Casting and Crewing Updates- Improving Communication, Time Filters, and Iron Sharpening Iron
I’m sipping on the hazelnut on a sunny but still chilly morning. We had a snow storm hit and start to melt the next day. Spring and Winter are in a wrestling match with one another. It won’t be long before CDI meetings will also include some outdoor hanging. I want to welcome all our new readers from Spain, UK and more. It has been a nose-to-the-grindstone week and I’m happy to report it was very productive. On the broad view – I got all the CDI film taxes done and thank you to our amazing team. My own taxes are submitted just need to review and send when completed.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– The film is still opening new screens based on fans calling in and requesting the film is booked. We even have some new April bookings forthcoming so stay tuned and keep calling your theatre. We’re also starting to put our home video deal together for later in the year. We’ll be delivering the final film for home video on May 1st. I’m excited because it will open the film up to millions.
Harsens Island Revenge – This is the next #tribeCDI film and it is in full pre-production mode. We had some great meetings last week that included our director and DP. We discussed crew on the next film focusing on camera and G&E. (Grip & Electric) We already have a few of those people falling in place. #1 GOAL is to have fun and really appreciate the rare opportunity that we get to engage in with our storytelling. We have a new department leader for Production Design and we’ll likely be announcing an Art Director next week after a few final talks. CAST – We’re awaiting a dozen reads from folks CDI has worked with on different projects. We review these each week and will be making some hard choices on casting soon.
After many reads we think we’ve identified our film leads. This is such an important part of the process. You want people that are truly dedicated to the story, the process and appreciate the opportunity. These two have been developed inside the CDI Tribe. This film requires actors to not only appear natural in their moments (scenes) but in 1926. This is a world where Civil War vets were still alive. Cars were replacing horses for transportation. So many “time filters” to put into ones performance. We know that you can’t get it perfect out the gate but it is something you work into. My role in this next one is not camera ready yet. I will work on his look, attitude and his time filters. I’ve done a lot of digging into the period as the screenwriter. But, you put these filters into play to create a complex and rich performance. In the past we’ve done PR on individual or pairs of actors with promo cards but I think we might do something different. Like what? Like a group mug shot or…
I want our proposed lead talent to hear first from our director. If I hear back while doing this blog I will make a BREAKING NEWS update:) But we are looking forward to seeing many new reads this week. I see a few have direct messaged on the CDI FB page and we’ll be reviewing those. Every week we’ll be pulling for cast and crew onto the film. I’m looking forward to watching more reads this week and solidifying more of the cast.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – The script is now a first draft lock allowing me to start to rough budget and make a production plan. 2024 was the shoot plan but it will all depend on how fast it all comes together. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA only took 14 years so I think we can beat that in less development time. I’ve had the film out to several Native American friends and associates to get their perspective. I also want to thank Lynn Kueck for his historic input. More as this develops.
MISC. UPDATES FROM THE TRIBE
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH 2 is being outlined and groundwork is being laid. We’re talking to interested parties to once again help us tell this more in-depth follow up doc.
2) THE MAKING OF ‘IN THE WOODS‘ – I’m awaiting this book that is suppose to arrive today. It was delayed by the storm but it details the journey of my first starring role. This ambitious film by two young and rather in-experienced filmmakers will entertain you. The film got strong penetration into the domestic and foreign markets being a favorite at Blockbusters, Hollywood Video and more. Released on VHS and it made its way into many foreign territories. It is a fun romp and this book is the start of a new campaign that will be coming together. This film made me a B-Movie star in the late 90’s and while some critics tried to kill it – the film has a loyal audience. Drinking games have been formed around the movie and soon we might have a new 4k enhanced movie with lots of merchandise extras. I could even see a Con appearance or two to celebrate the 25th anniversary. Click and buy it below.
3) KNIGHT CHILLS – The first CDI film is also getting a new enhanced version. I am going to be collecting some interviews from people to include on the new release. I need to get extras around by June so I’m guessing an end of year Blu Ray release. In 2024 we’ll go to DVD and streaming plus start licensing foreign. If you are a fan of fantasy role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, this might be for you. We were back to the original source without any film-look filters that were all the rage. I’m excited to be re-releasing some of these classics in new format that will allow them to survive moving forward.
4) GHOST TOWN, FIGURE IN THE FOREST and AN ORDINARY KILLER will be getting the updated treatment but it takes time. It has been really interesting to walk back and work on these projects.
5) I’ve been working on a few new stories for those national books on animals, that I have contributed too for the last several years.So far, so good. We will see if the editor likes them once she takes a read. One of the books I contributed to his above. I believe that one has a story about my boy Luke Brown. I really do love doing these side stories and I might get more involved at some point but for now film script, producing and acting keeps me busy enough. Look up “Callie Smith Grant” and any of the books from the last few years will likely have stories contributed by me.
6) This week I’ll be starting work on another chapter of an audio book series I narrate. The book author Ronnie Lee has several works for sale in this book series. The audio version is coming right along and will be available soon – https://www.amazon.com/Generations-come-Book-Classroom-Copy/dp/B09RM7LBWV/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2H09KBLP4QV3V&keywords=Ronnie+Lee&qid=1678029492&s=books&sprefix=ronnie+lee%2Cstripbooks%2C161&sr=1-4
7) While waiting for Spring, it is a great time to re-watch your favorites. BEST YEARS GONE, WILD FAITH, LOST HEART, MBF, ASHES OF EDEN, and as Easter is upon us – take a watch on The Quest Trilogy. Forty Nights, Chasing the Star, The Christ Slayer all deserve a good watch even if the faith isn’t your path. The films can speak direct to your faith or as a parable tale with messages to ponder. I’ve said before, that the trilogy, was shot with a Star Wars heroes-myth style at the heart of it. The translation between the two works quite well. It really is noticeable in the photography and the music. PLEASE DO take a watch. I promise you it is a fresh take on what can often be confusing stories.
My personal goals going into these new projects is to try and make the communication even more efficient. We have some really large opportunities looming on the horizon in the not to distant future. I’m trying to develop our team so they will be ready. Positive Problem Solving attitudes. Clear Communication. Respectful Communication. Gratitude. I want to develop our team for that next level. I want to work with good folks that I truly enjoy. That is the journey.
I’m looking forward to soccer season. I’m looking forward that that weekly competition you get doing battle on the pitch. I have really learned to appreciate our opponents because iron sharpens iron.
Once this snow goes away for good it will be time to get the yard cleaned up. Tree trimming and planting clover again this year. Soon the yard will be full of hops, berries, veggies and herbs.
The chickens are back laying eggs steady so we are now rich. Rich with eggs:) The birds are returning. The squirrels and rabbits are about. I love all the wildlife about.
CDI will probably look to support the Capital City Film Fest by attending the mixer kick off. Several years ago ASHES OF EDEN was the closing film to 600 people. That was a great night. We would have played SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA there but they wanted only MI premieres and the film has its theatrical run underway. I love that our home town has two festivals. The ELFF is still running after many years also.
That is all I have for this morning. I’m going to drink my last cup of coffee and get on with my day. Until we gather again next Sunday – have a productive week. I think I will watch Manchester United play while getting a few things done.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA Teaser Trailer Releases and MUCH more…
I want to welcome our gathering of new readers joining us from around the world. I give you all a big hazelnut coffee cheers. Thank you all for taking the time to join us.
Yesterday was the first absolutely beautiful day in Michigan. With temps reaching almost 80 degrees with flowers blooming, birds building nests and much-needed sunshine warming everything. I spent a good part of the morning with Luna, our new dog, unpacking our patio set. The deck now has the table, umbrella and chairs all set up. It is one of my favorite places to work on scripts and do business. But yesterday it was working in the yard all morning until getting cleaned up for a family bday dinner at a local Italian restaurant. After that it was back to all hang on the patio. Luna has been fascinated? obsessed? with you guessed it, squirrels. Yesterday as we all visited Luna decided to use a broken tree to try and escape the fenced in yard. She struggled with all her might and got her heavy load over the fence. She was quickly re-captured but I had to bust out the sledge hammer, axe and chainsaw – ending with securing the area with a higher heavy fence around the tree. She was a tired camper and while she was proud of her climb we hope it was a one time thing. I’m sure it was a first for her.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – Let’s get right into the news of the hour. I’ll actually let you read it all right here.
Teaser Trailer PR Link: https://www.prlog.org/12914549-collective-development-inc-gives-audiences-silent-night-in-algona-first-look-teaser-trailer.html
Even before the PR hits next week I’ll fill you in on a few new updates
- The deal for the BluRay of KNIGHT CHILLS is done. For those not in the knowing, Knight Chills was CDI’s first movie shot on Beta back in the 90’s. It was a huge learning curve and the PG-13 thriller had Dungeons and Dragons like role playing at the heart of the story. Plans are for a streaming release and actively we have a video game in development. I’ve seen some of the test work and it is pretty amazing.
- I mentioned above that I’m excited to be sitting on the patio doing some writing. I’ve signed a deal to write my next adaptation of a book to screenplay and produce the film. Right now I’m ONLY concerned with writing a great script. It will likely film 2023 but pending it could be late 2022. I’m going to hold off on any details until the PR release but it is exciting to have a new writing project.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH documentary is prepping deliverables and we’re still exploring where we want to premiere it. We are also looking at large premiere festivals so we’ll see. We are also discussing the next documentary film in our FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH series!
- In the next month of MAY 31st, we’ll be promoting the release of the CDI associated thriller BESTSELLER, which previously only had a DVD release. Deskpop Entertainment is releasing it worldwide and we are excited to see it launching.
- BEST YEARS GONE will be firing up its marketing campaign in the coming weeks with the film releasing JULY 5th! This film brought lots of laughter in the theatrical play and we’re excited to bring this fun romp to all of you.
- I hope you all had a chance this holiday season to watch THE QUEST TRILOGY, our unique take on these stories have been enjoyed by an ever-growing world audience. I met with Carl Weyant (The Christ Slayer) over a few new projects. We just finished a DEEPFALL music video that CDI produced and that he directed, shot (with Travis Hayward) and edited. Here is the music video link- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtlc7GQvr70 – Carl and CDI have several projects in development including other music videos. Interested in a music video and have a budget, reach out to me.
- WILD FAITH and MAN’S BEST FRIEND look as though they might be heading to Peacock streaming. We’ve had major efforts underway to turn our highly popular Wild Faith into a TV series. When speaking about on-going stories I’ve had many people ask about the fate of ‘Paul Landings’ from MBF. Currently ‘Paul’ is serving time and will there be a second story, never say never, although there is no active development on that front.
- We’re about to make our push on HOT ROD LOVE, a female empowerment story in the world of drag racing in 1975. We’ve been preparing to approach our backers and sponsors. Prepare to start your engines!
- This past week we’ve been awaiting follow up materials from a few discussions on film collaborations. Many folks talk but don’t follow up properly mainly because they engaged in talks prematurely. But if things are delayed you should reach out to communicate that. One project was pitched and I was suppose to see materials last week, but they did not arrive. It reminds me of past film mixers of having your time dominated by someone who talks a good game but next presents any follow up materials. So they wasted my time talking about something not ready to roll. Casual conversation is fine but I’ve had an hour plus wasted in the past. So don’t go into things prematurely or unprepared.
- I do believe this coming week we’ll know the outcome of the BareBones International Film and Music Festival results. BEST YEARS GONE is up for ‘Best Comedy’ and there might be an opportunity for folks to watch a one time virtual showing. I will have to explore that more with our director Shane Hagedorn.
I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead. I’m excited to see how folks react to the first peek at SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA. We have another indoor soccer match this week after a close win last week. All of this is in preparation for our outdoor league. I plan to get more trees trimmed and other prep work that will give us a garden zen in a few short months. Cheers to more dreams, endeavors and doings. We had a few great wrap ups this week as we all worked very hard. We make it look easy at CDI but it’s really hard work. It looks easy because we’ve gotten more and more efficient with but it’s still hard work by lots of artists. We ask for people’s best and they give it. Thank you.
Be kind to one another! Coffee Cheers!
‘BEST YEARS GONE’ Races Into Their First Festival with a Checkered Flag! Plus 10 CDI Updates
Happy Sunday! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and happy that we did not get hit by that huge east coast storm. It went under us meaning we got the cold and a few snow flakes but not 20+ inches of snow. This past week flew by with me attacking the gathering of info for our accounting firm. This coming week the 1099’s will go out and I’ve been prepping things for end of year taxes also. We had one day this week we chose as “Viking Thursday” to cut firewood. We actually damaged the axes breaking one handle and losing the head on another. That means I’m in Axe fix mode this week but we got the job done using sledge hammers, wedges and a splitting ring. A splitting ring is a device that you place the log inside resting on a blade and hammer it down to split it. That day we worked was bitter but we got enough split for the next week or two.
The next CDI feature film is looking to be HOT ROD LOVE. The script is getting some amazing feedback and this week I’ll be breaking down more of the business aspects. We are looking at trying to hit an April/May shoot in Michigan. We’ll be announcing more on this property as we go. Now wait, didn’t CDI just do a race theme film? Yes. But that was circle track racing and this is drag racing. The CDI Race Trilogy? Haha, not really, maybe. The film is a comedy with some nice life lessons attached but it could be our biggest comedy to date.
BREAKING NEWS! So BEST YEARS GONE is prepping for its home video premiere run in June-Sept and in the meantime we’ll keep playing some theaters and also a few select film events. I will say that I’m not a fan of virtual events but with all these festivals going remote one thing stands out to me. Often the filmmakers that show up at the event and smoke have a better chance of winning because the fest gets a good acceptance speech (sometimes). So to me the one positive is that the films are really being evaluated on the content vs the political ‘schmooze’ factor. Our director Shane Hagedorn submitted us to a few select festivals. We announced that we had our first official acceptance into –
We found our yesterday that we were nominated for the following categories and actually won a few award. I’m so proud of this film and the cast and crew involved. First the SCREENPLAY was Nominated as one of the best. I appreciate this nomination greatly as I love writing and believe it is the foundation of every great film. Without a good battle plan you don’t have a real chance. I also think that having such strong source material from Karl Manke (book Hope From Heaven) also helped.
I feel our entire cast could have been nominated for the rich roles they brought to the story but this organization nominated three actors for awards. Melissa Anschutz and Randy Spence for BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS and ACTOR. It is only due to all these supporting performances especially by my costar Erika Hoveland that allowed me to be nominated and actually win BEST ACTOR for my work as ‘Gil Gilles’. But that’s not all-
As we all know the technical people behind the scenes help create and capture the world/story. I again believe that many of the crew were nomination worthy but Mr. Travis Hayward was nominated and WON for BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY. And finally, my favorite nomination and WIN…
This award represents the TRIBE! We all made this picture what it is and again I’m just so proud of our cast and crew and excited for the world audience to see this film. Here is a great statement from our director Shane Hagedorn. But first a quote from a legend.
What we do come up with has no special right to call itself better. It’s just different. No, if there’s any excuse for us at all, it’s that we’re simply following the old American tradition of the maverick”.
And from our director-
“I am thrilled for our cast and crew on these major wins and nominations from Maverick Movie Awards. Although we filmed through the height of the pandemic of 2020, our tribe of artists and crafts folk banded together to create something unique and special–all the while overcoming many obstacles while doing so. Thanks to the team at Maverick for recognizing our art and best efforts”.
Our release dates can be found on our IMDB.com page and updates are flowing out to our FB page also. I also want to take a moment to give congrats to my fellow local filmmaker/actor Michael McCallum, who was also nominated in the shorts division for ‘Best Actor’ and I believe had a few other nominations between two (?) shorts they had represented. I’m not 100% sure on all the nominations but I wanted to tip my hat. Two filmmaker groups from Lansing, Michigan getting noticed in London, England, nice.
Let me see if I can do a bullet point of some of the weeks activities-
- More “Silent Night in Algona” stills are being released on FB and soon (Feb) we’ll release a BTS video. Editing is underway with a first cut expected by mid-March.
- “SMOKE & MIRRORS” the short proof of concept short cut from the feature script is uploaded to film freeway and a few choice festivals will be chosen for this steampunk, spooky short starring David Gries and Melissa Anschutz.
- We are moving closer to a deal on FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, our doc on the history of grappling/wrestling directed by our own Curran Jacobs.
- A verbal agreement has been made on moving forward with an app video game based on CDI’s first feature film from the 90’s KNIGHT CHILLS. The film is a cautionary tale about bullying woven into the awesome realm of role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. Paperwork will follow this week.
- Look on Facebook ENCOURAGE TV for my buddy Josh “Ponceman” Perry promoting BIGFOOT, UFO’S & JESUS. If you haven’t seen the film you should. It is a fun romp and ‘Chip’ Josh Perry is a show stealer. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=4724060584352381&id=124174114296086&ref=sharing&_rdr
- In the wake of THE QUEST TRILOGY push that will continue through Easter has brought up discussions on a couple other possible films set in the time of sand and sandals. These films come from a unique perspective different from most biblical adventures. So even if organized religion is not your thing, you might enjoy these three films which purposely shoot in a ‘Star Wars‘ original trilogy style.
- WILD FAITH and the developing WILD FAITH: Hastings TV series are growing stronger. As millions view the feature each year, enjoy the storytelling, the eight show series is getting closer. Now as people are getting back to work I hope to move some major pieces on the chessboard with this TV series.
- BESTSELLER is finally getting the home video release it deserves. I cannot wait to see the new artwork and such. It goes to digital rental I believe same day as BEST YEARS GONE (Sept 1st, 2022) This script is adapted from the book of the same name written by Michigan’s own Christopher Wright.
- I hope to do a follow up meeting soon to see what the evaluation of some of the old CDI library films yields at BMG. Some would need to be uprezed and conformed but that would be cool to see! Are you hoping for any one film in particular to come to the market in HD?
- WICKED SPRING is being introduced to new audiences and old audiences are getting to stream the film in HD. I want to try and do some collectors merchandise on this film in 2022. I’m thinking about a collectors poster. If you enjoy merchandise we have several items up from various films at the http://www.cdiproductions.com site.
I’m going to wrap this up and get on some bacon and eggs. Our chickens are doing well even with the frigid cold they are still kicking out eggs. I might look into my axe situation. This week ahead will be productive. I’m doing some more writing and have two other potential script writing projects. I do enjoy that writing time especially when it is freezing outdoors. If I missed anything – forgive me. This week I wish you all well and remember to have patience and be good to one another.
Star Wars: The Artist Awaken (No Spoilers)
So literally I just came back from watching STAR WARS The Force Awakens – I will not give any spoilers here, I promise.
I will talk about how at 7 years old I was changed by what I saw on screen with the original STAR WARS. I’ve never had any lack of imagination and that film set a generation soaring. It had that cathartic effect they talk about with the ancient Greek drama plays. It was almost an enlightening of sorts and I was thankful to be part of that. I wanted to be Han Solo when I was seven and Han was likely one of my 1st “roles” played in basements and backyards with couch cushions formed into our own “Falcon” spaceship.
At about the same time we – me and all my friends also got into DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. Epic tales, heroics and overcoming trials and tribulations – it all fed into what would push me into my career. I feel blessed to be a storyteller. I spent the back end of this week watching actors speak words I had scripted. It’s always magic to see artists of all ages from many places perform/pretend/be – doing what you also love to do.
Today with STAR WARS, I got to go back and be inspired – to drink at the creative fountain that started me down this path. It was a different experience today – I am also a storyteller. I work with artists who gather footage the same way by overcoming issues and gathering pieces of a cinematic puzzle. That will be edited into a final story. Blending it with sound and music and mixing into a final product that will hopefully move and inspire others.
It is no secret – the QUEST TRILOGY that we’re currently producing is directly stylistically based on Star Wars. That was part of the original pitch – the stories of that time period easily lend themselves to the heroes journey as Joseph Campbell would say. Our 1st in the series “40 Nights” is almost done. It was one of the most challenging roles for me and it wasn’t. Once there in the moment it was easy to be where I needed to be. But the meditations and self discovery of the man was complicated. I’m so proud of everyone involved. We have a large retail order awaiting us and so we were asked to move up our time table on finishing the film.
We’re prepping the ship to shoot the second film “Chasing the Star” which centers on the quest of the magi. I was feeling pressure finishing “40 Nights” and prepping “Chasing the Star” but why exactly? I meditated on that quite a bit as of late. Here is what I learned about myself.
- Every time you declare to make a film you have a chance to fail. I’ve succeeded more times than failed but those occasional failed projects do haunt you.
- The more success you have the more that pressure to not fail haunts you. When you have nothing to lose it is easy to be brash.
- Every film has so many moving parts and seldom do they all happen in perfect sequence.
- Scripts that require a near perfect sequence can be frightening
We require shooting when the desert is not at peak. “40 Nights” had some hot days and the final day hit 100 degrees. I’m trying to shoot earlier to make things easier. But can individuals do what they need to do in a given time? My job is to make sound choices that will result in success. We had a western nearly ready to shoot this fall with 75% of the funds. With winter and the holidays looming we pushed likely to a fall shoot. Now all these things have to fall into place to shoot BEFORE it becomes hell on earth in the Yuma desert. I was concerned about any bumps that result in a push because the desert heat doesn’t care. We need to let go of what we can’t control and work with what is before us. So we’re trying to get us prepped for late Feb/early March 2016. We will see if we can do that. I put so much pressure on myself because of how many artists are helped when we succeed. I don’t like to let people down more especially – our people. But I thought there had to be something even greater. What is that pressure, urgency and such? More meditation. The answer
- Every project pushed, delayed, stumbled is one film less that I’ll produce in my lifetime …and I may mourn that one day. I could have done one more.
I can say that casting on “Chasing the Star” has been full speed ahead. We’ve gotten many, many reels and our director asked for several reads. We’re focusing on our three magi leads right now. Soon we’ll begin working on our supporting cast. We might have found 2 of our 3 main leads. That is exciting for anyone who has been involved with casting. Not finding the right cast has shelved many films. So we’ll see if those attachments become solid in the next couple weeks.
(Russ Clark in “DONORS”)
We had to correct something on “Donors” that caused our distributor to push that release from Feb. to April 2016. For artists waiting on that film to release two months can feel like another two years. Patience is a big thing in this business.
“Ashes of Eden” TV and national release will also be in April 2016.
“Bestseller” and “40 Nights” both seem to be releasing in March 2016.
I’m closing in on a first draft of the third film in our QUEST TRILOGY. I almost typed the name – but I think we need to wait. Did I mention PATIENCE:) But I’ve had some exciting talks with cast on that third film. I even released the rough first 36 pages and that gripped the actors. It ties all three together nicely.
I’m also planning to finish the KNIGHT CHILLS 2 script here soon. I’ve just been beyond busy. I had word that things are moving along strong on C.U.J.O. and I’m reading a few possible scripts. (For acting not producing)
It’s bitter cold here in Michigan after some unnatural warmth. Stay warm. Stay safe. Happy Holidays! Go see STAR WARS The Force Awakens and dare to dream!