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.
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.
Hazelnut coffee is toasty warm goodness on a chilly Michigan morning. Welcome my new readers from Vietnam, Indonesia, China and more. I suspect some of the new films are releasing to our friends in Asia. I know Poland, S. Korea and more have been licensing. Let’s start by talking about 10-4 two years ago. On a very different day which was warm and windy we said goodbye to Luke Brown (Mister Brown). He was our furry boy that we spent several years fighting his illness until we finally had to let him go. We did it at home and it was sad but beautiful and peaceful and not under any duress and for that I am thankful. Shortly their after we brought the “dog-faced gremlin” Finn McCool into our family and with him came happiness again. Today I awoke thinking about my boy and a glance at the date let me know why. I know many of you have lost those special family members and they always bring out the best in you. If you have been thinking of enhancing your life with a furry family member do so. And I encourage you to adopt and let the joy enter your life. Our old Daphne is still kicking it no longer quite the spitfire starting the play fights. She is enjoying her winter years for sure as is our remaining cat Lulu. You can read about Lulu as my contribution to the book-
My next contributing story is in a dog book and is about Luke Brown and his encounter with a reindeer. I will surely let you know when that is available in the next year. Yes. Lonnie (Book editor) we were at the Jackson hidden raceway.
Raceway? What am I talking about – well, BEST YEARS GONE! Our next CDI film is full speed ahead. We will gather to start filming at the end of the month. We will be looking at resumes and talking with recommendations for a few crew roles but also looking ahead to 2021 where we have a TV series HASTINGS coming together and a WW2 film. If you have strong office experience we will be looking at coordinators. On this film we also have a few crew spots in G&E and camera support. Feel free to reach out direct if you have the experience and/or interest in joining the tribeCDI. We have some incredible cast, crew, sponsors and a funny yet inspiring story to tell.
I mentioned WILD FAITH‘s growing audience giving spark to the TV series. I really want to bring this to Michigan and it looks promising. This winter I will make the push to get this fully greenlit (financed). This will require adding more artists to the CDI team. We might start working with a casting director just to help bring options to the table. We producers are mostly actors and enjoy taking the time and care to make sure the chemistry is proper.
Speaking of chemistry – I think audiences are about to be in for a treat with LOST HEART. This is week #2 of our national campaign and it’s exciting to see the build up. I know that the reaction has been great. Mike Huckabee saw our EPK (Electronic press kit) and watched our trailer and has invited Melissa Anschutz, Don Most and Victoria Jackson onto the show. We are getting ready to have our cast and crew premiere screening at the Double JJ Resort on the 17th of October. We are filming the pre-party and afterglow as part of the event premiere screenings via Encourage TV on Nov 7th and 21st. I will be having family and friends for the Nov 21st showing since I will be back from filming BEST YEARS GONE. We’ve been posting other interviews and PR that our artists have been participating in. Many of these are being posted on our Lost Heart FB page @lostheartmovie
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Anytime is good to take the adventure and watch FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER but the holidays make it even more special. Our distributor is doing a new campaign which includes a trilogy trailer. I’m excited but if you wanna get the jump on watching them – go right on ahead.
Okay I’ve spent the last 10 minutes trying to figure out these insert blocks vs writing – technology. I’ve had several fans reach out over MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND and I want to thank you. This pandemic had interrupted and killed some of the PR/festival/event roll out for this powerful film. That said, people in their own time are finding, watching and being moved by the film. As I noted in the opening Luke Brown was my inspiration and was beside me while I wrote the script. It is a great tribute to my furry buddy and I think it is connecting with many audiences out there. Take a watch free with ads on Tubi or Encourage TV and of course on Amazon and many of the other platforms.
SMOKE & MIRRORS – the music is done and our director Nathaniel Nose LOVED it. We’ll start to put the credits together as the color corrected footage comes to us from DP Jesse Aragon. I’m excited to finish this feature script over the winter for forthcoming production.
We’re currently attaching sponsors onto our Lost Heart premiere, our ‘For the Love of Catch‘ documentary film and onto Best Years Gone so if you have a company, product or service needing millions of eyes please do reach out. This week was also prepping for winter. This week wood was cut but some needs to be split on our Viking Days:) I racked the wine to the secondary this weekend. We brought out all the fall decorations. Our chickens are doing great getting to know their new home. We’ll do some more work around the homestead today and next week (tomorrow) -it’s back to the business! Coffee cheers. (LOOKING FOR A COFFEE SPONSOR!)
I apologize for losing my flow of words trying to figure out all this new block stuff on WordPress. I might have wanted to throw my laptop once this morning. Be kind. Be safe. And keep at your creative endeavors!
Talk with you next week.
(Daphne and Lulu)
I’m sitting back in my chair sipping a touch of coffee on a Monday morning. I first want to thank all our military vets for their service. It was a busy past week and this weekend was made even busier with travel. We went down south to visit a few elderly family members. They are down south in really nice assisted living homes. We got to visit, have an early Christmas for one who is doing really quite well even though they are in hospice. The other we celebrated an early birthday and what we made was some really happy memories. We stayed at the house of family in a basement full of beautiful antiques. The owner is a woodworker and so I got to see many great pieces including model cars and tractors all made of wood. We took our only dog Daphne with us on her final solo trip. She is not always the best car rider but had lots of fun once we were there. She is now sound asleep with her Lulu (our cat) who obviously missed her fierce. At the week’s end we’ll be bringing our new pack member home. We want to get a new puppy up to speed before I have to go off and film in the spring. The holidays allow us time to really bond and train a new puppy so this Friday a new little boy will be running about. He has had a few play dates to make sure the chemistry was good between the animals. While the cat Lulu might be a but stand-off at first, she was really into him.
“Hello, let me speak to Steven Spielberg, yes, I’ll hold”
This week we’re aggressively back into post and moving deals along. We did have a bit of a logjam threaten our work flow. It’s important to prioritize work flow properly. With Easter just around the corner we’re working full steam ahead to finish THE CHRIST SLAYER film. The color correction is underway. End credit works will continue. Sound design and music is being built each day. I plan to go out there for a few days to assist and give feedback. I hope to have theatrical roll out info this week to join the streaming, broadcast and DVD release. We’ll be doing a big PR release once I can confirm everything. The DVD artwork that the distributor is doing is just beautiful. I think I might be able to release a sneak peek here next week before revealing it in the PR release.
WILD FAITH – I’m waiting on some returned paperwork so I cannot announce our celebrity narrator but we recorded it last week. We’ll be announcing all the updates on this film in a PR release. Friday it went into evaluation with our theatrical partners to look at number of screens and regions. Our domestic deal is in the works and it’s really quite exciting. We’ll be delivering the film in Nov/Dec to BMG who will be distributing the film worldwide.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend has editing work being done on both the first trailer and the feature. It is looking great. I cannot wait for everyone to see the first look at our story of injured Marine Paul Landings.
(Above – DJ Perry as Paul Landings)
THE QUEST TRILOGY – We spoke early in this post about our third film THE CHRIST SLAYER that will be coming to audiences during the first of the year on the run up to Easter 2019. I do invite all of you to explore part 1 FORTY NIGHTS and part 2 CHASING THE STAR. Enjoy these two films with your family.
Our Spring film LOST HEART is being looked over by select talent. As any writer/producer a few of the roles were written with a talent in mind. So far the response has been strong. More on this as we travel down the development road towards production. I’m going to unpack from our trip and get after some of this work. I’ll leave you with a picture of our forthcoming new member of the pack.
Have a great week. Be good to one another.
Good morning! I’m writing you from the deck of my patio that has hop vines wrapping around all it. (The pic above from the spring) The squirrels are busy picking the last of the ripe mulberries and birds are singing while playing in the bird baths. Without question the coffee sits beside me flooding me with the wonderful taste of hazelnut. If I cannot find a coffee sponsor in the next few years I just going to open a coffee business. I have to try harder with some of the local Michigan roasters.
The office fridge might have seen its last days. It’s almost fully defrosted and we’ll see once we plug it back in if it lives. If it’s dead I’ll be getting a more fuel-efficient replacement. The one now was from my buddies basement where we would skip class at MSU, drink beer, play pool and listen to jams. It’s been a worthy chiller of beverages so we will see.
This week was a hot, humid wave that’s not really to my liking. It was followed by just a few extremely beautiful days consisting of warm air and cool winds. During the heat wave I got a lot of writing and paperwork done while watching the various nations go at it on the World Cup soccer field. Let’s look at a few of the movie updates.
I’m happy to say that the domestic home-video deal on the 3rd film in The Quest Trilogy – THE CHRIST SLAYER is signed. It will join parts 1 & 2 at Bridgestone Multimedia Group. The Christmas theatrical will be followed by an Easter home video release. I’m excited to have all three out there together which will reveal more about the overall storyline. Interweaving of the story arc goes through all three stories/movies. IF you have seen part 1 (Forty Nights) or part 2 (Chasing the Star) please do leave a review on amazon or IMDB and leave what you took away from it. I think people unaware that it was a trilogy felt part 2 kind of left them hanging – well it was meant to. The next few months will see things heating up PR-wise on part 3 with more BTS and still photos releasing. It really is an epic way to end the trilogy. I know Dennis Therrian will do another incredible score. The VFX work coming in is just incredible, not surprising as their previous work included BLACK SAILS (One of my favorite series) and ROGUE ONE just to name a few. They built models and created digital matte paintings just for this film. This film was a really cool step for us as a company allowing us to use as many VFX shots as we did. I have director Nathaniel Nose to thank for all that.
I will use that example in discussing development work at CDI. I’m trying to make more time to sit down with people in our field. Directors, actors and those trying to produce content. From the earliest days of CDI it was about bringing cards to the table. CDI is an actor/producers company looking to tell powerful stories. Currently we have momentum behind my scripts – distributors like the content and final product. Talent loves the style and depth of the characters and situations. We also have some talented writers within our ranks. ADVICE – IF you’re bringing a script to the table the best thing is to also bring the money.
BUT THIS IS THE HARDEST PART! Yes. I know this. After many years in this industry – a truth is – every NEW variable could lead to new advancements OR disaster. The wrong crew or cast can be devastating to the overall quality of the final product. I’ve been scrutinized because I would rather pay a broader crew base a modest wage versus overpay a name talent, at the expense of the crew. It’s a difference of opinion in business models and a happy medium does exist. I feel a larger name can move more initial units but a bad movie with a larger name will also die off quickly. I had to turn off a multimillion dollar film lately. It was long, plodding (nice camerawork) but after an hour plus we still had 45 min plus minutes to go. We didn’t care about any of the characters. That’s the result of either a poor script or just bad chemistry as you know they had a huge crew base. I’m saying that I would rather have a modest, long-term success with a good movie vs a flash hit with a bad film. How long before it gets lost in the shuffle of bad films? What do you have to show for all that hard work years later?
OK. I went slightly off topic. But anyone new is a wild variable, and therefore a risk. Skill is only part of the equation whereas personality/character is the other big factor. Do they play well with others? Positive? Respectful? I’ve had others say “so and so” is a great artists but grumpy or aloof and that’s just how they are. Well, they can go be that somewhere else. I have reduced all this down to a simple saying – Always be a sail and never an anchor.
So with these sit downs – I’ll be getting to know people and informally evaluating to see if they would ever work well into our system. The CDI system. What does that mean? Well…these films were not the result of some money thrown together to rush together a film – perhaps with no accountability. I shudder when I hear of all the films being done with no script or the script is just an afterthought. I recall one time an actor friend telling me they were on set and the director was having them write the script on the spot. He called it interesting and I called it incompetence. I guess it was both. But here we’re taking on investment capital and we must give best efforts. This company was founded on best efforts and striving to always be better. CDI today is built upon its earliest endeavors. Future CDI endeavors will be built on current endeavors. This is a tradition not a hobby. Not a film challenge but an evolution. This is a business that works in deep creative waters. My expectations of myself and the producers/directors are high. My expectations of the cast and crews are high. If you are not serious about the process and the end result – off the deck. No point in trying to sign up here.
Now some people just don’t know any different but once shown a better way they are willing to adapt and thrive in a more structured endeavor. Others can try to drag negativity or bad habits from previous experiences but I’ve been doing this a long time. If you start to feel like that anchor, stating obvious problems versus presenting viable solutions, being a sail – I’m going to drop you at the next island. Lose your professionalism and respect and the immediate gangplank walk could be your fate. I don’t fire often but I’m more than willing to do what needs to be done. That said, every firing has been a failing on my part. A failure to properly evaluate someone before a hiring or just failure to lead that person to a better way of co-existing on a film set. Management is something I enjoy because I’ve had the opportunity to create the environment that I want to work in. The environment that allows the best creative juices to flow.
I guess in summary – you could be involved in a CDI association or collaboration IF you have your own funds and seek a machine (production unit) that runs like a CDI film. Now $ still rules so if you bring a majority of the production funds, unless decided differently in contract, we consult or bring options to arising issues. That controlling entity makes the final decisions. Those decisions need to be made with wisdom and balance or trouble can quickly develop. I think I make fair decisions and I’ll say, I’ve made unpopular decisions. But I think it’s about working to be able to see the big picture. Not being drawn in by the ego into trying to force something to fit that does not. Don’t say yes to things that should be told no.
I had productive talks this past week with an experienced director talking about possible CDI collaboration. Our management at Collective Development Inc. was recommended to him. We shared mutual Hollywood horror stories usually stemming from fast-talking, car salesmen-like distributors and wanna be producers, mucking things up. Much of this proposed collaboration will just depend on pros, cons and schedules. I have another past producer collaborator getting close to having his next financing. He wants my involvement again. Evaluate: Content, Script, Schedule… All these variables when kept in-house tend to run very smooth. Adding these outside variables are where most issues lie. Most of the rough waters are in the associated projects but that is also where collaboration exists. But make sure they are a good fit. So I have more phone calls and meetings this week to network and get to know a few folks working hard telling their stories.
WILD FAITH – Lots of exciting happenings here. The home video deal is being worked on while we discuss the option of also launching a TV series. I am really pushing hards on this as I love the character I play. I love the world we built. I love the talent (both sides of camera) and know we would incorporate lots of Michigan talent into the various shows. We’ve been working to set up some additional theatrical showings and we wanted to look at showings in LA and/or NYC. The costs involved were steep and for me I’m watching the bottom line versus the red carpet strut. But I’m happy to say we’ll be screening at the AMC in Burbank as part of the invited line up at the Burbank International Film Festival. I think I’m going to make the trip and my LA-area amigos can finally see one of our films on the big screen. It plays great theatrically and I will enjoy the conversation with film friends after. You too can join us on Sept 8th in Burbank. Read about it here-
Our last film Man’s Best Friend is having the post materials organized as editing is about to begin in full. The opening credit sequence was heavily discussed and that is being worked on. We will also start having more solid talks about the 1st teaser trailer. Also trying to get the right color correction on the first stills before we start releasing those. The story is in puzzle form and soon we’ll start to assemble the film.
I’ve really been enjoying the writing as of late. I’ve taken a few good script concepts and I’m infusing/weaving that into what will likely be our fall film. It’s been refreshing to be back into the imagination and putting it to page. Some location scouting and ground work is also being done. I will say that the initial script concept was to be shot in another state. I was so happy with our last crew that I am revamping the script to Michigan. I’m sincerely thinking we can convince a few of the MBF crew to return:)
Well, it’s a beautiful day and I might spend a little time engaging in some writing. We will also likely go walk a flea market. I love what you can find at those things. I often find props or things that a story might hinge around. No soccer today as we have a BYE week before starting the second half of the season. Next weekend I have a class reunion which will be interesting. I did actually see a Michigan-based, non-CDI project casting that caught my eye. I asked a few questions and we’ll see if any chemistry exists. If not, I’m happy to wait until fall. I do have a script to finish.
Be good to one another!