Stars Wars, Maverick, Bestseller – Movie Updates and Discussions
So this morning the coffee grinder was set on a lesser setting because we were low on coffee yesterday. So today I had to run the grinder twice and I overdid it slightly, resulting in coffee that can hold a spoon straight up. Anyway, it should give my bones the kick I need. We had another soccer match on Thursday and again brought home a win. The two days after usually have a good amount of sore and stiff but my need to try out a few new chainsaws, including a pole-saw, added some time to my healing. But I love that weekly challenge of battling for position, possession and of course goals.
The nice part of this week’s blog is that we had a nice CDI recap PR release – (READ BELOW)
This has the most updated news on these films-
I did see that Hoopla, which is the national library distribution is carrying BESTSELLER as well as Walmart stores. Please take a look at your Walmart and snap a pic!
This week was a productive one with a few unexpected calls that were very positive. What I’ve realized is that as people get older they realize the more the precious aspects of time. How we don’t know how many grains of sand are in our hourglass so what and when we do something is important. What we leave behind us is important. DJ Perry the actor (on screen) will live on longer than DJ the artist. I’ve had a few very successful business associates reach out and express their desire to go deeper into artistic and meaningful endeavors. I will keep creating because that is what I do. It is like breathing. The dreaming and visualizing of the who and what that happens before you breakdown the story into where and how. I’m so appreciative of all our partners.
I know what rambling I can share-
I am a Star Wars fan. Being seven when the first original ‘Star Wars’ hit was like living childhood in a sweet spot. That’s why George Lucas can make some mis-steps in my liking or taste but he is and always will be a king. A dreamer who sold an idea off an out-there (far, far, away) script to a studio, cast and crew – and captured every child’s grand imaginative adventure and put it to the big screen with ground breaking, jaw dropping FX. And after George marketed that film to the world in a way only rivaled by WWE’s Vince McMahon. Vince, another manI would love to have a few drinks with and get his unique insights. Those two men (Vince & George) ruled their franchises in very different ways. Vince, seems aggressive with a PT Barnum-like public attitude, working to control several Alpha stars and their sharks (lawyers). And George, a seemingly quiet and reserved man but other artists could visualize what he was dreaming and they got sucked into his imagination that would be turned into an exciting world. So add George to that invite list. George, Vince and I chilling and having a few Red Stripes.
Okay, back to topic- I like millions, have watched the newest ‘Star Wars’ franchise show. After two shows I found one performance to be lacking for me. Surprisingly, this character was the recipient of major public negative feedback and counter-feedback defending an actress who is black. When I watch, I watch performances not color. But that defense was being thrown up. Now I’m sure that some audiences disliked the role for the wrong reasons and communicated this poorly and with offensive words. I had a few deep conversations about this topic this week and for me I saw the pensive internally conflicted side of this character (ironically great when not speaking, but feeling) and the other side I saw was like an evil ‘Maverick’ from Top Gun. Watch out. They’re reckless! Dangerous! What am I going to do? Okay, I realized that is actually a ‘cool steal’ (taking influence from someone else’s performance as a respectful nod) ala my ‘George Jefferson’ walk used by Gil Gilles in BEST YEARS GONE. But what was not sitting right for me was 1) – transition between the emotional HIGH (I’m reckless) and LOW (I’m misunderstood) and that can be the editor too. An actor is often at the mercy of the director and editor and if they piece together a disjointed emotional scene it can not sit well with viewers. 2) The other is the cadence of voice that somehow snapped me from “far, far away” and brought me to a Tyler Perry film and I say that loving me some Tyler Perry. It just sounded like attitude slang. I want to try and explain myself properly-
In one of my discussions on the topic above, Samuel L. Jackson’s involvement was brought up as a counter-point. Again, I LOVE me some Samuel L. Jackson -but, I had the same fear of his cadence being too modern (Our galaxy:) reflective. He succeeded even though he made me walk a line. I saw mostly a non-swearing Jackson doing what Jackson does best and I kept waiting for the train of obscenities to come flowing out- “Those #$@@%# Sith #$%#%#W are getting on my last #@#@!@$% mid-chlordan nerve.”
I have several issues with the prequels with Samuel not being one of them. It’s like when we do a period piece and you have to get into a mindset from another time period. Star Wars has an even wider fictional range to create within but ultimately it’s how we perceive it. I mean most of the Empire officers sound British and we know there is no audible sound in space – but it’s just fun. So keep it fun. Ultimately I’m on board with all the series and I’m routing for this one particular talent to succeed. And last I checked she’s co-starring in a major ‘Star Wars’ TV series and so in my book, she is succeeding.
I can’t buy into any subconscious racists filters or anything like that because I loved actors Billy Dee Willams, John Boyega (Han: That’s not how the force works), Giancarlo Esposito and let us NOT forget James Earl Jones. We are left with a two-sided issue – Can you criticize someone of race without bringing race into it? AND Can you take criticism without spinning the blame to something that might not be the root cause? When you blanket everything with absolutes you ruin open communication. When you speak from a place that blames/mislabels the wrong issue again communication is ruined.
Have patience with one another as the world learns to communicate proper again. Instant communication and the documentation of communications has created a new environment of accountability. Think before you speak has always been good advice but now with emails, twitter, tictoks, ……………………. they all have a new accountability. I’ve always tried to be thoughtful in my communications so the changes in society are fine but many are challenged. For many who speak emotionally off the cuff are now often regretting their word, texts, tweets and wishing they could edit- they are facing new challenges. We’ll catch up eventually this is just a major time of change for mankind. But isn’t it always…breath.
I could talk more about Polar and Grizzly Bears mating because of the warming weather but I’ll save you that. Bringing this chat full circle, we have to acknowledge that many of you are finding yourselves in this new age. After all the immense digital scrolling, bit-coin obsessions and other short-cut seeking life-filler that usually deposits people further down the path but with not much done – lost time. And some who reaped a few additional shells and beads no additional happiness was gained and with the lost time maybe a tad less happy. I’m not losing time, I’m living. Many days the joy of any new film release is trumped by watching the little song birds feed their new young. Watching the baby rabbit ‘Simon’ and his jumping antics bring as much a smile as some festival wins. That is life. Study life, digest it and some of it can be re-introduced onscreen in a future story.
This week will be more BESTSELLER promo. Let me know what you think of it. I think it is one of my most intense roles in a film that I think captures the right haunting mood. The BEST YEARS GONE promo engines will be started. I’m so excited to give the same laughs we heard in the theatrical run to living rooms and dens everywhere. Lastly, working steady to get even closer to our goals with the upcoming HOT ROD LOVE film. We had some new people last week commit to join us on this next film adventure and this week should bring a few additional ones. Keep moving forward is the mantra. Keep dreaming. Keep creating!
Hazelnut coffee cheers!
Stoke the Inner Fire, the Art of Patience, the Circle of Producers
Coffee Cheers. I’m sipping a steaming cup of coffee and sitting here pondering the business from the past week. I’m a person who attacks things in private. You don’t or won’t find my nose stuck in a video game for hours. A five minute time out to play ROBOTRON or JOUST is an occasional occurrence. I fight everyday to gather the funds for new endeavors and to keep the business of all the other films moving forward. I’m feeling good about everything and had a few things happen this week that could be good lessons for whomever reads this.
First – CDI is not a company that pays just a few and seeks out free help in places that require highly skilled individuals. We hire as wide as we can afford which has been limited in the past few years. Increase in days expands costs across the board. We do things that others do not like lodging. Commuting when reasonable is okay but long trips on each side of a shoot day can burn someone out quick. Actors in the day before helps them to settle and focus before entering the ‘world’ we’ve created to film in. These are all costs. Over the years I’ve learned to simplify my life so that I could focus on the stories. Our money negotiated to the max with the help of many who love stories, including our sponsors, makes this possible.
Along these lines, we only can hire so many people. The producing staff often works much harder for less when and if hours are broken down. Often the effort is not worth it if the accumulation of shells and beads is the only measuring stick one has. Producers sport a point of two from the back end which is like a lottery ticket bought just in case the universe wants to reach out. It also is a badge of honor that they were part of a the “officers” who made the film happen. At CDI even an “associate producer” title is honored. Other outfits may throw around titles but at CDI is means something. For us at CDI is means representing the company. Attitude. Motivated. Experienced. As one who has coached here in the USA and overseas and as a martial arts sensei and still always a student – when someone is deemed ready they are approached. Filmmaking with tribeCDI is just that- a team, a community and a group of film warriors ready to problem solve daily to win the pieces of the puzzle.
My budgets restrict how many artists I can develop with a paycheck. Even the ones who would PA (Production assistant) free the costs are still additional with each person. We like to try and really feed people. I recall one set in Nashville in the 90’s that had a few loaves of white bread, a pack of lunch meat, mayo, mustard, ketchup and a stack of paper plates. This was for a large cast and crew. I ate it without any issues but I could see what certain actions did for a project. That one 15 min producer call that gets a sponsored meal from some great establishment is so worth it. My mind often is filled with ways to give our cast and crew a better experience. In return I just ask for their very best at their task on either side of the camera. The cast and crew can see the care and work we’ve put into our productions. Bottom line is we do care.
So in summary -I never once could demand to be on a team. I had to show my skills, develop my mind to the game and make them want me to start by my performance. In martial arts I focused on my skills and tried to effectively communicate to students below me. In time you become so valuable that they want you representing their tradition or organization. I see many lack the patience for many things of worth. It is a hard skill and one that I deal with still daily. Don’t let past failings or short-comings hold you back. That is your earned experience. Don’t be looking ahead too soon in hopes of being seen as more important. Be in the present. Be excited to learn the new lessons. Get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. 2020 was a year to test that discipline and practice what I preach. Be present. Be patient. Become the best version of you.
Another example that provides me with a nice lesson to share is – When life gets you frustrated with all the external issues turn within. If I’m out-of-tune inside, everything I try to do fumbles. I don’t see the pokey dog bone which I kick. I can’t get a software to work right (I can’t get me to work right)…you all know what I mean. Meditation. Prayer. A nature walk. Thirty minutes on a heavy bag. Tai Chi – tend your inner fire. I DON’T HAVE TIME, some will scream. But you must or time will be wasted. Like in healing there is treating the symptoms and treating the source. Focus on that inner-fire and watch how everything starts to turn around. BALANCE is achieved and by stoking the fire of the internal the external starts to change. I’ve used all this solo time to really increase that fire stoking. Take 15 or 30 minutes to change your frequency and watch what happens.
BEST YEARS GONE – The second pass now with director Shane Hagedorn‘s refining is underway. A few notes we’re passed from the circle of co-producers to our director. I’m more inclined that maybe the first look should have came after the second pass where the director is now engaged. A rough cut is built from director notes and editor’s eye. Now a large % of my notes would be stuff that our director will address. After the director and editor do their cut I will give it another look. I look for mistakes but recognize subjective versus a mistake. I have to have confidence in my directors. Their own subjective choices play strongest – the too many cooks in the kitchen issue can exist. I’ve seen it happen but if I respect the boundaries, it sets a standard. Sometimes the closer the role is the farther I might want to be from nuisance choices in editing. That is why you take the time to match the right script to the right director. The writer and the director work through the story fully. Do not underestimate the pairing of the right story and the right director. It is a skill unto itself.
As the edit moves along we’ve made progress on upcoming merchandise and the Battle of the Bands! Exciting stuff. More stills are being batched to release. Our own Dan Chipman is working a BTS so our cast and crew can remember the crazy year of 2020. Our fellow producer and AD Nate Robertson also has a special video being worked on. We’ll be having a story/interview coming out on all that very soon. This movie is heartfelt and extremely funny. In my talks this week with our distributor I was told how much they all enjoy the humorous offsets CDI scripts have gotten known for. Meaning serious topics are discussed and when it gets a little uncomfortable it gives us humor. They used the end of the Wild Faith trailer with Ben Lily and Hester hoping they don’t need God’s help today. I was happy to report that BEST YEARS GONE will have humorous moments. Yeah. maybe a couple;)
MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND I’m told has a new marketing campaign they are discussing. They want to get this film more into the mainstream. They feel it’s a great film that has a lot of play in it. The release was going to include theatrical and fest events but the Covid mucked that up a tad. But the film is being well received and has been seen by maybe a million of so people. It will find a much larger audience it just needs a bit more time.
THE QUEST TRILOGY is being treated as a series as it readies its run at Pureflix. I’m so proud of these films and I think general audiences will enjoy them. It’s a distilled down parable trying to remove all the white-noise and paint something where the dots are actually connected. Whatever your walk of life take a watch and I think you will find them vastly different from anything else you’ve watched/heard on this subject.
LOST HEART – If you want to read more on the actors from Lost Heart, see some BTS and read a few PR links please visit the new pages on http://www.cdiproductions.com – thank you David Gries. And if you still haven’t seen this film do yourself a favor. Have a laugh. Have a cry. It is truly a ray of light. Light? Strange lights in the sky? Watch the film and it will all make sense.
In wrapping this up – my week was spent doing end-of-he-year tax stuff for CDI and the films. Thank you to Dean Teaster, Melissa Anschutz, John Mashni and all the good folks at Davison & Associates. We also are working development hard. We only have a few final funding pieces to arrange on the WW2 film before full green light. We also have had more great talks on the Wild Faith spin off HASTINGS. Again it is not IF it is WHEN. We’ve been doing casting for our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA German’s and our young lead. Are you 8-12 who plays young shoot me a reel it will get looked at. Speak fluent German? Send me a reel. We’ve been having internal casting talks and we’ll be announcing as soon as we move into pre-production. I’m also looking at portfolios for paint on glass or digital matte artists. Fun, fun stuff! Beautiful falling snow. Time for some more coffee. Have a great week.
Be good to one another!