CDI events. To be fair I have to say that she was first the Terence Knox fan club president. I went off topic a tad but I think what I was trying to say was that while technology can make many things easier it can also rob you of some in-person interaction. I’m happy that while we still use technology we also make the time to meet around the table. Many great things have been hatched first as ideas and later as operations around the table. So in the new year don’t let technology steal all your personal interactions. Spend time with and appreciate one another. Even with the amount of face-to-face meetings I have I still miss many people. During the 1st Covid lockdown I got in the habit of picking up the phone everyday and calling someone to catch up. Daily laughter really helped the situation.

2021 set many good things in motion. Seeds were planted and in 2022 we harvest. A lot of casting and development work finally allowed us to film our WW2 home front Christmas drama, SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA in November 2021. It is now in post, our editor just finished marrying the audio and visual together. Model building in Canada is also underway and just as a nice tease here is a text I got from our editor on Friday –

Been through all the footage now. Really good performances…excited and this weekend we’re going to really get going.” – N. Nose

And we are going – strong. We’ve been rolling still photos out and we’re about to get a Behind the scenes video with Adam Towner. Following that we’ll be cutting our first teaser trailer. We are all very excited about this film and so stay up to date on all the developments.

Just prior to the Algona shoot we finished, premiered and have done a few regional theatrical runs with BEST YEARS GONE. This film was really amazing to watch play in the theaters. So much laughter and you could feel the room when the drama hit. When I was going to do that film and play the Gil role many questioned if you could sell him a protagonist. Like you’ve heard – we are all the protagonist of our own life drama. Even the bad guy or antagonist often looks at themselves as the hero. Either way with the good direction by Shane Hagedorn and the amazing cast, it all works. I’m awaiting the streets days for release from our distributor and want these dates before we do a PR release. But I do have the DVD/streaming poster art to share.

I hope that during this cold months whereas people turn to the storyTV to help pass the time – you will sit a spell and watch a few tribe CDI projects. The Quest Trilogy (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) have been getting a nice push over the holidays. I did my traditional watch and I really enjoyed it. It is an amazing amount of work in three feature films. The Yuma DESERT stripes. WILD FAITH continues to do very well climbing to almost 5.5 million on Encourage TV and countless millions worldwide.

These numbers are helping our endeavors to launch the TV spin off. WILD FAITH: Hastings will be launching a development FB site for fans to follow the development from an official source. I will say with our new pitch deck things are looking good. I’ve had several good talks with interested parties but it is about creative control. If you want to repeat success you can’t change too much. I will say that fans of the film will be fans of the TV series. The same magic is there. We will know in a few months if that series will go this year or have to be pushed into 2023. If that happens a second feature film will go up in the 2nd half 2022. We plan to shoot a funny, cool “1975 American Graffiti” in the Spring in Michigan. The name of the film is…we have a logo title being worked on so you’ll have to wait. Also we are in active development on the 1st CDI animated feature. This is another extremely exciting project for me and something we’ll talk about more as it comes together.

Goals for 2022 – Stay Healthy. Stay and Promote Happiness. Create meaningful art

This morning started with a wonderful breakfast sandwich thanks to our hens. The hazelnut coffee is still hot and I’m gonna go get a refill. I need to look at fixing a few of the axes. We had a day of wood chopping on a very cold day and we loosened a few axe heads and splintered a hickory handle. So repair and replacements are needed. I’m going to do some screenplay writing while watching the LIONS. It’s their last game of the season and I hope we get a win. I hope everyone has a good week ahead. I’m just trying to leave 2022 closer to the present. It is hard to try and look ahead too far with so many uncertainties looming. But at the same time it’s my job to try and look ahead. I’ve found a good balance of not focusing too much on what I cannot control. Have faith. Having faith in your path can also give you comfort. I feel like I’m doing what I was suppose to do and that is a blessing.

Have a great week!

DJ


NEW YEAR 2022 In Focus

I’m sipping my hazelnut coffee and also working with a Santa gift which happen to be reading glasses with blue-blocker to reduce eye strain. I think my eyes get a little worse on me every few years but these glasses seem to really help. I can’t attest to long-term. Since the Christmas week of activities we’ve gotten a nice white snowstorm. Our New Year’s Eve included an Uber-cozy eve with a sip at Midnight but bed shortly after that. I did not enter 2022 with any hangover or dehydration. I’m not into the dance party thing unless you count my listening/air MC at home to Beastie Boys or Public Enemy. I recently was in Iowa with a circus full of people and so I’ve enjoyed the slower, quieter pace of getting things done. 2021 had myself and CDI being very productive and we’re looking to do more of the same in 2022. I have to note turning on the TV and seeing Darby Hinton in a Christmas Hallmark film something with mistletoe in the title. Back to our updates:)

In retrospect and in no order some of the good, bad and ugly of 2021. The first is the sad loss of many good friends and family during the past year. That is something that I hope we don’t heavily repeat. And 2021 went out with the passing of Betty White at 99. I love all the fan flair especially the one claiming she sacrificed herself taking 2021 with her. She reminds me a bit of Rance Howard (RIP friend/costar) who worked right up until he died. Same with Bill McKinney and many more artists I’m sure. Age will continue to give you a unique perspective through your entire journey. But growing old can be a privilege.

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – Filming this safely in 2021 was a major highlight. This highly ambitious home front drama was many years in the making. It is in the wonderfully creative hands of our editor and I’m excited to see the scenes come together. I’ve almost got the business all caught up and we’ll be putting some advance promo together. From there we’ll enter into some additional marketing/product talks with some of our sponsors and those coming on board. In Canada we have model building underway. I’m just so happy that we have all these puzzle pieces and can start to assemble. It is going to be amazing since all the artists gave everything they had. We’ve been releasing stills on our Facebook page so follow along.

BEST YEARS GONE (BYG) – This breath of fresh air which we filmed between the 1st and 2nd Covid lockdown of 2020. Shane Hagedorn and I shared a motto to have fun while filming. Everyone had been kept uncertain and in self-isolation and smiles and laughter were much needed. This film might be just what many people need. The humorous abilities of the CDI Tribe can be seen in several CDI films including strong moments in WILD FAITH and LOST HEART but BYG really takes it to another level. Adapted by yours truly from the book HOPE FROM HEAVEN by Karl Manke. http://www.karlmanke.com if you want to explore his works. I think another collaboration is on the horizon but right now we are discussing which book to bring to the screen. Any favorites? Lastly, I’m hearing that the film has been chosen as a participant in a London-based festival. That PR will be forthcoming once I get more info from our director Mr. Hagedorn.

Speaking of films that sprang from books – BESTSELLER is finally getting a home video release this year. The book written by Christopher Knight is a twisted tale of a tormented literary agent played by Melissa Anschutz. CDI was the producing entity and I’m happy that our existing relationship could give this film the deserved send off. In May the film will be ready for home video audiences and will widen the release in September likely to hit the prime October window for thrillers. This film is beautifully shot and showcases Michigan’s beauty. I’m excited to see new poster art and trailer for the home video release. I would love to turn another Chris Knight story into a film. We shall see…rumor is he also writes under another name also…

BEST YEARS GONE and BESTSELLER are not the only films rolling out in 2022. SMOKE & MIRRORS short just had a final tweak and is being prepped for a few fun festivals. The CDI/Red, White and Blue Project documentary film FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH just finished last week. Directed by Curran Jacobs, edited by Adam Towner, mostly shot by DP Dan Chipman – this feature length doc is being hailed as the best of its kind by wrestling historians. I’m proud to have been involved producing on this wonderful piece of history that was in danger of fading, lost to the past. That will not be the case after this film. Thank you to all the interview participates who made this work so special. We cannot wait to show the world this entertaining and informative film. We are looking at doing another documentary film in 2022 stay tune.

BIGFOOT, UFO’S & JESUS – Our inspirational film has found a great main stream audience under the alternate title by which LOST HEART appears on some platforms. Here is the amazing Josh Perry inviting you to watch. If you did not you should. Click below to watch on FB – I hope my linking here works.

https://fb.watch/ahsJaSdsrg/

WRAP UP

2021 had us filming music videos, releasing into theaters, traveling to Algona, Iowa and more. As noted earlier some friends and family like CDI’s Pappy won’t be traveling with us anymore. They are RIP and not dealing with the waves of life. These deaths, like the childhood neighbor remind us of the precious value of time. Spend time in good company and working towards goals that mean something to you. Life is short so commit to making steps towards whatever your creative endeavor is.

If you want to hear about our new year development we discuss that quite a bit in the previous few blogs. I want to film WILD FAITH: HASTINGS and while this endeavor is mighty we’ve been chopping away at it. Giddy up. A new CDI animated feature, a new dramedy, sequels and more in development as we enter this new year. I need to look over the CDI website and see where that needs to be updated. I want to once over the FB pages and see where I can enhance. End-of-year taxes for the projects is at hand but I have the best team ever for all that. I will spend the month also finishing the script I’m working on now. I’m in talks with a few projects to script write in Feb which is when we’ll also pull the business together on the first spring CDI film. I’m here in the 2022 and ready to march so put down the Christmas cookies and party hats it’s time to get after it.

Have a great first week of 2022!

DJ


Day After Christmas Reflections

I’m back in my chair with my laptop sipping hazelnut coffee and watching the LIONS football. For the non-Michigan, USA folks, the Detroit LIONS are the pro-Michigan football team. As a young child I had a Lions helmet and I recall many holidays and family get-togethers with people yelling and swearing at the TV. Our Lions have not had the best record. They are tough and often put up a good fight usually only to defeat themselves via errors. I’ve had several relatives go to their grave awaiting that magic season. The Lions have a new coach and have been playing tough but also losing. They won their first game two weeks back and it was like a Christmas miracle. They liked the taste of that and won their next game in an upset and now they are playing again. I guess I’m just saying they are looking better. I will always be a Lions fan just like I’m a Michigander through and through.

This morning I could not get the ye ole’ blog done since we had an early Christmas gathering at my dad’s house. We ended up having four smaller Christmas get togethers and I think they all went very well. It was easier and more enjoyable versus trying to shove it all in together. I’m not a clothes shopper since high school save maybe the jacket or hat I don’t need but end up getting. So the reason my socks and underwear don’t look like Swiss cheese is because of loving family. The occasional flannel, henley or sweatpants also via loved ones. I will wear something until it is see through and 1/10th the original thread count.

I don’t ask for much and actually enjoy finding gifts that suit people. This year found me slightly behind with SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA) dropping me right into the holidays. I still have a few wrap up things with that film but for the most part now we are all into post-production. The FX work is starting in Canada and our editor in Boston is ordering things. First talks have happened with our composer and sound designer Tricky T. The Tricky T has been finishing another project for us which is FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH. This amazing doc is being hailed as one of the best on the subject matter. Dennis (Tricky T) has been mixing all the audio elements and putting it all in surround sound. Both these projects will see the first showings in 2022. But let’s make it three – our SMOKE & MIRRORS underwent a final fix just a week ago and this comedic horror short will be making its festival run and release in 2022. We had intended to release in 2021 but with the needed correction and the other projects we decided to wait. I’m looking forward to all these moving down the line. SNIA will likely only be seen by the folks in Algona theatrically as a premiere in Dec 2022 if all goes smooth on post. The VFX is the most challenging aspect and we’ll see how the timeline shakes out but we have great people working it.

SNIA has started to release still photos and as I said last week I’ll be looking to put a behind-the-scenes video and a teaser into production first of the year 2022. Also in 2022 will be the home video release of BEST YEARS GONE. We are being asked about more theatrical showings which might happen and we’ll do a few festivals for fun. The thriller BESTSELLER has it’s home video campaign ahead. It’s looking like 5/31/22 for digital transactional and 9/1/22 for TV/Cable and subscription and ad based video-on-demand. I’m thinking BEST YEARS GONE will be something close to that maybe staggered a month. I will know more soon.

Speaking of 2022 – This week I have a few sit more downs and send outs on our other CDI films. Our distributor is running some good promos on The Quest Trilogy and we’ll be doing one soon for WILD FAITH and possible WICKED SPRING for a western/1800’s film push in the new year. I’m also wanting to have some real conclusive meetings on WILD FAITH: HASTINGS. I think we were ahead of the curve on the western revival and we are positioned well to continue the roll that WILD FAITH has started.

Also I’ve got a good start on a new script (TAGLINE: American Graffiti 1975) that is being custom built for our troupe and to build on some of the good business we’ve started. This film will shoot in Michigan and likely go up in the Spring (March/April) and at that time we’ll have a better look at the playing field for the WILD FAITH: Hastings. If that is lagging another feature will go up 2nd half of 2022. I’m really prepping to have a good year and with a good wind we’ll launch these projects.

I’m going to go hunt up some holiday left overs and take care of a few gifts. Thank you to everyone who reached out with a holiday greeting. Cheers! I have a buddy or two stopping by later to catch up. I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday. It really was holiday season and right now with the sun shining outside, everything right now just feels good.

Have a great week and I’ll see you next year (next week):)

DJ


DEC 19th HOLIDAY UPDATES!

Good morning from snowy Michigan. We just recently went from unseasonal highs to very cold lows. On the nice days we were able to put up a few Christmas lights and decorations and also I got yard things stored for the winter. The chickens we have (4) seem to be doing better with the cold but that is their breed and the new coop. They are still putting out several eggs a day and so that has continued to be enjoyable. We just passed the full moon and also had our first family get together. An abundance of food, laughter and watching the niece and nephew full of Christmas joy. My brother and I always had a very special Christmas’ time thanks to our parents. But it was also all the fun of snow forts, sledding and such. I loved having my little brother and our neighborhood full of friends for all the wintertime activities. This week I am sad that we have to attend the visitation for one of the neighbors I knew from age 5 on. It was not Covid but the other C and it was unexpected and happened fast. It sat heavy on me for a few days but made me realize again that time is precious. Make sure you are doing what you love or moving in that direction. Let’s talk about some of the things I love – movies.

BESTSELLER, our Christopher Knight thriller was turned into an intense film that will finally in early 2022 get a full home video release. Also BEST YEARS GONE has enjoyed several theatrical runs and is being prepped for our worldwide home video release. We still might do a theatrical run on the east and west side of the state but we will see. I do plan on releasing the distributor’s release poster this week with some info on home video release dates. Just maybe I should advance release here. By the way I want to welcome all the new readers from several countries. Below is just a few examples of where our readers from last week are from. I do love how technology allows the world to be a smaller place.

It’s a small world after all

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA) – This amazing film is now in post-production and the buzz has been worldwide. Here is a piece of PR from just the other day.

https://www.messengernews.net/life/local-lifestyle/2021/12/algona-goes-hollywood/

The clean up after production is almost done. Always one more TO DO that wants to pop up. But with all this work settling it has allowed me to start to handle end-of-the-year business on other fronts. We also will start rolling still photos out as well. They are absolutely beautiful – Daniel G. Chipman did a great job capturing these moments. We will start dripping these out and in the new year I will look into the first teaser videos both “making of” and a teaser trailer. We will start dripping the stills onto the SNIA Facebook page so find us and follow along.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the documentary film has been in post-production with Dennis Therrian cleaning up the narration, dialog and mixing the film. I know our director Curran Jacobs is very excited to reveal this historic piece that will be referenced to for many years ahead. This weekend a full trailer was being worked on although I really do LOVE the teaser trailer. It will release in 2022 – please stand by.

SMOKE & MIRRORS (Short) – One small spelling correction and this will be DONE. We are going to enter a few festivals with it for the Halloween 2022 season. I’ve done some great writing on the feature script that we’ll put into motion here in the future. Nathaniel Nose was brilliant in his directing and editing once again. David Gries is amazing as the lead and Melissa Anschutz throws down a ‘spooky’ and highly memorable performance. Again I love the artists I get to work with.

LOOKING AHEAD – I enjoyed a conversation I had with another production company owner recently. It is always trying to look and plan ahead with development and production. Many of the younger artists they have lots of enthusiasm for the fun parts of what we do and no patience for the most important parts of what we do. Development from concept can easily take 2+ years. If you have a script maybe 12-18 months but again it is all about financing and funding. So there is creative and business development and they happen often side by side – but a script is needed for funding.

I’m well into the first act of the new screenplay with is “A 1975 American Graffiti” with a few strong comedy influences. I will be done with the screenplay by the end of Jan. 2022 and we’ll start pulling on interested parties. I have not had a lot of time to write with the holidays and the work on the other films, but what has been written is really flowing. This is looking to shoot in the Spring here in Michigan.

Also we’ve been updating and revamping the WILD FAITH: Hastings TV show materials. For the first quarter of 2022 we will see if we can get everything to line up and if so we will shoot season 1 in the back half of 2022. If things don’t line up we will have to push it into 2023 and we’ll do another feature (or two) in the back half of 2022. I love the extended 8 shows that deepen the character development of many of the beloved characters.

I’ve got a few other scripts writing offers I’m still negotiating on and my thoughts often drift to advantages of representation, but I just too busy to fully address. So when I’m this busy it makes me question the need for representation at this point but in the right areas it just might help. Acting-wise I do entertain offers when they come in but the ones that crossed my desk this year I politely had to pass on. Some were because of schedule but others just didn’t excite me to action. I will say that if you want to approach/land true artists who can really bring something special to your world/story you need to weave a good pitch with good materials and the script needs to be really up to snuff.

I want to thank those who have responded to the full Encourage TV ad for THE QUEST TRILOGY. I think people are slowly starting to understand that the story extends over three feature films. People who watched part 2 Chasing the Star without any reference of part 1 Forty Nights – are not getting the full and proper experience. There are things that tie all three films together and so I do hope you all can watch the trilogy this holiday season. Also take some time to enjoy the other CDI films. After you can go to each film’s http://www.imdb.com page VOTE and let us know your thoughts on the films.

I hear that in early 2022 our distributor will be doing a push on their westerns. I think we’re going to do a promo for WILD FAITH and WICKED SPRING. It will be a great time to push the TV series also. We’re also running some of the other older CDI titles by the distributor. I think we’ll see a new release campaign for some of CDI’s oldies but goodies.

I’m going to wrap this up and try to get a few things done today. I enjoy my time with all of you and these blogs help me prep and prepare for the week ahead. I hope as you all start having your own holiday gatherings that you stay safe in your travels. Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas and onward towards the new year!

DJ


Tis the Season: surviving, striving, thriving and creating

Welcome new readers from Bulgaria, Netherlands and more. Our viewership has been growing in great numbers. Thank you to all the new people stopping in to visit. I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and reflecting on a busy week. Maybe 2022 will be the year of the coffee sponsor. Maybe I’ll start a coffee review section? My thoughts are with all those dealing with the terrible tornado damage in the South. We had high winds in Michigan but it seems once again the surrounding Great Lakes helped us to avoid any major storms. I’m under a week before our first Christmas gathering and a week after that is Christmas Eve/day. I’ve loved having the Christmas tree and the festival vibe about as I tried to play catch up from our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA) film shoot. Let’s talk about that-

SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA

I’ve almost got everything caught up on this project. Final catering, port-a-johns and more – the budget dwindles but as we move towards zero the film will get closer to being complete. The drive has arrived to our editor and the supply check for the model building was also sent off. Our VFX team from THE CHRIST SLAYER (part 3 of The Quest Trilogy) will bring some exciting work to our feature. Once we get past the clean up phase from principal photography we’ll move into promotion. Our DP Dan Chipman is color correcting the first batch of photos. I’ve only released one still previously featuring one of our amazing period vehicles at one of our amazing locations. It was the car driving down the “tunnel of trees” so here is that same picture now color corrected. We also have a logo that will adorn the upcoming stills. Here is an example of a color corrected still from the actual film.

As we move down the road of post production we plan to start releasing stills and also will work on both a BTS (beyond the scenes) video and a teaser trailer. This year we’ll continue to have some great announcements for all of you.

In the meantime enjoy the Christmas season. Recently Melissa Anschutz and I did a promo for our distributor’s EncourageTV that allows people to watch our films for free whereas we get paid by ads. So if you don’t mind the ads take a watch for free. Click below to see the ad and please do help make The Quest Trilogy a holiday tradition. All three tell a greater story and I hope your families enjoy the experience watching FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. If you watch/subscribe to ENCOURAGETV please do travel over to the film pages on http://www.imdb.com vote and leave us your thoughts on the trilogy.

https://www.facebook.com/BMGEncourageTV/videos/230655172526254

Once you watch the trilogy feel free to watch the other CDI films including our recent LOST HEART or BIGFOOT, UFO’S and JESUS which is really doing well for us.

BEST YEARS GONE and BESTSELLER will both be getting a home video launch in the near year. Shane Hagedorn our BYG director has been selecting a few comedy festivals to submit us. The thriller BESTSELLER had a theatrical premiere run but now will see a new campaign push from our distributors general audience label DESKPOP ENTERTAINMENT. I should have those dates soon plus we’ll be releasing the new DVD/Poster art for BYG. More on these dates very soon and we might have word on a few other CDI films getting a new push. Some have never really enjoyed a streaming release. So in our last meeting with our distributor we discussed several of these titles. What ones would you love to see come back strong to the marketplace?

2022 LOOKING AHEAD

So I’ve spent some good time contemplating, meditating and focusing on the future CDI endeavors. We are planning a Spring feature to shoot in the March/April timeframe. I’m not yet ready to talk about the project but this one would be a Michigan shoot. I’ve also been working on the rewrite of the OF SMOKE & MIRRORS the feature length version of SMOKE & MIRRORS. This cool turn of the century short assembled from a commercial project will get some festival release in 2022. I would like to shoot the feature at the end of 2022 or early 2023 pending our schedule. In that back half of the year we’re working hard to launch the WILD FAITH: Hastings TV series. It would bring 8 more ongoing stories of some of the endearing characters audiences met in the feature. Tens of millions of fans can’t be wrong. I just need to make the best deal for the project. Saying yes to something that ultimately could hurt the story is not what we want to do. How many Michigan, 1800’s expert executives are there in Hollywood? Exactly my point. Script notes should come from a sincere place not just someone trying to contribute. Sometimes the best thing you can do is NOT contribute. Anyway, we have some great meetings ahead on this TV series.

We’ll be watching the surround sound mixed version of FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH very soon. It has been getting the clean up and mix treatment from our post audio master Tricky T also known as Dennis Therrian. We are looking at doing another documentary film in 2022 as well as a CDI animated feature film. Overall 2022 will be a busy year as is every year. This year has been a year of wins and losses. Several of the losses come from friends and loved ones no longer with us, no longer to struggle in the world. Our time here is beautiful, wonderful and it moves at a good clip. It all makes me more determined and appreciative of my path. I love being an artist and storyteller. I feel as I will continue to do so until I become the sad news, no longer surviving, striving, thriving and creating. Keep doing you and never give up your dreams. With hardworking, patience and persistence you will make your mark.

Coffee Cheers!

DJ


Kung Fu, Respect and Loyalty. The Tribe Looks Ahead to 2022!

I’m sitting and sipping hazelnut coffee while admiring the Christmas tree from last week’s harvest. I just realized when cleaning out my email messages that I missed a Christmas event/party I had planned to attend. DOH! I’m finally well-rested and attacking my TO DO’s with strength. It took a good part of a week to get caught up on my rest. I got most of the production totes stored and everyday we work hard to tie up the production loose ends from our previous SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA) film shoot. This week will also be full but I hope to get some more winterizing done. Several things in the yard need to get put away for winter. One of the nice refreshing things from last week was spending an afternoon with my dad and meeting my cousin for lunch. We meet so that I can pick up venison which is one of the main meats I eat. I actually made some venison steak chili yesterday that turned out great. My cousin and his boys are avid hunters. I enjoy nature and have hunted but I don’t find enjoyment in it. It is a very lean meat and healthy, something that the midwest hunters have enjoyed forever. 

As we finish all the wrap up business on SNIA we’re prepping for post. One of the production drives have landed with the editor. We have established a production flow between editor and director. Our DP is doing a first batch of stills to help establish the color palette. He’ll be working with our director and editor in finding certain shots. Meanwhile a few VFX pick ups need to be looked at for a really cool sequence in the film. Dennis Therrian is being prepped on the film as he’ll be doing our sound design and composing our film’s score. Some VFX model work will begin soon in Canada with one of our amazing artists. Anyway the course for the film is being set and I’m excited for everyone to start looking at it. 

At CDI we’ve been looking ahead to the future. I’ve been working on the next script for ‘OF SMOKE & MIRRORS‘ my working title on the reworking of the feature script. A short film SMOKE & MIRRORS was finished just as we started filming SNIA. A wonderful commercial piece that we used to do a proof of concept short. I think it does just that- gives a great look at what the full feature will be like. Nathaniel Nose directed the short and he is who we’re eyeing for the feature. The script is the key to everything. This will be a late 2022 or early 2023 shoot from my best estimates. 

WILD FAITH: HASTINGS – For those who have seen the feature film “Wild Faith” you’ve been treated to a story for the whole family. Inspirational without preachy just good lessons from a more simple time. Now we have the first season (8 shows) ready to film. It will be part of several talks I will have in the coming weeks. The key with this is CREATIVE CONTROL. We are being selective at how we finance this property so we don’t have strings that will hamper the integrity of it. It will happen and our perfect timeline would be the second half of 2022. 

The Spring is always an exciting time coming out of winter. We’ll be doing a feature or two this first half of 2022. We’ve been doing a heavy evaluation of properties and some of these will be included in my distribution talks ahead. But I really think I’ve landed on the right property. It will showcase all your favorite CDI troupe in a great story. 

As a side note – this previous news made me think of a recent discussion. The story/script is the most important part of the process. For many filmmakers this is just an afterthought. We need a script and some actors and we’ll get to shoot all this cool stuff. CDI evolved in part because of how poor the scripts/stories were out there. I say this 100% from an actors perspective. That is why I’m always floored by the actors who will emotionally commit before reading a script/story. Anyone can be excited from a good pitch but having that translated to a tightly woven script is another thing. I know many actors who only read their parts and that too is having ‘blinders’ on. I also have told actor friends that you can glean information about their characters sometimes from what other characters say about them. EXAMPLE: You might find out your character has a wife, children or a pet from other character’s dialog. Perhaps gossip reveals that a character previously worked construction before their white collar job, all in the script. The whole story needs to be absorbed from the outside and the inside- internally and externally.

So perhaps a good rule of thumb is A) Evaluate content fully, quietly B) Don’t sign on to anything without reading the entire story and vet the production’s reputation C) Once attached learn the entire story before focusing on just your role’s world/words – important information might exist within the script.

Just my two cents from my experiences. There is a great word EXPERIENCE. 
The great GOOD, BAD and UGLY as I like to call it. The goal is to take this accumulated knowledge (Remember Bruce Lee’s – the best way to learn a technique is to get hit by it) EXPERIENCE and translate it and apply it to your situations allowing it to become WISDOM. Now I’ve had my fill over the recent years from some individuals severely lacking experience in certain areas. Yet that want to present from a point of assured confidence that dances in arrogance. Arrogance usually follows someone who has experienced and learned a little yet thinks it gives them license to talk down to someone. A teacher who forgets that he is also a student will be humbled.

From my associates in business I get many complaints about the youth in several areas. (never their use of technology) But I always point out that most of us who have found some success have done so with the assistance of good mentors. For some that starts with a father but not for everyone. It is those special people who come in your life and help shape you. I have had a handful of these people and I’m happy that I recognized by lack and their gain. I emptied my cup and showed patience, listening and learning. I am fond of the old KUNG FU (David Carradine classic) TV show where all the boys have gathered at the Shaolin Temple. They wait and are being watched. Each day they are asked to go home and as time advances and patience is lost – most leave. In the rain those few who remained seem to have the potential for sincere growth. They are invited into the hospitality chamber and served tea. The unmindful who gives into their urges and drinks immediately are asked to “please go home” – shocked the few get up to leave. One is stopped – “Not you, please sit.” When asked why he did not drink he responds that he was respecting the opportunity. He was waiting to drink- being mindful and appreciative of being there. My soccer player/coach, martial arts lifelong student and teacher and a camp counselor all influence how I live. To the frustrated elders know you can influence and guide the youth. To the youth, empty your cup of your perceived absolutes and learn. The journey is a two way street and the glue that binds it all together is RESPECT and LOYALTY. The latter cannot be taught save by example. Those few who observed loyalty and the benefits of the practice and decide to give in to this practice. It is hard for many to give up selfish ambitions mixed with a lack of patience – it often leads to isolation, frustration and hardship that lasts until mindsets change.

Getting deep, Shaolin Monks, kung fu and drinking cups…What? What?” – Gil Gilles

BEST YEARS GONE has recently finished a second run in Lansing, MI over the Thanksgiving week. We might explore a Detroit area and Grand Rapids showing. Also we’re exploring a few key festivals mainly based on places we would like to visit. I’m in hopes that after my next conversation with our distributor that I’ll have some updated info on our home video release. I’m glad that the films are being met with enjoyment and laughs. I loved one review that likened it to STEP BROTHERS and JOE DIRT which I love Step Brothers but Joe…okay I see it:)

THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer)- is now in season with the passing of Thanksgiving. Our distributor BMG wanted myself and Melissa Anschutz to do a promo inviting folks to subscribe to Encourage TV and watch. We were going to use a few places in Algona, Iowa as the back drop when filming but got too busy. We were going to shoot something at the office by the wood stove but decided we might save that for WILD FAITH promo. We shot in front of the Christmas tree, 3 takes- all funny and DONE. While doing some work last week I did play Forty Nights in the background. It was fun to watch and recall all the shooting we did in the deserts outside Yuma, AZ. Take a watch on all three and make it part of your holiday tradition.

I could rattle on about watching all the CDI films…but I’m sure you will get there in your own time as the nights grow longer and the outside colder. A good night to light a candle or fire and watch a good story unfold. I’ve got some yard clean up and some holiday shopping to do so I’m gonna wrap this up here. It was a pleasure to spend this time with you. Until next week. Be good to one another.

DJ  




AND that’s a Wrap on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA!

Well, well, well – we are an official wrap on SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee trying to chase away the cobwebs. It has been several weeks of less than perfect sleep. During production you always have so much on your mind. Always trying to look ahead and anticipate issues and needs. Lines. As an actor you are always keeping those in your head until they become living moments on film. I’m happy to say that Col Lodell is wrapped. The high and tight haircut and sharp uniform can now be relaxed and retired. Last night we finished filming in the woods around WILD HAVEN. It was a great joy to have everyone together and to bring the ship in. Now we’re going to prep the camp to break in the morning. It will take a few weeks to get all the business finished. The puzzle will begin to be rough assembled. The footage will be prepped for the edit. What an adventure. One for the books to be sure.

I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. I’ll have to start to prep for winter and get some of the yard stuff stowed in advance of that snowy white stuff. We are having a little Thanksgiving at our house and I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m thankful that we all safely made it through our shoot. I’m thankful for the great group of artists we worked with on both sides of the camera. I’m thankful that we could capture this story so that it will not disappear, lost in time.

I’m not 100% sure what is next but we have many irons in the fire. I’m looking forward to doing some more writing in the coming weeks. Just me, my coffee and my imagination. I would love to talk more in depth but right now I need to let it all seep in and marinate. I will be back to writing on Sundays again starting next week. I’m sure I will have a lot more to reflect upon at that time. Right now I need to go fill the coffee cup and start to pack up my stuff.

BEST YEARS GONE will be playing on Lansing, MI at the Celebration Cinemas the week around Thanksgiving. If you haven’y yet watched the film and live in the area, please do.

Until we speak again next week – be safe.

DJ


First Week on “Silent Night in Algona” Completed!

Teaser poster by Dean Teaster

Good morning from WILD HAVEN in Algona, Iowa! I want to thank you all for understanding my move to Saturdays for our little chat and update. I’m waiting on the coffee maker to kick out our Kona Blend Coffee which has to have a splash of Hazelnut for good measure. I will try to brainstorm some of the top highlights of mine from the week. It will also paint a nice picture of the amazing endeavor we are undertaking.

  1. Our friends at Heritage Park made the first four days enjoyable and productive. Also thank you to the Winnebago folks for allowing us to store our vehicles in their garages. We were thankful to Robert Bradley who immediately knew how to start and drive many of these older clutch vehicles. But they looked pretty amazing on camera so again thank you to these owners helping us capture history.
  2. Our staging area/base camp (Ranger Station) is quite the sight to see with all the period clothes, props and period vehicles. Our artists in these departments are doing such an incredible job. I have loved seeing the civilian clothes and the military and PW outfits. The job is not easy under any circumstances but this film challenges them to give their very best. We appreciate them so much.
  3. It was so great to reunite with some great actor friends that I’ve not seen in a good while. Charles Powell and I worked together on “The 8th Plague” and later CDI’s “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town,” makes his return to the CDI Tribe with a powerful role. Charles was quiet and polite until it came time for ACTION! David Reardon (MBF) also returns with a brilliant character that will surely thrill his fans. Garry Nation came ready to play and it’s always fun to see him work. We actually have some scenes together in the days ahead.
  4. Today MSU plays football again and we’re looking for another win. Speaking of MSU, I’m excited to have Carl Gilliard, a fellow MSU alumni with our cast. He and I have some great scenes together. I plan to do a little PR shoutout to share around the MSU news outlets. Go Green!
  5. The German actors all hit the scene and WOW! We have such a great group of actors overall but these German’s help tell a good amount of our story. They were really all so appreciative of the script and are here because of the story. I got to have a short chat with all of them. I was really taken by our PW antagonist Ben Schnau who’s isolating on-set process resembles some of my own process when on a shoot day. When I have intense work to do on camera I tend to get quiet and lost in myself/my character. I have had fellow actors be quite shocked to find me very personable off set. It’s because I always have so much going through my head either as talent or as a producer. But catch me at the fort for an informal meeting and you get a very different DJ.
  6. I’m so happy with our young lead ‘Samuel’ in from Texas. He found our midwest cold bitter but he’s getting thicker ‘midwest’ blood now. It’s a joy to watch someone at that age who is getting to ‘make believe’ on such a grand scale. At his age we had couch cushions and our imaginations. His parents were both actors at one time and his mother Stephanie, still acting, will be participating on this story as well.
  7. Speaking of mother and sons, we have my brother from another mother Josh Perry in with his momma Connie. We are so excited to have Josh back again with us and this role will be a challenge to see him lean into his anger. I know he will do a great job and I’m excited for the cast and crew who haven’t worked with him to be given that opportunity.
  8. The excitement and assistance of the community has been wonderful. The other day we had to stop at the Dollar General which also serves as a mail center and as a flatbed went by with our troop transport truck everyone rushed to the windows to watch. This story is this area’s history and once we finish this the story, the event will never be forgotten.
  9. On Sat the 13th on our day off we are doing a specially sponsored Smithfield Foods BBQ and a screening of BEST YEARS GONE in the local theater. A great thank you to our hard working cast and crew.
  10. We had a couple of VIP guests from our on-going distribution company visit. They loved seeing everything in action and the visit gives them an idea of the hard work that goes into the films they market. It makes the circle stronger and allows us to more easily tell these stories.

Speaking on the BEST YEARS GONE we have another Lansing, MI theatrical run at Celebration Cinema Lansing starting Nov 24th – 28th so people returning home for Thanksgiving can catch the movie. We were laughing putting together some promo – “Funniest Movie since Earnest Goes to Camp” – the film is funny and heartfelt. So far audiences have enjoyed the film theatrically and in a few months it will release worldwide. I’m going to wrap it up here as we have a tech scout at a few locations for next week. For those who don’t know what that is – you are not only looking at where to film a scene but where to stage a small army. I look forward to sharing more reports with you next Sat. Thank you for your support and know we are working to capture the powerful scenes so that next year we will have another great CDI release for you.

(One of the locations for the forthcoming week)

Be kind to one another.

DJ


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