‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA,’ Trailer and Feature Updates, BEST YEARS GONE, BESTSELLER and more…Happy April and I’m NOT Fooling!
HELLO APRIL. I want to welcome all the new readers from Bulgaria, New Zealand, UK and Pakistan. I’m sipping on some hazelnut coffee. I wonder what the morning drink is for all of you out there? I know I LOVED the South Indian coffee in Otty, India when filming there. Magnifico- DING! Was the main Philippine coffee I drank over there. It is that morning juice that gets everything going. We are still acclimating the dogs together so we have alternating outdoor potty and feeding in the morning. We had a dust of snow here and there but Spring is trying to hit. I did get some yard clean up done this week including sinking a new post for the guide rope that spans across the bridge. I’ve been wanting to do a new patio and a privacy fence but the wood costs have me paused. I’m watching Premiere League soccer as I’m typing. I have my next indoor soccer match Tuesday as we prepare for outdoor soccer. I also think the Sunday flea markets start next week. I love seeking props and wardrobe. Yesterday I found a great 70’s leather vest that just might make it into HOT ROD LOVE.
HOT ROD LOVE! Have you heard of it? It is the next CDI project we’ve pulling together. It is a great 70’s story that examines several relationships. It has many things to say but does so in a few comedic way. During all these turbulent times of Covid, war and such CDI has managed to keep telling their stories. It is like the band on the Titanic or the lone cello player in the streets of war torn Ukraine. ART gives hopes and peace in a trying situation. Where so many things that are normal were interrupted by the chaos of Covid, we were blessed enough to be able to film BEST YEARS GONE, now preparing for a July 5th home video kick off. It was previously June but they pushed it by a month which was just fine. I want to really hit some fun PR over the post-July 4th event – chill and watch BEST YEARS GONE. DVD and digital purchase is first followed by TV/broadcast and digital rental in Sept.
Before that film hits we’re really enjoying the push that the dark thriller BESTSELLER is getting. It releases on DVD and digital purchase on May 31st and TV/Broadcast and digital rental in Sept. This film highly deserves the push it is now getting and I think audiences worldwide will really enjoy it. We are releasing new stills and updates weekly on our Facebook Page #BESTSELLERMOVIE
A few festivals are being explored whereas BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS might just attend. SMOKE & MIRRORS? Also BEST YEARS GONE is up for ‘Best Comedy’ at the BareBones International Film & Music Festival. Festivals, aside from the major 4-5 don’t do anything major for buyers/licensors but they are a good way for a creative team to take a few beats and enjoy the moment together. I always have something in motion so even when we get good news on one endeavor I often move right to helping an underperforming endeavor. I have to stop and appreciate the moments of victory. I feel that I have some of the best, most creative people working with me at CDI. I would not trade the experience nor the final product, proud of both. My point was that we’re starting to engage in a few more fest/events for the fun of gathering to celebrate the hard work. Why do my producers only want to go to Island festivals in the tropics? This Friday we’ll be going to my home town’s film festival. We usually go support the fest by attending their kick off mixer. I only see some friends like international DJ, John Beltran at this event. I’ve known John since middle school. Look him up. He’s got some great music.
I’ve had several people ask if BEST YEARS GONE was playing the fest, it is not. A handful of years ago we closed the festival with a sold out 600 watching ASHES OF EDEN, same director as BEST YEARS GONE, Shane Hagedorn. But they want filmmakers to host a Michigan premiere at the festival but we already did in Owosso plus had theatrical play with NCG and Celebration Cinemas, so they disqualified us for. Honestly, I love for people to see the films, but it’s a heck of a lot easier when you aren’t concerned with a screening. My hardest decisions for that event will be what to sip wine or beer?
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – This amazing doc on the history of grappling has been signed to Deskpop Entertainment for a worldwide release. We’re now prepping to start moving materials over to them. We’re hard at work on our premiere that we want to do in Las Vegas. We are making some progress and we’ll have more to report on that very soon.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – So this exciting film should have a first cut coming over this week. Also we’re finalizing the first teaser trailer. It should go to music (Dennis Therrian) mid to end of the week. We’re all excited to see it come to life. I did get to see a few rough assembled scenes and it left me with a wide smile. I’m so proud of our artists. Like I said earlier, times have been trying and we managed to film this movie in Nov of last year still facing many issues in the world. So we’ll have work to pare down and audiences will get their first look. We’ve still be releasing stills so if you are following our Facebook page you will get those stills and the upcoming trailer. BREAKING NEWS: Yes the first rough cut for Anthony (Tony) Hornus to review will be done end of this week. From there the trimming, tightening and polishing of the story. We also hope to bring you a vignette of the VFX work being done. We also have a VFX insert of this boy who plays into our story via one of the German PWs. We’ve cast that individuals and these added pieces will be shot one day working with our VFX folks.
Other Updates –
KNIGHT CHILLS – CDI’s first feature film is getting some resurrection of sorts. A deal is almost done on a specialty “Blu Ray” deal. We’re also looking to bring the film into HD while reconfirming it for TV now days, or not on conforming. I need to have a few discussions. Lastly, the video game development is under way. It will first release as a phone app game and after to game systems and virtual. But I have seen images of the film’s iconic Sir Kallio, the revenge bringing knight, Patron Demi-god of nerds. I also have a great idea for a role playing game version but I’m getting ahead of myself.
We have many things in development from new films to older films getting a second blast into the market. Streaming hardly existed for some of them and so we’ll be working hard to get your old, current and new favorite CDI films to you. I’m going to post a few more stills so refill your coffee cup and join a few of these pages to follow along. My mind is also drifting to eggs and bacon so I will have to attend to that. I hope you all have a great week ahead and don’t forget to be kind. A simple gift you can give that can be passed on. Happy Sunday to you all!
It is a wonderful Saturday and the dogs are watching some Scooby Doo as I’m doing some morning film work over coffee. This was a week full of announcements, many business calls and exciting updates. We will look at some of those updates and discuss a few situations surrounding them.
I think last week we talked a bit about the temptation for struggling artists to take on parts that aren’t right or tasks that they are not suited to do. It was announced this week that CDI http://www.cdiproductions.com will be the new management/production company on the Michigan-based feature “Bestseller”. Due to my association with the lead Melissa Anschutz I was in the knowing on the journey she was undertaking. I was privy to all the bumps, blunders and lack of organization. I was aware of who was solving problems and who was creating them. I let most of it roll off with a shake of the head because it was not my issue. Even so, it disappointed me greatly. Any hardworking filmmaker will tell you how hard it is to finance a film. That’s because of the large number of potential investors who have been burned or who associate with those investors who have been burned. By burned I also mean – unfinished films or films that have had such bad business done that they are not able to be taken to market. If someone truly puts their BEST EFFORT (That legal term from last week) into a project and it still fails that might be a different story. But when someone doesn’t put a best effort forward and they fail – where is the accountability? Many want to take accountability when things are looking good. When the PR releases are spewing hype or one is prancing about set playing “Hollywood” looking busy BUT when things go wrong they are the first of the finger-pointers. You MUST “own” both the good and the bad if you are in charge. If you are a chaotic mess that is the ripples that you will send forth from you. If you radiate a calm center that too spreads throughout a production.
Screaming is NOT communication and shows weakness and frustration by the party doing so. I know personally an associate in the insurance realm who had to also deal with this chaotic force. I heard the stories from multiple people about this communication. You tie that with the lack of pre-production work and the picture is perfectly clear. Now on a personal level – I’m offended by people paid to guide who use inexperience against others to try to disguise their own shortcomings. A film set is full of challenges but the only ones you should be facing are those things you could not control with good pre-production work. I’ve halted shoots and pushed start dates when I saw a ship was not yet ready. If I see a place where leadership is lacking in a department – be it in the director, AD staff, office, anyone – I will rearrange or replace someone. You don’t just watch a boat fill with water and do nothing. If you are a lead producer or that staff – It’s your JOB to fix things that are broken. It’s your JOB to anticipate what could/or may break down and try to prevent a breakdown. It’s your JOB to fix something quickly, quietly with the least amount of attention or distraction. That means that this is not a dramatic “LOOK AT ME FIX SOMETHING” moment. The best producer work is often never seen or heard. It is known by the experience the cast and crew had and the final product they captured.
Now this situation on “Bestseller” is not isolated and this issue of poor management seems to be a pattern. Sometimes one doesn’t hire enough artists to properly execute a job or make sure that money truly finds its way onto the screen. You also don’t start playing “Hollywood” George Jefferson because you are connected to a large bank account. You treat those funds like your own funds and stick to the budget. Overruns are poor planning. A producer team is responsible for the hard work of all those artists. You represent how people will look at our state’s artists. Are we seen as capable leaders or forever doomed to feed on the scraps of others coming into our state. Now I did not have anything to do with this situation. As a matter of fact I turned down earlier invites on acting and producing. That rejection was based upon the fact that fires were already burning in PRE-PRODUCTION crisis mode. I also knew that much misinformation was flying everywhere either implying deceit or disorganization – both bad. Bottom line – I don’t like fixing other’s messes. The problem seems to be that while I’m hard at work finishing projects (2 features (Donors, Ashes of Eden) and 1 TV series (Supermodel Showdown) – someone else is at the local film festival mixers smoozing up any starry-eyed potential investor or novice filmmaker with a budget – selling a skill set they do not possess.
Now potential investors – YOU have a responsibility to vet people out and not get stung by the BUYER BEWARE. This “Bestseller” ship was professionally parked and the responsible parties removed. After that my company was recommended again to come manage. With a clean slate I listened and the deal was made. The ship is now being refitted and we will make one heck of a movie I can promise you that. I can promise this crew and cast will have an enjoyable experience filled with hard work but will be rewarded with respect. Those that know me can vouch that I take my film jobs very serious. I turn down lots of work because it must feel right. In this matter I wanted the truth out there. The fact that I don’t wander in many social circles I thought this direct statement best. I will say this to anyone out there unqualified to produce or unwilling to make the Best Effort – Stick with what you are good at and don’t muddy the waters. The sooner that the proper artists align in Michigan and the BS artists are benched – great things will come from our State. As we have more stories of success vs screw ups investors will start to take our artists more serious. So I ask you all to please clean up your act. For those who don’t – I would gladly testify at any arbitration or legal proceedings on how a film set should be ran. Enough of people giving half (if that) efforts and poisoning the money wells here in Michigan. I’ve been personally part of 2 projects that went south because of false promises from people. It hurt our momentum as a company but luckily our productivity outshines those few dark moments. One bad deal can kill others momentum and ruin dreams all together. And just how truly sad is that? I’ve made many friends in this industry around the world because of respect that grew from doing what was expected. I’m not in this industry to make friends first – I’m here to tell stories with other hardworking, passionate artists. Friendship and respect is earned. Period.
Okay, I’m off my soap box now. Other updates –
– It looks like I finally got my German invoicing all complete. It has been a good learning experience doing these foreign sales.
– “Ashes of Eden” new trailer is a week or so out from release. The trailer looks great. The film is having the dialogue polished and is almost done. Music and sound design is on deck.
– “Supermodel Showdown” I was in search of a few B roll tapes that we feared missing but I think those have now been recovered. The show is coming together and is looking great. Not as fast as I would like but there is no script. This is truly a reality show.
– I have agreed to play a role in “Bestseller” now that we are officially “in association” because with myself starring in 3 thrillers in the last 10 months it really boosts distribution. With CDI’s involvement I can say to all the artists that the film will get a release in several countries.
There is a possibility of another film shooting prior to “Bestseller” going into production but next week will tell. We have a window because of schedules and so will the chips fall right? That is the question:)
I hope you all have a great weekend and keep Clawing your Way to the Middle:)
I’ve enjoyed the chill of the last week or so – a preview of the coming fall. The garden is starting to slowly give its first harvests of beans and peppers. The tomatoes and such will soon follow. I’ve done a good job this week of downshifting and being patient on things already in motion. I’ve focused on what I can affect and removed draining attentions from what I cannot. This past week I’ve pulled in some of my energy and nurture it like an inner fire. The waxing to full moon last week gave a good time to quiet the mind – to think and form feelings on certain matters in my orbit. I will try to put a few of those thoughts here for you all to compare to your own experiences.
I’ve got a few projects in my orbit that are not my own but projects I was sought out on. These individuals either enjoyed the previous art I’ve created (with all the artists collaboration) or they have been referred by my ability to lead people and stay on a schedule, on a budget and create order within chaos. I’ll start by saying I’ve turned down a few projects this year just because of the foresight of danger and hardship due to people who can’t communicate properly. Without that the path can be a thorny one.
In a world where the artists are often staving artists and you don’t know exactly where the next check will come from it is very tempting for some to take any and all work. Accepting a challenge is one thing but would a group of soldiers armed with sticks march against a well-armed brigade? If you don’t have what it takes or you are ill prepared and weakly armed don’t march off to battle. It is that simple but many still take a loose attitude towards this. In the end it will hurt you. There is a legal term in our business called “Best Efforts” and it is something I live by. I always give my best effort in my efforts. I always try to state things how they are even if it’s often not what someone wanted to hear. Now I don’t go throwing my opinions around where they are not asked for or really are not needed. IF you do take on a challenge I implore you to give your best effort. Anything less is not only a knock on your character it can be legal liable. One such project has suffered from being ill prepared and bluntly mismanaged. I’ve been approached to see if I would be interested in fixing this project and finishing it properly. I think in the interest of saving face of our good state I just might. It wasn’t anything I had planned upon as I’m likely about to manage another project about to film. It would line these things up for me back-to-back and basically be my year. I will think on these things more.
The other project is a drama and should be shooting in the Detroit area if everything rolls right next week. The paperwork is being prepped and if all goes proper we will bring this story to the screen. I’ve enjoyed the prep work with the director thus far and I think we would have a good group of artists. It also will provide many acting opportunities for Michigan folks but please do not hammer me with reels at this time. We do have a casting director and that process will roll out once we are a full go. So again I’m just exercising patience and lining things up for a smooth ride. It all lies in the prep.
In other news – “Darkest Night” our newest GPI/CDI release has been moving DVD’s like crazy at Amazon and I hope you all are curling up and enjoying this frightening little film. As we move into the fall if you need a scary film for those nighttime thrills you have three from me so enjoy.
The “Supermodel Showdown” TV series is moving ahead nicely and we are about to open up some sponsorship opportunities for some national companies.
“Ashes of Eden” is pulling steady down the tracks now and I’m very exciting to show our premiere audience and the distributors we have following us.
We saw the start of “Figure in the Forest” playing on Parables TV and that is always a nice thing to introduce one of our stories to a new audience.
We are continuing our talks on licensing our films to other countries. I’m looking forward to entertaining more world audiences with our films.
“Benjamin” that I shot in NYC is undergoing a name change to “The Terrorist” and some re-ordering of the actual film is underway working with our distributors. I’m excited to see the new cut.
Additionally, I’m just working some paperwork this weekend while getting some domestic stuff done. I could be hotel bound for a while but shooting in Michigan would allow me some home stops which is always nice. So it might be a busy end to the year but that is about normal. I hope you all have a peaceful weekend and enjoy your family and friends.
So today is the cusp of the BIG MOON, the closest full moon of the year. I’m sipping the hot coffee and looking forward to the day hanging with my brother and his girl. Upon finishing this post I’m getting the smoker going and going to have a relaxing day. It was a crazy busy week as many have been lately and I’ve just continued to sail the ship forward. “Donors” http://www.donorsthemovie.com film has moved to Yuma for final sound mixing. “Supermodel Showdown” is looking great as we are chunking in footage on the 3rd show and I’m extremely happy with what I see. “Ashes of Eden” is having the sound/music review meeting next week and also starts color correction. I also might have a few upcoming announcements on projects the start of July. Final approval on German distribution contracts for three of the films underway. “Darkest Night” PR is in full swing next week as we head towards our VOD and DVD/TV releases in July. I want to discuss a few attributes that apply to activity this week. It also ties in to what we discussed last week.
KNOW YOUR ROLE
I’m in a stage of possibly signing onto a couple of films as CDI associated producer and talent. In these situations you must first stand your ground and use your experience. IF someone wants to work with you it is because they are buying your experience. The things you’ve done right and wrong. To avoid pitfalls and follow well-traveled paths whereas they will maximize your chances of repeat success. What I look for always in a partnership is LISTENING. I can tell if the cup is already full of ideas and thoughts often based not on experience but opinions. Opinions are like assh%#%! everyone has one and… You know the saying. I try to base my decisions on reason, common sense and some gut feeling. I always try to fully explain the reasoning. If someone isn’t listening and you can tell – that relationship will be a painful one that will mostly bring frustration and regret. I avoid these situations because if you want to make mistakes or non calculated risk decisions, I would rather not be along for that ride. I’ve been there, seen that and got the T-shirt:)
Now for a film crew to work effectively or any group dynamic – each person must know their role and respect one another. This is even more important with your above the line executive team. I have one project that is close to a go and I’m set to be the ship captain (producer) but before we set sail the ship needs to be ready. First and foremost is for WRITER, DIRECTOR and PRODUCER(s) to know their role, their scope of power and how decisions will be made. I’m very good at this and that is why I do the business I do. I respect and enforce these divisions otherwise chaos will grow. Chain of command is very important and especially where writer and director are concerned. Once the script is handed off the new creative leader IS the director. Business decisions from a producer can trump but only if they are legit and not subjective opinions. I’ve written screenplays and for me it is easy to let go. I think it is because the actor in me surrenders to a creative director and I just focus on my role. As a producer I watch the ship and make sure that the overall vessel stays the course. But as a writer I’m flattered and inspired when someone adapts a story of mine from the page to the screen. A writer too close to the material can become a nightmare and slow a project, killing schedule and budget over subjective topics. I always tell my producers when they get caught line stepping that it appears they are heading for the directors chair BUT this is not your ship. So I address these issues right up front while the ship is in port. I don’t wait until 2 weeks in when so much frustration has built and the tensions are high. I will risk someone saying this doesn’t look like it will work, I will readily agree with them. I’m not getting on a ship that is going to become a floating emergency out at sea. As I stated before too many people will bite their tongue and say nothing because they need the work that bad. I would rather stay and work the garden, brew some beer and sell some films in our library versus going on a nightmare cruise to shit island.
This week I also met some artists with one of my friends filmmaker Nathan Quinn. I’ve actually met quite a few of the artists growing in Michigan after several years of being semi-reclusive. I’ve just been away from the film social scene because honestly I can’t take the fake sincerity and one-up attitudes I often observe. Do you art and be unique. Do so with the least amount of drama save what you put on-screen. Always give more than what you were paid for. Don’t compromise your best and be willing to let a project go knowing the universe will bring to you what is meant to be. Find your faith and hold on to it. Don’t EVER grab for the dangling carrot and become someone’s puppet. Many have wondered why I won’t work with them. If you bullshit you will lose my attention almost immediately and seldom do I revisit these folks. Many act on their best behavior when they want something but it is only a matter of time before their true nature returns. Take a deep look at yourself and see if these traits exist and if they do – sincerely, spiritually purge them from your self and live as the best you that you can be.
I wish you all a great weekend!
Last week I did some writing about overcoming chaos in your personal life or career. If you have a well build ship of “self” and a calm center you can brave the storm and get back to your calm waters. But you have to ask yourself “Did I sail into that storm”? “Did I think the PROS outweighed the CONS and change my course?” I guess part of the lesson is that if your own actions bring you into chaos you can’t go without blame. I’m happy to say that the waters here are calming and we are back to some smooth sailing. Are you saying enough with the damn boat analogies? Okay let’s look at this in a filmmakers view whereas it can apply in many other situations.
You should just like a navigator look at each proposed journey. Damn I’m doing it again:) Okay… you should look at every opportunity presented and VET it out. Many actors/crew are so excited about the idea of a creative outlet and a paycheck that they fail to ask the questions that really matter. I think some don’t want to know the truth but when things go to hell in a handbag they are the 1st to be most vocal. OK. You trusted a liar and they lied. WOW! That is like trying to tap a cobra on the head and acting surprised when you get bitten. Also you have to look at the talent behind the camera – the director, DP, Art Director – the quality of equipment and the other actors involved. I’ve heard of starting filmmakers getting mad or defensive if talent asks to see THEIR reel. It is a collaboration and the door swings both ways. Just because someone can crowd fund raise a small budget doesn’t put them above vetting out. If they are experienced they will proudly point to a few examples of their work. If those people were riding on false ego – anger and defensive attitudes are usually what you get. I don’t really deal with that too much these days because I can usually smell inexperience and a chaos storm coming. You need to check your excitement and make sure you want to work with them. I will never do a project without reading a full script. Bad format and such in a script is a huge flag as that is the blueprint to an entire film. In the studio world a badly formated script heads right for the trash can. Maybe you should adopt a similar detection process. Why give blood, sweat and tears for something poorly captured that will take years if ever to finish and will likely only be seen by friends, family and a few local film festival goers if you are lucky. IF you are doing this as a fun hobby this doesn’t really apply to you. In summary be your own agent/management and keep that person apart from the artist. Make sure the boat you get on won’t sink once out to sea. Sorry I must have nautical theme on the brain.
This week had many small moves on the chess board but I did lock a “Soul Eater” pre-distribution deal with Germany that includes a nice cash advance once the film is delivered. I think since most of the film is interiors I will shoot in the winter and the outside scenes will have that FARGO like feel. I’m also working the licensing on 3 feature films also going to Germany for release. We have enough business under us now that we are also talking development on other projects including a WW2 film. Note that one film “7 Stones” fell out of this line up after they realized it was a short. They loved it but the run time killed it. It is a 47 min TV length and all the other deals are feature-length. Shorts are good director/writer business cards but not a good investment. They can help train a crew to get them ready for long format and showcase actors but will not bring the higher returns of a feature. Just a good lesson which I had pointed out even on this film but consultation is just that – advice to be taken or rejected. Sometimes it doesn’t feel good to be right. It is a strong film and it will find its own outlets.
“Darkest Night” is on the runway for launch in July on VOD, DVD, TV. I’m excited to showcase the hard work of the cast and crew to the USA/Canadian audiences. Germany is also one of the buyers of this film so be ready German fans. We will get the film around the world as horror fans everywhere have been taking a great interest in this film. If you like intelligent horror (not just masked killer stalks kids) and like “Found Footage” format I think this could win a place in your heart. I like traditional filmmaking but I enjoy watching some of these “Found Footage” sub-genre films and was happy to make one. I will take audiences to the Philippine countryside and that in itself adds a great element. So PRE-ORDER now and let’s show these Philippine artists that we appreciate their work.
“Supermodel Showdown” TV series is moving steady along and I think by next week we will have show 2 edited and be into show 3. It is FUN. I know a handful of distributors already waiting to pounce on this so eventually you will see a small crew struggling in the jungle to film a show about beautiful girls learning about themselves on TV.
I might be producing and acting in another drama here soon in August. They are on a fast track to hit a window with one of the stars that needs to work within their current TV schedule. Another associated CDI deal is in talks and may come to light. That would film almost right after the drama ends in Sept. Also once “Ashes of Eden” is off to sound/music the next CDI/New House Ent/Aphtic film will move into more serious development. I’m very excited about that project!
I will end this blog how I ended my week – “Ashes of Eden” had a test audience screening on Friday with studio style survey. I will say that I always remain cautiously optimistic these days having had good films under-perform but I’m sincerely excited about this film. We did a major adjustment to the ending to enhance pacing and what I watched was one powerful scene after another that flowed to a powerful conclusion. I watched people in the audience weep. I’m not talking about watery eyes I’m talking about weeping. The surveys reflected ALL high marks and rated the performances and newly adjusted ending as the most powerful elements. I know this film will get a strong distribution push. I know it will connect with audiences. I will be curious to see this time next year what this film has actually done. I can make some powerful predictions but I would rather let actions speak over words. I’m proud of Shane Hagedorn our writer/director who also produced with our team. The journey has been ORDER throughout the process devoid of chaos. The respectful communication has resulted in a film that makes us all proud. I’m excited for fans to see this movie. It is easily some of my personal best work on both sides of the camera. This film will create new stars and make others shine that much brighter. I also think it will be a proud mark for Michigan and even our little town of Lansing. Soon my friends. Time to mow the yard before screening MAN OF STEEL and getting some good eats. Have a great weekend!
Hazelnut hazelnut coffee of mine you warm my belly and make me feel fine:) I have to say it was a busy semi-chaotic week due to some of the elements floating about. The week had some great high points which include a screening of the rough cut of “Ashes of Eden” which was actually a very powerful watch. It is the performances that really make this film stand apart from 90% of the indie films. That was a comment by our DP and it is true. More times than not casting is not always giving the attention that it should. I also see trends in Michigan that will unfortunately keep our talent’s value low. It is the excitement of being offered a job at the lowest possibly fee and the talent and management way too eager to just say YES, YES, YES. What they need to realize is that those producers/directors want the best for their film knowing that talent is key. Why pay big money for a talent and surround them with the lowest fee taking/limited experienced talent? I had one film in Louisiana talk to me as a co-star but in response to a small counter offer they went with someone’s friend who volunteered. Now maybe that will turn out okay or maybe they will get just what they paid for.
I recently did a film at scale to help a friend/filmmaker out and that was because I liked the material, the lead talent I would be working with and it only took up 2 days. Now scale is about 1/10 of my normal rates and I’ve been paid considerably more. Why? All of you fans out there. That is right – after 40+ films playing on numerous networks in various countries and millions in units/sales – I have a beloved group of fans. I’m not talking about Facebook friends or twitters – I’m speaking of the people I don’t know that are reflected in the units moved, VOD watches and viewers on TV. I’m careful with choices I make these days because I’m thinking of them/you. I want to make good choices and help tell good stories. I do understand that different folks like different films and due to my work across genres not everyone might like all my films. My mother is not a fan of my horror films. 🙂 I’m not talking about these ego building “fake it” folks playing Hollywood. I’m talking about being true to yourself, your audience and in turn demanding true compensation for your art and followers.
Tuesday was a watch through on “Donors” with a full music score and it is always great to see how the images take on a completely different vibe once the haunted atmosphere is added. It is an artsy thriller and I found my attention captured and trapped right along with the films lead Niki Saletta. This film is getting closer to being complete.
Weds was a day of reworking the business summary for the “Supermodel Showdown” TV series in post. We have several interested parties in this series and I’m enjoying watching it all come together.
Chaos exists until the order within can be seen. So I wanted to express a few feelings on CHAOS. Recently an aspiring producer who I think bit off more than they can chew made a comment to an associate that “You know how chaotic production is…” as an excuse. If you worked on the recent CDI associated film “Ashes of Eden” or previous CDI films (especially the more recent) you will recall challenges but not chaos. I’ve been at this 17 years and I have achieved zen and peace in my personal life. Drama causing folks will be put outside the zen zone until they get their energy straight. I bring that calm onto a set because if you are in chaotic reactionary mode you’re always barely getting just what you can get. With strong pre-production and the right leadership – you get a peaceful fertile garden to grow new and exciting moments on-camera. IF you are existing in pure CHAOS something is very wrong and it starts at the very top. Even capable keys need that leadership glue – again there is no manual to teach some of these things. Either you have those qualities and possess the ability to align mutual respect in the most productive path for a given project or you don’t. One recent project I know of is operating in chaos. They are in total reaction mode and they have a serious cart before the horse issue. Also if you are producing always deal in truth. I know the reputation that some comically give producers as slimy car salesmen played by Steve Martin, telling everyone what they think people want to hear. I disagree – truth only. I vet everything out hard these days. When you discover things said to be untruthful it really destroys any confidence in a project. Producers-in-training in bad need of a paycheck should not accept or sell themselves on jobs they are not qualified. This has caused issue on our projects when I refuse a credit to a crew member. The last thing I want is someone to hire someone after seeing they possess a credit on a CDI project only to find this person NOT qualified once they hire them. This is how films go off schedule, off budget and poison investor wells because someone unqualified sold a skill set that doesn’t exist. Now I’ve had my set backs in this industry but it always has fallen on the integrity of 3rd parties. INTEGRITY once lost in this business is nearly impossible to get back. It is a very small world. Over the years I’ve seen many come and go – buried along the filmmakers “Trail of Tears”. Yesterday I had a phone call and a nice card from two investors on a previous film who had recently gotten checks. I love writing people checks. It makes me feel good. I know it is odd but I do. Be true.
Now I will get off my soapbox – We had 4 films in contract stage for Germany but one of them had to be taken off the slate after they realized it was a 44 min short. All the others are feature films but I was still disappointed. Not just the $$ loss but I was excited for German audiences to see the work of these artists. That film will find a home in various countries but I too get disappointed. But I had to look at the positive of the 3 films going to Germany. I’ve had some previous releases in Germany and due to “The 8th Plague” selling well over there we are doing a pre-deal on the “Soul Eater” prequel.
I’ve been communicating with various TV Networks and companies and I look forward to filming some of these other stories we have been developing. I’m going to have a nice breakfast here and relax into the weekend. I hope all of you enjoy your weekend and prepare for a good week ahead.
Live true, be you and let integrity be your compass in business and life.
It was a crazy, busy week again but as the snow melts and the sun shines – I’m ready to get some projects done. I’ve been deep in my head creating and being the character Oliver in the upcoming “Somnium”. A mental patient with an Obi Wan sort of vibe to him. He befriends and guides the young antagonist who is thrust into the chaos. I’m in hopes that I can get my ticket booked this weekend so I can make my plans to cover the home front. It is a week jammed full of my scenes so I will be working it hard but that is not a problem. Let’s look at a few updates.
I’ve had a few submissions for the children actors we put a call out for on the http://www.cdiproductions.com website. I wanted to really see what Michigan has and if we cannot find who we require we will start to widen the search. So if you fit the breakdown let us see those reels. Project announcement in the weeks ahead.
– ‘Donors” is in the process of being brought over to Dennis Therrian for composing of music.
– “Locked in a Room” released nationally on the 7th and is flying up the charts. In Top 100 in 48 hours. It is a dark fun film and I think audiences will dig. On Google Play and You Tube VOD. Check it out!
– Parables deal delivered and now in talks with more potential licensor over our library of films.
– This week a big announcement but the advance hint before PR is that it has to deal with our new CDI Television and it also deals with the only project I ever DIRECTED.
– ASHES OF EDEN will also be releasing a great behind the scenes featurette “Road to Eden” with up to now unseen footage. This will release within the next two weeks. Stay tuned! The film itself is looking great!
I’ve been given sides recently on an interesting project. Western and undead – hmm…I almost did a film like that a handful of years ago. I will look it over and they require a kick ass Sheriff – okay:) Can do.
Thanks to a purchase I now have a great new additional to the new FORT PERRY. My office has a Midway stand up video game with a bunch of classics. I nice mind relax when mulling over decisions. DEFENDER:) SINISTAR and many others – go childhood:) Lastly I’m nixing through a contract that would be a test run representation deal on film work. I will likely complete that this week and announce more on that when completed.
OK. Onto a day of getting stuff done. I hope you all Spring Ahead and follow those dreams.