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.
It is a peaceful Saturday and I’ve finally gotten a chance to sit down and spend a few moments with all of you. This last week was extremely full of meetings, handing off of materials, in-studio work and many other matters of business. But let’s take a moment to discuss the topic everyone is speaking on.
I think that most of the headlines are currently focused on the terrible happenings in France. We can watch the misery and yet it still feels distant until it hits home. I remember how I felt when one of my best friends from the neighborhood growing up – got caught in that Boston bombing. He suffered some wounds but nothing too severe. I would guess the thoughts of that day would be the worst. But I imagine my pain had he died or lost limbs like so many. We watch on TV these masses of people fleeing savage behavior in their homeland, but imagine it was yours. I wonder where or when we all failed? Where tribes of people with differing beliefs exalted themselves above one another using their religion as justification. I believe if people truly anticipated a final judgement of sorts that was based upon how they lived their lives and treated people – the world could be a better place. So much violence being inflicted over something as simple as differing opinions on paths of faith.
As the possibility of life on other planets becomes more real versus just science fiction – perhaps that will change things. Now some scientists realistically fear attracting higher life forms, like alien hunters. Maybe if another life form started seeing all mankind as something to be harvested, removed or eliminated – maybe our little differences between us would lessen. Religion should be about tradition and something intimate between a person and who/what gives them their peace and purpose. I don’t like to talk judgmental politics or religion – my place is as a storyteller. But violence against innocent people is once again just a horrible example of the worst that mankind has to offer. It’s been happening for a long time to many tribes all over the world. This recent tragedy is just a current reminder of how horrible we can be to one another. If a religion pits people versus people it was likely created by people to serve people – not divinity. If your organized religion endorses this lack of tolerance – question the source.
Enough of that topic. Let’s look at some of the movie updates from the week.
“Ashes of Eden” – Some wonderful PR rolling out this week. That is the extent I’m allowed to talk about it for now.
“Bestseller” – Artwork with the distributor has started and I believe our national street date will be March 2016. Meanwhile we’re traveling to Grayling, MI next. That might be followed by Kalamazoo and the Detroit area.
“Donors” is releasing Feb. 2nd, 2016. EXCITING!
“40 Nights” the distributor and marketing teams have started work on marketing materials. I do believe Wal-Mart is assisting with the marketing art so we know they’re one of the participating retailers. Tomorrow we’ll release the 1st of a series of short teasers. Meanwhile we have music and sound design still full speed ahead. VFX work is finishing up so we can lay it all in and color correct. The next couple weeks we PUSH hard!
The “Chasing the Star” script was the center of meetings this week. We also have been doing a good amount of west coast casting since we’re shooting in AZ. We’ve been excited by some of the reads we’ve seen and we’ll be announcing some new casting choices this week. The business paperwork will be signed this month and we’ll start putting paper under people next month. In time for a Merry Christmas with this Christmas themed film.
I’ve got final paperwork for the distribution of the “Knight Chills” book and film. A comic book/graphic novel could also go into play. The sequel script is being worked on and may get some attention once I finish this. “From Venus” might also get this treatment.
“An Ordinary Killer” is getting remastered to prepare for a re-release. It will be the film showing Nov. 19th at our Sanctuary Spirits mixer. That is in Grand Ledge, MI and there is an event page on Facebook.
If you want to come meet some other actors, filmmakers and enjoy great distilled spirits come join us.
Lastly, I’ve got an NDA to sign and return. I’ve got a company sending me a book and script for an upcoming 2016 project. We will see:) I’m excited about the 2016 CDI western we’re doing with “40 Nights” director Jesse Low. Overall, I’m trying to have a productive end to 2015 and get ready for a great 2016!
Have a great weekend and be good to one another.
Welcome to Feb. everyone. We are past the holidays and off to a great start. Before I get into some of the exciting updates I wanted to share a story. Many years ago when I was just starting this journey I knew this young girl. I knew her from the acting workshop that ultimately led to my 1st starring film role. The years that followed opened more doors but she was having trouble getting her first footholds. She was a blonde bombshell type that you might find on BAYWATCH or such. The girl could really act and really sing but her appearance made most see that first. I remember telling her over a game of pool that she would have to work twice as hard to get people to see past her boobs. It was true. I saw Bruce Campbell at an event climb over a table to come meet this young lady who arrived with a few friends. She had that appeal but still could not land that dramatic role she needed to showcase herself. She decided she wanted to go to Hollywood. I told her as hard as it was she should really try to get her experience in secondary markets before going Hollywood. She had her heart set on going and so I told her she had to be focused. Hollywood is like a full time spring break for young people. It is where wanna-be actors from around the world come with dreams in hand. They have what I call actor ghettos out there. Basically it is expensive out there and so aspiring actors live in certain areas. They usually party and talk about finding agents, finding a gig, blah, blah. The point is more talk than action. My 1st trip to LA I was invited. I went to read for Wes Craven and I stayed in one of these areas. In two weeks people were amazed because I had done more in two weeks than they did in two years. I don’t think I am more special than anyone I just have a focused way about me. I think that is from martial arts. So I told this girl don’t get caught into these traps. The trap of young people putting play before work. All night parties that lead to late wake ups that lead to day long hang overs that lead to food, coffee and where is the next party. They bitch about the unfair system that keeps a person down. I can’t get an agent. I never get the role. I can’t get a break because of…. never was there accountability. So I fill this girl up with as much common sense wisdom my immature self can muster. She heads out to grab her dream. Three weeks into her move I get a call and she was now dating some musician from a well known rock band. Long-short is that a handful of years later she is cast aside for a younger rock groupie. She has not done a single film but she has done every destructive drug possible. Her “glow” had faded and while she is still pretty she is now older and cannot compete with the better resumes. She moved back and spent more time here chasing cocaine and the next party. She ruined her image at a company party by asking around for “meth”. She moved here and there and I would occasionally get the call asking if there was any acting parts. Yes. I want to risk investor money on a worn out looking girl showing wear and tear of a woman twice her age. A flakey drug addict that may or may not show up somewhere. The last time I saw her was years ago at a local bar where I had gone to meet a few friends during the holidays. She was a hot mess and full of regret. I recall the words of encouragement I shared and wished her well. She was living in Florida but was home on holiday. Years go by and nothing from her. I finally got a phone call a few years ago saying she had moved back to Michigan and was working at her church. She said we should catch up and party a bit. I was not in that mode and surely did not want to feed that. My career path has not been easy and if you are not a hard worker you will fail. I never called her back but emailed her something to the effect that I was glad she was back in-state and getting her life together. I mentioned maybe coffee sometime but I did not follow up. I think because she was still asking about acting and I did not want to hurt her feelings – I never met up with her. I would not be hiring her anytime soon for an acting role knowing all that I knew already. Years clicked by and unfortunately the only time she sprang to mind was when I saw an AOL story on before and after of METH. Well recently I found out that she died in 2011 at age 33. They did not mention how but it had to be drugs either by accident or purposely. I found this out only this week. I was having a day of slight frustration waiting for this deal to close or that. It took me all the way back to the beginning. I wanted to tell this story on here because if it saves even one person it will have served a purpose. I see many of the same type of people looking for short cuts to stardom. So heed my words. Remember the solid words of the hard working people around you. Love yourself. Thank you for listening.
TO MOVIE NEWS.
A deal has been made for the inspirational film “Figure in the Forest” and the powerful Civil War drama “Wicked Spring” to play on the Parables Network. It should start playing later this month and I’m proud to have these films going out to new audiences. We will be working additional distribution deals on these and all our films.
We will also be announcing that “Deadly Renovations” is going to vudu VOD platform expanding the release of this film even more. The film is also opening an AZ festival by special invitation. Pre-sales on “Locked in a Room” and “Darkest Night” will be starting this month. “Benjamin” is playing the Long Island Film Festival in March also. April 19th with be the theatrical and DVD release of “Realizism” in Grand Rapids, MI.
Today I’m going out to look at “Ashes of Eden” editing work. The trailer has created a lot of buzz and it should. I think it really gives a powerful peek at what the film is about. Also we will be discussing future collaboration between our companies.
I hope you all have a fun and safe weekend. Enjoy the Superbowl with family and friends and have a great month.
The rain has been falling like crazy playing catch up for the poor crops here. The garden will surely drink all this up and we should have more harvest soon. We’ve been having a few tomatoes ripen here and there and so those are being enjoyed. We broke into the first bottle of the “Green Goblin” our fall harvest wine from last year made with green tomatoes and ginger root. It was a hit at our dinner party save for my mother. She’s picky – what can you say:) As I was told recently – at least I know where I get my brutal honesty.
I’m here to announce that CDI has entered into “an association” deal to develop and produce a feature film with local Lansing filmmaker Shane Hagedorn with his New House Entertainment. The working title is “Road to Eden” which may or may not remain – but we’ve been having all the foundation meetings to put key elements into play. This project will provide a chance for a mix of old CDI guard and new upcoming folks to work together. I will be producing and playing a role in the film. I was not expecting to dig on this one character as much as I did. Sometimes a character jumps off a page and right into your head. So we will be doing an official PR release this week but you heard it here first.
I also did a read on “Kinship of Death” the TV pilot to shoot after Thanksgiving and before Christmas in the Philippines. I was so surprised and really excited about bringing the character to life in that show. He is a cool antagonist and I think it will showcase a new side of me while also playing to my strengths. If network numbers are strong we will shoot an entire season early 2013. I hope to have some updates on “Darkest Night” here very soon for fans out there.
“Deadly Renovations” in 10 days – August 21st so get your copy on any of the various retail outlets. Blockbuster is one of the newest additions. I’m also hearing that an in-store signing will happen at THE HASTINGS video store in Yuma, AZ with director and producer. Here is a good interview I did last week that centers on “Deadly Renovations”.
“Locked in a Room” has isolated a distributor deal they like and are doing some back and forth to get all parties happy. It is a good company and will get a strong push. This will announce very soon so hang in there.
I’m hearing the wildly popular “Benjamin” has been invited to participate in another major festival – 29th annual LONG ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL. September 18, 2012 to September 29, 2012. Stay tuned….”7 Stones” is still in final post, “Donors” still in post – “Realizism” now in post – some good pics coming forth now. I still have had a little drama from certain members of that team but I’m trying to just write it off as just inexperience and leave it at that. These kids will find out that the world doesn’t owe them and everyone doesn’t always win. Things aren’t always followed by juice boxes, cookies and pats on the head. A few of them I will likely see on film sets, maybe even ours – but more than most will realize the harsh truth that few will work in this industry of ours.
I still have the new draft of “The Beast” to read and another Philippine script with an acting offer attached. I also have some work to do on “Road to Eden” pre-prod. so I think I will draw this to a close and get back to some work. Thank you one and all for sharing your morning with me.