Sum-of-the-Parts, Craftsmanship and Updates (of course)
Hello friend, fans, peers and lovers of the artistic journey. It has been cold in Michigan with an early snow and now icy rain is joining the party. Thankfully the coffee is brewing and I’m cozy and ready to share some of the updates and stories from the week. My weeks are often filled with success and setbacks and I think we all have that. Patience is also another quality that takes time to master. I’ve often described it as the difference between a pulse and a ray. A ray requires a steady stream of focus and it drains from the source over time. In the simplified example, “The watched pot never boils”. Now the pulse is putting the focused energy into a focused action and letting it go. If you submit your script, resume, project or whatever to an opportunity – do so and let it go. If it consumes your every thought very little will get done on other fronts. If fate doesn’t make that opportunity happen you have to deal with the rejection or deal just not working out. (I like to adopt the mentality that I will do what I was meant to do) Also you have to rebuild some momentum from zero. But if you are always creating new opportunities you get a constant flow of pulses going. I adopted the idea of taking one positive action a day to further my goals. That has now grown into a day full of positive things done but the returns are real. The opportunities that don’t work out are always balanced out by several things to do work out. Each week it is hard to be disappointed about something that did not happen when so much good did happen. Once you get this flow going it is hard to stop. Honestly only health issues can halt this flow and that is why it is important to spend time to maintain yourself. If you adopt these ideas as your own you will notice major improvements.
I’ve had some great talks this week with motivated individuals doing some great things. Jon Osman, is the director of “The Terrorist” and he is a driven man. You have to be to create feature film. It is even more effort to create good content. It is all about your associations and collaborations. Now he has had his success and setbacks but in the end he will stand tall. That is just how he is and I’m interested to see what he creates beyond this. I’m excited that we will see our collaboration come out in 2015. Some will want to get ahead by taking the low road but I can tell you that while the high road may take longer, the journey will be better.
I’m disappointed often in people’s actions. People who lie in business. People who hoard credit. People who don’t take self accountability. People who are unprepared. People who oversell their abilities.
I often get treated respectfully because I give respect and if you are going to share my space I expect respect. But I do base a lot of my character judgement upon how people treat other people. How does that director speak to that product assistant? How does an actor treat the crew and vice versa? I’ve seen overblown egos in action. It often covers up weakness. I’ve seen the dudes wearing sunglasses inside at night. I’ve seen the girls who expect diva treatment. Weak. Weak. Excessive self E pic = weakness. I’m not sure people really look at why they do certain things. Compulsion? I know people who react the same way in every alike circumstance. They have to twist and make themselves inclusive to a discussion in some way. They wait for someone to stop talking so they can speak. It is like bad acting. They are waiting for a cue to start talking but they have listened and heard nothing. I’ve had weakness in my life and I’m sure I still do. But I live by KNOW THYSELF. I seek to know why I do certain things and if it’s healthy for me? Look at your actions and see if you can become stronger in character.
I had a situation I addressed whereas on a project (Not mine) a mistake was made. I actually saw lots of mistakes while participating but I always look at experiences as learning. I see things right or wrong and incorporate that into my own operations. I do admit I see more wrong than right but that is not always the case. It is a good case example of a project that will be the sum of its parts. All the artists involved will affect the final product. That is why I’m very picky. Now you will give opportunities to someone and they will rise or fall pending their passion and dedication. On this one project I noted how a few artists had been attributed to failure on another project. I was met with a somewhat defensive, even noble defending of their character. I wasn’t passing judgement on character but on empirical evidence. We can choose to not discuss previous actions as someone might rather not hear others shortcomings. That is fine. But they still exist. I use this info in making decisions to create better teams of artists. So this information was not shared and these elements/variables were highly praised and defended as vital in their creative process. Out of respect – I let this topic go but upon viewing the final results – I will stick with my original assessment. In a totally unrelated conversation I told someone – if you keep using the same variables in your equation don’t be surprised when you keep getting the same results. If you’re happy with that equation and results – great. But if you’re not – you need to look at changing variables to get different results. None of it for me is personal. It is my work. It’s no different from when I was coaching a team. Setting goals and having individuals strive to achieve them is no different from when I taught martial arts. Filmmaking is a team dynamic whereas individual artistic ability is blended with others to achieve a goal in storytelling. A film will always be as good as a sum of all its parts.
As we discussed – if you are going to DO you might as well try to do the very best you can. Pride in craftsmanship is something we should all strive for. As we know much of art is subjective but side by side quality often becomes clear. We all have had those moments of frustration – I recall more than one time on ASHES OF EDEN a computer may have warranted an Elvis treatment. He was rumored to have gotten mad and shot out a TV. I guess he could easily afford a new one:) In those moments where you are tempted to say, GOOD ENOUGH. It is those people who suck it up and say, NO. LET’S DO THIS RIGHT. That is what will define character and elevate others to a new level. Get a team full of people like that and you’re end quality will soar. These lessons seem more common sense versus some mystic wisdom but it is funny who it often eludes people. Note that most of the talk here is about the SHOW vs the BIZ. I often talk on the BIZ as many lack that but the SHOW is often the fun part. It is those trying times where it is NOT fun. Example – Ugg! Those lights are in the truck parked down the road and it is snowing. Do you A) Try to bounce some natural light and get an acceptable shot. B) Walk your ass and get those lights. I have people who will often say, “I GOT IT” and they are off. But many will just wing it and when the shot comes out uninspired – well? This can be said about Art Direction, Camera moves and about every position. It might be a pain in the ass to get a small genny up so coffee can be made but how much more productive is a crew with hot coffee in the cold? It might be the thing that makes that person run and go get the light from the truck versus just shoot it as is. It is why passion is so important to our crews. If it is just a job go work elsewhere and make better money and easier work for sure. People who think filmmaking isn’t hard work they just don’t know.
OK onto some UPDATES!
ASHES OF EDEN – This is prepping for our early 2015 release. Very excited to share this film. I’m proud of the craftsmanship.
WICKED SPRING is getting a 2015 Special Edition release. More official PR soon!
DONORS just signed a domestic deal for 2015! More official PR soon!
KNIGHT CHILLS novel for 2015 to go with a new release. A sequel? Maybe:)
IN THE WOODS – 15th anniversary release starting with the UK
THE TERRORIST – Final post work for a 2015 release!
BESTSELLER – Post work is moving good. We expect an early 2015 premiere and theatrical run. Some good early interest!
WASTELAND: Tales of the Desert – This film is in Pre-Production and will shoot the 1st part of this collection of Sci Fi/Western stories in December.
Foreign sales talks are underway and I’m excited to get many of our films to new audiences.
Development on several films are in full swing. We’re excited to be announcing some of these as they move into pre-production but you all will just have to wait:) One reason is because the in boxes get slammed with submissions as soon as word gets out on a new film.
OK. I’m going to get some things done before watching MSU play some snow football this afternoon.
Have a great weekend and even better week!
New Distribution & New Projects – Full Steam Ahead
The cold is creeping into Michigan and our bodies fight to adjust to the biting chill. The cold rain will soon become something else – snow. I’m sipping at the coffee trying to get the sinus pressure to let go of the vice grip on my head. It has been a very busy time for me as I try to wrap up business for the year and manage lots of new business that is emerging for the year ahead. I’ve been doing some heavy training prepping to play my role in December. I’m giving myself that physical edge that one would require to live and survive in a harsh alien world. WASTELAND shoots just before the week of Christmas and I’m looking forward to that change of pace. Let’s take a moment to look at some of the developments this past week. I’m glad many of you survived the ghosts and goblins of Halloween.
ASHES OF EDEN – I think our last festival play is over and I’m happy to be moving on to distribution. We announced our deal with the Winters Film Group to release the film nationally on DVD, VOD, PPV, TV. The distributor in our meeting this week praised the marketing as the buzz is out there. He already had a PPV (Pay Per View) faith company reach out to license the film. This film walks a great edge that will appeal to audiences who enjoy faith and non-faith films. We’ve got several more reviewers watching the film to release ahead of the film. I’ve also been in talks with several foreign territories and we will get this film out to all of you also.
BESTSELLER – This film has been in transition as we prepare to build the music and sound FX. We had a great meeting with much of the post team. We went through the entire film and plotted what and where each of these audio elements would go. We talked about the FX which has already begun. Some amazing work already created and next week we should have the opening credits done. What I love about this film so much ties into my watching of PSYCHO this past Halloween. The film has elements of the classic thrillers of days gone by. A true stylistic edge that will help the film stand apart from the same old, same old that can tend to be the norm. This film has some new team members working on it and so getting these folks up to speed and on the same page workflow wise can be an effort. But you are molding a team for future work. The key is to look at it less as an individual piece by piece and more like a group of runners passing the baton. The key is to be ultra focused as you pass the baton to the next person. The clean up and organizing of files can make it easier for the next runner who has to take the baton. That said, I think we are getting into a groove and communication is going good. That is the key to all of this. In this new age of technology text messages or emails do not or should not replace phone calls or face to face meetings. The baton is passed much smoother between the “runners” and so your run times get better. Communication is the key to good leadership and so if you are a key out there make sure to communicate well. You will become valuable and find much more success.
WASTELAND – Prop building is underway and also some key decisions on equipment. This coming week we are doing a read through with the director and key cast. I’m looking forward to it. A Sci-Fi western is going to be great fun. I’m awaiting some concept art on one of the space craft. Exciting stuff for sure.
DONORS another thriller of ours has an offer forthcoming. WICKED SPRING also has interest to get a Special Edition out this spring and so we will be discussing that this week. We actually have a few distributors taking interest in the CDI library.
Our legal team finally got our domestic rights back on a pair of CDI films that got stuck. Long story but now that we have them back one I can get those film back out to market. I also have wanted to release a collection of the early CDI films together. Now with this deal that is possible.
We also have some possible reboots, sequels, prequels and new films launching. I’m beyond excited about a few of them and once the ink dries we will be discussing. Of course, all of you who follow the blog here will get some early updates.
On the acting front – I was informed that two films I was slated to be in have been green lit and will be moving forward. Both are quite large projects and will be great fun to play. I think I will be back in action with Ray and some of the “Book of Ruth” team in 2015. There are lots of projects closing their deals that will allow them to shoot in 2015. I’m excited to participating in them. 2015 will see the release of several films while we film those that will come to you in 2016. That is the way of the business. Develop. Produce. Post. Release. – Repeat often:)
Enjoy your weekend and the coming holidays –
Closing the Year Strong & The Year Ahead
Good morning to all – likely afternoon when I post this. Yesterday was just a perfect Halloween day. I had lunch with my father and we had the mothers over for a Mexican theme Feast of the Dead. The rain/snow cold kept most of the trick or treater’s away. We ended the night watching a Halloween themed film and it really was perfect. I didn’t partake in all the craziness of years past and I was just fine with that. I had things I needed to get done today and business to attend to. As the midnight hour came I ended it all by finishing Christopher Knight’s book “Season of the Witch” – perfect. I see many stories within that would also translate nicely to the screen. If you don’t know the author immediately he is also known as Johnathan Rand, author of the popular children series American Chiller. He is also the author and client we have been working on with the thriller “Bestseller” (also a book). RE: Bestseller – We had some tech meetings on Friday and this week we have a great creative meeting coming up. This film will be done early 2015 and already has some distribution interest.
Speaking on distribution, we will be making an announcement on “Ashes of Eden” this weekend at the East Lansing Film Festival. It’s great that our inspirational crime drama is back playing for a home town audience. We may have a few more theatrical runs before the wider release but I do have TV and foreign talks underway. Not just with these two fine films (Ashes of Eden & Bestseller) but the entire CDI library. I have some important talks with some large territories. Many of our films have released to multiple foreign territories but that release is going to get wider and wider. Stay tuned as our films could be reaching billions. Yes. I said billions. Movies are loved all over the world and we want to introduce ours. Numerous deals are underway and I’m excited about the possibility of new 2015 releases.
We are gearing up to shoot “Wasteland” in December and the props under construction are really looking good. It also looks like a few of our films may be moving forward into production in early 2015. I don’t want to jinx anything so I’ll limit what I say here. Additionally, a pair of follow-up pictures behind “Book of Ruth” look to be coming together also. I’m excited about a pet project of mine that looks like it’s moving forward to shoot this Spring. It actually could turn into a slate of films. The business paperwork on some of these will be coming together in the weeks ahead. I’ve had numerous development meetings over the last few months with a few filmmakers that I see have the right combination of artistic talent and willingness to work within a business model. So we may be bringing a few filmmakers into the fold of the CDI tribe to develop them into feature film directors with international distribution set ups.
As a front-of-the-camera talent, I’ve had a few projects that were in holding patterns approach me this week with positive updates. My management contacted me with developments on my possible involvement in a few large scope projects. If scheduling is the issue I have to deal with in 2015 – I can work that out. You always want projects to go nose to tail so you can do them all. But as typical in life, things often overlap or all try to happen all at once. I don’t stress. I go back to the ole “cross that bridge when you get to it” mentality. Things do have a way of working themselves out and I sincerely believe that I end up doing the projects I was meant to do.
This next coming Sat I will be attending the showing of STANDING POST, directed by my friend/associate Anthony Hornus. It features the acting work on Steven Sutherland (Ashes of Eden), Mary Jo Cuppone (Figure in the Forest) and Dean Teaster (Ghost Town) and so I’m greatly looking forward to it. Please do come out and support the Red, White and Blue non-profit and their work with our US Military. It should be a great night and lots of fun.
I’ve also been getting some writing in and that feels good. I’m still a touch behind on my reading (Sorry) you all know who you are:) I’ve been trying to get these “Wasteland” scenes in the old memory banks. Financed projects with offers have to be read first and I’m sure is understood by all. I’ll wrap this up – guacamole might be calling me. I still have a few domestic things to do getting ready for winter here. I might try to pop into the East Lansing Film Festival tonight (maybe) but I do plan on being there tomorrow for the 4:30 showing. I think they might also have ‘Ashes of Eden” merchandise on hand. I’ve been wearing my ASHES OF EDEN sweatshirt due to how COLD it’s been in Michigan.
Enjoy the rest of your day. Be good to one another.
New Fall Releases & New Upcoming Projects
I’m sitting here relaxing and thinking back on the busy week. It was truly a busy, busy week but I’m happy with all the new developments. I’m happy to report that almost all these business actions were all done against the backdrop of our emerging fall. Let’s look at some of the things that happened this week and let’s hope that I don’t forget any.
ASHES OF EDEN – We just concluded our theatrical run in Canton & Novi in Michigan. No sooner had we concluded and we have more good news concerning this film. I know that PR is about locked and loaded to share some of this good news with all of you. I enjoyed the nice comments from all the people who came out to see the film. This film has been a strong showcase for Lansing, for Michigan and for some of the best emerging talent in the region. There may be some new opportunities to see this film – stay tuned.
LOCKED IN A ROOM is getting a new Halloween season release from Echo Bridge Entertainment packaging us with some classics.
BOOK OF RUTH, Journey of Faith is now selling in a 2 pack at major retailers.
“GPS The Movie” that played CHILLER TV is getting a new release in November and heading to the foreign market.
BESTSELLER has started sound work and CGI/Graphic work. We are all excited to have this moving down the post production line.
THE TERRORIST is another film that is in post sound and we hope to have done at the year’s end.
I also was informed that my 1st feature I starred in called IN THE WOODS is having a theatrical screening to celebrate 15 years since the video release. That is the film that put me on the map first. While it does have a good cheese factor it has become a favorite of many fans out there. For all of you – some special news will be forthcoming! Stay tuned.
I think one of the biggest questions I get is WHAT’S NEXT? My management has been in talks with several casting agents as we try to find the right projects to showcase my acting craft. I’ve been introduced to some amazing production groups working on some amazing films. But I did have one extremely exciting project come to me. In the period of a week this film just seemed to just come together. The ink is dry, flight and hotel booked and I’m excited to announce this week my involvement in a SciFi/Western. I’m playing one of the leads and will be assisting in distribution via a CDI association. The official press release will be coming this week. It will be shooting out west in a famous State park and I’m beyond excited. The 7-year-old in me who wanted to be Han Solo is excited:)
I’m sure I missed a few updates – mostly development talks. We’re close to launching a few other films. Upcoming 2015 will be a BUSY year I can tell already. This weekend will be some fall clean up, football and archery. I’ve bottled up the TROPIC THUNDER wine and I think next week some hard cider might be in order. I’m also almost through my STAN REED SUMMER BREW and so time to get another batch of that going. Michigan folk know how to stay warm.
Have a great weekend!
Fall Updates & Rumors on Forthcoming Projects
I awoke to a light rain and I got the coffee flowing while making chili for todays MSU game. As I prepare to get into the movie updates for the week I want to thank our new Czech Republic readers for tuning in. I LOVE fall and it is really setting in here in the Michigan. It was a good week whereas many projects moved on down the line. I’m trying to get my brain moving enough to recall some of the stories that might impart some lesson. I’ll just jump into updates and we will see what flows.
BESTSELLER is now in our post sound studio and our editor got to know Dennis Therrian, my post-supervisor. Again finding artists who are not only talented but take great pride in their work is the key. I’m excited to see the layers of music added to our final picture. CGI work and sound design will also be taking place as well as color correction. Be ready for many more updates in the coming months.
ASHES OF EDEN – yesterday we kicked off 42 showings of the film in the Detroit area. (Canton & Novi) and the first audiences went to the theaters last night. If you are in the area and you want to see a powerful, professional story told mainly by Michigan artists please do take a look. It is at the Emagine theater chain so go on-line and pick the best time for you. We look to be close to signing with another big theater chain and will be announcing more on our national distribution deal in the coming weeks.
This week saw me getting to review THE TERRORIST with a finished music score. Also DEAD QUIET released an advanced poster for the horror film slated to release in 2015. I had a small role in a SMALL TOWN SANTA, Christmas film for a producer associate of mine. It is now out on streaming and will start selling DVD’s in Oct so as you get closer to the holidays it could provide a nice watch. I look forward to seeing how it unfolds. I do a small role in DIVISION 19 and I’ll be keeping my ears open for updates on that project.
SUPERMODEL SHOWDOWN shows 1-3 are now on Indieflix.com so check it out if reality TV and travel is your thing.
That really covers most of the projects in post or releasing. The big question I’ve been getting is – what next? We’ve got a handful of projects in development but I may be close to signing onto a new project. It is best described as a Sci Fi/Western and I had good Skype talks with the director. He extended an offer and we are talking terms. It would have me shooting a handful of days in December outside of Las Vegas. I will keep you in the loop on this project and my potential involvement.
This week had me catching up with several of my friends living elsewhere like Terry Jernigan and David Borowicz. I always enjoy reconnecting and sharing laughs with these friends of mine. Okay I’m off to stir the chili and get a few things around this morning. I hope you enjoy the remaining weekend ahead.
Filmmaker Advice and Announcements
I’m sipping some strong coffee due to a slight malfunction in the back up coffee maker. It goes perfect with Fall which has arrived here in Michigan. The chilly air and leaves that are slowly starting to change signal this new push towards the harvest. I’ve had a few great sit down meetings this week with associates old and new. I’m a private person who really likes to focus on goals and stay far away from the drama or distractions. To isolate these elements from your life circle allows you to truly add as much creative into your business as possible. I’ve talked about people who tend to use the same variables and are surprised when they get the same results. If you are happy with your direction – great. But if you are not you have to look at your variables and see what is not working. Adjustments in attitude, time management or collaborations can greatly effect the outcome. I’m writing this week within the framework of this – 2 weddings and one funeral for a 18-year-old girl connected to our 4H yearly activity. To see someone who lived fully without any thoughts of a near end and two pair of individuals making a go of it in life can be rewarding. More so when you realize you still are alive and get to meet life’s challenges. It won’t always be so. One day be it tragic or peaceful – your journey here will end. Your children, your art, your words – what will you leave behind? Let’s move to our discussions on film and entertainment…
ASHES OF EDEN – I was proud when I saw the 42 new show dates for our film in Canton and Novi. (See pic for dates) I try not too let pride take hold to often but in this moment, I was. We are not 4 walling or renting the theater – we’re in a partnership much like the major studios. CDI sales team has a new head of theatrical which we will announce. This team will be pushing “Bestseller” and other films from the CDI library out to market. This is a new revenue flow that previously did not exist. A handful of showings were done in days past to avoid the label of DIRECT-TO-VIDEO but it is now a true avenue. Why? The technology and the quality of the product is at a studio level. (Distributor words not mine) Hiring professionals is not enough it’s the focusing of these artists efforts towards telling the best story possible. At the hobby level of filmmaking this is hard because some scenes stay in the film or aren’t cut because someone loved the scene performance, so and so would be mad, the camera shot is great BUT does it serve the story. I’ve seen much growth in this area and I’m humble enough to say I’m always learning both as a creative and as a businessman. You cannot walk around with a full cup or you cannot accept anything new.
I thought I would share some information that was presented recently to a rising filmmaker I sat down with. IF you have some backing and you want to showcase yourself stronger than you have you need good associations. Until you see a department run as it should it is hard to hold yourself to a certain level. We’ve opened ourself at CDI to associations but first it is with whom. Making films is a lengthy process and requires a lot of close collaboration. If your personality runs against this grain of respecting work flow, non-defensive discussions, openness to options – we will pass. I will not argue or deal with big egos. We PR films on a regular schedule but we also don’t attach any entitlement. It is marketing. If you have successfully done certain things you are entitled to an opinion but even that should be done with caution. I see many people not only marketing but believing their own fable. Now I believe that you must have faith in yourself but nothing says confidence like quiet at times. I had someone once ask me after conveying some negative comments about me – if I care? They were surprised that I wasn’t mad but sad for that person. All someone has to do is usually look at the accomplishments of the doer and the complainer and it quickly becomes apparent who is better at using their energy. The sad is for the wasted energy. That circle of negativity can envelop a person or a group. That old “birds of a feather flock together” saying. Seek something better. It doesn’t matter if you are a hobby artist or professional. Who would keep going to a scrapbook club that was plagued by negativity? Play for a team that is chaos and drama? Same in the workplace – people move on from bad work situations or there is a change in leadership. Decide if you want to be a flocking feather or soar with positive doers. Your choice always.
To circle around again to ASHES OF EDEN – we’ve also signed our National deal for home video and digital. We will be announcing more about that in the coming weeks. In the meantime Shane Hagedorn and I have been busy discussing what will be our next collaboration. If you don’t know Shane he is a salt-of-the-earth, hard-working man who I’ve taught and learned from. That is what a positive collaboration is all about. It was also brought up in a recent meeting (Not with Shane) about the divisions existing in Michigan. East-side, West-side blah blah…I say, we are Michigan. I’ve worked in all corners of Michigan with cast and crew from wherever. I’m looking at their art and attitude not their zip code. Lansing doesn’t usually doesn’t get involved in those film turf wars talks. I mean locally aside from CDI only Jeff Burton and maybe our Ahptic friends have worked at that international level. Still it doesn’t matter. It can be done. Our films can compete just like our cars, wines and other MI products. But to do so you have to make product people elsewhere want to see. You have to make it at a quality level that meets quality control. You have to have all legal aspects tied up so you don’t end up with a big home video for family and friends. This is the reality. If you tried to sell and market an unappealing (subjective) car that couldn’t meet safety codes and compliance – who would buy it? You could cobble together some off-road mud buggy for fun or a zippy little go-cart but you can’t expect it to be highlighted in the car industry. Some films are like Go-Carts and their makers think they can enter the Indy 500 and win. This is not a Pixar cartoon with nitro powered snails:) So be realistic. Set realistic goals. Execute with maximum pre-production so you can handle problems you can’t plan for. Don’t cut corners. Don’t allow your ego to trump the story. Keep modifying your process and watch the success start to grow. Good mentors and associations are also key to success – so if professional is your goal – take the realistic steps.
BESTSELLER – We had a great meeting over this thriller with the book creator Chris Wright/Knight aka Jonathan Rand. He is a self-made man like myself enjoys the journey to success. We made some solid decisions on our distribution flow that I’m quite excited about. If you don’t know him your children likely do may from his AMERICAN CHILLER, MICHIGAN CHILL, ADVENTURE CLUB books and much more. This film is now moving into the sound/music stage with Dennis Therrian and we will have a fun go at finishing this thriller. The 1st trailer has created huge buzz for us in the distribution circles thus far and so in 2015 we will see this film presented on the big screen, small screen and everything in-between. Great job Chad Ice on getting that final edit locked up. He had only done shorts when he approached me during our film shoot about the possibility of editing. I do know lots of editors but in this case having someone already invested in the material was a huge bonus. I think he discovered that a feature is very different animal from a short film. I’m proud that we were his first feature film and I think he gained some great experience and insight while we benefitted from his artistic talent. Much more information on this film will be flowing in the coming months.
THE TERRORIST is on a second pass of music and so they are very close. I really enjoyed this NYC based film and can’t wait to have this finished and in the collection. I think many people around the world will benefit from the messages within the story.
We are funding on a few films currently and with pre-set distribution and some great attachments we should be rolling camera again in the near future. If you have your own funding and want to be considered for an association reach out. If you are a new director without money chances are slim to none that we will slide you into a film that is financed on our end to direct. But if you have your $ support and want to create something that will help you move up the professional ladder feel free to reach out. We do say NO more than YES but it’s all case-by-case basis and much of the decision lies in how collaborative the person is. If you’re NOT a budget-minded/producer friendly director you will not work well in our camp. Same for aspiring actors – know your craft and be production friendly. Actors who have had or tried to produce tend to have a much better respect for the company and work flow. When PR was going around on ASHES OF EDEN announcing the new Canton/Novi screenings – one Detroit-based actor responded to one of our staff that he would support the film ONLY if the actors were paid.
NOTE: We’ve paid our actors since our second CDI film in 1999. It wasn’t much back in the day but it was a wage. It is like this actor was policing productions. The truth is we were likely paying our actors when this fellow was still playing a cloud in his middle school play:) But these jaded mentalities wouldn’t exist if not for shady production companies. We’ve all been there but don’t carry that negative with you from project to project or it will paint you in that negative light. To see what happens to “negative nellies” go back up and read the start of the blog. Okay I’ve enjoyed the chat with all of you. G’Day to our Aussie friends who have been tuned in to this blog. I hope you all have a great day and maybe a line or two of this word spewing can help you.
Keep clawing your way to the middle!
Enjoying the Struggle & Updates
What a week with the friday morning/afternoon being a touch chaotic. The communication flow between people is one of the utmost important aspects of filmmaking. Let’s jump into some of this since I have running around this morning and I’m attending a wedding this afternoon.
BESTSELLER is a picture lock providing our director is happy with her small insert today but I think we’re onto the next phase. The materials are being moved about to their new destination and I’m excited for the scoring of the music to begin. We will be announcing that formerly this coming week but you heard it here first.
ASHES OF EDEN also has PR waiting to come out. We’ve been waiting for the theatrical link to go up at Emagine Entertainment so we can start heavy promoting our Sept 19th start dates. So if you are from the East side of the state of Michigan and want to see what all the hype is about – your chance is coming. Canton and Novi is where we will start the release and we’re also working towards setting up a showing in the Owosso, MI area. We had an amazing run with AN ORDINARY KILLER there and think people there would love the new film.
And speaking of AN ORDINARY KILLER it may be one of the films returning to theaters from the CDI library. I see GHOST TOWN also making a run in the coming months. If you have not seen either of these films on the big screen you are missing something.
AOE (ASHES OF EDEN) is also close to closing its 1st TV deal and we are in final stages of negotiations on the DVD, VOD National deal for 1st quarter 2015.
I have a new VOD multi national deal interested in several of the CDI library. We will do a test run with a few titles and see how that goes.
Thoughts from the week –
I still stand by the fact that many of the youth today don’t know how many more opportunities in our business exist now compared to a decade ago or so. I see more kids who have classroom experience but their real world experience is still playing catch up. Example – doing shorts, commercials, music videos and such do NOT fully prepare you for 3-5 weeks of feature filming shooting. It’s a self battle with endurance, focus and teamwork. I had to have a firm conversation or two this week with people over little issues. I think there can be a lack of appreciation of what it truly takes to produce a film properly. The UNSEXY parts of the business – the paperwork, accounting and on-going work opening up new opportunities to release. But this is what I do for a living and I love it. I’m extremely serious about my film work and the art we create because at one time even the idea of doing motion picture work was seen as a joke. Now our films get done with quality all while trying to create the best crew experience you can within a closed environment like a film set. I try to be fair and work with people and their issues or explain why I cannot. But if people start becoming too much of an issue – they just need to go work elsewhere. I know many people who found new respect for what we do once they had to go work on a less than organized film set. I’m not talking short films – where some say “I did this short and it ran perfect.” GREAT, it was 3 days! Come talk to me when you’re deep into week three and see how the ship is doing. Feature filmmaking is a long distant run not a sprint. Also being a pain in the you know what is an easy way not to get invited to sail next time around. I use to feel for the few bad apples but I try not to now. Some people do something silly and they just need to learn the hard way. When you have a lot of people doing the right thing you can’t waste too much time on that one person or so hurting themselves. It is often best to cut them loose and let them learn elsewhere. Knowing your craft is NOT enough. You having the right attitude is what is valuable.
SUCCESS CAN BREED RESENTMENT
This week I also had conversations with people who are not quite feeling the love in their new-found success from some around them. I explained that if you have not transitioned to FULL TIME filmmaking/acting and are working a day job – many may secretly resent you. Why? Because they wonder why you can’t just be happy being as they are. Why do you feel like you need to do something greater? How dare you think you are better than me? To others you can often be that “in your face” reminder of the dream that he/she let go. Did they really want to go to coach sports? Did they always dream of owning a coffee shop? It’s harder to strive for true happiness. Some people can truly be happy playing their part in a job while others see it as a stepping stone to their dreams. If you can be happy in a 9-5 job that is a blessing. For some, they feel compelled to create. It doesn’t make creators any better it’s just what they feel a need to do. Often it creates self suffering for the artist in the journey but can lead to great satisfaction. You just can’t expect everyone to support your journey. When I see people throwing negativity I feel bad for them because it they put that same energy into their own dreams they would be much better people. It would help them be better people for sure. Instead they are the negative ones always casting stones. Keep smiling and keep moving forward.
It was just one of those weeks but it ended with true progress and some very promising news. There may be times where you walk against the blowing wind trying to slow you down. I say don’t pee against the wind and just keep walking steady. That’s what the week felt like but now things seem quite at peace.
Enjoy the struggle. If it was easy everyone would do it.
Blessings of the Path
I want to start this blog by welcoming the new readers from Japan and Singapore! I’m very excited by how many international artists are following this blog. I tell many around me locally that my group I identify with are the sincere artist-doers from around the globe. The one’s who create within a framework of business that allows international exposure. I truly do celebrate the differences between us as people. When I see one group of people trying to put another people “in-line” I feel like we are not evolving properly. I LOVE the pride people take in their customs and traditions. From Philippine Balut to Canadian Poutine. Quail eggs in Mexico and delicious South Indian Coffee. My career has brought me so much more beyond just telling a story on the screen. I’ve met people, seen places, tried foods and heard stories unique in their being. This is part of the blessing/gift bestowed upon me by choosing this path.
Now I’m writing this blog in advance since I’m going down south to visit with some family. Sweet tea & Southern cooking is usually what lies in store. I’ve got a few topics to meditate upon as I relax from the normal hustle and bustle. Take some time to UNPLUG. I saw an associate on FB was talking about how at a family meal EVERYONE was PLUGGED into their phones. I told her that she and her family should put the phones in a basket if it is that bad. It will probably feel like withdrawals from some techno crack BUT it will be good for you. I easily can roll back the years, remembering the days of pagers and of no personal phones.
Now technology has made certain aspects of our industry easier. We’re in post production with http://www.bestsellerthemovie.com and I think we are VERY close to a locked picture. From there is will be the audio and graphics work including the final color correction. I have a smile as I type because I think again the artists on this project have created something wonderful. Only time will tell if others feel the same.
ASHES OF EDEN is in final negotiations on the National release that will happen 1st quarter 2015. And leading up to that release we will be doing more theatrical releases. Today was the last showing in Grand Rapids, MI and starting Sept 19th ASHES OF EDEN will play in Novi and Canton Michigan. I can’t wait for friends and fans on that side of the state to see the film.
I could go on for quite a while about other projects now in post production. Some are newly completed and soon to release. Others are still in development struggling to be made. I’ve been also trying to catch up on some script reading. I’ve been enjoying my read on a WW2 script recently presented. I’m also excited about a few of my new acting submissions via my management. I appreciate the sincere way that I’m being represented to casting directors and executive teams. The last two projects I’ve been submitted for …Wow! I’m just happy to have my work put before these people. If something clicks I’m ready to go do what I do.
I’m going to cut this short because I have to renew this blog site. Again I want to thank all of you out there. I hope you have a great weekend and week ahead.
Saturday Summary and September Happenings
Good day to all of you out there. I hope your week was a productive one with some enjoyment along the way. I wanted to take a few moments to blog with all of you out there. I see again we have new international readers. We had a bit more heat this week in Michigan and that slowed the roll on yard work that I’m going to make up today. This week I finally hung a large theater sign in the office that I’ve had for a long time. I can say that my office is really getting there with organization of stuff. It is funny how I can chart my life by what film I was doing at a given time. I did an interview Q&A for the “Dead Quiet” movie that is saying it will show 1st quarter 2015. That is also the national DVD/VOD target for “Ashes of Eden”. I also think that “Bestseller” will be moving into theaters about that same time.
BESTSELLER – I’ve been a tad quiet on this film as it moves down the post line. I had the pleasure of watching the new cut of the film a few times this week to give notes. Most all my notes were on how pleased I was with how the 1st round of suggestions were incorporated. I’m excited because the pick ups and the trims to the film have me very excited. It is a tense and exciting film and Michigan is showcased in such a beautiful way. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. More PR will be forthcoming as we approach an end-of-the-year premiere. Great job cast and crew!
ASHES OF EDEN will start a theatrical run in the Detroit area (Canton & Novi) in September and I’m excited for people on that side of the state to be able to see this fine film on the big screen. We got a great review from one of the TV networks I’ve dealt with before and so I think we will license there. Also a few foreign territories are moving forward with negotiations. I’ve enjoyed this collaboration and look forward to the next one with Shane Hagedorn.
We also will see other CDI/CDI associated films heading to the big screen and several have new distribution opportunities opening up. We will be meeting this week to discuss more of this and I have some distribution offers to consider. What films would you like to see on the BIG SCREEN? Re-issue of films? Feel free to let me hear your thoughts.
http://www.indieflix.com is the home of the first 3 shows of “Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” and so check it out if you like tropic places, reality TV and/or bikini babes.
A TV pilot I did a few years ago in Canada may become a feature film. It is a comedy and deals with stock car racing and so that could be fun.
I’ve been having some great talks with my management about placement in a few larger studio films. I had materials sent yesterday on a film that might be in need of a strong supporting man. I really liked the director and so I gave my interest to go ahead with the send off. I know at least one studio project I’m slated to be in but I have to keep that quiet until they are ready to PR. I’m enjoying finishing up stuff that is on my plate. But I do have one eye on the future. We’ve had some great development talks and I see a few of our films moving ahead.
I want to close this chat early and go do some yard work before it is way too hot. I have observed all this world news with water buckets, racial tensions and pending war with Isis. How do I feel about it all? See we provide escapism from all these highs and lows in life and I know everyone has different views. I like awareness for diseases but also know how desperate others in the world are for water and to just see waste everywhere… Racial tensions/police tensions – time will tell the story. Isis – challenging the USA is well…not real smart. A common enemy is what often unites Americans and when that focus gets redirected…
So I’m going to return to some yard work. I plan on grilling and chilling a bit. A soccer match tomorrow and time with my brother and friends. I hope you all have a good week. I’m sorry to a friend or two who hit me up with indiegogo/kickstarter stuff – I don’t believe in that funding for profit earning films. For a non-profit or fan film – perhaps an exception. I just see more asking, asking, asking for unreasonable amounts/budgets that don’t/won’t usually get funded. I give to charity where I see fit and no challenge is going to change that. And I don’t play any online games. So if you have recently requested any of these things I politely decline.
And with that I bid you all a good day!
“ASHES” NEW DISTRIBUTION & FUTURE FILMS
So I’m back from running around this morning. We are doing some upgrades in the house bathrooms and so we’ve been looking at options. We had breakfast while out since our like new coffee maker is acting up. We’ve only had it since Christmas so I need to check into that. Now we’re back from our errands where one of the nicest surprise was seeing an old friend of mine while out. I had that kind of day yesterday where at a certain point I was done with the business calls and emails. I made a few calls and caught up with some old friends that I had not spoken to in a while. It was nice to just chat about life and not be talking just about film business. We actually talked about DIPPER GOURDS and the garden. Last week I had a good amount to say on a few topics like social crowd funding and I’m just realizing that people usually want the easiest path. In my experience those paths rarely lead to success but maybe best they just find out themselves. Let’s discuss a few projects underway now…
“Ashes of Eden” is about to release news today or tomorrow of our expanding theatrical release and also note that we are in negotiations on our domestic DVD/VOD release for 1st quarter 2015. In is interesting to note that director Shane Hagedorn and I have been having more development discussions on what we want to do next. Here is a great recent review of the film from Canada.
As I type we have editing going on with “Bestseller” our upcoming thriller. I actually need to type an email outlining some of the work flow ahead. The pieces are all in and creative re-working of edits are underway. This will be an exciting film and I think audiences will enjoy it. We have big plans for this film which will become known to others as we move ahead.
I’ve been enjoying splitting my time between post work/distribution and development. I’ve been doing a lot of this while recharging my batteries by strengthening my connection to nature. The gardening, berry picking and general organizing has been great for me. I’ve said before that picking veggies in the garden while taking a business call usually brings good energy to both. Beyond the haggle over shells and beads there are people, artists who embrace the storytelling tradition. But they must also embrace the business. Show Biz is a tradition itself and if you don’t learn that biz side you aren’t truly IN IT. You just aren’t and if you disagree it is because you don’t get it and I’m not going to waste valuable time trying to light a candle underwater.
On that same topic we are on the cusp of several projects moving ahead to production. That is another reason I feel bliss in having no lines in my head. I’m not sorting through the complex emotional layers of a role and becoming…THE ART OF BECOMING
Many have asked what school of taught method of acting do I follow. The art of Becoming is a good name for it. Or BE THE BALL DANNY as I like to call it. “Caddyshack” fans will understand. As a lifelong martial artists I agree with the idea that every person has a unique martial art that is best for them. We are all unique and so we all should take/leave what works for us but I think focus and commitment to character is the key. Some of my bests scenes I don’t recall being there as I was living it not playing it. I know some co-stars of mine would say I have strong method ties to my process. I will always remember Mark Lacy on “Wicked Spring” bruised from me carrying him through the forest. I have a strong grip and he had bruises. To physically save someone there is no middle ground. Ask a firefighter – there is no gentle life saving carry. It is you versus exhaustion with a goal at hand. TAKE 7 – ACTION! So I have a few roles ahead that will require powerful concentration. So I’m enjoying the warm breezes and the freedom of nothing in the places where these characters are developed and grown.
Well, speaking of – I want to get outside on this beautiful day. I could go on about other issues abound like petty jealously that some of the new partners are now having with their new success. I had hoped some of these new partners would be spared what I went through a decade plus ago but sadly they are experiencing some. I shared DVD units moved on one of our titles which was 250,000+ . I simply told them that the small sample of jealous people throwing stones at you or posting negativity is nothing more than spit in the ocean. Five films from now you will still have those who regret your success so just use hate to motivate. So it doesn’t matter what field you’re in just rise above that negativity. Some who speak negativity the loudest are just attention seeking. They can’t create so they hate. Pick your side as an artist.
Off to enjoy the day. Be good to one another!
Summer Saturday Random Ramblings
Okay here we are and it’s later in the day versus when I normally publish. I was lost in the day and I got to see many of the people I hold most dear. It was a simple day with no thought to the cost of a rain out on the day of pick ups. Yes. Since November when we had to bypass a series of scene shots due to conditions. What conditions? COLD. And we have action involving water. Long short was that from Nov until last week we worked away but knew we had left a man behind. That’s right – one of the story telling pieces was still needed/wanted? Either way we wanted to go that extra little mile for maybe an extra “Ohhh” or “Ahhh” to the viewers. I have to say that it ran smooth like clockwork. We had a skeleton crew about 1/3 the size. We all missed the other crew being there but this was the shuttle crew being sent down with a mission. Well mission accomplished. AND we might have gotten some great footage for our opening title sequence. So in a nutshell it feels good to have gathered that missing piece. Now with task completed and my onscreen character officially purged (Save any ADR if required) I felt and still feel great because when a project succeeds it directly benefits a slew of the artists involved. I think when you associate with quality and demand quality from yourself this opens you up to more quality opportunity. I see many people devoting high amount of energy to things that are improbable at best and more often impossible. I’m for all this growth. I’m happy when I get to work with young people who embrace both the arts and business. Many of the friends I had early on in the business fell to the road side or now reside in places of standing. Be kind to one another. Business… they can never take the art from you. But to survive as artists your work or the collective work must set you apart and create a demand. This leads me to again how proud I am of the “Ashes of Eden” crew. After an extended theatrical run in Lansing and ongoing in Grand Rapids we will soon be announcing Detroit area locations and perhaps a few other cities. We have started to have some contact from theater owners asking about our film.
“Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” shows 1-3 launched on Indieflix.com’s Afterdark Channel. Because the hot tropics might be too much for a few of you. I’m told we have an 85% approval rate and so the bikini angle worked:) Thank you all again!
A few other films we have moving through post production. The previously mentioned “Bestseller” should be assembled at month’s end and ready for final music and sound design. We did watch a rough cut and I think – well I think, it will scare people. Frightening movie my mom with probably not like it:)
“Dead Quiet” is sure to scare some folks. I’ve been trying to wait patiently for a trailer and my only guess might be they are targeting Halloween.
Also my man Jon Osman should be getting “The Terrorist” about complete. It is a slick film and I also think audiences will truly enjoy this NYC thriller.
“Donors” might be playing a festival or two this fall while we talk to distributors on that film. If you get a chance to come see Doctor Savior – please do:)
I will also leave you with this news – FACT – Some of the CDI library may be heading towards new releases. FACT – Jeff Kennedy, DJ Perry and Michael Walton have all had recent talks about KNIGHT CHILLS. Remake? Sequel? A TV Series? What is HAPPENING?
I’m actually excited as an actor that I don’t have any set obligation at this moment. I had talks on a few things but just not the right fit. I have to truly be inspired by the story and the character. So I’m enjoying the weekend. Don’t forget to give yourself a break once in a while. Enjoy those around us.
Theatrical News & Talking CDI Updates
As I sit here sipping a bit more hazelnut coffee I ponder all the things we could touch upon this week. I also want to take a moment and thank all my readers from different countries. We are all cut from the same cloth just different mountains, trees and grasses. I just returned from running around this morning that included a stop at SEARS. I was stopped by someone I didn’t know smiling and pointing before asking my name. ASHES OF EDEN bringing in new fans and I love it. I know many friends, family and fans who went to (some are there now) in the theaters watching the film. It has been fun having one of the films play in our hometown/state. Let’s talk about that a touch…
In 2002 we shot AN ORDINARY KILLER and the only HD digital projectors were in California and traveling with the National auto show. We encoded for it and rented one of those traveling projectors for just under a week. We had the best theatrical run with 3,400 people in 5 days with 12 sold out showings and one still over 200 seats sold. We took those numbers to LA and at that time it would be a transfer to film and creating film prints. Shipping on those things was big $ and so P&A money would have to be spent. The thing is that we beat Harry Potter in that theater run but the cost of a theatrical was beyond us.
In 2006 we shot our smokey mountain western “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” and we ran it an entire summer in conjunction with a theme park. We sold steady but in a limited area but for many, many weeks. I would have loved to play more theaters but we refused to go back to DVD/BlueRay projection. The HD projectors by this time 2007/8 were only between 500-1000 in the USA and that was reserved for studio films billing the new Digital as they would IMAX or THX – bottom line too expensive still.
Now it is 2014 and I’m happy to report most all modern theaters are digital and we now have an in-demand film. This run is a partnership run not a four wall (rent out) and we are able to supply content. The cost is more in line and now theatrical could be part of our revenue stream. We will be opening CDI Theatrical and looking back into the CDI library to do some special screenings.
I will be going with some friends tonight to watch what could be one of the last showings at Celebration Cinema. Remark that I said at Celebration Cinemas:) Also we will be playing the film in the Detroit area and beyond but you have to wait for the official word on all that. We also had yet another distribution deal step forward that includes some possible foreign. I’m just happy that we are at a level where we can bring high quality content in the same format as the studios. Stay tuned for much more CDI action to grace the big screen!
“Bestseller” pick ups are about all set. By the end of this next week we will be locked up. Now my one pet peeve of the week. Insurance which we’ve always carried from film 1 at CDI. First you need to acquire high end gear not the small cameras and so these vendors require this. Next – we carry protection for our cast/crews because this is the right thing to do. Now again because we try to do everything right, note I said TRY, it costs. I was taken back because a one day pick up quote was near the same rate as our 18 day shoot prior. Because a new policy has to be started versus reactivating one. Anyway, we will do what we must but again I would bet a slew of filmmakers out there are running without insurance. It’s all good until something happens and it will, eventually. So stepping up is just part of playing as a professional I say but to the many who want to call themselves professional – actions speak louder.
“Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventure” was suppose to start streaming on Indieflix.com yesterday. I would love to hear from anyone who subscribes and watches the 1st three shows. www.indieflix.com
I had some good development talks this week and a few more investors interested in this project or that. So once I get past this final pick up on “Bestseller” I’ll be ready to look at some new projects. I’ve been picking berries for an upcoming wine batch. We shared some good homebrew and wine with my mother and friends at her belated Bday gathering. We smoked a pair of pork shoulders for 8 hours and that turned out great. Okay. Now I’m hungry.
Have a great week ahead!
Post 4th Preview of the Week to Come
A morning of fresh coffee and the surrounding love that comes with peaceful Saturdays. Yesterday was a nice relaxing day whereas we smoked ribs for 7 hours and had a nice dinner. I did some mild puttering around the yard, workshop and office but nothing too taxing. Our neighborhood was relatively peaceful with just a few random BOOMS. The dogs all stayed pretty calm and it has been fun to watch Luke (Our dog that had surgery) enjoy the yard, the bed and other places he had previously been restricted from. Today I’m going to try and put in a screen door on the double french doors to my office. May the TOOL TIME spirits smile upon me. Today burgers and more relaxing seem to be the call of order. I had several business things that had built up on me at the week’s end so this morning I knocked those out. It included another distributor who wanted to see ASHES OF EDEN, acting reels sent around and some additional PR work. Now that is done and I can focus on all of you. Let’s jump into some film updates starting with the exciting theatrical info on ASHES OF EDEN.
ASHES OF EDEN Theatrical Updates
Please do check out our facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/ashesofedenmovie
If you haven’t heard we will be screening our film at Celebration! Cinema in both S. Lansing and Grand Rapids Woodland mall locations.
The Lansing screenings are July 11-20. The times are various with some days up to 3 shows a day. In Grand Rapids, we have been selected as one of just a few independant movies to screen as part of an Indie film series. Those screenings run July 14-Aug 28. Tickets can be purchased HERE.
It is very important to get as many tickets sold to these screenings to give a strong impression to potential distributors whom are waiting to see if our film has the legs to run. Please email, text, or bring a friend. We encourage you to spreed the message to your friends and family and thank you in advance.
We will have mechandise at the Lansing screenings for sale. DVD’s, T shirts and Posters. Look for these items to be for sale at the Lansing screenings and online soon.
For Detroit area, we are currently in the beginnings of talks with Emagine Theatres to screen our film there. If you have a theater chain in your area that would be open to a screening run please do pass their info along.
On “BESTSELLER” we now have our dates for our pick up and a few crew members will get an invite this week. I wish we could bring everyone back but we only need a few for this final shoot. At the end of this month the dates are set with us being up north the 28-31 with some prep, our shoot, wrap out and meetings as we prepare to lock a first cut of the film. We will do a test audience screening of the work in progress and if all good – off to music and sound.
In other good news – we released the PR on “Supermodel Showdown” TV series and the run of the 1st three shows. See here – http://www.prlog.org/12344397-supermodel-showdown-costa-rican-adventure-arrives-at-indieflix.html
More to come on this exciting news.
I also got word that the music work on “The Terrorist” is moving right along and also CDI Sales Group will start doing some submissions on the thriller “Donors” that has just rolled out of post.
I’ve had a few people ask me about upcoming acting roles. I went back and forth over a couple of local films but a deal just could not be made. It has to meet certain qualifications in quality, story and yes, pay. Right now I’m just excited about doing my final return on “Bestseller” and beyond that is anyones guess. I’ve got many people interested in me as they move their projects along but until ink is dry it is still open season. I do know how much work a film well received can bring but I always just look for the one for one. If one film performance brings one new film you will always keep working. I’ve got 6 films and a TV series rolling out this year to audiences and I’m happy with them all. I’m just not one to let the artists “itch” overcome me and cause me to jump on a project just to do it. I will save that enthusiasm up and as anyone who has worked with me knows, I’m serious about my work and I will bring 200% to a film role. So for now I’m just focused on Mark Franklin (Bestseller) and I will refocus after that on what is new/next. I’m also thrilled that family, friends and fans will be able to go see ASHES OF EDEN in the theaters. I’m proud of this film and so I’m asking you to check it out.
Well, I’m going to get another cup of coffee and go look over the garden and pond. I hope you all have a great weekend and be safe.
Release Updates & Helpful Tips
Hello and good morning from a balmy, yes I said balmy, Michigan. Yesterday was a good day getting the yard in order for a small gathering today. It was nice to do some straightening and decorating with our patio lights and such. The garden now has hops growing in it thanks to my brother and our veggies are sprouting nicely. We also gathered a couple of pounds of mulberries which will be for the next wine mixture. Maybe a raspberry/mulberry or just straight mulberry. The yard took a beating with the building of my home office/fort but is now looking very good. We have a wonderful yard full of wildlife. The addition of the pond creates yet another thing to comfort while pondering the next moves in our business. We added a few more fish and I think they like their new home. So let’s see, only two snaffoo’s (SP?)
1) After I grilled up some BBQ chicken yesterday, I was cooking up some steak bites left from a fondue a few days earlier. I forgot about them on the grill.
2) I also was going to set out some ham steaks for our ham/pineapple kabobs today. Forgot that too.
Let’s just say after working in the yard all day and food shopping until 1:00 am my mind wasn’t working at 100% – it’s showing its age:) I needed my legal pads:)
BREAKING NEWS – the theatrical showings are starting for “Ashes of Eden” and you can join others here in showing your support.
We are still waiting for corrected billing, trailer and poster on the theater site but ticket sales will be here.
I will likely be going to the Saturday 2nd day showing but I know that many of the film principals will be going for the Friday night kick off. I will be at a dear friend’s wedding dinner that night but may catch up for the afterglow. I know that plans are underway to also sell posters, DVD’s and I’ve even heard T-Shirts. It should be DONNIE on the shirt saying “I always have a plan” – that would be cool.
Also you will get the PR drop here 1st. Our “Supermodel Showdown, Costa Rican Adventures” TV series is getting a featured run on Indieflix’s AFTER DARK channel. We will be testing the first three shows and if the response is good we will release the final five. It is a fun, informative show with a nice dash of sexy. It is the lone project that I’ve actually directed and I think it is unique in that I had no idea that most reality shows were not reality based. This show really showcases what went into making the show as well as the show itself. It came out feeling like something maybe the SPINAL TAP folks would make. That is good with me:)
You can join here in anticipation and prepare to laugh and enjoy yourself.
Our “Bestseller” pick up date is being locked for our shoot. We’re starting to get what we need around to do this. The one nighttime water scene should be much warmer to shoot as I’m told the ice melted last week. I’m joking…am I?
I also had meetings with our partners on the “Donors” film and our CDI sales team will be pitching/selling that on the foreign market. “The Terrorist” also has a composer on board and will be moving towards that final picture.
Let’s see – aside from that if I was going to share any advice points from the week –
1) IF you contact a business contact of mine and try to sell our business relationship as something more than what it really is know that you will likely be made to look foolish when that contact calls me direct to get the real scoop.
2) If you are asked to give solid feedback on a proposal/script and the day you provide that feedback you’re also endorsing a project of obvious sub par quality – NOTE: That can directly affect how people view the quality of your opinions/viewpoints.
3) Hard work will get my attention while asking for handouts will not.
Okay, I may have missed a few things but I have some stuff still to do today so I’m going to leave you with these words. A few good updates and a few informative pointers. I also have another soccer match tomorrow which will be HOT but fun. I also hope our USA team keeps moving forward in their cup quest.
Have a great Saturday!
My Birthday Plans & Drops on Upcoming Distribution
After a few days of rain and storms we have a beautiful day upon us. I was out and about this morning and found a few great items for the office. Yes, maybe they would be more suited for the Knights of the Round Table, but so be it. Monday is my actual birthday and I’m looking forward to one of our only morning soccer matches Sunday. That night I’ll ring in my Birthday with some of my old school mates. The following Saturday I will have a small gathering to celebrate more properly since my birthday falls on a Monday this year. I’m looking forward to a relaxing day with some good food and family. Now let’s get onto a few entertainment updates…
A reality TV show that I directed a few years ago is finally getting a featured trial run next month. The first three shows will be shown and if the audiences responds well they want the full series. This company will also represent the series to 3rd parties worldwide. There will be a press release on this mid-week once everything is completed. I’m excited to just have this journey shown as it truly was fun and entertaining and I think others will also enjoy it.
Also a PR release will roll out VERY shortly on “Ashes of Eden” that was recently offered a Michigan theatrical deal. That is now in play and the film will start in two cities (Lansing & G.R.) and may expand from there. The showings will start the 2nd week in July – so stay tuned! Meanwhile, we’ve been getting more interest and offers in the worldwide distribution rights of the film. It’s a lot of back and forth but I think we’re making some real progress. I’m excited to see where the film ends up but without a doubt it will end up where you audiences can take a watch. We had a BIG movie producer give high marks on the production value and performances. That in itself could lead to another offer.
The dates on the pick up shoot for “Bestseller” are firming up and we’ve had a few solid meetings to get this ball rolling. It’s only a few small puzzle pieces we need to shoot but they are important in the overall. The first trailer has really sparked some new interest in the film. I’m excited to finish this one up because I think people will really enjoy it.
I also just watched the full screener on the thriller “DONORS” that is about to start making the rounds to distributors. I have some meetings over this completed property next week as well. SPOOKY FILM:)
“The Terrorist” locked picture looks money and I’m excited that the final music and sound design process is now beginning. The director is very happy and wants me to participate in his next feature and TV series. I would be honored to work with him again, BINGO:)
Things have been quiet on “Dead Quiet” front but I’m in hopes that a trailer will be released soon. The movie should be very scary and I know I have several fans out there who appreciate those films.
In regards to acting – I’ve got some really big things developing with my management company. It will be fun to see how that all unfolds but some TV guest spots and appearances in studio motion pictures could soon be at hand. I’ll be ready to look at new acting projects once this “pick up” shoot on “Bestseller” is over at the end of July. Some good developments with my writing projects that could lead to producing/acting work. I’ve got more paperwork to review but I’ve been impressed by the business efforts of a company that wants to do an association with CDI. I like that they are willing to put in the hard work versus just trying to kickstart some free handouts. That usually leads to trying to make a film on a few thousand dollars and mostly ends up looking that way.
So with all this said – I’m off to work in the yard, the office and to do some grilling. I’m close to completing another trip around the sun and I’m okay with that. Life is good with great friends, family and being blessed to do what I truly love doing.
I hope you all have a great weekend.
Show Me & I’ll Show You – Plus Distribution Updates
I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and the sounds of geese and morning birds are singing. Yesterday I got the back yard all mowed up and today we are working on the flooring of the office/fort. The pond, the garden (which has its first bean sprouts) – all these natural wonders that I try to surround myself with as I go through my day-to-day. Yesterday also included a meeting over ASHES OF EDEN distribution on a patio with sushi. I’m happy to say we have our first distribution offers on national domestic on the table. Now comes a process of looking at pros and cons and looking at our entire battle plan. We also have some foreign interest that could turn into solid offers very soon. One of the things I felt really good about was the comments that they gave on the production value that they stated was extremely high. They deal with a 100 films a week in submissions and it was a great nod to all our artists. You have to find folks with the talent and inspire them to give their absolute best. Every time I hear ACTION! I give nothing but my very best. It doesn’t matter if I’m being paid $1,000 or $10,000 you still give it all. When a group of artists all do the same thing the results can be well…
“BESTSELLER” is a great example of REPEAT! Not a crime drama but a dark thriller but same breed of passionate artists who again are inspired to turn out quality. The 1st trailer has gotten lots of exposure and the 1st distribution interest. We now have our shot list of pick ups and that will be budgeted and we will schedule this one day pick up. I’ve been getting myself back into my previous role and I’m excited to play Mr. Franklin one more time. It will be nice to be up North and see friends again while completing our art. Our music and sound design deal is in place and we are ready to bring this one home by years end. Look for a fall premiere!
Advice taken from my dealings – If you’ve made a deal on something in writing don’t try to re-visit in the 11th hour. Also live by what the final deal is. Example – I knew a writer/director/filmmaker who was submitting around a business summary. In it was a bio whereas the filmmaker had himself credited as a Co-Producer on some large projects. So I had people vetting (background check) this person and nowhere could these credits be found. As I sincerely liked this person I confronted them about this. His response was about ghost writing and a verbal on a co-producer credit…blah, blah… I told him that nobody knows all that drama and if that was the deal it should have been put in writing and done deal. When someone cross checks and they don’t see a credit on a film, movie/poster billing block they just see a liar. Don’t be that person. Many won’t care about you enough to even bring it up but if you are trying to get someone involved and they find false info – look to be rejected. This also applies to name dropping. If I had a dollar for every time someone name dropped and I know the person – I mean can call them – I would have a nice handful of cash. Just be real. I’ve read websites whereas they encourage people to try underhanded tactics. Actor wants footage – get to know the editor. HINT: An editor that releases footage without production permission is open to being fired, sued and black-balled. Nice advice website – and the actor could get the same treatment. I’ve never worked with an editor that foolish but I guess they exist. Actors desperate enough to try it – ah many…but don’t. Patience. You are not part of a hobby 48 hour film short contest. These are business ventures with marketing and distribution plans and lots of money on the line. You want your footage while the film is still being edited go do a student film. That is what they are for but I’m just saying actors – be wise.
I had a nice talk with a director over a comedy film. We talked schedule and such and it may work out. But you want to sincerely connect. Initially I was talked to about two roles. The script was sent after I did a sketch read – meaning a few choice lines NOT 14 pages. They will not invest giving me a script until they like my reels or a sketch read. If they like that I ask for a full script. Why? Because if I don’t like the full script or think it will turn out poorly I would rather work in the garden instead. Ask to see a directors reel – they want to see yours. It’s a two-way street. Now if you like the script make sure you connect with a character. Back to that example – after reading the script one role didn’t feel right to me. The other I really felt I could bring something to the role. I’ve often chosen a supporting role after being offered the lead because it fit better. So I’m not sure if it was a surprise but when I said I would not play the one lead role even if offered I think it strengthened my given interest in the second role. It wasn’t a game I was dead serious. I want them to make a good film. I want to perform a great role. It all has to fit together. Some people will take anything just to belong and I’m just not about that. When I sign on I bring all my energy with it. I don’t take that lightly.
These are all elements I try to use in my own productions I supervise and I think that is what helps direct these projects towards quality. Throwing a name actor in a wrong role makes others stand up and notice the mess of a film you created. Make a strong film and use that name actor wisely where they are proud of the work and they will always be there for you.
OK. Refill on my coffee and I’m going to get ready for food and fort/office work. We have a soccer match tomorrow and the sun will be shining. Have a great weekend with family and friends.
BESTSELLER Trailer, ASHES of EDEN theatrical and more…
Okay! I made it. It was an early morning of activity that ended with us getting everything we need for the garden. The seeds, the plants and everything to get that underway. The pond that we finished now has fish in it and I love the little solar fountain that creates such a relaxing sound. The backyard is really coming together which is nice because that is where many of the recent film meetings have been happening. It was interesting that I recently read an interview with music producer Rick Rubin and much of what he had to say were lessons I apply to my life. The best meetings don’t happen around a boardroom table and controlling your environment allows your energy to flow positive. I think that is something many people find attractive. I had several meetings with a director on a soon-to-be-released feature that I’m a producer on and also co-star in. I was watching the edit and giving notes and suggestions. We really came up with a few good ideas to add layers to the film. He commented on how he enjoyed our talks because they always left him feeling positive and full of inspired ideas. That is what we as artists should do and in the best collaborations that is what happens. Not ego-wars and bullshit drama but solid strides and passing of creative ideas. This particular director is excited to work together again on his next feature and a TV show that he has in the works. Life is too short for bad working relationships and so if you are in one – finish your obligations and part ways with sincere well-wishes.
I’m sure many out there are not tuning into my blog to listen to my rambling on gardening:) Let’s get to some film updates…
“BESTSELLER” – The 1st trailer for this thriller based upon Christopher Knight’s book of the same name is DONE. Tomorrow we will be releasing a PR release with the link to the trailer. So watch the BESTSELLER FB page and such for this official release. I’m very proud once again of the cast and crew made up mostly on Michigan folks doing work at the international level. https://www.facebook.com/BESTSELLERTHEMOVIE
We have had early interest from distributors and so I’m excited to give them the look they have all been waiting on. Oh! And you too – the audience:)
“ASHES OF EDEN” continues to move forward with distributors. This week we had a few respond with their interest. We have some meetings being set that will be our first rounds of negotiations to see who can provide the best home. We also have some exciting news coming this week about the 1st Michigan theatrical releases. We have a deal on the table and pen and paper should meet this week. Once that is done a press release with full details will be forthcoming. Multiple theaters, multiple screens, multiple weeks, multiple showings – very exciting stuff for all involved.
Lots of development work is underway with many investor talks, script reviews and such. As we get these post production films into their final stages it will be exciting to get into production with a new slate of film work.
Enjoy your weekend. I’m off to sow some seeds to reap at a later date. That is what you should do in your creative life also. Sow the seeds of good honest collaboration. Sow seeds of mutual respect and hard work. Sow seeds of always giving someone more than what they paid for. Sow seeds of not cutting corners, holding yourself up to higher standards and taking pride in your work. Do this and your personal garden will be filled with bountiful rewards later down the path.
Losing Training Wheels, Donors 1st Showing, Making a Classic
It is truly the journey not the destination in the grand adventure of life. A friend of mine who I called to catch up with had news that set me back. His father had unexpectedly passed away. This was the year of starting a retirement and of course he thought he had many more years of enjoying and learning from his father. That was not to be. As I like to say, losing parents seems like losing training wheels. Prior to this I was having my daily issues usually with patience at some timeline that was off or a communication I was waiting upon. I tell people that many folks could not lead the artist’s life whereas you don’t always know where that next paycheck is coming from. Now it is exciting when you get a nice lump sum or you hob nob with some other famous folks but there is a balance to it all. The following day my father and I were to have lunch and he insisted on picking me up. He rolled up on his Harley and we went on a couple hour ride in the country looking at all the places he grew up. Truthfully, it was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. As a young child I use to wait for him to come home from work so we could go for a ride on his motorcycle. It was one of those full circle moments and also a deep appreciation for what I still had in a mentor and a sorrow for what my friend was now missing. So I guess my point is for all you driven artists inflicted with that ego driven urge to create art that will be seen and possibly appreciated – don’t forget what is in front of you. I know my father would likely be happier if I had a normal JOB but he also is proud of the character of his son who can thrive in my environment. I deeply cherish my friends and family and most of them haven’t seen half my films. I’m alright with that because I have my support for that in my fans. I appreciate the personal support that comes in laughter, insight on life and remembering the past. This fills my cup.
TODAY is the premiere of “DONORS” the thriller that I play a shadowy role in:) IF you are in Yuma, AZ area and want to see a cool indie thriller – please do. All info is right here https://www.facebook.com/events/649394905132609/
I want to give a BIG congrats to Niki Saletta who carries that film almost single-handedly.
We are getting close to announcing active development on a new associated film. It will shoot somewhere down South and has some development to finish but script work is coming along. I want to speak to some distributors in the coming weeks about it and also BESTSELLER that fits the demographic.
BESTSELLER is gearing up for planning on our pick up day. We will gather our clips and get this film moving onto the next phase. I’m waiting on the shot list from our director and editor. I’m excited about this because I’ve seen the footage and know what we have and seeing beautiful Northern Michigan even for a day or so will be great.
I had a wonderful email sent to me from an 8th grade history teacher Wade who uses “Wicked Spring” as a teaching aid in his 8th grade students. I think that is one of the best compliments as a filmmaker. That film has played network TV, played in the UK and sold hundreds of thousands of dvd’s and that was made over a decade ago. Now with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War I’m happy that we have made a “classic”. I’ve had a handful of emails from around the country about the performances and the picture of life in that time that we painted. Kevin Hershberger, Curtis Hall, Anthony Hornus – the entire cast and crew can be proud of the storytelling job. It was my grandmother’s favorite film and in a career lifetime you hope to have a handful of these. I recently also had that happen with “Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town” which could be on its way to a similar status. Strive for this and it may happen – only the audiences can make it so. I know that “Heaven’s Neighbors” has been used in classroom settings to illustrate mental illness. It is a grand ability to entertain and educate. So for crews working hard when the going is rough – if you are working on a project with heart, the right dose of business – you might be part of cinema history. Cast – there is no throw away roles – you should live, love and be the role you take on. This fan mail that included how many young minds were being taught via our storytelling was one of my weeks high points.
My script review continues on a few projects presenting acting offers. All of them are period pieces which is pretty cool in my book. Development continues on a few projects including gathering investors and setting up locations. Our sales team is in talks to bring the CDI library to many new foreign territories. “Ashes of Eden” distribution talks continue. All in all a very productive Spring whereas I’ve been holding court on the patio in the sunshine. I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable long weekend. I think I’m going to smoke or grill my first full duck (Thank you Shane Hagedorn). The garden got tilled (Thank you Stacy Hagedorn for the Mantis use) and I worked on the pond which we will fill today and add some water plants. Spend some time with your love ones and we’ll get back at it next week!
Keep clawing your way to the middle:)
New Projects & Licensing Deals
Hazelnut coffee is flowing on a chilly May morning. I’m going to blog out these couple thoughts and updates before going out and about this morning. It’s been a good week of business with the weather limiting yard work. We’ve had our fair share of rain this week and that is helping our grass seed to grow nicely. I actually was in talks this week on a many new film projects and I will focus in on a few here soon.
I have before me multiple scripts – WW2, an ancient period piece, a comedy, a western all circling me. I do need to pick one day to do some major reading. I announced last week that I have new management and already I’m working with her on approaching a few studio projects. These projects are directed by some big talents and it would be a true honor. A few of the scripts come from my independent brothers and sisters and so this week I will review, discuss and we’ll see what projects fit me best. I do have a one day pick up on “Bestseller” so soon I’ll be revisiting Mark Franklin for a day. We will start some initial planning on that next week. * TEASE: The trailer is getting close to release and I’m thinking June 1st:) You heard it here first.
There is a big meeting this Tuesday over a project I’ve optioned off. From the talks last week it is looking like it is going to happen and they were asking about me joining their producer team. They did their research and saw some of my acting/producing work. We will see this week how that all shakes out.
I do need to do more of an “open house” and see what gear and such is here locally. We do have a few short form projects on deck. By short form I mean music video and promotional videos. I’m looking for shooters with their own gear and so I will start to look at what a small local team would look like.
Yesterday we had an offer on one of the films come via a 3rd party distributor for China, which is one of the BIG emerging territories. I’ve known this distributor for a long time and they pay out but why their licenses are so darn low I’ll never know. I licensed the same film for much more to another territory. We will see what happens but China is also an option for us in the near future. Most recently “ASHES OF EDEN” was discussed as a possible.
Speaking of…”ASHES OF EDEN” is out to many distributors and we are still sending to more while we decide what the next moves are. We have some PR reviewers that are reviewing now. We may show at a few festivals, but licensing is my main focus. I had to preach some patience as it takes a while to seek and make the right deal. Many cannot even get a distribution deal but getting a deal that yields money is another task all together.
We are in talks with several territories and I’m excited to keep licensing, licensing, licensing!
OK. I need to hit the coffee well again and prepare for a nice day out and about.
I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday!