I’m sitting in MY chair with a hot cup of hazelnut coffee. Outside is my first Michigan snow. For me if it’s going to be cloudy and overcast, give me snow. It’s pretty and brightens everything a tad. Now I know I have friends here from VERY warm places that don’t get snow. Now snow is quite magical and that first one always brings thoughts of those days as a kid and will various pets that made that so special. Catching snowflakes, snowball fights, snow angel and sledding. I have a few stories of drunken skiing with my cousin Jerry including one epic fence-destroying trip to one of the small ski mountains. The key to snow is being prepared. This means layers and layers and mind the gaps. -By that I mean where pant legs and boots meet. Where coat sleeves and gloves meet. Where neck might be exposed and of course a solid winter hat. We learn that as a young child from bus stop stays. This continued to elementary school recess that was always an outdoor adventure of ‘king of the mountain,’ snowball wars and snowy football games. In our secluded ‘Lord of the Flies’ neighborhood even more snow games were abound. Sledding was legendary that included a few ramps/jumps that would make Evel Knievel smiles with pride. The afterglow of our cold adventure was a round of hot chocolate, marshmallows optional. At night the even more fun and dangerous snow mobile pull of the sled around the plowed fields nearby. Kind of like being pulled on a tube behind a boat but the bumps and trees made for quite the challenge. I recall at least one time staying too long in the frigid and having to run my hands under warm water, the ache returning with feeling. I hope for my friends living in the no-snow zones I painted a little picture of living with frozen water.
In Algona while filming “Silent Night in Algona” #SNIAthemovie we saw our actual first snowfall. Iowa and Michigan are alike in many ways but have their differences. We seem to have more variation in our landscapes where Iowa has lots of corn. To their credit I did see some hilly places and the sky there was just amazing. Maybe it is the less pollution or any number of factors but our location photos and our film itself captured these many awesome skies.
This project was ambitious as most of the #tribecdi projects are. I believe you have to reach to grow and so we often pick projects with various elements not easily obtained in independent films. Or with independent budgets might be a better term. Any project that takes us from our home state is more expensive. We found basic logistics to be a challenge and in hindsight a better battle plan can always be seen. The script could have been a touch shorter and we did tighten in a few places. The script was the final version that I had consulted heavily with my friend/co-star and mentor Rance Howard. He was a stickler on the farming techniques and perspective of 1940’s citizens. We went in with a battle plan and a tribe of artists. We spent months casting the “right” actors from around the country. This is a big part of directing and our producers work hard with our director and it showed in this production. But we had a large cast and with flying and lodging this is a major cost also. But the actors that signed on were there for the story. As a screenwriter I’ve never been more proud of all the feedback on the script. It was from 14 years earlier and is not perfect (is any?) and even in my own scene study I found a few ‘subtextual’ issues that I corrected. But we had the pleasure of knowing what was coming from the auditions. Now put those same amazing actors in proper wardrobe, locations and – MAGIC! MOVIE MAGIC!~
The actors were all on point and we captured some incredible cinematic magic. By capturing I mean our amazing crew. At CDI we work hard. Movies are hard. Bad movies are hard to make which is why I always give points for even bad films. Finishing deserves credit. Finishing with quality that passes worldwide QC (quality control) is worthy of kudos. But creating something handcrafted that has the story power to last decades is – a reward that you receive only after audiences have celebrated a story for many years. I think this film will be one of those. We at CDI are shooting for nothing short of a holiday classic. We made our go at that with THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer) three biblical stories told together from a unique perspective. These films have been growing an audience for many years and are on their way to becoming a classic. You can watch the three films streaming on many platforms and in many countries.
One of our films that we produced with our former sister company Lionheart was WICKED SPRING. That film now managed by CDI is 20+ years old and is still entertaining audiences. It’s also getting a new release on HD/streaming and is a good example of a film that is a true classic. Unique in its perspective with roses and rocks thrown at it but a story that has kept audiences coming back from the earliest days on VHS and network TV. (I still have a VHS copy from TV with commercials)
WILD FAITH is another film on the way to classic status. We can cement that with the production of the WILD FAITH: Hastings tv series. We are adding the film to the title to help assure our tens of millions in fans can find the upcoming series. I’m looking at back half of the year to produce the 8 shows that make up season one. I will be getting on that business asap once I can get caught up on my SNIA (Silent Night in Algona) business. A few discussions were had but again the #1 thing is that the story is told proper. This project has suffered from bad studio/network notes in the past and has moved past those to become a film loved by many. So we will stay true to our story and find the right partners. If it isn’t broke don’t let others try and fix it. We will get this made and audiences will see some of their favorite 1800’s characters back in action. Giddy up!
LOST HEART versus BIGFOOT, UFO’S & JESUS – this film under both titles is doing really well with audiences. The film is such a charm that it has so many levels and layers of story that really should appeal to most audiences. It was kind of an experiment but so far I think it has been good one. It is another great holiday season watch. It also has some great music in the film from Roanoke and The Cash Collective (John Carter, Ann and their family). Worthy of a watch if you are trying to catch up with some of the CDI films. Melissa Anschutz shines as the lead and Josh Perry shows his dramatic and comedic mastery.
RETURN TO ALGONA-
Melissa Anschutz and Josh Perry are both back in SNIA. They both bring such fascinating characters that will once again inspire. Josh Perry left people in tears with his performance which isn’t a surprise at all. Josh doesn’t wave a “Down syndrome” flag ever but I’m just so damn proud of him. On two occasions I’ve observed individuals with Down syndrome observe Josh and you could see boundaries in their minds fall. Josh ‘The Ponceman’ Perry is a movie star make no mistake about that and these young people saw what they could achieve. Josh is an inspiration by his actions not his activism. Maybe there is a lesson in that.
I had a chance to meet more fans of MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND and I’m so pleased that the film sits so well with veterans. I hope that all of you will take a chance to watch this CDI story told by ‘SNIA‘ director Anthony Hornus. One of the hard drives is being sent to our editor Nathaniel Nose who is also supervising the VFX. Our director is upgrading his computer to allow better footage review. Our DP Dan Chipman is doing some rough assembly to seek out and identify some of the pieces of the story caught on the fly. Also the first batch of photo stills is being drawn out and color corrected to help become a color template for the films final look. We have been rolling out BTS stills captured by many of our cast and crew but the real GOLD is coming.
Also this week I’ll be taking a hard look at the feature projects in development. We plan to shoot a CDI feature this Spring before we roll into pre-production on the WILD FAITH TV series. I started to have some first talks about the next CDI feature which could become plural, features pending a few discussions. I have a few development meetings that will nudge things one way or another. But with both SNIA moving into post as BEST YEARS GONE continues its theatrical (last day today in Lansing at Celebration Cinema) before prepping for home video. Also FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is in final post mixing before we start a release schedule on this documentary. We will have a meeting over this property this coming week. We should be doing a final watch through in a few weeks. From there a premiere will also be discussed. But…not until it is done. And we just might be doing another documentary in 2022. As this year closes a new one lies right over the horizon. This week will be tying up more loose ends on SNIA, planning 2022 schedule, end of year dispersement and tax prep and writing. I love to write when it is cold and snowy and I know I have some days ahead of me. I have several properties/scripts I’ve been working on and a few possible work-for-hires so we’ll see with all of that. We have the Christmas tree up after I donned winter warrior Michigan gear and saw. Today we might add lights and another night the bells and whistles. I might go light a fire in the stove at the fort to finish settling back in. I have totes everywhere as I prepare to stow the gear until our next film adventure. Stay warm and be good to one another!
November 28, 2021 | Categories: Blogroll | Tags: #SNIAthemovie, 1940's, actors, Algona, ambitious, Anthony Hornus, art, audiences, battle, BEST YEARS GONE, Bigfoot UFOS Jesus, blog, blogger, boots, BTS, buss, chair, Chasing the star, classic, co-star, coffee, corn, credit, Dan Chipman, days, decelerate, directors, down syndrome, Evel Knievel, fields, flying, For the Love of Catch, Forty Nights, friend, friends, Germans, gloves, grow, Hastings, hat, hazelnut, HD, hot chocolate, Iowa, Josh Perry, kids, king, life, Lionheart, lodging, Lost Heart, magick, Man's Best Friend, marshmelloe, MBF, Melissa Anschutz, mentor, Michigan, movie magic, Nathaniel Nose, pets, producers, QC, Rance Howard, reach, scene, screenwriter, set, Silent Night in Algona, skiing, sledding, SNIA, snow, snow angels, snowball, snowflakes, streaming, The Christ Slayer, The Quest Trilogy, trees, TV, VFX, VHS, wardrobe, water, Wicked Spring, Wild Faith | Leave a comment
I’m sitting here with my cup of hazelnut coffee as the wind blows wildly outside. The rain started yesterday and carried throughout the night. We watched a few atmospheric spooky films last night including, “I am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House,” directed by Oz Perkins, which was a well shot mind-twister. Also yesterday a few of the talent from the “Smoke & Mirrors” short were in studio to record ADR since it is content for an audio demo. I might get back to finishing that feature script once I have a few free moments.
Speaking of writing I’m about to begin work on a script that we will film next year. I was approached by an author who wanted me to turn his new book into a film script and shoot it next year. (Fall most likely) So this week ahead will be getting the business paperwork together on that.
Also I had a great project that I had put together with Rance Howard as my consultant. It is a WW2 era project that really has a wonderful message. I was approached at Norby Walter’s ‘Night of 100 Stars‘ Oscar party about writing and producing the project. To make a long story short I wrote many drafts of the script and things were moving slowly forward. I say slowly because new people kept being added into the mix that slowed it all down. A case of too many cooks in the kitchen and many of the cooks had their own agenda about what they wanted to shoot. Many of them tried to knock down and replace the story with their own pet project. These individuals were a bit older and hailed from Hollywood so that had to be the experts right? Not. So one last broken promise and I stepped back and made a string of films over the last several years. All that happened over there when I left was lawsuits against the Hollywood parties to recover “develop” money. We went on to make a string of movies, because we did not get mired in nonsense.
Fast forward several years later- Wilcox, AZ. As I stood on that stage accepting our 7th award for Wild Faith I thought about the long hard path of that film. Had Shane Hagedorn not wanted to push for that story, it never would have gotten done. I had put it on the shelf to die after failing to get the support I needed and after dealing with a handful of shameful scam artists out of Hollywood. My mind has continued to return to this beautiful story that Rance Howard and I spent hours talking about. This story had also been shelved. My mentor, friend and co-star Rance who was to play the Grandfather role has now passed. I found the courage to pull the story off the shelf and restart a few initial communications. So far it has been met with a positive reaction. It looks like I will do a new draft to trim and reduce budget slightly. This film would go out Fall/Winter 2021 since we would have some unique aspects of this story to put in place. But it looks like CDI will be doing its first WW2 film if things all come together.
WILD FAITH TV SERIES – The movie is still building momentum and I need to have some key conversations about where the series would live. We have a few great avenues to explore and I’m pretty sure we will make it happen. We need a few strong supporters and we’ll launch this Michigan-based TV series. I’m excited by the amount of talent on both sides of the camera we could use.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – I’m hearing the first theater announcing that they will be playing this powerful drama in our Veteran’s Day march to theaters, will be our friends at Celebration Cinema in Woodland. That will allow our friends and fans in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Know many of you know I’ve participated in many scary films but some great filmmakers. During this last week of the season look at IN THE WOODS, The 8th Plague, Darkest Night, Locked in a Room, Deadly Renovation, Donors, Bestseller, GPS the Movie even the early CDI films KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS. I’m sure I missed a few of these films but they run the gauntlet of spooky to those that are more gory. Check the rating and get your security blanket;) The short we just did with Nathaniel Nose might be developed from my larger feature script. I like the old black and white and Hammer films more than the boobs and blood. Now the 15 year old me really enjoyed them but at my age I’ve seen a lot of red-dyed corn syrup in the dead of night in some dirty house, hotel, forest cabin, prison or locked room. I might fit the keeper of the lighthouse better than these days warning those kids to STAY AWAY! He who warns:) I would act in the right horror film again but it has to be be a good script with a capable team. This last Victorian age short got me thinking about a few of the Vampire talks I’ve had over the years. I was always a werewolf fan but again not eager to go through that make up process. Fangs might be easier:) So the question that has been put to me was – Will you do another horror film? The answer is yes if the story, team and business all add up. By business I mean paid and not just for me. Paid brings better cast and crew on the whole. I will not talk in absolutes because that is a fools talk. There are some exceptions to the rule but few, very few.
LOST HEART – As far on the other side of horror is our in post feature. This comedy drama is at the hour mark in the rough edit. My the start of Nov we plan to have a 1st cut and I want to lock it up by Jan 1, 2020. Now this film does have some mystery associated with it by way of UFO’s and Bigfoot. This film is going to be touching and humorous and I look forward to bringing it to audiences worldwide.
MISC NOTES: (As I recall them)
- Equus Film & Arts Fest has a ‘Going to the Dogs’ section and has invited MBF to play there in December in Kentucky. It could include a theatrical tour and another TV license tied in with their military outreach.
- I’m looking at my schedule about participating in a book reading in Jan. for my stories included in “The Horse of My Dreams” in stores and online now.
- In our meetings the HOPPY GRAPE APE wine is getting good response. Made from fruit and hops all gathered on our property.
- November I’m looking forward to a private screening of NECROLAND by one of my filmmaking peers Mr. Nathan Quinn.
- A collaboration or two might be in the works – one of these just might be a western.
I’m missing a few things for sure but I smell breakfast and in a few short hours we are going to spend time with the Niece and Nephew and carve pumpkins. I wish my old buddy John Luginsland was with us. The smell plus the stringy insides usually left to a chorus of laughter as he vomited like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, good times.
Have a safe Halloween everyone. Be good to one another.
October 27, 2019 | Categories: Blogroll, Uncategorized | Tags: ADR, audio, author, Bestseller, bigfoot, blogs, blood, boobs, breakfast, camera, Celebration Cinema, coffee, comedy, cooks, corn, Darkest Night, Deadly REnovations, dogs, donors, drama, Equus Film & Art Fest, Exorcist, family, friend, From Venus, GPR, GPS, Grand Rapids, Halloween, Hammer Films, hazelnut, Hollywood, Hoppy Grape Ape, horror, Horse books, In the woods, Kentucky, knight chills, lawsuits, Linda Blair, Locked in a Room, Lost Heart, Man's Best Friend, MBF, mentor, Nathan Quinn, Nathaniel Nose, Necroland, Night of 100 Stars, Norby Walters, Oz Perkins, rain, Rance Howard, script, Smoke & Mirrors, The 8th Plague, TV series, UFO, Vampire, Veteran's Day, Victorian, Werewolf, Wild Faith, wind, WW2 | Leave a comment
NOTE: I made it back to the blog. I had most of this written this morning at 8:30 am but the distraction of errands got me. We had bathroom tile work and major leaf clean up….but the upside…Beer smoked chicken, corn on the cob, salad…and you get my point. So I’ve returned even if it is now 12 hours later.
The last few days have been beautiful outside here in Michigan. I ended my week with a marketing meeting over the upcoming BESTSELLER thriller that will release next month. It was discussions centered on projectors, DVD release parties and the theatrical runs. We are near the end of post production and I’m very happy with the product we have. I’m sure audiences will feel the tension throughout this film.
I think one of the great strength’s we’ve had as a company is a strong composer. Many young filmmakers put a focus on camera and visuals but often acting and sound/music becomes almost secondary. A film score has thematic threads that run through it and pulls it all together. It’s like the final breath into the clay that brings it all to life. We’ll have our final listen through next week with Chris Knight, our EP/author. From there we master up the DVD and get the film ready for projection. We’re having a media showing May 9th so if you’re in the Michigan area and want an invite email me email@example.com and following that is the premiere on May 23rd in beautiful Northern Michigan. Both showings are at Historic Opera House.
History of the Opera House
The Opera House, originally constructed in 1877, played an important role in the history of the colorful lumbering era in Northern Michigan. Twice ravaged by fires and rebuilt in 1888 and 1903, the facility now harmoniously houses its original combination of City Hall, Police Department, Fire Department and the 582 seat Opera House. In 1984, after having been closed for some twenty years, the elegantly restored Opera House re-opened its doors to the public once more. Managed by the Cheboygan Area Arts Council, with the support of The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, this acoustically superb, Victorian theatre has become the focal point for entertainment and the performing arts in the Straits of Mackinaw area and beyond.
Ordering for the Premiere-
I think you can order tickets even now from their website but the ads for this will start next week. It will be a fun showing for sure. I’m proud that we took a book written by this very talented author and with some talented film artists created this motion picture. Stay tuned for some exciting updates including new poster art, trailers and more. Chris Knight wrote a strong thriller on BESTSELLER and I think we did a good job of adapting that to a film. We will see what others say next month.
“40 Nights” is solidly in post-production now. Editing has begun and we are weeks away from 1st looks teaser on the film. Also we’re slightly adjusting our title font so we have had a short halt on picture release while we adjust that. As stated earlier we will also have product licensing going on- so in the near future some great products associated with this film will roll out.
“Wasteland, Tales of the Desert Part 1” and “The Terrorist” have also been completed. So I will know more on when and where showings on those two films. I heard “Dead Quiet” is still moving down the post trail. It still ranks #1 on coldest day shoot for me in Pontiac and the drive to set that one day was epic in itself. MADMAX IN WINTER.
This week also had me putting in some work on a new script. I’m working on this script to collaborate with director Anthony (Tony) Hornus on. I like the role I would play and I think it would be fun to work with Tony again. This role would be strong but it also will allow several other talents to really shine in powerful dramatic roles.
KNIGHT CHILLS 2 had some good progress made just before I went to Yuma, AZ. This project is moving forward as the script develops. I think it would be a nice tip-of-the-hat, nod – coming full circle to see this 1st CDI film get a follow up. We’ve grown so much as a company and as artist it would be fun to revisit that world with all we know now.
Still no word on TANGY GUACAMOLE 2 – Still Tangy – Stan Reed says, call me!
I’m just smiling because I’ve got many things going on – crazy busy. But we are working focused and action lists are being checked off. I like the direction of these projects. Many are finishing. The cool part for me is that we are once again entering the “what’s next ??”- phase. We’ve got several projects with various degree of development on them. We also have a new deal to deliver two more biblical era films. We’ll get back to the sandals soon enough – it may be time to tell a few other stories first.
I’m getting the garden ready and prepping the yard for the year ahead. Soccer season is upon us and that is wonderful. I’m going to enjoy finishing out these films and getting them released. So prepare to be thrilled, chilled and entertained. I’ve heard from a few fans of ASHES OF EDEN this week. We’re working hard to set up a few AZ theatrical screenings before the wide home video release.
Keep pushing towards your goals. Enjoy your down time with family and friends. Shut down and recharge your batteries when required. Relax and visualize, it is a powerful tool. Every film starts as a thought and it always amazes me when we finish one.
I have to say that as a young child who was enchanted by Star Wars in 1977 – who was lured into the art of pretend by playing Han Solo with friends. It feels good to be excited about the whole Star Wars experience again. This new trailer really brought me back to where it all started. It is timely because with our upcoming “40 Nights” that was the goal. I wanted to tell a “heroes journey” like what I saw on the screen with that 1st 1977 Star Wars film. I decided to make Jesus and his quest of forty nights into my heroes journey. I have to give it to my my director Jesse Low and my DP amigo Jesse Smooth. (Also known as Jesse Aragon) These two fine artists truly captured that heroic vibe. I really feel that everyone involved with that project will be proud to have their name on it. Okay. I’m going to sink into BLACK SAILS. A most excellent TV show. Have a great weekend.
April 18, 2015 | Categories: Blogroll | Tags: 1977, 40 Nights, arts, Ashes of Eden, author, bathroom, Bestseller, biblical, black sails, Cheboygan, chicken, Chris Knight, corn, dead Quit, DVD, film, filmmakers, font, Han Solo, kids, knight chills, knight chills2, licensing, Mackinaw, madmax, Michigan, morning, Opera House, score, Star Wars, tangy 2, terrorist, wasteland, Yuma | 1 Comment
A wonderfully productive week. Outside the temps went from steamy HOT to chilly cold, welcome to Michigan. Last night was a straight up fall feast at my fellow filmmaker and friend Dean Teaster’s house. BBQ ribs, corn, sweet potatoes, homemade applesauce, salad, cornbread…I was FULL! We had great discussions about some future film plans. Also it is exciting to note that “Ghost Town” is gonna do some theatrical play in Michigan likely in November immediately following the “Ashes of Eden” premieres. So it is going to be a wonderful fall and I’m equally excited about the thriller we are prepping to shoot. Above the line contracts are about done and keys will start to get their paper this week. The vendor talks are underway so we can get some tools for our artists to play with. I’m very excited by the artists that we have on board and once again we are going to do what we do. That is tell a good story. I’ve been really spending some time digging into the character development of a highly complex role. It will push me to some extremes and I’m happy to do so. I truly do leave it all out there with every role opportunity and this will be no different.
I had some communications on a previous film opportunity that I trusted my instincts with and passed on. It seems that was the proper thing to do as films take strong prep to make happen. How much money would you accept to charge out of a trench into the face of an onslaught of gunfire. Yes. You get my graphic point. As I’ve stated prior, I really can’t worry about every other journey being taken. People will learn at their own pace and others will work themselves out of the industry when there is nobody left to buy their BS.
I may have one small journey after the thriller. A western I’m attaching is financing a test shoot in New Mexico before putting up a much larger chunk of cash for the entire shoot. I’ve been ask to play a lead in the test shoot and the film. It will be nice to be in the 1800’s once again.
The editing on the 1st three shows of “Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” is close to finishing. Another week from this Tuesday and they should be ready to show. It is a fun entertaining show and I think people will enjoy it.
“Ashes of Eden” music and sound design is underway and so soon we will have a finished film. This same final sound design and mix is almost done on “DONORS” another thriller feature with my producer buddy Charles P from Yuma, AZ. That is exciting. I’m about to introduce a campaign this coming week to promote the triple dose of terror with “Deadly Renovations,” “Locked in a Room,” “Darkest Night”. These three films would all make for an enjoyable scary night. You can also throw in “GPS,” “The 8th Plague” and/or any of my earlier scary films as well. I love this time of year also so open a six-pack of pumpkin or apple ale and get SCARED!
I have to upload some acting clips and send my agent some photos for promotion. My new LA agent is to try to land the occasional studio film. With the new Superman/Batman film coming to MI who knows. Well, I’m about to get on some breakfast of bacon and eggs. I have to put a mow on the yard before the MSU game starts. We are going to fire up some chili for dinner. Tomorrow is 2nd round of the soccer play off. We are playing a tough team but we will give it the old college try to try to land the win. Tomorrow is also the monthly flea market that is always fun. I always seem to come across some interesting thing that I probably didn’t really need but enjoy anyhow. Enjoy the weekend with family and friends!
September 14, 2013 | Categories: Blogroll | Tags: actor, agent, ale, apple, BBQ, chilly, corn, Costa Rica, donors, eden, film, Ghosts, Halloween, hot, Michigan, model, MSU, New Mexico, pumpkins, role, scary, soccer, western | Leave a comment