I’ve got the hot hazelnut coffee by my side as I ease into writing these few words to share with all of you. New readers from Spain – welcome.
So I’m going to share something from my process of character creation. I’ve grown comfortable with my long hair and even my beard of various lengths. From Donnie in ASHES OF EDEN to Mark Franklin in BESTSELLER. Add in the identity that comes with playing Jesus or mountain man Ben Lily. The prep for the new role is for an injured military vet. I decided with some time to spare I would destroy the ego/self and go boot camp. I did not serve in the military and not sure that with my flat feet I could have. But holding onto the bearded long-haired look was holding me back. So I decided I was going to remove that. I did not WANT to cut my hair. I did not WANT to go clean-shaven. Especially as the air gets colder in Michigan and in a few weeks snow will fall. I thought about the ego of someone like Elvis who entered service and the pics of his haircut. I needed to break myself down. So I deemed this haircut as a NEED for the character but not a wanted thing. So my significant other helped with possible haircuts military in style. I did not like any of them because I did not want the cut. What I did want was that feeling new recruits went through when they got all their hair cut off and they became part of a unit/team/company of soldiers. So I had the cut done. I felt vulnerable with the shorn hair. I was not happy with my decision but beneath it all I was happy. I was far from Jesus, Ben and all the longer haired roles. See I think my girl thought I was doing it to feel good about myself. Many get hair cuts to feel good about themselves. I did it to destroy my current self. To create a new base to build Paul, whom I will play in the upcoming MBF film. This brought about an interesting conversation about change of looks. I was asked if I ever consider her in my hair choices. The answer was no. It has always been based on movie roles for 20 some years now. I’m always in development of some character. But it was interesting because I think many people do care about how they appear. I only want truth in the character. Does that constant change affect her? Perhaps. I guess because I do it for work reasons I never give it any thought. She asked what if I wanted a pixie hair cut and tattoo on her chest, would I care? I guess I’m open to allow people to express themselves. I like people who wear/look how they want to. I assume she picks styles based on what her work allows and what makes her feel good. Here I am cutting my hair against my own will to break myself down. To strip away the old and allow new growth. Not just in hair but in character. So a lot of credit to those non-industry significant others who have to deal with us and our character creation. So from this point on I’m growing into that new role. I just realized how different I think from many others. I don’t give a rats ass about the brand of clothes. I’ve been to India and I know the real cost of textiles. I know the mark up that these companies put on your favorite garments. I don’t believe the clothes makes the man but the man makes the clothes. I think if you judge me wrong because of a hair style, your loss. The other reason I pushed to do the cut this week was soccer. We won one of the most exciting soccer matches last week in round one of the soccer play offs. A fluke goal at the start put us behind. We settled in and took back control including scoring and making it a tie. With only 2 minutes left they scored. A minute or less and we attacked and scored with only seconds left. A shoot out that went to the fifth penalty shot kick and we WON. Tonight under the lights is the semi-final game. I’ve been using a headband to keep my long hair out of my eyes. Now I have full range of vision and I’m ready to focus on getting to that final game. Okay. Onto some film updates.
After a long wait the first official poster is HERE. I’m excited to finish this film. It will be done this year and if we can get done early enough we will look at a cast and crew screening. The music and sound design is going great. We just have 10 seconds of VFX work that is being worked on.
THE QUEST TRILOGY
VFX is the main push on THE CHRIST SLAYER. We’ll be rolling out the first official poster on this project in the coming weeks. Once VFX is dropped in we’ll fine-edit the picture and in Jan. 2018 it moves into music and sound design for 3 months.
CHASING THE STAR is in the marketplace and along with Part 1 FORTY NIGHTS will get the holiday push. I was looking at all the films on Amazon and it put a smile on my face. I’m so proud of all the artists. If you’ve watched and enjoyed the films leave a review on http://www.imdb.com (Film title) or amazon.com or wherever. I cringed when I saw our director asking on social media because it always brings the trolls, haters and such to leave their mark. But these mudslingers just smack an entire group of artists. I mean even in a bad film clip I can usually pick out some positive. I recently watched a clip edited by an associate I know – it featured some good locations but made me cringe when it came to some flashback footage. It takes as much energy to do something right as wrong. I would rather not call these people out as they’re doing something and improvement comes from doing. I also don’t feel in competition with anyone save our last project. I try to improve the work flow that often improves the final film. This example I’m thinking of was a failure of either the writer or art department. Know what you’re writing about. If I’m playing a Marine in the next film, I make sure it’s CORRECT. And if it is not 100% correct it should be close. Get the right consultants. There are many who will gladly help so that their history is not made a joke on-screen. Trust me as someone who has done many period films – it’s added work but so worth it at the end.
The new project by CDI is in full swing. Our first investors are giving their interest and casting is coming to a close. We’ll be announcing our two major keys this week. Anthony Hornus will be directing with Jesse Aragon serving as director of photography. We held on that PR due to the WILD FAITH poster announcement. We’ll start announcing cast over the next couple of weeks. I can say we have a powerful cast lined up. Stay tuned.
I’m going to call it for the day. The coffee cup needs refilling. I have a few errands to run and I need to mentally prepare for our game today. I hope you all have a great conclusion to your weekend and a productive week ahead.
Be good to one another.
Hello my friends out there. I’m writing this on Friday night to release around midnight because tomorrow is busy. We’re having the 2nd of basically three Thanksgivings or family gatherings. I’m not a huge fan of the history of the day but that is neither here nor there – the day has become one to gather with loved ones and be thankful. I can get behind that and so I’ve been enjoying some family time. I’ve been sneaking business in on these off days. Let’s see what we’ve been up to…
The producers decided to make Part 1 of the story FREE. Wrap your face to protect from the harsh sands and enter the WASTELAND!
“Knight Chills” deal was signed and so book cover/film artwork will begin. I also got some time to write on the sequel. We’ve had some cool talks with a few keys involved in this sequel.
Once we get this going we will look at “From Venus” to see what can be done there. We just have so much more technology at ours hands now. Some of these earlier films did not have all the bells and whistles we wanted. It will be fun to revisit some of these worlds.
The national release dates we are hearing –
“Donors” – Feb 2nd, 2016
“Bestseller” – May 3rd, 2016
“Ashes of Eden” has a new street date pushed in light of a TV deal. That announcement I’m told will release from distributor on Tuesday.
A few development talks on our next project with Jesse Low. We’ll be announcing something on that maybe around Christmas. It will shoot in 2016.
The foundation of the “house” (film) “Chasing the Star” is about to be set. I had to get some paperwork around this past week. It is much easier to focus on paperwork when it is cold and wet outside. Coffee (David Hayes) and I just TCB’d. That is an Elvis saying that I take to heart. Taking Care of Business. I try.
Had good negotiations on a script that’s being re-optioned. I got half way through one script I was reading. I started the book I was sent to look over for a film role. Aside from reading others work I’m closing in fast on a first draft of “I can’t tell you yet” but the 3rd script in the QUEST trilogy.
The 1st film “40 Nights” is about to be all pulled together. The intro, VFX, sound, music – all the elements. The last two steps will be color correct and final mix to 5.1 surround. We released a teaser about a week ago. This was a small test snippet after already releasing the official trailer. Check it out on the “40 Nights” Facebook site and JOIN US:) Everyone is excited to see this film as a finished project.
We’ve also been digitizing the CDI library. Many of the films were stored on tapes of various types. One had to have some fixing. Thank you Scott! We have offers extended on more TV play so we’ll be presenting for 2016. Some of the films are getting a great repackaging – VOD did not exist when some of these films released. Also some have not had a BluRay release yet. So lots of fun stuff with the earlier films. We still have lots of people watching “Darkest Night,” “7 Stones” and many others. Thank you for reaching out.
“Bestseller” is getting ready to release early December in Grayling, Michigan. I’m working on Kalamazoo and Detroit area still. We’ll keep playing it leading up to the national release. The film plays great on the big screen. I also can say that “Bestseller” was the film that cemented the upcoming “C.U.J.O.” role. Is that a hint? I don’t think so. Maybe?
Lastly, in 2016 we’re going to try and launch an online store, theater and such. CDI will keep evolving and working on collective developments:)
Have a great weekend. I hope my alumni school MSU has another good week on the grid. Our Lions made us proud on Thanksgiving – great job!
Be good to one another out there.
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!
Happy 2013 to EVERYONE!
The Holiday season was a good one and we are wrapping up the last of our festivities this weekend. I’ve already been at some work this past week getting done what I can with most of Hollywood out for another week. That said, we’ve had several good meetings on post work for “Ashes of Eden” and not only has editing started but we are just a week maybe from releasing the 1st teaser! I think the artists will all be excited. I’ve had meetings over CDI commercial division and the development of certain projects. We’ve been getting deliverables around for two of our films going to TV this past week also. I had to strip off and re-load Skype on my Mac so I can be ready for some meetings. Several are over “Darkest Night” and the other Asian-based projects. We have some work underway with S. Korea and others for distribution and development.
“Deadly Renovations” announced some new artwork and that it would be releasing into Denmark, Sweden and other territories in that region. “Donors” released its first trailer and is moving into sound/music phase. We also hinted at one our next collaborations entitled “E & Me” which is a story I wrote and started the script a few years ago. I worked work Charles & Ace from the “Deadly Renovations” project to finish the script. We have a battle plan and so 2013 will see a new film finish (“Donors”) and a new film shot. (“E&Me”)
This week we should be making an official announcement about the upcoming release of “Locked in a Room” domestically in the US/Canadian markets. There has also been some development talk about what project will shoot next with At Risk Entertainment. I know some camera tests have happened and the script is being worked on by Larry Simmons.
“7 Stones” will likely see some more Michigan TV play while we shop it to the world TV networks. I had some early interest and we will see what lies ahead for this little film that packs a big emotional punch! “Realizism” another featurette will release in limited theaters and on DVD in April. “Benjamin” after playing Egypt is now gearing up for a limited theatrical before a wide release. Carlucci Weyant and I have had talks about other potential collaborations and we will see what develops.
“Book of Ruth, Journey of Faith” continues to sell well and we are preparing to launch into pre-production on another pair of biblical era films. Speaking of bible – I’ve been growing the beard and a teaser/trailer for “In Our Time” could be at hand. This powerful script is moving down B4Tyme’s production slate. I’m really looking forward to “Henry Ford” which if things line up will shoot in 2013. Besides my acting involvement CDI is going to handle the “Making of” on these films. Due to the fact that we’re a Michigan company the idea of doing something on Henry Ford is very exciting.
I had the pleasure of going through the holidays without some character screaming to get out of my head. But now that we’re into 2013 and I’ve started to look at a few roles. I’ve been communicating with a few directors out there and so we will see what happens. I’m ready! Write, Act, Develop, Produce, Post, Distribute… All good work and so let’s prepare to story tell once again in 2013!
Best success in the New Year!
What a wonderful Holiday season! The end of the year is always a great time to relax, reflect and redefine the plan of action. We worried that we might get stuck with some green Christmas but the day before we had BIG fluffy snow that created a winter wonderland:) Good meals with family and friends catching up with one another and buying gifts that someone else might not get for themselves. Flannel lined-Cargo pants are one of my favorite gifts and if you’ve never worn them – I endorse. Some nice gifts for the new office and two great pair of slippers. The most unexpected gift was from my buddy since 1st grade who gave me a BRUCE LEE “Game of Death” bathrobe.
The season has been filled with quality chats with various film associates. “Donors” trailer released and we’ve hinted at the next collaboration between CDI and P-Productions in Yuma. It is an Elvis theme road trip film. A major casting call for the co-lead is gearing up. If you can go Clark Kent water-treatment salesman to hip swinging Elvis on stage – you might be our lead. Details will be coming shortly into the new year. The deal on “Deadly Renovations” selling into a new territory is done and we will be announcing also in January. Hint: I may have traveled there in my previous travels:)
“Ashes of Eden” is now editing. We also should get our 1st look in the form of a teaser very soon. We are also in development on a slate of new projects to produce with Shane Hagedorn. The association was very successful and let’s discuss a few reasons why.
HUMBLE – I’m humbled everyday by learning something new that I was not aware of. This quality is valuable and sincere and is a good foundation to build upon.
BUDGET MINDED DIRECTOR – You cannot work with a director who just wants what he wants and hell be damned what it does to a budget.
KNOW THE GAME – Biz trumps Show this means the few choices that are made for business success are respected. We don’t make films just for friends or family. We don’t make films for the 1,900 social media friends we may have. Example: “BOOK OF RUTH” DVD exposure views alone are 500,000 range. GHOST TOWN over a million. I respect the social media and use it BUT we make films for the masses beyond Facebook friends anyone might have. We make films for fans in the many foreign territories not for festival awards. We will use good festivals to introduce a film to audiences but our goal is to take them to market. Our teams realize that fully. So business decisions are very important and usually trump.
KNOW YOUR PLACE – Now the reverse of above. IF your idea/suggestion is NOT business related. It is a suggestion that may be different but not really better. Creative choices need to stay in the directors chair as much as possible. A good relationship will allow discussion whereas some input is taken and used. BUT if you start to feel as a producer that you want to make other creative decisions you might be in the wrong chair. Subjective ideas are just that and if mutual respect exists many of a producers ideas may be used. That said, a good producer will let a subjective idea go when it is just that – a different idea.
How can my script get involved with CDI?
The best answer is to bring it with as much money attached. We have many in-house screenwriters and I turn down many everyday. If it is a form letter I delete. A personal email I try to answer them. A script that is funded will be looked at. If the venture is vetted and is worth the collaboration a deal might be made to produce and distribute. Inside money will be spent on in-house productions by tried and true cast and crew. It makes no sense to go outside to unknown variables and factors.
Can CDI Distribute my Films/Project? The best situation is where you bring a funded project to the table BEFORE spending dime one. BEFORE shooting anything. Distribution is a business and there is production and development aspects that play into distribution. Casting and quality level being the top issues. I know of a few friends that didn’t ask me any questions, advice or proposed involvement UNTIL they can’t sell their project. Than I get this dropped in my lap and asked basically “Can you fix this?” NO. So if you have a project funded and you want to work with us – come to us at the start.
How can I act in a CDI project?
I write in this blog in advance of PR releases and such. Also http://www.cdiproductions.com often will put crewing and casting info up. It is no secret that when we cast we use REELS 1st before doing any on-camera reads. We used this on ASHES OF EDEN and we had an amazing cast. So get your materials updated and get your footage.
Crew of CDI Projects
Location often does play into things but also going to battle with tested warriors is always good. If you keep the drama on the screen and do your job to your best effort – you will likely work with us on multiple projects. If you are someone who creates problems just to solve them or feeds on/off drama – not likely a good fit with us. We usually hire on accountability. By this I mean a 1st that hires a 2nd. A key that recommends a best boy – if we hire someone “untested” it has to be off the word of someone who accepts accountability. If you are someone who can’t go drama free for a few short weeks or can’t take the pressured work – another career for you.
Well I hope some of these answers to commonly asked questions helps. 2012 was a great year and 2013 will be even better. I look forward to seeing some of you again, meeting others of you for the first time and making some art for the fans. Even when you get past the middle keep clawing as if.
Happy New Year Ahead! 2013!