Good morning. The sun is shining and the buds are blooming on the apple and mulberry trees. The first sprouts of rhubarb are poking their way up also. I hope all my fellow artists and friends are getting by during this challenge. I still think it some ways that the alien UFO attack still might have been better than this virus. We had a short time where politics disappeared and people just focused on solutions versus blame. It is a unifying event by the threat but it has kept many of us separate from loved ones. This has caused some emotional and some financial pains – understandable. What disappointed me this week was the rise in division again. Here is the thing…
I went to Northwestern Elementary School, Otto Middle School and Sexton High School. It is in Lansing’s public school system and before any right to choose. I believe given a choice many out of fear will choose to remain apart. Divided by race, creed, financial status or any number of things. I think going to public schools was one of the best things ever for me. The real world has divisions but many more sectors that cross over. Why? Because at the heart of it we all have hopes, dreams, fears and we all are born and will die. I’ve always enjoyed the diversity of my friendships. If someone was really in life threatening danger I would work to save them. It would not matter the color of their skin, how they were dressed, who they vote for, how they worship or where they call home. You could be wearing a BERNIE tee shirt or a MAGA hat, it doesn’t matter. I would try to save you. Those that think they are different when understand on their last few breaths that they are not. We are all the same. How we appreciate the life we have and those we share it with varies I’m sure.
We are seeing the best of who we are in some of those working front lines to contain this virus. Where it came from? Misuse of nature or manipulation of the nature order of things, doesn’t matter. Blaming? Why? The mild differences between the way we feel on certain topics is made worse by these extreme situations. We are seeing love and hate – but know hate comes from fear. To love takes courage because of the fear of losing it and feeling pain beyond our control. A dear friend lost EVERYTHING in a house fire but gained a perspective and newfound appreciation for life that could only come by walking through that pain.
We are walking through that pain. My sincere hope is that we gain that new insight to respect and appreciation. This is all someone else’s issue until you suffer a loss or the fear of that loss. In my business I have to make decisions all the time and some that are not always met with full agreement. But the ones held accountable are trying to do their best they can. When people see my name listed above theirs it doesn’t make me more powerful just more accountable. And in politics we have opposing sides who no longer play by gentlemen rules. (gentleladies too) If you misstep and we all do, they will use that against you. That is why many would rather be over-protective vs under protective but with the economical issues that will be politically weaponized it is unfortunately a lose-lose situation. Know that deep down nobody wants death nor financial ruin and how to navigate that path is not a perfect science. Sometimes you need to get outside the emotional storm. Fear vs Fear is what we’re seeing.
If you have a horrific car crash and are trapped in a burning vehicle you would not deny help if the person has different color skin, wears turban or Trump hat, is gay or prays on a mat facing East…you would accept the help. All I’m saying is, don’t be a bitch to fear. Now I’m a person who listens to people in the medical field not the political. I mean we all listen because they spend so much to try and grab our attention. They are just numbers until it is personal. How many would willingly accept a business set back if it meant saving the life of someone they loved, a mother, father, sibling, child? If someone close to you gets sick you will likely suffer that financial set back in some way anyhow. So let those accountable do their job and no matter how they do it I know people will face criticism. As a boss or employee, parent or child and definitely as artists we all face that. Because some people hold up their identity by going against the grain. Trolls on the internet. Gossipers in social circles. Art critics. We will get past all this and I hope your loved ones come out safe. Some unfortunately will not. But how many friendships will be damaged by the negativity once we get to the other side? I love all my friends and their priorities on various topics don’t change that. I am often disappointed by actions I see but I too have disappointed people. Hence forgiveness. I hope many of you forgive one another after all this. That you know that all the irrational words, actions and deeds were done out of fear.
I knew I was going to speak on some of the current topics above but was so happy to get an email this morning.
THE QUEST TRILOGY is now playing on one of the largest TV networks in Mexico. It might have further reach into Latin America I’m not sure. What I’m sure of is that millions of people are watching our stories. FORTY NIGHTS
CHASING THE STAR
and THE CHRIST SLAYER
On behalf of the entire CDI family of artists we hope the millions of new viewers take something positive from these stories and make they part of their traditional watchings.
I also want to thank all the fans of WILD FAITH and MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND the fan mail is appreciated. I’m just so happy that we can bring some entertainment and thought to our audiences.
We’re moving strong and I’m excited to see the soundtrack put to picture. This movie will be just the dose of happy that many need. I have more talks this coming week about the roll out of the film.
BEST YEARS GONE
We announced some of our talented cast and crew last week.
The ship stocked up even more this past week and we’ll be ready to roll when the storm passes. You can look us up on Facebook to follow the films or Collective Development Inc. as a company. Our website http://www.cdiproductions.com is undergoing some updates. Including a subscription mailing list on the CDI site. We’ll be using that for future casting and crew calls and more. So take yourself over there and sign up to stay current.
Even this blog here is going to undergo some revamping in the next couple weeks.
I’ve had all kinds of great conversations- some personal and some business in the past weeks. Calls that maybe you were too tired to make after a long day of work. I don’t, can’t and won’t judge people as I don’t walk in their shoes. I would say do channel your energy into something positive. I’ve seen people type arguments longer than some college papers. These people could have written books, scripts, blogs but instead just throw names and negativity back and forth. I’ve actually gotten a lot of writing done and will complete much more. Some of these writings will become future stories and some will be sold. What is the return on your writings? Loss of friendships? High blood pressure? Lack of sleep? Undeserved venting at those closest to you? Again I never claimed to be the greatest artist or any of that cocky nonsense. But I do outwork a majority of people. Not just in quantity of the work for the quality. How productive? Which projects did you put energy behind? Just evaluate and see if you can increase your peace of mind. I probably spent 15-18 hours a week in personal meetings before all this. I’ve been using all that extra time to be better prepared. And amazing opportunities continue to develop behind steady development work. There is no short cut.
I’m going to go work in the yard and do some grilling today. Keep your chin up and stay busy with positive things that make you feel accomplished at the end of your day. Know that accomplished tasks which could be just reconnecting with a few people from your circle, can do wonders for yourself. Until next week be good to one another. Coffee cheers!
New readers from Samoa and China joined us last week. I know that the filmmaking experience (resources, distribution, audiences) changes slightly from culture to culture. But at the heart of it we are passionate beings who love engaging in the storytelling experience either as listener/watcher or teller. I love being a creator and being an audience member. So yesterday basically two years to the day we finished the final elements to THE CHRIST SLAYER. Our director Nathaniel Nose came in and we polished the final mix/design with our incredible Dennis Therrian. His musical score is absolutely one of his best. The complexities and grandiose arrangements take you back to the classic days of Hollywood. We worked with Mr. Sundberg on our color correction, conforming and final composition. Last night at the office we shared a few beers and looked at the wide-screen, color corrected final master. A few of the final VFX shots have to be rendered into the timeline but I was blown away. Jesse Aragon, our DP did a wonderful job. This was the final film in The Quest Trilogy and is likely the largest scale production to date. CHASING THE STAR had more animals but the VFX in THE CHRIST SLAYER makes it the largest scope to date. Both the director and I liked the epic inspiration of Lawrence of Arabia and that soundtrack was with me in Yuma, AZ when we filmed.
The previous day we tweaked a few Mother Mary lines. This film has some powerful female characters in it. Especially the roles played by Melissa Anschutz and Christine Marie, who appear as they’ll be co-starring in a CDI film this spring. Brittney Risner and Carl Weyant give a classic Hollywood love relationship. And Josh Perry, will simply steal hearts. Amazing supporting performances across the board by Dean Teaster, David Gries, Bob Shepherd and more. Taymour Ghazi, Shane Hagedorn and my departed mentor Rance Howard brought the power one last time. Rance’s performance might be his last feature film role he ever performed. The final scene we share together in the film was our swan song to working together. I’m very proud of it. We talked for hours about that final scene. He made notes and adjustments – just two costars working out our motivations. I recall being so proud of Rance and feeling how special it was, never guessing it would be our last story together. Now all the elements will start to be pulled together for an upcoming delivery to our distributor. We’ll soon get to see how audiences enjoy this film as it travels to theaters and to home video. Stay tuned for CDI’s most epic adventure yet this Easter season.
I’m excited for everyone to get back to the office in 2019. I will be ready for a slight rest from the intensity of final post. You work end credits so hard knowing that by Murphy’s Law some misspelling or missed ‘thank you’ or name will take place. If your ever on the receiving end of that – know the filmmakers likely did not intend that. I had one situation that was suspect only because the misspelling came after working on a project whereas one producer on that project was NOT brought back on a film CDI was hired to reshoot. Either way, it showed a disregard for my brand ability to draw my audience to that film. No business reason why, so perhaps it was a true mistake or maybe it was personal. I don’t hold a grudge, but it makes me less likely to work with that company again. I passed the second time I was invited but it was partially timing, pay rate and the role also.
When in post this week, I was sent a news story that a Detroit-based – I struggle for the right word. I will use filmmaker, because he has made films. But in a promotional news story for FOX he claimed to be a producer on our CDI Ghost Town movie, our 2006 Lionsgate film. SMALL ISSUE – he wasn’t. He did not exist in pre, prod, or post production and was caught trying to do some head shaking actions in conjunction with this film. I didn’t really like, nor trust this person from day 1 and tolerated him out of respect for one of my producers until that head-shaking point. After that, I was done with him. Easy enough. These people burn themselves out as their true nature is revealed. But I would never go on a TV interview and openly lie and use it to promote myself. I was questioned if I should have legal bring it down. I might. But the justice in all this is I get calls on people about their character, integrity and true place in the film community as I see it. Yes. My opinions and sometimes my direct knowledge of someone’s actions. I’m always honest. I warn or endorse people simply by saying if I would work with this person or not. I’ve been contacted often. It’s a small film community and I do know many people who trust me to shoot them the straight skinny. And I have.
I recently had a great discussion about what another peer filmmaker is developing. All of it was heavily tainted in my mind all because one of his close partners. I’ve had first hand experience with that person and actually let them go. Not a bad person at all. I just would not risk any further capital on his efforts. Would you re-enter a situation with negative elements/variables? This fellow filmmaker lamented the often true statement of how every set he’s worked on has had the cancer of negativity. I’ve had a few “negative” situations like this over the years but those elements were isolated and corrected or dismissed.
Bottom line. This is not some vanity game for me but a noble tradition of storytelling. I’ve been blessed to have several great crews working with us but that all starts at the top. That means conducting good business, constantly streamlining your communication and having a solid battle plan. I believe in our artists and I’ve grown as an artist with many of them. We don’t participate in these popular film challenges, although they teach new crews excellent finishing skills. One friend, had his possible award-winning short disqualified because run time ran over by seconds. He could have either A) Organized a social media gripe that his team was treated unfairly for petty seconds of overrun or B) Accept responsibility that as team leader it was a costly mistake made by their team or him. In football they say it’s a game of inches. So start taking accountability as a new year’s resolution and watch the new growth happen.
I’m in hopes to discover a few good projects, properly funded to come act on this year. I also have to connect with the script/role as you always should. Aside from that, I plan to produce 2-3 features with CDI this year. I’ve had many new folks reach out about financial involvement and we’ll entertain those interested parties once I’ve addressed my current backers with opportunities. Beware of any investors that also bring too many strings attached. Sometimes those strings can be the downfall of a project. I’ve seen it happen.
We’re around the 1.3 hour mark on MBF and should have first cut in a few weeks. I would love to lock a cut by the end of Jan. we will see where we sit very soon. I think many of you enjoyed the behind the scenes MBF short we released on Christmas Eve.
WILD FAITH new art, theatrical dates and more should be announced soon. It’s heading back to big screens in March across the country. Home Video dates follow close behind. Those dates can be found on the FB, official Wild Faith or IMDB sites.
I’ve been in the trenches hard-working on these new films to bring them out of post. Once I get a few days rest here while our tech guru’s assemble and deliver – development will continue full ahead. I also plan to set my goals in writing for the new year and see how close I came to last year’s goals. Have a great wrap up to your year. Be safe and plan your 2019 approach. If you would be so kind you can take a watch on our past and forthcoming films. Handcrafted from our family to yours.
Have a great Sunday!
Photo by Scott Allen Perry
The desert heat is no longer with me here in Michigan. I came home to wet and cold weather but also to my family, bed and comforts of home. It has been major deceleration as I went from a wild circus of people on the constant move to a much more relaxed pace at home. Things slowing a touch was is a good thing since I had a good case of jet lag. I’ve been trying to sort through mail (and email), pay bills and unpack even as bouts of tired struck me at odd hours. I’ve had many people reaching out and I’m sorry that I’ve not been able to get back with everyone. I’ve had lots of wrap up work on the most recent film and catching up on immediate business.
This weekend was a good day catching up with family business first at my niece’s b-day gathering yesterday at the local science center, Impression 5. I took science classes there when I was in Elementary school with my buddy John. It’s truly a great place to take your children and I’m glad that the place has survived and thrived for all these years. Today I’m up North visiting family and celebrating another missed b-day. Speaking of missing b-day’s, my girl was good about me missing her b-day while in AZ and I do appreciate her holding down the fort in my absence. It’s a hardship for all our significant others when we go off to create these stories. I saw many happy faces when loved ones (cast & crew) returned safely from the deserts of Yuma. So I give me heartfelt gratitude to all of those significant others who worked hard to maintain households while we battled to tell our tale in the desert.
The Christ Slayer
If you’ve not been keeping up – we filmed the 3rd feature film in “The Quest Trilogy” entitled “The Christ Slayer” in AZ. We shot for three weeks and change with pre-production and wrap out. It’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment because it was a 3 part film series and also the first time I had played the same role twice. That role was none other than Jesus, so that was no easy task. It challenged me in many ways everyday but I want to say my director (Nathaniel Nose) and my co-stars who helped make the process so very special. Carl Weyant and Josh Perry made each and every day a unique experience full of smiles and fist-bumps. Christine, Mel, Shane and every other actor I was blessed to share the screen with made each day easier with their enthusiasm. Their love for the story and their roles inspired me and honored me as a writer. The crew consisted of many warriors I’ve worked with prior and once again they brought their best. I additionally had the pleasure of working with a handful of new artists who I think enjoyed the overall adventure. They all worked extremely hard and the desert proved to be no joke, but the final footage revealed the results of those efforts. BEAUTIFUL! To all the people of Yuma associated with this picture, we love you. We could not have done this without you. The biggest question I was asked by many there was IF this was our last film. It was the last of “The Quest Trilogy” but I’m happy to announce that I will be penning a second slate of biblical films. This process might have already begun. (Insert sly smile) They will be separate from the three films we explored in this current trilogy. We will likely be going Old Testament with these new films.
“The Christ Slayer” has entered post and we’ll be rolling out behind-the-scenes photos and powerful stills (Like the one above) in the coming weeks. Also a teaser trailer is in the works and will release in the coming weeks. Releasing spring of 2018.
“Forty Nights” will enjoy its new release on 4/4/17 and I encourage all of you interested in the trilogy to watch it. Our post team did a very good job re-mastering the film both audio and visually and Bridgestone has put beautiful new artwork worthy of such a beautiful story.
Chasing the Star
On the heels of this new release the second film “Chasing the Star” will enjoy a premiere on the 22nd of April. Following this will be various theatrical showings starting in Lansing, Grand Rapids and Royal Oak with many more planned. Once we’ve done our theatrical run we’ll be releasing nationally on Sept 5th, 2017. Follow our Facebook social media page for updates.
“Wild Faith” is close to a locked picture and will move into music and sound design. I can say that the initial talks on the TV series have been positive. I think we have a good chance at spinning off into a television series. I’m looking at the business of it now and also working on some of the creative aspects for upcoming meetings.
I plan on aligning all our business and setting up for a strong 2018. There is a good chance we may film another feature or two this year but nothing is solid on the slate. As I noted before, I’m back to my daily writing and making some great progress. As the sun returns and temps warm I look forward to a productive year ahead. Thank you all for your support. (Cheers with a sip from the coffee cup)