‘Best Years Gone’ Moves Into Music & Sound – CDI Updates and Sunday Rocking Chair Ponderings
Good morning partners. Hazelnut coffee cheers! We had a good rain last night and everything is becoming lush and green. Later today will be our first flea market visit to see if I can find any treasures. I love to look for personal props for certain characters. I was looking pretty close to ole Ben Lily as we moved forward developing the WILD FAITH Tv series spin off. I have a string of biz calls to do about the 8 show spin off. With our WW2 film a full go we’ve decided that the series HASTINGS will go up after SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. So I’ve had a full shave and a hair cut as I prepare for the next role. We announced two more actors last week with Dean Teaster and Samual Peterson joining the cast.
This week we’ll announce more cast and crew as we move through pre-production. We’ve almost cast our Germans which is so exciting. Just incredible talent and I’m again happy to say that about all our castings. So many exciting announcements that will be forthcoming.
Our holiday window of Thanksgiving to Easter is now complete. It will be fun to see how THE QUEST TRILOGY did with audiences this year. We keep growing our audiences each year and I truly do love getting all the fan mail. CDI will eventually do another trilogy of biblical films. One of the scripts is being studied for future execution and we hope to return to the desert in the near future.
MANS BEST FRIEND is starting its general market roll out. I have to say I loved the previous poster art but this poster captures ‘Paul’ in the eyes. And what a noble pic of Paul’s MBF. I think this film that got caught up in the Covid breakout deserves that renewed push. For a beat everyone was holding on licensing as the whole world adjusted. I’m so happy that it is getting its second wind. I was already getting LOTS of fan mail (NOTE: My silly spell check tried to turn ‘mail’ into ‘tail’ and that reads totally different. I’m happy to say this coming June at NRB the 5 best finalist films under 250k will compete for gold, silver and bronze. Both MBF and LOST HEART are finalists. So having 2 of the 5 nominated films feels good. It makes me proud of our artists and I do take pride in having written those scripts.
‘WRITING’ is a love that I hid for a long time only because I wanted to be seen as an actor first. The actor ME became frustrated at the lack of deep, powerful films. I’m comfortable now being considered a screenwriter along with an actor and ultimately producer. I’ve enjoyed writing short stories as part of my book contributions to this wonderful book series by Callie Smith Grant. (Revell/Baker) Each book focuses on animal relationships and sometimes centers around a holiday. Cats and Christmas is up next and so I’ll polish up my story and see if it makes the grade. The fun fact here is I was approached after WILD FAITH was seen in the theaters. From there I’ve contributed to three books now. The one coming out later this year (09/21) is on dogs. I like dogs:)
This morning as the rain storm passed, our team on the documentary ‘For the Love of Catch‘ hit the road. This is for the last filming segment of the doc. We’re set up to start editing and dialog clean up immediately after. They have been getting some great interviews from the world of grappling to discuss what they love about it. We’ll be doing a PR release and talking more about this in the coming weeks. It is being directed by our own Catch-Can World Champion Curran Jacobs. Big congrats to Dan Chipman and his mobile production home for capturing some amazing interviews. Adam Towner has been signed on to edit and work post. Stay tuned!
LOST HEART has been just playing so well to the family/faith audiences but as pointed out by fans, the film is so much more. Hence the upcoming general market release, but we’ll wait until I have more to report. But let’s address that term? market? We are all storytellers.
At CDI we don’t make “faith” films – but create stories with strong character development. In ANY story character development is king. And knowing the ‘faith’ of the character is the seed. Some seek faith, lack faith or try to hold onto faith. Maybe they lost all faith in mankind, themselves or their path to God. All these characters come from a different place. Those carrying status in religion might struggle with their faith while the downtrodden might live in appreciative faith. I have many ask about religion which has helped to build great civilizations but unfortunately usually is tied to conflict and war. I also think that someone’s seeking to understand divinity is a personal and private relationship, unique to each person. In my opinion it also doesn’t require any fancy study, conversion, certification, validation etc…to me DIVINE is a constant like gravity. Only mankind’s understanding changes but anyone actively seeking DIVINE is getting closer and closer to THEIR truth of understanding the constant. Many of my deep pondering are reflected in ‘The Quest Trilogy,’ historical fiction examining overlooked events or perspectives to try and gain a new insight.
A nice example in Forty Nights is the showing ‘Jesus’ working to put the words of the heart on the tongue. Some watchers following along with their scripture wait to jump on the words and claim their superiority in finding supposed flaws. The purpose was to show human flaw in Jesus. That mighty things like LOVE are hard to put into the perfect words. The purpose was to show the journey to those final words. It still makes me chuckle when I see people upset about John and Jesus seemingly not knowing each other….the post baptism conversation and later flashbacks between John and Jesus obviously showing a pre-existing relationship. The baptism was a ritual passing of the torch but their casual talk away from the masses was meant to show they knew one another well.
Later in the desert, we see Jesus struggling to find the perfect way to teach what he knows. Some of the greatest minds in certain fields cannot teach what they know. Being a teacher is not easy because you have to paint a picture to enlightenment for another persons imagination and intelligence to grasp onto. Those three films are full of contemplative gems and many have discovered some personal truth by watching them. For some they just miss the point – I like the Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon I think) scene whereas Bruce tells a student not to just focus on the pointing finger alone or you’ll miss all that heavenly glory. I think the old saying of ‘the Devils in the details’ is another funny way to say this. Some people are so worried at hoping to increase their “religious” status by winning some ‘Bible Jeopardy’ that they miss the lesson of the parable all together.
And so scholars continue to debate and the facts alter and change as new “experts” appear. Science and Religion have more in common then they think and to me it’s fascinating that they don’t always co-exist well. Anyway, I think that the trilogy was my “Noah. I want you to build an ark.” moment. You want to know my feelings – watch the films. I tried to connect the dots in a way that made sense to people who cannot truthfully function on blind faith alone. You will find a deep sincere reverence that permeates all three stories. The trilogy conjures all the right emotions and feelings because in the medium of film it’s show me versus tell me where you can. It’s when the story rises beyond just show and tell to actually allow one to FEEL the story. It’s an art. I’ve gone on a while here. I could and have filled books with my thoughts on these matters. But your relationship with divine or choice to not interact or accept is deeply personal. I like to speak with the stories to those still seeking their personal truth and maybe help clarify aspects of things for those who feel to have found divinity yet still seek to fully understand it. I have a suspicion that only on our final walk will we fully understand.
Okay let’s shift gears!
BEST YEARS GONE – based upon the wonderful and quirky writing of Karl Manke in his book ” Hope from Heaven” (You can buy it:) comes the story of unconditional love, dreams gone awry and generational communication issues. We now have the film after a wonderful edit by Nathaniel Nose (Dir./Editor The Christ Slayer) and has now landed at Dennis Therrian’s studio. We’ve had two post sessions so far and what a lift to the spirits. While this film will have all the trademark emotional beats it truly marks what I feel to be a big step comedically. It is for me for certain. Now growing up I thought I was going to be a stand up comedian with strong observational humor like George Carlin. In my personal life I would say I have a healthy sense of humor maybe too much. (I have been known to pull a prank or two) I have to say I had such a wonderful time filming this. It was the adventure that unfolded in the Covid storm and we were appreciative to have all our precautions rewarded with a safe journey. Now we’re into talking music and the dialog is also popping better than ever due to innovative software, gear and the growing experience of our sound team. The deal with BMG is signed. Next week we’ll start feeding them marketing deliverables. Poster art will be underway as we deliver choice screen captures. Additionally the first official trailer is being cut and so maybe end of May we can rock that out.
BATTLE OF THE BANDS!!!! It is still underway and we are getting some KICK ASS music submissions. Keep them coming and you just might end up in this film. We’ve really enjoyed listening to all the great original music. Kudos to all of you. Keep on rocking!
I want to get back on path with my writing. I want to finish my new SMOKE & MIRRORS feature script. You’ll get to enjoy the short film likely this fall. I saw some of the VFX work and I’m smiling. My SciFi script is another goal to at least get my first draft. The 1st season of HASTINGS is being edited for missed commas and such. I think we had a nice chat and I gave you all a good update on the films. In short – it has been busy. But I’ve also been getting some great moments observing the new hens in our “chicken land” enclosure. Some major wood chopping against a few mighty logs that I swear were made of iron. I will soon bottle up some of the berry wine that has been aging. We recently toasted off Best Years Gone will some lilac wine aged several years. It was enjoyed by all. Amazing what the natural world has to offer. Until we speak next week. Be good to one another.
Event Links, Interviews, Film Updates and Seasonal Thoughts…
Good morning. I’m sitting here sipping the coffee and writing to all of you. I want to thank all our readers from around the world stopping by to touch base. I appreciate all the artists out there taking the time to stop by and share a few moments of their Sunday. I’ve been still doing lots of film work on the developing, post flow and and release and PR aspects. I have a few podcast interviews I’ve agreed to do. Here is a recent one. Isaac has been a long time friend and his “mission” is positive content.
What I try to explain is that at CDI we are not tailoring any film to FIT any particular audience save the age rating that we keep in mind. You don’t want to F-BOMB all over your PG film. I’m a lover of colorful language at times and I enjoy R -Rated entertainment. Sometimes it helps the story and sometimes it is just too much for my taste. Despite my start in horror films which I still love, I’ve always been more about atmosphere and mood vs slash and gore. I have several friends who that is their passion. I’ve reached a place where I enjoy the consistent flow of fan mail that says how this film or that film has helped them. As a writer I’ve really grown to enjoy those moments that ultimately teach us something good, bad or ugly. So bottom line we’re beyond grateful for the acceptance by the “faith film genre” but our films about faith – “those strong in faith, those lacking faith, finding faith, seeking faith, losing faith and holding on to what they have.”
Our films are for everyone to invoke tears, laughter and offer a different perspective through filters we all share. Moments of entertainment and escape from our own lives and to have a few message gems hidden within. The 50 year old me also loves not being up all night in a dirty location, covered in corn syrup (blood) which bugs LOVE by the way. Showing up on a western town set with a cup of coffee wearing a low hanging gun rig is a lot cooler to my body clock. I truly enjoy that after years of bringing other peoples stories to screen I’m finally getting my own stories told. And they are touching people and giving them hope and new understanding. I told someone in a meeting yesterday I’ve never been more proud to be a storyteller. I use to say that if we made a bad scene nobody dies on an operating table but we do have the ability to help many, many people. We’re still trying to pull the numbers in from our 2 day showing of LOST HEART on Encourage TV. We know it exceeded 30k views maybe as high as 100k and the beautiful notes followed.
I’m not so much into “shocking” people these days. If there is any shock I want to give fans/audiences is that person who watches Paul Landings in MBF: Man’s Best Friend and says “Is that DJ Perry?” that feels good. That film on Encourage TV (This is a paid by ads site where audiences can watch free w/ ads) but MBF is climbing to 700k watches and this is one stream. Our distributor monetizes dozens of streams and foreign territories. I’m excited to see all these films travel. The holidays are exciting because that is when families and friends watch films. And in these times of few recreational choices these stories are being watched more and more. I guess I just want to say thank you. To all the fans that have been with me since I was running bloody IN THE WOODS (Me as Rookie firefighter with Jim Grulich – fighting monsters) * Amazon Prime – to my newfound fans from playing Jesus in The Quest Trilogy, Ben Lily, Niles Cass, Paul and most recently the character study known as ‘Gil Gilles’ in BEST YEARS GONE now in post-production.
I’m going to ask you all to explore our films. Each one is truly hand crafted. You can tell the artists care about the stories. That has been true since the early days. You can see so much heart in Jeff Kennedy’s HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS – a beautiful PG-13 film that we placed too heavy of swearing into for our audience. I told you I like colorful language at times. A live and learn in many ways. Followed by FIGURE IN THE FOREST also directed by Jeff Kennedy which was a beautiful story led by Dean Teaster who many know from our recent films. These have been pressed into a 2 DVD “Classic CDI Collection” and I’m exploring talks of uprezing as these were made in the SD (standard def) days. For next year we do plan on releasing KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS the first two films from CDI that was our playing with the horror and comedy genres. It is nice to have existing copies of these films. Thank you to those that have purchased.
PICK THIS UP AND SEE WHERE WE STARTED FROM-
But lets give a run down on a few of the current films-
ASHES OF EDEN – If you’re excited about BEST YEARS GONE recently filmed – directed by Shane Hagedorn – check out his first collaboration w/ CDI. It stars Melissa Anschutz and you’ll see many of the #TribeCDI – I play a lovable drug dealer named Donnie:) It is a great story that premiered to a 600 person crowd at the CCFF to a standing ovation. Shane is great at weaving emotional scenes and it shows in this earlier effort. Check it out free on Amazon Prime, Encourage TV likely Tubi and Pluto TV. Here is the teaser!
I LOVE the new campaign underway for THE QUEST TRILOGY – they are told in this 3 fold story that starts in the present, falls back to the past and leaps to the future. The thread in the three films is the Devil and the Angels which makes this a unique story. It explores the possible effect of all these events from the perspective of the angels serving and fallen. Please do take a watch on FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. Happy Holidays! Leave your comments on the IMDB, Amazon pages and/or to me here.
WILD FAITH – We are aggressively in talks with a few parties about bringing back the Murphy family and friends from WILD FAITH in a TV series currently titled HASTINGS. I have written the first season consisting of eight forty-four minute shows. I’m looking at a few ways to put this together business-wise. I had a few “first right of refusal” situations not legally but by using good business fairness. I had a very productive talk this weekend that might give us the results we are looking for. The pilot feature WILD FAITH shows what a powerful world was created and these ongoing stories strengthen and carry forth the evolution of these beloved characters. The bad news is that I’ve been enjoying the lack of facial hair and soon I might have to start that walk back towards Ben Lily. I guess I could do that.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – To answer a few fan questions – there is no immediate plan to do a sequel to MBF but never say never. Someone else asked if I had my eye on any action films. I still like films that are heavy on character drama and include action vs an action genre film. But do I have a Bruce Willis DIE HARD like movie in me? Giddy Up!
PS: There is a chance that MBF might play at the Capital City Film Festival Drive In Event since it was scheduled to play before the shut down and was nominated.
LOST HEART – A beacon of light and laughter that has been expanding across the USA and the world. I think the UK is getting to travel to Lost Heart. Our beautiful state of Michigan is giving a wonderful peek to the world. I haven’t gotten any real ‘Niles Cass’ fan mail, shadowed by that Josh Perry, love you buddy:) …but I’ve received many messages from viewers expressing their love of the story and characters. It brought them some comfort in these different and for many difficult times.
A few asked about the EVENT on ENCOURAGE TV. They are also playing the Cast & Crew Event – Enjoy!
PRE-PARTY FOR ‘LOST HEART’
The AFTER GLOW
The thing is I feel blessed by all the good things abound. I’ve always worked diligent and consistent as I find that gets bests results. Starting, Finishing and everything in between. I’m starting to develop a need for some breakfast although lunch is creeping up too.
We’ll be back in action finishing the filming on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH doc film first of the year. We have some exciting merchandise conversations happening. We’ll be pulling the paperwork together on the WW2 film SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA early in 2021. Just take this time of holiday reflection to plan the upcoming year. What did you do that you want to repeat? What did you do that you want to remove? We’re all a work-in-progress and we can change our course with a handful of decisions. Be the change you want to see. Don’t worry about changing others just allow yourself to be a living example. Show people you are not lip service by leading by actions. Less talk and more self action. This holiday season be mindful to people and animals less fortunate and in need.
Enjoy the season.
Moving Forward on Many Fronts – CDI Updates!
I want to once again welcome our new readers from S. Africa, Canada and the world over. For new readers this is a place to update our fans but also discuss the ups and downs of the artistic journey. I’ve got my hazelnut coffee beside me and I’m reflecting back on our week. First off lots of yard work including a new privacy screen that runs alongside one of the property lines. Today I need to harvest some more rhubarb and we’re about to have a burst of strawberries and black raspberries.
As I stated I’ve been working hard on the yard. We were looking at a new patio but instead decided to wait. I power washed, painted and sealed the deck. I love to work out there and take calls. Each week I pick some new tasks to tackle in the yard. Also I’ve got everything I need to start a batch of dark beer and a wine batch. Since I’ve had my first few in-person meetings I’ve got to have a few toasts. Let’s jump into a few updates.
LOST HEART – This week we start the mixing of the film. It is where we balance the mix between dialog, sound design and music. Speaking of music aside from the wonderful score by Dennis Therrian we’ll have contributions by a few country bands. We’ll be doing a PR spot light on those artists very soon. We are starting to look at theatrical options and a premiere. I think the main home release to DVD and streaming will be in October. I will know more on that soon. This film was so fun to make and I think audiences will find it so fun to watch.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – we were up for a handful of nominations at a recent festival and we did not bring home any gold. It was a virtual festival and quite a different experience. I’m proud of our team and we submitted to a few new festivals and we’ll see if we will play. The film is already out there and showcasing some important themes. This is an unusual run for this film because of the virus running amuck but audiences at home are finding it. I think it will continue to widen in the distribution market. And the fan mail from it has just been touching. As to those who have asked if I will be showcasing my martial arts skills in future films, maybe:)
FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER – I had some great fan mail over Forty Nights wanting to know if I was the actor playing Jesus and expressing how much they loved the film. They were happy and surprised that it was part 1 of 3 in the trilogy. Again a great motivator to prep a kicking trilogy trailer. People should be aware that Forty Nights is the first of three. The story of the Devil and Angels extends through all three films. As the next holiday window approaches (Thanksgiving – Easter) we plan to be ready. I’ve had many ask if CDI will do more biblical adventures and I do plan to but right now the field is pretty full. Look for these three films to start playing S. Korea as they keep marching around the world.
As WILD FAITH keeps introducing people to the Murphy family and people fall in love with the simpler time the ground because fertile for the ‘Hastings’ TV series. I had several discussions over the series and it makes a lot of sense. We know the world, the characters and we are set to tell more stories. We plan to have famous TV stars guest star weekly. If you license for a territory or TV network please do reach out. It is all coming together. Giddy up if you have not seen this film yet.
BEST YEARS GONE – This next project on the CDI slate just underwent 2 weeks of scene and dialog work with myself and director Shane Hagedorn. We will get these changes added to the master script. We’re starting to add some great sponsors to the film. We’ve also been working on the safety and health procedures to put in play when we shoot. Filtering through all these changing guidelines can be exhausting. A set is never a 100% safe place but we want to protect our folks best we can while filming.
We’re still working on one of our star castings but have many great announcements lining up. One of these announcements will be my leading lady. I’m excited to say it will be my first time working/playing with this actress. I’m also proud to say that she lives in Michigan. We’ll also be spotlighting some more crew members that will be joining us. We’ve been monitoring the situation in the world while steadily putting things together. We are 100% fully funded but want to move forward with 100% confidence. Therefore this week we’ll announce that we’re going to our September dates. This film can be shot in Sept, Oct or Nov and the added time just helps us prepare. We might start shooting B-Roll and a VFX sequence ahead of time. I can say as talent I’m ‘JONESING’ to film. The producer is working to do what is best for the project not my immediate itch.
Once we get our new target dates set Mr. Hagedorn will communicate this to our cast and crew. I don’t have the luxury of just being willy nilly over shooting. We need to win the day and that requires planning. I’m aware that we have several needed paychecks waiting – I’m excited about this project but decisions are not made by excitement. When this movie goes full ahead I promise a fun shoot. One that every person will be proud to be associated with. I appreciate you all and we have your well-being at heart.
Three of the CDI Associated films will be starting a new distribution phase with a new distributor. We’ll be doing a PR announce on that in the coming weeks. The films currently in this deal consist of DEADLY RENOVATIONS, DONORS and DARKEST NIGHT.
CDI is about to enter another association on a documentary film that we’ll also announce via a PR release.
Our WW2 film shooting 2021 is having some of the investment and sponsorship docs completed this week. Over half of it has been financed prior to even doing an official offer. This is a beautiful script that I wrote with Rance Howard (Ron’s father) as my script consultant. Once we get “Best Years Gone” into post this film will get a lot more attention.
The CDI merchandise site is under construction but one of the really great additions which we have not officially announced is the roll out of the CDI “Classic Collection’ which is the early CDI work. The first 4 movies are like our do-it-yourself film school. Michigan did not have the film infrastructure then that is does now. The first four films were KNIGHT CHILLS, directed by Katie Hicks followed by FROM VENUS directed by Jeff Kennedy. We will be doing a Double Feature of these two films in the near future. But CDI films three and four- HEAVEN’S NEIGHBORS and FIGURE IN THE FOREST are available together for the first time. You can order it here-
I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and week ahead. I know for many things are tough. Just keep moving forward and before you know it the problems and issues will be in the rearview mirror.
Stay healthy and be kind to one another!
LOST HEART updates and NEW Films
Good morning my friends from around the world, coffee cheers. I want to welcome our new readers and followers. This blog started as a way for me to discuss film updates so that at family and friend get-togethers, I didn’t have to sit around and re-tell stories. People could read something and ask questions if they really wanted to know something. I do feel extremely blessed to be able to do what I love, which is writing, producing and performing in motion picture. I also use this blog to help other artists remain inspired and to give insights into my journey, that you can apply to your own journey.
This past week has been extremely busy. Let’s look at a few of the exciting things from the week. OR, let’s start with the not so exciting:) BIZ tax season – I’ve worked hard this past week to get expense reports and such around on the films for our accountants. The 1099’s are being generated and K1’s will be put together for investors. I want to thank a “Unicorn” for all the help in pulling this together. I have a few more things to submit this week but a big chunk was accomplished.
BEST YEARS GONE, is the current name of the new CDI film. This past week I finished the first draft and now I’m on my deep polish. Again, I always stress this and so I will yet again. SCRIPT is the blue print for all the artists to work off of. As artists we can all easily go off on our own tangents. A script/blue print keeps everyone in step – art teams, locations, camera set ups, lighting schemes, just everything.
I cringe at the stories of no script on a project. I’ve had a few outside CDI projects/directors try to sell me on the fact we don’t need one. It was a polite pass from me. I believe in improve and being open to inspired added dialog but you need a story line to touch back to. I’m beyond excited by this next script which will be the #1 film up for CDI, likely shooting in May. We will be having meetings on this in the coming weeks. Location scouting and some prep work will begin in the coming weeks also. We’ll start to put all the paperwork together and get things moving in February towards production. Now, I want to draw attention to the DEVELOPMENT time that is spent by the producer team before we hit on-set pre-production. If people wonder how our CDI projects achieve these bumps in production value and process it is by the hard work of the producers. We have an incredible team that grows as we take in new apprentices that share the same mind set of art within business.
About the story – it’s a drama, off-beat love story that is more relatable than the RomComs. This is the blue-collar, everyman’s story, and much like other CDI films it has some great messages woven into the fabric of the story. Our CDI stories are general market stories for everyone. Now you can still tell a clean story that children may enjoy, within the show we can see consequences and actions in motion. This in turn teaches by illustration of actions and outcome. I try to write realistic scenero with people from all walks of life. I’m happy that the “faith-film” market has accepted us into their audience but our films play great to everyone. Maybe a majority of the faith-films are cautionary tales or reinforcement of some aspect of belief. On a whole, early faith films were not good quality and were likely merely a fun medium to explore with your youth group. I agree with this and better yet, an audience united in a positive belief system rallied to support these endeavors.
Now, I have heard the knocks against taking an award at a faith film but let me present something I’ve observed. Many young artists fought hard often, not always against restrictive parents who maybe did not get their love of these outside films that illustrated action, sex and violence. Yes. That sounds like the Bible too. But they left their small towns for mighty cities of high art. To do their film but it’s not that easy. Any aspiring filmmaker will tell you funds is the key. Now the faith-film market started a small boom like the 80’s horror market. All these filmmakers struggling in the pits of the mainstream started looking to re-tool old scripts or create new ones. So the production circles of these faith-films have seen a surge of the prodigal sons and daughters returning to their organized church beginnings. I’m not judging anything that pointing out that the faith market is growing stronger as many “come home” to tell a story.
My writing always had that old 70’s/80’s style of writing. Things like “The Waltons” influenced my writing. JAWS. THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG. E.T. and in the 90’s my writing was liked but called too old fashion. Now I’ve continued to evolve as a writer, I believe I’ve taken on a COEN BROTHERS humor vibe adding that to the other nostalgic influences. Either way, I feel blessed to be using my gifts. When I first saw cut one of LOST HEART, it left me teary-eyed hearing lines I’ve written performed so powerful. And set in a world that our artists worked many hours to create. It was beautiful.
LOST HEART – Let’s talk about this film since I already started. I watched the proposed lock cut yesterday. I saw 2-3 places to just check an edit but it was so good. I dislike when people over-hype stuff. Don’t call something fire when maybe it’s just coals or smoke. Hey, it’s a game of getting eyes but you want the eyes you do get to feel satisfied. We all know that feeling after watching a good movie. Now I will say that there exists people that can’t turn off their critical IQ brain and enjoy a story. They have limited imaginations because they don’t work that “muscle” yet they crave it. We all do, hence why we have an audience. We supply imaginative get-away for others doing other jobs. But after that rant, the film is really strong and if it gets the right eyes, it could be the break through film for many to that next level.
INSERT: I see many people think that one film is going to put them over and in a few cases it has. But to think of that as the plan is not wise, in my opinion. You don’t know which one will be your defining one. Now ask an actor defined by a role, one role. Maybe not what you want. It’s why Jeff Daniels has had conflict over DUMB & DUMBER. But I will say, with that movie, he accomplished with Jim, what every comedic actor wants. Home run and after home run – so many funny scenes that made people laugh and feel good. I get it. There are PROS and CONS to both. I don’t think I’ve ever had that one film that everyone knows but several pockets of people worldwide know me for this project or that project. One of my goals in the next ten years is to unify my fanbase. Not sure how that is done exactly save maybe getting one big hit. But I’m sincerely happy to stay the course. I think I’m creating some of the best work of my career. I know with writing I surely am. As an actor, I’m pretty fearless. As a producer I seek to be fair, keep people safe and make something we will all be proud of. I also always want someone to leave a CDI set a better person than when they arrived. I’ve only failed there on a few occasions. I believe in the no bad student, bad teachers. Some of these crew people learned how to set up this or that but need teachers in process, protocol and respect. I value those leaders greatly and so should you.
So LOST HEART will be traveling to the sound studio this week. Music and sound design will start in full. We also have some recording going on in Nashville for the film. I’m excited to have audiences enjoy this film at the end of the year. We deliver in June to our distributor and the film should roll out soon after. Follow us on Facebook or http://www.cdiproductions.com COMING SOON – Poster art and we’ll start working on the trailer.
WILD FAITH has been growing an audience especially since it started playing free for those with Amazon Prime. Also, we’ve had a good quarter with DVD sales, thank you Walmart. I hope we continue to expand into more retailers and platforms and to our foreign friends.
The most exciting news is that we are making a real go at launching ‘Hastings’ the “Wild Faith” TV series. We’re exploring a few possibly interested funding prospects. That would put an 1800’s TV series right here in Michigan. Tribe CDI could welcome weekly “guest stars” and I would look forward to working with more of our Michigan talent. What do I always say, GET THOSE REELS READY.
I’ve been doing that myself. My MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND reel is together and I hope it inspires more people to find and watch the feature film. Thank you to all those that have reached out. I will consider more action roles, nothing like starting that at almost 50:) Funny I feel like I’m maybe 25 and my maturity might run lower at times due to my Peter Pan syndrome:) 2020 will have more showings and events starting with one in Feb. in Bedias, Texas. Seek out the MBF facebook site and follow along. If you have not watched this movie, take a chance.
THE QUEST TRILOGY
EASTER will be upon us in no time so maybe you can do me a favor and take a watch on the three biblical adventures. Bible not your thing? Cool. Just watch it has a fantasy tale. The beauty is that everyone can and will get something different from the films. It is like what you bring in is what you get out. There is a lot of depth and a true attempt to entertain the possibility of divine ‘probe’ self-weakened and sent to experience the human condition of weakness. By LOGIC, can all-powerful be all knowing? Like a great riddle, what is the one thing that could elude all powerful? Weakness. This trilogy looks at small moments overlooked in the greater story. But I also think the three films capture the spirit of truth. I claim to be an expect of nothing. I don’t harshly judge any save those who judge others. Exploring the great mysteries of the universe is a wonderful thing. It should bring daily joy in the exploration. People organize together out of fear and this is true with religion also. The truth is that you can share your stories and beliefs with others but your relationship is always one on one, intimate, no intermediate organizations required. That said, fellowship and community can be good for some but isn’t best for all. Follow your heart. Be still and listen.
And enjoy a thoughtful watch of our trilogy. A FB page exists for THE QUEST TRILOGY and each of the films. FORTY NIGHTS. CHASING THE STAR. THE CHRIST SLAYER. I’m just happy that Tribe CDI is part of the rich tradition of holiday films. I love that we’ve done these Chuck Heston inspired films vs Hallmark status quo. I talked to Chuck Heston, years ago (Thank you Myke Michaels) and I had always wanted to work with him. He unfortunately, had a hip replaced and moved more into voice over work in his later years. I hope he is smiling looking down upon our CDI work. Also Rance Howard, friend, mentor, co-star who passed before seeing the final part 3 of THE Christ Slayer. He loved the boat scene in TCS with the Devil and Jesus, sitting and talking. This has happened after he has returned and he has the Ferrari mentality. Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, if you drive a BMW it’s a good car not a great car, so you go around racing everyone to prove how fast you are. Once you drive a Ferrari, you don’t race anymore. You know you’re a great car and you have nothing to prove. It is just one of those special scenes that will stay with me forever. Take a watch and tell me/us what you think. You can comment on here and I will give the approve:)
I’m sure I might have missed a few things but I have to get cleaned up. I am playing one of my favorite roles today. UNCLE:) We’re having a family get-together to eat and catch up. Enjoy the journey by working hard when required and making the time to relax and talk- face to face. We have several informal meetings that are different from pre-prod meetings. Ideas and thoughts are proposed and formed when we’re together, but the real work is when we’re apart. In your alone time, you must learn to be motivated. Do this and great things will happen. Do not, and frustration and everything that comes with that will follow. This last process can be applied in any endeavor. Your own business.
Have a productive week.
FINAL Countdown to Location Pre-Production and MORE…
Good morning everyone. I first want to start my wishing my mother a Happy Birthday! She has always been supportive of the journey I’m on with storytelling via film. She is spending time with her significant other and we’ll have a nice dinner when I return from filming LOST HEART. My brother and wife are overseas on a wonderful vacation to Ireland. Tomorrow is my father’s Birthday and we just had a nice dinner with him. I gifted him a 1 gal beer making set. I do beer and wine 5 gal at a time and often share it with family, friends and film amigos. He can get the experience of what I do but on a small scale. I’m lucky to still have both my parents with me on this life journey. A few close friends have lost their loved ones recently and my thoughts are with them.
My dad to my right and Johnny Demarco on my left
So I’ve been pre-packing all week so that I can travel north for a month producing and performing in LOST HEART, our next CDI film. We’ve been announcing new talent coming on board and still have a few to announce. Here is the amazingly talented singer/actress Taylor Dupuis and I guess I can say the same about Victoria Jackson. Many will remember her from her Saturday Night Live run and the slew of TV/films that followed. They both play wonderful parts in this comedy drama.
Once this is completed I will have a week of rest and to set post in motion before a week-long vacation up in the UP of Michigan. We will be taking the dogs so they can have a few adventures also. My young furry boy Finn has been my shadow, especially during the fireworks. I know he will do well as the little man of the house.
WILD FAITH is now out on all formats digital and DVD. I’m told that in the fall it looks like it will do an exclusive run on one of the Subscription VOD platforms. If you do watch the film and enjoy it please do leave a review at the site be it Amazon, Wal-Mart, BestBuy or wherever you purchased plus on http://www.imdb.com – All this is in hopes that we’ll be doing a sequel script or on-going TV series. Thank you to all of you that have reached out to tell me how much you enjoyed the story. Keep the word of mouth going as I think the film message is needed in this day and age.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Ahead of us in the first season whereas all three films are released and can be seen together. It is meant to be watched as FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. I’ve noted that some people who watched only part 2 where slightly confused because they had not seen part 1. It is a trilogy whereas the angels and devil create a story thread throughout the three films. Many films do not examine what the events do/did to the angelic folk. They are great adventure stories that can be enjoyed anytime of year. Treat yourself to the watch. I know Amazon has all three but can be found on many platforms.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – This powerful film will start rolling out into select theaters with myCinema in August. Home video in the fall. I know we’ve been very focused on the other CDI films but I think this movie might surprise and grab audiences. Wounded military vets and adoption dogs are the main themes. I will say that this role scared me at first. That doesn’t happen very often but when it does that is a good sign. I play a wounded Marine Paul Landings. While I’ve played other soldiers in films, many of them are from past wars like the Civil War. I know this film was made with a lot of help from military vets and I wanted to represent them well. I think I did and I’m so proud of the work all the artists did on this film. We will be planning a premiere in the town where we filmed. It will most likely be in late August or early September when we host the premiere. I should also start to have theater dates from around the country.
NEXT Sunday my blog update will be from up North as we prepare to capture the LOST HEART story. Thank you all for following along and I will be sharing some great pics in the coming weeks. You can follow the LOST HEART facebook page or http://www.cdiproductions.com landing page for LOST HEART.
Have a great week ahead and be good to one another.
‘Lost Heart’ Casting Posts, Project Updates and Just General Thoughts
I’m sitting here sipping coffee and watching my squirrel buddy Gordy prepping for the high winds we are going to have. The last week was a combination of busy business and family business. I’ve been out of grandparents for a while but have enjoyed the company of my significant other’s grandparents. We lost one – a grandmother who was the center of the family. She had a long 89 years and her service was really nice. The family all came together and now they will have to re-adjust. We all have to keep doing that as we move forward. It once again made me see how special the work we do actually is. And the journey is also just as important as the destination. Let’s look at a few updates from the week.
LOST HEART – This is the film being pulled together to shoot in late April/May time frame. This past week we announced the addition of Mr. David Gries and Dean Teaster playing a major character at two different ages. We welcome them aboard.
Also this week we’ll be announcing the 1st casting call notice for this role. It will be posted on http://www.cdiproductions.com
We are looking for someone who resembles this picture. It is playing our main character at a younger age. It is a paid role and we’ll accept both union and non-union submissions. So you heard it here first. More casting calls will follow.
This week we’ll be announcing two new actresses joining LOST HEART. Both have worked with CDI on different films. We’ve also began some TOP SECRET model work:) We had one of our producers up North starting some initial talks. I, as the writer started by dialog and script note review with our director Jesse Low.
A learning note on this point – When I work with a director it is line by line, page by page because I want the director to REALLY understand the characters. Once they are fully understood we can change certain locations or interactions but they will respond in character. As a producer you want less page count. As a writer – the colorful descriptions might help cast and crew immerse themselves into the world. It is a balancing act whereas a director can strip it down to bar bones because they have shots and such in mind. But for landing quality talent it helps to paint the world. As I stated last week, I would not sign onto a film without reading the script. Maybe a Star Wars flick would be the first but the project I backed off from was not a Star Wars flick. When it has inexperience involved the need for a GREAT blueprint (script) becomes even more important. Also once I sign off the script to the director the writer goes on vacation. Even when actors ask me questions I try to redirect them to the director. Writers need to let go at a point. Many have issues doing just that and that causes problems on projects. So in development get all that solidified with your director. That is what we’ll continue to do next week. Here is Jesse Low working on WILD FAITH with DP Jesse Aragon.
Let’s MOVE to the WILD FAITH movie. This week was working with the distributor as they prepare for the theatrical release and the DVD/streaming to follow. This coming week we’ll announce and release the new poster art for WILD FAITH. I’ve been holding my breath waiting for the artwork. Once I saw it my first two impressions were – 1) Classically Beautiful 2) Lauren LaStrada is going to LOVE this cover:) There is my tease. Coming (back) to theaters this March! Remastered. Enhanced. Ready to Rock!
The month after on April 19th THE CHRIST SLAYER will roll out into theaters. I’m trying to make sure that Harkins gets it in AZ. That way all our Yuma, AZ family can watch it on the big screen for Easter. For those that want to watch now it can be seen on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Christian Cinema (and the list will keep growing) DVD will release March 4th so add it to your collection. People who have been sending ‘fan mail’ I greatly appreciate it. I love how into the story they are. You can watch these films as a stand alone but they also tell a story as a trilogy. The Devil and Angels story runs through all three. As more people realize the thread between all three films it will become more interesting to read people’s thoughts on the trilogy. I’ve seen the same few type ‘hate’ posts. Usually at Jesus. OK. If you don’t believe in Jesus, just enjoy the story. ROCKY and APOLLO CREED did not exist as real people but they still inspired determination, self-belief and the power of love for generations of viewers. If you live for Jesus, I hope you enjoy the film. It is not a documentary or a bio-pic but a story. The issue I see that stems from pockets of religious denominations is that they fight over details (the devil is in the details) and miss the entire meaning of the story. I read someone lamenting the darkness in Chasing the Star. Um…King Herod’s rule was dark. That is what I liked about The Passion of the Christ. The reality of crucification was played out and it was much darker than the pageants plays of the day. Someone commented negatively on the Magi, obviously not knowing the actual history. That is why that film felt important. Everyone knows the statues out front of the nativity scene but few really knew anything about them. Our take is not 100% as history often exists in fragments. Anyway, I’m very proud of the three films. Those that let themselves enjoy the story will take something away, their path matters not. So watch FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR and follow it up with THE CHRIST SLAYER.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – I’ve been reviewing the first cut and making suggestions. The film is very good. I’m out on a limb playing a wounded Marine. I feel that gravity because I represent the actual wounded. I can say that so many of my peers gave incredible performances. Maybe one of the best from Dean Teaster (played the Preacher in Wild Faith), Anschutz, Abell, Gries, Hagedorn, Most, Nations…I could go on. I think people will be happy with their involvement. I did get emotionally hit at the end of the film so I know it works. But we’re just working the story for pace. A few scenes to cut into later or cut out early. We’ll work toward a lock at month’s end with dialog clean up being the first task up for post audio/music.
Aside from this list of things to do – I’ve been writing out checks to investors and residuals to talent on some of our films. I’ve been prepping to do some VO work on a commercial project. I’ve got a few meetings in the next few weeks to discuss possible collaborations. So, I’m just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Merchandise creation is under discussions. Sponsorship for the new film, the CDI website or even my blog. I’ve been trying to get that coffee sponsor. One big bag of coffee beans a month and I’ll put your company logo on here. And I’ll speak kind words about it weekly:) DING! Magnifico – only my Philippine DN cast/crew friends will understand that.
Pre-Order on Amazon now!
Have a great week ahead!
Welcome to December full of updates!
It has been a week of just beautiful days in Michigan. I was able to enclose my wood shed in with logs from the recently fallen tree. I also took the axe to the older logs and so the stockpile for the office wood stove is growing. I want to welcome our new readers from Ireland and Japan. That is what I love about this blog. Artists, perhaps filmmakers but united here by passion. Invite someone you know to share with us.
Now last week was an unexpected loss of a mentor (Rance Howard) and to all those who reached out – thank you. I’m at a loss of exact words but we met over storytelling on Miracle at Sage Creek and that relationship took us through many stories. I will miss sitting on the patio in Yuma, AZ having a nice Mexican food lunch and just talking.
On set “Forty Nights” with Judy & Rance Howard and T (Tony Hornus)
With my experience I find myself being a mentor more often and losing my own mentors. What a man Rance was working right up until his passing. Bill McKinney (Deliverance) was the same way having filmed 2 weeks before he passed away. I don’t think you retire from being an artist. I am sad that I won’t be able to get Rance’s feedback on The Christ Slayer film. He was so excited about the final chapter of our trilogy. It was a major accomplishment and he loved playing the Devil. He also loved that we took an honest look at the ‘being’ and relationship he shared with others, Jesus in particular. But he will be looking down and I hope he is proud.
The Howard boys several years ago –
I do look forward to working with Clint one day and perhaps Ron and sharing some of the great conversations I had over the years with Rance about his family. I will be sending a nice note to both of them with the trilogy once Part 3 is done and released.
The Christ Slayer is locking up the VFX and edit and preparing to move into post music and sound design with the amazing Dennis Therrian who will once again compose the heart and soul into the story. The first official director’s poster is about to be completed. Also once we hit the new year the PR on TCS will pick up. Right now it’s all Forty Nights and Chasing the Star. They have been doing great over at Amazon and our other fine rental/retailers. Family 7 TV network in the Netherlands will be showing Chasing the Star and soon after I expect Forty Nights. Also I saw some promotional give aways for Chasing the Star to celebrate the release into the United Kingdom. Forty Nights should also be joining our friends in the UK. This time next year all three will be released! Also Chasing the Star will be playing on the big screen in Bedias, Texas at Miller’s Theatre I believe on Dec 7th. I’m very happy about all the developments on these films.
These two knuckleheads from ‘Wild Faith’
Wild Faith – the end credits are almost done. The VFX work is all in and the audio is being tweaked around it while color correction takes place. We did paperwork on all this at week’s end and so if a short time we’ll have all that complete. We will have a finished film VERY SOON. Before the end of the year – Merry Christmas to all of us.
This month we also did some work on other properties to boost them back into the marketplace. ASHES OF EDEN has a few options/offers to rejoin the market. We’ll be making a decision on that this week. A child’s animated feature THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ will be releasing back into the marketplace and FIGURE IN THE FOREST is making a few moves. Our bridge into India is also underway and soon I should have news to report there. In 2018 we will have that bridge open. Many more deals will be put into play.
Where ideas are born…
This week will be several meetings as we bring 2017 to an end. I’m going to cut this short as we’re taking the mom’s to a beautiful turn of the century house for a Christmas event this afternoon. I hope you all get to spend some quality time with your loved ones. Our development work on MBF continues and we plan to move into full preproduction at the end of January 2018.
Be good to one another!
The Loss of a Mentor – and Film Updates
We have our first readers from Iraq and Spain and so welcome to ‘Clawing our way to the Middle‘ blog. I’ve got the hot coffee in hand and seeking the right words here. Last night I was having a few old friends over to the office to sit by the fire and talk old times. Just before people showed up I heard news that my dear friend Rance Howard had passed away. We met in Benson, AZ while shooting on ‘Miracle at Sage Creek‘ and bonded over breakfast at Denny’s with his wife Judy. Rance later went on to join us on “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” whereas he played the father-like figure to my character. Rance loved our church scene in that film. Here is a few clips.
He could not join us on “The Book of Ruth, Journey of Faith” because he was working with his ole friend Andy Griffith. But when The Quest Trilogy came along he grew a beard for the first time in many years. He was excited to play “The Devil” after a lifetime of good guys. Play it he did in all three “Forty Nights” and “Chasing the Star” out on Amazon Prime now. His devil turn in “Forty Nights” won him best lead actor at the International Christian Film Festival. I’m proud that we still have “The Christ Slayer” coming in 2018 but I’m a touch sad that he will not get to see it. I remember on “The Christ Slayer” the two of us in that boat in the middle of the night – holding hands. We shared so many deep talks both about the role and about life. To pass at 89 years of age – working right up until the end is an inspiration. He was truly a mentor to me. One man who had truly been there and done that and he actually cared about my career. Very few people take that kind of time and nurture but you can see that manifested in his own family. He was supposed to play a funny role in “MBF” and we had always wanted to do this “Algona” WW2 POW/Xmas script but that was not meant to be. He was my source expert when I was writing. He was a dairy farmer and had first hand experience of WW2 so his input was vital. I know that Rance touched many people’s life and made us all feel important. He would walk between working with Russell Crowe followed by DJ Perry and never made you feel any less. Actually the opposite, as he made you feel great about being a storyteller. He was deep with his characters and he always came with lots of notes, ideas and intuitions. He will be greatly missed.
Where do I go from there…?
Forty Nights and Chasing the Star has been getting a great holiday push here in the US/Canada. Chasing the Star has been licensed to Netherlands to a network called Family 7. Forty Nights might be right behind it. Also the films are looking to invade the UK and I will have more details on that soon.
The Christ Slayer is just finishing all the VFX and final edits preparing to move into post music and sound.
Wild Faith is preparing to come out of post sound/music. The VFX are all in and end credits are being tweaked. The last step is color correction along with the audio mix. I’m excited to roll this film out and I feel good about our chances of rolling a series out behind it.
MBF – now has the bank account open. We need to start collecting paperwork and checks and also drum up the final investment units. We’ll be announcing more castings in the run up to Christmas. A lot of wonderful support for this film.
If yesterday put anything front and center for me it’s to keep following your path. I don’t know how many films I have still in me but I’ll keep creating and moving forward. Cherish those mentors in your life while you can and remember to turn around and mentor those around you. The holidays have been filled with joy and today we will decorate the beautiful tree.
Be good to one another.