I want to sincerely welcome everyone out there for joining me again at ‘Clawing my way to the Middle” blog. I had a multitude of topics to discuss but events of the last few days have put my head in a spin. On a personal note I lost all my grandparents years ago but have enjoyed having that relationship with my lady’s grandparents. One of them passed away last week. She was 89 which is a full life but it still leaves a hole. She was a great supporter of our films especially the biblical adventures. Unfortunately she did not get to watch THE CHRIST SLAYER part 3 of our trilogy. We talked about it last time we were together. So I’ve had a few trips up North and will spend a few more days this week up there for visitation and the memorial.
As if that wasn’t bad enough a dear and close friend and associate lost his home in a fire. Also lost were the family pets and that is just devastating to hear about. This week it will be about helping him get back onto his feet. Luckily he himself did not perish in the fire but my heart goes out to him.
I had planned to discuss a topic with acting but after all the tragedy it has lost some of the punch. Basically I considered a role in a feature and was even willing to do a sketch read of the character from sides. The issue is that in ALL situations I will sign an NDA (Non disclosure agreement) so I can read the entire script/story. I know few successful actors that will jump on a project sight unseen unless they have immense trust from previous work. Their position was that a script will be provided once talent is signed on. Ummm…once you’re trapped contractually. But many actors due to lack of choices do just that – sign on sight unseen. I’m too far down the path to do such a thing. Also a director will a major lack of experience and it was a polite pass. Value yourself and know what you’re getting involved with. I do wish them luck on their storytelling endeavors.
I did agree to do two commercial voice over jobs. It pays well and I don’t have to get a hair trim. Anyone need a viking in your film or TV show? That’s me right now. LOST HEART is also developing nicely. As you all know we announced our director Jesse Low (Wild Faith, Forty Nights) and our star Melissa Anschutz playing country music star ‘Hannah Sweet’. She is returning home to her small Northern Michigan town of LOST HEART for her father’s funeral. This week we’ll be announcing Dean Teaster as the father Harrison. Also amazing actor David Gries will be announced as playing the younger version of Harrison in a few very important flashback scenes. So again you got the early skinny here. Later this coming week I will go page by page with our director and lock up a shooting script.
MBF: Man’s Best Friend – I have a first cut of the film edit. I did a first review for the story and it’s powerful. It got me at the end of the film emotionally. We need to review and trim for pacing but the story is there and it’s powerful. I was so proud to see the great work by everyone. A couple of weeks of trims before the next phase.
This past week we’ve been promoting the current digital release of THE CHRIST SLAYER and the upcoming March 4th DVD release. Also April 19 the film will play select theaters across the USA. I’m very proud of this film. As with every film when we get to credits we go over and over and try to put as many eyes on it as possible. But we always make an error of missing a name or more likely misspelling a name. It’s why we run the end credits by so many people. I was unhappy to learn that one of our incredible actresses had her last name spelled wrong. So Brittany Risner my deepest apology. The DCP theatrical is loaded, DVD’s are in the warehouse and digital is released. That film was so massive with VFX and digital info that it took days to render it. There is just no fix to the issue but I wanted to openly apologize here.
The film minus the ‘Jesus haters’ is getting a great reaction. I state it again, you don’t need to be a Christian to enjoy the stories of Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments or any other biblical stories. Also these films are not biographies or meant to be some historical documentary films. They are parable stories with lessons taken from the teachings of Jesus, presented in a unique and artistic way. No more. If you have not seen it yet I ask that you take a watch. The films are different from what you usually see on the topic I assure you. The first two films FORTY NIGHTS and CHASING THE STAR can also be found on Amazon Prime.
WILD FAITH is also preparing to ride into theaters next month March 23rd. I will be publishing cities and screens for both THE CHRIST SLAYER and WILD FAITH once provided. We’re also preparing some PR for this fine film that includes the addition of our added story narrator. I will again be publishing cities and screens once that info is provided.
I had planned to chit-chat more on various topics but my mind is on some of the recent events. I’m feeling good about the various CDI releases and I’m excited to get my notes over to our director and editor on MBF. Check in at http://www.cdiproductions.com during the week. We will be posting a few casting notices there in the next week or two.
Enjoy the balance of your weekend and have a great week ahead.
The sun is out and the hazelnut coffee is flowing. WHAT A WEEK! First I want to welcome our new readers from Romania. Our international group of artists is expanding with each week. For a few weeks now I’ve managed to stay a step or two ahead of the sick bugs striking people down. Family and friends with children and those working around large groups have been fallen ill. I’ve managed to stay the course and not get full-blown sick but my energy level has been tapped. Add the amount of business and the ‘Wild Faith‘ premiere kick off events and…walking a thin line.
Family and friends make the day extra special.
Our cast and crew premiere at Studio C was a wonderful event. I had one of those days I could not get warm all day. Body aches wanted to set in but I managed to pull it all together. Warmth was my fashion and so a nice warm sweater was just what the doctor ordered. It was this showing that meant the most because it was for everyone you see in the end credits. It was our investors, sponsors, cast and crew and I wanted them to be as proud of the work as I am. To say we had a positive reaction is a modest statement. This industry is hard with many projects that implode before take off or never get finished. The ones that do get completed often suffer from not being able to consistently keep the quality on-screen. That could be said about our earliest work but we always did the best we could with what we had. So many came in for the event which made it extra special.
We have a great CDI producer team and we would be unable to achieve what we have without these three – post supervisor Dennis Therrian and co-producers Melissa Anschutz and Anthony Hornus helping lead the charge.
The very next day was our public premiere with showings kicking off in Lansing and Grand Rapids. That was also just incredible and these are not the biased artists these are the paying public. The feedback from people I knew and did not know was overwhelming. I was happy I felt a touch better on Friday but Saturday was spent chilling and recovering. I even got to do some yard work which after our cold winter was enjoyable. “Wild Faith” will play twice a day 4:30 and 7:00 in both Grand Rapids (Woodland) and Lansing until Thursday unless they hold it over. It has been selling out the nighttime performance so we’ll see. We have even been getting members of the Living History community coming out in full period garb. How cool! Here is one of my favorite quotes from a Owosso Community reporter “The acting, location, and music causes a person watching this movie, made on a tight budget, to have the same experience as if they were watching an $80 Million-dollar movie.” – we try is all I can say on that.
Developing new directors is something I enjoy and this makes #2 with Mr. Jesse Low
As noted last week “Wild Faith” is up for 4 awards at the International Christian Film Festival in FL. Best Film, Lead Actor/Actress and Director. Right beside it is Part 2 of ‘The Quest Trilogy’ “Chasing the Star” with 5 nominations – Best Film, Most Inspirational, Best Actor, Best Score and Best Screenplay. This film and Part 1 “Forty Nights” is a great holiday watch for the Easter season. The screenplay nod is nice as I’m working to take on a few work-for-hire and also sell off a few screenplays I don’t plan to produce. If you’re looking to buy a script or hire a writer – let’s talk.
Music Video ‘My Ghost‘ Directed by Tomaki Boaz
The day before the cast/crew premiere I was given an opportunity to play a part in a music video for artist Trey Connor with a song entitled “My Ghost” that will release mid-April. I had a great time working with everyone. With this music video and the recent promotional before Christmas I’m opening myself to hiring out on things that interest me. My feature film work keeps me quite busy but always will work to try to make a schedule work if the art entices.
Like a sleeping giant “The Christ Slayer” part 3 of the trilogy is moving ahead. Work on the next trailer and the film itself are underway. Just know something special is in the works and will be heading to theaters 4th quarter this year.
MBF (Man’s Best Friend) is CDI’s next film and we’re so very close to closing up business on this powerful story. More “fuel” came in and more next week. The ship is getting close to launch and we’ll work hard to bring audiences again, a very special story. Many ways to get involved with your businesses too. Our partners at the Red, White and Blue Project are taking donations into their non-profit for their educational side of the film. I’m working hard with our team to complete funding by month’s end and move into official pre-production. This will be another great film in the CDI fleet.
For those who want more 1800’s please do watch our “Wicked Spring” playing Amazon Prime now. Also if you’ve seen “Wild Faith” or any of the films take a few moments on Amazon or IMDB to vote and leave a review. I’m going to leave all this right here. I want to thank the huge outpouring of support for these films. I loved each and every conversation I had with people after watching “Wild Faith” – thank you again. We had general audience members come in from other states to see this film. Also people driving in and making it an event. The story is greatly needed in this day and age and we hope that we entertain and bring a little fresh air into the conversations. Love over hate.
Meeting supporter Kim Harris at the public premiere
I was proud to have my family and friends join me in the send off for this newest film. As film artists we don’t always get to see all our fans. To cite an example one title has sold over 300,000 DVD’s and I likely don’t know 298,000 of them. So I’m excited for all the people I do not know who will enjoy the film(s). But it also makes it that much more special to shake a hand and hear about your favorite character/scene/part of a film. Know that each and every one of you we don’t know are appreciated. To our fans around the world – thank you.
It is the Holiday season and it really came on fast this year. I think with “Bestseller” being such a focus and picking up “Dead Quiet” at the year’s end time just moved. Luckily I am a prepared person (that producer in me) and so I stayed on top of shopping and wrapping and I’m right on schedule and budget. Does that surprise anyone? It was brought to my attention recently whereas someone wanted to know why I do my blog. It serves a few causes –
1st – Most artists are very self-absorbed into their own world and don’t realize that not everyone say outside the film business knows about or cares about what actually goes on. As I’ve said before many think it takes just a few days/weeks to do something. As a younger man I was able to take three steps back and realize that in part due to people’s interest I was always talking about what I was doing. Also, by choice I live in Michigan. When I was more actively going to industry events in Hollywood and even now I do meet/hang with stars, sports professionals and so on. To an outsider it can quickly sound like name dropping. I would get tired of repeating the same stories again and again to people. So it was first a journal of sorts on a fan site ran by an enthusiastic fan Pepper. From there I moved to the WordPress format. It is beautiful because family, friends or fans can read about my doings. At that point if people want to ask me pointed questions – cool. Otherwise I’m free to just relax and talk about life and other people and what THEY have going on. I do enjoy my trips to California or being on a film set or the office pow wow’s to talk business but my relationship with my non-industry friends has greatly improved. I also try to insert bits of advice and hard gained knowledge within the words. I try to be brutally honest and encouraging for those who MUST follow an artists path.
The week has been an interesting one in regards to many business deals closing and some moving closer to finalizing. I’ve had to oversee legal stuff on a few films. Communications with some foreign territories prepping for new 2014 licensing. “7 Stones” now on amazon DVD and soon VOD. “Darkest Night” PR as it gets ready to go to Hulu. Looking at finding a series home for ‘Supermodel Showdown” in 2014. Editing about to begin on “Bestseller” just as “Ashes of Eden” is about to be complete. “Donors” and “The Terrorist” are close to being done. A deal closing on a script/option to purchase which I will announce once the ink is dry. Updates on the HBO series development and new western project I’ve given my LOI on to star in. Additional films on a slate behind ‘Book of Ruth” look to be moving strongly forward. Some direct talks with a studio and also a few studio project discussions with my CA based agent. Overall I just have to say that I’ve got many things moving and after the holiday rest I will be ready to go full speed into 2014.
I’ll close this down with my last few thoughts on Christmas. My parents divorced many years ago and that alone has made scheduling Christmas hard. Now with my own house/family it has added another layer of scheduling difficulty and this year I’m breaking some tradition – which is very hard for me. But I’m making it a bit easier and enjoyable for myself. I’m a person who in my personal life really tries to make people happy. I like to keep an aura of good positive energy flowing around me. For years this time of year has been more rush, rush versus relax, relax but maybe this year will be more enjoyable. I had always made the sacrifice at home to help keep traditional things in place but now with my brother going to be a daddy in the spring that will be changing anyways. We are still having all our get together with the family I’m just making adjustments that give me a bit more peace.
On that note I will wish everyone peace and happiness during the holiday season.
Sipping the hazelnut coffee and taking a few moments with all of you out there. On the personal level I’ve enjoyed the explosion of goodness coming from the garden and this week on the full moon I started a batch of AUTUMN AMBER beer. I will bottle it before I leave to go shoot “Bestseller” and I will enjoy a few upon my return Nov. 3rd. It is a Killian’s Red like beer and I’m already teased by the smell. I think I may also have to do a batch of hard cider this fall. We saw victory in soccer last week and I also found some great treasures at a local flea market including a prop bag for my upcoming role as writer Mark Franklin. Let’s start there…
BESTSELLER – All I can say is what a great group of artists that we’ve already assembled. This film is really going to be great fun. We’ve tightened the script, we’re looking at new exciting locations, schedules, castings, crewing and preparing to tell something exciting. I’ve worked across from the film’s lead Melissa Anschutz in another short film entitled “7 Stones” and she is great. Her performance in the soon to premiere “Ashes of Eden” is going to throw her directly into the mainstream of leading ladies. We were both in the cast of that film but didn’t work off one another. This “Bestseller” will reunite that same synergy from “7 Stones” but with much more intensity. We will be launching a website soon and also announcing some key cast member. I’ve already had a few distributors ask about the film to which I replied “patience”:)
ASHES OF EDEN – We had our 1st post production meeting over sound FX placement and music beds. It was a great meeting and we plotted out the work for the next couple of weeks. We’re in the studio twice next week to plot the rest of the film out. This movie will be coming out just as “Bestseller” mentioned above is coming in. A sneak peek of the theatrical trailer was given and we had thousands of views from 36 countries. I want to thank all my international fans for your support. We will be doing another special peek and our interested distributors will also be given a first look. We have something very special because this trailer isn’t all the best moments thrown in but merely a peek at a film that really is riveting from start to finish. You don’t believe me? Well in November a short week after I wrap on “Bestseller” we will be doing a special Cast/Crew premiere followed by a Michigan premiere event for the public. I think we are doing two showings and there will be a VIP party. We’re talking about Nov 8th that Friday for Cast/Crew and Saturday the 9th for the public event. Now I would watch the http://www.ashesofedenmovie.com website for exact information but for you blog followers I’ve given you an advanced heads up. I do think this film will be one that will represent Michigan’s best.
“Supermodel Showdown” Costa Rican Adventure is making great strides and we will be releasing a promo piece soon. We are doing some polish work but the 1st look by a potential sales agent resulted in all positive feedback. This show will be fun to watch I promise. Most of the traffic is being sent to our Facebook site.
Sales, licensing and development work continues and we’ve added a new sales person onto CDI and it looks like we will be adding another attorney onto our team. We’re growing and some days it is hard to keep up with everything.
Lastly, I’m looking forward to being an audience member and attending actor/filmmaker Sam Logan’s premiere this week and supporting my dear friend and CDI executive Dean Teaster, who plays a powerful role in the film. So DJ Hermit is going to be making an appearance at the event and I’m excited to just watch without the producer worries of technical issues, performance acceptance and so on. That gets to be Sam’s job on this sure-to-be wonderful event.
Okay, well I’m off to work in the yard, rack some beer, attend a family cook out and play soccer tomorrow. I hope you all keep following your dreams and goals. Give your best at whatever you do and remember to spend some quality time with your loved ones.