SPRING CASTING NEWS and FILM UPDATES
Good morning and welcome our new readers from S. Korea, Bolivia and Norway! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee on a chilly Michigan morning. Our weather has been bouncing between warm (including record highs) and cold. But I’ve gotten some good clean up down in the yard and my clover planted is starting to come up. The new hops are already growing and many flowers have come up adding some color. I’ve got a few things that I would love to do including privacy fencing, tree trimming and lastly a new deck. I think we have an idea of what kind of patio deck design I just need to do a blueprint.
The birds and squirrels have been busy at work and I love to watch them. Our chickens are producing eggs steadily and so that means wonderful breakfast meals. I love watching the interactions between all the birds and watching them has become a fun pastime. As a matter of fact I’ve used ‘birdwatching’ as part of the back story of my character in our next film. Our dogs have been enjoying the Spring allowing them to explore and enjoy the outdoors.
Before the heavy heat of summer I will be working on splitting and stacking wood to prepare for the winter ahead. I also need to rebuild our compost bin which is made of pallets and has seen better days. I’ve also got some plant seedlings germinating but need this cold to pass before planting.
On the personal – I’ve been working steadily while occasionally dealing with a tooth pain. I’m a person who stays up on all that even doing dental cleaning three times a year vs two. I had a few bad days and was happy when the dentist found the crack. It was on the backside of a back tooth. You think you’re tough until you get tooth pain. It can be very humbling but I’m happy to report the fix has happened and all seems well. Just in time for soccer season! Soccer and martial arts have put me on the receiving end of a few blows that could have caused damage. Or less thrilling it could have been a seed or nut. But my service warning to young folk out there is this- do not neglect your teeth.
Before I get into talking about our films I want to mention something as a proud uncle. I’m actually very proud of both my niece and nephew who are just so fun to watch grow and gain new interests. They are both playing soccer together and are into Star Wars, Superheroes and Dungeons and Dragons. They are both into playing and make believe too. At a bowling party recently my nephew was thrilled with a stormtrooper outfit we brought him and he had to wear it immediately. Bowling with a Star War’s stormtrooper. My niece age 9, recently (last night) participated in a short proof of concept film for a filmmaking buddy. It was filmed at a great turn of the century mansion where we shot SMOKE & MIRRORS. She was playing a ghost girl. I went up to visit towards the back half of the shoot not wanting to be a distraction. When I first arrived, I sat away from set and listened to her work for a while. She is confident and fearless. She was asking about backstory and character motivations. She was enjoying working with these adults. My favorite thing I heard her ask the director was, “How many other actresses did you interrogate?” I think she was looking for audition or interview but either way I got a good laugh. At that age we had build our own spaceship cockpit with pillows and such but this was not just free imagination but directed work. I wonder if all that could infringe upon the passion of make believe and just being a kid. Her mom is an amazing actress in her own right so she has it in her blood for sure. But as I’ve stated the artist road is a hard yet rewarding road. I don’t want to encourage or discourage and so this was a nice test run. I saw where she was tired towards the end and losing some focus. But she listened and did what she was suppose to. She has a part where she sings a child’s song and it was downright creepy. We took a great picture together but she was in her ghostly get up so I’m not going to post it unless I get permission from production. NOTE TO TALENT. Anyway, I was a very proud uncle. I also got to see a few old filmmaker friends. Zoie Dye (Best Years Gone) also played a part and Gals and Ghoul’s Dayna Green was doing the awesome make up work. I’ll be curious to see how it all comes together and the hope is that they can turn it into a feature. But either way it was a great experience for my niece and it put a big smile on my face.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – The film continues to play in theaters and even more are requesting it. I think it will keep playing until we are close to the home video release. We’re about to master the new home video version of the film that has greatly improved VFX. It is being being proofed carefully before we marry it to the improved sound design and mix. New credits and subtitles are also being inserted. Just things that we saw on the big screen that we could improve upon and we had the time to do it. This is the difference between CDI and some companies and artists. Good enough is not a term our folks like. We want our best efforts represented on the screen. So if you enjoyed the theatrical showing know the home video version will be even better.
HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE is the next CDI film. We are preparing for our second big scout next week to start locking in our locations and finding the final few. We will have our AD team there to start gathering the info for basecamps and a schedule. Our director, DP and Art Director there to start looking over sets. We are starting to put together lodging and will explore catering but I will say this- the cast and crew will get to work in a beautiful place at a beautiful time of year.
We were going to go Sat and network at a Model T club gathering but had a rain out. We’ll have some cool boats, cars and maybe even a plane in this next film. Props are being gathered and soon with our cast getting closer to being set, wardrobe. We added John Demarco aka Johnny D to the cast as a styling club owner Bob Jansen. We have reads coming in from the various agencies in our state. I would think our cast will be set by the end of May. Crew is also getting closer but we have a few places we are still working. Positive attitudes and a willingness to give BEST EFFORTS is what we look for. Storyboards, teaser poster and more are all being worked on. I’m enjoying working on character development a little bit each day. I truly love that process and will bring a new unique personality to the story and screen.
Speaking of posters, we have one being designed for the upcoming FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 poster. We have some meetings coming up for WILD FAITH: Hastings TV show and I’ll be checking in on the supernatural themed associated film SHJ looking to film in the spring. Next month is also a meeting over the SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE which could move slow or quick pending the meeting’s outcome.
We are working to restore and re-release some of the classic CDI films. WICKED SPRING, a Civil War film we shot in 2000 has had that treatment and is available on Amazon Prime. If you enjoyed WILD FAITH, it might be a good one to check out. It is a lot of time to pull these together when my time is split between the present and future films, but I keep plugging along. I really do love the 1800’s in my storytelling.
This week will be reaching out to some potential sponsors and looking at some incoming reads and reels from actors for HIR (Harsens Island Revenge). I want to acknowledge the loss of a talented photographer from MI film scene who passed away, Dan Irving. I only know him from as the still photographer from the 7 STONES film that you can watch that on Amazon. Way too young. RIP.
I’m going to close this blog up and get a few things done. Maybe a few eggs. We have a birthday late lunch or early dinner today and that will be fun. I’m still trying to set up and get to know my new iPhone but that is all set and good for the next three years. I hear the camera on the phone is amazing so I’ll have fun playing around with that.
We talked about young people exploring their passion for the first time and others having their journey ended too soon. We’ve talked about the work behind projects working their way out to the world and others just coming together. Life is short in the overall scheme of things so don’t wait until tomorrow to start working on yours. Even small steps of progress will have you feeling good. You are heading in the right direction.
In addition to the film development work, I’m going to be seeking someone who can do book layouts in the Lansing, MI area. We might also start explore soundtracks (LP’s) and even audio books along with more movie merchandise. Always something to do. And now that my tooth is feeling better maybe I can return to some creative script writing. I am again thinking of literary representation and maybe talent. I’ve considered a few acting gigs but they have to make sense business and time-wise and most of all-I have to connect with a role. I do appreciate those who have reached out and continue to do so.
The coffee is about gone so I’m going to go get some breakfast going. Until next week-
Earthquakes, UFO’s and Updates-
Hazelnut coffee is flowing this morning. It is brisk outside but much warmer and the snow has all but disappeared. Sad to see the aftermath of the earthquakes and so much excitement over these “objects” shot down. The described shape and the seemingly lack of any conventional propulsion, is what has my curiosity peaked.
Let’s look at a few updates- The TOP TEN from last week.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA) – As the film continues its march across the USA we’re also prepping for the Fall home video deal. We’ll continue talks this coming week. We’re also working on a few cool marketing angles for the home video release. It is testing well to older and younger audiences and from many circles, military, farmers, Germans, Jewish and history buffs. Several perspectives are explored and all brought together by a true event that unfolded. We’ll be picking a few festivals to showcase ourselves at. I would have loved to do our hometown festival but they want to be the 1st MI premiere and we’ve been in and will be returning to more Michigan theaters. But CDI will go support by attending the opening night mixer. Look above at all the places you can watch the film. Call your local theaters and request the film. If you’ve seen it and enjoyed it, leave us a review on www. IMDB.com on our page.
- Harsens Island Revenge (HIR) – This project has moved into official pre-production. The paperwork all filed and signed and next week we’ll open the account. Last week we had our first official production meeting with our newly announced director Carl Weyant. READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE – https://www.prlog.org/12950648-cdi-announces-director-and-director-of-photography-on-harsens-island-revenge.html
- HIR – CREW – We’ve been starting to just look at schedule and interest in some of the crew returning so we can discuss in our weekly production meeting. We’ve got several projects lining up and so we really are trying to build a solid crew especially with keys. Some keys change with directors, usually the directors of photography. Travis Hayward (Best Years Gone) will be the DP on the film. We’ll be discussing camera and G&E team more in the coming weeks. A few changes in a couple departments mostly due to schedule. But when someone cannot journey with us that provides a great opportunity for someone else. I’ve had people in the wings without a job to assign them, so when some cannot return, opportunity for others. We have several weeks to get this team in line. We have our production dates and soon another location scout with happen. I will be reaching out to some of you from past crews to discuss involvement. If you are a production crew and want to be considered feel free to send me any info.
- HIR – CAST – As I get our director and teams feeling on certain roles within the cast, we’re reaching out. We’ve got some exciting interest already in the story from some amazing talents. We’ll start announcing some of the known cast soon and we’ll be doing more casting moving forward. Again feel free to shoot me a reel or so to the Harsens Island Revenge Facebook site and leave your reel. Last week we watched several acting reels and the work of a few crew members under consideration.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH I and II – This amazing doc film is now available on several platforms including TUBI (free with ads) and we’re going to be doing our second doc this spring/summer. The foundation paperwork will be constructed this week. We are in talks with potential donors to support this endeavor. We had a great end-of-week meeting over this project franchise and the future. If you have not watched the first one, please do.
- SHJ SUPERNATURAL THRILLER – CDI started in this genre with KNIGHT CHILLS, which is its own update. But we’re getting closer to putting pen to paper on a slate of genre films. This is a full circle sort of arrangement since I started my own career within the genre. I do sincerely have more to announce in the coming weeks. If things fall into place we’ll be doing some crewing and casting on this film also.
- KNIGHT CHILLS – I got a report that the new high def version of the film is looking great. They are working to enhance audio with all the new tools they have. We’re looking to do several EXTRAS for the Blu Ray release. We have until June to get all these elements completed. It will be fun to capture and gather a few interviews. Video game. Sequel. All still moving down the tracks.
- GHOST TOWN 2024 – This film’s domestic rights become free first of 2024 so we’re getting everything in line. We’ll be releasing it into the foreign market for the first time also. We’ve been working on new promo materials and getting everything around. This is one of 4 films from the CDI library being prepped for a new release with BMG.
- SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – I’m still getting this script out to a few folks for notes. But the first version of the script is done. Once we get the nod we’ll start the next phase of development work. The script becomes a blueprint to start our development work from. I’m exciting to keep this moving down the development tracks. It is one of the most powerful and gut wrenching stories I’ve written. History can be brutal and beautiful all at the same time.
- I’m feeling the ‘writing urge’ and I have several scripts in partial form. I plan to finish anywhere from 1-3 this year including my SciFi script, a new comedy and maybe a sequel script. Any guesses? I’m also looking forward to working in the yard this season and making some updates. Life is always a work in progress so don’t stress. Just keep building brick by brick. While others fret, regret, complain or waste time with things they can’t control, be the one who gets things done. I was invited to once again contribute to a national book on animals. I have a few great stories I’m going to contribute to the collection.
WRAP UP THOUGHTS-
CDI is on the path to greater heights and to do that we’ll need a strong team. With every growth there is pruning of dead, dying or diseased – allowing new healthy growth. I want to say that when we make adjustments, it is not always a negative thing. Not all cast and crew are built or prepared for long voyages. Some folks are great for 2-3 days or even a week. But as the weeks go by on set, more focus and endurance are required. Day 11 or 14, 16 can show strain. We’ve worked hard to try and give good opportunity for our cast and crew to achieve success. I recently heard about a successful project that had many of the crew sleeping all in one room on air mattresses and cots. My first starring role I slept on the director’s couch. We’ve worked very hard to develop partnerships with hotels to try and give the best accommodations we can afford. But, there always seems to be someone not happy, despite the hard work. That is a core filter that colors everything that person does, few great things spring from those suffering under such filters.
A small example-
We’ve played with a second meal on sets that many do not provide. We’ve had extra and left over food in Yuma, AZ that we ended up sharing with hotel staff and strangers so not to waste it. Crews sometimes want to go out versus another 30 min on set with a second meal. A per diem has been provided before but the time that establishments closed made it an issue to some. We bought groceries and made food together (Producers) while trouble shooting the days ahead. I got some feedback from different folks which is always welcome. Much of it is subjective or the perspective is because the individuals don’t know the whole story. I’m going to get into this again as we are entering into new talks on this new story adventure-
I encourage my producers/key admin to WORK QUIETLY always. On the inner set, they’re trying to create a bubble of collective imagination and capture it. A distraught looking staff member can distract and/or delay- passing a bad energy along. And 98% of the time it all works out easy-peasy because we have lots of warrior trouble shooters.
I’ve noted over the years how some people enter a set with nervous, frantic- must do ENERGY. Tense faces, biting their lip, cursing to themselves. People in the area notice- are distracted- become concerned. Everything okay? Reassurances- Nothing is wrong, and the performance of stress plays out – the issue suddenly resolved in a call and the issue was really a two NOT a ten on the production issue scale. Often issues are like locating lost keys to a location for tomorrow- misplaced. This is just an example of something logistic alarming for a moment but did it need to filter through a group of people trying to focus on a story?
The chemistry between a director and a director of photography is a beautiful and sacred bond. I’ve enjoyed watching and even participating as a full size stand in to the brainstorming session full of wild and exiting ideas. This obsessing over our story- talking and living a story for a month, THAT is what it’s all about. The storyboarding and building shot list from ideas thrown about- combined is a wonderful thing to watch. It is my job at the end of the day to either create a team with the right chemistry or put a stamp on a presented creative union. From this union, much of the film is nurtured. Love each other as creative brothers and sisters, appreciate when you get a real chance to say something. These creative bonds exist all over a few crew. Respect one another and their place and passion, also to tell the story at hand. The cast of films- like a rock band, on tour, but you have it easier not having frequent moves. But you are on a creative tour of duty. (T-Knox!) I think of it like creative camp and at the end we all told a story. One month a year I see artistic friends for an extended period of time. We all collectively sacrifice our comforts to be ‘at camp’ telling this story.
Communication- Every mistake or error made in our production flow stems from communication. Sometimes I am the one who gave incomplete marching orders. Other times missed communication, understandable in this time of many ways of communicating. But, one thing in our control always, we can all communicate respectfully to one another. I had to recently ponder and realize that people can only speak from their perspective, and speak to their experiences allowing them to speak with truth and sincerity. When people start to speak outside their experience, they will start to talk loudly or more emotionally. It’s important to them that you believe them because they’re eager to believe their own words. They’re filled with doubt because they lack crucial experience – basic life principals. Like Respect.
Blood of Heroes- Jumping from communication- I had some wonderful conversations with some folks full of energy and ready to journey. I’m looking a few movies ahead, and trying to get a team ready for bigger responsibilities and greater rewards. Leadership is a MUST, as departments could expend some in the near future. Organization is a MUST, as we have many operations underway and you have to be up to speed. What people should understand is that I’m not looking forward to achieving new levels so I can replace people with more credited artists. I’m looking to increase resources to our artists in the future so they can make their mark and take their place amongst those artist recognized in a given field. Know what your fighting for-
Until next week my friends!
2023! Goals, Gifts and Growth!
Good morning 2023! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and happy to report no hangovers or such this morning. I had a few drinks yesterday afternoon in a meeting with a few of our artists, picking materials up. We toasted the victories and those lost, no longer traveling. The beverage sipped was some of the Frankenberry Wine, made from all the berries on the property. But in the eve it was just ginger ale and a peaceful welcome into 2023. I can recall many days of my youth of celebrating too much and paying for it the next morning/day. I get up early and have my productive routines that I follow. I don’t regret most of those party days but I don’t miss the aftermath.
I carved out a day this past week and did film disbursements to our backers. I’m so thankful for all the supportive people who love the Tribe CDI stories. I had a sit down with one of them this week and really enjoyed all the positive feedback. We also talked about future endeavors, of which we have many. I’ve been working to get organized and prepped for a highly productive new year. Being organized is one of the secrets to success. I’ve got a series of end of year tax prep stuff for the films but I have a great team and this year should be quite smooth.
It was a year of hard fought victories and some sad losses. My furbaby Daphne, my second mother- baby sitter Marie DeFord, my friend/family and building mentor Dan Chapin, all powerful losses. Also a slew of artists passed on, which leaves us artists to pick up the torch. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, was the most complex film we’ve produced to date. Two languages, 1940’s clothes, props and vehicles. Windy, cold days and nights. Extensive VFX and just a few bumps bringing all the elements together on an advanced release schedule. But, we did it. The Algona, Iowa premiere was so full of good energy and the ongoing energy has had the film hold over four times now and expanded into multiple cities with more emailing about booking every week.
We will be having a producers pow wow this week over the ongoing roll out. A special screening in Owosso, MI is in planning. We will be exploring a few choice film festivals and we really want a few German screenings. We have a few VIP’s awaiting to view the film which could really assist the home video release. We’ve had many people talk about merchandise and swag and we will be addressing that and hope to have that available with the home video release later this year. We’ve already received so many nice emails about the emotions stirred by watching this story based on true events. Some reflected the deep pain and hate that some carried from their own war (Vietnam) experiences and that this film gave them a new perspective that allowed them to let go of that hate. That is powerful. A story made them let go of poison and replace it with understanding. We’ve had many of these notes sent to us. The community is alive with history. They are all talking the stories once told and almost forgotten. The museums in town being part of family trips into Algona, to watch the film. We had a beautiful letter from the museum boards about the quality job CDI did. And the interest has brought a new awareness that will help these places not just survive but thrive. I’m beyond proud.
We will have an amazing 2023 journey with this film and I cannot wait for each and every one of you to experience this story.
Once I get past the state filings, K-1 send outs and any 1099’s for the films- we’ll be forming the new company to produce Harsens Island Revenge. If you liked CDI tackling WW2 and the 1940’s, wait until CDI gets after the roaring 20’s! I plan to get with our director and finish our writer/director draft. We’ll be putting the casting breakdowns together soon and that will be an enjoyable process. We were lucky to do some location scouting and found many great places to use in the telling of our story. Stay tuned to many new updates on this film.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – In 2023 we’ll be doing some passive development which might include the building of a few period cabins. This is a spring 2024, Iowa shoot if everything stays in the right direction.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH (Battlefield) – Working title- Following the success of the documentary film FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, directed by Curran Jacobs, edited by Adam Towner, produced by CDI and The Red, White, and Blue Project Inc.. The film will now have the first sequel documentary going into production this Spring/Summer. While the original was a much needed summary timeline of the history of professional grappling, these follow up films will go more in depth with various aspects of the history. It’s very exciting to continue this journey.
Furthermore, CDI is considering the first “in association” in a while, with an exciting supernatural thriller. An animated feature is heating up and more…
I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but I too, feel that rush of the fresh energy. Every year I write out my goals. Personal goals, business goals, home improvement- It is good to get those out in front of you. You won’t always make all your goals but you’ll be surprised at what you did achieve.
I JUST took a pause for my first 2023 eats. Eggs from our girls, 4H bacon and protein waffles with MI made syrup. If I had the right trees I would be boiling sap. Okay. Goals….bacon…back to goals.
A few of my goals as an example-
- Design and have new deck built – it is getting close to that point of need vs want
- Produce two feature length film endeavors
- Act in one outside CDI project- that said, I MUST connect with the material and role
- Better plant and garden bed growth and harvest
- Looking to increase strength and flexibility training for a good soccer season ahead
- Finish two feature scripts
- …you get the picture.
Even this blog is very helpful in me deeply thinking through my TO DO’s for the week. Communication continues to be a key to success and I find it can always be improved upon. I see or read about several people being overwhelmed by the waves of life’s hardships. Here is to the hope that 2023 becomes an island to get your footage, regain your balance and readjust your sights. I will keep trying to communicate better to serve as an example of respectful collaboration. Preserving history and stories, lessons to be remembered and to grow from.
Cheers to growth in 2023!
NEW ‘Silent Night in Algona,’ trailer, ‘For the Love of Catch’ DVD and more…
Good morning. I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and enjoying the last few days of October, one of my favorite months. I’m a bit slow getting going as I stayed up a bit later last night watching my alumni school MSU play U of M. Not there year, but it started pretty exciting. Cleaning. Organizing, Winterizing. The leaves are almost all done and I’ve been staying on top of those. I’m still cutting wood in prep for the winter ahead. I actually finally bottled my Frankenwine, finishing with either a raspberry or blueberry in the bottom. I like using a berry of fruit versus just adding a sweetener. The Frankenwine was made with raspberry, black raspberry, mulberry and a touch of hops. I tried it and while it’s strong, it is very drinkable.
I had to get some antifreeze and a new battery for the “Black Mamba,” my ride. I can saw that I’ve never really been a car guy. I like cool designs and such but really I just need reliable A to B transportation. My old Saturn Due is customized to my liking and has very low miles but now it’s ready for winter. Some folks are really into their cars. I could just not imagine driving some of these house on wheels, cars. I’m also going to wait a good decade before considering an electric car. I have friends that work in fire safety and new guidebooks are being done to deal with auto crashes containing lithium batteries. So I think I’ll just wait a few before going in that direction.
Let’s get to some film updates.
(Above – DJ, Tony, Dennis, Carl at a post session for ‘Silent Night in Algona’ )
- Our recent release FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH will release on DVD, November 1st. many are enjoying this film streaming but soon it can become part of your library. Order here-https://www.amazon.com/Love-Catch-DVD-Curran-Jacobs/dp/B0BH96VCDX/ref=sr_1_1?crid=31IFQIHVO2APF&keywords=for+the+love+of+catch+dvd&qid=1667135347&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIwLjAwIiwicXNhIjoiMC4wMCIsInFzcCI6IjAuMDAifQ%3D%3D&s=movies-tv&sprefix=%2Cmovies-tv%2C138&sr=1-1
- Conversations have happened about another doc in the For The Love Of Catch series. We’ll be looking at gathering the needed resources this winter for Spring 2023 shooting. A promotion event was also discussed but more on that later.
- November 1st also begins the holiday window which is perfect for watching THE QUEST TRILOGY. Three films, Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer. We’ll start promoting them and one of them has hit a new benchmark at Encourage TV. (Passing TWO MILLION VIEWS) Again, that is only one platform. When you add up all the platforms, DVD’s and broadcast we’re at tens of millions. We thank you all and hope your family will watch these classics together.
- We’ll have some big announcements coming concerning, Harsens Island Revenge. Some establishing shots will be filmed on the island and maybe a scene or two but having to rely on a ferry for schedules and/or getting last minute needed supplies, isn’t good for production. Right now, we have a town that we’re seriously looking at to double for parts of our island. Having interiors that haven’t changed too much from 1926 is also key. I’m about to start next week on my final script polish with our soon-to-be announced director. Once it is locked, my hands are off as a writer. We’re looking at a few key roles in the script now but will be opening up to looking at reels and doing reads this winter. We will be shooting in Oct/Nov 2023 and we’re all very excited about this roaring 1920’s story.
- Staying with writing, I am over half way through on my first draft of SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE. This will be the follow up project to film in Iowa. We don’t have any dates set as of right now just getting a powerful script is the goal.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, is the front and center. The music and sound design is getting closer to done. Our composer Dennis Therrian, is scoring a beautiful soundtrack. Color correction is about done and the VFX are being finalized. Our editor/VFX supervisor will be coming in to help marry everything together mid November. I see some grilling in our fall future out at the ole Pine Studio.
- Additionally, a new two and half minute SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA theatrical trailer is almost done. We had some major director/producer meetings this week over adjusting a few shots in the trailer. We’re all so close to it all but I sincerely think folks will love it. It will be shown at AFM market to a few networks and foreign territories. Home video will be on the lead up to the holidays next year in 2023.
- But starting in December many will be able to see SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, in theaters. We’re working with the town of Algona in setting up a premiere showing and afterglow on December 9th. Following our premiere, public showings will start at the Fridley Theaters, starting with Algona. The plan is to start with 2 weeks of showing and some companies are planning to buy blocks of tickets for their employees to go watch together. That’s a great idea. I know other theatre chains in the Iowa, Michigan and the midwest are being talked to. I’m just so happy with the final product. It is a beautiful story of unity, healing and hope that many people could use about now. Soon, my friends. Please do feel free to call Fridley theaters and encourage them to get movie times for the public shows listed.
- This week, I have to send out one of the Knight Chills masters to see if we can get a better initial transfer. This is for the special Blu-Ray being put together for 2023.
- Ghost Town, is also getting the digital enhancement treatment and a new 2023 release trailer is being cut. I’m excited to revisit that film with it being digitally enhanced. The Smoky Mountain western will ride again!
I might be missing an update or two but there is a good ten point snap shot of our most current updates. To all the ghosts and goblins, be safe tomorrow night while collecting candy. I remember those days fondly. In elementary school, we had parades and classroom parties. I feel bad that the children don’t get to do that anymore. The world has its challenges and I try to help doing what I do best, tell stories. Thank you again to everyone that has reached out. I love hearing about your favorite films, moments and such. Keep watching and we’ll keep creating.
Third of Five CDI Releases Rolls Out – NEW Festival & Film Updates!
Good morning readers! Welcome to our new readers from Bangladesh, Bosnia and more. I love seeing the worldwide circle of readers. I’ve had another extremely busy week and I’ll try to update you on some of those endeavors. While much of the country has been baking under extreme heat, Michigan has been darn near perfect. Low humid, warm and slight breeze. So Monday morning my brother had texted that a friend of ours had passed away in a freak accident. Saturday when we had storms this friend was celebrating his birthday bar hopping. At one place they had a storage container turned into a patio bar. That wind hit sending umbrellas flying and while one friend braved the rain and tried to secure an umbrella, the others watched likely amused. But the wind caught one of the big steel doors and crushed our friend between the door and bar. He never woke back up I’m told. This story was on the news even made national – but just so sad. He had been a beloved teacher and just a bright light of a person. It really cast a light on appreciating your circle.
To my knowledge I’ve not ever had Covid but we had some family catch it and thankfully everyone seems to be on the mend. It is always scary because we have a few family and friends who were not so lucky. So this all played in the background last week. We had a fun soccer match this week and a few CDI meetings were done over the throwing of bean bags playing corn hole. I got to visit this week with a few friends I haven’t seen in a while, grilling and chilling. Venison steaks, pork chops and baked potatoes were on the menu. I’m making myself hungry just thinking about it. We got our 4H pig and so the freezer is restocked. I’ve told many folks before that the secret to venison is to marinate and/or rub herbs in advance of grilling.
How about we move on to some movie updates. Let’s see –
- SMOKE & MIRRORS – Yesterday afternoon at the Motor City Nightmare convention in Novi, Michigan, our film played to fans of the genre. I was unable to attend and have yet to receive word on how it was received. It is a cool, slick short film that gives a great look at what the feature film would be like. Thank you so much to the convention festival for inviting us to play and I hope your audience enjoyed it. We are waiting to see if it is accepted into the Hell 1/2 Mile festival which I would plan to attend.
- Staying on the subject of festivals – BEST YEARS GONE that is now released will be playing in Ohio at The 27th Indie Gathering International Film Festival. I think our director Shane Hagedorn will be attending and I might try to, we’ll see.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH still hopes to have a festival premiere in Toronto but either way we’re looking at an Oct 1st premiere in Owosso, MI where our director Curran Jacobs is from. On 10/4 the DVD and streaming options will be in full effect. This is one that I’ll be happy to have on my shelf. Our distributor DESKPOP ENTERTAINMENT, has been working on a new poster art design. This will be our 4th release this year and it’s very rewarded to have this films finish and come to market.
- The last release of the year will be the theatrical premiere of SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA in Algona, Iowa. We hope to kick off multiple theater chain runs from there for several weeks. We will likely do a theatrical premiere again in Owosso, MI – the home of director Anthony Hornus. Owosso sure has some talented people in that area, maybe it’s in the water. We released the theatrical poster last week and many have responded positively to it and even asking for posters to purchase. We will get to that but right now it is that the last tweaks in editing before onto music and sound design. That will also include cutting a theatrical trailer for the film which will also start next week.
- BESTSELLER, our tense thriller will be getting a few new reviews as we continue to move this film out to world audiences. Have you seen it? If you scare easy you might not want to watch it alone.
- Another great Summer watch is BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS also known as LOST HEART. I had a friend say that they started watching the film opening again and got sucked in – it is a great blend of humor and heart. Another to watch as part of your own family watch night.
- WILD FAITH: HASTINGS, the TV series spin off, has had more pieces fall into place. It’s been hard work but I know it will all be worth it in the end. Have you watched the pilot feature film? Millions have so pop some popcorn and watch with your family.
- HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE, the next collaboration with Curwood Publishing is moving forward. The writer of the book was very happy with my adaptation from book to script. The plan is to film in the back half of 2023. Always development…I’m very excited about this film.
- Sticking with the writing – I’m on the cusp of finalizing my next screenwriting project. It’s an exciting true history story that will be an awesome undertaking. It might be our biggest project yet and will likely film in 2024 once I have the script and development done. I will wait to announce anything until the ink is dry but we are getting closer.
- HOT ROD LOVE – Just to illustrate that we might make developing and finance look easy, it is not. Funding is the hardest part for many filmmakers. Our 70’s drag racing comedy has a handful of weeks to try to put the final financial pieces in order or it will have to be a push. My fear is that 2023 is already shaping up to be a busy year. But like all stories, if the time is now, it will happen. If not we will have just completed one of the busiest release seasons we’ve ever had. But we’ve got many pieced in play so we will just have to see.
We started this week’s blog talking about a tragedy. The greater tragedy in life can be not going after your dreams. You won’t always succeed, but you will grow from trying. Not trying at all can leave you with a hole in your soul. So if you really want to try and do something don’t let fear hold you back.
I’m about to go cook a few eggs to go with a left over pork chop. A few tasks around the yard and tonight I’m looking forward to spending time with my brother and a few amigos. I have a few biz calls and might get a jump on some start of the week’s business. I love to use my Sundays and this blog to recap and help put together my TO DO for the forthcoming week. I hope to hear a few responses from folks who attended the Motor City Nightmares and watched SMOKE & MIRRORS.
We also might get some word this week on a few festivals we thought would be a nice fit on a couple of films. I hope you all have a great end to your weekend and an amazing start to your week. Thank you again to all of you for stopping through and sharing a few moments of your day. If you haven’t watched all the CDI films please do. We make them for audiences to enjoy. Until next week be good to one another and keep climbing!
TOP TEN Updates on this Beautiful June Sunday!
I’m back from a flea market whereas a VHS of BLACK BELT JONES starring Jim Kelly so that’s a $2 WIN:) I LOVE looking for props both for our worlds and my own characters within them. We are working hard to get the 70’s drag race film fully fueled up. We had a good meeting with Nate Robertson this week to debrief from the previous shoot and talk about the upcoming. We try to get feedback from people especially concerning people in their departments or just the department as a whole. We always work from the inside out starting with story to script to producers to director to cast and crew and the ripples move across the creative pond until we have a finished film. But I can honestly say that materialistically I get more excited by the VHS find or the Bear recurve bow estate sale take versus all these items whereas YOU are paying for that marketing campaign. Luckily I love a cabin as much as a castle, and a driving a vehicle with character versus high value. I recall as smaller flip phones were the vogue, the jokes in Hollywood about my ‘yellow brick’ Nextel construction phone. The whole CDI group was on walkie talkie. I made some good deals on that phone. I’m not against nice things at all I’m just saying simplify your materialistic wants. Many purchases don’t bring the happiness or added skill. A golf pro could still take most golfers with basic sticks whereas the opposition could be playing with clubs worth several thousands. A car that goes faster than you’ll ever drive. More square feet or acres that you won’t put to use. Many use it (coins, property, stamps, paintings, gold) as an investment to hold or increase value versus some conventional savings. Often it can be a good process. But you just don’t want to get caught overreaching to impress or project an image. Only negative things usually follow that kind of advertising. I like to keep things real and you’ll often find all walks of life at our table. This nice weather had some of the meetings taking place outside. The yard is green and in full swing. I’ve been working to get some trees trimmed and prepping new firewood for the coming winter. The clover in the yard we planted as been really starting to take over and it is beautiful. Irish beauty was one deception of it this week. Do take the time to create your ZEN place. If you live in tight quarters maybe try some plants. Nature is great for balancing one so you can better focus on your TO DO’s.
- I have some PR that will start going out on BESTSELLER this week. It will essentially be talking about my start in the thriller/horror genre and follow my diversifying into more genres. BESTSELLER is one of my most intense roles and I’ve had several. Plus I love the author and this work really captures the haunting and moody atmosphere that is Michigan. Have you seen it? If so please do go to https://www.imdb.com/title/tt16421224/reference/ VOTE and leave us a review.
- BEST YEARS GONE will start rolling out on July 5th both DVD and digital. Providing you still have enough fingers from your drunken 4th bottle rocket / Roman candle war to press play on the DVD or navigate the remote – you need to settle and watch our tale.
- Aug 3rd is the date when we should know the Toronto Film Festival’s decision on acceptance of FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH or not. We would love to hold our premiere there and so we’re remaining optimistic. We should also have our home video dates from Deskpop Entertainment very soon.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – The rough semi-polished first draft is almost done. It will be reviewed and that point by our team and any suggestions will be put forth. We are looking to picture lock in July which will move us to music and sound. Both of those are already in motion as sound FX libraries are being gathered and music beds are being played with. We hope to provide a great behind the scenes of our model and VFX team on board.
- SMOKE & MIRRORS has been submitted to a few festivals and we’ll await response. Once we have word it will be a nice eve with the CDI tribe celebrating this fun endeavor that will develop itself into a feature film.
- WILD FAITH and HASTINGS – the momentum continues and on a few fronts we are so close but sometimes you have to relax and let things work themselves out. If it does well at Peacock perhaps they will work with us to order up the first season.
- LOST HEART aka BIGFOOT, UFOS & JESUS is a great summer film. We are looking at some different marketing campaigns including new poster art for Lost Heart. I still want to do tee-shirts of the BF, UFOS and Jesus artwork. We’re looking into selling iron on sheets so you can put some great artwork on your favorite shirt. That is 70’s and 80’s style right there. I think I had a DARTH VADER LIVES tee shirt that was an iron on.
- I’m waiting on word to see how the HD file of KNIGHT CHILLS is coming along for the upcoming Blu-Ray. We have interest in a digital release from Deskpop Entertainment and we’ll still probably do a DVD of the CDI Classic Collection Double Feature of KNIGHT CHILLS and FROM VENUS. And we have the video game which I think I want to call KNIGHT CHILLS: DICE DON’T LIE – what do you think?
- This week I’m set up to record another book chapter for the audio book series FOR GENERATIONS TO COME that I’ve been doing. Look it up on Amazon under author Ronnie Lee.
- This past Friday, I met in person with several CDI folks mainly over FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH. I could have taken the day and likely ended with my first draft of the new script HARSENS ISLAND REVENGE. Instead I enjoyed the beautiful day and spent some time outlining. One of the rainy days this week I’ll finish the first draft. I’ve had a wonderful time working on this amazing story and looking forward to bringing the script to an exciting end.
I will no doubt start working on another script soon after I finish the one I’m working now. If I don’t have a script for hire on deck which I just might, I have a few scripts that were underway. We made more steps on HOT ROD LOVE and we are about to start scheduling work soon. Chipping away at what needs to be done in order to get this film green lit. It was a great week for soccer again and our team brought another win. Either way it is still about the battle that keeps you mentally and physically strong. I do have another bday in a few weeks (23rd) and I’m not sure what I might do to celebrate another journey around the sun.
I’m going to wish you all well. I hope that you have or have had some clarity this weekend, that will allow each of you to have a very productive week ahead. Be good to one another.
CDI Top Ten Updates and Coffee Talk on World Events.
I’m sitting and sipping the hazelnut coffee with “Luna” beside me. She is the rescue that we’ve been working into our family mix. Right now she and Finn our co-existing nicely together yer still apart. Finn has had a few small issues but Luna is so laid back she just ignores him. She wants to go full into play and such with the handsome Finn but we’re taking it slow. We’ve been taking them on some good walks together which is helping them bond.
In other news, this entire deal with Russia and Urkraine is very disheartening to see. I don’t think the Russian people and soldiers are all about this conflict. But the Russian people are limited in how much they can protest. I think we as Americans are being reminded of what patriotism, bravery and unity looks like. Having just emerged from studying and immersing myself in WW2 it’s interesting the differences. Up to the moment broadcast media, social media and the closer communication of the world is showing a major difference. Now social media shaming isn’t going to stop a die-hard dictator bent on conquering. The Ukraine isn’t going to lie down and so winning a few battles versus holding captured ground is gonna be near impossible. I hope this resolves quickly and doesn’t spread. I’m not sure Putin planned to stop with taking Ukraine. The world isn’t going to stand by while this happens. Let’s hope world peace is restored soon.
While things are playing out on the world stage in our film family circles some are still fighting the last lingering Covid. Our own Greg Mason, who has been with CDI since film one “Knight Chills” has been fighting Covid in the hospital. He was in a serious bad way in ICU where they almost put him on a vent. But he improved and if it continues he might be downgraded to a room today. Also one of our hometown (Lansing, MI) artistic duos Michael and William McCallum need your well wishes as William is in the hospital. There is a tragedy torch that is passed around from person to person losing loved ones. We’ve all had our turns and we’ll all have several more. So be kind to people and challenge yourself daily to be grateful. I’m wishing the best for any that are facing such hardships. UPDATE: just got word Greg Mason has been moved to the step down unit and is sleeping and improving!
Let’s do a ‘TOP TEN updates’ from last week-
- The BTS promo for ‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA‘ was released this week. It was edited by Adam Towner who worked with our crew. It shows the hardworking CDI cast and crew working to tell our WW2 Holiday story based on true events. Watch here: https://youtu.be/KdcpzV9Ex5Y
- We have a new expended distribution deal offer on ‘Darkest Night,’ a found footage in association horror film that was produced in the Philippines. I will keep you all up to date on new releases. It is my only found footage film and I play the male lead in the film. It was such a great project to film and promote and I made lifelong friends on that set.
- HOT ROD LOVE has assigned the first investor units and we are in discussions with several others. Also we’re starting talks with sponsors that will align their brands with this upcoming film.
- With the business developments on HOT ROD LOVE, we’re moving along nicely and so we’ve started our initial development meetings with our director Shane Hagedorn on cast and crew. Part of this is evaluation of past performance. In this situation most all our crew are up to task and very talented in their roles. What we’ve looking for is overall positive attitude and those that “play well with others,” respectfully and with some gratitude of how hard our job is. CDI is not some faceless corporation but a multi-generational company of artists who have built everything with blood, sweat and tears.
- I can say that one of the upcoming castings for this film will be for Native American actors. We have two co-stars we’ll be seeking. We’ve already been looking at several Native American comedians also. Do we have any Michigan based Native American actors and comedians? We are going to find out.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH is about to sign our worldwide distribution deal. This wonderful and educational documentary is being hailed as the best of its kind. Once signed this week we’ll be directing our attention at the official premiere. For our enthusiastic director Curran Jacobs this has been a slow process but things take time. And the wait will be worth it and I think this will be the go to watch for all wrestlers and enthusiasts for many years to come. Better yet, the non-profit that produced this with CDI’s guidance will be helping many veteran programs and wrestling programs all across the country for many years to come.
- Here is another great article on our friend Don Most and the movie LOST HEART. Read here – https://bestlifeonline.com/ralph-malph-happy-days-don-most-now-news/ If you have not seen this film please do on Amazon Prime, Encourage TV and more!
- CDI’s performance video for the rock band DEEPFALL came out great and the band loved it. It was shot by Carl Weyant and Travis Hayward and Carl served also as director/editor. I think this is the first in a series of videos. As soon as the video is released we will share the link.
- CDI Commercial Division is also ramping up. In the past I’ve let several commercial opportunities go by as we wanted to focus on feature film. We have several production units and can use our expertise to pick the right creative team for your commercial endeavor.
- I hear rumor that the new BESTSELLER artwork is forthcoming. Our distributor DESKPOP ENTERTAINMENT will start presenting to licensors in March. I think now that the film is getting a full home video release that it will find a great international audience.
I’m going to wrap this up and prepare to take the dogs on a walk as we work to get them use to one another. Again I hope all of you have a great week at whatever you are working upon. Think of those having some hardships and be kind to one another. I might have one more coffee before heading out into the cold. But spring is coming you can feel it!
Kung Fu, Respect and Loyalty. The Tribe Looks Ahead to 2022!
I’m sitting and sipping hazelnut coffee while admiring the Christmas tree from last week’s harvest. I just realized when cleaning out my email messages that I missed a Christmas event/party I had planned to attend. DOH! I’m finally well-rested and attacking my TO DO’s with strength. It took a good part of a week to get caught up on my rest. I got most of the production totes stored and everyday we work hard to tie up the production loose ends from our previous SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA (SNIA) film shoot. This week will also be full but I hope to get some more winterizing done. Several things in the yard need to get put away for winter. One of the nice refreshing things from last week was spending an afternoon with my dad and meeting my cousin for lunch. We meet so that I can pick up venison which is one of the main meats I eat. I actually made some venison steak chili yesterday that turned out great. My cousin and his boys are avid hunters. I enjoy nature and have hunted but I don’t find enjoyment in it. It is a very lean meat and healthy, something that the midwest hunters have enjoyed forever.
As we finish all the wrap up business on SNIA we’re prepping for post. One of the production drives have landed with the editor. We have established a production flow between editor and director. Our DP is doing a first batch of stills to help establish the color palette. He’ll be working with our director and editor in finding certain shots. Meanwhile a few VFX pick ups need to be looked at for a really cool sequence in the film. Dennis Therrian is being prepped on the film as he’ll be doing our sound design and composing our film’s score. Some VFX model work will begin soon in Canada with one of our amazing artists. Anyway the course for the film is being set and I’m excited for everyone to start looking at it.
At CDI we’ve been looking ahead to the future. I’ve been working on the next script for ‘OF SMOKE & MIRRORS‘ my working title on the reworking of the feature script. A short film SMOKE & MIRRORS was finished just as we started filming SNIA. A wonderful commercial piece that we used to do a proof of concept short. I think it does just that- gives a great look at what the full feature will be like. Nathaniel Nose directed the short and he is who we’re eyeing for the feature. The script is the key to everything. This will be a late 2022 or early 2023 shoot from my best estimates.
WILD FAITH: HASTINGS – For those who have seen the feature film “Wild Faith” you’ve been treated to a story for the whole family. Inspirational without preachy just good lessons from a more simple time. Now we have the first season (8 shows) ready to film. It will be part of several talks I will have in the coming weeks. The key with this is CREATIVE CONTROL. We are being selective at how we finance this property so we don’t have strings that will hamper the integrity of it. It will happen and our perfect timeline would be the second half of 2022.
The Spring is always an exciting time coming out of winter. We’ll be doing a feature or two this first half of 2022. We’ve been doing a heavy evaluation of properties and some of these will be included in my distribution talks ahead. But I really think I’ve landed on the right property. It will showcase all your favorite CDI troupe in a great story.
As a side note – this previous news made me think of a recent discussion. The story/script is the most important part of the process. For many filmmakers this is just an afterthought. We need a script and some actors and we’ll get to shoot all this cool stuff. CDI evolved in part because of how poor the scripts/stories were out there. I say this 100% from an actors perspective. That is why I’m always floored by the actors who will emotionally commit before reading a script/story. Anyone can be excited from a good pitch but having that translated to a tightly woven script is another thing. I know many actors who only read their parts and that too is having ‘blinders’ on. I also have told actor friends that you can glean information about their characters sometimes from what other characters say about them. EXAMPLE: You might find out your character has a wife, children or a pet from other character’s dialog. Perhaps gossip reveals that a character previously worked construction before their white collar job, all in the script. The whole story needs to be absorbed from the outside and the inside- internally and externally.
So perhaps a good rule of thumb is A) Evaluate content fully, quietly B) Don’t sign on to anything without reading the entire story and vet the production’s reputation C) Once attached learn the entire story before focusing on just your role’s world/words – important information might exist within the script.
Just my two cents from my experiences. There is a great word EXPERIENCE.
The great GOOD, BAD and UGLY as I like to call it. The goal is to take this accumulated knowledge (Remember Bruce Lee’s – the best way to learn a technique is to get hit by it) EXPERIENCE and translate it and apply it to your situations allowing it to become WISDOM. Now I’ve had my fill over the recent years from some individuals severely lacking experience in certain areas. Yet that want to present from a point of assured confidence that dances in arrogance. Arrogance usually follows someone who has experienced and learned a little yet thinks it gives them license to talk down to someone. A teacher who forgets that he is also a student will be humbled.
From my associates in business I get many complaints about the youth in several areas. (never their use of technology) But I always point out that most of us who have found some success have done so with the assistance of good mentors. For some that starts with a father but not for everyone. It is those special people who come in your life and help shape you. I have had a handful of these people and I’m happy that I recognized by lack and their gain. I emptied my cup and showed patience, listening and learning. I am fond of the old KUNG FU (David Carradine classic) TV show where all the boys have gathered at the Shaolin Temple. They wait and are being watched. Each day they are asked to go home and as time advances and patience is lost – most leave. In the rain those few who remained seem to have the potential for sincere growth. They are invited into the hospitality chamber and served tea. The unmindful who gives into their urges and drinks immediately are asked to “please go home” – shocked the few get up to leave. One is stopped – “Not you, please sit.” When asked why he did not drink he responds that he was respecting the opportunity. He was waiting to drink- being mindful and appreciative of being there. My soccer player/coach, martial arts lifelong student and teacher and a camp counselor all influence how I live. To the frustrated elders know you can influence and guide the youth. To the youth, empty your cup of your perceived absolutes and learn. The journey is a two way street and the glue that binds it all together is RESPECT and LOYALTY. The latter cannot be taught save by example. Those few who observed loyalty and the benefits of the practice and decide to give in to this practice. It is hard for many to give up selfish ambitions mixed with a lack of patience – it often leads to isolation, frustration and hardship that lasts until mindsets change.
“Getting deep, Shaolin Monks, kung fu and drinking cups…What? What?” – Gil Gilles
BEST YEARS GONE has recently finished a second run in Lansing, MI over the Thanksgiving week. We might explore a Detroit area and Grand Rapids showing. Also we’re exploring a few key festivals mainly based on places we would like to visit. I’m in hopes that after my next conversation with our distributor that I’ll have some updated info on our home video release. I’m glad that the films are being met with enjoyment and laughs. I loved one review that likened it to STEP BROTHERS and JOE DIRT which I love Step Brothers but Joe…okay I see it:)
THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer)- is now in season with the passing of Thanksgiving. Our distributor BMG wanted myself and Melissa Anschutz to do a promo inviting folks to subscribe to Encourage TV and watch. We were going to use a few places in Algona, Iowa as the back drop when filming but got too busy. We were going to shoot something at the office by the wood stove but decided we might save that for WILD FAITH promo. We shot in front of the Christmas tree, 3 takes- all funny and DONE. While doing some work last week I did play Forty Nights in the background. It was fun to watch and recall all the shooting we did in the deserts outside Yuma, AZ. Take a watch on all three and make it part of your holiday tradition.
I could rattle on about watching all the CDI films…but I’m sure you will get there in your own time as the nights grow longer and the outside colder. A good night to light a candle or fire and watch a good story unfold. I’ve got some yard clean up and some holiday shopping to do so I’m gonna wrap this up here. It was a pleasure to spend this time with you. Until next week. Be good to one another.
Saturday Will Be Blogs Until Thanksgiving – Hello ALGONA!
We are at the end of our pre-product week here in Algona, Iowa. We have the MSU vs U of M game on the TV which we work away. Saturday is our day off during the shoot but as you know us producers don’t really get a “true” day off. So from now until Thanksgiving I’m going to be doing my blog post on Saturdays. We started doing Saturdays off several shoots back since it allows crews to have more options open to take care of day to day things like mail, laundry and such.
Our pre-production caravan hit a small snag about 4 hours from Algona when the main RV filled with wardrobe and props had a belt break. The ‘Rambler’ was brought to rest in a parking lot of a grocery store. We had a friendly ex-Marine mechanic who agreed to meet us there in the morning. We sent our director and UPM ahead and I stayed in the RV with our Transportation Captain and Armorer. The Rambler lost power and so after an improve guitar jam fest we slept in the freezer, I mean RV. I got cold but after putting a few WW2 wool blankets over me, I was not going to freeze. Our Marine came to our rescue on a day that started pouring and continued all day. He really saved the day and we got to Algona the next day a bit sleep deprived but safe and sound.
BEST YEARS GONE which was just delivered to our distributor is prepping for their home video release campaign in early 2022. Meanwhile we have more opportunities to play the film theatrically and are working on those dates now. We also might have a special screening one night here on a day off for the cast and crew. Some really great news coming on that front.
WRAP UP – This morning was the last day of pre-production and the morning started with a haunting fog over the lake and now we have some beautiful sun. We had three days of rain but now for filming we’re suppose to have a week stretch of nice weather. Jeeps, trucks, extras and more all coming together to help create our world. We had first airport pick ups with actors flying in from all over the country last night. The remaining crew will also be rolling in today and prepping for an exciting day 1. We are filming our first 4 days in a historic park with a period farm. I’m so proud of all the departments which are all now humming along. This is going to be another great story. Fans of Anthony Hornus’s MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND will love this new film. He has been working hard to pull the vision together. I will update you all for the next couple Saturday’s versus Sundays on the filming. I know this journey in storytelling will bring new friendships together that will last forever. Speaking on friendships – cherish them just like family because sometimes you don’t know when some will leave us. This week we found out our good friend Pappy, David Papenfuss passed away. Mere hours later I found out that one of our childhood neighbor’s husband, also passed. He use to work for an airlines and if I’m not mistaken he might have given me a flight voucher back in the day for one of my early Hollywood trips. Either way, both passed away from Covid and so while things are getting better please do be careful. I saw Pappy at an afternoon get-together on my birthday. He once again brought me a musical card as that was his thing. I have Star Wars, Superman and Indiana Jones cards from him. Little did I know that the last one was the last one.
Cherish your loved ones.
Hometown ‘Best Years Gone’ Premiere and CDI Updates
Hazelnut cheers on a nippy Michigan morning. I’ve got the fire going by my chair as I sit and reflect on a very busy week of life and work. Last night we gathered at the NCG theaters in Lansing to debut our new CDI film BEST YEARS GONE, directed by Shane Hagedorn. We had a strong crowd for the 1st show which they moved into the bigger screen to handle our sales. Also they extended the theatrical run until Oct 21st, so have day out going to see a movie. It really did play great there and I was happy to see so many family, friends and fans of the films. I love that every day more folks will get to see the story we told. The feedback has been strong ands I know the ‘haters’ always find their way but so do those who appreciate the stories. And at a kick off event I get to shake hands, take pictures and meet some of these fine people.
(Shane Hagedorn and DJ Perry greeted and chatted with many folks at the Lansing premiere)
My dad still wonders how I’m able to weave the story and all the dialogue into a script. I told him all those times of being assured of not paying attention or having my head in the clouds – THAT – whatever it is – IMAGINATION – it allows me to get lost in the story and manifest it. I’m awaiting word on another deal that would have me writing a script this winter and produce it next year with CDI. Add in the TV series of HASTINGS that is gaining momentum and 2022 could be a fun year of storytelling. Here are the Lansing showtimes- https://www.showtimes.com/movie-times/best-years-gone-156830/lansing-mi/
But before we get to 2022 we have a very exciting and important story to be told – SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA! I cannot believe that the pre-production caravan will depart next Saturday. Producers, director, art, AD, office and transportation will be doing final prep for the shoot that kicks off on Halloween. I had a wardrobe fitting last week and between the scene study which is feeling on point and the dapper WW2 uniform – game on.
We have some additional sponsor support from the Iowa State Bank so we want to thank them. This past week we filled several of the few cast and crew spots remaining. Just one or two cast/crew to go and that will work itself out. We had a few changes from illness or unexpected commits but our team will go and end the year with one great story. This week I need to pull together final props and production stuff traveling with me. I have to finish packing my clothes which needs to include cold weather gear. The nice part is this film I have like one uniform and a few hats unlike the multiple wardrobe pieces worn as Gil in BEST YEARS GONE. I am going to enjoy this final week of prepping things. There are several friends I only get to see while filming so again I’m excited to tell this story with our artists.
I know that this is the perfect season to release BESTSELLER, our thriller getting a campaign reboot but I do not have dates yet. My favorite film of the season is the animated ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and Hitchcock’s PSYCHO, which I’ll be watching to this week. WICKED SPRING HD is heading out to streaming and might be playing on certain platforms. I need to circle up with our distributor on a few projects but I’ve been quite busy with one film releasing and one going into production in under two weeks. FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH feature-length doc is in the post-mixing phase and I was thinking of premiering SMOKE & MIRRORS with it at the same time. Like the cartoons you use to get before a show.
I’m putting the coffee away this morning because of the chill. I just poured the last cup and I’m going to finish this up. My next update will be from Algona, Iowa! Today we might hit the flea market seeking prop items and a stop at Tractor Supply to get some food for the chickens. They are putting on winter weight and still giving the eggs out. It is nice to always have that abundance of eggs and you do taste a difference. My alumni MSU had another good game yesterday but our Lions still struggle. I want to again thank each and everyone of you who attended our showings. If you want to leave a review you can go to our BEST YEARS GONE page on http://www.imdb.com and vote and leave your thoughts. I hope you all have a productive week ahead. Be good to one another.
‘Best Years Gone’ Thanks you Owosso! Where Next? Other Updates on TribeCDI Projects!
The first sips of the hazelnut coffee taste so good on this chilly Michigan morning. Yesterday the sinus were a bit stuffed due to the weather changes but this morning I’m feeling good. We watched my alumni school Michigan State University put another win up for the season. If only our Lions could start doing the same. Either way, football, hot cider and the harvest has been a great welcome to Fall that is now officially here.
This past week was great for tying up loose ends on BEST YEARS GONE that played Owosso, MI NCG all week. I was able to sneak into a day show on the last day with my dad. It was nice to have no pressure or expectations to meet and greet. It was nice to just relax into the story and just enjoy. The story is well put together with such great comments on the camerawork (DP Travis Hayward) the creative editing (Nathaniel Nose) – the music (Dennis Therrian and all our great guest artists). We know all of this includes the entire crew and cast. I heard lots of compliments on how the film walks the line with strong drama and outrageous comedy. And big kudos to Shane Hagedorn our director who kept the vision and created the fine blend story. NOTE: A BTS of the premiere event is on our IMDB.com page and we’ll go up on our FB page soon. Great job Dan Chipman.
We started with a two show screening premiere and that went great! We’ve been dripping out pics from that night on the BYG Facebook site. What a wonderful night and it was great to see the story on the big screen. The film was granted an extension playing all last week in Owosso, Michigan. Now we are looking at other cities both with NCG and other theatrical chains. We hope to bring it to our home town of Lansing, Michigan. Possibly Grand Rapids and the Detroit area and even Nashville, TN is being considered. This week after the theatrical we made a few adjustments to our mix and we’ll do a final review Weds before uploading the master to our distributor. I’m excited for people around the world to enjoy this story.
Today we are having a meeting for SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA to review our schedule and lock that so that cast agreements and flights can be booked. We’re working hard to get all our ducks in a row so that many things are done before our pre-production week on set. Algona is not a big city so we’re working with all the resources we have. The best resource is the people of Algona who are excited to have this story of theirs told, keeping it from being forgotten. This week I’ll do some PR about our product partners and we’ll announce a few more cast. I had a few great conversations with folks this week and that is what is nice about these adventures. I get to see some dear friends that I usually only see when filming. But today is a big day as we lock up the schedule and collectively look for problem/issues in advance. We have some of the best problem solvers working to tell this story so I feel very confident.
WILD FAITH is about to hit 5 million views on Encourage TV taking us even deeper into the tens of millions who have watched the film. I had a few more conversations with parties that could assist in getting the TV series launched. Creative Control has been the main goal for me as I’ve had a few projects derailed by “experts” on what a story needs or doesn’t need. We have several paths we could take to production and as I’ve always said it is not IF it is WHEN. Have you seen WILD FAITH? If not, please do.
MANS BEST FRIEND is playing new TV channels such as Charge TV which seems to be targeted at action and macho films by Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal and DJ Perry, what? I have continued to encounter many more folks who love that film. I’m very proud of the film and the action sequences which are modest. I’ve had several people ask about ‘Paul Landings’ outcome and could there ever be a sequel. You never know and yes, I’ve thought about it. I have a good story in my head but we’ll see about that some other time. I’ve got a full plate.
LOST HEART/BIGFOOT, UFOs and JESUS – I had the pleasure of hearing from many who saw CDI’s last release under two different titles. I love this film and it always leaves me feeling good. Feeling down or just needing a boost of ‘feel good’ take a watch. Melissa Anschutz commands the screen and folks like Josh Perry turn in performances that will have people talking for years. This is the perfect time of year to watch this film.
THE QUEST TRILOGY – Once we get past the beloved Halloween-fare it will be the holidays. I’m excited to continue the tradition of our trilogy. I again at the recent premiere got to hear from the fans of these films. Many are still learning about them and learning that there are three films in the series. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. See them in order. See them all.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – the final polished cut is getting close. This weekend the audio narration was being done. A pre-mix and a final mix and we’ll be ready for a premiere. Maybe just before Christmas but after Thanksgiving for sure.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS – Our short concept film that sprung from a commercial endeavor is completed. We’re in discussions about the various possible premieres for this film using it to also help the historic Dodge Turner House. We are exploring a virtual premiere also but getting together and seeing this on a big screen would be fun. It is roughly 14 minutes so not a long film. A few festivals could be in the future for this short film story. I have been working on the feature script which I’m calling ‘OF SMOKE & MIRRORS’ to add a slight difference between the two.
ODDS & ENDS
This week I got to throw some of my dialog off Curran Jacobs who is playing the lead in our next WW2 film. I’ve been having such a great time emerging myself in the 1940’s and preparing to tell this great story. We also had a great meeting with our director and the VFX supervisor and we identified all the VFX shots or shots that would utilize CGI additions or subtractions.
I had an offer for a lead in a short which I don’t typically consider but offered to look at the script and the details which I asked for. I got a script with no details and had to pry any info out. But to be honest when I saw the email with just the script (poorly formatted) and no information – it was a polite pass. I had another call about engaging as a work-for-hire writer. On the other end of the spectrum from the no detail communication mentioned previously- this email came with a great pitch/breakdown. Success will follow the hard work. One person did the bare minimum and the other had spent some real time in organizing and preparing for their endeavor. I will likely enter negotiations this week for a wonderful writing endeavor that I’ll do over the holidays. I’ve had a handful of these opportunities approach me which is what led me to consider representation. In time I may explore the representation aspect but for now I’m happy to handle the details.
I’m going to bring this to a close. I have a few yard tasks to accomplish and I need to get ready for two groups of folks today. The ‘schedule’ meeting this afternoon and later my brother and few amigos will visit. I think the first fire might have to be lit today. I hope each of you have a wonderful day and good week ahead. I’m excited for all the developments happening and also happy to be enjoying the Fall with the family. This shoot will be the only extended leave I took this year. But it will put us into post-production on another beautiful story. This story is built on the real history of Algona and we’re proud to be telling it.
Be good to one another and coffee cheers!
NEW Trailers, Castings and More…
I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee while waiting for it to dry out a tad so we can go hit the flea market down the road. I love looking for props and character pieces. It has been warming here in the Michigan and I think we are finally past the morning frost. The newly planted blueberry bushes had to be protected but the apple trees seem to have done just fine. Our ‘Chicken Land’ has been producing a steady 4 eggs a day resulting in some wonderful breakfast sandwiches. I need to get stuff around for the second mow of the season.
The Covid lockdown did not control my mind. I did not fret, complain and concern myself to a point mental hinderance. I acknowledged and redirected to what I could control. Attacking things I had not had time to deal with. This last week we’ve had some good social interactions reminding us of what we’ve missed. I had a good visit with Pa Perry, several in-person meetings and even a social gathering. I do hope the mask mandate for our soccer league disappears. As I work to get the legs back in game shape the wearing of the mask has been cumbersome. This week I was less sore than week one and I hope next week will leave me better yet. Soccer is a game of stamina and endurance and the whole body moves in all different directions. But it feels good to be waging war again on the field.
So many updates so maybe we should get into them:) Several of our team will be present in FL this coming week to attend the ICFF which is a family/faith festival that recognizes artists. It is like the ‘Inspirational Oscars’ I’m told but its all subjective. But LOST HEART is up for several nominations from Best Film, Best Screenplay (I know that guy), Best Director, Best Supporting Actor/Actress and both Actor and Actress of the Year. But walking the red carpet will be several of our artists including Melissa Anschutz, Don Most, Sherryl Despres-maybe Victoria Jackson.
Also this wonderful film will be getting its general market release very soon. The film has two interwoven stories and the A story is LOST HEART and leads out front. The B story runs in the back ground and is greatly entertaining. Much of it follows the antics of Chip (Josh “Ponceman” Perry) and his hunt of the legendary Bigfoot. In addition to Dennis Therrian’s incredible score the general release is also highlighting the musical talents of The Cash Collective and Roanoke. Either way the same great film that everyone can enjoy. As a HUGE fan I feel this film is the most Spielberg of the CDI films. I could be delusional about that but it feels that way to me.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has been making great strides. Some of the updates were presented by our director in this newspaper release in Iowa. Read here-
Our casting of the Germans is about complete. We’ve been slowly working crewing with many adventurers yet to recruit. Tomorrow we’ll be announcing two more actors. One is yours truly and I’ll be playing the PW camp Commander. It is a really nice fit at this point in my career. Had I been charged with running a PW camp during WW2 I think my approach would have been the same as the character. More of the character study is truly getting into the mind set of that era. What did they read daily in the newspaper? What was spoken about at the coffee shop? What fears did people have? Radio shows. Music. I am enjoying the re-educating myself on my grandfather’s era. I do wish Rance Howard was alive to be in the cast. He was really excited to be in this story. We’ll do him proud as well. The other talent is an amazingly unique actor named Michael Wayne Walton. He was in CDI’s first feature which was ________? 🙂 (Trivia) …and he also appeared in a few other CDI films (Can you name them?) He has been making his unique path in this hard industry and I’m extremely grateful to have Michael coming on board to play a great MP guard who creates ‘bridges’ with the German men he is assigned to detain.
The PR release will go out tomorrow but you got the early scoop here. More casting and crewing and now with the more relaxed Covid rules we can get back to our weekly in-person meetings.
BEST YEARS GONE is in full out post-production push with July/Aug being our finish date. We made good steps on setting up our premiere. We will likely have a meeting this week to look at dates and make sure the location works. I have it on good source that the 1st official trailer is not far away. At the same time – color, music and sound design are all underway.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The feature keeps growing its fan base with 4.5 mil at Encourage TV alone. I reached out on a few new fronts working to build our licensing so we can shoot the 8 show TV series next year.
CDI Associated film BESTSELLER has been signed to BMG’s new General Market label. They will build a wonderful campaign for that film and my guess would be a fall pre-Halloween release. WICKED SPRING is the test run in our up-rezing of older SD films to HD. As of Friday it sounds like they might have been successful. I will know this week for sure. If all is good FIGURE IN THE FOREST might be up next. I also got to see the first edit of FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH and boy is it good. So proud of our little team. We’ll final mix for delivery with Dennis Therrian but we have a few months of post I’m guessing.
Funny how the fan mail from MAN’S BEST FRIEND have been asking recently about me participating in other action roles. I think I made note of “sure if the right story came along” and…I did have a script submitted to me. It’s written by a screenwriter who has lots of film and TV series credits of note. The director is also got a wonderful resume of TV and film work. Well, I read the script and gave my interest in a couple of characters. From there it seems we might have landed on one. The film is more action orientated with mafia/western vibe. It would have me playing a pretty kick ass role. Not sure on dates. It will be fine unless it steps on the upcoming WW2 film but I will cross that bridge when and if I need to. I gave my interest and I want to thank them for offering me to come on board. It is good to see so many projects start to move.
I’m going to cut it short here and take a nice walk around the flea market. I hope you all have a great week in your own personal endeavors. Until next week.
ARTISTS Around the World, Updates and Award Nominations
Good morning my friends – coffee cheers. (Above: Movie lunch pails – one day:) I loved seeing all the readers that dropped by last week and from so many different countries. Interesting talk recently that the artists in all countries likely exist in an alike mind space. This started from watching the live action Mulan. I really enjoyed it. Of course I’m a martial artists and I also love the history and traditions of the asian countries. The media backlash was over some of the film being filmed in areas of China where the treatment of some people there has been in question. My point is that I can assure that most of the artists in China are not the ones committing these actions. Politicians and corporations are where the differences often lie. Again I think that art is one of the best forms of communication still working. I think it is through storytelling and art that people try to change things by changing the hearts of the people. Iran. That was brought up and I am sure that there are many wonderful Iranian artists and many are likely not in step with their government. Artists have been persecuted in many places over the corse of history for illuminating people in a way that often goes against the agenda of politics. Don’t get me wrong, artists have their issues and running a country of diverse people is never easy. But the film Mulan had beautiful locations and maybe that is why certain things were filmed at certain locations. Story-first we call it. In telling our story we try to do what is best for the story not politically motivated. Also I do understand financial reasons for location choice. I just like to look at the sum of the parts. In any endeavor using many people – having a story to focus upon brings out the best in each person. Their best artistic qualities end up showcased. Again that’s why we embrace the ‘collective development’ of individuals versus a ‘cancel’ mentality. On our sets a respectful attitude is required and any course corrections to transgressions would be attempted and often the flow is resumed. In a few situations we’ve let people go but when that has happened I’ve owned that as a miss or a loss. A kid who had to be sent home from summer camp because a staff couldn’t nurture the good kid within. A student who quits never to return to the dojo is on the sensei – he failed to nurture the student properly. An athlete who has to be removed from a team shares that failure with his coaches. Just a few thoughts. I’ve had beautiful fan mail and invites to visit their countries from people all over the world. Those places I would be honored to visit but being honest, some places have me nervous. The nervous apprehension is not stemming from the artists. So in conclusion, if a group of people geographically create something in an area where some in power have misstepped should all the people, all the artists be held accountable? And yes. I’m sure the artists in some of these places object to things they don’t agree with, much like here in the USA. But many elsewhere are met with bullets in response to their objections. So let us praise positivity in story wherever it’s told.
Onto some film updates. First this week we starting to announce some of the ICFF 2021 Nominations which is for films of faith, family and inspiration. Positive stories:) We were fortunate enough to again be chosen for several nominations with LOST HEART. First is my favorite award nomination next to ‘Most Inspirational’ which THE QUEST TRILOGY garnished. BEST FILM – I love this because again as mentioned earlier it represents the collective artistry of the tribe.
On a personal level I’m enjoying the collecting of these screenwriter nods. When acting was my main push and I guess I would say it still is. I use to downplay the screenwriting not wanting to be seen as a screenwriter who acts. But these days I’m 100% confident is just being the artist I am with multiple avenues to create. As an actor, I’ve had the pleasure of trying to utter some pretty bad dialog in some questionably written scripts. Often by some good directors who’s art of screenplay wasn’t on the same level. But that means a director directing and actors acting with a poor blue print. To have a chance at executing a good story you need a strong blue print. This is why I’ve done less and less outside work. I KNOW great material is out there and good teams to execute production but getting those circles to all align can be difficult. There is so much that can hinder a film production the script should not be one of them. So I’ve been poking about and having a few discussions on literary representation. I would like to see a few stories go be created by others. To have other artists and tribes make a go at telling a great story because of a solid blue print. We can only create so many stories as a company. So I look forward to creating a few wonderful vehicles for actors and teams out there in the world.
Congrats to Jesse Low. One of the other instinctual things a producer(s) have to do is try to marry the right story to the right director. It is an art. Just like management. Casting. Crewing. If working as many with a zero budget it’s making the best hand with what you have. On the low budget you do have choices. In a way the best choices, because you will only attract artists who love the story and/or filmmakers. Also development – after several features – the relationship flow with Jesse Low has become tight. Coffee Cheers to many more!
A film will LIVE or DIE but the leads. So many wish the opportunity but it is not easy. It is why I cringe when someone says, “I might try acting, sounds fun.” Acting is more a calling (or a disease) versus a fun thing to try. The medium of film requires even more focus as things are often in random order and the multiple takes can be draining. Many actors and actresses don’t have the endurance to do it. That is why shorts are a good build for cast and crews. Features are a longer journey and requires pacing, prep and hyper-focus.
Melissa Anschutz went above and beyond – allowing audiences via her national PR appearances to hear about her personal battles immediately following filming. This reached, touched and helped many people with alike tragedies in their lives. She is very deserving of both these awards so a big congrats to Melissa and thank you for all you do to help the tribe of artists. You’re an inspiration to many out there.
CDI has been blessed to have many very successful artists join our tribe and storytell with us. These folks have such great projects behind them that when they branch out to work with anyone they take a real chance. At CDI we don’t play ‘star’ that is for the red carpet for those who wanna play that – this is storytelling. I’m so appreciative of the artists who bring their very best. No phoning it in. They BRING IT. I do love how Tarantino brings great names from previous successful stories that maybe haven’t been seen in a while and showcased fresh, powerful new performances. We do that. We work hard to provide the most professional experience and to encourage the best set to create. I’m so happy for Victoria Jackson and Don Most for their nominations in the supporting roles. If you watch the film LOST HEART you will realize how deserving them are. Often a fest might give a nod because of the star power it brings but these nominations are right on. They both give performances that audiences will remember for years to come. It shows that Happy Days and SNL were just early stepping stones and they are still the artist they ever were and with experience, even more talented now. Congrats.
Now we come to this. I want to say that I have to get better about accepting such things. I truly enjoy other people getting recognition so that they will want to come out and play next time asked. Last year I was nominated for ‘Paul Landings’ as the Best Actor in MBF and took great pride in that since Paul represents our wounded military vets. Now ole ‘UFO Worldwide’ Reporter Niles Cass doesn’t seem as dramatic or deserving but I am still deeply honored. Two different tone films which is made more interesting since at ICVM at NBR (Crown Awards) in June (Texas) they have narrowed down to 5 top films nominated for Best Film and MBF and Lost Heart are going head-to-head because of the Covid lockdown last year. Proud of both stories just very different.
I wanted to share another special recognition that LOST HEART received. Congrats to my brother from another mother Ponceman. Working with Ponce a second time was just a pure joy. Might have to make it three times;)
I could do some additional updates but it is getting late and I need a shower after waking up and pushing myself in the strongman contest. This coop was MUCH heavier than I thought but the Amish don’t play. This is not like the previous coop which was nowhere as heavy duty. New chickens arrive next weekend.
Casting and crewing talks have been going great on the WW2 drama. This week we’ll announce two more leads in the main family joining actors Curran Jacobs and Cassie Dean. One is a beloved tribal member and the other a wonderful actor who will work with CDI for the first time. Our German reads have been exciting! We have other roles locking in and many to still explore.
BEST YEARS GONE is going to be traveling this week to our post studio with Dennis Therrian. Nathaniel Nose has done a wonderful job. We’ll know this week if he’ll be cutting the trailer. The Battle of the Bands runs until the end of April and we’ve had some great submissions. I plan to announce another judge this week joining Joe Pullin and John Two Hawks. I’m so excited to get onto this next phase. I look forward to spending some time at the studio in the pines. I think I might have to be on grill duty also.
I’m going to wrap it up here. I know I likely missed a few updates but I think we hit upon enough. I was a bit behind last week on emails, calls and even contract review (Monday:) But this week will be a good catch up. I hope each and everyone of you have a productive week. Be good to one another.
CDI Announces WW2 Drama to Pre-Production and more…
Hazelnut coffee cheers! I want to welcome all our new readers from South Africa, Saudi Arabia and more. I’m surprised every week by the new countries joining us. In Michigan we had a big rain and all the ice and snow left us. A few more days and the mud dried as the ground unfroze and now Spring is upon us. Matter of fact in our state we just jumped ahead an hour. We’ve been cleaning up the yard from falling sticks. I’m prepping some logs to be split into firewood soon. The garden is going to be turned into ‘chicken land’ and we’ll move gardening to raised beds and pots. Blueberries will be added to the berry selection this year but like the rhubarb it will take a season or two for the fruit to come.
So tomorrow I will be getting the first of two vaccine applications. My parents and many of my loved ones have already been vaccinated and now they’re getting to my age group. Also tomorrow will be some banking as we prepare more film disbursements and I plan to open the new film account for our new WW2 drama. Our PR announcement below:
We are getting some amazing actor reads and we’ll be announcing more of the talent joining us. Location scouting will be next along with crew conversations. We did get an affirmative from Jesse Aragon, a great camera artist who brought the great images in The Quest Trilogy, Wild Faith and Lost Heart. We welcome him aboard the next journey. Dennis Therrian will be composing and doing our sound design on this powerful story but first he has BEST YEARS GONE.
BEST YEARS GONE has a new cut that is close to a lock. Our director and editor are working the final nuances. I think we’ll have a producing showing at some point here. From there it is onto music and sound design at the new studio. For those that don’t know our composer lost his house and studio in a fire. The house and studio have been rebuilt and we are about to take the studio on its maiden voyage. Also a trailer will be coming soon!
Additionally we’ve had some great artists submitting songs to the FB page for BEST YEARS GONE in our Battle of the Bands. Please do keep submitting your songs and stop by and take a listen to the ones that have landed.
This week we’ll be announcing another of our celebrity judges. Again the plan is to have the winning band actually perform at the premiere or the music video that will be created for our winner.
LOST HEART and MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND ate both getting a new campaign. Lost Heart is a cool and complex film whereas I had many fans reach out and say that they really enjoyed the film. They had no idea that UFO’s, BigFoot and the Devil’s Crossroads and humor play into the story. We felt that we had to pick a direction with the first campaign and so the drama, music and atonement were our pushed themes. The film is doing great and climbing charts at Tubi and other major outlets but we’re not getting male audiences unless by accident or association. (Watching with a wife or girlfriend) BUT when the men have watched it they have really enjoyed it. So a second campaign will be going after that male demographic that loves mysteries of the unexplained. So that will be an exciting campaign to get the audience that wasn’t going to bite. In the meantime we await to see if the International Christian Film Festival has any nominations for LOST HEART. So many deserving performances and the music…but we will see.
THE QUEST TRILOGY is getting to the end of its holiday run with Easter right around the corner. I truly do love this trilogy as it puts the stories in an easy to follow manner. It also approaches the events from a unique perspective. One such thing is in Forty Nights we examine Jesus when he “vision quests” into the desert where he is working on putting the words of the heart on the tongue. It shows him working some of it out yet people watching cry out, “that is not what he said.” EXACTLY he is shown developing his teaching. CHASING THE STAR some have said, “But the magi aren’t Christian.” BINGO as that did not develop for decades later and people should learn the history of the order of the magi. This films are not regurgitated same old, same old but sheds some light upon these events that connects the dots for many people. Everyone’s experience is different and so watch the three films and let me know your thoughts.
BESTSELLER could be getting a new major release which is an exciting proposal. KNIGHT CHILLS might be getting a special Blu Ray release. Also fans of WICKED SPRING, a new letterbox/HD version is in the works with BMG. We also have some new items making their way to our new merchandise section on the http://www.cdiproductions.com site. You can also watch most of the films w/ ads from Encourage TV also assessable from the CDI site.
Other development is underway including HASTINGS the Wild Faith TV spin off. We might have a few other scripts in development and that will assure the next few years are quite full. I’m going to get on with my day and I’m looking forward to our warmer days including the start soccer season. Last year’s season was cancelled but I hope everything rolls out just fine in 2021. I’m ready to get back out there! Until we chat again next week, be productive and be good to one another.
‘BATTLE OF THE BANDS’ LAUNCHED AND WW2 1944 IS THE NEXT STOP FOR CDI
Good morning my good artist friends from around the globe. I saw many new readers from Peru, Ireland and Cuba just to name a few. I don’t know how it is in your part of the world but here in Michigan (Southern Canada) just kidding – the ice and snow started to melt showing us patches of earth. Spring is in the air and the wood bins are full for the final blasts of cold. Plans are being made for the Spring already with an expansion to the chicken-land enclosure and maybe an outdoor gazebo. Within the office I’ve been doing some tinkering here and there all while jamming to some good tunes. I think that is what led to the idea of the Battle of the Bands. BEST YEARS GONE which is closing in on a final cut will soon move into music and sound design with Dennis Therrian. But we’ve used many featured artists on past films. WILD FAITH used Trace Adkins narrating vs singing but we’ve had several artists join us. On LOST HEART we got to hear John Carter Cash and his wife Ana with The Cash Collective and Roanoke featuring our young lead Taylor. Anyway, this was an idea to take a few of my music artists friends higher on the ladder and give them a chance to experience some of the other great artists out there looking to have their voice and stories told. So if you have original songs that you own all the lyric and music rights, submit the song(s) to the wall at – Facebook
In April our Judges will listen to the finalists and give their comments. From there our director will review and a winner will revealed. So submit your songs – rock, rap, country! Good luck!
LOST HEART has still been getting lots of national PR and on streaming sites like TUBI it has been climbing joining WILD FAITH. Critics are what they are but here is another review-
We have some exciting ideas bouncing with our distributor. The film seems to be hitting well with the female audience but isn’t drawing in men as much. BUT when men watch they are actually enjoying be causing of the fun UFO and Bigfoot elements in the story. So we might be designing some artwork that reflects some of that because it is a really fun movie. Like I’ve said, I challenge you to watch it and not laugh somewhere. Cry is a good possibility too. I had some fan mail that thought they were in for something lighter in tone like a Hallmark film but were surprised by the power of the drama.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND is also on the rise and the distributor thinks it can go even further with a new campaign so I’m looking forward to see new art, trailer and PR push. This film is really making the circle through the military friends and families marching towards 1 million viewers on Encourage TV and playing many more channels.
These three fine stories that I promise you are unique in their genre, are being featured on many sites as a series. Sony/Pureflix is doing a special Easter season push as is many of the outlets and platforms. FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER. What I love about the first one is that it depicts a time before Jesus started any ministry. When he was still crystallizing his teaching and how to “put the words of the heart on the tongue”. But many people were not happy or content to see a pre-Jesus. The man BEFORE he fully became what others now expect. It’s a unique perspective that some missed. But those who missed are people just looking to ‘devil the details’ and they often miss the lesson altogether. Enjoy the films and let me know what you think and if you see the unique perspective of a man who is a work-in-progress.
DEVELOPMENT & PRE
Several projects are in motion with our doc ‘For the Love of Catch‘ filming the next several weeks. Some VFX post work is being completed on SMOKE & MIRRORS a spooky short that we filmed with the CDI Tribe. HASTINGS continues to advance down the development road. The good news that will be announced this week is that SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA is officially moving out of development into pre-production. We have been casting and will have more exciting announcements including the casting of our young female lead. It’s…
We’ll also start discussing crew and put several tasks in motion creatively. I’m beyond excited to have the CDI Tribe do a WW2 drama. I’m thrilled that this was the script Rance Howard and I spoke so many hours on. Being that this is all ‘based on a true event’ makes it even better that this moving story will be told to the entire world.
WRAP UP – If you are a musician with original music drop it on the wall for BEST YEARS GONE or just go listen to some of the great music being added. I want to thank Mr. John Two Hawks joining Dennis Therrian as our second celebrity judge with more to follow. I spoke with John yesterday which was a great catch up. I blame/thank John for my love of NIGHTWISH. John has played with them on a few occasions and I really enjoy their sound. His full bio can be seen on the FB site where the ‘Battle of the Bands’ is being hosted. IF you have a company that wants to align with either our next release BEST YEARS GONE or our new SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA WW2 film. If your product was around in 1944 we plan throw back packaging. And if your company was not well, we can make it look in the style of 1944. We will have many exciting supporters and sponsors to announce now that this is moving forward. I hope you all have a great week. Stay safe and be good to one another.
Driving from Development Toward Pre-Production
It’s once again a morning where we awoke to big flakes of falling snow. We are suppose to have several such days this week. I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking the state of the Union. My feeling is that once we get to the other side of this Covid and political election, we can start the healing. I’m happy that the vaccine is rolling out and that the most vulnerable are starting to get their first shot. I’m excited to gather in groups again to laugh, share and create. We’ve continued to move forward against all the opposing forces at work and I’m excited about where we’re going. I’ll leave the politics by saying I sincerely wish for a peaceful transition. I wish this new administration only the best just like the previous administration. As a life-long team-sport playing individual I hope that the sportsmanship between the parties gets better. When politics fixate on just tearing down the other party, the people lose. Coffee cheers to unity as we move into 2021.
The last two weeks I’ve worked with our upcoming director Anthony Hornus (director of MBF) on the transfer of script. By this I mean the transfer of understanding of each character, description and dialog. Many scenes were re-worked, tweaked and polished. We use that time to discuss production aspects, casting ideas and more. This is a development phase activity bordering on pre-production. The difference is funding and while we are almost a full ahead we’re also not quite there. But, I think by the end of this month we’ll be making that announcement. We’ll go full into locations, casting and key crewing at that point. This project will shoot in Iowa and so it’s looking at flights vs drive in’s and such. We’ve got some good experience at bringing the show as we did to Yuma, AZ three times. It takes a supportive community to tell a story at these smaller budgets. But I’m happy to report that is exactly what we have. Between our backers, distributor, the Iowa community and our on-going sponsors, once again we’ll tell a powerful story. This one made better because it’s based on a true event. The script will likely start going out to producers today or tomorrow.
Also coming at the end of the week just as I hit my limit for the day was the 1st rough edit of BEST YEARS GONE. Monday morning, I plan to watch the edit in full with good audio Real audio work doesn’t start until we lock the picture. This cut will start to be worked by editor and director to work toward that lock. I did watch the film in pieces on my phone with low audio. It’s exciting as the writer to see the characters and story come to life. As an actor it’s amazing to see a character you lived with come to life with all the other characters. My co-star Erika Hoveland, is so powerful and it was a real joy to tell this story with her. But the other quirky characters Mandy, Tinker, Jed, the Pats in our story, really make it for me. Dean Teaster had me laughing out loud watching. You all will see later this year when the film releases. We’re also going to start rolling out some of the official screenshots. Also we’ll be launching some fun merchandise dealing with this fine film. This project gave me confidence in what our great team can do even when faced with new challenges.
LOST HEART keeps rolling out and the fan mail keeps coming in thanking CDI for bringing some a heartwarming story to the screen. Launching this film in 2020 is also something we’re very proud of including the event filming. Here is the PRE and POST party if you have not seen them yet. They give some great insight to what the #tribeCDI is all about. Watch below and if you have not seen the film please do – would you believe it deals with BigFoot, UFO’s and more?
THE QUEST TRILOGY – As Easter lies ahead, many are enjoying the unique and fresh approach to these biblical stories. Here is a trailer for the trilogy of films. These parables are meant to tell a story and encourage us to live treating one another better. You can take these films as gospel or as just a good story with a lesson. Either way, they are an honest, respectful look at these stories minus any agenda save to tell a good story. The Bible is full of good stories and I appreciate all the fan mail from the worldwide audiences who took something from them. Watch them. You just might enjoy the story.
WILD FAITH/HASTINGS – The pilot feature film Wild Faith and the developing TV series ‘Hastings’ – we have some great battle plans being drawn up on this TV series. A few of our proposed directors and returning cast are reading the scripts for season 1. We have our ideal window to shoot but if we can pull this all together in that ideal window is unknown. We are undertaking something new and we’re also dealing with a world dealing with new challenges. But, the prep remains the same and at this point all development strengthens the endeavor. Each week that passes Wild Faith grows a larger audience. Just using our distributors streaming platform ENCOURAGE TV – Wild Faith has grown 80k viewers per week for 11 months now totaling over 3.5 million viewers. That is if only one person watched the film. My point is that as every week passes, the audiences are helping us to launch. I know that all the artists involved would love to revisit Hastings and the stories of Emmett and his family.
Thank you to all the fans out there. I could share more updates but I want to get after a few things today. The fans of MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND have also been letting their voices be heard. I’m thrilled that everyone is enjoying the stories and we’ll be working hard to make sure that continues. Every day work on the stuff you can control and don’t let your mental or physical time be wasted on what you cannot control.
Happy Sunday to you all. Be good to one another.
New ideas, thoughts, processes and appreciations were born in 2020.
I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and want wish a Happy Holidays to all of you. Welcome new readers and subscribers from UK, Trinidad, Tobago, Philippines, Sweden, Denmark, South Korea and Africa, France and Ukraine. I left my cup to you all and give you my best wishes for a productive 2021. I’m wearing a nice new pair of warm pajamas and I feel blessed to have been gifted an assortment of love gifts. I also got some new technology that will assist with my 2021 business. I have a new JBL Charge speaker meant for speaker calls. I also have new apple I-bud things which I hope fare better than my past Bluetooths. A few new clothing items and an assortment for fun items. I enjoyed gifting and spreading some happiness to folks. I still have a handful of people to catch up with but I will all in good time. I love all the holiday wishes and I hope everyone had a safe Christmas. We went like Santa and did short drop off and visits. We did the zoom opening of gifts and while different and not the preferred celebration, we had fun. In person would have been better but until our elders in our family get the vaccine it was a smart call. We want them all around for the holidays 2021.
This is the time of year when I start to clean up and organize all my actor/filmmaker materials. It is also the time of year for LLC state file fees, end of year corp tax work and other non-sexy but required work. I for one am excited and pumped up for the new year. This is the time to create your goal lists for the incoming year and to see where you fell on your last years goals. I actually did quite well with my 2020 TO DO list and having all that extra time not meeting in person allowed me to get a LOT done. That said, I’m reading to be meeting at the ole fort again to plan new adventures. So use this time to wrap up 2020 and prepare for the year ahead. Write it down. Visualize it. Plan short goals on the way to greater goals. DON’T be afraid to fail because even failure will give you much needed experience.
SOME OF MY 2021 GOALS
- Do a 2021 select/fest run for LOST HEART and perhaps MBF who’s fest run got Covid squashed.
- BEST YEARS GONE is scheduled to be completed in June but we’re on schedule with about an hour edited. By the end of the year we hope to have a rough cut and locked cut by end of Jan. What I saw was amazing and I am beyond happy with what I’m seeing.
- This has to do with BEST YEARS GONE but I think we’re going to do a virtual Battle of the Bands that will end up seeing a song go on the soundtrack with a music video created by CDI. I have some interest from a few legit judges that will help in the process of deciding.
- CDI Merchandise Division will launch in earnest in 2021 pushing out with new BEST YEARS GONE swag. Try this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/DVD-DOUBLE-FEATURE-Figure-in-the-Forest-2002-Heavens-Neighbors-2005-movie-/363016656566
- I plan to get WILD FAITH‘s TV series HASTINGS launched. Ideal filming would be 1st half of 2021 but if our timing is off we’ll swing it around to Spring 2022.
- We also plan to film SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA back half of 2021. Casting for our German-speaking actors is underway. We will announce heavily once we assign the last few units. I’m working on the writer/director script with Tony Hornus (MBF).
- Smoke & Mirrors short will be finished and we’ll take it on festival circuit for fun. But I’ve started my new work on Code Name: ASH the feature film version from which the short was taken. I’ve loved all the research for the new feature script.
- We are preparing to do the final filming on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH documentary film. I’ll be putting the paperwork together for our next phase.
- I’m excited that we’re streamlining and updating our dispersement process at CDI. That’s a good thing because we’re getting larger and I still write every check by hand. This might not always be the case and I might invest in a few stampers but I still love it. On BEST YEARS GONE, I again had the pleasure of giving an actor their first paycheck ever. It’s a big thing to actors, a milestone and I remember it well. To get paid for your art gives hope. Hope that a path could be what was meant for you. The “shells and beads” is just a way of expressing appreciation for ones work and contribution.
- Writing- During the lock down I wrote the first season of Hastings allowing us to start development work such as assign directors, casting and some scouting. A few of my goals with writing in 2021 is to finish CODE NAME: ASH and my first real Sci Fi endeavor SEAWITCH is what I’m calling it as a working title. I know that development work for 2022 will also be underway. Development works at several levels and can take a few years to many years pending fate and filmmaking.
I’m staying with my existing battle plan. BEST EFFORTS. I would love to participate in a few outside projects should I connect with the material and schedule works. Let’s talk about that POSTING CASTINGS. I see postings from people just asking for actors within an age but they say nothing about the character, the story or the creative team. And you get desperate actors excited sight-unseen to a project listing. Now to be fair in a few cases the previous work is known which can be a positive and a negative pending quality. I understand the keeping a story somewhat private but you have to give the talent something. I would rather work on development or earning from the existing library versus participating in bad work. To get the best actors you need to get the talent exciting. If you think you have the next best thing have talent sign NDA (Non Disclosure agreement) and let them read the script. I would not participate in too many projects if they withheld the script save maybe a major studio film and even then…come on. So one of my helpful hints to get better talent is take some time in the description of the story. List the director and DP and if you like a talent let them read the script. It’s a two way interview and while it might be a great step for a talent, the production NEEDS to find that great talent to succeed with any quality.
Okay. I’ve talked a bit about my goals for producing with CDI, also myself as a writer and actor going into 2021. I hope we have a soccer season this year. I am stepping up and expanding some of the martial arts training preparing for X project or if I just need to unleash any Kung Fu fury. I might wrap things up here to go eat a little breakfast and go chop some wood. The house is in good shape with no real company but we still managed to create a small holiday mess. But as the new little gifts find their new place I’m grateful for what we have. I’ve got an abundance of the homemade beer and wine. Some great sipping gifts and as things lighten up I’m looking forward to clinking a few glasses and making plans.
Enjoy your new year safely. Cheers to a healthy mind, body and spirit. Think positive and kindness expelling any negative toxins and the spirit will soar. Replace repetitive news with music. Replace hate with create – and lead by example versus condensing communications. Actions are louder than words. All to often when some speak they “feel” empowered but their other actions dismiss their credibility labeling them a hypocrite. But actions are what actions are – a truth. If you give vs talk of giving that is powerful. Practice “green earth” vs just talking about climate change. Practice respectful communication in the spirit of unity.
Unity was the theme of last weeks blog. I had such a great response to my blog last week that I want to incorporate it into an upcoming press release. At CDI the spark of storytelling is a constant and will survive all circumstance until mankind is no more. It is greater than our daily priorities that others try to use and put us in a box of A or B when I am a Z:) It comes down to doing the right thing even if it puts a little loss on the sheets. From A CHRISTMAS CAROL and the heart-opening message of the business minded to CHRISTMAS VACATION whereas the employee bonus check doesn’t arrive. I think we can all look at where we can take less so we can enjoy the benefits that come with the spirit of giving to others. YOU CANNOT take it with you. Another lesson this year was – YOU ALWAYS THINK YOU HAVE MORE TIME (Thank you Steven Anschutz) so follow your passions be it as a hobby, part-time or full-time. Gift yourself that time dancing with your own fires of passion. Write, Read, Watch, Sing, Play, Create…do what you need to do. But spend that time to stoke the fire and it will make you a better person. You will share that feel-good fire with others and they will also pass it along. When faced with two-sided news always give the positive first. It puts someone in a more positive, receptive state-of-mind and allows them to better receive any off news. That “off” now becomes something to work on as we all must continue to do. So MUCH growth has happened in 2020 and while it was a challenge many old models were broken. New ideas, thoughts, processes and appreciations were born in 2020. Let’s put everything we learned into practice in 2021! I will see everyone next year.
Happy New Year!
DIRECTOR Announcement, NEW trailers, UPCOMING book release and more…
New readers from Canada, UK, Belgium and Hong Kong – welcome! I’m sitting here with my hazelnut coffee after a very busy week. It’s March 1st and that is bringing us closer to our next project BEST YEARS GONE. The big news last week is that Shane Hagedorn will be directing. His last collaboration with CDI with him in the director’s chair was ASHES OF EDEN. Take a watch on the film on Amazon Prime if you get a chance.
This week we’ll be locking in more cast and crew and announcing some of those on board. I will say once again that when I have a new project to cast one of the first things I do is look over every previous actor and crew member. Many assume that I don’t consider previous artists when a project is announced as I get many of the random catch up communications. If an artist wasn’t an issue to production they are considered. If they did cause any issues, they are considered and likely passed on. This is a good thing to remember when you are on set. When I’m a guest I always try to bring what I need to take care of myself and my needs. I might politely inquire about something but again be a sail never an anchor.
We are a group of producer actors which means that some of the Tribe CDI folks will be ‘becoming’ in front of the camera. We will also have some new talents joining us and I promise you a funny, moving and entertaining story. So this week we’ll be announcing a few new artists joining us on this journey. You can follow BEST YEARS GONE on –
LOST HEART –
The most exciting news with Lost Heart was the release of the 1st official trailer. The film is funny and touching and has topics and themes that we can all relate to. I think this film will be well received and I’m so proud of all the artists involved. Take a few watches on the trailer and pass it along. We deliver to our distributor on June 1st and we should have release dates soon thereafter. We are having it looked at for theatrical but also looking at some exclusive VOD licensing. We plan to have screenings it the Whitehall area, Nashville and LA. Stay tuned and follow our Facebook and IMDB page.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend
This powerful film is touching lives and impacting how people view TBI and other issues suffered by our military veterans. It also shows the positive effect that service dogs can have upon our wounded warriors. We’ll know more about events and festivals that we’ll present at. If you have not seen this film take a watch by purchasing a DVD or stream it from one of the many streaming sites. We might get some updated news this week! I am looking for any interviews or such regarding this film. I think it has very important issues at the heart of the story.
THE QUEST TRILOGY
Chasing the Star
The Christ Slayer
Please take a watch on all three films in our trilogy! On Amazon and other participating retailers and platforms.
I see there is talk of the tax credits again. I’m all for it but I hope this time they put the focus on long time residents of Michigan. Maybe a film fund that awards filmmakers X amount of money to make a film. (4) 250k films a year. I’ll be curious to see what they come up with. We participating in one film under the rebate and it was a cluster#@#%@ so I’m not a big fan of the pre-existing program. So if TAKE 2 comes about I hope they grow from within vs just draw to attract outside films.
I saw the cover of the new book I participated in with Revell publishing. It is a tale of one of our cats and the adventure she had. I’m about to submit another story about dogs and Christmas that will be about our old dog Luke who passed.
Business tax season is about over just have to pay it all off. I have my second 1099 to forward after someone had an old address on their agreement. All things that you keep doing in your trek to move ahead.
We have several new tasks ahead for the week and I’m excited to attack them. I might work a touch on that next book story for a few before getting some things done around the house. I hope you all have a great week full of productive work. March lets get it on!
Updates on Lost Heart trailer, MBF, Quest Trilogy and upcoming BEST YEARS GONE!
GOOD MORNING! I’m sitting here with the hazelnut coffee trying to get my thoughts around. It was a super productive week. I want to welcome all the new readers from Panama, Denmark, Germany and more to our weekly get-together. The winter chill has been brutal but we’re getting some 50 plus degree heat today. I’ve been so ready to start doing some spring clean up on the yard but it is still frozen. The wood supply is dwindling and should make it to the end of winter. Let’s talk about some films –
BEST YEARS GONE – This past week we officially announced our next CDI film. You can read about it here. We’ve been casting all winter as I’ve been putting the final touches on the script.
This project will again be shot in Michigan. Part of the process as a screenwriter is for the writer and director to talk through all the characters and go through the script scene by scene – line by line. This resulted in many of the scenes strengthening. One of the characters got folded up into another and every line has something to say directly or in the subtext. I’m proud to have this work represent one of my pieces of work. This is made even more special because it’s a reworking of another artist’s work in our medium.
See with CDI, once the writer releases the script to the director it is his vision. He is who actors and crew should go to with creative questions. On some sets having the writer there can cause much conflict with a director, confusing folks and slowing the entire process. So we get all that talk out of the way with meaningful talk about the characters and moments. After a full day of Thai food and typing we now have a director’s draft.
Director’s draft? Who is the director you say? We’ve worked once prior with this director in a collaboration. The film got strong reactions from audiences because of the character study aspects of the story. A few other past projects were considered with this artist but either the art or the life schedule did not allow them to take the chair. (Directors) So who is this person? We’ll be doing an official PR release next week but for those who join us here – advance intel. This person that we’ll call S.H. directed a film called AOE. Do you know who it is? I’m excited to tell this story. Our IMDB.com page is open and we’ll be adding cast and crew names in the coming weeks. Some of our keys have been brought on and more to follow.
IMDB page (Join us here)
Watch for more additions to the team.
This week we’ll start putting end billing credits together as we move along the post process. I have seen the trailer music (composed by Dennis Therrian) put to picture. Once our director Jesse Low marries the master trailer audio with the master visual, audiences will be in for a treat. The film breaks some new ground for CDI while keeping the magic that we’ve gotten known for. So I would say about mid week we’ll be releasing the 1st trailer. I’m excited to hear everyone’s responses. The distributor is excited to have the trailer so they can start pre-closing some deals. Stay tune for a lot more updates on this film. Check out this films IMDB.com and Facebook page. Thank you for your support.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – This beautiful film has been expanding its distribution and gaining ground as one of the top dog-theme films on Amazon and TV stations like Valorous TV where MBF was listed as #1 Best film for 2019 and #3 was WILD FAITH. Both also are now on Amazon Prime, Tubi and other streaming outlets. DVD’s are also available for people like me who like their physical media. We’ll be announcing more event showings for both of these projects.
We’ll soon be announcing some official development on HASTINGS, the Wild Faith TV series once I can get some pen to paper. If all goes according to plan we will shoot in the Spring 2021. This will provide a lot of opportunities for Michigan artists.
THE QUEST TRILOGY (FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR and THE CHRIST SLAYER) – This Easter we at CDI invite your family to watch the trilogy that is making its way around the world and becoming a holiday tradition. Available wide on DVD and streaming take a watch with your family!
I’m going to take advantage of the sunshine outside and get a few things done. The warm weather also has me thinking about soccer season! Soon. I hope you all have a great Sunday and week ahead. Work hard and make some time for your family and friends.
Better Than George Lucas? Build Your Own Brand and Prove IT!
(The Fort – Tribe CDI – 2019)
Welcome new readers from Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, India and beyond. We’re in the final days of 2019 and so far it has just been a great season. This past week I’ve had a few meetings at the fort with the fire burning bright with ideas and friendship. We have some great updates to share with everyone but before that lets looks at someone else’s art.
Star Wars – (NO SPOILERS) – I went to see Star Wars at 7 years old and it was the seed planted in me to become a storyteller. Last week I got to see the final film in a series of interconnecting stories started by George Lucas. My issue with many films these days is just trying to do too much. Instead of one star ship in pursuit there has to be 100. Tension is created in moments. Those can feel stolen when trying to do too much. Character development is still king in my world of viewing hence by love of shows like BLACK SAILS. Bringing together all the ‘Star Wars’ loose threads was surely difficult but overall I really did enjoy the final film. That said, I feel truly like the torch has been passed. I feel like I do a good job of creating characters on the script page with depth. I feel we have stories to tell and we will. The goal is to create a few classics in this lifetime. In 2020 will see more writing, producing and continue to try and captures hearts and minds with our stories.
(WILD FAITH brand – Hastings TV series in development at CDI)
I see a lot of talented artists who spend a lot of time creating in someone else’s world. But the bottom line is you don’t own the brand. There are several filmmakers that do a great job creating fan films from video games or Star Wars and The Mask. That said, all that hard work is building someone else’s brand. I’m a fan of brands also but I let it influence my work but I don’t work with someone else’s brand unless hired to do so.
All three biblical adventures in THE QUEST TRILOGY (Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer) are all on Amazon. I was given an opportunity to produced these adventures with a ‘Star Wars’ feel. The cinematography and often the music was influenced by the Star Wars style. Star Wars was influenced from earlier works like THE SEVEN SAMURAI. A good reason for your own brand is that you don’t have to ask permission to create your own world. And if you succeed those people are becoming fans of your work. Again instead of the hardships of growing an audience around your brand, if you pick a strong brand with dedicated followers you can get a jump on exposure but…. I mean if you create a great Star Wars fan film you might get millions of hits. But try adding a price tag, although you cannot sell someone else’s brand, and it becomes like buying a knock off cologne. If a non-official derivative of someones brand is offered free you may get a lot of eyes but unless the creators take notice and hire you, you’re just building someone else’s brand. Beware of legal also with others brands. Just my two cents.
So again just like role playing, cos-play or any fun group activities, fan art has a place but film work is really hard work for someone else’s brand. My advice is do your own thing or work WITH an emerging artists to create a shared brand. Again I’m not a “my way is the only way” person at all. But I’m not into fan films or hobby films or anything that isn’t building our brand. Now you can build your skill set (acting, directing, writing) with the previous two mentioned types of films so there is value. I do appreciate anyone who uses their imagination to create. We just have long term goals and so those need to remain in focus for us. It is a hard industry to survive in. Take that from a survivor.
Please do enjoy the holidays with a watch on the trilogy and watch all three in order. Poor ‘Chasing the Star’ sometimes takes a few rocks because someone did not realize they were watching part 2 of 3 films. In time audiences will understand they are a trilogy and a bigger picture will emerge upon watching in order.
I also see a few people who thought the Magi story had nothing to do about Christmas. Maybe I should have added Heat and Cold Miser and a reindeer or two:) But for the few audience members who don’t get it, many DO get it. We don’t dumb down our stories but challenge and encourage people to talk and discuss often hard topics. So ENJOY a watch and discussion. At one of my distribution content meetings we had discussion about more biblical adventures. I might have my next three films and one of them is written. So we will see said the wise man.
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Due to the season where many are enjoying family and friends and watching films, I’ve gotten a spike in fan mail. This film has been generating a good buzz and we have some exciting events and showings coming up in 2020. But you don’t have to wait. You can watch on Amazon today! If dogs and/or support of our military touches you, please do take a watch.
LOST HEART – The fine cut is getting close. After a wonderful first cut by editor Scott Magie, welcome to the CDI Tribe, a second final cut is near. This week we had a post meeting with Dennis Therrian (music/sound), Jesse Low (Director) along with Melissa Anschutz, Shane Hagedorn and even John Mashni made a stop by. Come mid 2020 we will have a most excellent story to share with you all.
In the meantime – please watch the CDI Film collection and share your thoughts.
HOPE for HEAVEN – is the script I’ve been working on. It’s been developing in a wonderful fashion starting with some great characters. We’re working development on several properties that could go full green light in 2020/2021. A sequel to KNIGHT CHILLS, perhaps? We’ve had a few screen and camera tests. WW2 drama – coming together. Kids adventure film – might happen:) WILD FAITH TV series:) With some of the new meetings and opportunities before CDI, I promise we will continue to create. Thank you to all of you for your continued support.
Ok. We had a wonderful first Christmas gathering yesterday. Friends tonight and several gatherings in the week ahead, including two more family Christmas gatherings. I am down to just a little bit of shopping. I give thanks to those who sent a card or gave little love gifts, much appreciated. But the most important thing you can give anyone is a bit of your time, laughter and joy.
I’ve been questioned about my verbal non-involvement in politics. It’s because much like the ‘golden rule’ I believe in focusing on what we all could benefit from. When people are drained from endless debates, divided by priority differences and angered by the never-ending shortcomings of each another – I say relax. Sit back and watch a story with universal messages woven within. My friendships with people are more important than trying to convince someone I’m right about an obvious self-opinion. So set aside your differences and focus on what brings us all together. Fellow human beings trying to live a meaningful life with health and joy. Even if it is for a few days, try it and you might find it a better way to live, to cope, to exist, to grow, and to be the better you.
Fear leads to anger, anger to hate and hate to suffering – MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Purpose and Persistence – Movie Updates
I’m told it is national coffee day, so my hazelnut coffee is to be recognized, cheers! The past week and the days leading up to it have been jam-packed with activity. On a personal level I’ve had a fill of loved ones facing health struggles including a dear Uncle of mine. Last weekend we got to visit and share a few laughs as he was always that family storyteller I looked up to. Sitting in his chair or around a fire up in Harrison we were always treated to mysterious and exciting stories. His tales of Bigfoot and strange lights in the sky can be seen as an influence in my writing like ‘Lost Heart’ which sadly he will not see. He is nearing the end of this journey and soon to start a new one.
Others who have not lived the same full life are facing challenges that make us ponder our purpose and value while living our relatively short time. I’m proud that I outlasted all the slings, arrows, naysayer and doubters to do what I love to do. If my time here were to end early, I’m happy and doing what I always dreamt of doing. I work with some amazing people and I think in our own way we are helping.
I’m not a person who puts high value to trophies and awards knowing that some are just vanity. But the awards that recognize the team work are the awards that matter most. The ‘Inspirational’ and certain individual awards to others like Josh Perry, stepping outside the limited views of society to be nominated for “Best Supporting Actor” makes my heart sing. Filmmaking is NOT an individual thing but a collective thing, hence Collective Development. Being that we’re not submitting to these festivals our distributor is, we have surprises every handful of days. Lets look at a bullet point of some of the updates.
- Hollywoodivine International Film Festival will happen next weekend and we have (3) films MAN’S BEST FRIEND, WILD FAITH and THE CHRIST SLAYER nominated for ‘Best Film’ – two of those for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Most Inspirational’ – All three of our film’s leading men were nominated being yours truly, Shane Hagedorn and Carl Weyant – just incredible. Lauren LaStrada again for “Haddie” in ‘Wild Faith’ – Josh Perry as mentioned above ‘Best Supporting’ – All three films nominated for ‘Best Cinematography’ – two nominations for Jesse Aragon and one for Patrick Dowdle. Lastly the amazing score of ‘Wild Faith’ by Dennis Therrian.
- Wild Bunch Film Festival will be happening on the same weekend. Ben Lily, Hester Thickett and Emmett will all be in attendance with Darby Hinton, who is my ‘Best Supporting Actor’ competition from another western film. I LOVE the genre and I’m looking forward to representing the film that garnished 13 nominations including again Dennis Therrian’s score. Other nominations include Best (Film, Faith Film, Produced Film, Best Lead Actors (Shane and Lauren), Best Supporting Actors (Melissa Anschutz and I), Best Narrator Trace Adkins, Best Children Actors for both Joe and Xylia and Best Director. If we win anything or nothing it will be a good moment representing the CDI TRIBE!
- In Randolph, VT the 1st Green Mountain Christian Film Festival will take place Oct 18-19. I think all three films MBF, Wild Faith and The Christ Slayer will play. Among the nominations announced thus far I was granted a ‘Best Supporting Actor’ Nomination for ole Ben Lily in ‘Wild Faith’ – along side Burt Young from ROCKY fame who is an Oscar Nom and whom I met a handful of years ago at Norby Walter’s Night of 100 Stars. ‘The Christ Slayer’ is nominated for a ‘Most Inspirational’ with more nominations to come this week.
- LOST HEART editing is underway and we should be climbing to the 30 min mark and we’ve had some PR from Creative Motion and a few other publications. Look for PR to really hit hard 1st of the new year.
- I’ve had such powerful and heartfelt responses from those watching ‘MAN’S BEST FRIEND‘ and I cannot express how much that fills me with joy. I took a moment this week to read some of the wonderful reviews on our IMDB and Amazon page. I know that you can’t please everyone but overall I think the film is finding its audience. Thank you. The DVD is suppose to arrive this week on Amazon and once it does we’ll be sharing that with all of you.
- The book THE HORSE OF MY DREAMS by Revall/Baker Publishing is now out and you can read two of my stories in there. You can get online or at your favorite bookstore. It will make a great Christmas present. Mom no need to get one Santa might have you hooked up this year:) I might do some book store readings or some other PR we will see. I have more books coming that will feature a few of my stories.
- BUY HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Horse-My-Dreams-Stories-Horses/dp/0800727185
- We are almost done with a second abridged version of a ‘book video promo’ we did for a publisher. It has been a lot of coordination but in the end it will be worth it.
- Development talks continue as we prepare for 2020 and what CDI will produce in the years ahead. We have some collaborative meetings in the weeks ahead and we will be charting a course soon.
I’m going to wrap it up here. Again if you haven’t seen the films in our library please do take a watch. You can also look at more of the film details on http://www.cdiproductions.com
Have a great end to your weekend and a wonderful week ahead.
Making Yourself A ‘Must Re-Hire’ and other CDI Updates
I’m sitting here sipping some hazelnut coffee from my Double JJ coffee mug. (See above) As of yesterday I’ve just about got all my gear from my last film adventure settled back in. Like I said before, when I go off I’m packing for myself personal, business and the character I played. I had almost as much stuff for ole “Niles Cass’ the role I played in LOST HEART.
I’ve been playing clean up on the project. A bit high on expendable costs and damages. It is funny how people think that everything is tied to a faceless corporation when it is not. It is a small group of hardworking actor/producers working to tell a story. We will be installing a policy ‘CDI welcome book’ for future projects. We had a few damages that were not reported as they should. So you get to the end thinking everything was smooth and you find a damaged walkie talkie here and a broken clamp there. That responsibility, accountability is what makes a true KEY in filmmaking. You can know the gear and how to set it up and break it down but attitude (A #1 CDI requirement) and pride in your work (A CDI goal) are so important.
Hard working CDI team in the desert of Yuma, AZ
I see the difference between someone who works with their own gear and someone working with rental gear unless they are a complete professional. By that, I mean treating others gear as yours and making sure that great care is taken because it is your name as accountable. Now I’m now talking about billing people for damages which would only be mildly satisfying. I really care about people and their development. At least in our area there are only so many professional outfits creating content under the proper insurance and conducting proper business. If you are lucky enough to get these opportunities you should always work to leave the best impression. I know that rule as talent. So few regional companies are paying for narrative feature film and if you get that opportunity you want to shine. That means repeat work and if you think that we don’t ask for and get recommendations, it happens all the time.
I was recently disappointed in a friend who does some work for us and must have misrepresented themselves. I got a call about his producer work on a certain project. The problem is that he wasn’t on the producer team. So when I got the call I was just honest but you could hear what the words did. It shot holes all in the credibility of this person and his words. What did it do to my opinion of this person?
CDI Crew working on set of WILD FAITH
So someone who comes up short might just need more development under a more experienced KEY. But poor communication and lack of taking accountability can end the possibility of something long term. It can also add the dreaded “but…” along with your name. Such as “He’s got all kinds of talent but…(insert the short coming here). I’ve also had to deal with gear with pre-existing damage that the responsibility is put upon production. It is why honest and long-sighted vendors are a must. Overall we had an amazing crew and some are on their 3rd or 4th+ films with CDI. Having a handful of those great relationships will assist cast or crew in maintaining a good career. These lessons go for cast too. If you get known for being late, bad attitude or being unprepared – your future is in jeopardy. So always give your best. Take accountability for mistakes. And always strive to increase communications.
LOST HEART is ‘in the can’ and editing is about to begin. You can read back on the previous posts to get all the gushing. It will be a heart touching and funny movie full of fun. I again thank all our cast, crew, investors, sponsors and supporters for making this story happen.
WILD FAITH is rolling out hard to Wal-Mart and other retailers. We had many people reaching out having gotten their copy of the film. It will play Sunday Oct 6th at the WILD BUNCH western festival in AZ. 3:15 is the start time and so if you are in the area you can see our film and many others in the genre. It is also being recognized at the upcoming CONTENT 19 festival for its themes and set design. If you have not watched this film yet – rent it. Buy it. Enjoy it.
Anthony Hornus our director of MBF: Man’s Best Friend is busy working to try and set up the premiere screening in Sept in his home town of Owosso/Corunna. Our tech teams are working to polish the film even further before the theatrical and home video release. The film is really powerful and if you have a soft place for our wounded heroes and/or dogs, this film will be for you.
The Quest Trilogy: Forty Nights, Chasing the Star and The Christ Slayer. I like to say most people get more holy around the holidays but these films are adventures. You can enjoy them at any time. The reports and checks from the distributor tell me that you all are enjoying the films. I am looking forward to having all three in the marketplace for the upcoming holidays. More people are discovering these hidden gems. Go ahead and take a watch and see if they are something to share with your family during the holiday season.
DEVELOPMENT: We are looking at various projects and discussing the best way to bring them to life. I’m about to take a nice 5 day break from the movies and clear my head. When you are filming you are going 100 miles an hour. Once in post things start to slow quickly to a nice steady pace. When I return we’ll have our in-depth debrief where we discuss all aspects of production. What worked well. What did not. What can be improved upon. Much of this crew building is for future projects including a TV series. We are looking for the right people to move forward with. Money does not buy the qualities and traits we are looking for – those come from within. Production doesn’t really decide if a crew member is a rehire or not. Their own attitude and actions does decide that. If someone is so positive and hardworking and cares about what they are doing you always want that person on board. We just look at what they gave us and make decisions based on that. We know who are the crew people working to be directors. We keep an eye on their development and one day…you might land in a directing chair.
Well, my lawn is finally back under control and things are running smooth. While doing some banking yesterday I stopped at a small garage sale on my way home and left with a couple Blu-Ray copies of ENTER THE DRAGON, KING KONG and the MATRIX trilogy for $2.00 – nice.
“It is like a finger pointing a way to the moon…Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.” – Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon)
Have a great week and as long as I don’t get eaten by a bear on my retreat we’ll chat next week. Be good to one another.