Good morning my friends. Coffee cheers. I want to welcome all our new readers from Brazil, Norway, Sweden, Russia, China and more. I love that this is a place where artists of the world can come together. I hope my words can inspire, inform and/or assist each of you on your own journey. It was a productive week with my mind grinding a bit on several things. Last weekend brought the news of several people who’s travels here have ceased. The week brought more news of pets, parents and friends who passed. That is the other side of social media and up to the moment news. It use to be a random encounter with an old friend or associate would reveal news from the past few years or months. But now we deal with news daily that can remind us that our time alive and living is finite. Our minds are trying to learn to compensate for this daily bombardment of unsavory news. I feel bad for people who cannot moderate that and self feed themselves more sadness than they can healthily handle.
I have pondered activists of various causes and I think that is a hard road. There is little rest – their minds fixated on the cause without rest. Politics, racial injustice, domestic violence, animal cruelty and poaching…the list could go on and on. If you try to take a rest -others could accuse them of slipping, losing focus leading to overall judgement. Good intentions can quickly turn to near madness. That person(s) can quickly become part of the problem contributing their own hate. This is like a passive mob mentality that while not as intense can be a slow peer pressure burn. “I don’t see you upset, do you still care?” – I’ve dealt with that years ago in some of the film business. My composure was taken for lack of caring and that was not true. I just know when emotions take over (Oh look how passionate someone is) that they don’t always make the best (efficient) choices. I often agree with causes but not the process of pushing an agenda. I’ve recently talked about how I like to speak with my art. I feel I can reach more people with the medium of film and don’t have to live in a manic state. Tell a story with a lesson and drop the mic and go boating or grill out with family and friends. Just because you don’t live in some unbalanced state of mind doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means you have learned to work smarter versus harder. Smarter for the health of the self and smarter for the cause you are trying to enlighten people to. So self evaluate and see if you are working in a way that is best for you and ultimately for your cause. Life is a marathon and so don’t burn yourself out. I’m also going to note my parents both had a birthday one day apart. I’m just blessed to still have them both here on this journey. My furry boy Luke who passed a few years back would have had a bday and several people had some nice things to say. Appreciate each day and try to lay your head on the pillow each night having done good deeds and a sleepless night will be rare. Except where dogs and fireworks exist a few less restful nights might follow.
Let’s stay with MANS BEST FRIEND, which after the wins at the Crown Awards seems to have brought even more viewers. I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to watch the film and either send me your beautiful comments and/or posted reviews on IMDB, Amazon or whatever streaming platform. My cousins in Detroit finally got around to a watch on the film and sent me these pictures. I love them because it shows that our audience is not just you humans.
Thank you. If you want to watch yourself – please do.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS has some exciting developments underway. In the sake of not getting ahead of myself I’ll leave this project for now. But this film which has endeared so many to the Murphy family just might launch in 2022.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA
While ‘Wild Faith’ is storytelling in the 1870’s our upcoming WW2 drama will take us to the 1940’s. Our producers scout trip is booked and our team will go in August to lock in the infrastructure of our next film. Our casting and crewing is about 85% in place with a few departments ands castings still to be set and announced. Our German actors are going to start being announced soon. Here was last weeks cast announcement.
We also hope to start announcing some of the sponsors very soon. I’m just loving this entire era but the hardships endured are pretty amazing. I’m excited that one of my past co-stars will be joining us. Another opportunity to “Watch and learn!” – some of you know exactly who this amazing actor is. You can see all the cast and crew here and follow along as more are announced.
BEST YEARS GONE released the first trailer and the reaction has been great. You can see it here:
We have two September premieres coming together. Sept 11 will be the race and outside premiere event and we’ll also be announcing an Owosso, MI premiere soon at the NCG. Plans for the music video shoot with Vertical Bridge are underway. The film has had the first pass on sound design and the music is almost there. I will be going in at the end of the month to add voice over. I’m excited for audiences to see this film and I think many will enjoy it. I’ve had several say it had a FARGO vibe to it. I’ll take that as a compliment.
LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS – This film continues to march forward gathering audiences who love this story. It matters not if you watch the family/faith or general market release – just watch it. I love that both the A and B story are getting their own pushes in marketing.
Same film that has all this within it. It was smart for the distributor to go at both these angles of marketing. Which marketing do you like better?
Speaking on trailers – how many of you saw the July 4th release of the trailer for our documentary ‘For the Love of Catch’ ? If you missed it here it is along with the PR. 20k+ views is just a few days tells us the audience is there.
The steampunk, turn-of-the-century tale SMOKE & MIRRORS is also closing in on being complete. I’ve also been reworking the feature script for future production. BESTSELLER should be looking at a new fall release with BMG Global. We’re looking at several films to re-release with a new campaign. Which films would you like to see? FIGURE IN THE FOREST? KNIGHT CHILLS? AN ORDINARY KILLER? ASHES OF EDEN? With BMG opening a general market division it opens up possibilities for more films to release.
OK. I’m going to wrap this up. We’re going to go visit one of the Sunday flea markets where I love to seek out curiosities and WW2 props. I’ve got a busy week ahead of meetings and such so I’m going to relax and get ready to attack the week. I’ve been having fun slowly rehearsing and building more character for the WW2 film. I’m currently reading a book written by the actual PW camp commander that my character is loosely based upon. I seem to be past my slight knee injury from soccer after a fun game Thursday. It feels good to be able to walk stairs without issue. That means might kicking drills on the new outside heavy bag can start in full. I’ve enjoyed doing my heavy bag punching outdoors. The mosquitos are making my punches even faster. I should be trying to catch them with chopsticks. I hope you all have a safe weekend and a productive week ahead.
We had a nice day of sunshine yesterday and that allowed us to get outside and do a little bit of yard clean up. Today the weather is back to wet and overcast but tis the way in Michigan. In a few short weeks we’ll be back in Yuma, AZ to film our third installment in THE QUEST TRILOGY. Let’s examine those films and the journey that these projects take.
The Christ Slayer
The bank account is open and the finalizing of people’s paperwork and getting their investment into the bank is always a task. People are busy but we work on tight timelines. We only have a few units to assign before we’re a fully functional battle station. Paperwork between crew started this week and next week some paperwork on talent will begin. Right now rooms, flights for the pre-prod team are the priority of the production office.
On cast we’re waiting for our schedule this week so we’ll know how many days talent will be required. Casting has been mostly a joy but you always get to those few hard choices. This past week we came to a few casting decisions after some healthy back and forth. We finalized casting on one of our last co-stars, a supporting role and a few featured roles from the AZ area. Each artist brings their unique talents to the screen. I’m so excited about the casting choices that were made.
I’m also happy that because of distribution being in place we don’t need to drop any ‘lure castings’ as I call them. That’s less than ideal casting but it’s done with the possibility that it may help grab the attention of a distributor. I understand why this is done but it can have a backlash. Distributors we’ve spoken with will tell you that certain names are known but they’ve become known for less than inspired product. They spoke of the flood of films that basically takes (Insert animal) and (Insert Holiday) add (Insert lure casting) and repeat. Now, I respect the fact that it’s a business model but I need more to invest myself in. I need a story that means something to me deeply.
“On schedule, on budget and our projects bring high artistic value.” That’s how we’re described by distributors and why we’ve been developing our ongoing business. I’ve said it before, you need to streamline your operation so that you can work with marketing teams whose job is to put the film into the marketplace. No excuses.
As I’ve done before I’ll give you a hint to the upcoming casting along with a story. First one of the roles WAS hard to find because it possesses a quality you can’t easily manufacture. In this case it was the “innocent role” which in “Forty Nights” was our T-Rex/Moses and in the upcoming “Chasing the Star” was filled by the amazing actor Logan Kishi. Thinking outside the box led me to looking at a certain spectrum of talent. From there I saw an actor who shared by last name. I looked at his materials along with dozens of others actors but kept coming back to the one with the famous last name:) His humor was right on point with the writing and he had that IT factor people talk about. In moving down the road in the casting process we discovered this talent had a sibling who also is an established actor. Another read for another role and BAM it has become a family affair. I’m excited that these two siblings will get to share in this journey together. People may assume I’m casting from family but I’ve never met these two brothers with the cool last name:) If we are related it’s buried up in the in the limbs of the ole family tree.
Two local actors who’ve participated with us before in Yuma, AZ have landed featured extra parts that while small are very important. (As all roles are) I’m sure they’re excited to be participating and we’re excited to have them.
In summary – We’re moving forward strong. I’ve been spending time with the story and it’s a joy to be able to imagine the talent in the roles on the page I’m reading. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. I am also looking forward to a little sunshine and Mexican food!
Chasing the Star
I’ve been assembling information for our end credits. This week we’ll also start moving over photo elements to the distributor. We should get our street date set in the coming weeks. I’m excited for audiences to get their first peek at the film. I’m trying to make it possible for our friends at Champion Church to see the film before we roll cameras on “The Christ Slayer”. They’ve helped us in so many ways as part of our Yuma team and I like to give them a special treat as a thank you.
The Easter stuff is slowly making its way out and that brings us closer to the 4/4/17 release date. The nice part about this release is that we’ll create a nice flow between the releases of the three films.
Once “The Christ Slayer” releases around Easter 2018 my hope is to see the three films play together or over three nights on television. I’m anxiously awaiting the new artwork which I hope to see this week. Fingers crossed.
Lisa Lauren Smith drives the drama as Haddie in #WildFaith
We’ve had many people reaching out about this film. I sincerely think we’ve got some gold with this film. The energy while making it was just powerful and cast and crew alike brought their A game. This week we’ll be seeing the first full cut of the story. I would say I’m excited but that would be an understatement. Keep following us and I’ll keep you updated after the first watch.
I’m not going to wax on about development at this time. Truth is I have much to turn my attention to and so I will cut this short. All of us artists appreciate your time and attention and in a few short weeks and months ahead we hope to entertain, educate and inspire you with your stories. That is an artist’s hope.
Be good to one another.
I’m sipping at the hazelnut coffee and enjoying the early morning here in Michigan. We had a nice relaxing day up North after a very busy week of business. I want to welcome some of our new blog followers from India. Our international readers might enjoy some of the updates as we work to get more of our films to you.
I spoke about some “uninvited drama” last week. It has been put to rest. You have to seek to do that. Actually the less attention and energy you give it the better. I have a friend that I’ve known a long time. They seem to be going through an adjustment and break from a TOXIC relationship. I do note that they get into these long drawn exchanges of words. Now as someone who writes this blog, I know how much time they take to write. When people take all this additional time to debate what should not be debatable, it eats huge amounts of time with no payoff save frustration. DELETE and move on. Consider not posting things that will end up wasting your time if you are unable to IGNORE. To apply that to my life – if I was to take every critical personal attack to heart and waste all this time defending – little would get done. But in the time it would take to read or address these negatives – I’ve landed a new distribution deal. I’ve written another script scene. I’ve combed through a budget. Even a “Charlie Brown” (Whoa is me) statement will often bring a bunch of sympathy responses. Answering all those with a polite retort can eat a morning up or afternoon. So be careful what you throw out there. Someone who is feeling down and engages in such behavior risks only feeling down again for lack of productivity. Now push those feelings aside and get a list of TO DO’s done and I promise you will feel better. An issue might still exist but you did not feed it. You did not allow it to consume you. You controlled it and TCB baby! (Took care (of) business) Next time you feel like writing a short novel spewing the frustration over someones actions you can’t control – try ignoring it and taking care of yourself. Tackle that task that you’ve been putting off and I promise you – you will start to feel empowered. Less talk – more action!
To the FILMS…
THE QUEST TRILOGY
40 Nights – What can I say? My goal is that all three films will become a holiday tradition to watch. I think they have the power to do so but we will see in 20 years now won’t we. Family Video has joined our growing list of retailers and rental houses. Here is a new review that was sent over today –
I’ve heard of people watching the film multiple times for an uplift. I’ve been told of the DVD being given as a gift. I’ve enjoyed hearing what joy has come from the little film we artist created.
The second “Chasing the Star” should have its second cut. We will be reviewing this week. Things are in line with music and we will be addressing our INTRO and VFX soon! It is exciting to see it all come together and I’m so proud of our team.
I’ve started the hunt for the director of our third film, “The Christ Slayer” which despite the harsh title is a beautiful story. We’ve been dealing with returning cast and also starting to look at new artists. I will be excited to finish this trilogy next year.
Many of our CDI/CDI Associated films are expanding. Every couple of weeks we’re announcing new pathways. Let’s look at a few developing.
- “Locked in a Room” is moving into a secondary distribution including a few new foreign territories. It is already in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and it will be expanding again it looks like. This is a unique thriller by the awesome twisted mind of director Larry Simmons.
- PR this week will be announcing the return of the “Knight Chills” franchise. The new Facebook page is up although not much to it yet save the new trailer. It will release in 2017 with the book that is complete. https://www.facebook.com/KnightChills/?fref=ts
- 2017 will see several new releases as our deal making continues.
- “Ashes of Eden,” “Bestseller” and “40 Nights” continue to widen their circle of availability. This past week we announced FAMILY VIDEO carrying this trio of films.
- The CDI Classic library is now digitized and so in 2017 some of these films will enjoy their first On-Demand or Blu-Ray releases. Some special edition DVD releases will also happen in 2017. (Wicked Spring:)
We discussed “Knight Chills” and while we’ve been keeping it under tight wraps – the sequel is in active development. We’re tweaking the teaser trailer for the sequel and we’ll be doing some strong PR on this exciting event in the near future.
A Jesse Low directed western project is in active development and nearing pre-production status. It’s inspired by a project we tried to launch during the writer’s strike years ago only to have it die a slow painful death. Yes. I too have failures. The heart of the previous story will beat strongly as we move forward with this new creative team. We will have some strong announcements concerning this project in the coming weeks.
- YES both the projects could provide some Michigan casting opportunities. So as I’ve said before – we like looking at “game footage” so get your acting reels together.
Men out there, words of wisdom – IF you plan to audition for a western (which we are trying to shoot this year) LET IT GROW, LET IT GROW! Same with our biblical films as we DO NOT like fake beards/hair etc… I think it comes from one project I had an association too – it was fine enough drama but it was so distracting because it looked like someone glued beaver pelts to people’s faces. I think that scare of all that hard work suffering because an actor can’t make the commit to grow hair/beard when required. So…there you have it.
Here is another little gem with casting at CDI anyway…always feel free to send an updated reel or clip to me. But to put minds at rest – if we’ve hired you before to no issues. (You trouble makers know who you are) Providing you brought your performance A-game and you were a sail NOT an anchor, you will be considered. You are often hand delivered under the nose of a director. My phone always rings more during casting times than non but I love you all the same. I just want some of you who don’t get called to know you were likely considered. Your location vs budget, age, look etc…all can factor into decisions but ole DJ remembers his co-stars. Some of you can attest to getting the calls out of the blue – sometimes years after a discussion. But keep your materials strong and current.
While on casting let me point out one other observation. I think this is important to many of those tween talent growing into adulthood. I follow a handful of promising talent that I am impressed by but waiting for the right project. I caught a glimpse of an actress I’ve followed and almost worked with – going through a public store with a couple co-stars. They were loud, obnoxious and created a few messes. Now, I’m not a saint and I’ve been kicked out of a few stores in college BUT I was not away on business representing a project and a company. I was just disappointed because I, as a company owner look for professionals that reflect well on our casting decisions. These young ladies I’m sure had no problems talking about their project but I felt like I was watching an episode of JACKASS. I guess this works for them and they might all be great actresses but I do think they will lose out on some roles because of how they paint themselves off camera/on set and off camera/off set. Yes. Wrap is called and it’s your free time but I think some professional behavior is desired by some productions. Like ours.
Alright, I’m sure I missed a few updates but I’m going to go have another coffee and enjoy the day. Another soccer battle today. We won the last game so we’ll see if we can earn another victory.
Happy Saturday everyone. The sun is out but the freeze it still in full force here in the Michigan. As many of you now know we announced the next film “40 Nights” shooting next month. For fans of the biblical/drama films like “Book of Ruth,” ‘Ashes of Eden,” or “Wicked Spring” you will enjoy this news. If more intense films are your cup of tea you will have “Bestseller,” “The Terrorist,” and “Dead Quiet” coming at you later this year.
I’m excited about “40 Nights” because it takes a very simplistic look at a very complex character. I can say that I don’t think any other film has approached this story in this way. Behind the scenes we’ve had a lot of excitement and interest. So we’ve been making strides in development for a while now and finally everything has lined up. So next month we are going out west to tell this story. We are taking some of our keys but unfortunately can’t take the entire army. We will be joining with artists out there. Several artists that I’ve worked with previously on projects. The issue is that only so many cast and crew and I’ve worked with a lot of talented people. If I’ve worked with you before and had a positive experience you are always considered. Sometimes with talent I’ve submitted you to our director and you don’t even know it. Often when you get a call from out of the blue offering a role that is exactly what happened. I also sometimes feel at blame if people don’t get a role but truth is that either the role didn’t fit or the creative director had a different idea. But that said, I do love all my co-stars and always put you forward when I see a right role. We are mostly cast save a few smaller roles and one of those is a child actor. If you like these kind of films the good news is that we have been approached about doing several. So we will focus on this story for now but in the future many more of my friends and associates could be getting calls.
“BESTSELLER” is sounding great as we get ready to start the score with the amazingly talented Dennis Therrian. We just had our Director of Photography in town and had a great color correction discussion to get things rolling. We saw almost all the FX work placed into the film and I can say great work by DNA Design. This film is being slated for 1st showings in May around author Christopher Knight’s stomping grounds. From there it will start playing various locations theatrically.
I’ve seen the artwork on “Donors,” “Ashes of Eden” and “Wicked Spring” as we prepare to release those films this spring and summer. “Wicked Spring” is looking at getting some Michigan theatrical play before the Blu-Ray and PPV/On Demand release in June. Happy Birthday month to me:)
This coming week will be FULL of final off-location prep work and packing to leave for our home away from home. Our destination has been between 72-83 degrees so that will be a nice change. On-going sales discussions on the CDI library are continuing and possible projects are lining up. I may take on a script writing assignment when I return. I’m finishing a few personal scripts as we speak. We also have a commercial project that is in the works to do this spring. Aside from all the work I’m ready to pour my everything into this next role and after that…outdoor SOCCER SEASON!
I hope you all have a great Saturday!